Yesterday got my tax software, Turbo Tax, in the mail. No, I do not do my taxes online, just will not believe that all that information I put out like social security numbers, income, etc. is that safe from some hacker. Know quite a few people who think like I do and will avoid online tax services. Heck, one person will not even use the free services available at the IRS site! But then, I also know a few people who trust sites to secure their information and thus do their taxes online. That’s why I got the software instead of doing our taxes at the Turbo Tax site.
Have to say this, I loaded the software onto my computer. And it took longer to download updates, plus download the state information, than it did to do our taxes. Got them all done real quick last night. And since it was free, sent everything to the IRS via the efile system. Not the state though, since there was a twenty dollar charge. And since we owe Iowa nothing, will just mail in the return. Hey, helps the postal service out for sure!
Watch it wiggle. If you’ve ever eaten in a cafeteria or attended a cookout or family reunion, chances are good that your dessert and salad options included some form of Jell-O. Hundreds of recipes use Jell-O to create everything from your simple institutional-style gelatin squares to ornate designs that incorporate varied flavors, fruit and whipped toppings. Jell-O consists of four basic ingredients:
- sugar or artificial sweetener and artificial flavors
- food coloring
How can one possibly mold Jell-O into so many different shapes? The gelatin in Jell-O is what allows you to get so creative — but what exactly is gelatin, anyway? Gelatin is just a processed version of a structural protein called collagen that is found in many animals, including humans. Collagen makes up almost one-third of all the protein in the human body. Collagen is a fibrous protein that strengthens the body’s connective tissues and allows them to be elastic â€“ that is, to stretch without breaking. As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual collagen fibers become increasingly cross-linked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints from less flexible tendons, or wrinkles due to loss of skin elasticity.
Gelatin can come from the collagen in cow or pig bones, hides and connective tissues. Today, the gelatin in Jell-O is most likely to come from pigskin.
Collagen doesn’t dissolve in water in its natural form, so it must be modified to make gelatin. Manufacturers grind the body parts and treat them with either a strong acid or a strong base to dissolve the collagen. Then the pre-treated material is boiled. Controls at every step of the process ensure purity and safety. The materials are washed and filtered repeatedly. During this process, the large collagen protein ends up being partially broken down; the resulting product is a gelatin solution. That solution is chilled into a jelly-like material, cut and dried in a special chamber. At this point, the dried gelatin — about 10 percent water — is ground. If it’s going to make Jell-O, it will be ground into a fine powder.
How does this powder become the Jell-O we eat?
This is exactly how I feel! The REAL HEROS just do not get the air time that some druggie singer got.
(WSJ) — President Obama’s 2013 budget is the gift that keeps on giving—to government. One buried surprise is his proposal to triple the tax rate on corporate dividends, which believe it or not is higher than in his previous budgets.
Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.
Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.
In previous budgets, Mr. Obama proposed an increase to 23.8% on both dividends and capital gains. That’s roughly a 60% increase in the tax on investments, but at least it would maintain parity between taxes on capital gains and dividends, a principle established as part of George W. Bush’s 2003 tax cut.
With the same rate on both forms of income, the tax code doesn’t bias corporate decisions on whether to retain and reinvest profits (and allow the earnings to be capitalized into the stock price), or distribute the money as dividends at the time they are earned.
(this is a killer for those who rely on dividends to survive. Lots of older folk like us)
Okay, is this satire or the truth?
The Royal Navy is proud of its new fleet of Type 45 destroyers.
Having initially named the first two ships HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless, the Naming Committee has, after intensive pressure from Brussels, renamed them HMS Cautious and HMS Prudence.
The next five ships are to be named HMS Empathy, HMS Circumspect, HMS Nervous, HMS Timid and HMS Apologist.
Costing £850 million each, they meet the needs of the 21st century and comply with the very latest employment, health and safety, and human rights laws.
The new user-friendly crow’s nest comes equipped with wheelchair access.
Live ammunition has been replaced with paintballs to reduce the risk of anyone getting hurt and to cut down on the number of compensation claims.
Stress counsellors and lawyers will be on duty 24 hours a day and each ship will have its own industrial tribunal.
The crew ratio will be 50/50 men and women, balanced in accordance with the latest Home Office directives on race, gender, sexual preference and disability.
Sailors will have to work only a maximum of 37 hours a week in line with Brussels Health and Safety rules, even in wartime.
All the vessels will come equipped with a maternity ward and nursery, situated on the same deck as the Gay Disco.
Tobacco will be banned throughout the fleet, but cannabis will be allowed in the wardroom and ratings’ messes.
The Royal Navy is eager to shed its traditional reputation for “rum, sodomy and the lash”, so out has gone the occasional rum ration which is to be replaced with sparkling water.
Although sodomy remains, it has now been extended to include all ratings under 18.
The lash will still be available but only on request.
Cyborgs, Software Spies and Shadow Wars: Our 5 Years (Un)covering the Hidden Pentagon
I’d like to pretend there was some master plan, that the site you see before you crept out of our skulls fully formed. But the truth is, when Sharon Weinberger and I launched Danger Room five years ago this week, we were just winging it. We wanted to write about the things we thought were cool: the Pentagon’s super-soldier project; China’s cyborg pigeons; the Navy’s puke rays and lightning guns. So we did.
Sure, we had a few explicit goals. Most of them were quickly abandoned. We slowed down the cracked-out pace. We stopped covering martial arts and quit posting music videos just for the fuck of it.
But a few things stuck. We looked on the costs and the politics and the strategies that came with the latest gear; the internet already had plenty of stroke sites for military hardware. We never accepted the idea that a “blog” couldn’t have original reporting. We maintained a sense of the absurd, to keep the steady stream of killer robots and shady defense contractors and Third World invasions from turning into a crushing gloom. And, without ever explicitly giving ourselves a direction, we kept returning to the parts of the defense world that were largely obscured from the public view: the remote labs, the secret experiments, the mercenaries, the manhunters, the i
Islamics are pure evil! Lower than animals! They should be covered in pig fat and burned alive. ALL of them!
(Telegraph) — Gunmen from the Islamist al-Shabaab militia have routinely abducted teenage girls to work as servants on the frontline and forced them to marry fighters, according to a new report documenting the abuse of children in Somalia’s civil war.
The report by Human Rights Watch also found that as fighting has intensified over the past two years, al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted boys as young as 10 for action on the frontline to join its dwindling ranks. Whole classrooms have been forced at gunpoint to leave school and fight.
Researchers found that after several weeks of harsh training child recruits are sent for action where they often serve as “cannon fodder” to protect adult fighters.
“It is a new, disturbing pattern using children as human shields,” said Laetitia Bader, one of the principal authors and researchers of the report.
Boys who escaped camps were either mown down or faced long and terrifying journeys to sanctuary elsewhere in Somalia or across the border in Kenya.
Girls who resisted capture can face the most appalling consequences, Human Rights Watch found. A 16-year-old girl who refused to marry an al-Shabaab commander who was three times her age was killed by his men and beheaded. Her head was brought back to the school as a warning to others.
(yet, everyone from our president to some idiot in some mosque keep telling us that islam is a religion of peace? what a bunch of bullshit!)
What if you could actually capture lightning? What would it look like? You could try running some acrylic slabs through a particle accelerator and let five million volts of electricity work its magic.
Artist Todd Johnson has been doing just that, and the works of art created are nothing short of stunning.
The artwork starts with hitting the slabs with the particle accelerator, but it doesn’t really turn into the art that you see above until it comes out the other side and Johnson hits the acrylic with a sharp object to release the trapped energy.
Check out the video below at approximately 1:43 to see the results of the tap. The electricity can be seen discharging from the acrylic in a series of bright flashes, ripples and bursts. Perhaps we could consider this part the performance art piece, and the resulting acrylic with incredibly detailed feathering and veins to be the take away.
Johnson can even manipulate the feathering to some degree by placing a lead barrier over any parts of the material he doesn’t want to be affected by the electrical volt, thus creating pre-determined shapes. Finish all of the pieces with LED lighting from the sides to light up the crevices and you’ve got art.
Read more and watch the video
How Much is Romney Paying Drudge?
Now Drudge Goes After Santorum In A Way a Progressive Would – Mocking the Concept of Satan
“If somehow or another because you’re a person of faith and you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president,” Santorum said.
Excerpts of Santorum’s speech were splashed across the conservative leaning Drudge Report for much of Tuesday.
Santorum dismissed the Drudge article as “absurd.”
“If they want to go ahead and dig up old speeches to a religious group they can go right ahead and do so. I’m going to stay on message. I’m going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about,” Santorum said to CNN.
When pressed further if he believed Satan was attacking America, as he said in his 2008 speech, Santorum insisted the subject is not on the minds of voters.
“Guys these are questions that are not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today,” Santorum said.
“What we’re talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That’s what my speeches are about. That’s we’re going to talk about in this campaign,” he added.
With Santorum now leading several national polls and moving within striking distance of two game-changing victories in next week’s Arizona and Michigan primaries, the rising GOP contender has seen his recent speeches subjected to increased scrutiny.
In a speech to a small crowd of supporters in Phoenix Tuesday evening, Santorum said he can handle the pressure.
“I’ll defend everything I say,” Santorum said.
The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See
Daniel Kish has been sightless since he was a year old. Yet he can mountain bike. And navigate the wilderness alone. And recognize a building as far away as 1,000 feet. How? The same way bats can see in the dark.
The first thing Daniel Kish does, when I pull up to his tidy gray bungalow in Long Beach, California, is make fun of my driving. “You’re going to leave it that far from the curb?” he asks. He’s standing on his stoop, a good 10 paces from my car. I glance behind me as I walk up to him. I am, indeed, parked about a foot and a half from the curb.
The second thing Kish does, in his living room a few minutes later, is remove his prosthetic eyeballs. He does this casually, like a person taking off a smudged pair of glasses. The prosthetics are thin convex shells, made of acrylic plastic, with light brown irises. A couple of times a day they need to be cleaned. “They get gummy,” he explains. Behind them is mostly scar tissue. He wipes them gently with a white cloth and places them back in.
Kish was born with an aggressive form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the retinas. To save his life, both of his eyes were removed by the time he was 13 months old. Since his infancy — Kish is now 44 — he has been adapting to his blindness in such remarkable ways that some people have wondered if he’s playing a grand practical joke. But Kish, I can confirm, is completely blind.
He knew my car was poorly parked because he produced a brief, sharp click with his tongue. The sound waves he created traveled at a speed of more than 1,000 feet per second, bounced off every object around him, and returned to his ears at the same rate, though vastly decreased in volume.
But not silent. Kish has trained himself to hear these slight echoes and to interpret their meaning. Standing on his front stoop, he could visualize, with an extraordinary degree of precision, the two pine trees on his front lawn, the curb at the edge of his street, and finally, a bit too far from that curb, my rental car. Kish has given a name to what he does — he calls it “FlashSonar” — but it’s more commonly known by its scientific term, echolocation.
Bats, of course, use echolocation. Beluga whales too. Dolphins. And Daniel Kish. He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails. He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner. Essentially, though in a way that is unfamiliar to nearly any other human being, Kish can see.