BRITAIN WITHDRAWING SOME EMBASSY STAF FROM IRAN

Britain is withdrawing some staff and dependents from its embassy in Tehran after it was stormed by Iranian protesters, some of whom tossed petrol bombs at the facility, the Foreign Office said Wednesday.

It declined to say how many people were being removed or give other details, but insisted that "ensuring the safety of our staff and their families is our immediate priority." Some diplomatic work is ongoing, though the embassy is officially closed.

Hard-line protesters hauled down the Union Jack, set fire to an embassy vehicle and pelted buildings with petrol bombs on Tuesday in what apparently began as a state-approved show of anger over the latest Western sanctions to punish Iran for defiance over its nuclear program.

Iran's parliament approved a bill Sunday to downgrade relations with Britain, one of America's closest allies with diplomatic envoys in the Islamic Republic.

The hours-long assault Tuesday on the British Embassy and a residential complex for staff - in chaotic scenes reminiscent of the seizing of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 - could push already frayed diplomatic ties toward the breaking point.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Tuesday's attack "outrageous and indefensible" and said Iran's failure to defend the embassy and its staff was a disgrace and would have "serious consequences."

TECH FIRM IMPLEMENTS EMPLOYEE ZERO EMAIL POLICE


You’ve got mail–not. Employees of tech company Atos will be banned from sending emails under the company’s new “zero email” policy.
CEO Thierry Breton of the French information technology company said only 10 percent of the 200 messages employees receive per day are useful and 18 percent is spam.  That’s why he hopes the company can eradicate internal emails in 18 months, forcing the company’s 74,000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.
Caroline Crouch, a spokeswoman for the company, told ABC News the goal is focused on internal emails rather than external emails with clients and partners. Atos has already reduced the number of internal emails by 20 percent in six months.
When asked how employees have responded to the policy, Crouch told ABC News the overall response “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.”
Breton,  the French finance minister from 2005 to 2007, told the Wall Street Journal he has not sent an email in the three years since he became chairman and CEO of Atos in November 2008.
“We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives,” he said in a statement when first announcing the policy in Feburary. “At [Atos] we are taking action now to reverse this trend, just as organizations took measures to reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution.”
Atos had revenue last year of of EUR 8.6 billion, or $11.5 billion, and has offices in 42 countries, according to the company website.
The company says by 2013, more than half of all new digital content will be the result of updates to, and editing of existing information. Middle managers spend more than 25 percent of their time searching for information, according to the company.
Crouch said Atos is evaluating a number of new tools to replace internal email including collaborative and social media tools. Those include the Atos Wiki, which allows all employees to communicate by contributing or modifying online content, and Office Communicator, the company’s online chat system which allows video conferencing, and file and application sharing.

CHICK FIL A TAKES ON VERMONT FARMER OVER KAE T-SHIRT SALES


A Vermont folk artist attempting to expand his home t-shirt business built around phrase "eat more kale," finds himself up against a formidable, and some would say, delicious, opponent: Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A, whose own trademarked slogan "eat mor chikin," has tried to shut down Bo Muller-Moore's hand silkscreen operation claiming his t-shirts cause brand confusion amongst customers:
In a letter, a lawyer for Chick-fil-A said Muller-Moore's effort to expand the use of his "eat more kale" message "is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A's intellectual property and diminishes its value."
In the Oct. 4 letter, lawyers for Chick-fil-A provided 30 examples of failed attempts by other companies and individuals to co-opt the partial use of their slogan, "eat more." All 30 of the slogans were withdrawn after legal protests from Chick-fil-A.  The letter demands that Muller-Moore stop using the phrase on his t-shirts and hand over the domain to his company website, eatmorekale.com

Chick-fil-A also recently waded into public controversy when it was revealed the company's founder S. Truett Cathy, was giving financial support to groups opposing gay marriage, including Focus on the Family. The new prompted Chick-fil-A president Dan C. Cathy to post a video on the company's Facebook fan page assuring customers that Chick-fil-A does not discriminate against its customers or employees.
The food chain has long been known for its conservative Christian values--including the practice of keeping all Chick-fil-A franchises closed on Sundays.
However, Muller-Moore, 38, says he's been using the phrase since 2000 and is ready to fight on against the nation's second-largest chicken franchise.
"Our plan is to not back down. This feels like David versus Goliath. I know what it's like to protect what's yours in business," he said.
So he has enlisted the help of Montpelier lawyer Daniel Richardson and the intellectual property clinic at the University of New Hampshire School of Law's Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic.
"Bo's is a very different statement. It's more of a philosophical statement about local agriculture and community-supported farmers markets," said Daniel Richardson of the New Hampshire School of Law's Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic, who is representing Muller-Moore. "At the end of the day, I don't think anyone will step forward and say they bought an 'eat more kale' shirt thinking it was a Chick-fil-A product."
Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry said the company does not comment on pending legal matters.
Muller-Moore says his business began when a fellow Vermont farmer asked him to make three copies of the shirt for $10 each back in 2000. Local demand for the t-shirts quickly expanded, which helped Muller-Moore launch his silkscreen shirt business, which also includes bumper stickers featuring the phrase.
This isn't the first showdown between Chick-fil-A and Muller-Moore, who says he received a similar letter from the company five years ago. However, after a pro bono lawyer traded a few letters with the company, the complaints apparently stopped. The renewed attention came after Muller-Moore tried to copyright his own phrase for potential competitors.

HOW MUCH CRAZIER CAN BLACK FRIDAY GET


NEW YORK (AP) — Pepper-sprayed customers, smash-and-grab looters and bloody scenes in the shopping aisles. How did Black Friday devolve into this?
As reports of shopping-related violence rolled in this week fromLos Angeles to New York, experts say a volatile mix of desperate retailers and cutthroat marketing has hyped the traditional post-Thanksgiving sales to increasingly frenzied levels. With stores opening earlier, bargain-obsessed shoppers often are sleep-deprived and short-tempered. Arriving in darkness, they also find themselves vulnerable to savvy parking-lot muggers.
Add in the online-coupon phenomenon, which feeds the psychological hunger for finding impossible bargains, and you've got a recipe for trouble, said Theresa Williams, a marketing professor at Indiana University.
"These are people who should know better and have enough stuff already," Williams said. "What's going to be next year, everybody getting Tasered?"
Across the country on Thursday and Friday, there were signs that tensions had ratcheted up a notch or two, with violence resulting in several instances.
A woman turned herself in to police after allegedly pepper-spraying 20 other customers at a Los Angeles-area Walmart on Thursday in what investigators said was an attempt to get at a crate of Xbox video game consoles. In Kinston, N.C., a security guard also pepper-sprayed customers seeking electronics before the start of a midnight sale.
In New York, crowds reportedly looted a clothing store in Soho. At a Walmart near Phoenix, a man was bloodied while being subdued by police officer on suspicion of shoplifting a video game. There was a shooting outside a store in San Leandro, Calif., shots fired at a mall in Fayetteville, N.C. and a stabbing outside a store in Sacramento, N.Y.
"The difference this year is that instead of a nice sweater you need a bullet proof vest and goggles," said Betty Thomas, 52, who was shopping Saturday with her sisters and a niece at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, N.C.
The wave of violence revived memories of the 2008 Black Friday stampede that killed an employee and put a pregnant woman in the hospital at a Walmart on New York's Long Island. Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter said Black Friday 2011 was safe at most of its nearly 4,000 U.S. stores despite "a few unfortunate incidents."
Black Friday — named that because it puts retailers "in the black" — has become more intense as companies compete for customers in a weak economy, said Jacob Jacoby, an expert on consumer behavior at New York University.
The idea of luring in customers with a few "doorbuster" deals has long been a staple of the post-Thanksgiving sales. But now stores are opening earlier, and those deals are getting more extreme, he said.
"There's an awful lot of psychology going on here," Jacoby said. "There's the notion of scarcity — when something's scarce it's more valued. And a resource that can be very scarce is time: If you don't get there in time, it's going to be gone."
There's also a new factor, Williams said: the rise of coupon websites like Groupon and LivingSocial, the online equivalents of doorbusters that usually deliver a single, one-day offer with savings of up to 80 percent on museum tickets, photo portraits, yoga classes and the like.
The services encourage impulse buying and an obsession with bargains, Williams said, while also getting businesses hooked on quick infusions of customers.
"The whole notion of getting a deal, that's all we've seen for the last two years," Williams said. "It's about stimulating consumers' quick reactions. How do we get their attention quickly? How do we create cash flow for today?"
To grab customers first, some stores are opening late on Thanksgiving Day, turning bargain-hunting from an early-morning activity into an all-night slog, said Ed Fox, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Midnight shopping puts everyone on edge and also makes shoppers targets for muggers, he said.
In fact, robbery appeared to be the motive behind the shooting in San Leandro, about 15 miles east of San Francisco. Police said robbers shot a victim as he was walking to a car with his purchases around 1:45 a.m. on Friday.
"There are so many hours now where people are shopping in the darkness that it provides cover for people who are going to try to steal or rob those who are out in numbers," Fox said.
The violence has prompted some analysts to wonder if the sales are worth it, and what solutions might work.
In a New York Times column this week, economist Robert Frank proposed slapping a 6 percent sales tax on purchases between 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 6 a.m. on Friday in an attempt to stop the "arms race" of earlier and earlier sales.
Small retailers, meanwhile, are pushing so-called Small Business Saturday to woo customers who are turned off by the Black Friday crush. President Barack Obama even joined in, going book shopping on Saturday at a small bookstore a few blocks from the White House.
"A lot of retailers, independent retailers, are making the conscious decision to not work those crazy hours," said Patricia Norins, a retail consultant for American Express.
Next up is Cyber Monday, when online retailers put their wares on sale. But on Saturday many shoppers said they still prefer buying at the big stores, despite the frenzy.
Thomas said she likes the time with her sisters and the hustle of the mall too much to stay home and just shop online.
To her, the more pressing problem was that the Thanksgiving weekend sales didn't seem very good.
"If I'm going to get shot, at least let me get a good deal," Thomas said.
___
Associated Press Writers Julie Walker in New York, Christina Rexrode in Raleigh, N.C., John C. Rogers in Los Angeles and Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this report

THE HOME AR THE TOP OF A VOCANO


It's not every day one stumbles across a UFO, never mind one you can live in, and certainly never mind one plopped firmly atop a volcano—er, volcanic cinder cone, to be precise. But lo' and behold this curious desert dwelling located between Vegas and Los Angeles in Newberry Springs, Calif. popped up on our radar screen.
Originally commissioned by aircraft-mechanics genius Vard Wallace as a personal retreat, the home was designed by prolific and versatile Southern California architect Harold Bissner, Jr. and completed in 1968. The inspiration? San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a nuclear plant in northwestern San Diego county.
This home design was inspired by a nuclear power plant.
Photo: Curbed

The property now belongs to local semi-celebrity Huell Howser, who has hosted California's Gold, a travel show on the Los Angeles radio station KCET, for the past 20 years. Howser listed the property in September 2009, at which point Curbed LA described it as a "secret hideout where you watch your dastardly plans unfold on flat screens and cackle at your minions."
Still lingering on the market for its initial ask of $750K, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom main house features a dome formed from concrete and bent-fir beams and grounded by glass walls; inside, a conversation pit keeps things centered around a fireplace.
No word whether the 60s modern furniture comes with the house.
Photo: Curbed
There's also a one-bedroom guest house, a lake, 60 acres of untarnished land, a three-car carport, a rooftop observation deck on top of that dome (360-degree views of the desert, anyone?) and, of course, the best part: brokerbabble that references a "stark, strong almost lunar landscape."
Fun times! Anyway, despite the fact that it's had zero luck selling—with nary a price chop, either—over the last two years, Howser's clearly holding out for that one special architecture geek who wants a serious story to tell. Or perhaps just some rich kid who wants to live in a spaceship.

KUTAI KARTANAGARA BRIDGE COLLAPSED


Kutai Kartanegara Bridge connecting Tenggarong  anD COLLAPSED Tenggarong Seberang in East Kalimantan collapsed Saturday (Nov 26). The bridge connects two of the biggest cities in East Kalimantan, Samarinda and Balikapapan.
The one-kilometer bridge collapsed on 4.20 PM local time when hundreds of people were busy to cross it. No official statement behind the collapse of Kalimantan's Golden Gate.
Some of the victims have been lifted from the river and taken to nearby hospital. AM Parekesit Hospital in Tenggarong said there about 100 victims rushed to the hospital. Detik.com quoted the hospital's officers saying three people killed from drowning at Mahakam River. Mediaindonesia.com, meanwhile, quoted other sources saying four people killed in the incident.
The bridge, locally dubbed as Kalimantan's Golden Gate Bridge, was built in 1995-2001. State-owned construction firm PT Hutama Karya is contractor for the project. (Theindonesiatoday.com)

PAKISTAN SAYS NATO KILLS 23 SOLDIERS

ISAF said it was aware of an incident and seeking further 
information about what happened ISAF said it was aware of an incident and seeking further information about what happened
Pakistan on Saturday accused NATO of killing at least 23 soldiers in a blistering air strike, protesting in the strongest terms to the US and closing the main border for NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

It was the deadliest NATO strike reported by Pakistan during the 10-year war in Afghanistan and looked set to inflame already extremely difficult US-Pakistani relations still reeling from the May killing of Osama bin Laden.

The US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was aware of an incident and seeking further information about what happened in Mohmand, part of Pakistan's lawless tribal belt branded an Al-Qaeda hub by Washington.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani "strongly condemned" the attack and "on his directions the matter is being taken up by the foreign ministry, in the strongest terms, with NATO and the US", the government announced.

Gilani cut short a weekend visit to his home town to return to Islamabad for crisis talks with President Asif Ali Zardari, army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, state TV reported.

Pakistan's military earlier condemned the pre-dawn attack on the border post in Baizai district as "unprovoked" and "indiscriminate".

"The death toll is more than 20," a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the casualty figures to the media. Among the dead was a major.

Intelligence officials said between 23 and 25 troops had been killed.

Within hours of the strike, Pakistan stopped NATO supplies crossing the Torkham border into Afghanistan and Pakistan's acting ambassador in Washington had reportedly lodged a formal protest with the State Department.

"We have stopped NATO supplies after receiving orders from the federal government," said Mutahir Hussain, a senior administration official in Khyber tribal region, on the Afghan border.

"Supply trucks are being sent back to Peshawar," he told AFP.

Khyber straddles the main NATO supply line into landlocked Afghanistan from the Pakistani Arabian Sea port of Karachi, but officials at the border in Chaman in the southwest said convoys were still being allowed to cross.

In Kabul, a spokesman for ISAF told AFP: "We are aware that an incident did take place. We are still in the process of gathering information."

Pakistan's Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said such attacks fan rampant anti-Americanism in the nuclear-armed Muslim country of 167 million.

"They fan anti-US feelings. NATO attacks breach our sovereignty. Pakistan and its society cannot tolerate this," she told reporters.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States have been in crisis since an American raid killed Osama bin Laden near the capital without prior warning and after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January.

US officials have long accused the Pakistani military of playing a double game in supporting Afghan Taliban militants, coming to a head in September when the then top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, accused Pakistan of colluding with the Haqqani faction in a siege on the US embassy in Kabul.

Pakistan this week forced its envoy to the United States, Husain Haqqani, to step down over a scandal in which he was accused of seeking American help in reining in Pakistan's powerful military after the bin Laden raid.

His successor, liberal rights campaigner and ruling-party lawmaker Sherry Rehman has yet to arrive in Washington.

US drones carry out routine missile attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, where American officials say neutralising Islamist militants is vital to winning the war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has frequently accused NATO of violating its airspace in pursuits of Taliban militants, but never before over such a deadly strike.

The last crisis occurred in September 2010 when Pakistan shut the main land route for NATO supplies at Torkham for just under two weeks after accusing NATO of killing three Pakistani troops in another attack in its northwest.

The border was reopened after the United States formally apologised.

Since the bin Laden raid Pakistani and US and Afghan officials have traded increasing complaints about cross-border attacks coming from both countries.

At talks in Islamabad last month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Pakistan to take action within "days and weeks" on dismantling militant havens and encouraging the Taliban into peace talks.

MOTHER OF AMERICAN ARRESTED IN EGYPT SAYS SHE'S ECSTATIC ABOUT HIS RELEASE

Mother of American Arrested in Egypt Says She's Ecstatic About his Release

PHOTO: 3 American 
students arrested in Cairo
Americans Held by Egypt to be Freed
The mother of one of the American students detained by Egyptian authorities said today she's "ecstatic" that her son is being released, though there's still uncertainty about his whereabouts.
The three college students -- Derrik Sweeney, a 19-year-old Georgetown University student; Luke Gates, a 21-year-old Indiana University student; and Gregory Porter, a 19-year-old Drexel University student -- are going through the bureaucratic ordeal of getting released from jail, and are still at the police station near Tahrir square, sources told ABC News. It is unclear when they will be able to leave the police station.
It's a matter of going through paperwork which has been described as "excessive," according to a friend of the students.
Sweeney's mother, Joy, told ABC News that she last received an update today at 6 a.m. from Consul General Roberto Powers, who told her that the boys had been transferred to the attorney general's office. She has yet to hear directly from her son and phone calls to his cell phone have gone unanswered, she said.
The past 48 hours have been the "longest of my life," Sweeney told ABC News, adding that she was elated to hear the news of her son's release.
"I'm so excited. I'm ecstatic," she said. But there is "still a little bit of uncertainty. I'd love to be booking a plane ticket right now."
Derrik Sweeney, who was studying Arabic in Cairo, was originally scheduled to return home right before Christmas. But before he can make his way back to the United States, Sweeney will have to find his passport. Joy Sweeney said her son did not know where his passport had gone.
Egyptian TV/AP Photo
Luke Gates, a 21-year-old Indiana University... View Full Size
Egypt to Release 3 U.S. Students Watch Video
Egypt Violence Intensifies; Americans Arrested Watch Video
Americans Flee Cairo Watch Video
The three students, who were served Thanksgiving dinner by the U.S. Embassy, will leave the country and return to the United States when they are released.
Sweeney, Gates and Porter were in Egypt for the semester to study at the American University in Cairo. They were arrested outside Cairo's Interior Ministry earlier this week for allegedly throwing molotov cocktails at authorities during the recent protests. Video that aired on Egypt's Nile TV showed three young men and the Indiana driver's license of one of them.
The three young men denied any wrongdoing.
"It's all too ridiculous to be true. I don't believe my son would do it," Sweeney said.
She last spoke to her son Wednesday morning after his arrest.
"He said they didn't do anything wrong. None of them did," she said. "He was absolutely terrified. Kind of overwhelmed by everything that had transpired. You could tell this was a life-changing experience for him."
Gates, the oldest of the three boys, tweeted about the scene in Tahrir Square before the arrest, saying he felt "reckless."
"It's only scary cuz I feel so reckless," he wrote. "Live bullets ... I was here!!"
"Wish the protests in New York looked like the ones in Tahrir," he tweeted.
Egypt has once again been rocked by violent clashes between the military and the public calling for an end to the country's military government.
In a repeat of the uprising that took out President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, tens of thousands of protestors have once again gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand an end to military rule. Egyptian officials said parliamentary elections would still go forward on Monday, despite the widespread violence.
At least 29 people have been killed.
Protestors say the military has broken its promise to hand over power to a civilian government.
Meanwhile, a prominent American-Egyptian journalist and outspoken critic of the military, Mona Eltahawy, said she was detained, beaten and sexually assaulted by Egyptian security forces. Eltahawy said she was freed after 12 hours of detention, and she immediately sent a flurry of tweets chronicling her ordeal.
The U.S. State Department said Eltahawy's detention was "very concerning," and that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was engaging Egyptian authorities about it.
ABC News' Lama Hassan, Tom Nagorski and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.

IT'S THE STOCK MARKET STUPIID? WHY OBAMA IS NO LONGER THE UNDERDOG

Pretty much since the day he was elected president of the United States in November 2008, Barack Obama has been the favorite on prediction markets like Intrade and Betfair to win re-election for a second term, as most incumbents do. That changed in September and October, when the budget stalemate and grim economic news turned Obama, for the first time, into an underdog.
But after bottoming out on October 8, when the prediction markets gave him a 48 percent chance of winning re-election, Obama has slowly and steadily climbed back to his August levels. His current odds, computed as an average of Intrade and Betfair, give him a 51.4 percent chance to win.
Obama's poll results and approval ratings are ticking up now, too. While it's tempting to credit scandals (exhibit C and G) or infighting among Obama's potential Republican rivals, or Republican stubbornness in the ongoing deficit reduction debate, the simplest explanation harkens back to the signature phrase of Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign, "It's the economy, stupid."
Brighter economic news and the prospect of a decent holiday season have handicappers wagering that economic conditions, or at least momentum, will be sufficient next fall that many voters will consider themselves better off in 2012 than 2008, and pull the lever for Obama.
The stock market is itself a massive prediction market forecasting the future profits of American businesses. As such, the Standard and Poor's 500 index offers about as good a guide as any to the economic outlook ahead. In the last 90 days, the S&P 500 has tracked a remarkably similar course as Obama: declining in September, bottoming out on October 3, rising steadily through October until November before beginning a slight decline again on November 14.
Obama's chances of reelection and the S&P 500 index price
In the figure, I've graphed Obama's likelihood to win on the prediction markets and the S&P 500 index price on the same chart. Although there can be a danger of reading too much into suggestive graphs (I don't advocate chartism), it's hard to imagine the correspondence is purely coincidental.
David Pennock has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan and currently heads the algorithmic economics group atYahoo! Research. Follow him on twitter@pennockd.

MEGYN KELLY'S PEPPER SPRAY COMMENTTS SPARK BACKLASH

 MEGYN COMMENTS SPARK BACKLASH
Pepper spray, its effects, and its appropriateness continue to be top of mind in the media.
Following the protests at UC Davis, during which Occupy protesters were sprayed with pepper spray by a campus police officer, Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly went on the Bill O'Reilly show.
Kelly appeared to downplay the physical effects of pepper spray. Kelly said pepper spray is "like a derivative of real pepper. It's a food product essentially."
Maybe so, but her comments have sparked a spicy backlash. A petition is circulating on the Internet that suggests Kelly should put her eyeballs where her mouth is by getting sprayed with the substance on live television. Currently, more than 16,000 people have signed the pledge. Kelly herself notes in the interview that the spray is  "obviously invasive and obtrusive and several [people] went to the hospital."
Over the past 24 hours, Web searches for "megyn kelly" and "megyn kelly pepper spray" soared more than 1,000%. Additionally, related lookups for "what is pepper spray" and "pepper spray ingredients" also spiked into breakout status.
Numerous blogs have popped up to explain exactly what is in pepper spray. According to a recent entry from KQED, "high doses of some of the chemicals in pepper spray can produce respiratory, cardiac and neurologic problems, and even death."
HowStuffWorks explains that "the active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum (OC), a natural oil found in many types of hot peppers including cayenne peppers and other chili pepper." One milligram of capisicum can cause blisters on the skin.
As the Washington Post points out, this isn't the first time someone has sluffed off the effects of a unpleasant (to say the least) physical experience. In the past, a number of people, including Stephen Colbert and Jesse Ventura, called on Vice President Dick Cheney to try being waterboarded. Cheney was an adamant supporter of waterboarding and the results he contends the process delivered.
The investigation into the attack on the Davis protestors is ongoing. The police officer who used the pepper spray is currently on leave and has been the subject of an Internet meme, placing him (and his can of spray) in various historical locations. Look, there he is with the founding fathers.

VIDEO OCTOPUS CRAWL OUT OF WWATER AND WALK ON DRY LAND

Check out this video of an octopus literally crawling out of the water and dragging itself across dry land in pursuit of a meal. A family with a camera was lucky enough to be on the scene and captured the whole thing on video:
If you're curious to learn more about the sea creature's possible motivation, there has been some great research on the understanding of octopus intelligence recently, including this surprisingly moving article in Orion magazine, chronicling a researchers bond with a giant Pacific octopus named Athena.
As it turns out, walking on land in the octopus kingdom is not as unique as you might think:
Some would let themselves be captured, only to use the net as a trampoline. They'd leap off the mesh and onto the floor—and then run for it. Yes, run. "You'd chase them under the tank, back and forth, like you were chasing a cat," [Middlebury College researcher Alexa] Warburton said. "It's so weird!"
Octopuses in captivity actually escape their watery enclosures with alarming frequency. While on the move, they have been discovered on carpets, along bookshelves, in a teapot, and inside the aquarium tanks of other fish—upon whom they have usually been dining.
However, it's quite unusual to capture video of a walking octopus in action. Part of the reason that studies on the creatures have been so limited, aside from their brief three-year life spans, is that they are notoriously shy, usually avoiding contact not only with humans, but with any other creatures, including fellow octopi.

SOARING BPA LEVELS FOUND IN PEOPLE WHO EAT CANNED FOODS

Eating canned food every day may raise the levels of the compound bisphenol A (BPA) in a person's urine more than previously suspected, a new study suggests.
People who ate a serving of canned soup every day for five days had BPA levels of 20.8 micrograms per liter of urine, whereas people who instead ate fresh soup had levels of 1.1 micrograms per liter, according to the study. BPA is found in many canned foods — it is a byproduct of the chemicals used to prevent corrosion.
When the researchers looked at the rise in BPA levels seen in the average participant who ate canned soup compared with those who ate fresh soup, they found a 1,221 percent jump.
"To see an increase in this magnitude was quite surprising," said study leader Karin Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The levels of BPA seen in the study participants "are among the most extreme reported in a nonoccupational setting," the researchers wrote in their study. In the general population, levels have been found to be around 1 to 2 micrograms per liter, Michels said.
 
The study noted that levels higher than 13 micrograms per liter were found in only the top 5 percent of participants in the National Health and Examination Survey, which is an ongoing study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We are concerned about the influence of [hormone-disrupting] chemicals on health in general, and BPA is one of them," Michels told MyHealthNewsDaily.
The study is published online today (Nov. 22) in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Soup for lunch
The study included 75 people, whose average age was 27. One group of participants ate 12 ounces of fresh soup every day at lunchtime, while the other ate the same amount of canned soup each day. Urine samples were collected from the participants on the fourth and fifth days of the study.
BPA was detected in 77 percent of people who ate the fresh soup, and all of the people who ate the canned soup, according to the study.
Only a few studies had previously looked at BPA levels from eating canned foods, and those relied on asking people how much of the food they usually eat comes from cans, Michels said. The new study was the first in which researchers randomized participants to eat a small serving of canned food or fresh food, and measured the resulting difference in their urine BPA levels, she said.
"We've known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body. This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use," said study researcher Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student at Harvard.
BPA and health
A 2008 study of 1,455 people showed that higher urinary BPA levels were linked with higher risks of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and abnormal concentrations of certain liver enzymes, even after factors such as age, body mass index and smoking were taken into account.
And other studies have linked BPA levels in a woman's urine during her pregnancy to health problems in her child.
It is not known how long the levels of BPA might remain high, according to the study. However, it is also not known whether such a spike, even if it isn't sustained for very long, may affect health, the researchers wrote.
The study was limited in that all of the participants were students or staff at one school, and a single soup brand (Progresso) was tested, but the researchers wrote that they expected the results to apply to canned foods with a similar BPA content.
"Reducing canned food consumption may be a good idea, especially for people consuming foods from cans regularly," Michels said. "Maybe manufacturers can take the step of taking BPA out of the lining of cans — some have already done this, but only a few."
The study was funded by the Allen Foundation, which advocates nutrition research.