Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The active and reserve military branches all met or exceeded both their numeric and quality recruiting goals during fiscal 2009 for the first time in the 36-year history of the all-volunteer force, the Pentagon's top military personnel policy official said Tuesday.
In addition, retention was deemed "successful" in all the services, the Pentagon said in a press release. No retention figures were provided.
A weak economy and increased spending on recruiting were the primary reasons for the recruiting successes, said Bill Carr, under secretary of defense for military personnel policy, who met with Pentagon reporters along with each service's top recruiting officials.
"The investment per accession we were able to deliver this year because we hadn't built in the unemployment [rate], as it turned out ... left us with more dollars per recruit than proved to be minimally necessary, given the level of unemployment," Carr said.
Cash crop in Afghanistan. Source: http://whatreallyhappened.com/category/afghanistan
by Matthew McDermott
photo: Arno & Louise via flickr.
If you hadn't thought much about the illegal ivory trade, sit up an pay attention. According to figures from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, cited by The Telegraph, all 600,000 African elephants will be extinct within in a bit over 15 years at current rates of poaching. Though there's been an international ban in place on ivory sales for the past two decades some 38,000 elephants are stilled killed every year (104 every day!):
Because of this IFAW is calling on the EU and all CITES members to once again take strong action to curtail the ivory trade. The director of IFAW UK told The Telegraph,
Most people will be shocked to hear that...elephants in Africa are still threatened by commercial poaching. The ivory trade must be banned once again, and comprehensively, if we want to prevent the extinction of elephants.
In total, the illegal trade in animals throughout the world is valued at $20.5 billion annually.
by Xeni Jardin
In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It's part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using "open source intelligence" -- information that's publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.Exclusive: U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets (Wired Danger Room, thanks Noah)
Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn't touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what's being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords.
"That's kind of the basic step -- get in and monitor," says company senior vice president Blake Cahill.
He wrote the theme songs to Green Acres and The Addams Family.
The LA Times:
"Then came an offbeat assignment: 'The Addams Family,' the 1964-66 TV series based on Charles Addams' macabre magazine cartoons and starring John Astin as Gomez Addams and Carolyn Jones as his wife, Morticia. For his theme song, Mizzy played a harpsichord, which gives the theme its unique flavor. And because the production company, Filmways, refused to pay for singers, Mizzy sang it himself and overdubbed it three times. The song, memorably punctuated by finger-snapping, begins with: 'They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky: the Addams family.'
"In the 1996 book 'TV's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes From Dragnet to Friends,' author Jon Burlingame writes that Mizzy's 'musical conception was so specific that he became deeply involved with the filming of the main-title sequence, which involved all seven actors snapping their fingers in carefully timed rhythm to Mizzy's music.'
"For Mizzy, who owned the publishing rights to The Addams Family theme, it was an easy payday.
"'I sat down; I went "buh-buh-buh-bump [snap-snap], buh-buh-buh-bump," he recalled in a 2008 interview on CBS' Sunday Morning show. 'That's why I'm living in Bel-Air: Two finger snaps and you live in Bel-Air.'
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Despite a recent spate of mainstream articles noting the declining fortunes of the adult entertainment industry, the number of people seeking employment sanctuary in the business continues to rise, perhaps a sign that the porn biz is a facilitator of career dreams as well as sexual fantasies.
But while the odds of succeeding in porn are as steep as in any business, the barrier to entry is admittedly often much lower, and the allure of easy money selling sex in one form or another continues to be a powerful draw. What is different is the fact that people who would not have considered such a move now are.
An article in The Tennessean Monday illustrates the trend. In Nashville alone, the paper reports, the number of people who "applied for or renewed a permit necessary to work in an adult entertainment club or adult bookstore in Nashville reached 330 in September, compared to about 300 this time last year. While that number may not sound like a big increase, it comes as some clubs have shut down and the ones that remain are actually seeing fewer customers.
"Across the country," the article continues, "there is anecdotal evidence that the number of people entering sex industry worklegal and illegalis on the rise as joblessness continues, said Bernadette Barton, an associate professor of sociology and women's studies at Morehead State University in Kentucky who specializes in the study of sexuality."
The Tennessean also visited local strip clubs for the article, in the process finding a former real estate agent, a former dog groomer and Iraq war veteransall of whom said they were driven into the business because of the economy.
"For people willing to look," Barton added, "it tells you something about the cost of living, what kind of jobs and what kind of pay may be readily available to women."
|Pornography Time Statistics|
|Every second - $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography|
|Every second - 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography|
|Every second - 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines|
|Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States|
2006 Worldwide Pornography Revenues
|Notes 1=Incomplete, 2=Unavailable data|
Click here to read Pornography Statistics, News and Facts Around the World
The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink
by Mike Adams
If you know anything about the food supply, you know that honey bees are a crucial part of the food production chain. In the United States, they pollinate roughly one-third of all the crops we eat, and without them, we'd be facing a disastrous collapse in viable food production.
|If it kills honey bees, could it damage the brains of children?|
That's why, when honey bees started to disappear a few years ago, scientists scrambled to find the root cause of the phenomenon, which has since been dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder."
The name is a bit of a misnomer, though. It's not really a "disorder." It's more of a poisoning. Or at least that's what we may be learning from new research that's just been published in the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac…).
It's been difficult, of course, trying to determine the cause of colony collapse disorder. Some of the suggested theories for explaining the phenomenon included chemical contamination from pesticides, genetic contamination from genetically modified crops, changes in the Earth's magnetic field, climate change and air pollution. In an attempt to nail down some scientific answers, researchers from the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Tucson, Arizona joined with other researchers in New Orleans and the University of Wisconsin to check out another possible culprit: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
HFCS, as you may already know, is a processed, liquid sweetener used in disturbingly large amounts throughout the global food supply. You can find it in not just sodas, but pizza sauce, salad dressings and even whole wheat bread. It's in breakfast cereals, food bars, peanut butter, ketchup and a thousand other products.
There are two reasons why you find HFCS in so many food products: 1) It's sweet. 2) It's cheap.
It is for these same two reasons that high-fructose corn syrup is fed to honey bees. It provides them the sugar calories to stay active without resulting in a huge cost for the beekeeper. That's why HFCS has been used for decades as a food source for honey bees.
But this very food source may, in fact, be poisoning the bees.
HFCS forms hydroxymethylfurfural
What these USDA researchers discovered is that when HFCS is heated, it forms hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a chemical that can kill honey bees. The production of HMF during cooking rose in parallel to the temperatures to which HFCS was exposed.
To put it plainly, when you cook HFCS, it becomes contaminated with HMF. And according to the research, levels of HMF "jumped dramatically" when temperatures rose above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (which isn't very hot, by the way).
This is similar to the way in which browning or frying carbohydrates produces acrylamides, a cancer-causing chemical that's also ubiquitous in the food supply. (http://www.naturalnews.com/acrylami…)
The upshot is that HMF could be part of the reason why honey bees are dying off. Feeding a chemical contaminant to your bees, after all, doesn't sound like a good way to support their long-term health. But if HFCS has been fed to honey bees for decades, why the sudden collapse of bee populations in just the last few years?
We don't know the answers to that yet, but HMF is likely only part of the picture. It could be that honey bees are already stressed from pesticides, GM crops and other environmental sources. With their chemical burdens already maxed out, one additional dietary stressor might have just pushed them over the edge. There's a limit, of course, to how much chemical stress any biological organism can tolerate, and honey bees appear to have been pushed one chemical too far.
Perhaps hydroxymethylfurfural will one day be known as "the chemical that killed the honey bees."
Could HMF harm humans, too?
Beyond the issue of honey bees, this research on HFCS and HMF raises some potentially serious questions about the use of the ingredient in the human food supply:
Is HMF toxic to humans?
If it kills honey bees, could it damage the brains of children? Could it disrupt normal neurological function in the human body? And if so, might this help explain why so much research links HFCS to diabetes and obesity?
The researchers from this particular study stated that "…the data from this study are important for human health as well." They also went on to state two very important facts you need to be aware of:
Fact #1) HMF has been linked to DNA damage in humans. (See citation below.)
Fact #2) When HMF breaks down in the human body, it breaks down into substances that may be even more harmful than the HMF itself. (Similar to the way in which aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde, formic acid and other potentially harmful chemicals.)
These are bombshell revelations about the potential dangers of high-fructose corn syrup. There's no such thing as "raw" or "cold-pressed" HFCS. It's all subjected to high temperatures during processing, meaning that all HFCS may be generating some level of the HMF contaminant before it's even put into foods.
And then, once it's added to manufactured food items, it's often cooked again! This second cooking could theoretically generate even more HMF, further contaminating the food with potentially dangerous chemicals.
Perhaps when you eat HFCS, you're consuming a chemical that "scrambles" health intracellular communication, causing physiological disruptions that, if allowed to continue for long enough, are expressed as diseases like "diabetes" or "obesity." We don't know this for sure, but it's a question that clearly needs to be asked… especially given the tremendous quantities of HFCS currently consumed in the diets of mainstream consumers.
The Dow is at 10,000, the Federal deficit is breaking records, unemployment is skyrocketing and money is cheap ~ so let's inflate the same debt bubble, continue Wall Street's derivative Ponzi scheme and let Main Street take the risk while Wall Street takes the profit: Allen L Roland
By David A. Fahrenthold
Will the real U.S. Chamber of Commerce please stand up?
Environmental activists held a hoax press conference Monday morning, pretending to be the business group -- and pretending to announce that the chamber was dropping its opposition to climate-change legislation now in Congress.
The event, complete with fake handouts on chamber letterhead, at least a couple of fake reporters, and a podium adorned with the chamber logo, broke up when a spokesman from the real chamber burst in.
What followed was a spectacle not usually seen in the John Peter Zenger Room at the National Press Club: two men in business suits shouting at one another, each calling the other an impostor and demanding to see business cards.
"This guy is a fake! He's lying! This is a stunt that I've never seen before," said Eric Wohlschlegel, an official at the actual Chamber of Commerce, who said he'd heard about the hoax event from a reporter who'd mistakenly shown up at the chamber's headquarters.
The fake Chamber of Commerce official, who called himself "Hingo Sembra," did not give his real name to reporters, saying only that he represented a coalition of climate activists.
He appeared, by comparing photos on the Internet, to be a member of the activist-prankster group called The Yes Men. They have staged several hoaxes to draw attention to what they believe is slow progress in fighting climate change. The group's last big stunt was to print fake copies of the New York Post last month during a U.N. climate conference, bearing the headline "We're Screwed." Asked if he was one of The Yes Men, he merely said, "Who?"
Before the real chamber official burst in, he told reporters that the chamber had decided to give up its aggressive opposition to climate legislation -- which has included a not-a-hoax call for a new "Scopes Monkey Trial" to prove the science of climate change.
He said the chamber would prefer a carbon tax, but would support Senate legislation drafted by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as a starting point. He said he was responding to the concerns of member companies who have quit the chamber over its previous stance.
"This isn't the cause, of course, of our change of heart. It is simply the cue," he said. When a reporter asked what he would say to chamber members who continued to oppose climate legislation, he replied, "There will always be people behind the times."
A few minutes later, Wohlschlegel -- from the real chamber of commerce -- burst in, and it was all over but the shouting. Afterward, he said the chamber's position had actually not changed: they have called for "strong" legislation on climate change, but they do not support the bill passed by the U.S. House this summer.
"It is a very sad day," Wohlschlegel said.