Where’s Wall-E?

Click to enlarge!

A new piece of artwork by Richard Sargent, featuring a huge crowd of robots from movies, television and more. Can you find WALL-E among them?

You might win a signed poster print of Richard’s ‘Where’s WALL-E?’ art! How many characters can you identify? Use the guide picture to name as many as you can. The most correct answers will win a poster. Answers to richard@hopewellstudios.com. Closing date for entries 31st August 2011. Entries will be judged by name and origin of each character; in the event of a tie a winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Rick Perry tells same lies as rest of Republicans, Kool Aid Party

How’s your cousin doin’ since I gave him that job as tax collector?
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has leapfrogged to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates largely on the strength of one compelling fact: During more than a decade as governor, his state created more than a million jobs, while the nation as a whole lost 1.4 million jobs.

Perry says the “Texas miracle” rests on conservative pillars that he would bring to the White House: minimal regulation and government, low taxes and a determination to limit the reach of Uncle Sam.

What he does not say is that much of that job growth has come because of government, not in spite of it.

With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure.

The disparity has grown even sharper since the national recession hit. Between December 2007 and last June, private-sector employment in Texas has declined by .6 percent, while public-sector jobs increased by 6.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, government employees account for about one-sixth of the workers in Texas…

Analysts call the growth in government employment in Texas a natural consequence of the state’s surging population, which has grown by more than 20 percent in the past decade to 25.1 million. That increase has caused local governments and school systems to hire more teachers, budget analysts, compliance officers and cops.

Time to repeat the old saw: Republicans would have invented hypocrisy if Christians hadn’t beaten them to it. Rick Perry is little different from Ron Paul in believing the same old piddle-down economics that didn’t help working people under Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan or either of the Bush liars. He lies about the same programs as Michelle Bachmann – who criticizes stimulus programs and agricultural subsidies while standing at the head of the line to get money, sometimes for her constituents, sometimes just for herself and her family.

Nope. Same old song. Even the accent is the same as George the Little.

Agencies in Schleswig-Holstein banned from Facebook

German data watchdogs on Friday ordered state agencies to shut down their Facebook pages and remove “like” buttons from their Web sites, suggesting that anyone who uses Facebook will have their online activity tracked.

All institutions in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany [must] shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove social plug-ins such as the ‘like’-button from their Web sites,” the German Data Protection Commissioner’s Office said in a statement. “Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years.”

After “thorough and legal analysis,” the commission said it concluded that Facebook and its “like” button violates Germany’s Telemedia Act and its Federal Data Protection Act because data is transferred to the U.S. and Web analytics are sent to Web site owners…

German agencies have until the end of September to stop using Facebook for official business. Failure to do so could result in fines. Commissioner Thilo Weichert said in a statement that those agencies “cannot shift their responsibility for data privacy” to Facebook or the user.

Facebook, however, denied that its activity was in violation of any EU laws…

The commission said today’s ban is “only the beginning of a continuing privacy impact analysis of Facebook applications.” It also advised people to “keep their fingers from clicking on social plug-ins such as the ‘like’-button and not to set up a Facebook account if they wish to avoid a comprehensive profiling by this company.”

There are solid historic reasons for Germans to prefer to have a nanny state protect their rights to privacy. There also are pretty good reasons to classify the heavy-handed approach as total crap equally reminiscent of a totalitarian past.

Not especially different from conservatives who blather against political correctness – unless the topic is one of their ongoing campaigns to legislate morality, sex, music and thought that might displease someone with their brain still stuck into the 19th Century. Or the 14th Century.

Toronto imam charged in 5 sex assaults

Members of a Scarborough mosque have expressed shock and disbelief that their “nice” and “humble” religious leader has been charged with a string of sexual assaults. Mohammad Masroor, the imam at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society…faces 13 charges involving sexual offences and death threats relating to five alleged victims…

Det. Const. Karen Armstrong said Masroor used his position of leadership “to his advantage.” She said Masroor, who teaches in the mosque as well as in private homes, knew the alleged victims…

The victims are both male and female,” Armstrong said. “We believe there are other victims as (the accused) has lived and worked worldwide.”

Masroor taught in Florida, Michigan and Bangladesh before coming to Canada, according to police. He has also lived and taught in Germany, France, Hungary, Singapore and Sri Lanka but police said the investigation is not limited to those areas…

Members of the mosque were especially upset that the allegations come during the holy month of Ramadan…

Yes, I think he’s actually a Romulan pretending to be a Vulcan.

Thanks, James

Prunes help prevent fractures and osteoporosis

When it comes to improving bone health in postmenopausal women — and people of all ages, actually — a Florida State University researcher has found a simple, proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis: eating dried plums.

“Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have,” said Bahram H. Arjmandi…”All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”

Arjmandi and a group of researchers from Florida State and Oklahoma State University tested two groups of postmenopausal women. Over a 12-month period, the first group, consisting of 55 women, was instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums (about 10 prunes) each day, while the second — a comparative control group of 45 women — was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples. All of the study’s participants also received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D (400 international units).

The group that consumed dried plums had significantly higher bone mineral density in the ulna (one of two long bones in the forearm) and spine, in comparison with the group that ate dried apples. This, according to Arjmandi, was due in part to the ability of dried plums to suppress the rate of bone resorption, or the breakdown of bone, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth as people age…

In the United States, about 8 million women have osteoporosis because of the sudden cessation of ovarian hormone production at the onset of menopause. What’s more, about 2 million men also have osteoporosis.

Arjmandi encourages people who are interested in maintaining or improving their bone health to take note of the extraordinarily positive effect that dried plums have on bone density.

Don’t wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine,” Arjmandi said. “Do something meaningful and practical beforehand. People could start eating two to three dried plums per day and increase gradually to perhaps six to 10 per day. Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes.”

Proactive – as always – is better than sitting and waiting for an accident to happen. The FSU department chaired by Dr. Arjmandi – Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences – is pretty interesting btw. One of the 72 major schools I’d consider attending if I was a kid starting out all over again.

Bad Hair Bandit busted

The FBI suspects an Idaho woman jailed over a California heist is the “Bad Hair Bandit” wanted for 20 bank robberies and a judge set her bail on Thursday at $500,000 following her recent arrest.

A robber dubbed the “Bad Hair Bandit” — named for her habit of wearing cheap, ill-fitting wigs — is believed to be behind 20 robberies in four states since December…

They said Cynthia Van Holland, 47, was believed to be that person, although witnesses say she was not wearing a wig in the heist that led to her arrest.

Van Holland and her husband, Christopher Alonzo, 26, were arrested on Monday after Van Holland was accused of robbing the Bank of the West in Auburn, 30 miles northeast of Sacramento, before fleeing in a car driven by Alonzo…

Placer County sheriff’s deputies nabbed Van Holland and her husband a dozen miles from the Bank of the West after a witness gave the license plate and model of their car, said Ayn Sandalo Dietrich, spokeswoman for the FBI office in Seattle…

Agents investigating a string of bank robberies in Washington state and one robbery each in Montana, Oregon and California, believe Van Holland is the robber with the fake hair, Dietrich said.

“The wigs are really what stand out,” she said.

Twenty robberies in four states in eight months. Dumb enough to be a small-time crook – I guess you’re dumb enough to think you’re never going to be caught.