Don’t piss off California cabbies!

LOS ANGELES — A taxi driver has been arrested after he allegedly rammed his cab into a home in the Cahuenga Pass over a fare dispute…

A honeymooning couple from Italy say the cabbie got lost several times during their trip from Beverly Hills.

After about 50 minutes, the couple reached their destination and disputed the $35 fare. They offered the cab driver $26 and some advice — get a GPS device.

As the husband and wife walked from the cab, they say they saw the taxi bearing down on them.

They moved out of the way, and the taxi crashed into the home just as a resident was opening the door, according to LAPD Officer Carter.

He crashed the car into the house. He tried to kill us,” the male passenger, Fabrizio Pasucci, said.

The cab driver, Robert Kazaryan, was taken into custody and was facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

He was being held on $30,000 bail.

A simple “Har!” will suffice.

Ancient blob-Like creature of the day – in 3D

A unique blob-like creature that lived in the ocean approximately 425 million years ago is revealed in a 3D computer model in research published in the journal Biology Letters. The model is helping researchers to understand what primitive species on early Earth looked like and how they might have evolved into the types of creatures that are on Earth today.

The scientists, from Imperial College London, have developed a detailed 3D model of the only known fossilised specimen in the world of a creature called Drakozoon. The specimen was found by one of the team approximately 6 years ago in the Herefordshire Lagerstätte, one of England’s richest deposits of soft-bodied fossils.

Drakozoon lived in the ocean during the Silurian Period, 444 to 416 million years ago, and today’s model hints at how it lived.

The research reveals that Drakozoon was a cone-shaped, blob-like creature with a hood and it probably had a leathery exterior skin. It appears to have survived in the ocean by attaching itself to hard surfaces such as rock. It was approximately 3mm long, and used filament-bearing tentacles to catch and eat organic particles in seawater. It pulled its hood down over its body for protection against predators, pulling it back again to expose its tentacles when danger passed…

The researchers created their 3D model by physically slicing a fossil into 200 pieces. These pieces were individually photographed and the images were fed into a computer, which generated the 3D model for analysis by the scientists.

I’ll bet they were tasty in a seafood bisque.

Senate approves Elena Kagan for high court


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Solicitor General Elena Kagan was easily confirmed today as the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, completing the 50-year-old native New Yorker’s climb to the peak of the American legal profession.

The 63-37 vote was more than enough to blunt any possibility of a last-minute Republican delay or filibuster. Opposition during three days of Senate floor debate was relatively subdued…

Her brisk confirmation was a political victory for President Barack Obama — who placed Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the high court last year — and for Senate Democrats…

Democrats argued that Kagan possesses the intelligence and professional background necessary to be a force on the high court. They said they hope she will help counter what many on the left contend are excessively conservative court rulings that defy the will of Congress while hurting individual workers and voters…

Conservative opposition to Kagan failed to resonate this election year, a stark contrast to the heated Supreme Court confirmation battles of John Roberts and Samuel Alito in 2005. Television and radio ads from advocacy groups were few, and serious grassroots outrage never materialized.

Kagan was born in Manhattan in 1960, one of three children of a lawyer father and schoolteacher mother. She graduated from Harvard Law School and served in a prestigious Supreme Court clerkship with the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Among the cases she will confront in her first term beginning in October will be disputes over protests at military funerals, state bans on violent video games, and the death penalty. High-profile appeals that may reach the court in the next couple of years include Arizona’s sweeping immigration reform law and California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Republicans will continue to count on the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to play their lapdog role in opposition to any progressive advances in American law.

Saucy seaside postcards by Donald McGill

McGill was a prolific artist, designing more than 12,000 cards over six decades, and selling more than 200 million cards in British seaside towns. Before he was banned for “indecency” in 1954.

Now each can be viewed at a museum in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, which is home to the world’s largest collection of McGill’s work.

At the height of his fame McGill only earned three guineas a design, but today his original artwork sells for up to £1,700 in auction and up to £2,500 in London galleries.

Even if an artist doesn’t outlive his censors – and censorship – quality work, humor and wit eventually win out over ignoranuses.

Ted Olson – on overturning Prop 8

Listen and learn.

Ted Olson is a stellar example of what the Republican Party used to be. Not for decades, not since Everett Dirksen marched down a street with Martin Luther King, Jr – and then Richard Nixon led the move to deliberately exploit racism with his Southern Strategy – has the Republican Party stood for honesty and defense of the American Constitution.

This conservative lawyer who loves his country for what has been and should be – is a reminder of traditional American conservatism.

Admittedly, a lonely figure amidst teabagger rabble, Bible Belt babble and opportunist career politicians who would rather invoke gender, race and ethnic hatred as the core of their election campaigns.

Sperm may be harmed by exposure to BPA


“I’m too tired to finish”

In one of the first human studies of its kind, researchers have found that urinary concentrations of the controversial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, may be related to decreased sperm quality and sperm concentration.

However, the researchers are quick to point out that these results are preliminary and more study is needed. Several studies have documented adverse effects of BPA on semen in rodents, but none are known to have reported similar relationships in humans.

BPA is a common chemical that’s stirred much controversy in the media lately over its safety. Critics say that BPA mimics the body’s own hormones and may lead to negative health effects. BPA is most commonly used to make plastics and epoxy resins used in food and beverage cans, and people are exposed primarily through diet, although other routes are possible. More than 6 billion pounds of BPA are produced annually.

“Much of the focus for BPA is on the exposures in utero or in early life, which is of course extremely important, but this suggests exposure may also be a concern for adults,” Meeker said. “Research should focus on impacts of exposure throughout multiple life stages…”

John Meeker and Russ Hauser recruited 190 men through a fertility clinic. All gave spot urine samples and sperm samples the same day. Subsequently, 78 of the men gave one or two additional urine samples a month apart. Researchers detected BPA in 89 percent of the urine samples…

“We found that if we compare somebody in the top quartile of exposure with the lowest quartile of exposure, sperm concentration was on average about 23 percent lower in men with the highest BPA,” Meeker said.

Results also suggested a 10 percent increase in sperm DNA damage.

So, all those guys sucking down Gatorade from 2-liter bottles on the sidelines of college football games – are limiting the ability of our species to reproduce?

No matter how hard they try?

French doors stay closed on Eurotunnel train

As the Eurotunnel train from Folkestone to Calais slowed to a halt in France, its passengers were no doubt looking forward to disembarking and enjoying their trip to the other side of the Channel. But rather than being allowed to drive off the stationary train, more than 20 passengers looked on powerlessly as the locomotive doors remained shut and the train powered straight back to Kent.

The “forgotten” passengers using the Channel tunnel to travel to France were in seven vehicles that had been loaded behind a wagon left empty after a fuel spill.

Eurotunnel staff at Calais unloaded the front vehicles on the train without realising there were seven loaded cars behind the empty wagon.

The unfortunate passengers, who minutes earlier had watched the Calais branch of the tunnel approaching, now saw the terminus retreat as they sped back to Folkestone…

On returning to Kent, the passengers were met by Eurotunnel management staff, who apologised, organised transport back to Calais and offered them a refund and a free crossing in the future.

We have apologised profusely,” a Eurotunnel spokesman said…

Sure.

Someone probably mentioned the World Cup. And Sarkozy ordered their expulsion.