Blogs

US Strike Killed 47 in Afghan Wedding Party, Investigation Says

An investigation released today by the Afghanistan goverment concludes that US forces killed 47 civilians attending a wedding on July...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 6:26 PM EDT

An investigation released today by the Afghanistan goverment concludes that US forces killed 47 civilians attending a wedding on July 6 near Deh Bala in Nangarhar province. Thirty-nine of the deceased were women and children, who were walking the bride to the groom's village, as is traditional. The bride was among those killed, said the nine-man investigative team, who relied on eye-witness and relatives' accounts. "They were all civilians and had no links with Taliban or al Qaeda," the head of the investigation told Agence France Presse.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Internet Time Waster of the Day: Idee Multicolr

Via the also-pretty-addictive Apartment Therapy, it's a crazy little internet widget that allows you to select a set of colors (up to ten) and then happily goes off and searches Flickr's "Interesting Photos" pool for pictures that prominently feature your selected hue or hues. First, pick orange, and watch the pumpkins, oranges, and fireworks line up. Then click on blue, and suddenly there are...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 6:16 PM EDT

mojo-photo-multicolr2.jpgVia the also-pretty-addictive Apartment Therapy, it's a crazy little internet widget that allows you to select a set of colors (up to ten) and then happily goes off and searches Flickr's "Interesting Photos" pool for pictures that prominently feature your selected hue or hues. First, pick orange, and watch the pumpkins, oranges, and fireworks line up. Then click on blue, and suddenly there are orange-brick buildings against blue skies, and spray-tanned babes in front of turquoise oceans. What's it good for? Well, I suppose you could click on your living room's color scheme and then print out a couple photographs for a do-it-yourself wall hanging, or something, but mostly it's just hypnotic, grid after grid of scenes whose hilariously diverse subjects are united by tint. Ooh, orange, black and pink gets you lots of nice sunsets. There goes my whole afternoon. Have your secretary hold your calls and click here.

Subprime: The Miami Case Study

According to RealtyTrac, a California-based firm that monitors foreclosures for investors, a foreclosure notice was delivered last month to one...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 5:44 PM EDT

According to RealtyTrac, a California-based firm that monitors foreclosures for
investors, a foreclosure notice was delivered last month to one in every 501 U.S. households.

Yet the housing crisis goes even deeper than those numbers suggest. While the burst of the housing-market bubble is nearly always pegged to the surge in risky subprime mortgages made to under-resourced borrowers over the course of the last decade, the bust is also affecting people who never borrowed a dime.

In Miami, the foreclosure epidemic encompasses not only single-family homes, but apartment buildings as well. And with a flood of people losing their homes now entering the rental market, rents are climbing.

Tomorrow, Floridians can join Laura Flanders and the Media Consortium to talk more about these issues at Live From Main Street in Miami's Lyric Theater: "Magic City, Hard Times: How is Miami Facing the Economic Crisis and Working
Toward a Sustainable Future?"

—Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is executive
editor for The Media Consortium, a network of progressive media
organizations, including Mother Jones.

Zoos Squabble Over Polar Bear Profits

Last year, Knut the polar bear cub became an international celebrity after animal rights activists said he should be allowed to die rather than raised by humans. The Berlin Zoo disagreed, and their adorable cub quickly became an environmental icon as well as the Zoo's most popular exhibit, bringing $8 million in revenues. Now the Neumuenster Zoo is trying to get a piece of...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 5:25 PM EDT

knut.jpg

Last year, Knut the polar bear cub became an international celebrity after animal rights activists said he should be allowed to die rather than raised by humans. The Berlin Zoo disagreed, and their adorable cub quickly became an environmental icon as well as the Zoo's most popular exhibit, bringing $8 million in revenues. Now the Neumuenster Zoo is trying to get a piece of the profits, saying that because it owns Knut's father, it kind of own Knut too. Neumuenster is looking into court action, as so far the Berlin Zoo has refused to give in.

As for Knut, he's suffering now that the intense attention he used to get is tapering off. When the Berlin Zoo was closed for a few days this winter, he howled for hours. He reportedly cries when there aren't enough people near his enclosure and pines for his former keeper, Thomas Dorflein, who hand-raised him, crying when he picks up Dorflein's scent. One of Knut's keepers told Der Spiegel that the bear "has something of an identity crisis. He doesn't know that he's a polar bear." The keeper, Markus Robke, says that Knut should be moved to someplace more secluded, away from people and away from those who raised him. "As long as he's with us, he will always regard Thomas Dorflein as his father."

Image courtesy Berlin Zoo

Bush's Own Version of the Bush Joke

This week at the G8 summit in Japan, George W. Bush wrapped up a meeting on climate change with the...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 4:54 PM EDT

This week at the G8 summit in Japan, George W. Bush wrapped up a meeting on climate change with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

"He then punched the air while grinning widely," the Telegraph reports, "as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy looked on in shock."

Bush's Napoleon Dynamite moment might have been an effort to laugh off an earlier gaffe: A White House press packet at the G8 had described Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as one of "the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice." After furor erupted in Rome (Corriere Della Sera called it "a faux pas of unprecedented proportions"), the White House explained, candidly, that an official had simply lifted the passage from the Internet without reading it.

What to make of Bush's humor? Separating out the gaffes and the Bush Jokes, it seems divided between an ascendant strain of ironic-self-mockery and a still-going-strong Wayne & Garth aesthetic. From a recent event with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

So Bush is a doofus, but why?

Lab Equipment Slow Jam

In case you haven't had your fill of goofy-commercials-turned-Internet-sensations, man, do I have one for you. So pretend you're a scientist. Which would make you want to buy a piece of lab equipment more? This slogan: With our new Plug'n'Prep® concept for the epMotion pipetting system, automate virtually any nucleic acid purification kit with protocols from your favorite kit provider?just load the deck and...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 4:40 PM EDT

In case you haven't had your fill of goofy-commercials-turned-Internet-sensations, man, do I have one for you.

So pretend you're a scientist. Which would make you want to buy a piece of lab equipment more? This slogan:


With our new Plug'n'Prep® concept for the epMotion pipetting system, automate virtually any nucleic acid purification kit with protocols from your favorite kit provider—just load the deck and press start!

Or this:

Yeah, I thought so. This excellent slow jam is a real ad created by a lab-tools manufacturer called Eppendorf. The product in question, epMotion, is some kind of automatic pipette system. Or so the lyrics seem to suggest:

Pipetting all those well-plates, baby, sends your thumbs into overdrive And spending long nights in the lab makes it hard for your love to thrive
What you need is automation, girl, something easy as 1 2 3 So put down that pipette, honey, I got something that will set you free

H/T Mental Floss.

Image and video courtesy of Eppendorf.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Chicago Tribune Redesign: Will Desperation Breed Success?

Things are tough all over for newspapers, as Mother Jones has covered here, here, and just below. But could the prospect of, well, abject and total failure potentially spark some creative breakthroughs? It was reported this week that the Chicago Tribune is set to lay off up to 10% of its workforce, with COO Randy Michaels creepily announcing executives are "evaluating the productivity of...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 4:37 PM EDT

mojo-photo-papers.jpgThings are tough all over for newspapers, as Mother Jones has covered here, here, and just below. But could the prospect of, well, abject and total failure potentially spark some creative breakthroughs? It was reported this week that the Chicago Tribune is set to lay off up to 10% of its workforce, with COO Randy Michaels creepily announcing executives are "evaluating the productivity of individual journalists." Erp. But the Chicago Reader sees a possible silver lining amidst the despair:

Some 30 Tribune editorial employees have been appointed to the various committees that now meet daily to reimagine their paper. These committees take seriously the idea of giving quality some room to breathe, and they're looking hard at Britain's Guardian for inspiration. "If we can be anything like the Guardian," my source wrote in an e-mail, "I'd be over the moon."

Subscriber Sues Raleigh Newspaper After Layoffs

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 3:50 PM EDT

When the Raleigh News & Observer announced last month it would cut 70 jobs, Keith Hempstead could have written a letter to the editor expressing his disdain for the subsequent reduction in news coverage.

Instead, Hempstead, a lawyer, sued the paper for "fraud" because the N&O sold him a renewal subscription before announcing the layoffs.

Hempstead, a former reporter, seems like the overzealous type, but, as he told a Raleigh reporter, he's suing to make a point:

What's Less Popular Than Airport Security and Alarm Clocks?

This week, Rasmussen Reports announced that for the first time in the poll's history, Congress' approval rating has sunk into...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 3:45 PM EDT

clocky.jpg

This week, Rasmussen Reports announced that for the first time in the poll's history, Congress' approval rating has sunk into the single digits. As of Tuesday, just 9 percent of Americans thought that Congress was doing an excellent or even a good job. That makes Congress less popular than airport security, the phrase "happy holidays," and alarm clocks.

These dismal numbers did not, of course, stop the legislative body from passing the FISA bill that immunizes telecommunications companies from prosecution for their complicity in the Bush administration's lawbreaking. We've covered the nuts and bolts of this legislation extensively, so I'll stick to the big question: Who exactly are the Democrats trying to impress?

Apple Bricked my iPhone

Tell you what, Apple. If you'll just release my iPhone 1.0 from whatever iTunes automatic software upgrade hell you've got its soul synced into today, you can keep your fancypants 3G, the GTD app I'm dying to try, and that phone-as-a-remote thing people seem to like so much. I know your http://www.apple.com/webapps/ ">servers are down. You're busy with all your new friends, I get...

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 2:46 PM EDT

Tell you what, Apple. If you'll just release my iPhone 1.0 from whatever iTunes automatic software upgrade hell you've got its soul synced into today, you can keep your fancypants 3G, the GTD app I'm dying to try, and that phone-as-a-remote thing people seem to like so much.

I know your servers

are down. You're busy with all your new friends, I get it.

I just want my commuter podcasts back and the chance to make a phone call, OK?