W.P. Norton

Archive for October, 2015|Monthly archive page

—FLASH: Shooting of #SoldierDog #MajorMike sparks outrage–and support for Sgt. Matthew Bessler

In W.P. Norton on October 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Mike, the veteran was dog who helped his handler win two Bronze Stars, survived two tours in Iraq, only to be shot by a man with a gun strapped to his bicycle.

Mike was shot in the back and did not die instantly, the sheriff’s office told the Washington Post. And the shooter’s not talking–yet. Get the whole story from Sarah Kershaw’s account in today’s Post.

Is #MajorMike America’s Cecil the Lion? Some think so–and others wonder if the Park County Sheriff’s Office is telling the whole story.

Reportedly shot in the back Oct. 10, it seems this gentle Belgian Malinois was safer in the dessert than thee little town of Powell, Wyo.

Reportedly shot in the back Oct. 10, it seems this gentle Belgian Malinois was safer in the dessert than the little town of Powell, Wyo.

“Bless Sgt. Matthew Bessler. His old and new friends will help him through this devastating time. Major Mike’s funeral will be a national event, I am certain.” — Wang Kun

“I hope the overwhelmingly positive response from friends and strangers will help to soften Sgt. Bessler’s loss. Eventually the shooter’s identity will become public knowledge, and like the coward that shot “Cecil the Lion”, he can deal with the deserved public outcry, even if he is lucky enough to evade charges. Hope he has a rear view mirror. RIP Mike.”  — dc777



In dogs, Military, Veterans, W.P. Norton, WAR, War on October 14, 2015 at 12:06 am

6336196_1444788464.7766_funddescription#MAJORMIKE,  veteran has died.

Help lay him to rest with the honor he deserves

Are we ready for the next #megatsunami?

In W.P. Norton on October 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm


An ancient volcanic collapse that caused an estimated 800-foot-high megatsunami has modern-day implications for humanity, according to a study published in today’s edition of the journal Science Advances.

The study examines a catastrophe triggered when an estimated 40 cubic miles of rock plunged from the eastern flank of a collapsing volcano in the Cape Verde islands off the Western coast of Africa some 73,000 years ago. It suggests that the partial collapse of the Fogo volcano happened in a flash, contradicting previous research findings that such events occur gradually.

Should humanity prepare for the next megatsunami? See my report in Science Recorder.

What’s sexy? Depends who’s looking

In W.P. Norton on October 3, 2015 at 6:57 am

By W.P. Norton

for Science Recorder

A new study could be good news for those who feel they were born as something less than a winner in the genetic lottery of hotness. Olichel / Pixabay

When it comes to our standards of beauty, the laws of human attraction are driven more by our unique life stories than our genes, says a new study led by Harvard University and Wellesley College experts.

The study, published in the journal Cell Biology, could be good news for those who feel they were born as something less than a winner in the genetic lottery of sexy, at least when looking at the human face.

In fact, the life experience of the one who is doing the looking is a major determinant of how attractive a given face will be perceived, says the study, which is based on data from hundreds of identical and non-identical twin pairs who rated multiple images of male and female faces. (You can take the 50-face version of the test on Rate That Face.)

“We estimate that an individual’s aesthetic preferences for faces agree about 50 percent, and disagree about 50 percent, with others,” project co-leaders Laura Germine of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, and Jeremy Wilmer of Wellesley College said in a statement.

The researchers asked participants to rate computer images of male and female faces on a 1-to-7 scale, with 7 being the most attractive. To account for genetic factors influencing people’s perceptions of good-lookingness, the researchers used 547 identical twin pairs and 214 same-sex nonidentical twin pairs.

Contrary to expectations that identical twins would have shared perceptions of comeliness and fraternal twins less so, participants agreed on whether a face was attractive or not only about half the time.

The reason that opinions differ so wildly on what makes a face attractive, the authors say, stems from each person’s unique life story—on memories of the face of a first boyfriend or girlfriend, movie stars seen during childhood, or the look of a favorite teacher.

The study also confirms that some factors, like vertical facial symmetry, make a person appealing to pretty much everybody. A host of other characteristics, however, are considered attractive or not based on each observer’s unique experiences. So, the majority of folks whose looks fall short of fashion and film industry standards can take heart: beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

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