Beautiful feathered dinosaur tail found preserved in amber


Click to enlargeRSM/ R.C.McKellar

❝ The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar.

The one-of-a-kind discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years…

❝ The study’s first author, Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, discovered the remarkable fossil at an amber market in Myitkina, Myanmar.

The 99-million-year-old amber had already been polished for jewellery and the seller had thought it was plant material. On closer inspection, however, it turned out to be the tail of a feathered dinosaur about the size of a sparrow.

❝ Lida Xing was able to establish where it had come from by tracking down the amber miner who had originally dug out the specimen…

❝ Dr McKellar said there are signs the dinosaur still contained fluids when it was incorporated into the tree resin that eventually formed the amber. This indicates that it could even have become trapped in the sticky substance while it was still alive.

Co-author Prof Mike Benton, from the University of Bristol, added: “It’s amazing to see all the details of a dinosaur tail – the bones, flesh, skin, and feathers – and to imagine how this little fellow got his tail caught in the resin, and then presumably died because he could not wrestle free.”

Beautiful and stunning. Truly fortunate that this specimen was found at a market. RTFA for more photos and description of the study.

Samsung opts for permanent solution to Galaxy Note 7 phones in the GOUSA

❝ Samsung is reportedly adopting even harsher methods to prevent people from using the few remaining Galaxy Note 7s in the wild, planning an imminent U.S. software update that will render them useless.

On Dec. 19 Samsung will push out an update preventing the phones from charging, according to a statement to The Verge. The code will be distributed through all major U.S. carriers within 30 days.

❝ Samsung noted that 93 percent of Note 7s sold in the country have already been returned. The update is meant to get people to participate in a long-standing recall offering refunds and exchanges, sometimes with extra financial incentives.

The company has been gradually escalating its software tactics. American Note 7 models are already unable to charge past 60 percent, and in Canada, Samsung will soon be disabling all wireless functions.

❝ Shortly after its launch late this summer, the Note 7 was plagued by a series of battery fires and explosions, possibly owing to an ultra-compact design rushed to beat Apple’s iPhone 7. Samsung attempted to recall and fix the initial batch of units, but this didn’t solve the problem, forcing the company to issue another recall and discontinue the product entirely.

Folks, if you’re part of that 7% solution do yourself a favor and return that bookend.

Pentagon paid for a report on wasted taxpayer dollar$ – It’s so bad they’re trying to hide it, now!


Click to enlargeDavid B. Gleason Photo

❝ In a bombshell article, The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon hired an outside consulting firm to identify ways to streamline its bureaucracy. It turns out the American military needs a lot of back-office support to keep running and that’s where most of the waste, fraud and abuse piles up.

The consultants did their job and identified $125 billion worth of unnecessary spending. The recommended plan called for some simple, common-sense changes such as making early retirement more attractive, streamlined information technology departments and cutting back on civilian contractors.

If the U.S. military made these changes, it could save more than a hundred billion in taxpayer dollars over five years…So…the suits at the Pentagon buried the report out of fear Congress would use it to cut the defense budget…

“We’re spending a lot more money than we thought,” reads the first line of the report.

No shit. But here’s the thing, for the people who spend their days watching the Pentagon for waste, fraud and abuse neither the report nor its suppression came as a surprise.

“This report confirms what anyone who’s paying attention already knows: there are a lot of opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness without increasing spending,”…Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight…

She’s right. Budget hawks have long known that the Pentagon’s $600 billion plus annual budget is rotten to the core…

❝ The Pentagon’s property management division employs 192 thousand people, yet has no idea how much property it owns nor how much it’s worth. Existing best estimates say the U.S. military owns half a million properties on 30 million acres across the globe.

It’s worth — the Pentagon accountants think — around $800 billion total. Worse, as of a 2014 according to the Government Accountability Office, the property managers have literally no idea what’s going on in half those buildings.

The United States Department of Defense [sic] is the largest single employer on Earth. They pay little more than lip service to the kinds of efficiency many long-standing government agencies offer. When the Pentagon echos the Republican lying mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs…” they mean jobs for themselves, their kin, their retirement, their individual and personal investments, commitments, to suppliers.

RTFA for a quick journey through the fiscal corruption of our military-industrial complex. Incidentally, you’ll find a link to the actual 77-page report inside the article. It’s been removed from any featured spot on any DOD website; but, it’s still up and alive.

Some facts take a really long time to sink in. Some bought-and-paid-for politicians never get it!

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Our latest creepy Republican liar-for-president is appointing one of the sleaziest and most corrupt public officials in the United States to head the Environmental Protection Agency. This is like appointing B’rer Fox to oversee hen-house construction. Backdoor guaranteed.

Scott Pruitt is known to take press releases from his Oklahoma oil and gas buddies and reprint them on his official letterhead as state attorney general – as if they were the product of his own research. Scumbag politician of the worst sort.

BTW, Snopes.com has already verified the article and searched deeper finding an article in Popular Mechanics that preceded newspaper coverage.

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Sleaze follows Trump like stink around road kill

❝ The U.S. Secret Service is the hot, new “amenity” at Trump Tower, where desperate brokers are trying to lure well-heeled clients into the building on Fifth Avenue that has served as President-elect Donald Trump’s home as well as his campaign and transition headquarters.

Less than a week after Trump was elected, prominent New York real estate agency Douglas Elliman blasted out an email with the subject: “Fifth Avenue Buyers Interested in Secret Service Protection?” to advertise a $2.1 million, 1,052-square-foot condo in the tower on 721 Fifth Avenue…

“The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan,” it stated.

❝ Trump was the developer and sponsor of Trump Tower when it was built 33 years ago, but most of the 263 units are individually owned. Trump Tower does not retain a portion of the sales but since the building is managed by Trump Corporation, it retains a processing fee for unit sales which is about $2,000 per application plus $250 per additional adult dweller, as part of its service as manager of the building.

The condominium collects the common charge, but Trump manages the garage and vendors like the bar and restaurant in the building…

Not exactly a plus for the reputation of realtors, eh?

Global gasoline demand has all but peaked

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Click to enlargeThis is the one I want

❝ After fueling the 20th century automobile culture that reshaped cities and defined modern life, gasoline has had its day.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that global gasoline consumption has all but peaked as more efficient cars and the advent of electric vehicles from new players such as Tesla Motors halt demand growth in the next 25 years. That shift will have profound consequences for the oil-refining industry because gasoline accounts for one in four barrels consumed worldwide…

“Electric cars are happening,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in an interview in London, adding that their number will rise from little more than 1 million last year to more than 150 million by 2040.

❝ The cresting of gasoline demand shows how rapidly the oil landscape is changing, casting a shadow over an industry that commonly forecasts decades of growth ahead. Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s second-biggest energy company by market value, shocked rivals this month when a senior executive said overall oil demand could peak in as little as five years.

The IEA doesn’t share Shell’s pessimism. While the agency anticipates a gasoline peak, it still forecasts overall oil demand growing for several decades because of higher consumption of diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel by the shipping, trucking, aviation and petrochemical industries…

❝ For Philip Verleger, president of the consultant PKVerleger LLC in Colorado and a veteran oil-market analyst, the IEA’s outlook is one of the more optimistic outcomes for the global industry.

“Refiners across the globe can only hope that this forecast turns out to be right — because all the indications are today that consumption is going to begin dropping not in 2030, but probably in 2020,” said Verleger. “It’s the best news a dying patient can hope to get.”

Just in case you wondered what the truly global giants of fossil fuels talk about when they tell each other the truth. Quit reading PR releases from the American Petroleum Institute, the Koch Bros. or their flunky on Fifth Avenue.