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280 California parks bring annual $4.3 bil to state, mils locally. 200-park closure to shoot deficit? or economy?

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, California is the closest Pacific Ocean beach to Thousand Oaks, California. Its biggest claim to fame is as a popular location for photographers and movies, including The Karate Kid, Grease, The Craft, and Point Break

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The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.

Proposed state parks closure list is not for the faint of heart

"This morning, I glimpsed the list of California state parks earmarked for closure if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully cuts funding, and I became sickened and angry. There are 220 parks, reserves and beaches on the list. That would leave a mere 59 parks for our continued enjoyment." (Comment posted by Maggie Wolfe Riley: "The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.")

Among 220 state parks the governor proposes to close, Anderson Marsh Park is a California State Historic Park  read more »

Pandemic swine flu spreads easily, cases reach 30000, 18000 in US; New Orleans mayor out of quarantine in China

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the Spanish-influenza epidemic. December 1918. Citizens were urged to stay indoors and avoid congested areas.

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US swine flu cases grow to nearly 18,000

ATLANTA (AP) - Nearly 5,000 new U.S. swine flu cases have been reported in the last week, due partly to its continuing spread in the Northeast. The number of deaths rose from 27 to 45. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released new figures Friday. There are nearly 18,000 probable and confirmed cases now, found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The pandemic seems to be waning in many parts of the country. However, cases continue to spread in New England, New York and New Jersey.

Left: Ray Nagin, the mayor of the U.S. city of New Orleans; Right: Chinese health workers in protective outfits examine passengers onboard an AeroMexico flight AM 98 that landed at Pudong international airport in Shanghai from Mexico Thursday, April 30, 2009  read more »

Thanks to Ben Franklin, for his flying kite on June 10 1752, for his 1st setting up library, fire dept, hospital..

Benjamin Franklin - the man who was called ‘the harmonious human multitude’

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It is in 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted an experiment in connection with electricity charged clouds. He flew a homemade kite during a thunderstorm. The kite was made of a silk cloth mounted on a wooden cross, with about one foot of iron wire protruding above the kite. A key was tied to the end of metal string connected with the kite and the other end of the key was tied to a silken ribbon which Benjamin held while flying the kite. A bolt of lightning struck the kite wire and traveled down to the key causing a spark. This proved that lightning is electricity from charged clouds that can be brought to earth. There was a time when high-rise buildings were destroyed quite frequently by lightning. Benjamin Franklin invented lightning rod for the safety of buildings.

Benjamin Franklin playing chess  read more »

Photo: Ring of Water - F/A-18F Super Hornet hits speed of sound, water vapor in the air forms ring cloud around it

ring of water forms in the air as Super Hornet hits the speed of sound

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An F/A-18F Super Hornet hits the speed of sound. As the plane pushes air away, the temperature drops and water vapor in the air forms a ring cloud around it.

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Photos courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri / Reuters

Original Source: Reuters and Time

Remembering history for future: 65th D-Day tribute to heroes who fought for world's justice & humanity's survival

Normandy Veteran Fredrick William Norris, who was awarded the Military Medal, passes the graves of friends from his regiment, the 5th Assualt Regiment of the Armoured Engineers

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D-Day veterans: 'we wear medals in tribute to men who never lived to receive theirs'

World leaders and veterans gathered along the beach Saturday in Normandy, France, to commemorate D-Day. For the veterans of the Normandy Landings, almost all now in their mid eighties, this was not a moment to acknowledge their own ailments. Instead, they stood proudly in the blazing sunshine to honor the comrades who lost their lives amid the shelling and the terror and the bloodshed that were the D Day landings. To pay tribute to the men with whom they will forever have an unbreakable bond: the servicemen who gave their lives in the battle that marked the beginning of the end of the War.

on the beaches of Arromanches-les-Bains, different generations came together to remember the D-Day landings, and the sacrifices made - 65 years ago  read more »

Bill Turner treats Zebedee with total kindness, winning over a friend from Nature, going together to the pub for a pint

horse racing trainer Bill Turner learned to ride Zebedee in just two weeks

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A horse racing trainer loves to trot to the pub for a glass of Red Stripe lager - on his zebra. Dad-of-two Bill Turner bought 14-month-old Zebedee for £4,500 from a Dutch game reserve. Bill, 61, said: "He loves being ridden and it means I don't have to worry about being breathalysed."

Zebras are notoriously difficult to break in but the former jump jockey soon coaxed Zebedee to accept a bridle and saddle. In less than three weeks Bill was riding his new mount round his farm. Now Mr Turner rides Zebedee to his local, the King's Arms, for a pint after work.

Bill, who saddled 600 winners in 30 years as a trainer, said: "It's a mile and a half to the pub and Zebedee pricks up his ears every time we go. "The RSPCA says its OK to ride him." Bill's wife Tracy, 61, followed in a lorry on the first pub outing in case Zebedee tired and had to be driven back. But ten-stone Bill said: "He had no trouble and even cantered for a bit. The regulars got an incredible shock when I rode up."

zebras

It was the trainer's lifelong ambition to break and ride a zebra. Bill said: "I've broken hundreds of horses and wanted to try my luck with a zebra. "Very few are ridden in Africa - usually the only way to mount one is to put it in a river." Finally a livestock agent who Bill deals with in Belgium found the zebra for him. Bill said: "They say zebras are so hard to train because they don't have any brains and panic easily. Zebedee gave me a hard time at first, coming at me with his front feet and also biting.  read more »

Even in DNA age we still believe in Sherlock Holmes, world's most celebrated detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle

John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes and Roland Young as Dr. Watson in 1922 version

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Last weekend saw the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the world's most celebrated fictional detective. So what's kept him at the top for 122 years?

In 1887, appearing in print for the first time, Sherlock Holmes set out his purpose in life. The declaration in "A Study in Scarlet" would also come to dictate much of the subsequent career of Holmes' creator, Arthur Conan Doyle - not always to his pleasure. "There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it." He went on to define the archetype of the brilliant but troubled detective. Even today the character of Holmes defines what we expect of great fictional detectives. We want them to accept that "duty" to do good - but also to be personally flawed.

John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes and Roland Young as Dr. Watson in 1922 version

The 28 year-old author wasn't the first to spot the narrative potential of an incisive but troubled detective. Conan Doyle himself acknowledged the influence of Edgar Allan Poe's Auguste Dupin and of Lecoq, created by the now largely forgotten Emile Gaboriau. But almost every fictional detective stands in Holmes' shadow - from Kurt Wallander back to Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. Chandler once wrote: "Sherlock Holmes is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue." This may or may not have been a compliment.  read more »

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