Friday 18 February 2011

 

After 35 years, anti-Castro Cuban terrorist-mastermind

finally faces criminal evidence against him in U.S. court

CIA asset Posada bragged about blowing a Cuban airliner out of the sky killing all 73 men, women, and children aboard

Fingerprints of Luis Posada Carriles, obtained by Interpol.

Peter Kornbluh directs the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. He attended the first week of the Posada trial in El Paso, Texas.  A version of this piece appears on the website of The Nation Magazine.

By Peter Kornbluh

9 February 201  In El Paso, Texas, the perjury trial of infamous violent Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, took a historic turn today. For the first time in the long dramatic history dominated by hostility and aggression, U.S. government prosecutors formally presented evidence of terrorism committed against Cuba in a court of law against one of its own former CIA assets.
 
Even more extraordinary, the evidence came in the form of a Cuban Ministry of Interior investigator explaining photographs and police reports to the jury relating to explosions in three Cuban hotels, including the Hotel Copacabana which killed a young Italian businessman, Fabio Di Celmo, on September 4, 1997. “Cuba Cooperating in US case against ex-CIA agent,” reads tomorrow’s news headlines. — 780 words.
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USAID closes Venezuelan subversion headquarters

Transfers illegal anti-Chavez shenanigans to Miami

 
By Eva Golinger
Correo del Orinoco International

13 February 2011 CARACAS VenezuelaWhen Russell Porter, the director of USAID’s Ofice of Transition Initiatives (OTI) division, which is dedicated to injecting liquid funds into resolving “political crises” to Washington’s favor, first visited Venezuela in 2002, his task was “evaluating the political situation” to determine how USAID could better help the nation towards a “democratic transition”.

But the real objective of USAID was not supporting democracy in Venezuela, since the South American nation already had a vibrant democracy with a president supported by a majority of the people. USAID’s mission, together with other US agencies, was to provoke “regime change” favorable to US interests, which meant removing President Hugo Chavez from power. — 489 words.
 

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Guest Editorial
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 6 (264)
Friday, February 18, 2011
 
 
'People don’t need to be taught how to fish. They’re the best fishermen in the world. They just want their water back.'
 
By Catherine Porter
Toronto Star

18 February 2011 — A few years back, the staff at Kairos planned a trip to Nigeria’s oilfields to examine environmental damage, corporate responsibility and human rights abuses.

The board of the faith-based development organization rejected the idea. It sent them to Alberta’s tar sands instead.

“I remember saying, ‘They’ll kill us — that will be considered very political,’ ” recalls Mary Corkery, Kairos’ passionate executive director. “The churches said, ‘This is our work. Our work is inspired by faith to tell the truth. It’s a development issue if it’s far away. It’s a political issue if it’s at home. Or if it offends anyone.’ ”

Think it’s a stretch to compare Canada to Nigeria? A government that forges documents, that makes things up, that smothers dissenting opinions, that accuses the media of lying.

That Oda is the minister overseeing international development makes the whole scene all the more surreal. Our government is funding groups in Afghanistan and Haiti now, teaching them about good governance.

“This is what happens in the countries we work in,” a friend of mine working for a development agency told me confidentially. We have become precisely what we contend with overseas.715 words.

 
Our readers write
Is it art? Readers say Yes!
 
I enjoyed Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's article "Art and Nature" about the sculpture exhibition "Nature into Sculpture" at the Canadian Museum of Nature very much as it was both entertaining and informative. Maybe she could write about Yohanna's paintings, one day! They are beautiful! I would also enjoy reading about other artists in True North Perspective. — Barbara Rabatin, Ottawa, Ont.
 
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's article was very interesting! Carl Dow's article explained a lot about the stones and materials used in sculpting. Please send the next True North Perspective, it's  interesting reading. Good luck with your next creations! — Mary, Ottawa, Ont.

It was good to see the impact Yohanna Loonen's art has made on the public and the recognition offered by critics and writers. I especially liked Alberte's comments as they seem to apply to the older generation who are following the beat to a different drummer towards the end of their lifespan. — Marta Ware, Guyana, South America

Thank you for the thoughtful article on Alzheimer's! It's wonderful to know we can read Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair from Australia. My mother-in-law, a resident at the Perley-Rideau Residence, recently died at the age of 97. The last ten years of her life were spent in a vacuum of the mind. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease that robs the individual of his brain functions and causes endless worries to the family and the caregivers. — Robert Beauchemin, from Australia

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Unhealthy living

Commons health committee study offers MPs a grim menu

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

18 February 2011 — The Commons health committee chose the title Healthy Living for its study of the state of well-being of average Canadians.
 
It might have been better titled Unhealthy Living.
 
A growing list of medical, nutrition and active living groups have painted an unappetizing portrait of a nation of unhealthy overweight citizens at risk of debilitating chronic diseases. Heart disease and diabetes come from a diet full of sweetened soft drinks and food containing too much sodium and transfats and a lack of sufficient physical activity. —  1,043 words.
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By Josh Wingrove
The Globe and Mail
 

14 February 2011 — However high you think your grocery bills are, they’re bound to be worse in Arctic Bay – a standard jug of cranberry cocktail sells there for $38.99, eight times more than it would in Southern Canada.
 
The remote Nunavut hamlet has seen food prices spike in recent months after the federal government’s scrapping of its old Food Mail program that subsidized shipments of most foods and some hygiene products to remote northern communities.617 words.
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

Did the Olympics make Vancouver a better city?

Urban thinkers Lance Berelowitz and Matt Hern debate the 2010 legacy, and what must come next

TheTyee.ca
 
11 February 2011 — This is the first round of a three-part conversation between Lance Berelowitz and Matt Hern about the future of Vancouver after the 2010 Olympics.
 
Berelowitz is an urban planner, critic and author of Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination.
 
Hern is a rabble-rouser and author of Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future. While they live on opposite sides of town, they share a deep affection for their city and regularly meet half way to compare notes and drink. — 1,948 words.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Getting between the teeth

How would you rate your smile?

True North Perspective
 
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.
 
18 February 2011 — How many times have we heard: “I just fell in love with her gorgeous smile! Or, he has such a winning smile!”? A reader recently commented on my latest photo. “I love it! You have a perpetual and very engaging smile that invites people to smile back.” Of course, in order to have an attractive smile, one needs a good set of “pearly whites” and in our family, we have been blessed with good teeth.
 
My sister, Diane, who just turned 60 last week received the ODAA (Ontario Dental Assistant Association) pin and certificate for her 40-year membership. Actually, she has been a dental assistant for almost 42 years and she has been our guide and crusader when it comes to oral health.906 words.
 

Special invitation for February 25

This is a special invitation to all art lovers! Arts Night is held on the last Friday of each month from September to June at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, located at Cleary Ave., in the west end of Ottawa, off Richmond Rd. and one stop-light block east of Woodroffe Ave. These events start at 7:30 and begin with an "open set", a time when members of the audience may give a five-minute presentation of any art form. Then comes the presentation of three guest artists: one from the literary, visual and musical arts. Each artist will do a twenty-minute presentation and there will be time reserved for questions from the audience. Refreshments will be served. The literary guest will be Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, a novelist with three novels to her credit and columnist for True North Perspective and Canaan Connexion who has written about women's issues, mental health and other issues and has spoken about these subjects on TV and radio and to interested social groups. The visual artist, Angela Verlaeckt Clark, a sculptor, will talk about her passion of expressing herself through new media and methods and her new book "Witness Stones and Reflections". The musical artist, Lori Lynn Penny, a pianist/teacher will talk about her amazing career.

Arts Night is open to everyone, so please join us on February 25!

Visit http://www.firstunitarianottawa.ca/learn/music-arts.html for details.

Spirit Quest

The Spirit of the Invisible Hand moves to share the wealth

'The trickle down theory works best in the Cayman Islands'

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective
 
18 February 2011 — Some believe that capitalism is blessed in the parable of Jesus who said that “to those who have more shall be given and to those who have little even that which they have shall be taken away.”(Mark 4 : 25) However, what Jesus was speaking about was faith, that those who have faith, their faith will be strengthened but that for those of little faith even what they have will wither.
 
Jesus used the analogy of wealth because it was very obvious to the people of his time, most of whom were very poor. It was obvious even then that the rich got richer at a cost to the poor. Jesus  in no way blessed the economic system of his time. He himself was poor and counselled the rich young ruler to give away his wealth if he wanted eternal life. He walked away sadly because he had so much (Luke 18: 22). One wonders what he would say to those of wealth in our day. — 1,193 words.
 

Always worth repeating

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.


 
Report from Obama's America
 
71 year-old veteran bloodied and bruised for silent protest
even as Clinton extols freedom for Egyptian protesters
 
 

16 February 2011 — As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt.

Blind-sided by security officers who pounced upon him, Mr. McGovern remarked, as he was hauled out the door, "So this is America?" Mr. McGovern is covered with bruises, lacerations and contusions inflicted in the assault..

 

Mr. McGovern is being represented by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). "It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government's supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech," stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the PCJF.

Mr. McGovern now works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
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The Santorum Affair
 
 
By Sahil Kapur
RawStory.com
 
16 February 2011 — Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) has a problem: he's eying a run for president, but his name recognition is weak. And Google, as it turns out, isn't really helping his brand image.

Enter "Rick Santorum" into a Google search and you should get over half a million results. But two out of the top four are references to a sexual neologism coined as a tribute to Santorum's past denunciations of homosexuality.

The neologism? Anal sex.352 words.

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Websites falsely tarred with 'child pornography' label
 
TorrentFreak.com
 
16 February 2011 — The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes.

As part of “Operation Save Our Children” ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center has again seized several domain names, but not without making a huge error. Last Friday, thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that was placed on their domain. —  762 words.

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From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

Why Bradley Manning is a patriot, not a criminal

'Washington is clearly intent on destroying this young Army private and then putting him away until hell freezes over. It should not be this way.'

10 February 2011—Editor's Note: The Obama administration came into office proclaiming "sunshine" policies.  When some of the U.S. government's dirty laundry was laid out in the bright light of day by WikiLeaks, however, its officials responded in a knee-jerk, punitive manner in the case of Bradley Manning, now in extreme isolation in a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia.  The urge of the Obama administration and the U.S. military to break his will, to crush him, is unsettling, to say the least.  Whatever happens to Julian Assange or WikiLeaks, Washington is clearly intent on destroying this young Army private and then putting him away until hell freezes over.
 
It should not be this way. 
 
Today, thanks to lawyer and essayist Chase Madar, TomDispatch is making a long-planned gesture towards Manning, whose acts, aimed at revealing the worst this country had to offer in recent years, will someday make him a genuine American hero -- but that’s undoubtedly little consolation to him now.  When it comes to America’s recent wars, its torture regimes, black sites, and extraordinary renditions, as well as the death and destruction visited on distant lands, blood is on many official American hands, but not on Manning’s.  Those officials should be held accountable, not him. With that in mind, TomDispatch offers its version of the defense of Bradley Manning. -- Tom Engelhardt — 5,481 words.
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Peak oil now? Leaked cables suggest Saudis running low

By Stephen C. Webster
RawStory.com
 
9 February 2011 — Potential oil reserves are often treated as a state secret. This is especially true in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer. But soon, the cheap energy bonanza could be on the downturn, according to US State Department documents released by British newspaper The Guardian.
 
The documents, dated between 2007 and 2009, point to a phenomenon known to many as "peak oil," or the point of production where you cannot continue producing more, leading to a decline in availability and a spike in prices.
 
But far from being a mad prophet of doom, the US cables' source is not someone whose credibility is easily questioned. 527 words.
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The United States threatened to take military action against China within past few years according to leaked documents
 
By Time Ross, Holly Watt and Christopher Hope
The Daily Telegraph
 
2 February 2011 — The American Government was so incensed by Chinese actions in space that it privately warned Beijing it would face military action if it did not desist.

The Chinese carried out further tests as recently as last year, however, leading to further protests from Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, secret documents show.

Beijing justified its actions by accusing the Americans of developing an “offensive” laser weapon system that would have the capability of destroying missiles before they left enemy territory.

The disclosures are contained in the latest documents obtained by the Wikileaks website, which have been released to The Telegraph. They detail the private fears of both superpowers as they sought mastery of the new military frontier.980 words.

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By Carolynne Wheeler
The Globe and Mail
 
15 February 2011 — That inflation in China has hit 4.9 per cent – and that food alone is up more than 10 per cent – is no surprise to the co-owners of the Floating Fragrant Pagoda food stall.

From cramped one-room quarters, co-owners and cooks Cui Jicheng and Zhang Huawei dish out rice and vegetables, noodles and dumplings to hungry customers sitting at plastic tables along the adjacent sidewalk, or into plastic bags for takeaway. Their most expensive dish is 12 yuan, or $1.82 (U.S.); the cheapest is six.824 words.

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'The story around the world is the rush to democracy. The story in Wisconsin is the end of the democratic process.'
 
 
Proposed law seeks to overturn collective bargaining rights enshrined in 1959
 
By Scott Bauer
The Associated Press
 
16 February 2011 — Thousands of teachers, students and prison guards descended on the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday to fight a move to strip government workers of union rights in the first state to grant them more than a half-century ago, but it cleared a major legislative hurdle without the changes they sought.
 
The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours in demonstrations unlike any seen in Madison in decades. The noise in the rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district — the state's second-largest — had to cancel classes.  — 1,260 words.

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Always looking forward

Third Ways

Another step on the road toward a culture of non-violence

By Ken Butigan
WagingNonViolence.org
 
12 February 2011 — The movement that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year autocratic rule not only has created a spectacular breakthrough for Egyptian democracy, it has bequeathed a priceless gift to the rest of us in every part of the planet.
 
For eighteen days the Egyptian people carried out an unarmed revolution with determination, creativity, and a daring willingness to risk.  They marched, they improvised, they prayed, they connected with one another.  Most of all, they stayed put — and invited the nation to join them.
 
Faced with a corrupt and dictatorial police state, such a movement might have been tempted to wage armed struggle. Instead, they reached for, experimented with, and remained largely steadfast about another way: nonviolent people power.879 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

Urban canary in the economic coal mine:

One third of Seattle's homes now worth less than their mortgage

By Jame Kwantes and Eric Pryne
Vancouver Sun, Seattle Times
 
15 February 2011, VANCOUVER — The real estate version of Sleepless in Seattle is more horror than romantic comedy, and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are nowhere to be found.

The latest U.S. housing figures show that 34.3 per cent of all single-family homes in the Seattle area are negative equity mortgages where the home is worth less than the amount owing on the mortgage, according to Zillow.com, an online real estate database and marketplace.

That's up from 23 per cent a year ago and higher than the national average, which is 27 per cent. 580 words.

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Reality Check
 
 
By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com
 
17 February 2011 — Iranian parliamentarians presented an ugly scene on Tuesday with raucous chants calling for the executions of two opposition leaders – and the U.S. news media was quick to denounce the Iranian government – but there is a complex history that Americans aren’t getting.

Who, after all, are former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former House Speaker Mehdi Karrubi, the two opposition leaders who continue to insist that the 2009 election giving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term was rigged or stolen?

Are Mousavi and Karrubi the noble “democrats” as they are portrayed in the U.S. press or are they brazen political operatives seeking to claim through disruption in the streets what they could not achieve at the ballot box? As disturbing as the scene in the Iranian parliament was, are there explanations for this unappealing fury?4,172 words.

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Money and Markets
 
 
By Paul Krugman
Truth-Out.org
 

 
 
RawStory.com
 
7 February 2011 — South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called Monday for new strategies to help secure a stable supply of food amid growing concerns about a global food crisis.

"The likelihood of a global food crisis is rising due to climate change. We need to set up national strategies and research to tackle the issue," Lee's spokesman quoted him as saying during a meeting with senior advisers. 217 words.

17 February 2011 — Political unrest in the Arab world and elsewhere is supposedly being caused by the actions of none other than … Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke!

That is ridiculous, but still, I’ve been getting correspondence from readers insisting that Mr. Bernanke is responsible. You see, quantitative easing leads to rising food prices, which leads to riots, which … O.K., there are a lot of broken links in that silly chain. Let’s take a look at food and commodity prices to discover what’s really going on.

I recently used data from the International Monetary Fund to rank commodities by their percentage-price increases in 2010. Up at the top of the list were cotton (which increased nearly 120 percent) and iron ore (which increased more than 80 percent). What caused this trend?483 words.
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Credit where credit is due:

 
 
By Stephen Zunes
 

 
By Juan Cole
TruthDig.com
 
15 February 2011 — The hysteria in American media about Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is not only ignorant and demagogic, it is hypocritical.
 
The United States has actively promoted Muslim Brotherhood branches in other countries when it suited its purposes, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, the Turkish and Indonesian cases of democratic transition in the Muslim world should have taught us something about how Muslim fundamentalist parties are themselves transformed in a democratic setting.980 words.

17 February 2011 — While there will undoubtedly have to be additional popular struggle in Egypt to ensure that the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak leads to real democracy, the ouster of the dictator is by any measure a major triumph for the Egyptian people and yet another example of the power of nonviolent action.

 
Indeed, Egypt joins such diverse countries as the Philippines, Poland, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Nepal, Serbia, Bolivia, Indonesia, and others whose authoritarian regimes were replaced by democratic governance as a result of such unarmed civil insurrections.
 
Unfortunately, there are already those who are trying to put the credit (or blame) for the Egyptian Revolution on anybody but the literally millions of ordinary Egyptians - men and women, Christian and Muslim, young and old, workers and intellectuals, poor and middle class, secular and religious - who faced down the truncheons, tear gas, water cannons, bullets and goon squads for their freedom.2,061 words.
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Fearing Egyptian-style uprising, Emirate hires foreign troops to crush dissent
 
By Patrick Martin
The Globe and Mail
 
18 February 2011 — Fearing an Egyptian-style inferno, Bahrain’s security forces have moved aggressively to douse a political brush fire that burned for several days in the capital. At least five people were killed and hundreds injured when the protest camp set up in Manama’s Pearl Square was levelled early Thursday morning.
 
It was a familiar pattern: In each of the past four decades, whenever people – usually Shia Muslim Bahrainis – protested too vehemently for political or economic reform, the government summoned the same forces.919 words.
 
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Health Watch

Research shows 'energy drinks' not just bad for kids and teens, but dangerous

Naseau and diarrhea, seizures and hallucinations, chest pain and high blood pressure among side effects of popular drinks

The Associated Press
 
14 February 2011 — Energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens, warns a report by doctors who say kids shouldn't use the popular products.
 
The potential harms, caused mostly by too much caffeine or similar ingredients, include heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death, the authors write in the medical journal Pediatrics. They reviewed data from the government and interest groups, scientific literature, case reports and articles in popular and trade media.

Dakota Sailor, 18, a high school senior in Carl Junction, Mo., says risks linked with energy drinks aren't just hype.

Sailor had a seizure and was hospitalized for five days last year after drinking two large energy drinks — a brand he'd never tried before. He said his doctor thinks caffeine or caffeine-like ingredients may have been to blame.829 words.

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Science

Talk like a cetacean:

Researchers develop two-way, dolphin/human communications

By Danielle Venton
Wired.com
 
15 February 2011 — The Kepler Space Telescope announced a new bonanza of distant planets this month, reconfirming that solar systems, some possibly hosting life, are common in the universe.
 
So if humanity someday arrives at an extraterrestrial cocktail party, will we be ready to mingle? At the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida, researchers train for contact by trying to talk with dolphins.
 
Behavioral biologist Denise Herzing started studying free-ranging spotted dolphins in the Bahamas more than two decades ago. Over the years, she noticed some dolphins seeking human company, seemingly out of curiosity.
 
“We thought, ‘This is fascinating, let’s see if we can take it further,’” Herzing said. “Many studies communicate with dolphins, especially in captivity, using fish as a reward. But it’s rare to ask dolphins to communicate with us.” 764 words.
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Size really isn't everything!

Tiny water flea has 8,000 more genes than humans

By Alasdair Wilkins
IO9.com
 
6 February 2011 — The water flea species Daphnia pulex is barely more than a millimeter long, is completely translucent, has no clear divisions between their various body parts...and has the largest genome of any animal we've ever encountered. It has an incredible 31,000 genes in its genome, over 8,000 more than humans have. So what's such a tiny organism doing with such a huge amount of genes?
 
The most basic reason is that Daphnia pulex is involved in runaway gene duplication, as it constantly churns out copies of genes at a far greater rate than other organisms. Project leader John Colbourne explains:414 words.
 

In case you missed it ...
 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.