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"One reveler dressed as a sandbag. Others came as maggots. There were costumes fashioned from blue tarps like those used to cover damaged roofs, and a group of people dressed as blind men with T-shirts that read: ‘Levee Inspectors.’
"New Orleans' first Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina evoked wicked satire in the Big Easy on Tuesday, six months after the storm struck the Gulf Coast in a catastrophe that ultimately killed more than 1,300 people."
Seattle Times: Octavia Butler, brilliant master of sci-fi, dies at 58.
> She was Black? I never knew.
> But I still get goosebumps when I remember her story "Bloodchild."
Los Angeles Times: A Sleepy Baton Rouge Wakes Up a Boomtown.
"With much of New Orleans still in ruins, Baton Rouge seems destined to become Louisiana's population and business center -- even if it never comes close to New Orleans in art, food, music or tourism."
Science News: Quantum computer gives results without running.
"The supernova is 440 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Aries.... The cosmic explosion will reach its peak brightness next week. Amateur astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere should then be able to see it using high-power telescopes."
LA Times: Oh goody, another SUV.
"But wait, you say, I thought Americans had finally gotten sick of full-size sport-utility warthogs.... Actually, no. It turns out Americans are only sick of American SUVs."
St. Petersburg Times, Florida: Have you heard the latest joke about Chuck Norris?
"The jokes are really bad. If you want to blame someone, the guilty party is a Brown University freshman.... Every day he gets more than a half-million hits on his Web site, The Random Chuck Norris Fact Generator."
Slate: TV's Aryan Sisterhood.
"Joanna Pitman estimates in On Blondes that only one in 20 white adult Americans is a genuine blond, yet one in three adult American females has the look."
Jim Hansen, NASA Scientist: Climate Change -- On The Edge.
"The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today -- which is what we expect later this century -- sea levels were 25m higher.... I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself."
"While this city tradition of celebration continued, things looked and felt different. The crowds were far thinner than usual, and not because the chilly day had the gray cast of a fish's belly. No more than 200,000 residents have returned to what had been a city of 465,000, and those who ventured to the parade route were joined by only a scattering of tourists."
Lost Camera: Camera unlost, but not quite found.
Flash game, makes a little noise --
Chicago Tribune: Churches to mark Darwin's birthday.
"Nearly 450 Christian churches around the country plan to celebrate the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin on Sunday with programs and sermons intended to emphasize that his theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science."
> Apparently they are taking action to stem the defection of believers from Christianity to Pastafarianism.
AP: Whale meat glut has officials scrambling. Japan now kills more mammals than diners want.
"‘To put it simply, whale meat tastes horrible,’ said 30-year-old Kosuke Nakamura, one of the diners at a Hana No Mai restaurant in Tokyo who turned their noses up at whale meat."
"Fossils of what appears to have been the much smaller granddaddy of all tyrannosaurs, a primitive crested dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago, have been discovered in northwestern China."
Slate: Super Bowl Special. The best and worst ads this year.
"Each year, the ads have gotten progressively worse. I'm not sure this new batch offered a single watercooler-worthy moment."
> Personally, I was struck by the contrast between Ford's pleasant ad for a hybrid SUV, which featured Kermit the Frog proclaiming, "Maybe it is easy being green," and the GM ad with the city-crunching monsters that cross-breed and spawn a new model Hummer.
Also, the one with the woman trying to climb over another passenger during a night flight was hilarious, but I have no idea what it was advertising.
Live Science: Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams.
I don't really get this, but I don't see a lot of movies --
Green Gabbro: Scientists, not people.
"Hey, I wanted to be a bespectacled, lab-coated scientist! And I'm living the dream."
Happy Groundhog Day, everybody!
"Don't put those winter coats away just yet. The world's most famous weather prognosticating groundhog was roused from his burrow at 7:23 a.m. Thursday and saw his shadow, a sign that there'll be six more weeks of winter."
Houston Chronicle: Note to azaleas -- chill.
"It may feel like March in Houston, but Tuesday hundreds of azaleas at Bayou Bend got a chilly reminder that Spring has not sprung when workers spread 8,000 pounds of ice over the plants to halt early blooming."
> I am pretty sure this was the warmest January I've experienced in 42 years of living in this area.