mobal's WunderBlog

Balanced Budget

By: mobal, 1:08 AM GMT on July 30, 2011

At one time my bride and I looked at our debt vs. assets and decided that we were not doing well. That night and the following few days we came up with a goal and a plan. It was not easy, by no means. We cut a lot of stupid pleasures and simple pleasures out of our budget. Many of these were very easy, some were a pain in the A$$. Many sacrifices were made.

I expect no less from Washington. Make the hard decisions, do not compromise, stick with it and let’s move on.


Mobal Good, World Bad

By: mobal, 12:40 AM GMT on July 21, 2011



This Explains Alot

By: mobal, 11:11 AM GMT on July 19, 2011

All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm

If your heritage is non-African, you are part Neanderthal, according to a new study in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Discovery News has been reporting on human/Neanderthal interbreeding for some time now, so this latest research confirms earlier findings.

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.

The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.

Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," Labuda said.

This work goes back to nearly a decade ago, when Labuda and his colleagues identified a piece of DNA, called a haplotype, in the human X chromosome that seemed different. They questioned its origins.

Fast forward to 2010, when the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. The researchers could then compare the haplotype to the Neanderthal genome as well as to the DNA of existing humans. The scientists found that the sequence was present in people across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals," said Nick Patterson of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Patterson did not participate in the latest research. He added, "This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details."

David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, added, "Dr. Labuda and his colleagues were the first to identify a genetic variation in non-Africans that was likely to have come from an archaic population. This was done entirely without the Neanderthal genome sequence, but in light of the Neanderthal sequence, it is now clear that they were absolutely right!"

The modern human/Neanderthal combo likely benefitted our species, enabling it to survive in harsh, cold regions that Neanderthals previously had adapted to.

"Variability is very important for long-term survival of a species," Labuda concluded. "Every addition to the genome can be enriching."



Stupid People....

By: mobal, 10:43 PM GMT on July 10, 2011

8 months pregnant women lost on canoe trip....

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Flotilla, the Alabama Marine Police and the U.S. Coast Guard were asked late Saturday evening to search for two missing people on the Escatawpa River, according to a news release.

Rescuers located the couple 1.9 miles north of U.S. 98 early this morning, according to the Sheriff's Office release. The river in that area was almost dried up, the release states, so deputies and flotilla were able to walk into the area where the couple was located.

The United States Coast Guard helicopter flew out the wife, who is 8 months pregnant, the release states, and she was taken to an area hospital.

A Coast Guard news release this afternoon identified the rescued woman as 23-year-old Tessa Simms.

According to the Coast Guard release, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report at approximately 11:30 p.m., that a female, her husband and another friend had become lost. Simms was eight months pregnant and had not had anything to drink or eat for approximately 12 hours, the release states.

Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans launched an MH-65C helicopter and crew to the scene at approximately midnight. After searching for 40 minutes, the crew located the missing people who used a flashlight to signal the helicopter. The crew successfully hoisted Simms off the river bank and transported her to awaiting emergency medical services at Mobile Downtown Airport, according to the Coast Guard news release.

"Before people venture out on hikes and boating trips in remote areas, they must be well prepared and bring both a communication and signaling device," said Lt. Ken Rockhold, safety officer of Air Station New Orleans. "Fortunately, these people had both, and it allowed for an expedient and efficient rescue."

Simms' condition was not available.


Updated: 10:44 PM GMT on July 10, 2011


Poll? Convenient or Correct

By: mobal, 1:04 AM GMT on July 07, 2011

Do you think that people today make decisions because it’s convenient or the right thing to do?


Scary! Independence Day 17??

By: mobal, 10:36 PM GMT on July 04, 2011

Independence Day:
Seventeen Seventy When?

This Marist Poll Reports:
Just in time for the July 4th weekend, the Marist Poll has asked Americans in which year the United States declared its independence. And, the result is many Americans need to brush up on their American history.

Only 58% of residents know that the United States declared its independence in 1776. 26% are unsure, and 16% mentioned another date.

There are age differences on this question. Younger Americans are the least likely to know the correct answer. Only 31% of adults younger than 30 say that 1776 is the year in which the United States broke away from Great Britain. 59% of residents between 30 and 44 report the same. Americans 45 to 59 -- 75% -- are the age group most likely to have the correct answer. Among those 60 and older, 60% report that 1776 is the year in which the United States declared its independence.

When it comes to gender, men -- 65% -- are more likely to respond with 1776 than are women -- 52%.
And, for the second year, about one in four Americans doesn’t know from which country the United States declared its independence. While 76% correctly cite Great Britain, 19% are unsure, and 5% mention another country.

A comparable proportion of Americans were similarly informed at this time last year. At that time, 74% thought the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, 20% were unsure, and 6% mentioned another country.

80% of those 60 and older, 77% of those 45 to 59, and 77% of those between 30 and 44 report the nation’s founding fathers revolted against Great Britain. This compares with 67% of those under the age of 30 who say the same.

Men -- 83% -- are more likely than women -- 68% -- to know that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.

Updated: 10:40 PM GMT on July 04, 2011


Interesting OP-ED From CA.

By: mobal, 8:13 PM GMT on July 03, 2011

Politics aside, expect oil prices to rise
Winnipeg Free Press
By: Fabrice Taylor

Politics is an oily business. But oil is a political business. If you're wondering why the International Energy Agency and the United States decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves, rest assured that politics has something to do with it.

First, there was an attempt to teach OPEC a lesson, or try. The U.S. recovery, meaning the global recovery, is fragile, and rising gasoline prices are crimping the U.S. consumer, who is so crucial to economic growth in the world (although less and less so). OPEC wasn't co-operating enough so the IEA and the United States flooded the market with oil. The fast-approaching presidential election has something to do with it.

It worked, for a week. Oil prices tumbled, and the shares of oil producers with them. But oil prices are back where they were and likely to go up. The fact is the world consumes about 85 million barrels of the stuff every day, so releasing 60 million barrels doesn't do much to tilt the supply-demand balance.

Over time, there's not much bureaucrats and politicians can do to stop the rise of oil. The United States, which is so severely sensitive to oil prices, can and will likely introduce policies to encourage other forms of energy use -- electric cars and more natural gas use, for example. In fact, it's doing that now. But any drop in U.S. demand will be taken up and then some by growing demand in Asia. Oil prices are not coming down over time. Yes, if we have another recession they will. But otherwise they can only go up. The pattern will be saw-toothed, of course -- sharp moves up followed by equally sharp ones down.

These crude price moves are often magnified in the prices of the shares of oil producers. A one-per-cent change in oil prices will often yield a bigger change in oil stocks. This, and the general lag between oil prices, driven by aggressive speculators in part, and blue chip oil stock prices, driven by more conservative investors, can be a boon to the investor.

Let me illustrate with an example. Not long ago Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) was a $52 stock. Today, after the IEA's move, it's about $44. Oil prices are starting to move inexorably higher again. Imperial's stock is responding, but not as sharply. It will likely accelerate its upward climb as stock buyers get more comfortable with what's happening in the oil market.

This is true of a lot of oil stocks. As a general rule, you can't go too badly wrong buying the shares of quality energy companies (Imperial is two-thirds owned by Exxon, the biggest oil concern in the world and a member of the Dow Industrials) when they get beaten up because of some shock or another (Imperial fell more than 15 per cent in about two months).

Demand for oil is only going up.


Govt. Waste-Nothing New

By: mobal, 11:43 AM GMT on July 01, 2011

RELIEF: Starlings
Monday, Dec. 17, 1934
Time Magazine

In Washington each autumn great swarms of dark, destructive birds called starlings settle in the sycamore trees along Pennsylvania Avenue, annoy Congressmen and other citizens by chattering, committing nuisances. Only defense the Washington authorities have figured out is to annoy the starlings in turn. Last year they tried stinkpots. To these, Congressmen proved more sensitive than starlings. This year, with plenty of Federal relief funds available, Clifford Lanham, Superintendent of Trees & Parking, decided on a thoroughgoing mechanical job of starling-annoying.

Up 50 trees along the Avenue one chill evening last week climbed 50 relief workers. Each one was armed with a long pole, a tin can partly filled with pebbles, a promise of six hours work each night at 40¢ per hr. "If there's anything the starlings hate," gloated Superintendent Lanham, "it's the rumpus and clatter of the cans. They'll flee for dear life." Setting up a frightful din, the workers rattled and poked. As predicted, the starlings fled—to the eaves and cornices of nearby buildings, where they resumed their own annoying chatter. Superintendent Lanham was not baffled. First windless night he planned to send out a squad of men armed with large, hydrogen-filled balloons on long strings. These would scare the starlings off the buildings, back into the trees. There his tin-can brigade could rout them back to the buildings. If he kept that up long enough, possibly the starlings' spirits would break.


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