Friday, February 27, 2009

Walking Like a Human

We can now estimate that we have been walking with our characteristic gait for at least 1.5 million years.

Footprints uncovered in Kenya show that as early as 1.5 million years ago an ancestral species, almost certainly Homo erectus, had already evolved the feet and walking gait of modern humans.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Republican Slogan

"We need to be more like Louisiana". That's the ticket! I love New Orleans, it's a fun city. But I'm not sure most people will agree that the USA as a whole needs to be more like Louisiana.

Louisiana rankings:

Gross State Product #38
Percent below poverty level #2
Best educated index #45
Health index #50
Firearms death rate #3
Best States to live #49
Oil consumption per capita #2

Find more comparative statistics here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Isn't Religious Freedom Wonderful

Plattsburgh, NY should count itself lucky that such a man of god will visit them in March. Does god only love Rev. Phelps?

Which is the Party of Fiscal Conservatism?

More here and here.

John McCain on Saving Money

President Obama held an economic summit yesterday and he was kind enough to allow John McCain to make one of the first comments.
“I want to see if, John, you’ve got some thoughts,” Mr. Obama said

McCain saw a chance to poke Obama in the eye.
“Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One,” Mr. McCain told him. “I don’t think there is any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas have cost taxpayers enormous amounts of money.”
By "your helicopter", McCain means the helicopter that President Bush and his administration requested after the 9/11 attacks. The "Marine One" helicopters currently used by the president are relatively old "Blackhawk" helicopters. Bush decided he needed some updated capacity so they went looking for a new helicopter. They found the EH101 produced by a British/Italian conglomerate. Changed the name to VH-71 and voila, a request for a fleet of 28 of these helicopters at a price of over 11 billion dollars. Expensive yes, Obama's

But President Obama had a surprising reply:
Mr. Obama agreed. “The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me,” he said. “Of course, I’ve never had a helicopter before. Maybe I’ve been deprived and I didn’t know it. But I think it is in example of the procurement process gone amok. And we’re going to have to fix it.”

I really liked the touch about never having had a helicopter before, implying that riding in the old VH-60 was just fine by him. Let's see what John McCain says about defense spending in the coming weeks. Do we really need the F-22? Do we really need DX1000's? Can we make do with the less expensive F-35 and Arleigh Burke destroyers that we currently have? I'm guessing McCain will have something very different to say about those expensive items.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reality Surprises Morning Joe and Willy

Listen to the absolute surprise in the voices of these "news" talking heads on Morning Joe when they are told there is no money to save endangered swamp mice in the economic stimulus bill. "What???? Huh??? What do you mean??? But...but..but... It's at around 45 seconds into the video. I've been reading about this topic for at least 2 weeks (not Fox News sources) and I knew there was no such money included in the economic stimulus package. Are you telling me "Morning Joe" doesn't have research people that can tell him the same thing? Yes he does, but facts don't necessarily fit into Joe's reality.

Check out politifacts on the topic.

Normalize Relations with Cuba

Has the US policy towards Cuba done anything to advance US interests in the Western Hemisphere? Fifty years of the same tired policy that does nothing for either country. Last year we sold $440 million worth of agricultural goods to Cuba. Wouldn't it be nice to sell even more, especially in these economic times. Besides, I want to visit Cuba before I die. It will be a chance to re-live the 50's.

3-D Molecules

Vascular Endothelial Factor
Do you like to play with 3-D models of chemicals? Want to see what the drug lipitor or acyclovir look like the atomic level? Want to spin some protein molecules? Hell, it's even better if you happen to have a pair of 3-D glasses hanging around.

Go to, find your molecule, click on the picture and have some good nerd fun.