Above: Students take part in a protest in support of the missing students of the Ayotzinapa teachers training college Raul Isidro Burgos, outside the building of the office of Mexico’s Attorney General in Mexico City November 6, 2014. The students went missing in the town of Iguala in the south-western state of Guerrero on September 26 after clashing with police and masked men, with dozens of police being arrested in connection with a case that has sent shockwaves across Mexico. (Photo by Tomas Bravo, Reuters, Landov)

Below: A man tries to extinguish a fire set alight at the principal hall of the City Congress by members of CETEG (State Coordinator of Teachers of Guerrero teacher’s union), in Chilpancingo, November 12, 2014. CETEG members broke into the congress building during protests against the killing of the Ayotzinapa trainee teachers after the government said corrupt police in league with a local drug gang abducted and apparently murdered the students in the southwestern state of Guerrero in late September. (Photo by Jorge Dan Lopez, Reuters, Newscom)

Mount Etna erupted on Dec. 3 in spectacular fashion, unleashing plumes of hot matter as high as two miles into the Italian sky. The eruption only lasted 50 minutes, covering the surrounding villages of Linguaglossa, Francavilla di Sicilia, Milazzo, Messina, and Reggio Calabria in ashes. Mount Etna had been dormant for two years. Photograph by Marco Restivo Barcroft Media/Landov.

Kimberly Marten speaks with Terry Gross about the goals of President Vladimir Putin — 

“Putin is primarily focused on his domestic audience, not the international audience…He cares about the small group of elites that are in various circles of power in the Kremlin and immediately surrounding the Kremlin. And by his recent actions, he has shown that he no longer cares about the economic internationalists among the elites — the people who were pushing for Russia to join the World Trade Organization, the people who recognize that Russia’s economy is in stagnation and that the only way to get it out of stagnation is to diversify beyond its petroleum dependence and to really become a player in the international economy.

Putin has chosen, instead, to throw in his lot with ethnic nationalists, who are associated both with conservative elements in the Russian Orthodox Church and with the former KGB.”

Photo of President Putin signing a bill making Crimea and the city of Sevastopol part of Russia via Sergei Chirikov/Pool/EPA/Landov

From this point forward, I hereby demand and declare that all Asexuality 101 materials shall include the following information:

  • Landover Baptist is satire.  Doesn’t excuse them from being assholes, because that post is entirely missing the point of what satire is meant to be, but they’re not actually speaking about sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • That House episode does not end well.  Stop watching right now.  Just trust me on that.

Let’s see, what else am I missing…?

On May 3, 2008, the Chaiten Volcano in Chile erupted, creating a lightning storm that included this mysterious green streak. Lightning researcher Arthur Few believes it to be a “streamer” or a lightning bolt that is “effectively a ‘positive channel being pulled to a negative charge’ higher up in the ash cloud.” More here. Image: UPI Photo/Landov

Immigration police pilot ‘stop and frisk€™’-style raids in New Orleans

Federal agents have quietly launched a program aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants who have violent criminal records.

The Criminal Alien Removal Initiative, or CARI, has sparked immigration raids at grocery stores, Bible study groups and parks where immigration agents handcuff and fingerprint suspects on the spot.

The raids have created “a terrifying effect,” said Jacinta Gonzalez, an organizer with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, which authored a December report exposing the program. “We haven’t seen raids with this magnitude, this intensity and this technology in other parts of the country.”

Read more

Photo: Michael Democker/Times-Picayune/Landov

FC Barcelona preseason shedule /July 2015/

Monday 13 July: The first team will check in to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper for physical and medical testing and a warm welcome before training sessons begin.

Sunday 19 July: After a first week of training, the first team will fly to the United States for the International Champions Cup.

Wednesday 22 July: First friendly of the preseason is at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, California against the Los Angeles Galaxy at 9.00pm PT (5.00am CET).

Saturday 25 July: The second preseason friendly will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California against Manchester United at 1.00pm PT (10.00pm CET).

Wednesday 29 July: The third and final US friendly will be at FedExField in the Washington DC suburb of Landover, Maryland versus Chelsea at 8.00pm ET (2.00am CET).

The tour actually ends back on the Old Continent, when Barça will travel from the United States to Florence, Italy to play the last match of International Champions Cup against Fiorentina on August 2 at 9.00pm CET.


The Power of Renewable Energy

Today NPR put out an article on Nicaragua’s energy revolution. It was so positive that I had to share it:

Nicaragua ten years ago was totally dependent on foreign oil. The country had severe blackouts (frequently) that largely exacerbated an environment of civil war, anger and poverty.

The government started an effort to move towards renewable energy resources as they got plenty of direct sunlight, had volcanoes (and hence geothermal energy) and wind etc.

Now, in 2015, roughly half their electricity comes exclusively from renewable energy!

I’m talking about Nicaragua!

This blew my mind. It’s being estimated that in a few years 80% of their electricity will come from renewable resources. Meanwhile, the U.S. only gets 13% of electricity from renewable energy.

When you put your mind to something, who knows what’s possible.

Read more here.

(Image credit: Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images, Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images and Tim Johnson/MCT/Landov)

Calculating the cost of Calvin and Hobbes' shenanigans

How much would it cost you to have a kid like Calvin? Around $1,900 a year, if you’re lucky and don’t have too much water damage.

Calvin and Hobbes has brought us many gifts in the two decades since its creator Bill Watterson allowed the 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger to sled off into the sunset. These include the Calvin and Hobbes Fight Club theory, and now the detailed research from parody website Proceedings of the National Institute of Science (PNIS) that shows the financial cost of all the property damage Calvin inflicts on his household in a given year.

Although PNIS is a parody website like the Onion or Landover Baptist, the methods used to compile their comedic results are legitimate. In this case, they’re also impressive: the website’s creator, Matt J. Michel, painstakingly went through all four volumes of the collected Calvin and Hobbes comics and determined the financial cost of each time Calvin caused property damage. These ranged from a broken lightbulb to the, er, five separate times he flooded the house—a stunt that cost his beleaguered mom and dad $4,800.

[Read more]