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...couple enjoying the breath taking natural beauty of the Grand Canyon along the way. Not sure if they traveled all the way there from Wisconsin though  ???:

..a few years ago:

A World War II bunker tumbled down a cliff onto a San Francisco beach. It's the latest in a series of landslides from record floods. A giant World War II-era military structure fell down a sandy cliff and onto a San Francisco beach. The incident at Fort Funston, a city park with 200-foot oceanside bluffs, is the latest in a series of landslides across Northern California caused by a deluge of heavy rainstorms

Took these photos when I was at that Fort:

Prepping their glides for flight:

Run way:

Drop zone:

Happened to be a wedding there that day so I took a snap shot of it.. ;D:


3 easy target for the FRAUDs:

NC man arrested in Ponzi scheme defrauded people in the Indian community, FBI says

A former Chapel Hill transportation engineer was arrested Tuesday on 23 charges tied to an investment scam known as a “Ponzi scheme,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kumar Arun Neppalli, 56, of Cary, is charged with 17 counts of wire fraud and six counts of conducting transactions in criminally derived property, according to a news release. He is expected to go to trial later this year and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Neppalli, who was hired in 2000 as Chapel Hill’s traffic engineer, abruptly resigned as the town’s traffic engineering manager on Nov. 1, 2021, after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy that October.

Then-Town Manager Maurice Jones, who resigned from his job in December, told The News & Observer after the allegations surfaced that the town was taking them seriously but did not have evidence that Neppalli used his position to unduly influence development projects.

On Tuesday, town spokesman Ran Northam said in an email that staff did not find any irregularities regarding Neppalli’s work with the town.

Bilking investors
An N&O investigation revealed that Neppalli, a native of India, was accused of bilking 15 investors out of $1.9 million in business loans that he acquired through his connections with the Triangle’s Indian community.

Four investors who spoke with The N&O said they knew Neppalli through mutual friends or state and national Indian cultural groups.

Neppalli previously served as vice president and president of the Triangle Area Telugu Association, and as a former board member with the Hindu Society of North Carolina. He also served for 11 years as president of his Twin Oaks homeowners association in Cary.

Chapel Hill officials learned about the allegations in an October 2021 email from Srinivasa Yenduri, a Connecticut resident listed as a creditor in court documents. Yenduri, who did not respond to The N&O’s efforts to reach him, told court officials he gave Neppalli $150,000 for a “business loan,” documents showed.

Other investors spoke with The N&O on background only, citing a need to consult with their attorneys. Their investments ranged from $15,000 to $400,000 and were made over the last three years or longer, documents and interviews revealed.

The investors told The N&O that Neppalli touted his work-related development connections in promoting pending real estate deal with an unnamed local builder.

In some cases, the money represented his investors’ life savings, court documents showed.

According to the release, Neppalli asked his investors to give him money quickly — sometimes that day — and promised to return the principal investment along with a profit within a few months. He asked some of his investors not to talk about the pending deal with other people or referred them to a nondisclosure agreement, the release said.

“Our investigation shows Neppalli abused the trust and confidence placed in him by fellow Indian-American community members,” said Michael C. Scherck, FBI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge.

Giant legs of Vietnam's 'dragon chicken' a Lunar New Year delicacy

The lumpy legs of the Dong Tao chicken — named after the commune where it is bred in northern Vietnam — are considered a delicacy, and are particularly popular among the wealthy during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, known as Tet.

"Eating one freshwater fish caught in a river or lake in the United States is the equivalent of drinking a month's worth of water contaminated with toxic "forever chemicals", new research said"

General Discussion / Any body blue today?
« on: January 17, 2023, 12:38:13 AM »
What is Blue Monday - and what makes it the most depressing day of the year?
Blue Monday - supposedly the most depressing day of the year - falls on 16 January this year. But what makes the third Monday of January so sad? Sky News explores the origins and history of Blue Monday.

Welcome to Blue Monday, dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

But what's so miserable about it, and where did the concept come from? Here's everything you know about the supposedly gloomiest of days.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of the year - in 2023, that makes it Monday 16 January.

Blue Monday was originally dreamed up by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall in 2004. He devised the formula for the bleakest day to help a travel company sell holidays, with the first Blue Monday on 24 January, 2005.

General Discussion / I'm a member and the long lines reflect it
« on: January 17, 2023, 12:03:56 AM »


Nationwide chain Costco's cleanliness, food, and customer service earned its place as the country's most preferred gas station. Regional brands like Buc-ee's and Wawa offered the same, while their iconic local experiences have also afforded them many devoted followers.

Despite being so much more affordable than gas from other suppliers, Costco's Kirkland Signature™ fuel is TOP TIER™ and even exceeds EPA standards. This gasoline is formulated to clean your engine, help your car run like new, and maximize fuel economy.

Here's a photo I took:


Wyoming wants to phase out sales of new EVs by 2035
It's a symbolic gesture aimed at states like California.

While jurisdictions like California and New York move toward banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars, one US state wants to go in the opposite direction. Wyoming’s legislature is considering a resolution that calls for a phaseout of new electric vehicle sales by 2035. Introduced on Friday, Senate Joint Resolution 4 has support from members of the state’s House of Representative s and Senate.

In the proposed resolution, a group of lawmakers led by Senator Jim Anderson says Wyoming’s “proud and valued” oil and gas industry has created “countless” jobs and contributed revenue to the state’s coffers. They add that a lack of charging infrastructure within Wyoming would make the widespread use of EVs “impracticable” and that the state would need to build “massive amounts of new power generation” to “sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.”

SJ4 calls for residents and businesses to limit the sale and purchase of EVs voluntarily, with the goal of phasing them out entirely by 2035. If passed, the resolution would be entirely symbolic. In fact, it’s more about sending a message to EV advocates than banning the vehicles altogether. To that point, the final section of SJ4 calls for Wyoming’s Secretary of State to send President Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom copies of the resolution.

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“One might even say tongue-in-cheek, but obviously it’s a very serious issue that deserves some public discussion,” Senator Boner, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Cowboy State Daily. “I’m interested in making sure that the solutions that some folks want to the so-called climate crisis are actually practical in real life. I just don’t appreciate when other states try to force technology that isn’t ready,”

While the resolution has the markings of a political stunt, it does allude to genuine economic anxiety. Wyoming produced 85.43 million barrels of oil in 2021, making it the country’s eighth-largest crude oil producer that year. The state’s Carbon County is also home to one of the largest wind farms in the US. Something that’s not talked about enough when it comes to climate change is how the world transitions to a zero-emissions economy in an equitable way. People in many rural US states are rightfully mistrustful of so-called green technologies because they haven’t benefited from more recent technological shifts as much as their urban counterparts. Take the advent of the internet, for instance. In 2018, Microsoft found that many rural communities don’t have access to broadband internet. That’s something that has contributed to diminishing economic opportunities in those places.

..though in regards to the engine.. ???:

Taliban officials praise Afghanistan's first sports car. It has an engine from a 2000 Toyota Corolla.

A team of engineers and designers built what may be Afghanistan's first sports car. The car's power relies on a modded 2000 Toyota Corolla engine, according to a Tolo News report. The Taliban's spokesperson shared a video of the car, called Mada 9, doing donuts in the snow.

Afghanistan recently unveiled what may be its first sports car and Taliban officials are recognizing the achievement.

On Sunday, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's official spokesperson, shared a video on Twitter of the car doing donuts in the snow. He said the car was an honor for the country, according to The Telegraph.


R'Bonney Gabriel becomes 1st Filipina American crowned Miss Universe
Gabriel is the first American to win the crown in 10 years.

Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated the Houstonian:

"The new Miss Universe is the reigning Miss Texas USA from Houston Texas!

So proud."

Asian countries top ranking of world’s most powerful passports in 2023

Japan remains at the top of a recent ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, with Singapore and South Korea tied for second place.

In the latest Henley Passport Index rankings, Japan received a visa-free score of 193, meaning that Japanese passport holders can travel to 193 of 227 destinations without a visa. This is about 85% of the whole world, Henley and Partners, the company behind the rankings, said in a press release on Tuesday.

The company explained that its passport index “is the only one of its kind based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Authority,” the trade association for over 290 airlines around the world.

Singapore, which tied for first place with Japan last year, dropped down to second place this year. Both Singapore and South Korea received a score of 192, while Germany and Spain tied for third place with a score of 190.

Tied for fourth place are Finland, Italy and Luxembourg, with a score of 198. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden received a score of 188, placing the European countries at No. 5. France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom tied for sixth place with a score of 187.

More from NextShark: Japanese Politicians Are Pushing to Give Everyone 4-Day Work Weeks

Meanwhile, the United States sits at No. 7 along with New Zealand and European countries such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, Norway and Switzerland.

Even though global travel has returned to around 75% of what it used to be pre-COVID-19 pandemic, the company stated that it "appears increasingly unlikely that either country [the U.S. and the U.K.] will ever regain the top spot on the index which they jointly held nearly a decade ago in 2014."

Analysts anticipate that countries such as Kuwait and Qatar will eventually climb up the rankings due to their visa-free deal with the European Union, which will be signed later this year.


Family gives restaurant 1-star review after receiving $50 worth of free food

A worker feels like a customer was too difficult when they demanded free food.

He explained the situation on Reddit’s “Choosing Beggars” forum, a subreddit dedicated to “people who are being way too picky when begging for things.”

According to the poster, he works at a locally owned Mexican restaurant. “The owners are two of the most kind, compassionate & selfless people I’ve ever met,” he explained. “The reader board outside of the restaurant reads as follows: ‘Hungry? No money? We will feed you.’ And they mean it. If you are hungry and have no money, you can eat for free.”

However, they have a few requirements. The restaurant only offers a limited menu of free food, and patrons cannot dine in with the free meal; they must take it to go.

An issue arose when a family of four came into the restaurant and tried to order a free meal.

The family wanted shrimp fajitas, which aren’t offered on the free menu. The father demanded the worker ask the manager for an exception. The manager denied their request, which angered the father. “You guys need to expand the options on this menu,” he reportedly said to the employee.

Despite not getting the food they wanted, the family placed a free order anyway — then proceeded to demand a table. The worker tried to explain how they would have to take the free meal to go. The father insisted they wanted a table — then brought his family to a booth, where the four sat down.

Only when the worker told them they would be charged if they dined in did the family get up and leave. The family told the worker “thanks for nothing” after receiving the free food, then went home and left the restaurant a one-star review.

People felt the family was being rude and ungrateful.

“I hope you can ban these people from coming back,” a user wrote.

“That’s how you get good people that give away free food to stop giving away free food,” another said.

“This guy is the reason so many good hearted people stop doing nice things for other people,” someone added.

General Discussion / If you enjoy eating onions, don't stop by PH
« on: January 13, 2023, 07:29:17 PM »
The prices of onions have soared in recent months in the inflation-hit Southeast Asian nation. Onions can now reportedly cost up to 25 percent to 50 percent more than beef and pork, and cost about three times the price of chicken.

A kilogram (approximately 2.20 pounds) of onions can reach as much as 600 Philippine pesos (approximately $11) in local markets, according to reports. This is even higher than the Philippines' minimum daily wage.

The George Santos disaster is a direct consequence of the collapse of local news

After theNew York Times and other publications reported that newly elected Rep. George Santos probably didn’t descend from Holocaust survivors or run an animal-protection charity, or [gestures broadly] any of it, many suggested that it would have been more helpful for the press to dig into this before the election.

“This would all have been exposed before the election if local newspapers were not running on fumes,” tweeted former Sen. Claire McCaskill.

A few news cycles later it emerged that actually, the local press had reported on the Santos story. A local paper, the North Shore Leader, had declared that the Republican nominee was “most likely just a fabulist—a fake.”

So which is it: The triumph of the local press or a sign of its demise? More the latter, though for some surprising reasons.

Let’s start with the scoop. In September, the North Shore Leader reported that Santos’ financial disclosure form in 2020 claimed no assets over $5,000:

And his income was only just over $50,000 for the prior year, derived from a venture fund called “Harbor Hill Capital” that was closed and seized in 2020 by U.S. federal prosecutors as a “Ponzi Scheme.” Santos was the New York Director of that “fund.”

Now, in a filing dated Sept. 6, 2022, Santos claims his assets are now as much as $11 million, including personal bank accounts of between $1 million and $5 million; a condo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, of between $500,000 and $1 million; and business interests of between $1 million and $5 million.

The paper, whose staff had been hearing rumors of various Santos concoctions for a while, followed up with that stinging editorial calling him a fraud.

Then . . . nothing happened. No other media outlets pursued the story. Not the six local TV stations or WNYC, or Politico, New York, the Times, the Daily News. Not even Newsday, the formerly-august news source for Long Island. Grant Lally, the publisher and owner of the North Shore Leader, told me he didn’t get a single call from another publication inquiring about it. “If this had run 25 years ago, it would have been gobbled up,” he said. “There’d have been 20 follow-ups from Newsday and other publications and the weeklies.”

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