Mandy Moore Engaged to Ryan Adams (Photos)

Mandy Moore Engaged
Singer and actress Mandy Moore is officially off the market after becoming engaged to singer Ryan Adams. The exciting news was confirmed by her publicist, Jillian Fowkes.
Mandy and Ryan have been seeing each other on and off since March 2008. This may be a little confusing because it sounded very much like Mandy and ex-boyfriend DJ AM had rekindled their union after the tragic plane crash that he and fellow musician Travis Barker survived. Now we’re told that she was just standing by her friend’s side.
Ryan will be leaving his band, The Cardinals, this March, deciding to devote all of his time to writing. Adams is ready to release a series of poems and stories titled Infinity Blues.
Moore has a new CD Amanda Leigh, which is set to drop in May.
More photos below.
Mandy Moore and Ryan AdamsRyan Adams and Mandy Moore


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Nicollette Sheridan Out At "Desperate Housewives"

LOS ANGELES — ABC says Nicollette Sheridan is leaving "Desperate Housewives."

The 45-year-old Sheridan plays vamp Edie Britt on the comedy-drama about domestic life on Wisteria Lane. The network did not say Wednesday when Sheridan's role would end.

Her departure was first made public by TV Guide magazine.

A call to Sheridan's publicist was not immediately returned.

"Desperate Housewives," a top 20 show and one of ABC's most successful series, stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria Parker.


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This Valentines Day, Find Romance In Nature: Love Will Follow

fish trap image
Fish Trap

Images. Better sometimes than words. More below.

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Wading Pool

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summer holiday image
Summer Holiday


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Ilya Dall sues Roberto Alomar for HIV AIDS: Dall Alomar lawsuit

Roberto Alomar was sued by his former girlfriend, Ilya Dall, for not telling her he has HIV positive and AIDS. Dall was Alomar’s live-in girlfriend for 3 years.

Alomar used to be the major league second baseman. Alomar was a 12-time All-Star. Dall is suing Alomar for $15 million. Around Feb 15 2006, a disease specialist did a spinal tap on Alomar and discovered he had full blown AIDS.

Dall Alomar lawsuit news link.

Updated on Feb 12.

Roberto “Robbie” Alomar has denied he is sick with AIDS. Alomar claimed Ilya Dall was slandering him with lies. Alomar claimed he is healthy. Alomar’s friends have also started to support him.

Alomar has a new girlfriend, Maripily Rivera. There is a photo of Maripily Rivera at the link.


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The Spring Equinox and Astrology

Spring Equinox and Astrolgoy,
The sun enters Aries at the moment of the spring (or vernal) equinox, usually between March 20th and March 23rd. Astrologically, this marks the beginning of a new astrological year; a time for honouring the past and looking to the future with renewed hope and anticipation.

First Day of Spring

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and Spring is a time of new beginnings. It evokes thoughts of renewal and new hopes for a better future. New life is sprouting from the soil; seeds are beginning to germinate deep within the earth. Fresh, tender sprouts emerging from the earth are an antidote to the long bare winter, spring lambs will be playing in the fields.

An equinox is the moment the sun passes over the equator. This event occurs twice a year around March 20th and September 23rd. The word “equinox” derives from the Latin word meaning “equal night”. The word “vernal” means “spring” in Latin. The equinoxes are the two days each year when the sun’s height below and above the celestial equator is equal for every location on earth.

The Spring or Vernal Equinox

During the March equinox, the length of daylight is about twelve hours.

The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring in many cultures. In the northern hemisphere it is referred to as the spring or vernal equinox, in the southern hemisphere it is referred to as the autumnal or fall equinox. So for some parts of the world, the final frost is months past, for others it is still months away.

Significance of the Spring Equinox in Astrology

The essential elements of the season are universal: in all countries, towns and cities, on land and in the sea, life is beginning again. Spring marks a time for renewal, repair and cleansing. Astrologically, the cosmos encourages the start of new projects, travel, adventures and new life. It’s a great time too, to make personal resolutions for the future.

For all signs of the zodiac, the Spring is a great time for new beginnings. In relationships it may mean resolving past problems, rekindling old friendships or making joint long-term commitments. The signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius might see changes in relationships in the spring.

In finance, it might be a good time to sort out joint funds, set new goals, open new savings accounts. The signs Virgo and Pisces might see more focus on this area in the Spring.

Social and leisure interests are enhanced this spring for the signs Sagittarius, Gemini, Scorpio, Aries and Pisces. It’s a great time to start new hobbies sign up for a class, join a new club or to get together with friends who share similar interests.

Symbolism of Spring

Spring is a symbol of fertility and creativity. According to some myths, the ancient goddess Eostre’s reign over the earth began in the spring. Her symbols were eggs and rabbits (all fertility symbols) and her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox; new life and fertility a key symbol of this celebration.

Related Articles:

Spring Horoscopes for theFire signs: Aries, Sagittarius and Leo

Spring Horoscopes for theAir signs: Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

Spring Horoscopes for the Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

The copyright of the article The Spring Equinox and Astrology in Astrology is owned by Carole Somerville. Permission to republish The Spring Equinox and Astrology in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


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2009-01-07-pcs1976-571-web by Ryan Ward Thompson.
Production stills of "Post Christmas Spectacular 1976", produced in Chicago by Brain Surgeon Theater at Trap Door Theatre. Photographed on January 7th, 2009 by Ryan Ward Thompson,

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Allegheny Power

Allegheny Power Co. has been working on local power lines to reduce the amount of residents affected by power outages throughout Weirton and surrounding service areas.

With about 1.5 million customers in four states, Allegheny Power is working to install and replace devices for manual or automatic interruption of electric current called cutouts.

Allegheny Power spokesman Allan Staggers said the cutouts works like a fuse to sectionalize the lines allowing outages to be isolated.

"In the event that there is a power outage, we can restore power to a portion of the customers while our crews work on the isolated area," said Staggers.

Staggers stated that this was an initiative taking place across the Allegheny Power service areas so that fewer people are affected. He said if fewer customers are affected overall, it is easier for crews to restore power in a timely manner.

Crews have been working on Pennsylvania Avenue over the past few days and are expected to continue work throughout the city.


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Celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday at the Library or Online

The Library of Congress is doing a great deal to raise awareness for itself as an institution, and that includes an ongoing technology push that carries over into the online realm. The latest exhibition at the Library of Congress is called With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition, and it opens to the public on Feb. 12.

The purpose of this exhibition is to offer additional insight into the 16th president, culminating several events that are taking place this year, from Lincoln’s 200th birthday to the observation of President’s Day, to Obama’s presidency, which Obama himself has used on several instances to honor his fellow citizen of Illinois.

The Library of Congress actually combines many of its on-site exhibits with online features, and it’s no different with Lincoln’s exhibition. Several Lincoln-related artifacts will be available in the digital sense, at on-site kiosks as well as on the Library’s website, which will have Lincoln’s exhibit featured here. The Library also has a specific initiative for combining the on-site and online worlds with personalized “passports” that key in at various exhibits and are linked to your email address, so you can carry on your on-site experience at home when you sign back into the website. From there, you can further explore exhibits, see details you may have missed on-site, and even receive recommendations for other content you might find interesting.

All of this comes in addition to the other technology-driven initiatives coming from the Library of Congress, which includes a partnership with photo-sharing site Flickr, among other things. The Library of Congress relies a great deal on the private sector, from a partnership with Microsoft for providing the technology behind the software running interactive on-site exhibits to the company that provides hosting for the Library’s data storage.

What that translates into is far more accessibility on the Library’s part, as it becomes more and more able to turn to the web for marketing, support and media-sharing. This comes in the form of stand-alone applications as well as integrated media-sharing options, which is a dual-ended strategy that will hopefully pay off in the end. Especially as education becomes a priority for investment and development under President Obama’s new administration, having institutions such as the Library of Congress seek more integrated ways in which to reach out to children (of all ages) is a promising move for similar programs online.


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Dollhouse Is Stretching Eliza Dushku's Acting Ability

Eliza Dushku is having the time of her lives, playing Echo, the woman with a million programmable personalities. She talked to reporters about Dollhouse, and we asked her about Joss Whedon's five-year plan. Spoilers!

In Dollhouse, which starts Friday at 9 on Fox, Dushku plays a woman named Echo whose brain has been erased to make way for whatever personality and skills a paying client wants her to have. But Echo is starting to keep some of her memories and recognize her fellow mindwiped puppets, which is considered a "glitch in the system."

Dushku said the show is a metaphor for her own life, where people are constantly expecting her to be different people in different situations. It's also a metaphor for objectification.

I asked Dushku where she sees her character in four or five years. Does Dushku still think she'll have new places to go with the character in Dollhouseseason five? She said absolutely. After all, most people evolve so much in just a single day. People are constantly evolving, so there are plenty of places to with a character like Echo who's able to become different characters and is evolving on her own as well.

She added:

Apparently from day one, Joss has had a five year plan for the show... what's so exciting about this show is, it's so open for endless possibilities, because you're dealing with so much, it's mankind. [Our] thoughts and wishes and desires are there by the millions and the trillions.

In Dollhouse, Dushku's character has an active named Boyd Langton, who's supposed to keep her safe during her "engagements" with paying clients. But Dushku says "it's obviously not a perfect system," and things do tend to go wrong during her gigs.

Playing Echo has allowed Dushku to "play and jump around in between these characters, every week and sometimes multiple times in one show." She says she has an "appetite" to experience different emotions, and Josh has given her "the ability to show different colors." Her favorite characters, so far, have included a blind cult member (who's sent inside a cult with cameras in her retinas.) And a "prissy" 50-year-old woman who's put into Dushku's body.

She's also enjoyed getting to play some scenes opposite Tahmoh Penikett, who plays FBI agent Paul Ballard, who's investigating the Dollhouse.

The show only gets better as it goes along, says Dushku, because Joss Whedon and his writers are like a novelist, building the story as they go along. In future installments, you'll learn more about the history of the Dollhouse, including how long it's been around and what happened to past "Dolls."

Dollhouse is Dushku's first time as an executive producer of a show, in addition to starring. It sounds like she's pretty active in the writers' room, helping to break stories. And she says she's also involved in day-to-day stuff like morale on the set and making sure the crew's voices are heard. She's been way more hands-on than with anything else she's worked on, but luckily everybody involved with it wants it to succeed as badly as she and Joss do.

In some episodes, you'll find that clients who hire Dushku's character, Echo, customize her in ways that they may end up regretting. Sometimes what people think they desire isn't what they really desire, but they don't find out until it's too late, says Dushku.

Dushku says she's aware she has a big lesbian fan following from her days on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with its subtext-rich Buffy-Faith frenemy relationship. Dollhouse almost had a gay-themed episode, but that script didn't make it into the first 13 episodes. "I'm already thinking up ideas for the next 13 episodes," she added. "I'm dying to get back to the writers' room and tell more stories."


Your Ad Here Home of the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP, and CLEP

For candidates of the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, AP, and CLEP, should be the first destination in their online preparation journey. Not only does the site, being the home of these tests, provide official testing information but it is also the place where students can practice online for the tests.


• Information on the tests and how to register (online registration tool for the SAT)

• SAT question of the day, official SAT practice questions, and official SAT practice test with answer explanations

• Practice questions for the PSAT/NMSQT (critical reading, math, and writing skills)

• Study/test-taking tips and previously administered free-response questions for the AP

• Demo software to practice computer-based CLEP

Site URL:


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Paula Abdul Jewelry Collection

Paula Abdul is a Grammy Award-winning American pop-singer, dancer, two-time Emmy Award-winning choreographer, actress and television personality.
American Idol judge launched the Paula Abdul Jewelry Collection April 21 on QVC, which nearly 34,000 units were ordered.

The line is an assorted mix of necklaces, charms, bracelets and earrings that features different metals, textures and finishes designed by Paula Abdul. Delicate charms are a important point of the collection and features a meaningful messages and symbols that inspire a positive attitude.
Paula Abdul said, she wanted to share her creative vision and passion for jewelries with people everywhere and her piece be a source of inspiration, that whomever is wearing the jewelry feels the joy of experienced while creating it.
But what is this she’s wearing at the Grammy Awards?
Paula Abdul Jewelry Bling

Grammy award-winning artist and American Idol judge Paula Abdul presents Forever Your Girl, an HSN exclusive collection of jewelry, handbags, and accessories that captures her spirit and fashion sense. Each season, Paula designs and distributes jewelry for the aspiring singers on American Idol as a keepsake of their experience.


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The Stimulus Package and SAT Scores

A new research study links performance on SAT scores to lead poisoning in the home. In the same week that this research was released, Republican leadership in Washington attacked $100 million allocated for lead paint removal in President Obama's economic recovery package as "wasteful" spending.

The research, which will published later this winter in the journal Environmental Research, demonstrates a link between the fall and rise of the average SAT scores and variation in prevalence of mental retardation to the fall of blood lead levels. It further labels lead paint hazards in the home as the greatest risk for childhood lead poisoning in the United States (More on the study is available at

Aside from the obvious health benefits, the $100 million proposed for lead removal from homes would accomplish the very objectives that the stimulus seeks -- creating thousands of jobs and reversing the economic impacts for low-income families. The program would remove lead paint from nearly 10,000 apartments and homes and create nearly 3,000 jobs. And at the same time it would protect hundreds of thousands of children from a preventable, and yet devastating disease.

Am I missing something here? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe childhood lead poisoning as the most preventable environmental disease of young children, and yet hundreds of thousands of children are harmed by lead primarily through exposure to contaminated dust and soil from lead-based paint in older housing. Windows are one of the most significant sources of lead poisoning in children because they contain high levels of lead paint, and their use generates lead-contaminated dust. While lead-based paint for residential use is no longer manufactured, layers of old paint are still on the walls and window frames of homes.

An estimated 38 million housing units have lead paint, with 24 million having significant lead hazards in the form of deteriorated lead paint, contaminated dust or contaminated bare soil. More than five million of these units are home to children less than six years old -- the age group most at risk both because of their developing brains and their hand-to-mouth activity. Forty-one percent of low-income housing has lead paint hazards, compared with 18 percent of middle and upper income housing.

At the more common, lower levels, lead poisoning affects cognitive ability, including arithmetic skills, reading, nonverbal reasoning, and short term memory. It causes subtle brain damage resulting in reduced intelligence, learning disabilities, speech disorders, hyperactivity, shortened attention span and behavioral problems. At high levels, lead poisoning causes damage to the child's central nervous system, resulting in coma or even death, in addition to harming the kidneys and reproductive system.

Research also links low levels of lead exposure to juvenile delinquency, with increasing evidence showing that early lead exposure is a risk factor for criminal behavior, including violent crime, in adulthood. The human costs of this disease are devastating and go well beyond medical treatment. They include education and criminal justice costs and the long term economic costs to society of lost productivity and opportunity for today's at-risk children -- tomorrow's workforce.

The $100 million lead abatement program in President Obama's plan will give the country upgraded, affordable housing stock, and at the same time reduce lead poisoning, which will bring down future spending on health care costs, special education, and possibly the juvenile justice system. An important added bonus:

Replacing old windows and frames with Energy Star rated efficient windows would also create energy efficiency, reducing global warming pollution and adding to housing values.

A widespread lead abatement program could be immediately implemented - it is "shovel ready." For over a decade, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has run effective grant programs funding state and local efforts to remove lead hazards in high-risk housing -- but never at a scale that adequately attacks the problem. Yet these grant programs have created a strong base of accredited lead training providers and lead abatement contractors around the country that can be called upon to quickly expand their efforts.

Under a 1968 HUD requirement, lead programs have long been required to hire from within the affected communities to the greatest extent possible and to provide additional training and workforce development services. This is the moment to more strictly enforce these rules to put more people back to work.

Childhood lead poisoning is one of the few causes of social and learning problems we know how to fix. If action is not taken, however, the current rate of childhood lead poisoning means that millions of children will be unnecessarily poisoned in the decades to come. The $100m could not only help jump-start the recovery of our ailing economy, but also end a shameful preventable disease affecting our must vulnerable citizens -- our own children.


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Joaquin Phoenix Letterman Video

Watch Joaquin Phoenix on David Letterman’s show below in an appearance on February 11th, 2009. The Joaquin Phoenix Letterman video is already going viral and is one of the most hilariously uncomfortable Letterman shows of all time.

Joaquin Phoenix Letterman
The actor appears stunned, bored and grumpy. The gossip sites will speculate that Joaquin Phoenix is on drugs. Perhaps he was just having a bad day. Maybe he hates Letterman. For whatever reason, he obviously did not want to be there on the show. Watch the video through to the end where you can watch him stick his gum on Letterman’s desk.

He is presumably attempting to promote his new film “Two Lovers,” but he is refusing to participate as Letterman tries to pull him out of what he must think is a drug stupor. He mumbles that he has not even watched his own movie and refuses to set up the video promotion that Letterman is willing to show the audience.

Visually the actor looks ridiculous. He comes out with mysterious sunglasses and a dirty beard like a Blues Brothers caricature. At first it looks like a big joke, but it goes on and on and Letterman is obviously struggling to maintain decorum. Letterman begins by asking Phoenix about his beard, a question the actor says makes him “feel weird.” All down hill from there.

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Neither Kadima Nor Likud Can Make Peace With Palestinians

Israel's domestic politics have been thrown into turmoil with inconclusive election results. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Kadima Party won 28 seats, just one more than Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.

Both candidates are claiming victory.

Israel's politicians are an argumentative lot and a leader has seldom been elected outright to the 120-member parliament. But for once almost all Israeli politicians have agreed on something: that the country's election system just does not work.

Weeks of coalition negotiations are almost certain to follow during which Egyptian-led attempts to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas will be frozen. After all, what would be the point in Hamas inking a deal with Israel, if the incoming government moves to overturn it.

Political experts agree that the latest Israeli election results indicate an elaborate shift toward the hard line in the public mood. Rightwing and religious parties won a total of 65 seats, compared to 55 for center-left and Arab parties.

To make matters worse the final say in who will rule Israel might fall to extreme nationalist Avigdor Lieberman whose rightist Yisrael Beiteinu made four gains in the election to hold 15 seats. To give you a perspective here, Israel's Labor Party that ruled the country for decades only managed to win 13 seats.

Therefore the next government will be reluctant to talk peace with the Palestinians, and this will also spoil any chances of success for US President Obama's Mideast peace drive.

Israel's Shimon Perez is not a fan of Netanyahu. Perez has hinted in the past that he considers Netanyahu to possess too volatile a personality to govern with a steady hand, as it were!

Netanyahu wants to expand the illegal settlements. He believes talking peace with Palestinians is a complete waste of time and has vowed to crush the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza.

Livni on the other hand, says she will continue peace talks with the acting Palestinian authority chief Mahmoud Abbas. But she is likely to allow Israeli settlement activity because she is not really a centrist at all. Livni was one of the advocates and main architects of Israel's 22-day onslaught against Gaza.

Mahmoud Abbas says he is willing to restart peace talks only if Israel commits to a settlement freeze. But realistically speaking, nobody really cares in Israel what Abbas says or indeed whether the man is willing to sit at the negotiating table.

Abbas is a nonentity in the game, the poor fellow!

In the end there is not that much between Livni and Netanyahu. The hardliners have always had the final say in Israeli politics, irrespective of which faction -the rightists, the centrists or the leftists- have been in government.

Israel has an agenda that it does not even attempt to hide anymore. Extremist Jews intend to create a homeland for the entire world Jewry in the Holy Lands. The problem is that the entire world's Jewry number in tens of millions and even if the whole Palestinian population is dislodged from its native homeland of Palestine, there will still not be enough land left to house the world's entire Jewish population.

And there are those who get pedantic with the above ballpark type of argument, but historical facts speak for themselves.

The Arab leaders allied to the West must be aware that their own territories are very much in danger of getting gobbled up. There is a time scale at play here. The main argument might well be to do with Palestine's fate right now, but in Israel's grand scheme of things the moment will arrive for creation of living space for more Jews arriving to claim their bit of the 'promised land.'

Therefore a negotiated settlement between Palestine and Israel is possibly the last thing on any Israeli leader's mind. The idea is instead to skillfully utilize the world media to demonize whoever stands in Israel's way and play for time until 'greater Israel' is a reality.

In domestic Israeli politics, whichever candidate deemed capable of getting away with murder while providing the grounds for stealing yet more Arab land is elected to head the government.


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House, Senate Reach Agreement on Obama Stimulus Bill


It's been cut from to $900 billion to $838 billion to $789 billion, but a version of Barack Obama's stimulus plan appears to have been agreed upon by negotiators from both houses of Congress. Senator Harry Reid told reporters "The differences between the House and Senate versions, we've resolved" in last-minute meetings from which Republicans claim to have been excluded, though Republican Senator Susan Collins was on hand to tell reporters the agreed-upon version had $150 million in spending on infrastructure, which had been a point of contention in the battle over the House and Senate versions. The revised version also contains a provision reducing the number of Americans subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Full votes are yet to come, but it would appear the Democrats can win them without Republican cooperation beyond those three moderate GOP Senators, which seems to be the plan. Photo (cc) jdebner.


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Satellites collide near International Space Station above Siberia

Two satellites have collided in outerspace just 500 miles above Siberia. This is evidently the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit. The collision also posing a slight risk to the international space station.

"We knew this was going to happen eventually," said Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA seems to think that the risk to the astronauts and the space station is low, and it won't likely slow down a planned to launch seven new astronauts later this month.

The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. The Russian satellite was out of control, according to the Associated Press .

The Iridium craft weighed 1,235 pounds, and the Russian craft nearly a ton.


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Great big birthday shout-out to Charles Darwin on Regent Street

Charles Darwin was born two hundred years ago today, and On the Origin of Species was published 150 years ago this year. When I first saw this sign the other day, I thought, "Cool -- somebody actually spent money to put up a billboard honoring Darwin."

Then I saw it was promoting an agenda that didn't necessarily have a lot to do with Darwin or evolution, but made use of the language for a catchy slogan: "Evolve beyond belief." The Freedom from Religion Foundation has done some good work in support of the constitutional separation of church and state, but this hardly seems to be designed to promote healthy dialog with the faithful. And while I know they're just trying to be catchy, the idea of evolving "beyond" anything has more to do with the 19th century idea of progress than contemporary evolutionary thinking. Evolution is not about a relentless progression from lower to higher states of being. Evolution is about process, not progress.

Evolution happens. It just is, like gravity. It's accepted in most parts of the world, where religion and evolution coexist without much of a hassle. In America, we just go on wrangling. Believers and nonbelievers brandish Darwin like a club, the better to beat up straw men consisting of oversimplified and distorted caricatures of religion and Darwinism alike. Get a life, people. And let's teach some science in the schools.

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Have We LOST Charlotte?

With a title like that, I suppose anyone trying to avoid spoilers about tonight's episode will have already averted their eyes. But as LOST gets more interesting in all sorts of science fictiony ways, I imagine those who are disliking the disclosure of the series' true genre are getting more and more annoyed. But let's be honest. Unless you couldn't care less about the mysteries raised from the very first season, there had to be a sci-fi component. Hatches and monsters and electromagnetism - it has all been leading here, and if you've come this far, you ought to stay and see what it is the series has been leading towards.

And now, for a recap of highlights. If you've watched it, or can't watch it soon and can't wait to know what happened, here are some of the gloriously interesting moments...

Jin's time-jumping are allowing us the equivalent of flashbacks about Rousseau even though the older Rousseau is no longer there to have them. We learn that the monster is what Danielle believed made Robert and the others "sick". It changed them. "Robert" said the monster is a security system guarding the temple.

Charlotte speaks Korean - and claims to also speak Klingon! After a flash, Charlotte pleads with Jin not to let them "bring her back", because "this place is death". As she gets more and more unstuck in time, Charlotte wonders why daddy can't come with them, and claims to know more about ancient Carthage than Hannibal himself. She also loves Geronimao Jackson - which proved she once lived among the Dharma folks before she came out and said it. Charlotte also tells them that the Orchid will be where the well is. Eventually, she also tells Daniel that she grew up on the island but then her mother moved away with her, and she never saw her father again, and her mother said Charlotte had made up the island. She's been trying to get back ever since - that's why she became an anthropologist. She remembers a 'crazy man' from when she was little, who scared her and told her that if she ever came back to the island she'd die, and she thinks that man was Daniel!

Charlotte appears to die in this episode, although perhaps she is only "mostly dead"! But even if she has died, with all this time-jumping, and the possibility that there are some to whom the rules don't apply, we still may not have seen the last of her.

When John gets underground by going down the well (although a flash makes the well vanish), Christian Shepherd finds him and rebukes him for having not done what he was told: he was supposed to move the island, not Ben. Christian suggests that listening to Ben never brought him any good - yet Christian tells John about Eloise Hawking, who seems to have a better view of Ben. But perhaps Ben has changed over the three years that intervened.

The "donkey wheel" had slipped off its axis - and that might be the reason for the flashes and the skipping around in time.

At the end, we seem to have confirmed for us that Eloise Hawking is indeed Daniel Faraday's mother. And the cliffhanger ending sets the stage for some revelations in next week's episode.

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‘Inglourious Basterds’ Teaser Trailer!

It was reported recently that we’d finally get our first look at Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds some time this week. Unexpectedly, this promise actually carried through and here now, is the first teaser trailer!

The trailer features Brad Pitt — using a much stronger, militant version of his Assassination of Jesse James accent — looking for 8 soldiers to help him kill the Nazis; he demands 100 Nazi scalps of each of them. That’s 800 f’n Nazi scalps, for those of you who refuse to learn math because it’s how the aliens will eventually control us and take over Earth. The trailer shows a lot of other stuff, too… including a little Hitler action for you all. I don’t want to ruin the whole party though, you’ll have to jump below to watch the trailer here a few hundred times, as I will be. No word on if all 800 scalpings will be featured, but I assume if they were, this movie would be far past a R-rating.

Inglourious Basterds follows two storylines during World War II. One storyline is about a young girl who witnesses her family’s execution before narrowly escaping; she then starts a new life as the operator of a theater. The other storyline follows a troupe of Jewish-American soldiers who set off on a special mission to slaughter the Nazis.

Along with Brad Pitt as Aldo Raine (the leader of the Jewish soldiers), Diane Kruger (National Treasure, Troy), Mélanie Laurent, B.J. Novak (The Offcie), Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks), Mike Myers, and Til Schweiger (King Arthur) also star.

Tarantino made a promise that his movie would be ready for Cannes this year, which means it should be seen by May, but we regular folk will have to wait until August 21, 2009 to get our fill.



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Happy 200 Abe Lincoln and Chuck Darwin

Today, February 12, is the 200th birthday of two giants of the 19th century: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. That's right--they were born on the exact same day. There are two recent books that have discussed these two figures together, their similarities within their differences, so to speak.

The most recent is just out:
Adam Gopnik, Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life.
Here is its description:

On a memorable day in human history, February 12, 1809, two babies were born an ocean apart: Abraham Lincoln in a one-room Kentucky log cabin; Charles Darwin on an English country estate. It was a time of backward-seeming notions, when almost everyone still accepted the biblical account of creation as the literal truth and authoritarianism as the most natural and viable social order. But by the time both men died, the world had changed: ordinary people understood that life on earth was a story of continuous evolution, and the Civil War had proved that a democracy could fight for principles and endure. And with these signal insights much else had changed besides. Together, Darwin and Lincoln had become midwives to the spirit of a new world, a new kind of hope and faith.

Searching for the men behind the icons of emancipation and evolution, Adam Gopnik shows us, in this captivating double life, Lincoln and Darwin as they really were: family men and social climbers; ambitious manipulators and courageous adventurers; the living husband, father, son, and student behind each myth. How do we reconcile Lincoln, the supremely good man we know, with the hardened commander who wittingly sent tens of thousands of young soldiers to certain death? Why did the relentlessly rational Darwin delay publishing his “Great Idea” for almost twenty years? How did inconsolable grief at the loss of a beloved child change each man? And what comfort could either find—for himself or for a society now possessed of a sadder, if wiser, understanding of our existence? Such human questions and their answers are the stuff of this book.

Above all, we see Lincoln and Darwin as thinkers and writers—as makers and witnesses of the great change in thought that marks truly modern times: a hundred years after the Enlightenment, the old rule of faith and fear finally yielding to one of reason, argument, and observation not merely as intellectual ideals but as a way of life; the judgment of divinity at last submitting to the verdicts of history and time. Lincoln considering human history, Darwin reflecting on deep time—both reshaped our understanding of what life is and how it attains meaning. And they invented a new language to express that understanding. Angels and Ages is an original and personal account of the creation of the liberal voice—of the way we live now and the way we talk at home and in public. Showing that literary eloquence is essential to liberal civilization, Adam Gopnik reveals why our heroes should be possessed by the urgency of utterance, obsessed by the need to see for themselves, and endowed with the gift to speak for us all.


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Peanut Corp. owner Parnell not talking

Embattled Peanut Corp. of America owner, and Lynchburg area resident, Stewart Parnell, plead the Fifth today and refused to speak to a Congressional subcommittee investigated whether or not his company knowingly shipped peanuts infected with the salmonella bacteria, causing a national outbreak that has claimed nine lives, infected hundreds more, and led to the recall of 1,800 peanut products, the AP reports.
What’s more, a lab tester told the committee that the company had discovered the deadly bacteria as far back as 2006. The investigation also includes some revealing emails from Parnell, which showed he ordered infected products shipped and complained that the lab tests were “costing us huge $$$.“


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Koala saved from Australia's wildfires doing well

ABC 7 News - Koala saved from Australia's wildfires doing well
"Sam" the koala, the most famous furry survivor of Australia's worst-ever wildfires, is healing well thanks to the efforts of caretakers at a rescue shelter - and she even has a new boyfriend, "Bob." Sam, who captured hearts around the world after she was photographed drinking from a firefighter's water bottle, has also won the affection of "Bob," another koala whose paws were scorched in the weekend's inferno, caretaker Lynn Raymond said Thursday.
"Bob is her protector - as soon as she is moved, he's on the move, too. It really looks like he's making sure she's OK," Raymond said from the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter in Rawson, 100 miles (170 kilometers) east of Melbourne in Victoria state, where the deadly fires continue to burn. "They're good company for each other."

Neither koala is likely to be healthy enough for release for at least four months, and are being comforted by caretakers who salve their scorched paws every few hours.

Global interest in the fate of Sam has been intense since a photograph of firefighter David Tree offering her a bottle of water in a burned-out forest was splashed across the Internet, in newspapers and on television broadcasts. The telephone at the shelter has rung incessantly with callers eager for an update on the creature's condition.

"It's insane," Raymond said with a laugh. "(But) everybody has been absolutely wonderful."

Sam was found moving gingerly on scorched paws by a fire patrol Sunday. Tree crouched down and held out a bottle of water for her to drink, which she eagerly accepted, holding Tree's hand as he poured water into her mouth.

"You all right, buddy?" Tree asks in a video of the encounter as he approaches the koala. Later, as Sam gulps from the bottle, he quips: "How much can a koala bear?"

Often mistakenly called koala bears because they resemble a child's teddy bear, the marsupial is actually a somewhat ornery creature with a loud growl and sharp claws.

Sam, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to her paws, has been sharing a cage with Bob, who took an immediate interest in her when she arrived on Sunday, Raymond said.

Both Sam and Bob were given painkillers when they first arrived, but they're off the drugs now, Raymond said. The two are still receiving antibiotics and have their bandages changed regularly to stave off infections.

The koalas are likely to be in the shelter at least four months, depending on how quickly their burns heal, Raymond said. For now, though, the famously thirsty marsupial appears to be on the mend.

"I'm just looking at Sam now - she is fast asleep," Raymond said. "She's doing very, very well."


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First Lady Michelle Obama Cove

It's finally here! Michelle Obama's VOGUE photos (some of them anyway) have been released for early review. The First Lady apparently wore all J. Crew items from their upcoming Fall line - but don't bother rushing to their site, these clothes are not even in stores yet. J. Crew's head stylist assisted on the shoot and Mrs. Obama was very involved in the final style choices. You can read the full article here, but the issue won't hit stands until Tuesday, February 17th. Some are saying the cover isn't all that fabulous but I think it is down-to-earth and appropiate for the times. We all know if she was decked out in couture folks would have something to say about how "insensitive" it is of her to flaunt her wealth. What are your thoughts?


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