CNET has an interesting slideshow up documenting the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. There’s about 100 years worth of material in the vast collection, although it’s not open to the public. Presumably that’s why CNET put the picture collection together; there doesn’t seem to be any story to go with it. A word to the wise, though, if you’re against collecting dead animals for science, you might want to give this one a miss.
Not content with wanting to solve the economic crisis, withdraw from Iraq, win the war in Afghanistan, and transform US energy policy into one that’s green-friendly, Barack Obama is working on a world free of nuclear weapons. In two 26-minute speeches this week
the president pledged a drive on nuclear disarmament, possibly bigger than any ever attempted. He spelled out how he would accelerate arms control agreements with Russia, following his first summit meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev last week. The deal to conclude a new arms reduction treaty with Moscow, which would slash stockpiles by about a third was a beginning, setting the stage for further cuts.
In a telling nod to reality, the presidential superhero admitted this may not happen in his lifetime, which is as pragmatic as it is putting the onus of resolution on future generations. Still though, his fresh take on military and security policy is to be commended and supported as much as possible. While the threat of nuclear war is quite small — the greatest potential lies in an Israeli strike on Iran, because despite all the posturing and controversy over the US missile shield, Russia has too much to lose — the possibility of a terrorist or rogue group getting materials is quite real.
If nothing else, Obama’s grand nuclear-free plan would lead to an unprecedented level of international co-operation as nations’ policies are set aside for the greater good.
If he can get it off the ground, that is.
With the US Federal Reserve embarking on a $1tn (that’s $1,000,000,000,000) programme of buying debt and government bonds in a bid to kickstart the US economy, you may be wondering what all those zeroes mean. Well, as you’re a clever person, you already know they mean a freaking huge number. But what does it look like? Check it out and be flummoxed.
Well, kind of.
A Peruvian woman called Virgen Maria, who is married to a carpenter, has named her son Jesus Emanuel after giving birth on Christmas Day.
Twenty-year-old Virgen Maria Huarcaya Palomino had not been due to give birth on Thursday, but went into labour early and underwent a Caesarean operation.
David Beckham may cost Major League Soccer $50m a season for his five-year contract (and that’s $100m gone already), but his impact on the league’s success has been marginal at best.
MLS officials at the time envisioned more TV viewers, as well as higher attendance and franchise values.
Their optimism was based on landing a player many called the biggest star to play the game in the United States since Brazil’s Pele signed in 1975 to play in the MLS’s predecessor league.
Early returns for the MLS have been mixed as stagnant TV ratings and a lack of profits contrast with higher attendance and franchise values.
TV ratings ticked up to 0.3 [that's 0.3% of Americans watching television, my edit] from 0.2 in Beckham’s first year before slipping back to 0.2 in the just completed season, all on Walt Disney Co’sABC, and ESPN networks, according to the Nielsen Co.
Those are a far cry from the 0.9 rating garnered in the league’s first season in 1996.
For the record, I don’t begrudge the man his $250m contract. Well maybe I do a small bit, but more from envy than resentment. If somebody waved that much money in my direction I wouldn’t say no right off the bat. However, I still don’t see it paying off as a proper investment, even if it is only part of MSL’s marketing push. It’s also unfair to put the responsibility of raising the league’s profile on one man’s shoulders.
China’s output per head of population is smaller than Albania’s. Except China could probably buy swathes of the planet.
Wooly mammoth DNA decoded. Am I the only one who wants to see this species roam the Earth again?
A gallery of the greatest conspiracy theories.
Prices at Dubai’s Palm developments are down 40% to a paltry $2.7m.
Vive la France (in digital library terms at least).
It seems 21% of Americans can’t find the Pacific Ocean on a map. On the plus side, 94% can find the US.
The fakir who was buried alive for 40 days.
It’s depressing that it’s hard to argue with Jim Kunstler:
Personally, I believe the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car – they just don’t know it yet.
Can culture change anything? Paulo wants to hear from you.
Apparently we’re related to kangaroos. Now I feel a little guilty about eating this distant cousin of mine in a pie one evening. Tasty, though.
A blast from the Lifehacker archives worth keeping close to hand: manage your online reputation.
Even the Department of the Taoiseach is going without a Christmas party. I guess this is Brian Cowen’s attempt to help save the public finances.
Pic of the day, click for link to source. Close contender here.
Top comment on the Chelsea striker and renowned diver Didier Drogba throwing a coin into the stand: “To be fair … It was probably a simulated throw”.
Resort for the super-rich goes bankrupt.
Best headline on post-US election coverage: You’ll still need an oak stake to kill the GOP.
Why? Why would you do this?
I can understand (but, as I’m sure you can understand, not condone) the actions of the frustrated people in this story:
‘Dear investors, thanks for trusting us and depositing your money,’ read a note posted on the door of a company in the southwestern province of Cauca after its owners disappeared.
‘Now, for being stupid and believing in financial witchcraft, you will have to work for your money’, it said, prompting depositors to storm the building, wreck the companys offices and loot its computer equipment and furniture.
Microwave an instant chocolate cake in a mug. Tiny Planet accepts no responsibility for things going wrong or it tasting like crap, though.
People are giving up their pets because of the credit crunch.
Blogger gets 20 years for posting a picture of Burma’s military leader.
Dirt + manure = energy.
Meanwhile, the Maldives is trying to buy land in case the islands are swamped by rising sea levels.
Why would you shock yourself for the sake of good posture?
Strangemaps has two nice ones up showing the breakdown of the US election by state and by county. It’s interesting that most, but not all, of the counties in Texas that went for Obama were those along the Mexican border: the Republicans are now targetting Latino voters.