Wednesday, May 7, 2008

El camino del Rey

Take one of the most astonishing walks on earth.
Originally built in 1901, this walkway in Malaga, Spain, now serves as an approach to makinodromo, the famous climbing sector of El Chorro.

Surprising Expiration Dates

A handy, who-knew guide to 77 foods, beauty products, and household goods
Surprising Expiration Dates
Certain items in your house practically scream "toss me" when their prime has passed. That mysterious extra white layer on the Cheddar? A sure sign it needs to be put out of its misery. Chunky milk? Down the drain it goes.

But what about that jar of olives or Maraschino cherries that has resided in your refrigerator since before the birth of your kindergartner? Or the innumerable nonedibles lurking deep within your cabinets and closets: stockpiled shampoo and toothpaste, seldom-used silver polish? How do you know when their primes have passed?

With help from experts and product manufacturers, Real Simple has compiled a guide to expiration dates. These dates are offered as a rough guideline. The shelf lives of most products depend upon how you treat them. Edibles, unless otherwise indicated, should be stored in a cool, dry place. (With any food, of course, use common sense.) Household cleaners also do best in a dry place with a stable temperature. After the dates shown, beauty and cleaning products are probably still safe but may be less effective.

  • Beer

  • Unopened: 4 months.

  • Brown sugar

  • Indefinite shelf life, stored in a moistureproof container in a cool, dry place.

  • Chocolate (Hershey bar)

  • 1 year from production date

  • Coffee, canned ground

  • Unopened: 2 years
    Opened: 1 month refrigerated

  • Coffee, gourmet

  • Beans: 3 weeks in paper bag, longer in vacuum-seal bag (After this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume.)
    Ground: 1 week in sealed container
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    I want you oblivious

    U.S. Marines, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    ...patrolling through a poppy field near the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan Thursday May 1, 2008.

    46664 Concert Honouring Nelson Mandela at 90

    A Gathering of 46,664 Great Friends and Supporters
    London, Hyde Park, June 27, 2008

    Tickets on public sale Friday 9 May at

    Many of the world's most powerful and instantly recognisable figures and a concert audience of 46,664 (Mandela's prison number) will pay their tributes to one of the world's most loved leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and icon of freedom, Nelson 'Madiba' Mandela, as he turns 90 later this year.

    Mr. Mandela will arrive in London in June to take part in a series of events to mark his birthday: a very rare occasion since he is now finally "retired from retirement.

    Royalty and politicians from both sides of the Atlantic, leading names from business, sport, film and entertainment – and some of the most successful musicians of the past twenty years – make up the birthday list for three days of celebrations, culminating in a three-hour evening concert in London's Hyde Park on Friday June 27, The 46664 Concert Honouring Nelson Mandela at 90.

    President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Will Smith, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Robert de Niro and Forest Whitaker are amongst those who will attend some of the events. Lewis Hamilton, British Formula 1 driver for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team will attend his very first 46664 event.

    Artists specially invited to perform for Mr. Mandela at the Friday night 90th birthday concert will include Queen + Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight, Andrea and Sharon Corr, Eddy Grant, and Jamelia, along with international 46664 Ambassadors Italy's Zucchero and Spain's Amaral.

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    Barackula: the musical

    A little bit Buffy, a little bit How to Succeed in Politics Without Really Trying.
    Watch it here.

    Terry McAuliffe: Hillary Can Drink John McCain Under The Table!

    By Greg Sargent

    Looks like Hillary top adviser Terry McAuliffe is really upping the ante when it comes to Hillary's ability to throw back shots with the best of 'em.

    Hillary, of course, famously downed a shot of whiskey in the run-up to the voting in Pennsylvania, and today, with Hillary's efforts to court blue collar voters at full throttle, McAuliffe expanded a bit on Hillary's affection for tossing 'em back...

    McAuliffe, asked whether her shot-tossing is phony, replied that "she loves to sit, throw 'em back," adding that "she actually beat John McCain in a shot contest. She's a girl from Illinois who likes to throw 'em down with the rest of us."

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    FBI Raids Special Counsel Office, Seizes Records

    by Ari Shapiro

    Scott Bloch has been special counsel since 2004.

    FBI agents on Tuesday raided the offices of Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch, who oversees protection for federal whistle-blowers. The agents seized computers and shut down e-mail service as part of an obstruction of justice probe, as first reported by NPR News.

    A grand jury in Washington issued subpoenas for several OSC employees, including Bloch, according to NPR sources who spoke on condition their names not be used. Bloch's home was also searched.

    Those developments came about on a Tuesday morning that had seemed no different from any other weekday in the Washington headquarters of the Office of Special Counsel. But at 10 a.m., the OSC's national e-mail system went down, and the FBI arrived.

    A half-dozen FBI agents swarmed into the OSC's Washington offices, grabbing documents and seizing computers. By 1 p.m., more than 20 agents had arrived in the agency's D.C. bureau.

    One official close to the investigation said that today's action was "significant" and that other field offices would also be included in the investigation.

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    The Financial Crisis: An Interview with George Soros

    By George Soros, Judy Woodruff

    The following is an edited and expanded version of an interview with George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management, by Judy Woodruff on Bloomberg TV on April 4.

    Judy Woodruff: You write in your new book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets,[1] that "we are in the midst of a financial crisis the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression." Was this crisis avoidable?

    George Soros: I think it was, but it would have required recognition that the system, as it currently operates, is built on false premises. Unfortunately, we have an idea of market fundamentalism, which is now the dominant ideology, holding that markets are self-correcting; and this is false because it's generally the intervention of the authorities that saves the markets when they get into trouble. Since 1980, we have had about five or six crises: the international banking crisis in 1982, the bankruptcy of Continental Illinois in 1984, and the failure of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, to name only three.

    Each time, it's the authorities that bail out the market, or organize companies to do so. So the regulators have precedents they should be aware of. But somehow this idea that markets tend to equilibrium and that deviations are random has gained acceptance and all of these fancy instruments for investment have been built on them.

    There are now, for example, complex forms of investment such as credit-default swaps that make it possible for investors to bet on the possibility that companies will default on repaying loans. Such bets on credit defaults now make up a $45 trillion market that is entirely unregulated. It amounts to more than five times the total of the US government bond market. The large potential risks of such investments are not being acknowledged.

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    War Made Easy

    By Norman Solomon

        When The New York Times published its explosive "Pentagon Pundits" story on April 20, the result was a wave of criticism directed at the Defense Department for manipulating TV news coverage of the Iraq war. Critics also faulted the networks for failing to scrutinize the conflicts of interest of the "military analysts" who went on the air. Many of those retired military officers were being coached by the Pentagon to mislead the public, and many had personal financial stakes in corporations with major Pentagon contracts.

        Routinely lost in the current uproar is the extent to which media managers have gone out of their way to suck up to the Pentagon. Top network executive Eason Jordan - who ran CNN's news operation during the invasion of Iraq - is a case in point. He repeatedly asked the Pentagon for approval of the "military analysts" who were under consideration for on-air roles.

        The documentary film "War Made Easy," based on my book of the same name, shows the pervasive and long-running partnership between key news outlets and high-ranking warmakers in Washington. This video excerpt from the movie puts the "Pentagon Pundits" story in a broad and chilling context.

        Years later, some news outlets like to critique the previous media spin for war. It's part of what amounts to a repetition compulsion disorder - which includes participating in the corrupted process and then critiquing it long after the damage has been done.

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    Soldier suicides could trump war tolls: US health official

    Suicides and "psychological mortality" among US soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan could exceed battlefield deaths if their mental scars are left untreated, the head of the US Institute of Mental Health warned Monday.

    Of the 1.6 million US soldiers who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 18-20 percent -- or around 300,000 -- show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or both, said Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health.

    An estimated 70 percent of those at-risk soldiers do not seek help from the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration, he told a news conference launching the American Psychiatric Association's 161st annual meeting here.

    If "one just does the math", then allowing PTSD or depression to go untreated in such numbers could result in "suicides and psychological mortality trumping combat deaths" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Insel warned.

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    Wise Up!Good Deeds


    By David Bruce 

    All too often, funding is not available for school libraries. One student, Mitchell Nesheim, took action. To get books for his Mount Shasta (Calif.) High School Library, he wrote an article for local media in which he posted the names of authors whose books the library wanted and whose books were required or recommended for courses. He then asked the readers of the article to look on their bookshelves for books by those authors and to consider donating them to the school library. This is a great idea because all too many of us have books that we will never reread, but that other people would be happy to read.

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    by Jim Hightower

    I'm totally excited that our tax rebate checks are coming! Washington has turned into Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, all rolled into one, now delivering $300 to $600 checks to nearly every one of us.

    The idea is that we'll all rush out and buy, buy, buy – thus stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and causing bluebirds of happiness to trill with delight. Wal-Mart is ready for you, offering to cash your government checks for free and tempting you with special price promotions. Indeed, every big retailer is running shopper specials in May.

    But, wait – most of the stuff sold in those stores isn't made in America. So those sounds of economic stimulation we're hearing – from factory machinery to bluebirds – are coming from China, Singapore, and other low-wage nations where U.S. corporations have moved production. Spending at the Wal-Marts won't create new production or new jobs in your town or mine.

    That's why I have a different plan for my $600 check. I'm setting $400 of it aside to spend at farmers markets, artisan shops, and hometown businesses that sell goods produced locally, or at least produced in America. This way, our tax dollars can circulate here at home, genuinely benefiting our grass roots economy.

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    The Bush - McCain Challenge

    Can you tell the difference between Bush and McCain? Take this quiz.

    And All I Got Was This Lousy PhD

    The University of Chicago's new funding plan has grad students questioning their future in academia.
    Apples with protest messages, placed in the University of Chicago provost's office

    In February 2007, the University of Chicago announced a new program that promised to transform the lives of its graduate students. Beginning the following fall, almost every entering grad in the humanities and social sciences divisions would receive an annual stipend of $19,000 for five years, along with free tuition, guaranteed teaching opportunities, and other benefits. The $50 million program looked downright princely, until it became evident that none of the university's 800 or so current grad students in those disciplines would be included.

    The students began a series of polite protests (at their most riled, they marched into the provost's office and deposited 150 apples on his desk), and last May the administration convened a working group of faculty and students to consider whether they might share in the bounty. The group's report, issued in February, determined that very little could be done because including current grad students would cost roughly an additional $55 million.

    But one of those students, political science major Daragh Grant, realized while perusing the report that a flaw in its assumptions had resulted in a significant overstatement of the cost. The flaw: certain grad students were added into the total at the full tuition rate of $37,000, when they actually pay only a fraction of that amount. This inflated the projected expense of the free tuition benefit by about $24 million.

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    Cory Doctorow: Think Like a Dandelion

    Regular Locus readers will have noted a recent front-of-the-book item about my recent Good News, a little daughter named Poesy, born to us on February 3, 2008. This feat of nanoengineering — mostly accomplished by my Alice, with 23 chromosomes' worth of programming assistance from yours truly — has got me thinking about reproduction, even more than usual.

    Mammals invest a lot of energy in keeping track of the disposition of each copy we spawn. It's only natural, of course: we invest so much energy and so many resources in our offspring that it would be a shocking waste if they were to wander away and fall off the balcony or flush themselves down the garbage disposal. We're hard-wired, as mammals, to view this kind of misfortune as a moral tragedy, a massive trauma to our psyches so deep that some of us never recover from it.

    It follows naturally that we invest a lot of importance in the individual disposition of every copy of our artistic works as well, wringing our hands over "not for resale" advance review copies that show up on Amazon and tugging our beards at the thought of Google making a scan of our books in order to index them for searchers. And while printing a book doesn't take nearly as much out of us as growing a baby, there's no getting around the fact that every copy printed is money spent, and every copy sold without being accounted for is money taken away from us.

    There are other organisms with other reproductive strategies. Take the dandelion: a single dandelion may produce 2,000 seeds per year, indiscriminately firing them off into the sky at the slightest breeze, without any care for where the seeds are heading and whether they'll get an hospitable reception when they touch down.

    And indeed, most of those thousands of seeds will likely fall on hard, unyielding pavement, there to lie fallow and unconsummated, a failure in the genetic race to survive and copy.

    But the disposition of each — or even most — of the seeds aren't the important thing, from a dandelion's point of view. The important thing is that every spring, every crack in every pavement is filled with dandelions. The dandelion doesn't want to nurse a single precious copy of itself in the hopes that it will leave the nest and carefully navigate its way to the optimum growing environment, there to perpetuate the line. The dandelion just wants to be sure that every single opportunity for reproduction is exploited!

    Dandelions and artists have a lot in common in the age of the Internet.

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    Ben Stein is a complete and utter douchebag

    Oh, Ben Stein. How I miss the glory days when your monotone delivery added humor to movies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Visine Commercials. When you had a television show that just involved you outsmarting contestants who attempted to get "your money". These things did so well to make everyone forget that you were Nixon's speechwriter and accused Bob Woodward of inventing Deep Throat just to make Nixon look bad.

    By and large, Stein's comedic delivery channeled through a Stephen Wright monotone with that aura of "I'm totally smarter than you" made it so no one remembered that, in your actual substantive career, you weren't the most admirable character.

    Fortunately, Stein decided to remind everyone with his creation of "Expelled". I'm not linking to it because I'm not going to promote it in any way shape or form.

    Now, I'm not a scientist by trade. I have a more than passing interest in science and always have, I read Dawkins and pay attention to scientific advancements and generally keep up on things. But when it comes to the really deep stuff, I leave that to the experts. So whenever you're done here, please peruse this series by Scientific American to understand just what's wrong with Intelligent Design from a biologist's perspective.

    My point, though, is to take that famed and loved internet blogger tactic and tear into something without having seen it. For the record, the only way I will see this movie is if I can sneak into it or someone hands me a bootlegged copy. I won't accept a free ticket, because I don't want my presence in the theater contributing a single dollar to this pile.

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    The Hemp News Update

      The Hemp News Update

    This being a presidential election year seems to accentuate the political nature of many things. Hemp remains in the position that it's in here in the United States not because of any difference of opinion based on facts, but because of politics. We started the legislative season this year with five bills carried over from last year, and because of election politics we did not expect any new legislation to be introduced. In The Hemp News Update earlier this year, I stated that we had high hopes for H.267, the hemp farming bill in Vermont. Late last week, after years of hard work by many people, politics very nearly killed the bill.

    Supporters of Vote Hemp and the agricultural policy non-profit Rural Vermont made sure that the bill moved out of committee and got the floor vote in the Vermont Senate that it deserved after passing in the House by a vote of 126 to 9. The Senate vote late last Thursday was 25 to 1!

    A lot of people seem to think that the legislative process is too arcane, that it's too hard to understand, and that they can't make a difference. They are wrong. You can and do make a difference! Vote Hemp and Rural Vermont sent out a series of Action Alerts last week asking supporters of the hemp farming bill in Vermont to call key Senators. Our featured story "Senate Passes Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp Cultivation" and the Bennington Banner story "Hemp Bill Moves to Full Senate Vote" clearly confirm that focused action works.

    If you live in Vermont, the next step is to call Governor Douglas and write letters to the editor. (Vermonters only, please!) It is important as a "pocket-veto" is not an option for the Governor. Others can still register to vote and click here to write your Representative in Congress and ask him or her to co-sponsor HR 1009, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, which is currently stalled in committee.

    Of course, this kind of advocacy and timely action requires money. Please make a contribution to Vote Hemp today to help us continue our work and bring hemp farming back to America.

    We need and truly appreciate your support!

    Best Regards,

    Tom Murphy
    Hemp News Update Editor

    Dr. Keith Bolton

    Dr. Keith Bolton. Photo credit: The Northern Rivers Echo.

    By Luis Feliu
    The Northern Rivers Echo
    April 16, 2008

    The age of hemp is here — or at least returning to its rightful place as one of the most useful plants known to man.

    But it's not the much-maligned, recreational variety of hemp or Cannabis which Nimbin is world famous for, but the high-fiber industrial hemp (low in the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) which many farmers in NSW have been waiting years to be allowed to grow.

    That time has now come, with the state government last week announcing it would introduce a new licensing scheme for the commercial growing of hemp, bringing NSW into line with other Australian states now developing an industrial hemp industry.


    HIA Featured Member - Wilderness Poets

    HIA Member Wilderness Poets

    Wilderness Poets founders Mika Kakizaki and John Bannerman have shared a passion for living, nutritious, organic foods for many years. Their favorite food was hemp nuts, and Mika was well aware of hemp's unsurpassed nutritional value. They started grinding and blending other seeds and nuts with hemp in their kitchen. Soon their hemp nut butters were being devoured on fruit, oatmeal and waffles. These butters are also a perfect creamy base for nutritious, raw dips and sauces. Friends and family caught on. Everyone wanted to know what to call it.

    As a middle school teacher, John had been using ancient and historic poets in the classroom to inspire his students. Now he uses each jar lid to share the stories of these "wilderness poets." Poets have a special way of whittling things down to their bare essence. The planet is at its highest state in the wilderness. Hemp has the ability to nourish people and return "wilderness" to the planet. Wilderness Poets is thus a metaphor for hemp itself.

    Wilderness Poets sold their first jars of Hemp Seed Nut Butter to a local food co-op in Portland, OR and began offering samples at community events and farmers markets. New Seasons Markets (Portland's largest natural food chain) and Whole Foods soon followed. They have recently moved into a certified organic kitchen where they make their nut butters in small artisan batches. Drop them a line, as they would love to send you samples! Wilderness Poets also ships wholesale cases direct to anywhere in the U.S.

    [If you are a member of the HIA and would like to have your company featured here, please submit a small selection of graphics and a profile of no more than a few paragraphs to, or call 207-542-4998 for more information. Space is limited and is first-come, first-serve. Your member profile will be seen in The HIA Member Newsletter, as well as here in The Hemp News Update which is read by thousands of subscribers.]

    More about Wilderness Poets...


    phone: 202-318-8999



    Tom Waits describes how he scheduled his 2008 tour…