- Christian Science Monitor: Way cleared for horse slaughter to resume in US after 5-year ban
Congress has passed a bill, and the president has signed it into law, that re-legalizes the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Banning that practice was a huge mistake, for reasons that were obvious at the time, but it took a five-year ban to show that to be so. Even PETA supports the change. The problem was that horses were either being abandoned to starve to death or shipped in crowded trailers to Canada or Mexico, where they were slaughtered (under terrible conditions in Mexico) and their meat sent back to the U.S. It actually increased animal suffering. Good for Congress for making a necessary—sure to be unpopular—change in the law.
- ACLU of Virginia: Norfolk Man Who Refused to Stop Videotaping Police at Demonstration Is Not Guilty of Disorderly Conduct
A Norfolk man was charged with disorderly conduct for videotaping an on-duty police officer back in April. I'm glad to see that he's been found not guilty by a Norfolk General District Court judge. There's been a strange rash of arrests, all around the country, for the non-existent crime of videotaping police officers. Decisions like this will help bring this to an end.
- Print Free Graph Paper
Just what it says on the tin.
- Wikipedia: Point Roberts, Washington
A tiny exclave of the United States is found off the coast of Washington State. "Point Bob," as it's known, is the southernmost tip of a Canadian peninsula, which extends just barely south of the 49th parallel that defines the U.S./Canadian border. To get there by land, one must go through two international border crossings. There are just over 600 households there, and one elementary school. After third grade, kids have to take a bus through Canada and back to the U.S. to get to school.
- Boston Globe: Worcester woman’s two-faced cats makes the record books
Two-faced and two-headed cats generally live for days or weeks at the most. "Frank and Louie"—one cat, two faces—is twelve years old now, and is doing just fine. (Other than being not entirely pleasant to look at.)
- Twan van Laarhoven: Finding rectangles
Solving problems like this is my favorite thing to do, as a programmer. Locating a rectangle in an image is a task that could seem conceptually simple, but is actually pretty tricky, especially given the inevitable need to do so efficiently. When broken down thoughtfully, it's entirely logical.
- Technology Review: One-Third of Sun-Like Stars Have Earth-Like Planets In Habitable Zone
That's a lot of habitable planets. We just keep solving more variables in the Drake equation.
This is Copper, a little boxer mutt who was recently brought into the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA along with his five siblings. He started on leash training today, he’s getting socialized with our two dogs, and he’ll be drilled on some basic manners over the next few days. We’re fostering him through Sunday, and he’s available for adoption on Monday. Interested? Let me know.
10/06 Update: He’s been adopted!
- InterAction Magazine
Ken and Roberta Williams provide PDFs of every issue of Sierra Newsletter / Sierra Magazine / InterAction, from June 1981–Spring 1999. Not that anybody much cares about them past 1992-ish.
- Wikipedia: Hundred twenty-eighth note
Turns out they're a thing. Beethoven used them, as did Mozart. Much like the entire skill of drumming, I imagine that I lack the ability to play these.
- Wall Street Journal: Stray Cat Strut—Woman Beats IRS
Good news for dedicated animal fosterers: the IRS is allowing charitable deductions for expenses related to caring for critters for non-profit agencies.
- New York Times: At Preakness, Not Everybody’s Idea of Fun
It sounds like the Preakness has gone to shit. Their new mascot is "Kegasus," half horse, half beer-bellied man. His slogan is "a ten-hour party to celebrate a two-minute race." That's an event you won't be catching me at.
- Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Walker seeks to stop defense of state’s domestic partner registry
Gov. Scott Walker wants to eliminate hospital visitation rights for gay couples. What a horrible human being. What was that about "family values" that Republicans used to prattle on about?
- The Globe and Mail: Why you should eat horsemeat—It’s delicious
There are very few logical arguments against eating horse meat, and a great many in favor of it. Though I personally don't care to do so (I own chickens, ducks, and a horse—my experience with each leaves me happy to eat the former two), it seems terrible that so much horse meat goes to waste every year, especially in the U.S., where a patchwork of laws and court decisions make it difficult to turn into food for humans.
- Discover: Sex, Ys, and Platypuses
Instead of the XY/XX chromosomes that most mammals have, the platypus has a much more complicated sex chromosomes: five pairs instead of one. The male platypus is XYXYXYXYXY. That's the biggest number of sex chromosomes of any vertebrate. Man, platypus is weird. And so are the others.
- Christian Science Monitor: Pepsi bottles—no more plastic
PepsiCo is testing out a plant-based plastic bottle, with the intention of converting all of their bottles from the now-standard polyethylene terephthalate. Coca-Cola says they're doing the same thing. What I'd like to know is whether this material will biodegrade, or if it can be composted. I hope that, at least, it can be recycled, although I'm dubious of municipalities' ability to add a new class of recycling to their systems.
- New York Times: Mormon Politicians Feel Tea Party Heat at Home in Utah
"'On a good day, he’s a socialist,' said Darcy Van Orden, a co-founder of Utah Rising, a clearinghouse group, referring to Mr. Huntsman. 'On a bad day, he’s a communist.'" That's a leader of Utah's radical conservative movement describing Jon Huntsman, the state's former Republican governor.
- Science Daily: Eastern cougar is extinct, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes
Well, that sucks. They figure it's been extinct since the 1930s. This isn't to say that cougars don't still exist in the eastern U.S., just that the rare specimens are not, in fact, of the eastern cougar species.
- Data Center Knowledge: Congressman Defeats IBM’s Watson in Jeopardy
If a congressman is going to defeat Watson, it's Rep. Rush Holt. He's an honest-to-God rocket scientist and, in fact, one-time Jeopardy champ.
- UX Movement: Why Hover Menus Do Users More Harm Than Good
This is a compelling argument for eschewing hover-based multi-level website menus with click-based menus. I use a hover-based menu on Richmond Sunlight, and I now suspect that's a mistake.