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Virtually Speaking Science

Virtually Speaking Science Nov 14 – 6pm pacific| 9pm eastern. Listen live or later: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtually-speaking-science/2012/11/15/jennifer-ouellette-mark-changizi

Science writer Jennifer Ouellette talks with evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi, about the ultimate foundations underlying why we think, feel and see as we do.

Mark‘s research focuses on questions such as why we see in color, why we see illusions, why we have forward-facing eyes, why letters are shaped as they are, why the brain is organized as it is, why animals have as many limbs and fingers as they do, and why the dictionary is organized as it is.

They talk about his latest book and work on vision and cognition, plus such crowd-pleasing topics as pruney fingers, complex networks as they relate to organisms and language, the cognitive sicence behind “Eureka!” moments, complexity of writing over human history, scaling principles for city highway networks, and his new science show, Head Games.

Jennifer hosts Virtually Speaking Science on the 2nd Wed of each month. Widely read – Washington Post, Discover, Discovery News, Salon, Nature, Physics Today, Symmetry, Physics World, New Scientist, etc, she maintains a personal science-and-culture blog at Scientific American called Cocktail Party Physics, featuring her avatar altar-ego/evil twin, Jen-Luc Piquant.

Follow @MarkChangizi @JenLucPiquant


Folks, I have been a proud liberal/progressive/dirty-fuckin-hippy for as long as I can remember. So it is my sad duty to tell you that in the week since Obama’s re-election , I have learned through sad, heart-wrenching experience, that the Tea Party, Ted Nugent, Victoria Jackson, Rush Limbaugh, that guy at Libertarian Republican (dot-com) and all the rest…. were right. Yes, friends they were right about Obama’s secret radical Christian gay Sharia agenda. And here’s the video that PROVES it, so get your guns and run to the hills.

We are doomed. And I am gay-married… to a BOX TURTLE. A gay one.

Getting away with torture

Your government!

No one cares about the deficit

Republicans always find a way to blow up the budget after Democrats pay off the debt. Why bother?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Avedon has a good roundup here. By the way, she has done consistently fine work for a long, long time and is a treasure. If you’re not already reading her, you should.

Nancy vs. Luke Russert

He just doesn’t know when to shut up, does he? Listen to how Nancy responds.

Walmart is making their stores open at 8pm on Thanksgiving:

Black Friday’s shopping bonanza brings people out to line up in front of stores for hours before it begins. It has trampledpeople, but not profits for companies that reap a large chunk of their annual sales on the day after Thanksgiving.

At Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, the world’s largest shopping day generatesmore than a quarter of annual sales.

Now, with the help of online organizing and Our Walmart, Walmart workers are gearing up for a walkout on Black Friday. The workers hope to highlight what they say is the unfairness of having to work for low wages, in poor conditions, while Walmart profits.

They also say they are protesting retaliation like reduced hours and lost jobs that followed a wave of walkouts at Walmart stores and warehouses in recent months. Warehouse workers at Walmart in Southern California said they will go on strike this week because retaliation from the administration has not ended.

Adding to the tension, many Walmart employees will be working through the Thanksgiving holiday to get ready for Black Friday.

“This essentially cancels Thanksgiving for hundreds of thousands of workers,” said Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, on a conference call to discuss the upcoming actions. “Lots and lots of Walmart workers are going to be forced to not have Thanksgiving because they’re going to be preparing all day for the busiest shopping day of the year.”

With more than 4,000 Walmarts across the country, organizers say online organizing has been essential to the campaign’s ability to reach far-flung areas. The Making Change at Walmart campaign site includes testimonies from workers like Mary Pat Tifft, who has worked at Walmart in Kenosha, Wisconsin for 24 years.

Gore: Time to act on climate change

I wonder if Obama listens to anyone who doesn’t work for Wall Street?

The former vice-president and climate champion, Al Gore, has called on Barack Obama to seize the moment and use his re-election victory to push through bold action on climate change.

The president has faced rising public pressure in the wake of superstorm Sandy to deliver on his promise to act on global warming.

But none of those calling on Obama to act carries the moral authority of Gore, who has devoted his post-political career to building a climate movement.

Now, Gore said, it is the president’s turn. He urged Obama to immediately begin pushing for a carbon tax in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” budget crisis.

The vice-president’s intervention for a carbon tax could give critical support to an idea that has gained currency since the election – at least among Washington thinktanks. The conservative American Enterprise Institute held an all-day seminar on the carbon tax on Tuesday.

“I think all who look at these circumstances should agree that president Obama does have a mandate, should he choose to use it, to act boldly to solve the climate crisis, to begin solving it,” Gore told the Guardian in a telephone interview.

“He has the mandate. He has the opportunity, and he has the inherent ability to provide the leadership needed. I really hope that he will, and I will respectfully ask him to do exactly that.”

Gore will ratchet up his own pressure on Wednesday evening when he hosts a 24-hour live online broadcast from New York city on the connections between climate change and extreme events such as Sandy.

The Dirty Weather Report, produced by his Climate Reality Project, will kick off with footage from New Jersey’s devastated shore and interviews with governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo. It begins at 8pm eastern time.

Another storm

But probably not a big one, and probably it will stay out to sea:

The Atlantic is quiet, with no threat areas to discuss. An area of low pressure is predicted to develop just north of Bermuda on Wednesday, and the GFS model predicts that this low could become a subtropical cyclone as moves north-northeastwards out to sea late in the week.

The long-range models are in increasing agreement that a Nor’easter will develop near the North Carolina coast on Sunday, then move north to northeastwards early next week. High winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding could affect the mid-Atlantic coast and New England coasts next Monday and Tuesday due to this storm, but it appears likely that the Nor’easter will stay farther out to sea than the last Nor’easter and have less of an impact on the region devastated by Sandy. Ocean temperatures off the coast of North Carolina were cooled by about 4°F (2.2°C) due to the churning action of Hurricane Sandy’s winds, but are still warm enough at 22 – 24°C to potentially allow the Nor’easter to acquire some subtropical characteristics. I doubt the storm would be able to become a named subtropical storm, but it could have an unusual amount of heavy rain if it does become partially tropical. The Nor’easter is still a long ways in the future, and there is still a lot of uncertainty on where the storm might go.

Queen Rush

I caught a reference to this little Limbaugh riff on the teevee yesterday (no, I’m not linking to his site):

RUSH: Do you remember that piece by Angelo Codevilla that came out in summer 2010 in the American Spectator called “The Ruling Class”? We spent a lot of time here analyzing it and talking about it. That’s what we face today. And our guys in the upper echelon of the Republican Party want to fashion themselves as members of the ruling class.

We, the country class, are not in the ruling class. We’re the problem. A couple of sound bites, then I’ll illustrate. Let’s just pick a couple at random, but grab number one. Meet the Press during the roundtable. The guest is Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who authored the John McCain defeat against Barack Obama in 2008. Steve Schmidt, the consultant who came up with the plan that secured defeat in the presidential election, has the answer.

And I couldn’t help but think of one of his past homes, the one that tried for that “ruling class” Versailles feel:

Limbaugh’s Fifth Avenue condominium is 4,661 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, and 5.5 bathrooms. The apartment has 10 rooms in all, with direct elevator entry and spacious living room with fireplace, and huge windows on three sides with views of Central Park opening to a terrace, with similar views and terrace from the formal dining room. The condo has a wood paneled library/den, and a media room with terrace. The East side of the condo has three bedrooms with en suite. The master suite has a private foyer flanked by separate en suites and dressing rooms.

I wonder if, like Marie Antoinette, he has a sweet little home in the woods where he goes to get away from the pressures of his life. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown!

Rush’s royal bedroom, with hand-painted murals and gold leaf accents

A modest affair. I’m surprised the table doesn’t seat more, but maybe he doesn’t have many friends.

Doesn’t look like a very comfy couch for an everyday guy like Rusty. Maybe the recliner’s in the corner.

The royal throne is hidden from view.

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