Buon Compleanno!

If you did any Googling today you likely noticed the graphic commemorating the birthday of Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910). He was an interesting figure, best known for sparking a controversy with respect to Mars when, after extensive observation during Earth's close encounter with the Red Planet in 1877, he announced that he had detected the presence of "canali". "Canali", in Italian, translates as "channels". But Schiaparelli's discovery was mis-translated as "canals", with the associated implication that they were not naturally occuring, but had been purposely built by "Martians" (Alicia-Logic) at some point in the planet's history. Astronomers rushed to confirm Schiaparelli's (Wikipedia) find, and to gather more detail. American astronomer Percival Lowell (1855-1916) (PlutoPortal) devoted most of his career to proving the existence of the canals -- ultimately, to no available. Although an astronomer at an observatory he founded in Arizona (Clyde Tombaugh) did discover the now sort of ex-planet Pluto (Crystal Links) in 1930.

Six in the Morning

Need another reason to believe that conservatives -- whether large or small "c" -- are powerfully out of touch with what's actually going on in the world and how to cope with it? Here are six to see you through the weekend....

1. CANADA'S SECRET SUBPRIME CRISIS: According to recent Globe and Mail research, there has been a lot more subprime loaning going on in Canada than anyone has acknowledged so far. That means there are a lot more mortgages being defaulted on and house foreclosures than we've been led to believe. Is Harper just trying to paint a rosy picture for us when he says that Canadian banks were more careful than those in the States? Or is he just clueless about how bad things really are? (Globe and Mail)

2. HARPER'S FORKED TONGUE: Apparently, behind closed doors our prime minister has been ripping into the Liberals and President Obama. Because, of course, our woes should be laid at the feet of an opposition party and a head of state who's been in power for less than three months. (Buckdog Blog)

3. THE VIDEO CTV DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE: Senator Duffy's old bosses got this video pulled from YouTube claiming it unlawfully used a snippet from their newscast. Now it's been remade with non-CTV video. What is it? A short piece showing how Harper's got a few of the facts about this economic meltdown thingy a bit wrong. (A BCer in Toronto Blog)

4. CONSERVATIVES SCRAPPING ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS: In an effort to boost development, Environment Minister Jim Prentice plans to dramatically reduce the number of projects that require federal environmental assessments. (Globe and Mail)

5. JON STEWART STILL MY HERO: The host of the Daily Show took a verbal stick to the host of CNBC's Mad Money, Jim Cramer. Here's the video. (Mike Watkins Dot CA)

6. THAT SINKING FEELING PART III: According to recent polling data, 41% of Americans now believe that concerns about global warming are exagerrated -- that's the highest rate of skepticism this decade. They believe this despite the fact that scientists are more convinced than ever that climate change is real, our emissions are the primary cause of it, and the impacts are going to be much worse than we even recently estimated. Now, who could be responsible for this widening gulf between the public's knowledge of the issue and the scientific consensus on it? I'm looking at you National Post. (DeSmogBlog)