Open thread

Carnival of the Cats #129 has some great photos and links to a whole lot more.

How unfortunate for this snake.  A very large python swallowed a pregnant sheep and found itself so bloated that it could not move off the road in Malaysia where it was later found struggling to get out of the way.  Be sure and check out the photo of the overstuffed rascal.  [via Gay Orbit]

You just can’t go wrong with a laundry basket full of kittens.

More disturbing news about bird flu.  The current mortality rate is over 50%, and this year has already seen more human infections than any previous year.

I really like Brad Pitt.  He’s just so damned sexy and cute and all that good stuff.  Now, there’s another reason to like him.  To wit: “Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won’t be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped. ‘Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able,’ the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine’s October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.”  Besides, he shouldn’t marry that trollop anyway.  I wonder if he knows I’m available…

This is just heartbreaking: “Staff at a zoo in southwest China are in mourning after a sleep-deprived panda dropped her two-day-old baby and crushed it to death, local media reported on Friday. […] Ya Ya, a seven-year-old panda and new mother of twins, ‘appeared tired’ when nursing the younger cub in a patch of grass, the paper said. Her head sagged, her paws separated and her baby fell to the ground next to her. The panda then rolled on to her side and crushed her baby beneath her. The tragedy occurred because she hadn’t slept or eaten properly since giving birth, Guo said, adding that Ya Ya lacked motherhood experience.”  Thankfully, her other baby is doing okay.  “But Ya Ya had proved inconsolable, wailing and looking for her baby after its body was taken away from her.”

A rare opportunity to study a newfound planet orbiting a distant star.  This extrasolar planet is perfectly aligned with Earth so that it passes directly between us and its own star, so we get a very clear view of it and can more easily study its size, mass, and even its composition.

And you thought the planet definition hoopla was over.  Ha!  A newfound object blurs the lines it established.  Not only that, but astronomers are up in arms because they’ve suddenly realized the new definition causes a lot of confusion once you get outside of our solar system.  Huh, where have we heard that before?

The 2,996 Project (the site is currently down) reached out to the blogosphere and assigned one of the victims of 9/11 to each participant.  In turn, bloggers were to write something about the person behind the name they received, and they were to write it today in honor of the fifth anniversary of the attacks.  Some of my favorite bloggers participated (as I would have done had I known about it), so be sure to check out the site (as soon as it’s available again) to see how well the idea worked.  In the meantime, several bloggers from the conservative side of the fence have made it a political tool by pointing out liberal outrage over ABC’s “Path to 9/11” should-have-been-an-animated-film fiasco.  Unfortunately, many liberals participated in the 2,996 Project, but that fact is being ignored for political gain.  Talk about disgusting.

Off the top of my head and from the blogs I read, here are three folks who participated: Eric writes about Calvin Dawson, Chris gives us Kyung (Kaccy) Cho, and Ethan writes about Stephen LaMantia.  Go read both posts while you’re waiting for the project site to become available.

Ryland makes a very good point about remembering September 11:

What? Oh, remembering the fallen? Supporting the troops? Yeah, well, I did that too, sort of. But let’s face it: is the anniversary of September 11th as deserving of solemn demonstrations as, say, Veterans Day? I don’t think so.

Of course the events that happened that day were horrific. Of course “the world changed”. But is the death of 3,000 people and the destruction of a few (admittedly really nice) buildings really worse than, say, tens of thousands of people who died in a tsunami or an earthquake?

September 11th, while tragic, has turned Americans into grief fetishists. It’s turned our political discourse into a game where our leaders compete to see who can exploit September 11th most effectively to pander to — and terrorize — their harrowed constituents.

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