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Archive for March 2nd, 2012|Daily archive page

today’s news … Friday, March 2

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 5:08 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today… “Sell crazy someplace, we’re all stocked up here.” – Jack Nicholson’s character in the 1997 movie, “As Good As It Gets.” From Philadelphia Daily News political columnist, John Baer’s, column entitled “Watching Pa. politics is Capitol punishment.” [NOTE: Particularly applicable, locally.]

  • Smokers may soon have fewer places to light up in Columbia. Borough council voted five-to-two Tuesday in favor of drafting legislation that will ban all tobacco use on all municipal-owned property. The legislation, if passed, would prohibit smoking at borough-owned or borough-leased parks, buildings and bus stops, but would not include streets.” – MyColumbiaNews

From left, Taylor Conroy as the Wicked Witch of the West, confronts Tyler Garrison as the Tin Man, Gabby Kashner as Dorothy, Alex Dewalt as the Cowardly Lion, Larissa Melbert as the Scarecrow and Nicole Bowman as the Good Witch Glinda in a scene from Columbia High School’s spring musical. “The Wizard of Oz,” which will run March 8 to 10 at the high school. (Photo by Bill Clark – MyColumbiaNews)

Take action now … end this involvement in Afghanistan!

In Government, Opinions, Opportunities on March 2, 2012 at 5:04 am

Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis recently made credible allegations that U.S. military leaders have given Congress and the public a misleading portrayal of progress in the war in Afghanistan. At the risk of his career, he briefed Members of Congress and the press on his dire assessment of the war. Now, there is the chance to do a lot of good in advancing oversight of the war in Afghanistan—but only if Congress takes action.

Join POGO and Members of Congress in requesting hearings on Davis’s disclosures

POGO and a bipartisan group of six Members of Congress have sent letters requesting that Davis be invited to testify in hearings by the relevant committees: the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence Committees. Legislators who have read the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) for December 2011—a document prepared by the Director of National Intelligence—say that it supports Davis’s assessment. It is important for the public to see how this report from the intelligence community matches up with Davis’s allegations. It should be declassified, as other NIEs have been in the past.

Tell the Committees to hold hearings on Davis’s disclosures and invite him to testify

As the U.S. commits to another year of funding to the war in Afghanistan, the public and Congress deserve an honest assessment of the contingency effort. Congress and the White House should uphold their duty to conduct oversight by holding hearings on Davis’s disclosures and demanding the NIE be declassified. Take action today!

(SOURCE: Project On Government Oversight)

The Conversation: “Pigeons can count, but chicks are even better”

In Education, Everyday Living on March 2, 2012 at 4:51 am

Cute, cuddly and numerically competent. timsackton

“The humble pigeon has been in the scientific spotlight lately since the discovery that the much-maligned species is far smarter than previously thought. A study by psychologist Damian Scarf and colleagues – discussed recently on The Conversation – showed pigeons possess numerical abilities comparable to those found in primates.

‘But while pigeons surprised many with their ‘numerical competence’, there’s arguably an even better performer among our feathered friends: the domestic chick (Gallus gallus).

“More on chicks in a moment, of course, but before we get there it’s worth asking: why all the buzz about the numerical ability of animals?

“This area has attracted particular interest in the past few decades because numerical competency has, traditionally, been linked with language. Put simply, it was long believed that numerical competency evolved in humans at the same time as language.

“We now know this to be untrue. To explain why, we need to understand the different levels of numerical ability.

“The most basic form is the ability to make judgments of size between different sets of items (“there are three worms in this group and four in that group”). This ability serves animals well in food searching and allows such animals to choose collections of food with more items. This ability is demonstrated by very young domestic chicks when they choose to approach objects on which they have been imprinted.

“Italian psychologists Rosa Rugani, Lucia Regolin and (one of your current authors) Giorgio Vallortigara showed chicks prefer to join groups of more objects versus a single object or a smaller set of objects. Since these “objects” would normally be social companions, the preference for larger groups probably reflects flocking behaviour.

“The results of these tests, made with many adequate controls, were quite similar to those obtained with human infants. Human infants, it would seem, are also attracted to larger groups.”

To read this article in its entirety, click here.