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Rescue flight - Operation Migration team's ultralight plane guides young whooping cranes to winter nesting grounds

This Way Survival: An ultralight plane piloted by an Operation Migration team member guiding whooping cranes from Wisconsin to their winter nesting grounds in Florida

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It was the first Friday in December, 23 degrees at dawn and nearly windless. Everyone was looking up. Operation Migration’s four ultralight planes floated into view over some oak and maple trees, then passed over the small, white chapel. An ultralight is powered by a massive rear propeller. In the sky, it looks like a scaled-down Formula 1 car dangling under the wing of a hang glider. Because the little planes taxi on three wheels, pilots call them trikes.

At 200 feet, the first pilot, Chris Gullikson, was perfectly visible in his trike’s open cockpit. He was wearing his whooping-crane costume, a white hooded helmet and white gown that looked like a cross between a beekeeping suit and a Ku Klux Klan get-up. Gullikson and the other trike pilots were going to pick up the 14 juvenile whooping cranes that they were, little by little, leading south for the winter. Traditionally, and for many millenniums, cranes learned to migrate by following other cranes. But traditions have changed. Outside the church, a plucky, silver-haired woman named Liz Condie was explaining to the spectators why, exactly, her team has had to dress up and step in.

2007 batch of baby Whooping Cranes takes off, led by Operation Migration’s plane  read more »

25 Best Blogs '09 according to TIME: Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, MetaFilter, Good2BeGreen...

Talking Points Memo

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Talking Points Memo

Journalist Josh Marshall began publishing Talking Points Memo in November 2000, during the Florida recount. More than eight years later, the winner of the recount is clearing brush in Texas, while Talking Points has become the prototype of what a successful Web-based news organization is likely to be in the future. Last February, Marshall's blog won a George Polk Award for its coverage of the firing of eight United States attorneys, the first blog ever to win a major journalism award. Talking Points makes good use of crowdsourcing, soliciting news tips from readers and even giving them assignments to sift through government documents. The biggest difference between Talking Points and most traditional news organizations is that Marshall assumes some of his readers might actually know more than he does, which makes him very smart indeed.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post  read more »

50 Jokes for 50 US States (part i): Alabaman headlines, Alaska nights, catching rabbits in California, and more...

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe... and also had a time-share in Hawaii.

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What's the state of the states of the union? Let's see ... New Yorkers mock Southern drawls. Southerners don't cotton to West Coast hippies, who in turn can't understand why Midwesterners live so far from the ocean breeze. And Midwesterners? They wonder who could survive New York-the city that never sleeps. Yes, the U.S.A. is one big, happy dysfunctional family. And to prove there are no hard feelings, every state gets a handpicked potshot all its own.

Alabama
When a visitor to a town in Alabama spotted a dog attacking a boy, he grabbed the animal and throttled it with his bare hands. An impressed reporter saw the incident and told him the next day's headline would scream "Valiant Local Man Saves Child by Killing Vicious Animal."
"I'm not from this town," said the hero.
"Then," the reporter said, "it will say 'Alabama Man Saves Child by Killing Dog.'"
"Actually," said the man, "I'm from New Hampshire."
"In that case," the reporter grumbled, "the headline will be 'Yankee Kills Family Pet.'"

Alaska
An Alaskan was on trial in Anchorage. The prosecutor leaned menacingly toward him and asked, "Where were you on the night of October to April?"

Arizona
It's so hot in Arizona, cows are giving evaporated milk and the trees are whistling for dogs.

Arkansas
An Arkansas state trooper pulls over a pickup truck on I-40.
He says to the driver, "Got any ID?" The driver asks, "'Bout what?"

California
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the FBI, and the CIA want to see who is best at catching perps. So a rabbit is released into the forest, and each of them has to catch it.  read more »

Feb 8 '09 photo: family without a home. Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with 9-yr-old granddaughter, Camina, in a camp

Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with his 9-year-old granddaughter, Camina, left, in a camp for displaced Afghans 3 hours from their village

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Family without a home
Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with his 9-year-old granddaughter, Camina, left, on Feb. 8 in a camp for displaced Afghans three hours from their village in Galochi district, bombed in a recent U.S. military raid on militants in Laghman, Afghanistan. The military operation destroyed 270 homes, driving hundreds of families out of their villages.

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Photos courtesy of Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Original Source: MSNBC

World's newest republic maintains a unique century-old culture - Nepalese girl, 3, begins life as "living goddess"

a 3-year-old girl who was appointed a living goddess in Nepal - Matani Shakya received approval from the priests and President Ram Baran Yadav

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Nepal became the world's newest republic in 2006, and in May 2008 ended the country's 240-year monarchy. However, the centuries-old Hindu-Buddhist tradition of worshipping a young virgin as the living embodiment of a powerful goddess has survived, and the Nepalese president now receives blessings from the girl - “living goddess”.

people watch as the guard of honor for Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav stands at attention during the Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu September 14, 2008

The three-year-old daughter of a Nepalese watch repairer became a "living goddess" after being approved by the country's new atheist government. Despite Nepal being a Maoist republic after the monarchy was unseated in May, the centuries-old tradition of worshipping a young virgin as the living embodiment of a powerful Hindu goddess has survived.  read more »

There is pleasure in the pathless woods/...rapture on the lonely shore;/ I love not man the less, but Nature more.

There is pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

— Lord Byron

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