Archive for September 2012

Where’s all the Bacon going?   2 comments



10 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised By The Global Bacon Shortage

The world is running out of pork and bacon, according to the Britain’s National Pig Association. The signs were always there.

The world’s imminent bacon shortage reportedly stems from the global drought that threatened livestock-feeding corn and soybean crops.

It’s hard to be surprised by the news. Bacon enthusiasts have been testing the global supply for years. Maybe the shortage actually has something to do with…


1. This Sandwich



2. This “Starry Night” Tribute



3. These Novelty Items



4. This Taco



5. This Woman



6. This Portland Doughnut Shop



7. This Dessert



8. These Cocktails



9. This Fashion Trend




10. This Bacon Sundae


Posted September 25, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Anderson Cooper endorses Halifax cat for mayor   2 comments




A cat vying to be the next mayor of Halifax now has a powerful backer.

CNN host Anderson Cooper announced his endorsement of Tuxedo Stan on his show, AC360 Monday night.

“We usually don’t take sides politically, but I think we’ll go ahead an make an unofficial endorsement for one candidate for mayor of Halifax. His name is Tuxedo Stan,” Cooper announced during a segment called the RidicuList.

Tuxedo Stan has been gaining international attention since his campaign kicked off earlier this summer. His owners offered him up as a candidate as a way to force other candidates to address the growing wild cat population in Nova Scotia’s capital city.

Halifax has laws in place to ensure dogs are spayed and neutered, but no such legislation exists for cats. All profits from Stan’s campaign are going towards fixing wild cats.

“I want to go to a Canadian dinner party as soon as possible, just sitting around the table, next thing you know, your cat is running for mayor,” joked Cooper.

Tuxedo Stan can’t actually run in the election. The law requires all candidates to have birth certificates. That hasn’t stopped his followers from scooping up Stan paraphernalia, which is selling out across the city.

Cooper offered the furry candidate an alternative to explore his political aspirations: in the United States, Stubbs the cat has been the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for several years. There’s also a cat running for senate in Virginia.


Here are some pictures I took a couple of years ago of  Free Cats hanging around Halifax harbour.  Oh by the way, the seagulls in Halifax are gigantic. 





Posted September 25, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Aliens will ‘Grab’ Ireland in 2013   Leave a comment


A little-known, forthcoming  UFO/alien movie is brought to our attention in the October 2012 hard-copy edition of Empire magazine. Its title: Grabbers!

“Grabbers sounds like an insanely fun monster movie about a sleepy Irish coastal town that is invaded by octopus-like space aliens,” says Empire.

The twist, though, is that the aliens are allergic to alcohol, meaning the whole town needs to get drunk to effectively fight off the space ‘Grabbers’, which, according to director Jon Wright, are “reminiscent of arseholes, cocks and vaginas.”

“[It’s] all very weird and uncomfortable,” says Wright. “When [the Grabbers] come close, you think, ‘Ahh, I don’t want that thing on my face!’, which, of course, is where it ends up.”

The film’s star, Richard Coyle, tells Empire: “I’m playing an alcoholic but it’s not a film about alcoholism. It’s a fine line, I know, but Pretty woman isn’t a film about prostitution, is it? The script is very funny. The Irish do like to have a drink and a laugh, but this
film is not saying, ‘What a bunch of pissheads!’ It’s about an island community of lovely people.”








Posted September 25, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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China’s first aircraft carrier enters service   Leave a comment




China’s first aircraft carrier has entered into service, the defence ministry says.

The 300m (990ft) Liaoning – named after the province where it was refitted – is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine.

For now the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training.

But China says the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend state interests.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said the ship would have “a mighty and deep significance”. It would be “a cause for patriotic passion”, he said at a ceremony attended by top Chinese leaders at Dalian Port.

The delivery of the aircraft carrier comes at a time when Japan and other countries in the region have expressed concern at China’s growing naval strength.

China and Japan are embroiled in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Several South-east Asian nations are also at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

It also comes weeks ahead of a party congress expected to see the transition of power to a new generation of Chinese leaders.

The Liaoning was formally handed over to the navy at a ceremony in Dalian, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

“Having the aircraft carrier enter the ranks will be of important significance in raising the overall fighting capacity of our nation’s navy to a modern level,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

The vessel will “increase [China’s] capacity to defend, develop its capacity to co-operate on the high seas in dealing with non-traditional security threats and will be effective in defending the interests of state sovereignty, security and development”, it added.

The official commissioning of the country’s first aircraft carrier signals China’s status as a rising power, says the BBC’s Damian Grammaticas in Beijing.

The country’s Communist leaders are spending billions modernising their armed forces so they can project military power far beyond China’s borders.

But China does not yet have a fleet of aircraft or pilots ready for carrier operations. So the Liaoning will be used to test and train them, a task that will probably take several years, our correspondent adds.

The Liaoning, formerly known as the Varyag, was constructed in the 1980s for the Soviet navy but was never completed.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Varyag sat in Ukraine’s dockyards.

The world’s carriers

  • US: 11 in service, with 3 under construction
  • Russia: One, the Admiral Kuznetsov
  • UK: One, HMS Illustrious which only carries helicopters – two under construction
  • China: One, the Liaoning
  • France: One, the Charles de Gaulle
  • India: One, the Viraat, formerly known as HMS Hermes, but converting another, the Admiral Gorshkov, into the Vikramaditya. A third is under construction
  • Italy: Two, the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Cavour
  • Spain: One, the Principe De Asturias

A Chinese company with links to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) bought the ship just as Soviet warships were being cut for scrap.

It said it wanted to turn the Varyag into a floating casino in Macau and in 2001 the ship was towed to China.

The Chinese military confirmed in June 2011 that it was being refitted to serve as the nation’s first aircraft carrier.

Analysts say it will take years to outfit the carrier with aircraft and make it fully operational. But Chinese officials say that the Liaoning advances the country’s military modernisation.

“The development of aircraft carriers is an important part of China’s national defence modernisation, in particular its naval forces, and this aircraft carrier is an essential stepping stone toward its own more advanced aircraft carriers in the future,” China’s Rear Admiral Yang Yi wrote in the state-run China Daily newspaper.

The carrier will be mostly used “for scientific research and training missions”
so China could build “a more advanced aircraft carrier platform in the future”,
he added.

Two U.S. Nimitz Class carriers docked in Norfolk, Virginia

The United States Navy also operates 9 Amphibious Assault carriers capable of operating up to 30 Harrier fighter jets.  So in reality the U.S. operates 20 aircraft carriers.

Wasp Class amphibious assault carrier


Flat-top ships of 10,000+ tonnes displacement

Country In service
Source: IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships
US 20
UK Two
India Two
Japan Two (helicopters only)
Italy Two
Spain Two
Russia One
China One
Brazil One
France One
Thailand One
South Korea One (helicopters only)

Posted September 25, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Gigantic digital warehouses with an insatiable thirst for electricity   1 comment



NY Times

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jeff Rothschild’s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt.

The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Thinking fast, Mr. Rothschild, the company’s engineering chief, took some employees on an expedition to buy every fan they could find — “We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area,” he said — to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down.

That was in early 2006, when Facebook had a quaint 10 million or so users and the one main server site. Today, the information generated by nearly one billion people requires outsize versions of these facilities, called data centers, with rows and rows of servers spread over hundreds of thousands of square feet, and all with industrial cooling systems.

They are a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of data centers that now exist to support the overall explosion of digital information. Stupendous amounts of data are set in motion each day as, with an innocuous click or tap, people download movies on iTunes, check credit card balances through Visa’s Web site, send Yahoo e-mail with files attached, buy products on Amazon, post on Twitter or read newspapers online.



A year long examination by The New York Times has revealed that this foundation of the information industry is sharply at odds with its image of sleek efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found.

To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government’s Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area’s top stationary diesel polluters.




Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to estimates industry experts compiled for The Times. Data centers in the United States account for one-quarter to one-third of that load, the estimates show.

“It’s staggering for most people, even people in the industry, to understand the numbers, the sheer size of these systems,” said Peter Gross, who helped design hundreds of data centers. “A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.”

Energy efficiency varies widely from company to company. But at the request of The Times, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed energy use by data centers and found that, on average, they were using only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations.

A server is a sort of bulked-up desktop computer, minus a screen and keyboard, that contains chips to process data. The study sampled about 20,000 servers in about 70 large data centers spanning the commercial gamut: drug companies, military contractors, banks, media companies and government agencies.

“This is an industry dirty secret, and no one wants to be the first to say mea culpa,” said a senior industry executive who asked not to be identified to protect his company’s reputation. “If we were a manufacturing industry, we’d be out of business straightaway.”

These physical realities of data are far from the mythology of the Internet: where lives are lived in the “virtual” world and all manner of memory is stored in “the cloud.”

The inefficient use of power is largely driven by a symbiotic relationship between users who demand an instantaneous response to the click of a mouse and companies that put their business at risk if they fail to meet that expectation.

Even running electricity at full throttle has not been enough to satisfy the industry. In addition to generators, most large data centers contain banks of huge, spinning flywheels or thousands of lead-acid batteries — many of them similar to automobile batteries — to power the computers in case of a grid failure as brief as a few hundredths of a second, an interruption that could crash the servers.

Google Data Center



“It’s a waste,” said Dennis P. Symanski, a senior researcher at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit industry group. “It’s too many insurance policies.”

A few companies say they are using extensively re-engineered software and cooling systems to decrease wasted power. Among them are Facebook and Google, which also have redesigned their hardware. Still, according to recent disclosures, Google’s data centers consume nearly 300 million watts and Facebook’s about 60 million watts.

Cern Data Centre


Bytes by the Billions

Wearing an FC Barcelona T-shirt and plaid Bermuda shorts, Andre Tran strode through a Yahoo data center in Santa Clara where he was the site operations manager. Mr. Tran’s domain — there were servers assigned to fantasy sports and photo sharing, among other things — was a fair sample of the countless computer rooms where the planet’s sloshing tides of data pass through or come to rest.

Aisle after aisle of servers, with amber, blue and green lights flashing silently, sat on a white floor punctured with small round holes that spit out cold air. Within each server were the spinning hard drives that store the data. The only hint that the center was run by Yahoo, whose name was nowhere in sight, could be found in a tangle of cables colored in the company’s signature purple and yellow.

“There could be thousands of people’s e-mails on these,” Mr. Tran said, pointing to one storage aisle. “People keep old e-mails and attachments forever, so you need a lot of space.”

Jeremy Burton, an expert in data storage, said that when he worked at a computer technology company 10 years ago, the most data-intensive customer he dealt with had about 50,000 gigabytes in its entire database. (Data storage is measured in bytes. The letter N, for example, takes 1 byte to store. A gigabyte is a billion bytes of information.)

Today, roughly a million gigabytes are processed and stored in a data center during the creation of a single 3-D animated movie, said Mr. Burton, now at EMC, a company focused on the management and storage of data.

Just one of the company’s clients, the New York Stock Exchange, produces up to 2,000 gigabytes of data per day that must be stored for years, he added.

EMC and the International Data Corporation together estimated that more than 1.8 trillion gigabytes of digital information were created globally last year.

“It is absolutely a race between our ability to create data and our ability to store and manage data,” Mr. Burton said.


Posted September 24, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Cat resting on a park bench   Leave a comment



Posted September 24, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Dirty Jobs Down Under: Snake-Away in Adelaide   Leave a comment


I caught the episode of Dirty Jobs: Down Under where Mike was working for Snake-Away.  It is a company in Adelaide, Australia that collects poisonous snakes that slither into swimming pools, homes and mainly garages.  An Eastern Brown snake chasing mice made its way into the house of an elderly couple.  The second most venomous snake in the world landed up in the couples pantry.  The old woman sat up on the kitchen island as Mike and the Snake-Away guy lassoed the snake and bagged it.  The elderly couple didn’t seem panicked or overly concerned.  Just par for the course living in Adelaide.  If that snake bites you, you have 15 minutes to get to a hospital or have the paramedics administer antivenom.  The paramedics get caught in traffic, you die!

At one point Mike said why don’t they sell the place and move to North Dakota.  Good advice, too many snakes for my liking.


Eastern Brown Snake

Mike Rowe has kicked off his new Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs: Down Under, and this week he faced deadly brown snakes.

There are a lot of snakes in Australia, so it doesn’t seem odd that there would be a job for someone to go around to people’s houses, extracting these deadly brown snakes from their homes.  And, in Adelaide, Australia, there are more venomous snakes than in any other town in the world. The most dangerous is the Eastern brown snake—the second most deadly snake in the world. To catch it, one must first be certified.

Snake-Away gets 80 calls each day during the summer to remove snakes from people’s homes. Mike Rowe “interned” with the Snake-Away professionals for this episode. Before they even got started, Ian, the manager and owner of Snake-Away, was bitten by a non-venomous snake he had taken out for Mike to hold—not a great omen to start the show with, to be sure.

The rather interesting thing about the brown snake is that, even though there are obviously a lot of them, as a species native to Australia, they are protected. So, after they are caught, they are not killed; they are simply re-released, typically in a non-residential area close to the catch site, even though, as Ian said, Australia is starting to get too many of them.

“Job security,” Rowe observed.

Dirty Jobs or Deadly Jobs?

Some Dirty Jobs are not necessarily as much “dirty” as they are “dangerous” or even “deadly,” and this week’s job would certainly qualify. Rowe is undoubtedly enthusiastic, but he is not an expert by any means in situations such as catching the second most deadly snake in the world. When one must be certified to catch these snakes, why is Mike Rowe doing it for an hour-long TV show? Snakes do not, one would assume, care about being on television, and probably do not recognize Rowe as being an entertainer. Therefore, it is unlikely that they are going to be inclined to cut him any special slack when deciding to strike. So, why risk it?

Ratings, of course; earning potential for “deadly” jobs is apparently more lucrative than for “dirty” ones. So, when Rowe makes a “rookie mistake” as he did in this episode, one that could literally cost him—or someone else—his life, well, it’s all done in the name of exciting television, assuming everyone survives.

Good luck Down Under, Mike; stay safe.



Posted September 23, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Iran and that A-Bomb   Leave a comment


A limited surgical airstrike by Israel against Iranian nuclear facilities would at best leave only a small dent in the system.  A military expert wrote a while back that an all-out unrestricted American bombing campaign with a duration of at least 2 months is the only way the Iranian nuclear infrastructure could be wiped out.  I don’t think Obama wants to open that Pandora’s Box.  Therefore cyber and other types of sabotage seems to be the Wests approach in dealing with the Mullah’s potential bombs.

Iran nuclear: Germany’s Siemens denies sabotage claim

German engineering company Siemens has denied allegations that it planted explosive devices inside nuclear equipment destined for Iran.

Siemens said it has “no business ties to the Iranian nuclear programme”.

An Iranian MP said the devices had been discovered before they could explode.

Iran is under UN sanctions and the MP did not say where the equipment had come from. Tehran is engaged in a standoff with Western countries which suspect it is building a nuclear bomb.



The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has rebuked Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Iran is only six or seven months from having “90%” of what it needs to make a nuclear bomb.

He has urged the US to draw a “red line” which, if crossed, would lead to military intervention.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes, and warned that it will retaliate if it comes under attack.

A senior commander with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday that such a conflict would “turn into World War III”.

Brig Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran’s al-Aram TV that “whether the Zionist regime [Israel] attacks with or without US knowledge, then we will definitely attack US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan”.

On Sunday, Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of the presiding board of the Iranian parliament, accused the IAEA head Yukiya Amano of passing confidential information about Iran’s nuclear programme to Israel.



Mystery deepens

The charges against Siemens were made a day earlier by the head of the Iranian parliament’s security committee.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Iranian authorities believed the equipment “was supposed to explode after being put to work, in order to dismantle all our systems”.

“But the wisdom of our experts thwarted the enemy conspiracy.”

Mr Boroujerdi said the explosives were planted at a Siemens factory and the company had to take responsibility.

The Munich-based German firm denied the charge. It said its nuclear division has had no business links with Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“Siemens rejects the allegations and stresses that we have no business ties to the Iranian nuclear program,” spokesman Alexander Machowetz said.



The Iranian accusation raises some intriguing questions, says the BBC’s Steve Evans in Berlin.

They include, he says:

  • Has the Iranian MP simply got it wrong?
  • Is Iran buying Siemens equipment through a third party?
  • Is there something more underhand going on, with sabotaged equipment being sold with the secret approval of Western intelligence agencies?

In June 2010, a virus – nicknamed Stuxnet – was found to have infected computer systems at Iranian nuclear plants.

It, too, was connected to a Siemens product but the company denied all knowledge.

Unconfirmed reports linked the virus to a government agency, perhaps in the US or Israel.

The latest allegations deepen the mystery, says our Berlin correspondent.

The IAEA has been coming under increasing attack by Iranian officials.



In the latest allegations, Mr Jahangirzadeh was quoted by Iran’s English-language Press TV as saying: “[Yukiya] Amano’s repeated trips to Tel Aviv and asking the Israeli officials’ views about Iran’s nuclear activities indicates that Iran’s nuclear information has been disclosed to the Zionist regime and other enemies of the Islamic Republic.”

Mr Amano has made only one visit to Israel in his capacity as IAEA chief, according to Reuters news agency.

Days earlier, Iran’s nuclear chief alleged the IAEA may have been infiltrated by “terrorists and saboteurs”.

Fereydun Abbasi-Davani said explosions had cut power lines to a uranium enrichment facility last month shortly before a visit by IAEA inspectors.




Posted September 23, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Obama promised Death Panels   Leave a comment


Homer Simpson votes for Mitt Romney.


Posted September 23, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Retro 1970’s Disco Action   Leave a comment


Kc and the Sunshine Band live in 1975 on the hit 70’s show “Midnight Special” performing they’re hit single “Thats the Way (I like it)”     It also seems that they are on a major coke rush.





Posted September 23, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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