Search This Blog

31 May 2012

Tierra de los Sueños / TdS·Posta / 1st Day Issue: Luna Moth (Actias luna)

Click stamps to enlarge.

Tierra de los Sueños / TdS·Posta
1st Day Issue: Luna Moth


Actias luna
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Luna Moth)

    This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2010)

Luna Moth
Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:     Insecta
Order:     Lepidoptera
Family:     Saturniidae
Genus:     Actias
Species:     A. luna
Binomial name
Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758)

Actias luna, commonly known as the Luna Moth, is a lime-green, Nearctic Saturniid moth in the family Saturniidae, subfamily Saturniinae.[1] It has a wingspan of up to 4.5 inches (114mm),[2] making it one of the largest moths in North America.


This moth is found in North America from east of the Great Plains in the United States to northern Mexico and from Manitoba eastward through central Quebec to Nova Scotia in Canada.[3]
Life cycle

Based on the climate in which they live, the Luna Moths produce differing numbers of generations. In Canada and northern regions, they can live up to 7 days and will produce only one generation per year. These reach adulthood from early June to early July. In the northeastern United States around New Jersey or New York, the moths produce two generations each year. The first of these appear in April and May, and the second group can be seen approximately nine to eleven weeks later. In the southern United States, there can be as many as three generations. These are spaced every eight to ten weeks beginning in March.


Female Luna Moths lay 100–300 eggs, 4–7 eggs at a time, on the underside of leaves, and they incubate for eight to thirteen days. The moths will lay more eggs in a favorable climate.


Each instar generally takes about five days to a week to complete. After hatching, the caterpillars tend to wander around before finally settling on eating the particular plant they are on. These caterpillars tend to be gregarious for the first two to three instars, but separate and live independently after that. As with all Saturniids, these caterpillars go through five instars before cocooning. At the end of each instar, a small amount of silk is placed on the major vein of a leaf and the larva then undergoes apolysis. The caterpillar then undergoes ecdysis, or molts from that position leaving the old exoskeleton behind. Sometimes the shed exoskeleton is eaten. Each instar is green, though the first two instars do have some variation in which some caterpillars will have black underlying splotches on their dorsal side. Variation after the second instar is still noticeable, but slight. The dots that run along the dorsal side of the caterpillars vary from a light yellow to a dark magenta. The final instar grows to approximately nine centimeters in length.


Scales of Luna Moth eye spot
Eclosion of A. luna. Time elapse: ±45 sec.

The Luna Moth pupates after spinning a cocoon. The cocoon is thin and single layered. Shortly before pupation, the final, fifth instar caterpillar will engage in a "gut dump" where any excess water, food, feces, and fluids are expelled. The caterpillar will also have an underlying golden reddish‐brown color and become less active. As a pupa, this species is particularly active. When disturbed, if it feels threatened the moth will wiggle within its pupal case, producing a noise. Pupation takes approximately two weeks unless the individual is diapausing. The mechanisms for diapause are generally a mixture of genetic triggers, duration of sunlight or direct light during the day, and temperature.


Adults eclose, or emerge from their cocoons in the morning. Their wings are very small when they first emerge and they must enlarge them by pumping bodily fluids through them. During this time, their wings will be soft and they must climb somewhere safe to wait for their wings to harden before they can fly away. This process takes about 2 hours to complete. The Luna Moth typically has a wingspan of 8–11.5 cm (3.1–4.5 in)[4], rarely exceeding 17.78 cm (7.00 in)[5] with long, tapering hindwings, which have eyespots on them in order to confuse potential predators. Although rarely seen due to their very brief (1 week) adult lives, Luna Moths are considered common. As with all Saturniidae, the adults do not eat or have mouths.[4] They emerge as adults solely to mate, and as such, only live approximately one week. They are more commonly seen at night.

Host plants

The caterpillars feed on the following host plants:

    Betula (Birch)
    Alnus (Alder)
    Diospyros (Persimmon)
    Liquidambar (Sweetgum)
    Carya and Annamocarya (Hickory)
    Juglans (Walnut)
    Rhus (Sumac)

Popular culture

    The pharmaceutical company Sepracor markets its sleep medication Lunesta using a logo that incorporates the Luna moth.

    British electronic musician Jon Hopkins released a 2004 album called "Contact Note" whose front cover features a cropped image of a Luna Moth. The album's final track is entitled "Luna Moth".

    Michael Stipe, the lead singer and lyricist from American alternative rock band R.E.M. has referenced luna moths in song lyrics on two separate occasions. First on "You", the closing track on 1994’s Monster, Stipe sang, “Did I dream you were a tourist in the Arizona sun? I can see you there with luna moths and watermelon gum”. Secondly, on "Boy in the Well" from 2004’s Around the Sun Stipe sang, “The track mall gang went off on the Tennessee goth – a luna moth, you chrysalis and flail”.

    Luna Moth appear in the fifth installment of the The Elder Scrolls series: Skyrim. In-game Luna Moth appear only during the nighttime and can be caught by the player either in air or when they land, their wings can be used to create various potions using Alchemy.

    In the middle grade novel Stranger Moon by Heather Zydek, a 12-year-old girl spends her summer hunting for Luna moths.[6]

    In the children's book The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle, the Luna moth appears near the end of the narrative, where the eponymous cricket "enjoyed the silence" of the moth's passing.

    A Luna moth is displayed of the front cover of Changeling: The Lost, a roleplaying source book by White Wolf.

    In the Pathfinder tabletop role-playing game, luna moths are a symbol of the goddess Desna.

    In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, the Luna moth serves as partial inspiration for Joe Kavalier to create the Mistress of the Night character

    The lunamoth's name was used to create the name Luminoth a species of advanced, humanoid moth in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes


    ^ A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America, Special Publication 12, Virginia Museum of Natural History, 2005.
    ^ "Luna Moth". Retrieved 2011-10-18.
    ^ "luna moth - Actias luna (Linnaeus)". 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
    ^ a b "Species Detail: Luna moth – Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758)".
    ^ "Species Detail: Largest and smallest butterfly and moth".
    ^ Stranger Moon

Media related to Actias luna at Wikimedia Commons

    Luna moth info
    Step by step development of Luna life cycle (Caution: high bandwidth usage, many pictures)
    luna moth on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
    Luna Moth page from checklist form on UGA / John Pickering's Discover Life Web Site
    Butterflies and, formerly on USGS site / Butterflies and

16 May 2012

Sweet Joe Russell, Persuasions' tenor / My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Momma

Click image to enlarge.

"Frankly A Cappella" by The Persuasions
EarthBeat! / Rhino Records (2000)

Zappa produced The Persuasions' first album.

"Lumpy Gravy"
"Any Way the Wind Blows"
"Electric Aunt Jemima"
"The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing"
"Cheap Thrills"
"Hotplate Heaven at the Green Hotel"
"Love of My Life"
"You Are What You Is"
"Interlude 2"
"Harder Than Your Husband"
"Find Her Finer"
"Interlude 3"

"My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Momma"

"Tears Began to Fall"
"Mystery Track"


open in new window
(Brecht & Weill)


The Los Angeles Times
(California daily broadsheet)
Sunday 13 May 2012

'Sweet Joe' Russell dies at 72;
The Persuasions' tenor

With his powerful but sweet tenor, Russell spent half a century harmonizing with the vocal group widely regarded as the 'kings of a cappella.'
by Valerie J. Nelson
"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with The Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. He was 72.

Russell died May 5 in a Brooklyn (New York) hospice after a long struggle with diabetes, said his wife, Arlena.

"If the Persuasions were a single body, Joe was the heart and soul," said David Dashev, who was their manager and producer in the 1970s at the height of their fame. "He had a larger-than-life personality combined with a genius voice."

He was a tenor who occasionally sang falsetto and sometimes the lead, including on the Persuasions' version of "Papa Oom Mow Mow" that was featured in the 1982 film "E.T."

On their standout 1970s albums, "Chirpin'" and the gospel-flavored "Spread the Word," Russell "has the largest, most powerful voice," Dashev said. "He was a force of nature that way."

Rip Rense, who produced several of their later albums, called Russell's voice "gigantic, bluesy, mournful, celebrative, rousing, ecstatic, sometimes all at once. He had a soul shriek to rival James Brown, and a deep, chesty vibrato that was straight out of field song, blues and church."

The Persuasions started out informally in Brooklyn in 1962, five guys who gathered at the end of the workday to sing on street corners and in the subway. Their harmonies reflected a heavy gospel influence but also soul, R&B and pop.

"Joe was the voice of the Persuasions," Jimmy Hayes, who sings bass with the group, told The Times last week. "It was the most powerful voice that I've ever heard. You could have a hundred people singin' and you would only hear Joe. His voice was loud, and it was sweet."

Joseph Jessie Russell was born Sept. 25, 1939, in Henderson, N.C., to gospel singer Jettie Russell and her husband, Joseph.

In the 1950s, young Joe picked cotton in North Carolina and later said the days went faster when he sang with co-workers. For much of his life, Russell also worked as a butcher.

The Persuasions got their big break in the late 1960s when Dashev walked into a New Jersey record store and heard a recording by them. He took a recording of the group performing live to Frank Zappa, who signed the quintet to his label, Straight Records.

The resulting 1970 album, "Acapella," brought the Persuasions attention, and they became known for "winding sinewy harmonies around such varied songs as 'Slip Sliding Away,' 'Five Hundred Miles' and 'Under the Boardwalk,' " according to the "Encyclopedia of Pop."

Critics contend that the group has never received the attention it deserved, yet the Persuasions are considered peerless standard-bearers of a cappella.

They recorded about two dozen albums, including perhaps their most famous release, 1972's "Street Corner Symphony." More recently, they produced a series of tribute albums to the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Zappa and others.

Through relentless touring, the Persuasions built a devoted fan base. When they performed with such names as Van Morrison, Lou Reed or Joni Mitchell, the artists connected with the group "because everyone loved Joe," Dashev said.

Besides Russell and Hayes, the Persuasions' founding five included lead singer Jerry Lawson, Jayotis Washington and Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad, who died at 44 in 1988. The group took several years to replace Rhoad, and after Lawson left in 2002, a revised lineup that included three original members continued to perform.

Russell last appeared with the Persuasions late last year. The group plans to continue with a permanent replacement, Hayes said.

In addition to Arlena, his wife of 24 years, Russell is survived by three daughters, Patronia, Keisha and Sandra; two sons, Joseph and Aron; 11 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

"Sweet Joe" always said he was given the nickname by singer Aretha Franklin when they were talking about sweet potato pie, according to his wife.

"He was happy-go-lucky," she said, "and matched up to his name."
- 30 -

14 May 2012

flying out of Jomsom Airport, Nepal / lucky family

Click image to enlarge.

video of landing at Jomsom Airport

(best in fullscreen)

The Times of India
Tuesday 15 May 2012 06:16 AM IST

Nepal plane crash: 

13 Indians die; 
2 girls & dad rescued

by Manesh Shrestha, TNN

KATHMANDU: Two Indian children aged 9 and 6 were pulled out alive along with their father and three others from the wreckage of a small plane that crashed near a tricky airport around 2,600m above sea level in northern Nepal on Monday, killing 15 of the 21 people on board, mostly Indians.

Officials said 13 Indians killed in the crash included the mother of the two. Seven of them were from Mumbai and one from Hyderabad. It was unclear where the rest were from and the airline didn't identify the dead.

Kathmandu's Indian embassy identified three Indian survivors as Tirumala Kidambi Sreekanth, Tirumala Kidambi Sreevardhini (9) and Tirumala Kidambi Sreepada (6). They were airlifted to the tourist town of Pokhara for treatment along with other survivors -- 2 Danes and a Nepalese air hostess. Officials said Sreekanth was admitted to Pokhara's Manipal Teaching Hospital ICU, while the 2 children were in a post-operative ward. B L Karna of Tribhuvan airport said the pilot aborted landing at Jomsom airport at the last moment and tried to return to Pokhara, 60 km away, due to a technical problem.

Officials of Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International airport said the Agni Air Dornier 9N AIG, which crashed near Jomsom airport in Nepal, ploughed into the ground while it was trying to ascend. "The pilot had reported a warning light flashing in the cockpit as he descended to Jomsom. The aircraft seems to have lost balance," said B L Karna of rescue coordination committee at Tribhuvan airport.

Reports said the aircraft broke into pieces, but did not catch fire and that rescuers managed to reach the scene swiftly thanks to its proximity to an army camp. The crash was the second deadly air disaster involving the airline in less than two years and the fifth in Nepal in less than two years. It comes about eight months after 10 Indians were killed in another crash near Kathmandu. 

Jomsom Airport is among one of the world's most dangerous airfields due to the mountainous terrain on the approach.

- 30 -


from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jomsom Airport

Jomsom Airport is located in Nepal

Airport type     Public
Serves     Jomsom, Nepal
Elevation AMSL     8,800 ft / 2,682 m
Coordinates     28°46′56″N 83°43′21″E
Direction     Length     Surface
m     ft
06/24     531     1,742     Asphalt
Sources: [1][2]

Jomsom Airport (IATA: JMO, ICAO: VNJS) is an airport serving Jomsom,[1] a town in the Mustang District of the Dhawalagiri Zone in Nepal.

It is known as one of the world's most dangerous airfields and is a particular favourite of flight simulator fans. It serves as the gateway to Muktinath temple, which is a popular pilgrimage for Nepalis and Indians.[3]


The airport resides at an elevation of 8,800 feet (2,682 m) above mean sea level.[1] It has one asphalt paved runway designated 06/24 which measures 531 by 19 metres (1,742 × 62 ft).[2]

Airlines and destinations

Sita Air boards passengers at Jomsom airport.
Airlines     Destinations
Agni Air     Pokhara [4]
Gorkha Airlines     Pokhara [5]
Nepal Airlines     Pokhara [6]
Sita Air     Kathmandu, Pokhara [7]
Tara Air     Pokhara [8]


    On 14 May 2012, an Agni Air Dornier 228 crashed while attempting to land at Jomsom airport, killing 15 of 21 people on board.[9]


    ^ a b c Airport information for Jomsom, Nepal (VNJS / JMO) at Great Circle Mapper.
    ^ a b Jomsom Airport at
    ^ "11 Indians among 15 dead in Nepal plane crash". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
    ^ "Flying Schedule". Agni Air. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
    ^ "Destinations". Gorkha Airlines. Retrieved 8 June 2010.[dead link]
    ^ "Schedule Effective from 15 May, 2010 to 30 October, 2010". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
    ^ "Destinations". Sita Air. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
    ^ "13 Indians among 15 killed in Nepal air crash". Hindustan Times. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.

External links

    Accident history for JMO / VNJS at Aviation Safety Network

13 May 2012

phun in US military offisur kollig / the Joint Forces Staff College's course recommending nuking Mecca and Medina

Brigadier General Joseph S. Ward Jr., USAF
Joint Forces Staff College
National Defense University
Dear General Ward:
I am a U.S. Army enlisted veteran.
I have read, with horror and disgust, the syllabus of a course
"So What Can We Do?"
A Counter-Jihad Op Design Model
LTC Matthew A. Dooley [US Army]
July 2011
taught until recently at the Joint Forces Staff College.
I mention only one of dozens of horrifying contents of this course, taught to career field-grade U.S.  military officers: That the U.S. military should consider using nuclear weapons against the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina.
I do not give a flying fuck whether LTC Dooley is mentally ill or just dumber than rocks.
No command of my United States military should have authorized this frothing psycho to spew such vile, hate-drenched filth. 
That this course was taught dishonors, shames and smears excrement on my uniform and on the uniforms my uncles and aunts proudly wore during World War II.
As of last week, LTC Dooley was still on staff at JFSC, and although the course has been withdrawn from JFSC curriculum, it is my understanding that no disciplinary or UCMJ action has been initiated toward LTC Dooley.
What else does JFSC teach to America's professional officer corps?
In an artificially narrow focus of strict national security, this course, and its propagation through the career officer corps, has certainly made the United States less safe. It was an advanced course in national foot-shooting.
In a broader perspective of pride in the American military, you as Commandant have permitted a profound insult and shame to take root and stain the uniform of all who serve now and all who have served in our past.
As Commandant of JFSC, I expect you, and all commanders above and beneath you in the Chain of Command, to thoroughly cleanse this stain, thoroughly purge all those responsible for it, and thoroughly insure nothing like this subhuman crap occurs again within the education structure of the U.S. military.
Robert Merkin
SP5 US Army 1969-1971
Army Commendation Medal
Chesterfield, Massachusetts

12 May 2012

What you learn in US military officer college about Islam

This is (or was, until a few weeks ago) an official course taught to U.S. military officers at the Defense Department's Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

The course instructor, Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew A. Dooley, taught his class of military officers that the USA should consider dropping nuclear weapons on Mecca and Medina.

CLICK HERE for .pdf of the whack course.

(USA computer-oriented magazine)
Thursday 10 May 2012

The Danger Room (national security)
U.S. Military Taught Officers: 
Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics 
for ‘Total War’ on Islam

by Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman

The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1,400,000,000 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”

The course, first reported by Danger Room last month and held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College [in Norfolk, Virginia], has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass. It’s only now, however, that the details of the class have come to light. Danger Room received hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents from a source familiar with the contents of the class.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation. The commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the U.S. military.

For the better part of the last decade, a small cabal of self-anointed counterterrorism experts has been working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, trying to convince whoever it could that America’s real terrorist enemy wasn’t al-Qaida — but the Islamic faith itself. In his course, Dooley brought in these anti-Muslim demagogues as guest lecturers. And he took their argument to its final, ugly conclusion.

“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation (.pdf), which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”

Dooley could not be reached for comment. Joint Forces Staff College spokesman Steven Williams declined to discuss Dooley’s presentation or his status at the school. But when asked if Dooley was responsible for the course material, he responded, “I don’t know if I would classify him [Dooley] as responsible. That would be the commandant” of the school, Maj. Gen. Joseph Ward.

That makes the two-star general culpable for rather shocking material. In the same presentation, Dooley lays out a possible four-phase war plan to carry out a forced transformation of the Islam religion. Phase three includes possible outcomes like “Islam reduced to a cult status” and “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation.” (It’s an especially ironic suggestion, in light of today’s news that Saudi intelligence broke up the most recent al-Qaida bombing plot.)

International laws protecting civilians in wartime are “no longer relevant,” Dooley continues. And that opens the possibility of applying “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki” to Islam’s holiest cities, and bringing about “Mecca and Medina['s] destruction.”

Dooley’s ideological allies have repeatedly stated that “mainstream” Muslims are dangerous, because they’re “violent” by nature. Yet only a few of al-Qaida’s most twisted fanatics were ever caught musing about wiping out entire cities.

“Some of these actions offered for consideration here will not be seen as ‘political correct’ in the eyes of many,” Dooley adds. “Ultimately, we can do very little in the West to decide this matter, short of waging total war.”

Dooley, who has worked at the Joint Forces Staff College since August 2010, began his eight-week class with a straightforward, two-part history of Islam. It was delivered by David Fatua, a former West Point history professor. “Unfortunately, if we left it at that, you wouldn’t have the proper balance of points of view, nor would you have an accurate view of how Islam defines itself,” Dooley told his students. Over the next few weeks, he invited in a trio of guest lecturers famous for their incendiary views of Islam.

Shireen Burki declared during the 2008 election that “Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate.” In her Joint Forces Staff College lecture, she told students that “Islam is an Imperialist/Conquering Religion.”

Stephen Coughlin claimed in his 2007 master’s thesis that then-president George W. Bush’s declaration of friendship with the vast majority of the world’s Muslims had “a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine.” (.pdf)  Coughlin was subsequently let go from his consulting position to the military’s Joint Staff, but he continued to lecture at the Naval War College and at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In his talk to Dooley’s class (.pdf), Coughlin suggested that al-Qaida helped drive the overthrow of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. It was part of a scheme by Islamists to conquer the world, he added. And Coughlin mocked those who didn’t see this plot as clearly as he did, accusing them of “complexification.”

Coughlin titled his talk: “Imposing Islamic Law – or – These Aren’t the Droids Your [sic] Looking For!”

Former FBI employee John Guandolo told the conspiratorial World Net Daily website last year that Obama was only the latest president to fall under the influence of Islamic extremists. “The level of penetration in the last three administrations is deep,” Guandolo alleged. In his reference material for the Joint Forces Staff College class, Guandolo not only spoke of today’s Muslims as enemies of the West. He even justified the Crusades, writing that they “were initiated after hundreds of years of Muslim incursion into Western lands.”

Guandolo’s paper, titled “Usual Responses from the Enemy When Presented With the Truth” (.pdf), was one of hundreds of presentations, documents, videos and web links electronically distributed to the Joint Forces Staff College students. Included in that trove: a paper alleging that “it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians” (.pdf). So was a video lecture from Serge Trifkovic, a former professor who appeared as a defense witness in several trials of Bosnian Serb leaders convicted of war crimes, including the genocide of Muslims. A web link, titled “Watch Before This Is Pulled,” supposedly shows President Obama — the commander-in-chief of the senior officers attending the course — admitting that he’s a Muslim.

Dooley added the caveats that his views are “not the Official Policy of the United States Government” and are intended “to generate dynamic discussion and thought.” But he taught his fellow military officers that Obama’s alleged admission could well make the commander in chief some sort of traitor. “By conservative estimates,” 10 percent of the world’s Muslims, “a staggering 140 million people … hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit” to Islam. He added, “Your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here.” It is unclear if Dooley’s “total war” on Muslims also applied to his “Muslim” commander in chief.

After the Pentagon brass learned of Dooley’s presentation, the country’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, issued an order to every military chief and senior commander to get rid of any similar anti-Islam instructional material. Dempsey issued the order because the White House had already instructed the entire security apparatus of the federal government — military and civilian — to revamp its counterterrorism training after learning of FBI material that demonized Islam.

By then, Dooley had already presented his apocalyptic vision for a global religious war. Flynn has ordered a senior officer, Army Maj. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, to investigate how precisely Dooley managed to get away with that extended presentation in an official Defense Department-sanctioned course. The results of that review are due May 24.

Ironically, Dooley and his guest lecturers paint a dire picture of the forward march of Islamic extremism right as its foremost practitioner feared its implosion. Documents recently declassified by the U.S. government revealed Osama bin Laden fretting about al-Qaida’s brutal methods and damaged brand alienating the vast majority of Muslims from choosing to wage holy war. Little could he have known that U.S. military officers were thinking of ways to ignite one.
- 30 -

09 May 2012

TdSPosta 1st Day Issue: Passenger Trains / AMTRAK Train 66 / USA -- We're Number 1 in crappy slow undependable passenger trains!

Click stamp to enlarge.

A stamp to accompany some e-mail correspondence with my niece-in-law. A whole bunch of my relatives are traveling all over the world to celebrate with my nephew and his new bride, who live in (I'm not making this up) Punta Arenas, Patagonia. If I get to this shindig, I'll be taking the train.

The United States leads the world in slow, unreliable passenger rail. If I do take the train, it will be AMTRAK's only profit-making, on-time reliable route, the Boston-to-Washington DC Acella, or however they spell it. New Haven, Connecticut to DC was about $270 one-way last year. A big German shepherd dog leashed to some kind of SWAT paramilitary cop with a machine gun sniffed my elbow as the train sped south. I don't know if the dog was sniffing me for drugs or explosives.

There is a Special Room in Hell for everyone who allowed passenger trains in North America to get as crappy as they've become. The Room is a 2nd class coach on AMTRAK Local Night Train 66 from DC to New Haven. The coach reeks of the farts of 200 passengers, and the ride lasts for all Eternity -- which is less time than the actual Train 66 trip takes.

The continuing adventures of The Spanish Prisoner

FROM: Jenny Beets
TO: undisclosed-recipients
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2012 9:42 AM
Subject: WILLED 14.258M IN YOUR NAME


My name is Mrs. Mellisa Lewis, I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. Am sorry to contact you in this manner
but please bear in mind that i find your contact in international
directories with World Health Organization. I will be going in for an operation later today. I decided to WILL/DONATE the sum of $14,258,000.00 USD (Fourteen Millions Two Hundred and Fifty Eight
Thousand United States Dollars) to you for the good work of the Lord.

Contact My Lawyer with this email:
Name: Barr Talal Salim

Contact him and inform him about the WILLED 14.258M in your name by
quoting my personal reference number JJ/MMS/953/5015/GWRL/316US/UK. As
soon as you contact him with this details quoted above, he should be
able to recognize you and help in claiming this amount from the securities company where I deposited the funds.

Mean while you are advised to keep this mail and it contents
confidential as i really want my wish accomplish at the end of the day.
Please do pray to God for my recovery.

God Bless you.
Mrs. Mellisa Lewis.

Private and Confidential
This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the addressee(s) and may contain information that is confidential or privileged. If you receive this message and you are not the intended addressee (or responsible for the delivery of the message to the intended addressee) please notify the author immediately, disregard the contents of this message and delete the message from your system. Please note that we accept no responsibility for viruses or any other malicious code in this email or any included attachments.

06 May 2012

Alan Mathison Turing Centenary Conference at University of Cambridge, England / 18-23 June 2012

Click poster to enlarge.

Boyoboy this ought to be quite the corroboree. I would chop off one or two digits to be there. I don't care how little of the lectures I understood. And it would be my second visit to the Holy Scientific & Mathematical Shrine of Cambridge (my first was a pilgrimage to worship Isaac Newton).

If you like the way World War II, at least the Western Hemisphere part of it, turned out, this is one of the big guys to thank. He led the Bletchley Park team of cryptographers who broke the German Enigma machine code in which all military information was sent. 

The problem required the design and construction of the world's first high-speed electronic digital computer. Breaking Enigma is specifically credited with rescuing Allied shipping convoys across the North Atlantic from German U-Boat (Untersee-Boot) wolf packs. The Germans were so confident in their amazing Enigma code machine that they never imagined it was possible to decrypt it. But through most of the war, Bletchley Park could read all the German military radio signals, eventually with a 24-hour turnaround time.

Turing's work expanded on early Enigma code-breaking solutions by Polish mathematicians and logicians, who built electromechanical computing machines called "bombes," because they went tick-tick-tick. When Poland fell, their work was smuggled to the British, and Turing's supervision.

Today Turing is regarded as the theoretical patriarch of digital computation.

A wonderful theater drama about Turing's remarkable life and achievements is called "Breaking the Code," and perhaps the Centenary will resurrect new performances of it. If so, don't miss it.

Olaf ... responds,without getting annoyed "I will not kiss your fucking flag"

i sing of Olaf glad and big    

e.e. cummings

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but--though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion   
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified   
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me: more blond than you.

Copyright 1931, © 1959, 1991 by the Trustees for E. E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1979 by George J. Firmage, from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings.

03 May 2012

Saturday Supermoon! (It won't destroy Earth.)

Click the Moon.
Thursday 3 May 2012

Saturday's 'Supermoon' 
Won't Destroy Earth

by Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer

Astronomers call it perigee-syzygy; the rest of us call it "supermoon." Either way, the alignment of the sun and moon will coincide with the moon's closest approach to Earth on Saturday 5 May, resulting in the biggest full moon of the year.

But don't worry, it won't break Earth.

Saturday's supermoon will be especially super. Richard Nolle, the astrologer who coined the term "supermoon," defined it as a full moon that occurs within 12 hours of lunar perigee, or the point in the moon's slightly non-circular monthly orbit when it swings closest to our planet. On Saturday, the timing of the two events will be almost perfect: the moon will reach its perigee distance of 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) -- the closest lunar perigee of 2012, in fact -- at 11:34 p.m. Eastern Time, and it will fall in line with the sun (thereby becoming full) just one minute later.

Thus, our satellite will loom even larger than the supermoon of 19 March 2011, when perigee and full moon fell 50 minutes apart. Nonetheless, just as last year's supermoon passed by without triggering any of the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and chaos that were predicted by some corners of the Internet, this year's event will almost certainly be similarly tame. Seismologists have found no evidence to believe that supermoons heighten seismic activity -- at least not over and above the effects of run-of-the-mill moons.

Under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides. The moon's gravity can even cause small but measureable ebbs and flows in the continents, called "land tides" or "solid Earth tides," too. The tides are greatest during full and new moons, when the sun and moon are aligned either on the opposite or same sides of the Earth.

According to John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, particularly dramatic land and ocean tides do occasionally trigger earthquakes. "Both the moon and sun do stress the Earth a tiny bit, and when we look hard we can see a very small increase in tectonic activity when they're aligned," Vidale told Life's Little Mysteries during the furor surrounding last year's supermoon.

At times of full and new moons, "you see a less-than-1-percent increase in earthquake activity, and a slightly higher response in volcanoes," he said.

However, the moon's smidgen of extra gravitational pull at lunar perigee is not a big enough increase from its pull at other times to measurably increase the likelihood of natural disasters. "A lot of studies have been done on this kind of thing by USGS scientists and others," said John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey. "They haven't found anything significant at all."

The scientists said the effect of the supermoon is somewhere between "it has no effect" and "the effect is so small you don't see it."

In short, Vidale told us in anticipation of Saturday's event, tidal forces are real but tiny. "The stresses driving earthquakes are orders of magnitude larger. Decades of earthquake records show at best a minuscule influence of tides on the times of earthquakes. No extra fear of earthquakes is warranted during a 'supermoon', although a healthy respect for their destructive power is appropriate at all times."

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the close encounter with our nearest and dearest cosmic companion. And if you snap an amazing photo of the supermoon and would like to share it with for a story or gallery, send photos and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at:

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover. Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook.
- 30 -