Moon Pic of the Day

The International Space Station can be seen as a small object in upper left of this image of the moon in the early evening Jan. 4 in the skies over the Houston area flying at an altitude of 390.8 kilometers (242.8 miles). The space station can occasionally be seen in the night sky with the naked eye and a pair of field binoculars.

I would love to visit either.

Lorry trailer blown over and righted by winds – Forth Bridge

CCTV video + iPhone video from a car driving behind this idiot

[If the video doesn’t run, double-click the YouTube icon to watch there]

This lorry driver ignored the warning signs saying Forth Road bridge was closed to all vehicles except cars due to high winds on the 28 December 2011.

CCTV taken from the bridge at the time shows the trailer tipping over to one side, righting itself, then tipping again and hitting the central barrier. Surprisingly winds seem to catch the trailer and put it back – allowing it to continue on its way north to Fife.

The driver was however stopped by officers from Fife Constabulary when he reached the end of the bridge.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority, which operates the bridge, said it was lucky no one was hurt by the incident. A spokesman said: “The clip shows quite clearly why restrictions are necessary in high winds.

It was lucky that no one was killed or injured. It is a good demonstration of what can happen if people ignore restrictions.”

We get to watch videos like this here in New Mexico several times a year as out-of-state truck drivers ignore posted high wind warnings in the Interstate Highways. Especially in spring; but, it can happen anytime of the year.

India marks one year anniversary since last polio case

Health officials are hailing a polio breakthrough in India, once recognised as the global epicentre of the crippling disease, as the country marked one year since the last recorded case.

India, once home to half of all global cases of polio, on Friday completed one year since an 18-month-old girl in West Bengal was diagnosed with the disease.

AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout

The breakthrough could see India removed from a list of nations where polio is still endemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the next month.

With Niger and Egypt taken off that list in recent years, India’s removal would see the list of nations with indigenous polio reduced to just three: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan…

In a statement, Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s health minister, said: “We are excited and hopeful, at the same time, vigilant and alert”…

Part of…new tactics and innovations was an effort to reach poor children in railways and on the streets. “Remotes areas were huge havens of disease, but we persisted,” Sona Bari, a spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, told Al Jazeera. “Wherever there were no facilities, we just had people camping on the floor.”

According to WHO estimates, the Indian government dedicated two billion dollars to polio eradication over the last decade and a half. “It was almost completely self-funded,” Bari said. “India has shown that it can be done, despite extremely difficult circumstances…”

The advance in a nation where polio had been thought endemic, has raised hopes that polio will join smallpox as the second disease to have been successfully eradicated globally.

RTFA. India will be deemed to have eradicated the disease if it stays polio-free for another two years.

I grew up in the era of diseases afflicting children especially – which have since been stopped by vaccination programs. Back in the day, the religious among us hailed the advances of science as a gift from their God. Nowadays, for whatever reason, it seems the spookiest individuals are the ones blathering about vaccination being a conspiracy of science.

I wish they had my life’s experience, greeting each New Year with questions to my classmates about “who died in your neighborhood, this year” – from polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever. Every neighborhood had one or two “survivors” of polio who made do with crutches to get to school.

Now – religion is an acceptable excuse to keep from having your kids vaccinated. What fools these parents be.

German priest admits to 280 counts of sexual abuse

A German Catholic priest has admitted 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm.

Named only as Andreas L, the priest told a court in Braunschweig that he had first abused the nine-year-old son of a widowed woman parishioner. After being banned by his diocese from making further contact with the boy, he abused two brothers, aged nine and 13…

The priest on trial in Braunschweig faces a minimum prison sentence of between six and six and a half years. He was arrested during the summer, after the mother of his earlier victim reported him to the authorities.

She acted after her son, now aged 17, revealed to her the abuse he had undergone for two years.

Sexual assaults were made on the three boys in various settings: at the priest’s house, on skiing holidays, in a parental home, on a trip to Disneyland Paris and at a church shortly before Mass.

The priest…said that while working in Braunschweig in 2004, he had begun a close relationship with the widow.

When Fr Andreas was moved to Salzgitter, her son often spent weekends with him, and the two would go off on short trips. He would give the boy presents such as a camera and a mobile phone. Abuse would often occur three times a weekend.

The priest said it had not been his intention to get close to the boy sexually, and that it had never occurred to him that he was doing harm…

The abuse of the two brothers…began under similar circumstances, the court heard…

It was never my impression that the children did not consent,” the priest was quoted as saying at the trial…

About 2,800 pornographic images were found on the priest’s computer, including several of his victims.

I have no idea how thoroughly the Roman Catholic Church is acting to prevent future crimes. It sounds as if they’re still focussed on cleaning up – or concealing – old crimes.

Want that burrito with red chile, green chile or smack?

Henry Marin was assigned to provide courthouse security, but in 2010 prosecutors say the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy strayed.

He poked his head out of his courtroom doors, according to an indictment, and spotted a woman who was there to sneak him a package. Marin waved her over. The woman told him she had been instructed to hide the special delivery inside a burrito.

“OK … no problem,” the deputy said as he allegedly accepted the hand-off.

Inside that bean-and-cheese burrito was heroin that prosecutors say the deputy intended to smuggle into the courthouse jail.

On Wednesday, Marin, 27, surrendered to fellow deputies at the sheriff’s South Los Angeles station. He pleaded not guilty to charges of bringing drugs into a jail and conspiracy to commit a crime.

The charges against him are the latest in a string of prosecutions and internal affairs investigations that have targeted corrupt sheriff’s deputies and other department staff for delivering contraband behind bars, and helping fuel a lucrative drug trade behind bars.

Three sheriff’s guards have been convicted and a fourth fired in recent years for smuggling or attempting to smuggle narcotics into jail for inmates…

In Marin’s case, prosecutors allege that at least two other unnamed individuals conspired with him. According to the indictment, one of those individuals contacted the other to discuss using a deputy to get narcotics into the Airport Courthouse jail…

How do you think drugs get into any jail in the country? Homing pigeon?

You can only carry illegal substances into a lockup via folks who are there via established procedures: visitors, staff and law enforcement. The latter two are most often used as mules because they’re most likely to have experience with bribes in the first place.