“The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen”

RR Helm writing at Deep Sea News:

When I first saw a sea sapphire I thought I was hallucinating. The day had been anything but normal, but this part will always stand out. I’d spent the afternoon on a small dingy off the coast of Durban, South Africa. It was muggy, and I’d been working for hours–-throwing a small net out, and pulling in tiny hauls of plankton that I’d then collect in jars. As I looked through one jar, the boat rocking up and down, I saw for an instant a bright blue flash. Gone. Then again in a different place. An incredible shade of blue. Maybe I’d been in the sun too long? Maybe I was seeing things? It wasn’t until I got back to the lab that I discovered the true beauty and mystery of these radiant flashes…

The small creature I’d found was a Sapphirina copepod, or as I like to call it, a sea sapphire. Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful…

…The secret to the sea sapphire’s shine is in microscopic layers of crystal plates inside their cells. In the case of blue sea sapphires, these crystal layers are separated by only about four ten thousandths of a millimeter; about the same distance as a wavelength of blue light. When blue light bounces off these crystal layers, it is perfectly preserved and reflected. But for other colors of light, these small differences in distance interfere, causing the colors to cancel out. So while white light is composed of all colors, only blue light is reflected back. This type of coloration is known as structural coloration, and though resembling a gem in hue, a sea sapphire’s color has more in common with an oil sheen than a pigmented jewel. Combine this nifty trick with the sea sapphire’s impressively transparent body, and you have an animal as radiant as a star in one moment, and invisible in the next…

I think I saw something like this once in Lake Erie, but it could have been some trash wrapped in aluminum foil.

Hat tip: BadBlue Tech News

Doug Ross @ Journal

The 5 Most Beautiful Cars on Sale Today

Car and Driver listed its top 10, but I thought only five made the cut. They’re not cheap, to be sure, but a man can dream, can’t he? Unless Obama created a Bureau of Dream Management and is now regulating that too.

Audi R8

The aging, soon-to-be-replaced R8 among today’s most beautiful cars? Probably controversial. But the R8 remains every bit the design icon it was when it debuted nearly a decade ago. It’s telling that the car still looks like nothing else out there, with a semi-rounded surface theme that would probably look ridiculous on anything else. Paired with Audi’s delicate headlights and taillights, simple grillework, and that roofline, though, it makes for a gorgeous retiree.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Wheels pushed to the absolute corners; classic long-hood, short-deck proportions; and clean, graceful sheetmetal: We can only be talking about Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage, a proper sports car through and through. This fifth-place showing comes as Aston continues to introduce special-edition models, which typically signify a car’s impending doom. But as with Jennifer Aniston, this hot car shows age is just a number.

Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe

In the ultra-luxury realm, size matters—and it’s one of the reasons why the 2015 S-class coupe places so highly in our beauty rankings. This plus-size pinup’s use of proportion and its pervasive tapering arc design theme accentuate both its size and grace. The hood seems unbelievably long (a neat visual trick, courtesy of the upright and forward grille), and the three body-side lines add length and catch light like Tinker Bell scooping fairy dust. Did Germans really design this thing?

Ferrari 458 Italia

We like the 458 Italia because it’s everything a Ferrari should be: Race-car tech wrapped in stunning sheetmetal. In this case, the Pininfarina-penned mid-engine sports car’s aggressive and almost brutally low body suits its knife-edged personality perfectly. We could spend hours poring over the 458’s numerous and carefully designed details—and we have.

Jaguar F-type Coupe

Whether you begin with the Jaguar F-type coupe’s proportions, its muscular shape, or its amazingly purposeful stance, it is a seriously pretty kitty. What about the roadster, you say? It, too, is gorgeous, but the coupe’s plunging roofline and more-defined rear haunches give it the edge. And the experience isn’t merely visual—the F-type R Coupe’s supercharged V-8 soundtrack is pure aural ecstasy.

You can view the entire list by gently positioning your mouse cursor on this particular section of underlined area and then clicking.

Doug Ross @ Journal

16 Signs That Most Americans Are NOT PREPARED For The Coming Economic Collapse

This article has been generously contributed by Michael Snyder. You can follow his regular writings, research and analysis at The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream. Read his recent book The Beginning of the End to get an idea of what America may look like in the very near future.

Disaster-Is-Coming-300x300Sometimes I think that I sound like a broken record.  I am constantly using phrases such as “get prepared while you still can” and “time is running out”.  In fact, I use them so often that people are starting to criticize me for it.  But the truth is that only a small percentage of people out there are actively taking steps to get ready for what is coming.  Most of the country is not prepared at all.  In many ways, it is just like 2007 all over again.  There were many people that could see what was about to happen and were doing all they could to warn people, but most did not listen.  And then the great financial crisis of 2008 struck and millions of people lost their jobs and their homes.  Unfortunately, the next great wave of the economic collapse is going to be even more painful than the last one.  It is imperative that people get prepared for what is on the horizon, but for the most part it is just not happening.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have such short memories and such short attention spans in America today.  Thanks to years of television and endless hours on the Internet, I find myself having a really hard time focusing on anything for more than just a few moments.  And we are accustomed to living in an “instant society” where we don’t have to wait for anything.  In such a society, we are used to “news cycles” that only last for 24 hours and very few people take a “long-term view” of anything.

And another one of the big problems that we are facing is something called “normalcy bias”.  The following is how Wikipedia defines it…

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to amental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Over the past several years, the U.S. economy has been relatively stable.  And that is a good thing.  But it has also lulled millions upon millions of people into a false sense of security and complacency.  At this point, most Americans consider 2008 to be a temporary bump in the road, and most assume that the U.S. economy will always be strong.

Unfortunately, that is not the truth.  As I have written about previously, the long-term trends that are destroying our economy have continued to get worse since 2008, and none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.

We are steamrolling toward the edge of an economic cliff, and most people in our entertainment-addicted society are totally oblivious to what is going on.  So they are not doing anything to get ready for the immense economic pain that is coming.  The following are 16 signs that most Americans are completely unprepared for the coming economic collapse…

#1 Could you come up with $ 2000 right now?  According to a shocking study that was just released, most Americans could not

Forty percent of individuals in the U.S. said they could not or probably could not come up with $ 2,000 if an unexpected need arose, according to research by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

#2 In that same study, Americans were asked the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

An astounding 60 percent of people that responded said that they do not.

#3 Another study found that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#4 Some people are actually trying really hard to get ahead, but admittedly that is really tough to do when we are all being taxed into oblivion.  In fact, it was reported this week that Americans now spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

#5 Right now, more Americans are dependent on the government than ever before.  In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that currently gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#6 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.  That is a stunning number.

#7 It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million“preppers” in the United States.  But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping.

#8-16 The following are nine more statistics that come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a significant portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days…

  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

What do you think is going to happen to these people once the economy collapses and there is chaos in the streets?

How are they going to survive?

After all of these years of writing about the coming economic collapse, nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.

We are still heading toward a complete and total economic meltdown.

But most Americans continue to have faith in the system, and the mainstream media keeps assuring them that everything is going to be just fine.

And in this “dumbed-down” society of ours, most people are perfectly content to let others do their thinking for them.  In America today, only one out of every six Americans can even find Ukraine on a map of the world.  That is how far we have fallen.

In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves.  The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind.  If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion.

In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things.  Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen.  When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading.

Sadly, most Americans will never do that.

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years. Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream. If you want to know what things in America are going to look like in a few years read his new book The Beginning of the End.

 


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

The 5 Most Exotic Restaurant Venues in the World

My personal favorites from Bloomberg’s Top 10 Amazing Restaurants in Unexpected Places:

5: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives – Situated more than 16 feet below sea level in the Indian Ocean, this glass-enclosed spot cost about $ 5 million USD to construct. Patrons can scope 180-degree views of coral reefs and a wide variety of fish, as well as manta rays, sharks, and other aquatic inhabitants

4: The Dining Pod, Koh Kood, Thailand – Once you’re seated inside a giant open-air bamboo capsule with a table and cushioned seats, you’ll be raised up into the rainforest trees and have your food delivered by a zipline-riding waiter. (The ocean views are pretty impressive, too.)

3: The Rock, Zanzibar, Africa – What began as a fisherman’s post off the coast of Michanvi Pingwe beach has become the location of one of Zanzibar’s most iconic seafood restaurants. During low tide, guests can walk from shore, but during high tide, the eatery provides boat service.

2: Aescher, Wasserauen, Switzerland – The Alpine altitude won’t be the only thing taking your breath away at this cliffside chalet; the cable car ride up is just as amazing/terrifying. But even if you’re wary of heights, the mountain views will be worth braving the trek.

1: Grotta Palazzese, Puglia, Italy – Tucked inside a limestone cavern, this summer-only spot (open May through October) has hosted elegant dinners since the 18th century, when Italian nobility held banquets in the space.

View the entire list here.

Hat tip: BadBlue News.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Responding to Iran: Americans are not fooled by Khamenei’s lies. But what troubles us most is President Obama’s “feckless” policy towards Iran. He is presiding over the systemic collapse of American credibility around the globe.

MEME-SecondHolocaust-small(New York City, New York) — An Iranian official this week attacked an op-ed I recently wrote with Senator Santorum for CNN.com as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

You can read our original op-ed here, and the Iranian official’s op-ed here.

Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:

The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.  

As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned.

 

The regime’s response to our column would be laughable if its intent wasn’t so diabolical. Tehran is trying to use Hitler-esque spin as part of its charm offense. The mullahs are saying they just want peace and are hoping the West will surrender and ease off — or dismantle — the sanctions, even as they steadily develop the ability to annihilate their enemies.

 

What troubles us most, however, is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

————————


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog