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Monday, August 31, 2009

Stallone readies for fifth 'Rambo'

Nu Image/Millennium Films greenlights pic

John Rambo's officially readying for a fifth mission.

Sylvester Stallone teamed with Nu Image/Millennium for 2008's `Rambo,' which grossed $42 million domestically and $113 million overseas.

Nu Image/Millennium Films has greenlit the franchise's fifth installment, with Sylvester Stallone starring and directing, repeating his duties from 2008's "Rambo."

The upcoming project's storyline revolves around Rambo fighting his way through human traffickers and drug lords to rescue a young girl abducted near the U.S.-Mexico border. Production will start in the spring.

The film will be produced by Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton and John Thompson. Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson will exec produce.

Stallone had indicated in interviews that a fifth Rambo was in the works. He teamed with Nu Image/Millennium on the 2008 project, which grossed $42 million domestically and $113 million overseas.

Nu Image/Millennium is in post-production on "Expendables," starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke. The actioner's set for release on April 23 through Lionsgate.

Rambo first appeared in the 1982 pic "First Blood," followed in 1985 by "First Blood II" and in 1988 by "Rambo III."

Marijuana found in another national park

ASSOCIATED PRESS Ash Mountain Helitack Supervisor Carrie Vernon attaches hazardous-material equipment to a helicopter for pesticide removal at a marijuana-growing site near Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park, Calif. on Thursday.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Ash Mountain Helitack Supervisor Carrie Vernon attaches hazardous-material equipment to a helicopter for pesticide removal at a marijuana-growing site near Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park, Calif. on Thursday.


The Drug Enforcement Administration Friday announced that it found 14,500 marijuana plants growing in a Colorado national park, the latest in a series of such finds in national parks that authorities say are linked to Mexican drug cartels.

Authorities say they have seen an increase in outdoor marijuana operations run by Mexican drug cartels. In the past several months, federal agents have found nearly $55 million worth of pot plants in national parks and on federal lands in California, Colorado and Idaho.

On Thursday, authorities closed a section of Sequoia National Park in California so they could destroy marijuana plants discovered near a cave filled with crystals that is a popular tourist stop. Most of the marijuana already had been harvested. Authorities estimated the plants were worth more than $36 million.

In June, federal authorities seized 2,250 marijuana plants from California's Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreational Area. That same month, hikers in Idaho found a site with 12,545 pot plants.

In the most recent Colorado case, the marijuana was found in "the remote, rugged terrain" of Pike National Forest, which is about 60 miles southwest of Denver. The DEA said it is the largest outdoor marijuana-growing operation ever found in Colorado, with an estimated value of $5 million.

"The persons who were involved in this criminal activity had no regard for the damage caused to the forest and environment by the waste they left behind," said Jeffrey D. Sweetin, special agent in charge of the DEA's Denver office. "The public's safety is also at risk for those who recreate on our public lands due to these trafficking groups operating there."

Authorities say they learned of the marijuana site from a passer-by. DEA said Mexican migrant workers had been recruited to work at the site and harvest plants, which were between 4 feet and 6 feet high.

Authorities tracked down two men associated with the site and arrested them last week, but have released few details about them, including their names.

Mr. Sweetin said growing marijuana on public land in the United States has become attractive to drug cartels as increased border security has made it more difficult to smuggle large quantities of marijuana into the U.S.

And, he said, outdoor operations can be set up for relatively little money. Typically, the sites are tucked away relatively close to all-terrain-vehicle trails and campsites at the parks.

Stopping the proliferation of these sites has become a priority for the National Park Service, which dedicated $3.3 million this year to stop growers at parks in the West, including Yosemite, Sequoia and Redwood national parks.

"Before this, the [National Park Service] had set aside a modest fund for marijuana interdiction - about $150,000 a year over the past five years - and parks competed for this money," said Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the Park Service. "The bulk of it went to the Pacific West Region, where most of the marijuana grow sites have been found."

Authorities are concerned about the legal ramifications of such sites and the environmental consequences, which, they say, are severe.

"The impacts are numerous," said Gill Quintana, head of the U.S. Forest Service's Denver branch.

He said these include "damage to the lands due to clearing the areas to prepare the garden site, trash left behind, chemicals used to grow the crop [seeping] into the watershed, and the public-safety issues associated with the recreating public coming in contact with these organizations while they're operating on our national lands."

Earlier this month, investigators in California said they were looking for marijuana growers tied to a Mexican drug cartel that they suspect of igniting the La Brea fire that charred more than 88,000 acres of the Los Padres National Forest in the remote Santa Barbara County mountains northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire, which erupted Aug. 8, is thought to be the first major wildfire in the state caused by drug traffickers, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said.

In a statement, the Forest Service said the blaze was sparked by a "cooking fire in a marijuana drug-trafficking operation ... believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization. ... There is evidence that the unburned marijuana garden area has been occupied within the last several days."

No arrests have been made in that case.

I'm On A Boat: Navy Style

JOPA Productions presents "I'm On A Boat," Navy style. Get your towels ready...

Coolest CD case ever has theremin built in

​These days, it takes a special CD case to merit much more than a glance from me. Truth is, I usually rip the disc, glance at the packaging and then throw it in a closet, never to be seen again (okay, never to be seen until my fiancee makes me clean it out every few weeks). But occasionally, I come across a cool package that's worth holding onto -- some of the old Radiohead deluxe book packages, those sweet little tins that Fabric mix CDs come in -- and it adds a little extra incentive to purchase the disc whenever I do. And here, we have pretty much the ultimate "something extra" in CD packaging: a working theremin built into a CD case. Plug in headphones, wave your hand around and voila: magic theremin action!

The artists here is San Francisco-based Moldover, who appears to be an experimental electronic artist. While I hadn't heard the name before, you can rest assured it's firmly anchored in my consciousness now. The disc runs $50, but hey: working theremin included! Hit the jump for a statement from the artist and some footage of the CD case in action.

[Via Synthgear]

Moldover's new CD, over 3 years in the making, not only delivers gorgeously diverse music with meaning and musical mastery, it completely redefines what it means to "play an album"... Moldover's CD packaging itself IS a new musical instrument! The CD is mounted on a custom designed circuit board, intricately patterned and powering a "light-Theremin". Yes! You play the artwork and it makes sound! Only the musical supervillain genius of Moldover could develop something so stunningly innovative.

Beautiful Photo of Puna Flamingos & Their Babies Puna flamingos make Laguna Colorada their main nesting ground. The birds had been thought extinct before a 1957 expedition discovered this particular colony, which now includes about 15,000 breeding pairs.

Guitarist with NO Arms Plays with his feet (Inspirational)

!!!Vote for Big Toe (Mark's band) at !!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mark Goffeney.
I recorded this in Balboa Park, San Diego in the Summer of 2003. Until today, (Jun 24, 2006), I had no idea who this man was, but I always enjoyed his talent. While uploading this video, I came across a website about Mark Goffeney. This guy is an inspiration and helluva good guitarist/singer.

Cowboys' video board prompts quick revision of NFL rule book

Punts will apparently routinely be striking the bottom of the massive screen that looms 90 feet above the field at Jerry Jones' new stadium. The league's solution: Replay the down.

Tony Romo

An image of Tony Romo is projected on the video screen as the Dallas Cowboys practice at the Cowboys' stadium on August 27. (Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press / August 28, 2009)

Get ready for do-overs in Dallas.

The NFL will not ask Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to raise the video board in his new stadium so that it won't obstruct high punts, and instead is changing the rule book to allow for re-dos if the football strikes the board.

After consulting with the competition committee and NFL staff this week, Commissioner Roger Goodell today said the following rule will be in effect for all remaining exhibition, regular-season and postseason games:

"If a ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.

"If there is not an on-field ruling that the ball struck an object, the replay assistant is empowered to initiate a booth review, including if the event occurs prior to the two-minute warning. If, prior to the two-minute warning, no booth review is initiated by the replay assistant, a coach's challenge is permitted under the customary procedures for such a challenge."

The rule also says that, in the event a down is replayed, the game clock will be reset, and all penalties will be disregarded except personal fouls.

The massive board in the just-opened $1.2-billion stadium hangs 90 feet above the field. In the third quarter of last Friday's exhibition game against Tennessee -- the first football game in the venue -- a punt by the Titans' A.J. Trapasso struck the underside of the gigantic video screen, which stretches from one 20-yard line to the other.

The ball bounced straight down and was ruled dead, meaning the down had to be replayed. And the plunking wasn't surprising, seeing as second-stringer Trapasso hit the video board at least three times during warmups, and starter Craig Hentrich nailed it a dozen more.

The concept of a mulligan doesn't make sense to everyone around the league.

"This game wasn't created to kick and throw around obstacles," NFL Network analyst and former coach Mike Martz said in a conference call earlier this week. "It just has to get fixed."

Steven Spielberg takes on 'Pirate Latitudes'

Project based on Michael Crichton's final novel

By Jay A. Fernandez

It's a 7-year-old boy's dream team -- Steven Spielberg, Michael Crichton and David Koepp moving on from rampaging dinosaurs to marauding pirates.

DreamWorks Studios has acquired the film rights to the action-adventure novel "Pirate Latitudes," which Crichton wrote just before his death in November. Spielberg, who directed Koepp's adaptations of Crichton's "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World," will produce the film and possibly direct.

Koepp has signed on to adapt.

"Michael was a scrupulous researcher and one of the most innovative writers of our era," said Koepp. "To have gotten to work with one of his novels was a privilege; to work with three seems like a dream."

"Latitudes," which takes place in 1665, is about a daring plan to infiltrate Port Royal, one of the world's richest and most notorious cities, and raid a Spanish galleon filled with treasure. HarperCollins will publish the novel, which Crichton's assistant found in a completed manuscript after his death, on November 24.

Crichton and Spielberg also collaborated on the long-running medical drama "ER," which they launched together in 1994.

"Michael Crichton was one of our greatest storytellers who expanded all of our imaginations with his books, films, and television," said Spielberg. "With the 'ER' series and 'Jurassic Park' series, I enjoyed one of the best collaborations of my career. Now with 'Pirate Latitudes,' I and all of us at DreamWorks have the chance to be excited about bringing this new Michael Crichton work to the screen."

CAA brokered the deal on behalf of the Crichton estate in conjunction with literary agency Janklow & Nesbit.

A Harvard medical school graduate, Crichton published deeply researched novels, typically about technology run amok, for 40 years. A dozen of his books were adapted into films, and he also wrote and/or directed original screenplays, including "Twister," "Runaway," "Looker" and "Westworld."

The CAA-repped Koepp also worked on the screenplays for Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." He additionally wrote and directed "Ghost Town" for DreamWorks last year.

Spielberg, also repped by CAA, is finishing up "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" for Paramount and Sony before moving on to his remake of "Harvey" for DreamWorks and Fox.

Prefabricated Shelters Offer a Jungle Eco-Retreat

by Olivia Chen

V-Houses, Heinz Legler, eco retreat, eco vacation, prefab house, prefab retreat, prefabricated jungle shelter, eco modern getaway

Sitting among the canopy of a jungle forest near Yelapa, Mexico, these V-Houses by Heinz Legler are quite possibly an eco-adventurer’s paradise. The treehouse-like structures are lofted 16 feet above the ground and open on all sides to offer panoramic views of the tropical surroundings. Although the rooms measure only 16 feet by 16 feet, a slanted ceiling and open walls make the treehouse seem larger — blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. And to top off this eco-dream of a jungle retreat, the V-Houses were designed with modular components, made with sustainable materials, and have incorporated solar panels, composting toilets, and a greywater system.

V-Houses, Heinz Legler, eco retreat, eco vacation, prefab house, prefab retreat, prefabricated jungle shelter, eco modern getaway

The shelters are based on hooches in Puerto Rico and Oregon designed by Jo Scheer, but have a modern-ized aesthetic (the original was made of bamboo) with the use of steel, plywood, and red corrugated iron roofs. Based on a modular design, the houses were prefabricated in Puerto Vallarta and then brought by boat to the site. Once on the site, constructing the houses required no moving of soil or excavating as the houses were designed to be lofted on V-shaped stands planted into the ground.

These shelters are currently being used as temporary housing for employees that work at the Verana resort, but the owners say that the treehouse-like shelters have been such a hit that they plan on building more, but this time for guests — so get ready to pack your bags!

Via archdaily and Been-Seen

Chronic City: Fresno's Freakin' -- But Marijuana Dispensary To Stay Open

Medmar Clinic
Medmar Clinic is under legal attack from the City of Fresno.

You've gotta pity the poor, put-upon city officials of Fresno. After all, they've only had 13 years to suss out Proposition 215, this newfangled medical marijuana law that's being forced upon their fair city by more progressive Californians. And, heck, it's only been a little over half a decade since the legislature amplified and clarified the intent of the law with SB 420, opening the door for medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

So what have they been doing all that time? It's hard to say, actually. But one thing seems pretty clear: They didn't find much time to study the law.

The city of Fresno is trying to shut down Medmar Clinic, the first medical marijuana dispensary in town -- along with seven other city dispensaries -- via the monumentally lame move of filing a suit through its city attorneys. But on Thursday, a judge said Medmar did not appear to post an immediate threat to public safety.

"He is not in violation of any law, ordinance, or regulation," said William Logan, an attorney who represents Medmar's president, Rick Morse. "He is completely in compliance with state law, and he is not doing anything wrong."

Charlotte Konczal.jpg
Courtesy abc30
Deputy City Attorney Charlotte Konczal: Maybe she'd be happier in the DEA

Could Deputy City Attorney Charlotte Konczal really be unaware of the difference between federal and municipal government? Perhaps Konczal always wanted to be a federal agent, because she seems quite eager to enforce federal law (which is an activity completely outside her job description). Konczal and the city say they don't like Medmar because it is not in compliance with federal rules. She asked Judge Alan Simpson to issue an emergency restraining order to close the dispensary.

Konczal , who huffily notes that federal drug laws prohibit the use of marijuana for any reason, indignantly told Fresno TV station ABC30, "We had two undercover officers actually purchase marijuana in an illegal manner, so we feel that is sufficient enough to show there's illegal activity at this particular dispensary." Wait, they bought pot at a pot dispensary? Horrors!

Judge Simpson delayed making a decision, admitting he is "unclear how to move forward," but the net effect is that Medmar gets to stay open at least until September when another hearing is scheduled.
Tags: Chronic City

Single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand, pictured for first time

By Claire Bates

It may look like a piece of honeycomb, but this lattice-shaped image is the first ever close-up view of a single molecule.

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

'This is the first time that all the atoms in a molecule have been imaged,' lead researcher Leo Gross said.


The delicate inner structure of a pentacene molecule has been imaged with an atomic force microscope

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.

To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

'If you think about how a doctor uses an X-ray to image bones and organs inside the human body, we are using the atomic force microscope to image the atomic structures that are the backbones of individual molecules,' said IBM researcher Gerhard Meyer.


A 3D view showing how a single carbon monoxide molecule was used to create the image using a 'tuning fork' effect

The team from IBM Research Zurich said the results could have a huge impact of the field of nanotechnology, which seeks to understand and control some of the smallest objects known to mankind.

The AFM uses a sharp metal tip that acts like a tuning fork to measure the tiny forces between the tip and the molecule. This requires great precision as the tip moves within a nanometer of the sample.

'Above the skeleton of the molecular backbone (of the pentacene) you get a different detuning than above the surface the molecule is lying on,' Mr Gross said.

This detuning is then measured and converted into an image.

To stop the tip from absorbing the pentacene molecule, the researchers replaced the metal with a single molecule of carbon monoxide. This was found to be more stable and created weaker electrostatic attractions with the pentacene, creating a higher resolution image.

Enlarge IBM researchers

IBM researchers Nikolaj Moll, Reto Schlittler, Gerhard Meyer, Fabian Mohn and Leo Gross (l-r) stand behind an atomic force microscope Photo taken by Michael Lowry Image courtesy of IBM Research - Zurich

The experiment was also performed inside a high vacuum at the extremely cold temperature of -268C to avoid stray gas molecules or atomic vibrations from affecting the measurements.

'Eventually we want to investigate using molecules for molecular electronics,' Mr Gross said.

'We want to use molecules as wires or logic switches or elements.'

Rob Zombie to direct a(nother) remake of The Blob

by ShepRamsey

You remember The Blob, right? It was that 1958 sci-fi flick that introduced the world to Steve McQueen and was then turned into the totally watchable 1988 remake co-written by Frank Darabont. Remember?

Of course you do! You know who else remembers? Rob Zombie. In fact, he remembers so much that he’s going to show us all just what he remembers from those moviesblob when he takes on a second remake of the film.

According to Variety, Zombie–whose sequel to his 2007 remake of Halloween opens this weekend–will write, direct, and produce The Blob.

And he seems excited to be able to do his own thing with this one. Says Mr. Zombie, “I intend to make it scary, and the great thing is, I have the freedom once again to take it in any crazy direction I want to. Even more than Halloween, where I had to deal with accepted iconic characters like Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. The Blob is more concept than specific storyline with characters, so I can go nuts with it.” (Okay, ranters…rant!)

So, in other words, the movie will start with the blob being totally contained at a remote research lab, but then it escapes while two of the scientists who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it decide to rape one of their test subjects. It is then that all hell shall indeed break loose upon the citizens of an unsuspecting nearby town.

In all honesty, this movie might be alright. I’m curious to see what a Rob Zombie sci-fi flick would be like. If he gets really spacey and weird with it, it could be really cool. On the other hand, if he tries to make it “gritty,” then we might all find ourselves burying our heads in our hands, sighing heavily, and repeating “Oh, Rob, Rob, Rob!!”

Would You Pay 220 for a Bottle of Beer??

This week, Sigel's announced that it is taking early orders for a dozen 6-liter bottles of Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde golden ale. Catch is, these collector's items come at the eyebrow-raising (or unibrow-raising) price of $219.99 a bottle. And that's a discount: the "regular price," according to Sigel's, is $249.99. One ebay seller is even asking $299.99--plus shipping!

Such an extravagant price would be more understandable if this were some rare, ultra-limited brew. But La Fin Du Monde is relatively easy to find. In fact, you can generally pick it up at Central Market and specialty wine and beer stores for as little as $6.99 for a 750-ml corked bottle.

No doubt it's a lovely ale. A deceptively drinkable tripel (9 percent ABV), it's a rowdy, bubbly Belgian-style (from Quebec) brew that's equally malty, yeasty and citrus-hopped. If Leffe and Duvel had a love child, it might taste something like La Fin Du Monde.

And yet ... one could buy eight of the Champagne-style bottles to get six liters of the same beer for as little as $55.92. Why would anyone pay nearly four times that amount for a single bottle?

Hophead turned to Sigel's Beer Buyer Bruce Calhoun for the answer to that question.

"It's just like wine," Calhoun answers. "The bigger the bottle, the better it ages. It has something to do with the amount of air that can get to it."

Along with the potential to cellar for more than a decade, part of the appeal is that it's a collectible novelty item. When Sigel's offered six 9-liter bottles of Piraat tripel (for a mere $294.99) earlier this summer, they had no problem selling them all. Some of the buyers said they would age them, while others were beer clubs with plans to pop them open in short order. Despite the considerably higher per-ounce price of these huge-format brews, beer geeks are all over them. In fact, three of the six Piraat buyers have already contacted Calhoun about the 6-liter La Fin Du Monde bottles.

The demand for craft beers has spiked in the past two or three years, Calhoun says, making these big-bottle offers successful. And while he doesn't have the next Methuselah- or Salmanazar-sized beer lined up yet, Calhoun is already making inquiries.

You could certainly impress your beer-loving pals with one of the beers at your next party. Better yet, age it a few years and pop it open for a special occasion--December 21, 2012 seems perfectly fitting (and check out the unibrows in that video--eerie coincidence!). Either way, contact Calhoun at 214-350-1271 or by e-mail to reserve one.

As for City of Ate, we're on a blogger's budget. We'll stick with the 750-ml bottles.

Orangutan and Little Girl Become Friends

These pictures are very cute, and show the bonds that can develop among different species. It is important to remember that orangutans are not pets and these pictures are not meant to encourage that...

The little girl, two, met one-year-old orangutan Rishi at an animal centre while visiting with her father. They took to each other straight away and spent hours tumbling about and having a tea party. Emily poured while Rishi waited patiently, gripping his spoon in a hairy fist.





Facebook 3.0 for iPhone released

by John Burke (RSS feed) on Aug 27th 2009 at 5:30PM
After a couple of weeks of waiting in the iTunes app store approval queue, the 3rd major update of the popular Facebook for iPhone [iTunes Link] application has been released. Joe Hewitt, the developer of the app, has been working on it for quite some time and submitted it for review on 8/16. If you're still seeing 2.5 in the app store, Joe suggests deleting the app from your phone and reinstalling it -- it will be 3.0.
The new version includes some of the most requested features including:
Better news feed with direct links to comments
Ability to "Like" posts
RSVP to events
Create/upload photos to albums
Write/edit notes
Customizable home screen
Improved photo viewing with zoom
Better notifications
Hewitt is already working on the next release, version 3.1, which is rumored to focus on adding Push Notifications.
Check out some shots of the app in action:

Gallery: Facebook for iPhone

CommentsFriendsQuick calHome screenNews feed

New York's 'skinniest' house on sale for a fat $2.7 million

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK - It's 9.5 feet wide and 42 feet long (2.9 metres wide by 12.8 metres long) and is billed as the narrowest house in New York City. But there's nothing small about its asking price: $2.7 million.

Located in Greenwich Village, the red brick building was built in 1873 and sandwiched between two larger structures.

It's famous for other reasons, too. Corcoran real estate broker Alex Nicholas says anthropologist Margaret Mead and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay once called it home.

The three-story structure boasts plenty of light with large windows in the front and back, and a skylight.

The current owner bought it in 2000 for $1.6 million.

Nicholas says it's a place for someone who wants a little history.

A pedestrian takes a picture of the narrowest house in New York City, located at 75 1/2 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village, New York, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. It is 9 1/2 feet wide and 42 feet long and its asking price is $2.7 million. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Yanina Manolova)
The Canadian Press Photo: A pedestrian takes a picture of the narrowest house in New York City, located at...

Marijuana as a Gateway... to Farming?

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA

Image credit: Sami Grover (the tomato!), and The Seedbank (with help from CBay on photoshop).

I was in a local gardening shop the other day that specializes in hydroponics. I noticed that many of the plant foods and other products were being marketed to, shall we say, a certain herbalist demographic. (Don't ask me how I know - I just do.) Yet much of the interest on TreeHugger around this subject relates, on the surface at least, to hydroponics for growing your own food, hydroponic rooftop agriculture, backyard aquaponics - even commercial scale aquaponics. So this got me wondering - could illicit cultivation of marijuana be used to excite folks about growing food to feed the world?

I'm not talking about the large, organized crime type growers here - which tend, I think, to be in it for the profit (although perhaps they should find jobs with big agribusiness?!). But rather your average domestic grower of a few plants. After all, growing illegal plants in illicit conditions requires a stealth and ingenuity that could prove useful as we try to figure out how to reintegrate food production into our everyday environments.

And isn't it possible that cultivators initially drawn to the allure of their drug of choice, might actually get the bug for growing plants in general? I've met more than one former pot head who has long since left the funny weed behind, but still has a love for the gifts of nature - and some serious horticultural knowledge to show for their past. (I've met others who have no intention of leaving it behind - and they are pretty good gardeners too. They just tend to get up later in the day...)

I'm wary of getting too far into the rights and wrongs of current marijuana laws here (I learned my lesson discussing the environmental impact of cocaine), but as long as people are being arrested for small scale cultivation, maybe there is a way to direct their interests toward legal pursuits. Maybe folks could receive reduced sentences or pardons if they volunteer for urban community farms? Maybe confiscated equipment could be used for vocational training/aquaponic farms in prisons? Or maybe we just leave the gardeners of this world alone to do what they do - but as I said, I don't want to get into that discussion.

Any former herbal growers out there who care to tell us about their tomato plants? You don't have to use your real name...

Don't Ever Buy Cleaning Supplies Again! Make These 8 Cleaners at Home

Clean room to room with these homemade cleaners from Mary Janes Farm Magazine.

Sara Novak

By Sara Novak
Columbia, SC, USA


Alex Wilson/Getty Images

I recently vowed that I would not buy any cleaning products, even if they were the eco-friendly variety. Instead, I would make my own products with items from around the house. Then I realized that I wasn't really sure how to make my own products beyond your obvious vinegar, baking soda type cleaners. Coincidently, I was reading Mary Janes Farm and I found the answers that I had been looking for all along.

Check out these amazing homemade cleaning supplies for every room in the house:

1. Powdered Laundry Soap
1 bar Castile soap, grated
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
1 cup baking soda
Combine all of the ingredients and store in a covered jar. Use ¼ cup per load.

2. Lavender Laundry Softener
1 cup dried lavender buds
1 quart white vinegar
2-4 drops lavender essential oil
Combine the mixture and let it sit for a week.

3. All-purpose cleaner
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Castile soap
1 tbsp Borax
Combine all the ingredients and add to a spray bottle.

4. Tub Scrub
1 cup baking soda
¼ cup salt
10 drops citrus essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight tub.

5. Carpet Deodorizer
1 cup Borax
1 cup baking soda
10 drops essential oils

Combine and store in an airtight tub.

6. Oven Cleaner
1 small box baking soda
1 cup liquid Castile Soap

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Apply to a cloth and wipe clean.

7. Dusting Spray
1 cup distilled water
3 drops essential oils
Combine in a spray bottle and use with a cotton cloth.

8. Citrus Degreaser
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup baking soda
5 to 10 drops citrus essential oils
Combine to make a paste and use a damp cloth to wipe off.

Via: Mary Janes Farm

Men In Coats - Koreus

Men In Coats, a comic sketch with men duet in coats spectacle humour imitation scene actor clown one man show

Friday, August 28, 2009

New KFC Opens In Palms? Sort of...(Instead of Fried Chicken, They Sell Marijuana)

There has been an abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken in Palms, slumping sadly these past few months on the corner of Exposition Blvd. and Hughes Ave. What, locals wondered, would replace it? A new burger joint? A Peruvian rotisserie chicken stand? It turns out that the KFC has been replaced by... a KFC. In this instance, though, the KFC stands for "Kind For Cures", and while they do sell things that are edible, you can't buy them, or even ask about them, without a prescription.

Noah Galuten
Fried chicken spot becomes weed dispensary, probably serves similar clientele.

There have been marijuana dispensaries popping up all over Southern California of late, but this one is slightly different. Rather than tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch, the proprietors of this alternative KFC decided to incorporate the design of the previous tenants. They have removed the official Kentucky Fried Chicken logo, but the rest of the building remains mostly intact.

So do they plan on selling hot biscuits with THC butter? Can you order your Pineapple Express by the bucket? Do they offer family meals? "No comment." Hm. I suppose we'll have to take that as a no.

Kind For Cures, 3516 Hughes Ave, Palms, (310) 836-5463

Time Warner Cable, Verizon to test TV on the Web


By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two more U.S. pay-TV providers, Time Warner Cable Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, plan to test systems to offer shows on the Web to paying customers in a bid to protect their subscription revenue.

Time Warner Cable and Verizon separately announced their plans on Thursday and will follow Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, which said in July it would test a Web TV service with some of its customers.

Pay-TV companies are concerned that the recession-resistant subscription revenue of cable television could be undermined if cable shows became widely available over the Web, effectively cutting out the cable and satellite TV operators.

So the cable network industry, led by Time Warner Inc Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes, is testing a concept called TV Everywhere as a way for paying cable subscribers to access cable shows over the Web via an authentication process.

Time Warner Cable said its TV Everywhere trial will include the NBC Universal-owned Syfy channel; Time Warner's TNT, HBO and TBS; Cablevision Systems Corp's AMC, IFC and Sundance Channel; and BBC's BBC America.

CBS Corp and Discovery Communications Inc are also involved in the trial.

Time Warner Cable's test involves making TV shows available on the Web to 5,000 homes of paying subscribers. They will be able to access the shows on the networks' own websites, as well as on Time Warner Cable's Web properties.

Verizon, meanwhile, will launch a TV Everywhere trial of its FiOS TV online with programing from Time Warner's Turner networks, TNT and TBS for no extra cost to FiOS subscribers.

DirecTV Group Inc, the largest U.S. satellite TV provider, is also working on a version of TV Everywhere, according to a person familiar with its plans.

While cable network owners are determined to stop the successful pay-TV television business model from being undermined by programing made available free on the Web, the major broadcast networks have taken a different approach.

Because free-to-air broadcasters are dependent on advertising revenue rather than subscriptions, they have made their shows readily available over the Web. Sites like Hulu, owned by News Corp, NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co, are free to anyone and feature broadcast network programs such as "The Office" or "House."

In a few cases, some episodes of full cable programs are now available free on the Internet.

(Additional reporting by S. John Tilak in Bangalore; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon)

Auschwitz blueprints given to Israeli PM

Israeli President Benjamin Netanjahu, left, studies original blueprints of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, together with historian Ralf-Georg Reuth in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. (AP / Rainer Jensen)

Israeli President Benjamin Netanjahu, left, studies original blueprints of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, together with historian Ralf-Georg Reuth in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. (AP / Rainer Jensen)

The Associated Press

BERLIN -- Architectural plans for the Auschwitz death camp that were discovered in Berlin last year were handed over to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for display at Israel's Holocaust memorial.

The 29 sketches of the death camp built in Nazi-occupied Poland date as far back as 1941. They include detailed blueprints for living barracks, delousing facilities and crematoria, including gas chambers, and are considered important for understanding the genesis of the Nazi genocide.

The sketches are initialed by the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, and Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess.

"There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened," Netanyahu said. "Let them come to Jerusalem and look at these plans, these plans for the factory of death."

The Axel Springer Verlag, publisher of the mass circulation Bild newspaper, obtained the plans from a private person who said he found them when cleaning out a flat in what was formerly East Berlin.

The company and Germany's federal archive have confirmed blueprints' authenticity.

But the publisher said the numbering found on the backs of the plans indicate they may have been taken from an archive, possibly the collection of documents on the Third Reich kept by the East German secret service, the Stasi. Axel Springer Verlag said several other documents from the same archive had surfaced after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Bild editor Kai Diekmann told Netanyahu and Avner Shalev, the chairman of Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, decided to give them the sketches because they wanted to ensure that as many people as possible could see them.

"These plans have an important function -- they remind us of a crime that, with the passing of time, seems ever more incomprehensible," Diekmann said. "It is of the utmost importance to continue to be reminded of it."

While they are not the only original Auschwitz blueprints that still exist -- others were captured by the Soviet Red Army and brought back to Moscow -- they will be the first for Israel's Yad Vashem memorial, its chairman told The Associated Press.

"This set is a very early one, which was found here in Berlin, from the autumn of '41," Shalev said. "It brings a better understanding of the whole process, and the intention of the planners of the complex, and from this perspective it is important."

Shalev said the sketches will be on display at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem beginning Jan. 27, 2010, as part of a special exhibit marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The blueprints include general plans for the original Auschwitz camp and the expansion of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, where most of the killings were carried out.

More than one million people, mostly Jews, died in the gas chambers or through forced labor, disease or starvation at the camp, which the Nazis built after occupying Poland.

Netanyahu is in Berlin for meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other officials.

Later, the Israeli leader is scheduled to visit a house on Berlin's Wannsee lake that was the site of the Jan. 20, 1942 "Wannsee Conference" -- a watershed in Nazi policy against Europe's Jews.

The building now houses a museum documenting the Holocaust and the notorious meeting, which was once thought to be when the Nazis decided to stop deporting and randomly killing Jews and instead to industrialize their murder.

Though debate continues, most historians now agree the decision was made some months earlier -- by Adolf Hitler himself, even though no written order from him has ever been found.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been murdered by the time 15 civil servants, SS and party officials met at Wannsee. It is now believed by many that Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Security Service and Security Police head, called the meeting to make sure everybody knew what Hitler wanted done and to establish SS oversight of the process.

Shalev said the blueprints showing that the construction of Auschwitz was already being planned in 1941 help to reinforce that argument.

"The Wannsee conference ... was a kind of coordination," Shalev said. "The process of the Final Solution started to be implemented a few months before it, so the plans that were found from late '41 are more evidence."

A large yellowed plan, dated April 30, 1942 and titled "general building plan concentration camp Auschwitz" provides a wider view, showing the barracks but also roads, other buildings and the outlying area.

Another drawing dated Oct. 14, 1941, shows the plans for construction of a "Waffen SS prisoner of war camp" with rows of what appear to be barracks. A notation in the bottom right says it was drafted by a prisoner, "Nr. 471."

Mexico shuts Cancun beach, alleges sand was stolen

MARK STEVENSON,Associated Press Writer

July 31, 2009
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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Surprised tourists found their little piece of Cancun beach paradise ringed by crime-scene tape and gun-toting sailors on Thursday.

Environmental enforcement officers backed by Mexican navy personnel closed off hundreds of feet (dozens of meters) of powder-white coastline in front of a hotel accused of illegally accumulating sand on its beach.

Mexico spent $19 million to replace Cancun beaches washed away by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. But much of the sand pumped from the sea floor has since washed away, leading some property owners to build breakwaters in a bid to retain sand. The practice often merely shifts sand loss to beaches below the breakwaters.

"Today we made the decision to close this stretch of ill-gotten, illegally accumulated sand," said Patricio Patron, Mexico's attorney general for environmental protection. "This hotel was telling its tourists: 'Come here, I have sand ... the other hotels don't, because I stole it.'"

Patron said five people were detained in a raid for allegedly using pumps to move sand from the sea floor onto the beach in front of the Gran Caribe Real Hotel. The hotel is also suspected of illegally building a breakwater that impeded the natural flow of sand onto other hotels' beaches, he said.

An employee of the hotel's marketing office said nobody was available to comment on the allegations. Authorities said the hotel owner ignored previous orders to remove the breakwater.

A knot of angry tourists gathered around the closed beach.

Some were irked by the sight of police tape and "Closed" signs.

Maria Bachino, a travel agent from Rocha, Uruguay, said by telephone that she had booked a beachfront room in Cancun, only to find herself cut off from the clear, bathub-temperature waters that lure millions to Cancun each year.

"They promised us a beach," said Bachino. "This is very unpleasant, we feel bad. This is intimidating," she said of the armed navy personnel who participated in the raid.

Patron said he regretted any inconvenience for tourists, but said the government is planning projects to restore beaches throughout Cancun in an orderly, environmentally responsible way.

"I apologize to the tourists for this problem, but it is a question of enforcing the law," Patron said.