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Ice recap Summer 2011 [Class M]

The good folks at the National Snow and Ice Data Center summarize the season in the Arctic Ocean. Turns out that the weather conditions that helped make 2007 a record for low sea-ice extent didn't recur. And yet, 2011 came within a relative hair's breadth of setting a new record. That means longer-term climate trends are to blame, not seasonal weather variation. The low-down:

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Yana: Learn How to Create an Awesome WordPress Blog News Theme

Let’s say that it’s your first time creating a news blog template and you don’t have any idea what and how to do it. Well, this tutorial will help you create a WordPress blog news theme in Adobe Photoshop. The theme will include a header section, a slider that will contain featured posts, recent news, display posts by category, sidebar, and widgets. If you’re really a beginner you can read and follow the step by step instructions, but if you’re not, maybe you’ll get some ideas from this tutorial. So let’s get started.

Here is what we will be making, click on the image for full preview:

Resources for this tutorial

Step 1: Setting up the Document

Start by creating a 1200px x 1700px document in Photoshop.

Ruler Tool is very useful for this tutorial make sure that rulers and guides is turned on.

  • Rulers: Ctrl + R
  • Guides: Ctrl + ;

Also one thing important in using Ruler Tool is the Info (Information) Panel. The use of this is when you are measuring using the ruler the information will be shown in the information panel. Make sure that this is shown in your panels at the right. If it is not shown you can access this by going to Windows – Info.

The total width of your site will be 960px. So, let’s create our 1st guide by going to View – New Guide, set the value to 120px. Repeat the step of create a guide but now change the value to 1080px, this will make a total of 960px to the center of our canvas.

Step 2: Working on Background

Start by filling the background layer with #081010. Next, we will create a grid pattern. Create a new document 20px by 20px background transparent.

Using Pencil Tool with a fill color of #ffffff create a pattern as shown in the screenshot below.

To create a pattern go to Edit – Define Pattern. Now that we have created the pattern using Paint Bucket Tool and set it to Pattern, choose the pattern we have created and fill it to the canvas. Make sure that it is in a new layer.

After filling the pattern set the layer mode to Soft Light and set the Opacity to 50%.

Step 3: Working on Header

The header section will contain a Logo, Navigation, and Search bar. To make it organize create 3 folders for us to place the layers for logo, navigation, and search bar. To start we will make a base shape to hold all the elements in our header. Using Rectangle Tool create a 960px by 50px rectangle. Any color will do because we will be applying layer styles on it.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Gradient Overlay: #353535, #505050

  • Stroke: #081010


Font I used is Helvetica Black 24pt.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Drop Shadow: #000000

  • Gradient Overlay: #92b4b5, #ffffff


Navigation will contain links and dividers. Links will have a distance of 18px left and right from the dividers. Navigation start 208px from the logo. Measure it using Ruler Tool.

Using Rectangular Marquee Tool create a 1px selection starting from the said distance. Now, select Gradient Tool foreground to transparent, set the foreground color to #4f4f4f, and lastly start filling the selection starting from bottom to top.

Using Line Tool create another 1px line with a fill color of #081010.

As I said earlier links will be 18px distance from the dividers. For the links I used Helvetica Roman 14pt.

Notice at the screenshot above every dividers and links I distanced it 18px. Just repeat until you finish the navigation. Navigation links will contain world, business, sports, tech, web, science. When you’re done. Duplicate the Text, make the original text color #1b1b1b and move it 1px above.

The remaining space will be for our Search Bar.

Search Bar

To start select Rounded Rectangle Tool set the Radius to 20px, create a shape as shown in the screenshot below with a fill color of #363636.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Inner Shadow: #4f4f4f

  • Drop Shadow: #000000

Last step, add the Search Icon, resize it and place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 4: Working on Slider

The slider will cotain Image preview, thumbnails, title, content, read more button, and slider controls. First we will create our base shape to hold all the content. Using Rectangle Tool with a fill color of #e1eaea create a shape 620px by 1305px.

We will add a noise to our base layer. To do this, go to Filter – Convert to Smart Filter, go to Filter – Noise – Add Noise – 1

Grab some sample pictures the sizes will be 300px by 200px for the image preview and 60px by 60px for the thumbnails. Place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Stroke: #4e4e4e

Now that we have our image preview and thumbnails we will add title heading, content and read more button. Add heading and content first using Text Tool.

For our read more button select first the Rectangle Tool and create a 80px by 25px shape, place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Using Pencil Tool create an arrow and place it as shown in the screenshot below. Make sure that it is on a separate layer.

We will mask the arrow that we have created to the Rectangle shape that we made. Make a selection to the arrow layer, while it is selected Inverse the selection Ctrl + Shift + I and select the Rectangle layer and click the Mask Icon beside the FX Icon. When you’re done hide the arrow layer or delete it.

Change the rectangle color to #fea702

Apply this Blending Option

  • Drop Shadow: #000000

  • Inner Shadow: #ffffff

Using Text Tool with a size of 12pt Helvetica Roman #ffffff add a read more text and place it on the center. When you’re done duplicate the shape and move 1px to the top, change the color to #cb8500.

Last thing we need to do is add a divider. Just simply use Text Tool and press the key beside 0. Make the fill color #4e4e4e, duplicate the text layer and make the original layer to #ffffff.

Step 5: Working on Latest News

Latest news section will contain a featured image, a categories, ribbon, post title, content, and read more button. To start using Text Tool add a Latest News text 40px below the divider. Text format will be Helvetica Roman 18pt #141e1e. Next, grab a sample image 275px by 120px. Place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Using Rectangle Tool create a 100px by 15px #fea702. Next, using Text Tool font Helvetica Roman 8pt #ffffff place the text in the center of the shape.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Inner Shadow: #ffffff

Duplicate the text layer and make the original layer color #c88300 then, move the text 1px upward. Select all the layers that we have just made and press Ctrl + T to transform, transform it 45 deg and place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Make a selection of the preview image, select the rectangle shape layer and press the mask icon. You will have something that looks like in the screenshot below.

Using Text Tool add post title, content, and post categories.

Make a duplicate of read more button and place it 15px below the content.

Group all the layers we have made, name it post. Duplicate a copy of it and move it to the right with a distance of 30px. I change the color ribbon to #8170e8 and change the text label.

Step 6: Working on Categories Posts

In here text is the same as we did in recent news. Grab a 60px by 60px shape for our image preview and place it as shown in the screenshot below. Also using Text Tool add a text for category name.

Using Text Tool add the post tile, posted by, and number of comments. Color and font used is the same as we did in latest news.

Group all the layers we have created and duplicate a copy of it and place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Group all including the category title. Duplicate it 3 times place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 7: Working on Sidebar

Sidebar will contain social links, about widget, tabs, and advertisement. Let’s work first in our base layer, select Rectangle Tool and create a shape with a fill color of #353535. Repeat the step on how we did our base layer in content area using smart filter and noise.

Social Links

Using Rectangle Tool with a fill color of #4e4e4e, create a shape 340px by 50px.

Using Line Tool create a 1px line as shown in the screenshot below.

Using Text Tool add a Follow us on text. Font used Helvetica Roman 18pt #ffffff.

Open up the social icons you have downloaded and place it accordingly as shown in the screenshot below. Just resize it using Transform Ctrl + T, I also added a 1px drop shadow.

About Us Widget

About widget will contain a thumbnail picture, header, content, and read more button. First you will need to create the base layer with the same fill color on social icons base, the size will be 340px by 210px. When you’re done place the header text with the same text format.

Using Rectangle Tool with a fill color of #121b1b create a 90px by 90px shape. Place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Using Text Tool add a dummy text with a fill color of #cccccc. Text should have 1px drop shadow the same on our header. Also, grab a copy of read more button. Change the fill color to #616161 and place it as shown in the screenshot below.


Our tabs will contain Most Recent posts and Most Popular. To start using Rectangle Tool create a 125px by 50px shape. Label it with text Most Recent using Text Tool font will be Helvetica Roman 14pt #ffffff also, apply a 1px drop shadow. Duplicate the two layers and change the text label to Most Popular.

For the Most Recent base shape apply this blending option.

  • Gradient Overlay: #4f4f4f, #141e1e

For the Most Popular base shape apply this blending option.

  • Gradient Overlay: #353535, #505050

We will create a base layer to hold all the posts for our most recent tab. Using Rectangle Tool with a fill color of #4f4f4f create 302px by 435px shape.

Grab a copy of the posts we did in categories area. Place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Using Line Tool add 1px line as shown in the screenshot below.


Just grab a sample 125px by 125px advertisement and palce it as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 8: Working on Footer

Footer will contain twitter feed, about widget, flickr widget, and top comments. To start we will create the base layer to hold all the elements that will put in our footer area. Footer base layer is the same with sidebar base layer. Just repeat the step, the size will be 960px by 345px.

Twitter Feed

Using Rectangle Tool create a box.

Apply this Blending Option

  • Gradient Overlay: #353535, #505050

Select Text Tool set the font to Arial Regular – Italic 12pt #c7c7c7. Also, apply a 1px dropshadow.

Grab some Twitter follow icon place it as shown in the screenshot below. Also, using Text Tool add a Twitter profile url and total number of followers.

Last step will be adding 1px lines using Line Tool. Line color will be the same in our sidebar.

About Widget

Just grab a copy of about widget we did on the sidebar area and place it as shown in the screenshot.

Flickr Widget

Just grab a sample picture size 40px by 40px and place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Top Comments

Just grab a 2 copy of post and a divider we did in our tab most popular. Place it as shown in the screenshot.

Duplicate twice the divider and place it as shown in the screenshot below.

Lastly let’s add our copyright text.

Finally we have finished our WordPress news blog template. I hope you find this tutorial helpful. If you have questions and suggestions just drop it below. Please share, tweet and subscirbe. Cheers all! smile


Katla [Dynamics of Cats]

Series of substantial earthquakes in the Katla caldera,
could be nothing could be sign of an impending eruption

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Once you see it, you can't help seeing it every time. Until your body finishes metabolizing the mushrooms.

AT&T goes meta: your iPhone 4S upgrade is just an app away

If you're all hot and bothered by today's announcement from Apple, there'll be a new way for AT&T customers to snatch up the iPhone 4S. Later this evening, Ma Bell expects to introduce a gem into the App Store that lets users check their upgrade eligibility, and beginning Friday, October 7th, customers will be able to pre-order the A5-wielding beauty from the comfort of their current iPhone. Of course, we'll be sure to provide an update as the final details become available. Who'd have thought your current handset would play such an active role in its own demise?

AT&T goes meta: your iPhone 4S upgrade is just an app away originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 04 Oct 2011 22:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Erin goes blah (blah)

CNN is very serious about getting a big piece of that very valuable Old White Guy audience:

It's so great they gave Burnett her own show. She's just the right gal for the moment, which with all her Wall Street experience and economic savvy:

Here's an example of her insights back in January of 2009:

Here's "wall street analyst" Erin Burnett just a few minutes later talking about the layoff announcements today:

Burnett: It is pretty concerning because when you look at that stimulus plan you could be looking at somewhere between 800 and 900 billion dollars spent and how quickly are you gonna get job announcements, job creation out of that bill. That is a big question right now on Wall Street.

O'Donnell: Yeah, and I know Democrats and President Obama's team using that to make that argument that we've got to get this done quickly.

There is some good news out there about the housing market.

Burnett: Yes there was, and this is funny, I guess it's the world we're in right now Norah. This is going to sound horrible but it's actually better news than expected. Home prices were down 15% from a year ago, but existing home sales overall were up, and what really sticks out here was inventory, how much of the stuff we've got to work through before we are to get back to a healthy market. We saw a big drop there, we have 9.3 months of inventory which means at the current selling rate it would take 9.3 months to actually work through everything but that is a big improvement from where we were just a month ago.

So there are a few signs of improvement, raising to some the question of how big and how quick this stimulus actually needs to be to stimulate. The economy's trying to turn itself around.

She's an expert on finance donthcha know. Take this brilliant observation:

I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. You know, if China were to revalue its currency or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up, and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up, too. So I would say China is our greatest friend right now. They're keeping prices low and they're keeping prices for mortgages low, too.

This was good too. Question to Larry Summers:

"In the longer term, are you willing to stand up and say, 'Hey, America, your pensions are going to be smaller, your Medicare benefits are going to be lower, your Social Security retirement age is going to go way up and your benefits are going to go lower even if you paid in?'Are we at the point where the government has to say, 'These are painful facts, and we might lose re-election by telling you, but we're going to telling you the truth?'"

Say what you will about Summers, but this was an awesome retort:

"Erin," replied Summers, "listening to you, it sounds like it's an exercise in sadism, who can cause the most pain."

I could go on. I've been writing about Burnett for years and she's always a very, very earnest defender of plutocrats everywhere. And God knows we need to see even more of that.

Oh, and by the way her report on the protest tonight was just as contemptible.


Their Wesley Did Not Come For Them

From the WSJ:

Christie Won't Seek GOP Nomination
Despite Pressure to Run, New Jersey Governor Said 'Now Is Not My Time'


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to sit out the presidential race removes one of the last big unknowns from the 2012 Republican nomination fight and widens the path for Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner for most of the year.

Even before Mr. Christie told a televised news conference Tuesday that "now is not the time" for a presidential run, some of his more fervent supporters were already switching their allegiance to Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has moved back ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in recent polls.

Now, unless Ronald Reagan leaps from the grave riding a white horse made of adamantine, tax cuts and $.30/gallon gasoline

the crazies are going to have to settle.

Which, for people who have been conditioned to believe that anything short of 100% rigid adherence to their batshit ideology = Islamo-Stalinist treason, is going to be entertaining.

I have no doubt Fox News Corporation will manage to reprogram the Pig People just in time to support the anointed Fox News Corporation candidate, but exactly what kind of software upgrades they'll be using to get the entire GOP base to re-re-re-re-re-reverse itself one more time without their heads falling off will be fascinating to watch.

We Killed Yamamoto

This is where I live: an unlovely moral briar patch of horribly imperfect alternatives.

From cutting funding for programs for the poor to lying us into a criminal war, for as long as I can remember my government has done terrible things in my name.

If it were within my power to push a button and make my government stop doing terrible things, I would do it. In fact I push a button somewhat like at least once every two years. So do millions of my fellow citizens. Sometimes I get a little of what I want; sometimes I get the opposite of what I want. This has something to do with the fact that my choices every two years are not drawn from the ranks of saints or civil rights leaders, but from politicians who are every bit as flawed and venial and stupid as the rest of us monkeys.

And there really are people in the world who are trying to kill us. Really. No fooling. You. Me. Your family. My family. Basically any pile of dead Americans will do.

If it were within my power to rain fire on people who are trying very hard to turn my loved ones into another pile of dead Americans, I would do it without hesitation. From across the street? From 10,000 miles away? From space? I don't care. Give me that button and I'll push it. Every time.

Then you tell me that one such person who wants to turn my loved ones into piles of dead Americans used to live here. That he actually had to go way out of his way -- cut his ties with my country and cross oceans -- just to hook up with a whole network of people who work night and day to turn my loved ones into another pile of dead Americans? That after years of hard work organizing and advancing their cause, he had risen in the ranks of that network who wants to turn my loved ones into another pile of dead Americans?

And now you know exactly where he is? And have a bomb hanging over his head?

Give me that button and I'll push it. Every time.

Which is why I would make a bad President.

Because if I were given a virtual blank check to use the most powerful military in the history of the world any way I felt like, a whole lot of people -- from my tormentors in my third grade class to the clouted-up deadwood at my last full-time job -- might not live to see the sun rise.

I would be delighted to live in a world where there were no wars -- and this is a war -- no death penalty and where no one was deemed unfit to live. Where -- citizen or not -- anyone who is alleged to have done bad things against my country could be taken swiftly and humanely into custody, after which they would be tried in a duly constituted court for their alleged crimes.

Give me the button that manifests that world and I'll push it. Every time.

But I don't live there. I don't even live close to there.

Which is why, every two years I try to elect people who will not only make better decisions than the other people running for the same offices, but will also make slightly better decisions than I would if I were give the chance to push a button and kill a bad guy halfway around the world.

I usually fail.

Kepler Doubles its Prospects [Page 3.14]

The planet-hunting spacecraft known as Kepler has detected the first definitive exoplanet in a binary star system, and lead author Dr. Laurance Doyle has all the details on Life at the SETI Institute. He writes, "Perhaps half the stars in the galaxy are in double star systems. Understanding that planets can form in close binary systems means that these, too, can be targets in the search for habitable worlds." The twin stars have a combined mass less than that of our sun—and the planet is the size of Saturn, in an orbit as close as Venus. Fellow SETI Astronomer Dr. Franck Marchis writes, "There is no equivalent in our solar system of such a large and dense exoplanet. Kepler-16b has the same size as Saturn but a higher density, suggesting that it could be made of a core of ice/rock (half its size) surrounded by an atmosphere in a configuration similar to Saturn." In other words, having two suns doesn't automatically make a planet hot, sandy, and full of Jawas. It's all about orbiting in that "Goldilocks" zone, where the temperature is just right.

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A Republican Surfaces for One Last Breath by David Atkins

This is interesting:

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) launched a verbal assault on an unconventional target Tuesday, taking aim at Grover Norquist and his highly influential tax policy group, Americans for Tax Reform.

In a speech from the House floor, Wolf accused Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform of complicating the deficit-cutting process with their efforts to encourage Republican politicians to sign onto a "no new taxes" pledge, which has recently stretched far past the issue of personal taxes.

"Everything must be on the table, and I believe how the pledge is interpreted and enforced by Mr. Norquist is a roadblock to realistically reforming our tax code," Wolf said, after first clarifying that he didn't "support raising taxes on the American people."

"Have we really reached the point where one person's demand for ideological purity is paralyzing Congress to the point that even a discussion of tax reform is viewed as breaking a no-tax pledge?"

I applaud Congressman Wolf's courage, and look forward to seeing which Tea Party challenger will defeat him in primary battle next year.

The fact is that for Congressman Wolf and anyone else in the GOP with even an ounce of sense, the time to speak up against Norquist and his brigade was years if not decades ago. It's too late now. He who lives by riling people up into anti-tax hysteria will die by it, too.

The same phenomenon is taking place as casual observers nervously fret over the embarrassing spectacle that is the the GOP Presidential debates. Republicans have managed to muscle their way into power in this country by carefully nurturing a poisonous, nonsensical and unrealistic view of the world among somewhere between 30% and 40% of the American public. Like a foolish comic book or B-movie villain, they thought they could keep that monster in check to use for their own ends. In reality, that monster now controls their destiny.

Fox News is no longer the propaganda arm for the GOP. The GOP is the legislative arm of the conservative media empire. Grover Norquist is no longer a useful vote-getter for the GOP. The GOP is a useful policy-making tool for Grover Norquist and his allies.

Congressman Frank Wolf is about to find out who really runs things in Republican land, and it's not John Boehner or anyone in official GOP leadership.


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