Monday, March 28, 2011

Left-hand Navigation


I proposed to change a left-hand navigation to a top nav, but it was opposed by the client.

I really could use the real estate because I have to drop in a map of Canada and more buttons, but despite my pleas it is not to be.

So, I'm redesigning for a third time, but when I send my mockups I'm including the following unabashed critique of the current design:

yo left-hand nav so old it opened for the Dead Sea Scrolls

yo left-hand nav so old it remembers what's under Canada's ice

yo left-hand nav so old it works better in Mosaic

yo left-hand nav so old customers need a tetanus shot after clicking

yo left-hand nav so old the content area is requesting support from NATO

yo left-hand nav so old and fat the map of Canada corroborates the Bering Strait land bridge theory

yo left-hand nav so fat the Eskimos are eyeing it hungrily

yo left-hand nav so fat the header can't see the footer

yo left-hand nav so fat it thinks best practices means wiping it's mouth

yo left-hand nav so fat noone can sell their homes, unemployment is at 9.5%, and they're still printing money


yo left-hand nav so fat it probably thinks this song is about it

So, then I showed a friend (CP) the page and his reaction was:

Yo left nav so old, it thinks the only link color available is "#0000FF"

Yo left nav so old, it's stylesheet has bell bottoms

Yo left nav so old, it's anchor tag was used to keep the Mayflower from floating away

Yo left nav so old, the BREAK tag behind it has an osteoporosis warning

Yo left nav so old, it's SPAN is measured in cubits

Yo left nav so old, it's CLASS was 1961

Yo left nav so old, it's container tags are made of wood


Yo left nav so old, when I told it to rollover, I had to help it back up

...and another friend saw the link and had this to say:


Yo left nav so fat, the earth tilted when I uploaded it.

Yo left nav so fat, the earth is now orbiting it.

Yo left nav so old, it’s only graphics are in ASCII.

Yo left nav so fat, China blocked Google with it.

Yo left nav so old, my grandma thinks it’s cool.

Yo left nav so old, its favorite phrase is “you got mail.”

Yo left nav so old, it predates Times New Roman.

Yo left nav so old, it only operates on punch-cards.

Yo left nav so old, it’s encrusted with microbes from Mars.

Yo left nav so old, it only responds to telegrams.

Yo left nav is so old, Netscape Navigator 2.0 broke it.

Yo left nav so fat, you have to roll over twice to get off it.

Yo left nav so fat, your web browser runs inside it.

Yo left nav so fat, Shakespeare’s Hamlet fits on one line.

Yo left nav so fat, pilots frequently attempt a landing.

Yo left nav so fat, it will change you’re should.

Yo left nav so fat, Palin built a ‘bridge to nowhere’ over it.

Yo left nav so fat, Runsfield claimed it harbors terrorists.


Yo left nav so fat, Obama declared it a no-fly zone.

Upon further reflection, I thought:

Yo left nav so old Indiana Jones used it to find the Lost Ark

yo left nav so fat it's fogging up the screen


yo left nav so hairy and greasy and full of worms I had to put it under quarantine with a sign that says 'detour' and throw up a top nav

...a sobering observation from OS amphibian, BH:

what can i reasonably say when your blog uses left nav... u so greasy


Bananas in the News

I don't see color. I just see 'banana'.

Highlights from the article featuring direct statements about the banana:

"A Brazilian press officer confirmed a banana had been thrown on the pitch. "

"But a memorable day for the 19-year-old was soured by the incident involving the banana.

Neymar had been booed by Scotland fans after a lengthy spell of treatment for a first half injury, but it is not certain who threw the banana as the fruit apparently came from a section of the ground largely populated by Brazilian supporters. "

"He later added that he had not seen the banana being thrown but saw it on the ground next to him as he was near the touchline."

"Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva is said to have removed the banana from the pitch and the Liverpool midfielder added: "There is no more space for racism in the world. They say it's the first world here in Europe, but it's where it happens the most. "

"None of the BBC Scotland staff present were aware of a banana being on the pitch and there were no reports of racist chanting. "

So, I googled for 'banana thrown soccer' and found this enlightening comment:

Old 5th June 2006, 03:29 PM
Fernando Fernando is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Madrid
Native language: Spain, Spanish
Posts: 5,898
Re: Racism in European Football (Soccer and the World Cup)
I do not consider the football is specially racist. In the Spanish case, the trainer was not referring to an African. If I recall correctly, he was referring to a French. As he pointed out he is a friend of several black players (Samuel Eto'o from Cameroon, as an example). Anyway I consider he should not have said that.

People insult the other people's team, saying them:

- Sons of a ...
- Balds (if they are)
- their sexual attributes are small
- their sexual attributes are far too big
- they have no sexual apetite
- They are homosexuals
- They have too much sexual apetite
- they are short
- they are tall

Most times, THEY HAVE black players in their teams and they do not even notice. It is just another way to insult.

Do I enjoy it? No. But that is why I do not use to go to any crowd: The crowd is dumb. By definition.

Thank you, Fernando, for filling in some context.

Bionic Handling Assistant, Smart Bird - Festo

Bionic Handling Assistant

Smart Bird

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kenyan forces 'cross Somali border to fight al-Shabab'

Kenyan forces have crossed into Somali territory to fight al-Shabab militants, an official source has told the BBC.

However, the reports were denied by a police spokesman.

Twelve militants were killed in the raid near the border town of Liboi, Kenya's Standard newspaper reports.

Kenya supports the Somali government and has helped trained its forces but if confirmed, this would be the first time Kenyan officers have crossed the border.

The raid was carried out by the police General Service Unit in the wake of recent militant attacks on the Kenyan side of the border, the Standard says.

Al-Shabab has previously threatened to stage attacks in Kenya but none have been carried out.

Last year, al-Shabab said it was behind a double attack on the Ugandan capital, Kampala, which killed at least 76 people, in revenge for Uganda sending troops to help the Somali government.

Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, controls much of southern and central Somalia.

The government, backed by some 9,000 African Union troops from Uganda and Burundi, has this year gained some ground in the capital, Mogadishu.

Somalia has been wracked by constant war for more than 20 years - its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Meeting of the Minds

The shelling of Libya must have caused too much shock for the dynamic duo. Could Chavez and Ahmadinijad be sharing a sci-fi bender? Iran news media claims to have developed a flying saucer while Chavez states that capitalism probably ended life on Mars.

Read more below.

Iran Unveils Flying Saucer Using Old B-Movie Stock Photo

Mar 18 2011, 2:15 PM ET 18

I'm starting it right here: TG;HTB -- Too good; had to blog (I know, it needs some work). But look at this: The image seen at right is the image that actually accompanied a press release sent out by the Fars News Agency, a state-run news service. "Iran unveiled a home-made unmanned flying saucer as well as a light sports aircraft in an exhibition of strategic technologies," the release opened.

Zohal, as the saucer has been named -- Persian for Saturn -- "can be used for various missions, specially for aerial imaging," according to the release. The country clearly considers it an important development: Zohal was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. No word, though, on why it looks like something out of an old sci-fi movie. If you look closely, you can almost see Richard Dreyfuss standing among the trees.

The saucer, which Fars claims was designed and developed by the Iranian Aviation and Space Industries Association (IASIA) and the Farnas Aerospace Company, "is equipped with an auto-pilot system, GPS (Global Positioning System) and two separate imaging systems with full HD 10 mega-pixel picture quality and is able to take and send images simultaneously." All of those features could comfortable fit inside something the size of a shoebox -- with room leftover for a nice pair of shoes.

Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars

On Tuesday March 22, 2011, 2:47 pm EDT

By Eyanir Chinea

CARACAS (Reuters) - Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.

Chavez, who also holds capitalism responsible for many of the world's problems, warned that water supplies on Earth were drying up.

"Careful! Here on planet Earth where hundreds of years ago or less there were great forests, now there are deserts. Where there were rivers, there are deserts," Chavez said, sipping from a glass of water.

He added that the West's attacks on Libya were about water and oil reserves.

Earlier this month, the U.S. National Research Council recommended that NASA's top priority should be a robot to help determine whether Mars ever supported life and offer insight on its geological and climatic history.

It would also be the first step in an effort to get samples from Mars back to Earth.

A NASA team recently tested a space suit in a setting with extreme conditions akin to some of those found on Mars -- an Argentine base in Antarctica -- for possible use on a visit to the Red Planet.

(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

European governments “completely puzzled” about U.S. position on Libya

Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 5:38 PM Share

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meetings in Paris with the G8 foreign ministers on Monday left her European interlocutors with more questions than answers about the Obama administration's stance on intervention in Libya.

Inside the foreign ministers' meeting, a loud and contentious debate erupted about whether to move forward with stronger action to halt Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's campaign against the Libyan rebels and the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Britain and France argued for immediate action while Germany and Russia opposed such a move, according to two European diplomats who were briefed on the meeting.

Clinton stayed out of the fray, repeating the administration's position that all options are on the table but not specifically endorsing any particular step. She also did not voice support for stronger action in the near term, such as a no-fly zone or military aid to the rebels, both diplomats said.

"The way the U.S. acted was to let the Germans and the Russians block everything, which announced for us an alignment with the Germans as far as we are concerned," one of the diplomats told The Cable.

Clinton's unwillingness to commit the United States to a specific position led many in the room to wonder exactly where the administration stood on the situation in Libya.

"Frankly we are just completely puzzled," the diplomat said. "We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States."

On the same day, Clinton had a short meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which Sarkozy pressed Clinton to come out more forcefully in favor of action in Libya. She declined Sarkozy's request, according to a government source familiar with the meeting.

Sarkozy told Clinton that "we need action now" and she responded to him, "there are difficulties," the source said, explaining that Clinton was referring to China and Russia's opposition to intervention at the United Nations. Sarkozy replied that the United States should at least try to overcome the difficulties by leading a strong push at the U.N., but Clinton simply repeated, "There are difficulties."

One diplomat, who supports stronger action in Libya, contended that the United States' lack of clarity on this issue is only strengthening those who oppose action.

"The risk we run is to look weak because we've asked him to leave and we aren't taking any action to support our rhetoric and that has consequences on the ground and in the region," said the European diplomat.

British and French frustration with the lack of international will to intervene in Libya is growing. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that Arab sentiment was, "if you don't show your support for the Libyan people and for democracy at this time, you are saying you will intervene only when it's about your security, but you won't help when it's about our democracy."

France sent letters on Wednesday to all the members of the U.N. Security Council, which is discussing a Lebanon-sponsored resolution to implement a no-fly zone, calling on them to support the resolution, as has been requested by the Arab League.

"Together, we can save the martyred people of Libya. It is now a matter of days, if not hours. The worst would be that the appeal of the League of the Arab States and the Security Council decisions be overruled by the force of arms," the letter stated.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe wrote on his blog, "It is not enough to proclaim, as did almost all of the major democracies that ‘Qaddafi must go.' We must give ourselves the means to effectively assist those who took up arms against his dictatorship."

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday in Cairo, Clinton pointed to the U.N. Security Council as the proper venue for any decision to be made and she pushed back at the contention by the British and the French that the U.S. was dragging its feet.

"I don't think that is fair. I think, based on my conversations in Paris with the G-8 ministers, which, of course, included those two countries, I think we all agree that given the Arab League statement, it was time to move to the Security Council to see what was possible," Clinton said. I don't want to prejudge it because countries are still very concerned about it. And I know how anxious the British and the French and the Lebanese are, and they have taken a big step in presenting something. But we want to get something that will do what needs to be done and can be passed."

"It won't do us any good to consult, negotiate, and then have something vetoed or not have enough votes to pass it," Clinton added.

Clinton met with Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril in Paris as well, but declined to make any promises on specific actions to support the Libyan opposition.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) also doubled down on his call for a no-fly zone over Libya in a speech on Wednesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The international community cannot simply watch from the sidelines as this quest for democracy is met with violence," he said. "The Arab League's call for a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya is an unprecedented signal that the old rules of impunity for autocratic leaders no longer stand... The world needs to respond immediately to avert a humanitarian disaster."

And Clinton's former top aide Anne-Marie Slaughter accused the Obama administration of prioritizing oil over the human rights of the people of Libya.

"U.S. is defining ‘vital strategic interest' in terms of oil and geography, not universal values. Wrong call that will come back to haunt us," she wrote on Wednesday on her Twitter page.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Large Hadron Collider could be world's first time machine

( -- If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider – the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year – could be the first machine capable causing matter to travel backwards in time.

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"Our theory is a long shot," admitted Weiler, who is a physics professor at Vanderbilt University, "but it doesn't violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints."

One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson: the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time.

According to Weiler and Ho's theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.

"One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes," Weiler said. "Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."

Unsticking the "brane"

The test of the researchers' theory will be whether the physicists monitoring the collider begin seeing Higgs singlet particles and their decay products spontaneously appearing. If they do, Weiler and Ho believe that they will have been produced by particles that travel back in time to appear before the collisions that produced them.

Weiler and Ho's theory is based on M-theory, a "theory of everything." A small cadre of theoretical physicists have developed M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity, but it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or "brane" floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the "bulk."

According to this view, the basic building blocks of our universe are permanently stuck to the brane and so cannot travel in other dimensions. There are some exceptions, however. Some argue that gravity, for example, is weaker than other fundamental forces because it diffuses into other dimensions. Another possible exception is the proposed Higgs singlet, which responds to gravity but not to any of the other basic forces.

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Answers in neutrinos?

Weiler began looking at time travel six years ago to explain anomalies that had been observed in several experiments with neutrinos. Neutrinos are nicknamed ghost particles because they react so rarely with ordinary matter: Trillions of neutrinos hit our bodies every second, yet we don't notice them because they zip through without affecting us.

Weiler and colleagues Heinrich Päs and Sandip Pakvasa at the University of Hawaii came up with an explanation of the anomalies based on the existence of a hypothetical particle called the sterile neutrino. In theory, sterile neutrinos are even less detectable than regular neutrinos because they interact only with gravitational force. As a result, sterile neutrinos are another particle that is not attached to the brane and so should be capable of traveling through extra dimensions.

Weiler, Päs and Pakvasa proposed that sterile neutrinos travel faster than light by taking shortcuts through extra dimensions. According to Einstein's general theory of relativity, there are certain conditions where traveling faster than the speed of light is equivalent to traveling backward in time. This led the physicists into the speculative realm of time travel.

Ideas impact science fiction

In 2007, the researchers, along with Vanderbilt graduate fellow James Dent, posted a paper titled "Neutrino time travel" on the preprint server that generated a considerable amount of buzz.

Their ideas found their way into two science fiction novels. Final Theory by Mark Alpert, which was described in the New York Times as a "physics-based version of The Da Vinci Code," is based on the researchers' idea of neutrinos taking shortcuts in extra dimensions. Joe Haldeman's novel The Accidental Time Machine is about a time-traveling MIT graduate student and includes an author's note that describes the novel's relationship to the type of time travel described by Dent, Päs, Pakvasa and Weiler.

Ho is a graduate fellow working with Weiler. Their theory is described in a paper posted March 7 on the physics preprint website.

More information: Causality-Violating Higgs Singlets at the LHC, Chiu Man Ho, Thomas J. Weiler, arXiv:1103.1373v1 [hep-ph].

Provided by Vanderbilt University

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lost city of Atlantis, swamped by tsunami, may be found;_ylt=A0wNdNhWv3tN6QwBk1ms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNuMmMxaGQ2BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwMzEyL3VzX3RzdW5hbWlfYXRsYW50aXMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM4BHBvcwM1BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5faGVhZGxpbmVfbGlzdARzbGsDbG9zdGNpdHlvZ

By Zach Howard Zach Howard – Sat Mar 12, 11:36 am ET

NORTHAMPTON, Mass (Reuters) – A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.

To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.

The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.

Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities," built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.

Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added.

The team's findings will be unveiled on Sunday in "Finding Atlantis," a new National Geographic Channel special.

While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain in Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain's southern coast.

"We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.

Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis some 2,600 years ago, describing it as "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules," as the Straits of Gibraltar were known in antiquity. Using Plato's detailed account of Atlantis as a map, searches have focused on the Mediterranean and Atlantic as the best possible sites for the city.

Tsunamis in the region have been documented for centuries, Freund says. One of the largest was a reported 10-story tidal wave that slammed Lisbon in November, 1755.

Debate about whether Atlantis truly existed has lasted for thousands of years. Plato's "dialogues" from around 360 B.C. are the only known historical sources of information about the iconic city. Plato said the island he called Atlantis "in a single day and night... disappeared into the depths of the sea."

Experts plan further excavations are planned at the site where they believe Atlantis is located and at the mysterious "cities" in central Spain 150 miles away to more closely study geological formations and to date artifacts.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Mini-Documentary Highlights an Arizona Rancher’s Life Amongst the Scramble of the Border and Illegal Immigration

WASHINGTON (March 2011) - The Center for Immigration Studies has produced its first web-based film that looks in depth at what it is like to live as an Arizona rancher amongst the isolation and dangers posed by illegal immigration. “A Day in the Life of an Arizona Rancher: Border Fences, Illegal Aliens, and One Man’s Watchtower,” released one year after the March 2010 tragic murder of rancher Robert Krentz, unravels the mindset of a rancher trying to balance the complexities of illegal immigration when dealing with protecting himself, his family and his property from unknown, constant and potentially dangerous trespassers who in Arizona are nearly always illegal aliens.

Richard Humphries, a lifelong Arizona resident and former narcotics cop living thirty miles north of the southeast Arizona border in Cochise County, became concerned enough with illegal activity on his land to build a watchtower to help himself and federal law enforcement track illegal aliens on his 75 acre ranch. This film relates Mr. Humphries’ humane approach to curbing illegal immigration in his own words, chronicling stories about a 150 mile car chase of an illegal alien load; a close call at his front gate; a thirsty and scared woman who had lost her coyote; and a rancher’s view of the Border Patrol tasked with interdicting illegal aliens across a still-porous border. The film’s introduction provides a reality check on the extent that border fencing does and does not exist from Douglas to Nogales, and a view of ‘Los Corrales’ from the U.S. side of the border, a holding refuge for the smuggled.

This is the fourth mini-documentary by Janice Kephart, the Center's National Security Policy Director. It is a two part film, running less than 20 minutes in total. In aggregate, Ms. Kephart’s films have nearly 700,000 views. Her prior three mini-documentaries are as follows:

Her first Arizona-based video, “Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails,” (July 2009) focuses on the environmental impact of illegal immigration on federal lands.

“Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns and 850 Illegal Aliens,” (July 2010) features footage of gun and drug smuggling up to 80 miles inside the Arizona border, showing the reality of an insecure border.

'Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 3: A Day in the Life of a Drug Smuggler,'
(September 2010) focuses on new drug cartel travel methods through footage obtained by Ms. Kephart in travels with her hidden camera guide into three drug running corridors.