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Craig Conley's Blog

FIFTY SHADES OF RED

02/26/15 at 04:18 AM

The movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, came out the other day and, predictably, there was a contingent of ladies marching out front in a picket line. They carried placards proclaiming that the movie promoted pornography and violence to women. I have no ready rebuttal to that, but I will point out something that I’ll bet those girls missed. In my years of unofficial and unsponsored (but enthusiastic) sexual researches, I have come across a surprising number of women who actually seek these moderately painful punishments as a part of their sexual nature. Why? I believe it dates back to Victorian Era Christian repression (farther back than that, actually, but let’s use that date as a starting point). When our parents and grandparents promoted the Christian beliefs that sex was bad and never to be engaged in purely for pleasure, what did that do to our minds? On the one hand, we are driven by that most powerful of urges, the sexual desires (key to reproduction and therefore the continuance of life); and on the other, the unwillingness to disobey or go against the teachings of our respected parents and elders. Caught in the middle between these two (almost) irresistible forces, we are given over to feelings of guilt when we follow the path we must (the sexual desire path is the strongest of the two!). That guilt makes us crave punishment for our misbehavior...

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THINKING ABOUT THE HIGGS BOSON

02/24/15 at 04:17 AM

I hear CERN is tasking up to do another search for the Higgs Boson; this time with twice the energy they had at their disposal when they supposedly spotted it the first time. If they succeed, and do actually confirm the existence of this boson, then I’m thinking there could be some interesting side-effects of the discovery. First of all, the Higgs Boson is the force-carrier for mass. That means the Higgs Field is the field that imparts mass to objects, with this boson being the transmitter of that force (like the Gluon transmits the Strong Nuclear Force or the Photon transmits the Electromagnetic force). That is, the Higgs Field creates weight. Now, if we can figure out how this thing works, there are some fascinating implications. Purely science-fiction speculation, of course (which is what I do…), but if we could manipulate the mass of something, we could make it heavier, or conversely lighter, than it was to begin with. If we got good enough at it, maybe we could…say…make an aircraft carrier so lightweight that we could drive it across the sea with one of those little handheld AA battery fans blowing off its stern. Or…how about making a spaceship so lightweight that a single small rocket (or better yet…an ion drive) could push it to incredible speed?...

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SUNFLOWER SOLAR POWER

02/22/15 at 04:15 AM

I had a thought the other day while contemplating my solar-powered LED kitty-cats out on my picnic table. I was thinking how they would charge better if they could be turned to follow the Sun as it moved across the sky. A motorized gadget would work, but that would eat up too much of the solar energy. Then I thought about Sunflowers. Those great big Russian ones with the giant heads. Those things turn and follow the Sun as it moves across the sky. An amazing flower. Then it hit me. What if we could make a tiny little transmitting device and attach it to the head of one of those Sunflowers? Then have its signal be relayed to a bank of instruments which would read it and magnify the motion a thousand-fold for a whole field of solar panels? Drive a series of servo motors to rotate the panels to keep them in direct line of sight with the Sun...

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CHINESE NEW YEAR

02/20/15 at 04:13 AM

For the year 2015, yesterday (February 19th) was the Chinese New Year. There are many traditions associated with this occasion in countries having a large Chinese population. Homes are cleaned meticulously on the days before the holiday as it is thought that it is symbolic of cleaning out all the old bad luck to make way for the new good luck. Red paper cutouts are hung in doorways and windows (red is the predominant color used in New Year celebrations…red is the emblem of joy, and this color also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor) and firecrackers are lit off in an effort to drive off the evil spirits. According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn't attack any more people. One day a villager decided to get revenge of the Nian. A god visited him and told him to put red paper on his house and to explode firecrackers. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People set off firecrackers to frighten away the Nian...

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LOTTERY WINNERS

02/18/15 at 04:54 AM

I’m one of those people who play the lottery. Every Wednesday and Saturday I buy my ticket. Recently, the prize went up to 500 million dollars here in Colorado. Even after the government took its tax cut (half, more or less) that still would leave the winner with $250,000,000! I always think I’m going to win, but, of course, the odds are so fantastically high against me winning it that I never do. Still, hope springs eternal. But what an idiot I am! What would happen in the unlikely event that I did win it? All of a sudden, I’d find myself buried under a new range of problems, things I hadn’t imagined when I was so eagerly buying my lotto ticket. Within days of my winning, I’d discover that every beggar, whining sad-case freak, person needing an expensive medical procedure, hater of the rich, scam artist with an idea to make millions, phony lover, and charity promoter within a thousand miles would arrive on my doorstep. Holding their hands out for a free stack of money and then cursing and spitting on me when I didn’t give it to them. Relatives would appear out of the woodwork…distant cousins or step-uncles who suddenly have taken it upon themselves to become close family to me...

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MORE BAD NEWS FOR E-SMOKERS

02/16/15 at 04:33 AM

E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals which could damage the lungs and immune system, scientists have discovered. Experiments carried out on mice found that e-cigarette fumes harmed the animals' lungs and made them more susceptible to respiratory infections. Chemicals generated by the nicotine devices also weakened the immune system's response to viruses and bacteria, causing some mice to die. Researchers found e-cigarette vapor contains ‘free radical’ toxins similar to those found in air pollution and cigarette smoke. Although the study said they generated just 1% of the amount of free radicals in tobacco smoke, these molecules can damage DNA and cell membranes. The study was carried out by scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore...

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THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE

02/14/15 at 04:07 AM

On Saint Valentine’s Day in 1929, seven members of the ‘Bugs’ Moran gang were executed in a garage on Chicago’s North Side. George ‘Bugs’ Moran was the boss of the long-established North Side Gang and was a long-time rival of Al Capone. Moran's muscling in on a Capone-run dog track in the Chicago suburbs, his takeover of several Capone-owned saloons that he insisted were in his territory, and the general rivalry between Moran and Capone for complete control of the lucrative Chicago bootlegging business were probable contributing factors to this incident. The plan was to lure Moran to the SMC Cartage warehouse on North Clark Street. Contrary to common belief, this plan did not intend to eliminate the entire North Side gang – just Moran, and perhaps two or three of his lieutenants. On St. Valentine's Day, most of the Moran gang had already arrived at the warehouse by approximately 10:30 AM. Moran was not there, having left his Parkway Hotel apartment late. When he arrived at the back entrance, he saw a police car patrolling and went to a coffee shop instead. Out in front, witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull to a stop. Four men, two dressed in police uniform, emerged and walked inside...

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OUR ACTIVE BODIES

02/12/15 at 04:26 AM

Tongues flap, eyebrows curl,nose runs, joints creak, boobs sag, tummy rumbles, eyes wander, hair goes flyaway, feet get flat, balls drop, fingers snap, bottom spreads, teeth grind, ears perk, skin wrinkles, pimples pop, mustaches grow, lips pucker, lungs wheeze, dicks stand erect, sphincters tighten, saliva dribbles, knuckles crack, chins drop, eyelids blink, hips swivel, tongue lashes, cheeks puff, Adam’s-apple bobs, hair raises...

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POLONIUM-210

02/10/15 at 04:06 AM

Polonium is a radioactive element with 33 isotopes ranging from 186 to 227 nucleons in the nucleus. Of these, Polonium-210 has the longest naturally-occurring half-life, 138.376 days. It is quite possibly the most lethal substance on Earth. It takes less than one microgram to kill the average adult – some 250,000 times more lethal than Hydrogen Cyanide by weight. It was used to kill the Russian dissident and ex-FSB officer Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006, and, following exhumation and analysis of his corpse, was in November 2013 suspected as a possible cause of Yasser Arafat's death also. Polonium emits alpha particles which are stopped within a very short distance in dense media and release their energy intensely. A single gram of Polonium-210 generates 140 watts of power and glows blue due to the excitation of the surrounding air. It is used in initiators for atomic bombs through its energetic reaction with Beryllium. Litvinenko ingested a very tiny amount of Polonium-210 in a cup of tea given to him by two Russian men in a hotel room and even though he only took two or three sips, by evening he was already undergoing the effects of severe radiation poisoning. The vomiting didn’t stop, foam came out of his mouth, and bits of stomach began coming up with the vomit...

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SUPERVISED SPANKING

02/08/15 at 04:44 AM

Last week here in Colorado, several little brats stood up on a bridge over a busy roadway and threw rocks down on the cars going by below. They shattered several windshields and did high-priced damage to paint jobs, as well as created high risks for accidents which could’ve resulted in injury to human beings. They were juveniles and the police did actually catch three of them immediately, and then a fourth when he got home after running away. Now, what should we do with them? Fine the parents? Make the parents pay for all the damages? Will that stop the kids from doing it in the future? Will it make an impression on the kids? What about grounding them? Take away their cell phone or TV or computer privileges? I have a different suggestion. I know that we, in our desire to make a more peaceful and humane society, outlawed spanking our children a while back. I sincerely believe that was a mistake. A red bottom after you do something wrong is instant recognition that you did something wrong. Physical pain…an impression you won’t forget or take lightly…it worked for me when I was a little shithead. It was excellent behavior modification. The reasons we quit doing it were because some parents beat the crap out of their kids...

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AUSCHWITZ

02/06/15 at 04:10 AM

Recently, an important date occurred in the history of man’s inhumanity to man. January 27th is recognized as a commemorative day representing the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland by the Russian soldiers during the close of World War II. The generally accepted death toll for the camp is 1.1 million. There were other camps, but Auschwitz was one of the biggies. Of those killed there, most were Hungarian Jews, with Polish Jews coming in at second place. Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Soviet POW’s and some peoples of diverse nationalities were systematically put to death in Auschwitz. Many of them were worked to death under starvation conditions as slave labor, but the majority were gassed using a Cyanide-based pesticide gas called Zyklon-B. Prisoners were led into sealed rooms resembling showers, having been told they were going to be deloused, and then gassed from overhead shower fixtures. It took about 20 minutes and there was lots of screaming. The SS guards enriched themselves by picking through the possessions...

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HOUSEWORK

02/04/15 at 04:52 AM

As a homeowner, it becomes necessary from time to time to undertake that most dreaded of things; housework. I have designated Tuesday as the unlucky day when chores must be done. The reason Tuesday drew the black card is because the rubbish collectors come around on Wednesdays…therefore all the rubbish bins must be emptied on Tuesday, and since I’m already committed to that one small task, I figure I might as well do the rest of it as well. So…change the bed linens, do the laundry, sweep the floors, vacuum, dust, and of course, clean the bathrooms (ugh!). My late wife had a great saying; ‘Life’s too short for housework.’ We always had a cleaning lady who’d come in once a week and do the bulk of the chores. I tried maintaining that regimen after my wife passed away, but without a second income it became too expensive. So I undertook to do it myself. By consolidating, I was able to get everything done (passably) in only part of one day. Multi-tasking, fanatic organization, wasting no energy…

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SUPERBOWL SUNDAY

02/02/15 at 04:32 AM

Yesterday was Superbowl Sunday! The culmination of a very long season for the players; one last chance to park in front of the TV and whoop and holler for the fans. Superbowl parties were everywhere and drinks flowed freely. This year saw the East Coast versus the West Coast and made for a stirring rivalry. To tell the truth though, I’m glad the Seahawks lost; they’ve had enough Superbowl rings. Now maybe Sherman won’t crow so loudly in his self-aggrandizement project. In the end, I guess money plays a big part in this event. The winning team probably gets quite fat off the fame; probably each team member (especially the main guys) earns tons of bucks from interviews, getting contracts for starring in ads for TV, and of course the triumphant city gets oodles of revenue from t-shirts, caps, stickers, coffee mugs, etc...

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...AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON!

01/31/15 at 04:44 AM

Yekaterina Alexeevna, or Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July 1762 until her death in 1796 at the age of 67. She was the daughter of a Prussian prince and succeeded to the throne by overthrowing (and then killing) her husband, Emperor Peter III, with the aid of a military officer with whom she was having an affair. Under her influence, Russians adopted western European philosophies and culture. She was considered to be quite an enlightened ruler. Her sexual affairs were often publicized and were sometimes scandalous, bringing a kind of rumor-filled notoriety to her. She regularly had young men (and sometimes 16 year-old boys) as her lovers…right up until the time of her death at 67. An independent and intelligent woman, ruling a great power and being the master of her own sexuality; she was viewed with suspicion in the male-dominated society of the time. Although her death was somewhat unspectacular in truth, a rumor was fabricated by her enemies and circulated to try and bring ignominy to her name. It was said she had constructed a harness above her bed and she was trying to have sex with one of her prized stallions when the ropes broke and the horse fell onto her and crushed her...

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COLLOIDAL SUSPENSION

01/29/15 at 04:44 AM

The term colloidal suspension is referring to a substance that has a solid permanently suspended in a liquid. In order to determine if a substance is a colloid or merely a solution you can check for Brownian movement, the constant motion of particles in solutions and colloids. This movement and its constancy are true both of solutions and colloids, yet if the substance is a colloid the particles will resist settling to the bottom. The particles in a colloidal suspension are a certain size which will typically be from ten to ten thousand angstroms. Another characteristic of a colloid is that the particles within its composition are not easily filtered or taken from the solution by any normal means. Gases don’t form colloids, but they still may contain particles mixed within them; fog, smoke, hair sprays, ice clouds, etc. Some examples of liquids which are colloids are; whipped cream, milk, blood, hand cream. Some examples of solids which are colloids are; pumice, jelly, cranberry glass, Styrofoam. A colloidal crystal is a highly ordered array of particles that can be formed over a very long range (typically on the order of a few millimeters to one centimeter). One of the finest natural examples of this ordering phenomenon can be found in precious Opal. Brilliant regions of pure spectral color...

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DAWN ON CERES

01/27/15 at 04:04 AM

On January 13th, the NASA spacecraft DAWN reached a point 238,000 miles from the dwarf planet Ceres in our asteroid belt. That’s just about the distance Earth is from the Moon. On March 6th, the spacecraft will assume a close orbit around Ceres and begin sending back data on the nature of this strange celestial world. The two largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, are round objects…in contrast to most of the bodies in the asteroid belt which are irregular shaped chunks of rock and ice. These two “dwarf planets” grew big enough through accretion to take on a spherical shape. There may be more of these type bodies, most likely out near Pluto (Pluto itself became reclassified as a ‘dwarf planet’ a while ago), but we haven’t discovered them yet. This DAWN spacecraft approach will be exciting. We’ll find out what these ‘junior’ worlds are composed of – ice, or rock? The spacecraft will send back detailed photographs of the asteroid world’s surface, as well as searching for a trace atmosphere, and providing temperature readings and...

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STAND FIRM

01/25/15 at 04:42 AM

Recent events within the Islamic world have been very hard to handle. Here in the Western world, we value life highly and we understand that our principles go along with life – they are one and the same. When Islamic terrorists demand millions of dollars in ransom under the threat of killing hostages, our first inclination is to pay…save life above all. But, that’s unfortunately not the right way to do it. I know someone would say that I would think differently if it were my family under the knife – and I’m sure I’d weaken and press for the ransom to be paid – but hopefully, in that situation, someone stronger than me would demand that we stand firm and not give in to them. We cannot allow these isolated terrorists to alter the way we live; no matter how horrific their efforts. In fact, they’re beginning to piss me off – I think we ought to start using our massive military superiority and begin surrounding the terrorists’ locations. Drive them in front of us. Compress them. Reduce the land they occupy to a smaller area. Then get into an old-fashioned military engagement with them and use our military advantage to wage war against them…a real war; not some stupid terrorist one at a time sneaky cowardly crap like they’re doing. Condense the extremists into a knot and then blow them all into Allah’s hellish lower regions (which is where they’re going to wind up anyway; they’re just too stupid to see that’s their final destination). We have to remember...

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NON-NEGOTIABLE FREEDOM

01/23/15 at 04:51 AM

The response to the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s cartoon of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad stirred up quite a fuss. Riots, church burnings, demonstrations in Muslim countries…some of them violent…have cropped up as a result. But I have to admire the French President. He publicly stated that ‘freedom of speech is non-negotiable’. What a great thing to say. I can’t help but wonder at those Muslims who try to insist that freedom of expression won’t be allowed. They are seriously deluded. It’s most probable that they are misinterpreting their scriptures or religious tenets. No prophet or messenger from God would ever want to constrain the free expression of intelligence…that is inimical to life itself. I sincerely believe all these noises being made are merely the excuses for a few miserable twits to go on a rampage. They’ve been waiting for any reason to loot and murder for a long time…frustration and fury at their station in life. Miserable that they don’t have all the nice things those more talented or harder-working or gifted individuals have in their lives. And rather than take the long way and work hard to get them, it’s much easier to just go berserk for some cause and steal and loot to get them. We don’t want a religious war…we already did that back in the Crusades and it didn’t work out…so let’s not get ourselves all wound up over these isolated instances, even if they seem suddenly more prolific, and start some fight nobody (except a few fame-seekers and/or capitalistic corporation owners and/or deluded power hungry lunatics) actually wants. As the Frenchman said, freedom of speech is non-negotiable...

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PARIS KILLINGS

01/21/15 at 04:21 AM

The recent killings in Paris were so appalling. Absolutely senseless. Over a cartoon of a long-dead seer-of-visions who became labelled as a ‘Prophet’? Killing someone because of what they say undermines reason and education. The freedom to express oneself, even if it is contrary to accepted form, is essential not only to growth intellectually, but also is necessary as a type of checks and balances regarding established dogma. By denying freedom of expression, you are effectively saying, ‘We cannot question what someone tells us…we must blindly believe it.’ I suggest that the disgusting ‘blind belief’ here came from those ignorant killers who never questioned the dogma they had been fed by their religious leaders. If they had questioned it at all, they would have realized that killing people could not possibly have been mandated by any kind of God or Prophet. Someone used their frustrated anger and rage for their own ends – sending them in to assassinate cartoonists (cartoonists, of all people?!), financing them, supplying and organizing them, to serve a purpose that was distinctly not Godly or even humane. The unfortunate situation in the Middle East resembles the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s feud we had here in the US back around the time of the civil war...

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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

01/19/15 at 04:23 AM

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is traditionally celebrated on the third Monday of each January, which is around the time of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 15th. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. The holiday was met with fierce opposition when it was first proposed. Two of the main arguments mentioned by opponents were that a paid holiday for federal employees would be too expensive, and that a holiday to honor a private citizen would be contrary to longstanding tradition (King had never held public office). Senators Jesse Helms and John Porter East (both North Carolina Republicans) led opposition to the bill and questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor. Helms criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism". Helms led a filibuster against the bill and on October 3, 1983, submitted a 300-page document to the Senate alleging that King had associations with communists. New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared the document a "packet of filth", threw it on the Senate floor and stomped on it. President Ronald Reagan originally opposed the holiday...

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BACK-UP QUARTERBACK

01/17/15 at 04:06 AM

As I write this, I’m thinking back to the devastating loss (to me and others here in Colorado) of the Denver Broncos last weekend. They had climbed all the way to the top – number one in their division; only slightly eclipsed by the New England Patriots from being number one overall in the AFC. But on that playoff day when it should have been a snap for Peyton Manning to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos collapsed into dismal failure. Manning just wasn’t on that day and they lost embarrassingly. In hindsight, I had a thought. To you coaches out there; what if you didn’t pin all your hopes on just one man…usually the quarterback? No one man can be perfect 100% of the time; every single day. We all have our bad days. But just think. If the Broncos had had a back-up quarterback who was just as good as Manning waiting in the wings, then they could have sent him in when Manning began to show signs of faltering and he probably would have saved the day. The team was good…bunch of talented players…if they’d had a quarterback who could connect with them, we would have won. So, instead of spending all your first round draft picks on linemen...

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OPEN LETTER TO MUSLIMS

01/15/15 at 04:43 AM

Hi there. Lately you boys (and girls) have been pulling off some pretty sorry stuff in the name of your God; Allah is it? And Muhammad is the dude who is his messenger, I take it? From the style you’ve got going there, I’d guess this Allah must be a downright bloodthirsty God. I thought Gods were supposed to be peace-loving and kind-hearted, but ol’ Allah seems to have somethin’ wrong with him there. Unless you’re reading him wrong. That could be, I suppose. Does he really tell you that if somebody draws a picture of him, that you’re supposed to kill them? Why is that? Does he not like his own likeness? Damn, mirrors must make him incredibly infuriated. How come you aren’t out smashing all the mirrors in the world? And I guess his dislike of cartoons drawn about him comes from that, too. Or does he just not have much of a sense of humor? A God without a sense of humor must be a pretty sad sort of fellow. Nothin’ to laugh about. Nothing to smile about? Hmmm…unfortunate. It also seems ol’ Allah doesn’t care much for women and children, either. You guys have been slaughtering them in huge numbers using Mister Allah’s name as the justification for their murders...

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NEARBY WORLDS

01/13/15 at 04:30 AM

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has studied more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study. All candidates require follow-up observations and analysis to verify they are actual planets. The 1,000th of those was recently verified. Using Kepler data, scientists reached this milestone number after validating that eight more candidates spotted by the planet-hunting telescope are, in fact, planets. The Kepler team also recently added another 554 candidates to the roll of potential planets, six of which are near-Earth-size…and three of them orbit in the habitable zone of stars similar to our Sun. Those three newly-validated planets located in their distant Suns’ habitable zone sit within the range of distances from the host star where liquid water might exist on their surface. Of the three, two are likely made of rock, like Earth...

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IF GUNS WERE KILLERS...

01/11/15 at 04:14 AM

Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent tragedy up in Idaho? A 29 year old mother was shot by her two year old child. The mother was a registered gun owner with a proper concealed-carry permit and she had her pistol zipped up in a pocket inside her purse. She and her kid went shopping at a local Wal-Mart, and while she was involved with reaching for something on a shelf, the child unzipped the purse and pulled the trigger of the gun, killing his mother dead. Now I’m thinking about how the NRA continually spouts one of its favorite catch-phrases: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Well, I just don’t see how that’s the case here. That child didn’t kill its mother; that gun did. This wasn’t a case of ‘people killing people’. There was no motive, no murder committed, no anger, no momentary lapse of reason…it was just plain and simple; a device designed for killing people went off accidentally. There is no other way to describe it. If she hadn’t been carrying a loaded pistol, this never would have happened. This is a case of ‘guns killing people’ – all by themselves...

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POWERFUL SEX

01/09/15 at 04:34 AM

The human race continues. For thousands of years so far. That’s impressive (given our proclivities for self-destruction in wars and such). So, how do we do it? We have reproduction. New human beings are constantly being manufactured. Every man jack among us has the ability to make new ones. And that process is driven by, you guessed it, sex! The sex drive has survived a phenomenal number of attempts to suppress it or thwart it. But it is so powerful, all those efforts haven’t deterred it one iota. In the big picture, sex is more powerful than death. If it weren’t, the human race would have died out long ago. We often speak of conquering death; everyone sees it as an impossible goal, but in truth, we’ve already done it. Otherwise, you and I would not be here now. Death is indeed formidable, but sex is more powerful - in the grand scheme of things. You all remember how absolutely overwhelming the sexual urges became as you matured into adolescence…

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