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Trick or Treat

October 31st, 2007  · stk

My hurried post about our Halloween festivities. Dad and the Oop carve pumpkins

Alex is four years old and this will be her second year trick-or-treating on Vancouver Island. This year, Alex will be going door-to-door dressed as a unicorn. It's interesting to note that in Canada, the full-length costumes are a big hit (as they keep the young ones warm) on typically frigid Halloween nights. When Scott was a kid, in California, you just tossed a sheet over your head and BOOM! ... you were a ghost!

To finish the ghoulish tale ... you'll need to punch "read full story".

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Updated: 7-Nov-2007
Web View Count: 19310 viewsLast Web Update: 7-Nov-2007
Filed in:Noteworthy

Fame Name Game

October 26th, 2007  · stk

How would you like to have your name on a newly discovered species of Owl butterfly (Opsiphanes Group)? Skip a costly Ph.D., hours of studying, sweaty fieldwork, authoring scientific articles ... find out how!

Naming Rights for a New Butterfly Species Up for Auction

Do you fancy yourself as a budding naturalist? If so, now's your chance to make your mark on the scientific community. Win the right to name a new species of Owl butterfly, donate money to butterfly research and let your name live on forever ... all in one fell swoop.

Normally, the only way to name a new species would be to become a scientist, attend years of University classes to get a Ph.D., read (and write) a good many scientific papers, toil for countless hours in remote jungles (battling humidity and jungle rot) and be blessed with LUCK - being in the right place, at the right time. Here's your chance to skip all that and head directly past GO! Make your mark on history!

This new species of Owl butterfly is no piddling little cast-off. It's a big, colorful, showy specimen. The new species belongs to the Owl butterfly group, which are some of the best-known in the world because of their large size, striking colors and large wing eye-spots.

This is a rare opportunity. If slapping your name on this beautiful, new species of butterfly is appealing ... read on brave naturalists.

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Updated: 3-Nov-2007
Web View Count: 35873 viewsLast Web Update: 3-Nov-2007

California Wildfires

October 24th, 2007  · stk

Southern California wild fires have consumed 800 square miles and 1,600 homes. With ties to California, Vancouver Island, and fire fighting ... a unique perspective on the Southern California firestorms is offered (including video of the Martin Mars Bombers)

Santa Ana's | Martin Mars Bombers | Hollywood Sequel | A Proposal

Southern California continues efforts to battle massive wildfires. Weather forcasters have predicted that the strong winds fanning the flames, making firefighting impossible, will let up sometime this afternoon.

The final numbers won't be in for a while, but the current situation is: one dead, many injured, 1,600 homes lost and another 68,000 homes under threat. President Bush signed a document declaring the fires a "major disaster", releasing federal funds to help homeowners in seven affected counties. The president is expected to visit the region tomorrow.

Help is on the way from Canada, specifically Vancouver Island.

This fire season will be the most expensive in California's history. Each year the costs to fight these blazes has increased, the fires seem to become larger and the damage even greater. It's like a bad Hollywood movie sequel. What's Southern California to do?

Read on for a unique look at the Southern California situation, more detail and some recommendations that may surprise you.

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Updated: 8-Feb-2009
Web View Count: 63211 viewsLast Web Update: 8-Feb-2009
Filed in:Book Reviews

This Is Paradise!

October 15th, 2007  · Rachel

Rachel reviews "This is Paradise! My North Korean Childhood", an autobiography by Hyok Kang. The compelling autobiography provides a rare glimpse into life in North Korea, as told through the eyes of a child.

(Non-Fiction)Review of "This Is Paradise! My North Korean Childhood" an autobiography by Hyok Kang

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organisations have asserted that North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has one of the worst human rights records of any nation. Human Rights violations include suppression of Freedom of Expression, Movement, and Religion, as well as the use of arbitrary detention and imprisonment, inhumane prison conditions, torture and the death penalty. However, North Korea is a closed society, with very little information making it into, or out of, the country. Consequently, first-hand accounts of the living conditions and reality of life in this totalitarian state are shocking, especially when told by a child.

Hyok Kang spent the first thirteen years of his life in North Korea and he describes many aspects of life in the socialist state. He describes how the children are taught to worship the party leader, “Great Leader Kim Jong-Il” and his deceased farther Kim Il-Sung. How total respect of these two leaders is an expectation of all citizens. He describes the conditions inside penal colonies, work camps and how public executions are carried out, as well as how the citizens are encouraged to denounce their peers, generating a society built on distrust. Hyok Kang talks about the impact of the great famine of the 1990’s, which lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of citizens, while making others lie, steal, cheat, and even resort to cannibalism, in order to survive. Despite all the hardships of life in North Korea, the party propaganda is so pervasive that the majority of citizens still believe that, compared to the rest of the world, “This is Paradise.”

It is not until Hyok Kang and his family escape to China that the North Korean political brainwashing begins to unravel and he appreciates the relative luxuries of life, outside of North Korea. Even still, his family is not safe, as the threat of forced repatriation and execution are constant. After years of living in China as a fugitive, Hyok Kang undertakes the dangerous journey across North Korean sympathetic states, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, before finally making it to safety in South Korea, where he now struggles to put the past behind him.

Click the link "Read full story" to continue ...

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Updated: 17-Oct-2007
Web View Count: 28540 viewsLast Web Update: 17-Oct-2007
Filed in:Humor

Galling Gull

October 11th, 2007  · stk

Randsco goes to the birds! Yet another story about one of our fine feathered friends - only this time, it's a "fiend" not a "friend". Video footage of a shoplifting seagull caught stealing potato chips in Aberdeen.

A Fine-Feathered Fiend that Filches Food shoplifting seagull

shoplifting seagull

It would appear that Randsco is going to the birds, as this is our third post in a row about some type of fine feathered friend. The first was about our recently acquired baby chickens (which are doing well, by the way), the second about a really smart parrot named Alex and now this story about a comical seagull in Scotland who, over the course of the summer, has developed a penchant for potato chips (or "crisps" as they're called there).

 shoplifting seagull steals chips

The seagull began nicking bags of Doritos brand tortilla chips, from inside a local store in Aberdeen, Scotland, in July. The shop assistant reported that the gull had his stealing "down to a fine art. He waits until there are no customers around and I'm standing behind the till, then he raids the place."

The shoplifting seagull has been nabbing snack-sized, tangy cheese flavored Dorito brand tortilla chips. Once safely away from the store, the seagull rips open the bag to share with pigeons and other seagulls. Apparently, he always steals the same brand of crisps.

Customers have warmed to this fine-feathered fiend, often paying for the seagull's stolen loot ... (cause they think his stealing behavior is a hoot!) Locals have nicknamed him "Sam - the Shoplifting Seagull".

Makes me wonder though ... why do people pay for the stolen chips? Couldn't they just put it on his bill? :)) :roll:

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Updated: 12-Oct-2007
Web View Count: 18340 viewsLast Web Update: 12-Oct-2007