Athletic idjit of the week

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The Coast Guard says it rescued a man inside a hydro pod bubble, 70 miles east of St. Augustine on Saturday morning…They…received a report about Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen was floating in an inflatable bubble and was “reportedly disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda Wednesday.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Webber arrived on scene and requested Baluchi terminate his trip because of the lack of supplies on board to sustain him. The Coast Guard said Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS, and a satellite phone.

According to Baluchi’s website, he is a marathon runner and was aiming to travel through the Bermuda Triangle in the bubble in order to raise money for charity.

After he refused to leave his raft, Coast Guard monitored his movements until he activated his Personal Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (PPIRB) Saturday morning due to fatigue. Coast Guard aircrafts out of Clearwater began searching for Baluchi.

According to the Coast Guard, an aircrew arrived on scene and safely “hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft and transported him to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him.”

There were no reports of any injuries.

Poisonally, I hope the Coasties charge for at least some of the cost of rescuing his sorry butt. It doesn’t matter how good a marathoner may be. Trying to travel hundreds of miles in a truly inefficient device like this would take weeks or months to cover the distance he wanted to attempt.

With half a brain he might have tried some reasonable distances on a large lake with support at hand – just to trial his idea. Instead he headed out into open water for a thousand-mile first leg. Idjit.

Thanks, Mike

Wait for unintended consequences — Scientists to test lab-grown penises

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Penises grown in laboratories could soon be tested on men by scientists developing technology to help people with congenital abnormalities, or who have undergone surgery for aggressive cancer or suffered traumatic injury.

Yes, there will more categories.

Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine…are assessing engineered penises for safety, function and durability. They hope to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and to move to human testing within five years.

Professor Anthony Atala…oversaw the team’s successful engineering of penises for rabbits in 2008. “The rabbit studies were very encouraging,” he said, “but to get approval for humans we need all the safety and quality assurance data, we need to show that the materials aren’t toxic, and we have to spell out the manufacturing process, step by step.”

The penises would be grown using a patient’s own cells to avoid the high risk of immunological rejection after organ transplantation from another individual…

“Our target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities,” said Atala…

Aside from a guaranteed underground Black Market – you know religious nutballs in and out of government will go ballistic over this. Plus, you can look forward to the first reality TV show on the human trials.

Rich get richer – and meaner

Even as the income gap widens, the wealthiest Americans are giving a smaller share of their income to charity, while low- and middle-income people are donating a larger share, according to an extensive analysis of Internal Revenue Service data conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Chronicle…said in a report released on Monday that Americans who earned $200,000 or more reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012. Those earning less than $100,000 donated 4.5 percent more of their income, the report said…

The Chronicle’s editor, Stacy Palmer, said that wealthy donors were more likely to support the arts and higher education and less likely to give to social-service charities

They’ve learned to think like Republicans. They contribute to services which add to their own quality of life. That doesn’t include the overwhelming portion of the population struggling to make a living.

Changes in giving patterns were most pronounced in major cities, where the percentage of income that residents donated dropped markedly between 2006 and 2012, according to the report.

In Philadelphia and Buffalo, New York, the share of income given to charity fell by more than 10 percent, and there was a 9 percent drop in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

The cities where residents gave the smallest share of their income to charity were Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island and San Jose, California.

My characterization of Republican ideology, ethos, rejection of concern for those in need isn’t a snap judgement. It includes all the foolish folks who look upon class distinctions as irrelevant. Stack up those who identify thoroughly with the wealthy without differentiation between the head start of inherited wealth – and patent leather-libertarians who only care that they succeeded regardless of the greater scheme of economics and the distribution of wealth.

In other words, I’m not surprised by this report. The response from our wealthy class and their Republican flunkies is also predictable: this must be a flawed report and in any case it will be ignored.

Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeSHUJI KAJIYAMA/AP FOTO

The photo is from this weekend in Suzuka, Japan. The Japanese Gran Prix. It rained.

These two cars are driven by teammates who also happen to hold the top two positions in the world championship with four races left in the season. At that moment they were separated by a hair, a couple of points.

The driver on the left is Nico Rossberg. Catching him on the right in Lewis Hamilton. Competing with each other for the world championship truly is more important than team victories. Mercedes would not like it to be that way – but, it is and cannot be any different.

In the rain, slowing from perhaps 200mph to take this turn around 60 mph, braking in the rain, Lewis Hamilton is about to pass Nico Rossberg on the outside of the curve they are entering and go on to win the race.

Understand all of that in Shuji Kajiyama’s photograph.