The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth. Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
 
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Today in History

1813   Jane Austin publishes Pride and Prejudice.
1861   Kansas is admitted into the Union as the 34th state.  
1865   William Quantrill and his Confederate raiders attack Danville, Kentucky.  
1918   The Supreme Allied Council meets at Versailles.  
1926   Violette Neatley Anderson becomes the first African-American woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.  
1929   The Seeing Eye, America's first school for training dogs to guide the blind, founded in Nashville, Tennessee.  
1931   Winston Churchill resigns as Stanley Baldwin's aide.  
1942   German and Italian troops take Benghazi in North Africa.  
1944   The world's greatest warship, Missouri, is launched.  
1950   Riots break out in Johannesburg, South Africa, over the policy of Apartheid.
1967   Thirty-seven civilians are killed by a U.S. helicopter attack in Vietnam.
1979   President Jimmy Carter commutes the sentence of Patty Hearst.  
1984   The Soviets issue a formal complaint against alleged U.S. arms treaty violations.  
1991   Iraqi forces attack into Saudi Arabian town of Kafji, but are turned back by Coalition forces.

The Rise And Fall (And Rise) Of The Ukulele

The ukulele has gone from being an exotic new trend to the embodiment of kitsch since it arrived on Hawaii 125 years ago, but is currently enjoying a revival. Despite a long history that once included a reputation as an exotic and highbrow instrument, the ukulele has also endured decades of snubbing from both the pop music scene and the more cultured world of classical music.
But with the help of trendsetters and taste-makers, the ukulele is making a strong comeback that can be traced in large part to the instrument's accessibility, affordability, YouTube popularity, and celebrity esteem.

How Spicy Flavors Trick Your Tongue

When you consider the tongue, what leaps to mind are the five canonical tastes - sweet, salt, bitter, sour, and umami. These sensations arise when receptors on the surface of taste bud cells are activated by your food, triggering nerve fibers that run to your brain and help generate the experience of a savory roast or a fresh strawberry.
But your tongue is more versatile than that. It's also sensitive to temperature, pressure, and chemicals that mimic both of these things, which turn up in a number of foods. This peculiar latter group of sensations is called chemesthesis, and you probably experience some flavor of it every day.

10 Things You Didn't Know Your Microwave Could Do

Here are 10 simple tricks that you can use to turn your microwave into an awesome machine that you cannot live without. We've got bacon, donuts and even sponges here.

Twenty Wonderful Words Which Shouldn't Be Allowed To Wither

There are many words these days that are rarely used - and that is a great shame as even the simple act of their enunciation can bring on a smile, such is their irrefragable brilliance. Go on, drop a few in to your next conversation and ensure their preservation.
You are guaranteed to be the cynosure of attention and contesseration will be guaranteed. In other words you will be the life and soul of the party and make many friends.
Here are twenty wonderful words which shouldn't be allowed to wither.

Road worker's dedication to cone alignment amused onlookers

Proving that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing properly, a road worker in Christchurch, New Zealand, provided hospital visitors with a bit of light relief through his dedication to the job.
Paula Rogers was visiting a relative in Christchurch Hospital on Sunday when she glanced out the window and saw one man's commitment to his cones.
"I just thought it was hilarious so took a video - I thought everyone would get a bit of a laugh out of it." Rogers said the man spent "a long time" arranging his cones so they were placed "just so".
"He was just so particular in what he was doing, it just kept us entertained. He was very dedicated to his job," she said.

Bus driver helped catch thieves after victim’s husband clung to the hood of car during chase

A Chinese bus driver help chase down a couple of thieves with his vehicle after they were caught stealing a passenger’s purse.
The incident that took place in China’s Nantong City in the Jiangsu Province was captured by the city’s traffic surveillance cameras and shows the bus driver and the husband of the victim work together to chase down and eventually apprehend the two thieves.
The driver and husband decided to take action after the thieves were seen sneaking off the bus with the bag of one of the bus’ female passengers. After seeing the two men get into a black car, the victim’s husband gave chase and managed to jump onto the vehicle’s hood, clinging onto the car’s wing mirrors as the thieves attempted to flee.

The bus driver then followed the vehicle with the bus and tried to stop the car by trapping it against the road’s barriers. The thieves' car was eventually cornered by the bus after a short chase and dozens of the bus’ passengers crowded the criminal’s getaway car until police arrived. Police confirmed that the two thieves had been arrested and were being detained at a local police station.

Man says he beat woman with a stick because he loved her

A Florida woman said she was attacked by a man who claimed he hit her because he loved her, Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies said.
The 63-year-old victim said she was inside her apartment at Islamorada early on Sunday morning when a man identified as William Roberts, 66, of Tennessee, knocked on her back door. When she opened the door, she noticed Roberts was wearing only his underwear and a sweater he had taken from her car, which was parked outside.
The woman said she had never seen Roberts before and had no idea who he was. Sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said Roberts beat the woman with a stick he had in his hands. When she asked him why he was beating her, he told her it was because he loved her. Herrin said the woman tore his sweater during the struggle.
Roberts then backed away from her and allowed her to run back into her apartment. At that point, she called 911. Roberts was arrested a short distance away from the apartment building. He faces charges of aggravated battery and burglary of a vehicle.

Burglary suspect fell into store through ceiling in front of waiting police officer

A man’s plans to break into a Houston store proved to be unsuccessful, after he crashed through the ceiling and landed in front of a police officer.
Police say the man climbed a tree and onto the roof of a Family Dollar store early on Sunday morning, then managed to break a hole in the roof and enter the building.
But after making his way into the store, the man fell through the ceiling just as a police officer arrived in response to a call about a potential burglary.
The officer immediately ordered the suspect to stay on the floor, where he was taken into custody. Police believe the man, who was working on his own, was attempting to break in to steal cigarettes.

Ziggy

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Assyrian soldiers

Assyrian King Ashurbanipal's brutal campaign against Elam in 647 BCE is recorded in this relief. Image: ShauniWikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Assyrian King Ashurbanipal's brutal campaign against Elam in 647 BCE is recorded in this relief.
Researchers have uncovered evidence from Mesopotamian sources, of Assyrian dynasty (1300–609 BC) soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Previously, the first documented instance of PTSD was thought to be Herodotus’ account of the Athenian spear carrier Epizelus’ psychogenic mutism following the Marathon Wars in 490 BC.
Spirits of the dead
An open access paper entitled Nothing New Under the Sun: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in the Ancient World, co-written by Anglia Ruskin University’s Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes and Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid, Consultant Psychiatrist at the North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, shows that the Mesopotamians believed that the symptoms were caused by the spirits of those enemies whom the patient had killed in battle.
Texts uncovered from the time mention that the King of Elam’s “mind changed”, meaning he became disturbed, pointing to the likelihood of him suffering from PTSD.
Trauma was also suffered by the soldiers, with the male population of Assyria called upon to fight in battles every third year.
Terrifying experience
The researchers state that while modern technology has produced very effective targeted weaponry,  “ancient soldiers facing the risk of injury and death must have been just as terrified of hardened and sharpened swords, showers of sling-stones or iron-hardened tips of arrows and fire arrows. The risk of death and the witnessing of the death of fellow soldiers appears to have been a major source of psychological trauma.”
“Moreover, the chance of death from injuries, which can nowadays be surgically treated, must have been much greater in those days. All these factors contributed to post-traumatic or other psychiatric stress disorders resulting from the experience on the ancient battlefield.”
Read the paper: Nothing New under the Sun: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in the Ancient World

Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 years

by Anna Liesowska
Taxidermy expert uses painstaking techniques to create first ever replica of the ice maiden found preserved in the Siberian high altitude plateau.

'One of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century'. Picture: The Siberian Times
The first replica face has been created of the famous tattooed Siberian princess found mummified and preserved after almost 2,500 years in permafrost. A Swiss expert has used special taxidermy techniques to build an accurate reconstruction of the ice maiden who was uncovered by archaeologists in 1993.
Known as Princess Ukok, after the high altitude plateau on which she was discovered, her body was decorated in the best-preserved, and most elaborate, ancient art ever found. While her discovery was exciting, particularly given how intact her remains were, her face and neck skin had deteriorated, with no real clue as to what she once looked like.
However, now her face has been revealed to the world for the first time following the work by Swiss taxidermist Marcel Nyffenegger.
Mr Nyffenegger, who lives in the small town of Schaffhausen, was asked to work on a likeness of Princess Ukok for the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany. While he has expertise in stuffing animals, his main passion is the reconstruction of the faces of ancient peoples, including the Neanderthals.
Working with a 3-D model of the mummy’s skull, he spent a month painstakingly piecing together her facial muscles and tissue layers as well as reconstructing her skin structure, eyes and expression.
The resulting plasticine model was then covered with silicone and a rubber-resin mixture before finer details such as eyebrows and eyelashes were added. More than 100,000 individual strands of hair were used to give the princess her flocking locks, a process that in itself took two whole weeks.
'That two weeks took me to the brink of insanity', the expert confessed. 'I didn’t spend more than two or three hours a day on that part because it was very boring and neck pain literally forced me to do something else'.
Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 years
The reconstruction of Princess Ukok is on display at the museum in Germany.
Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 yearsThe mummy was excavated by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak and was heralded as 'one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century'.
Thought to be about 25 years old when she died, she was found preserved in permafrost in the Altai Mountains at an altitude of about 2,500 metres, with two men also discovered nearby. Buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled and said to have been her spiritual escorts to the next world, along with a meal of sheep and horse meat.
Archaeologists also found ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold as well as a small container of cannabis and a stone plate on which coriander seeds were burned. From her clothes and possessions including a 'cosmetics bag', scientists were able to recreate her fashion and beauty secrets.
She was dressed in a long shirt made from Chinese silk, and had long felt sleeve boots with a beautiful decoration on them. At this time Chinese silk was only ever found in royal burials of the Pazyrk people, and since it was more expensive than gold it gave an indication of her wealth and status.
Her head was completely shaved, and she wore a horse hair wig on top of which was a carving of a wooden deer.
Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 years
The princess’s face and neck skin was not preserved, but the skin of her left arm survived. The most exciting discovery was her elaborate body art, which many observers said bore striking similarities to modern-day tattoos. On her left shoulder was a fantastical mythological animal made up of a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. The antlers themselves were decorated with the heads of griffons.
The mouth of a spotted panther with a long tail could also be seen, and she had a deer’s head on her wrist.

Face of tattooed mummified princess finally revealed after 2,500 years
'The face is very accurate to how Princess Ukok actually looked'.
She is believed to have been between 25 and 28 years old and about 1.62 metres tall. Her remains were treated by the same scientists in Moscow who preserved the body of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. Being able to see what she once looked like is an exciting development for archaeologists and historians.
Marcel, whose Twitter account features images of his reconstructions of Neanderthal man, said he believes the face is very accurate to how Princess Ukok actually looked. He said: 'With such a soft tissue reconstruction, purely based on the bone structure, we have achieved an accuracy of 75 per cent of the former appearance of the woman. The remaining 25 per cent was our interpretation since, for example, we were missing parts of the nasal bone and thus an accurate reconstruction was not possible.
'The scull itself shows where the muscles were located and which form and thickness they had and shows the points at which the skin lied directly on the bone.
'And as for the facial expressions, it is important that I feel the person that I am creating. The more information the archaeologists give me, such as in which climate the people lived, what they ate, and if they were a warrior or a farmer, then the better I can do'.
Last year the Siberian Times told how Princess Ukok is set to be buried in her own special mausoleum, with plans submitted for a permanent memorial and final resting place. She spent most of the past two decades at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, and is now at the Republican National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk, sparking anger among the local people in the Altai Mountain region who want her re-buried.
Ancient beliefs dictate that her presence in the burial chamber had been to “bar the entrance to the kingdom of the dead”. Elders insisted that removing the mummified remains meant this doorway to the other world is now open and that her anger has already caused a series of floods and earthquakes.
But now the revered princess could finally be repatriated to her original resting place in the Ukok plateau, with a beautiful mausoleum built on top.
The reconstruction of Princess Ukok is on display at the museum in Germany.

The Romans assaulted Scotland with a larger force than they used to hold ALL of England and Wales ...

... but still failed to subdue Scotland
by Rob Waugh
The Romans attacked Scotland with a far larger force than previously realized, assaulting the tribes north of Hadrian's Wall with a force bigger than the one used to hold all of England and Wales.
Researchers found 260 Roman military camps in Scotland, the largest number of any country in Europe, and 20 more than the 240 throughout found in England and Wales.
Many have been found recently by archaeological survey flights, looking for distinctive 'marks' in fields from ancient structures buried beneath crops.
Roman soldiers in Britain in Centurion: Aerial surveys have revealed the Roman army assaulted Scotland with a far larger force than previously thought
Roman soldiers in Britain in Centurion
Aerial surveys have revealed the Roman army assaulted Scotland with a far larger force than previously thought
Dere Street Roman Road near Pennymuir camp in the Scottish borders: Researchers found that the camps in Scotland were bigger than their equivalents down south
Dere Street Roman Road near Pennymuir camp in the Scottish borders: Researchers found that the camps in Scotland were bigger than their equivalents down south
Dr Rebecca Jones, an expert on the Roman frontier who researched the camps for a new book,  ‘Roman Camps in Scotland ‘, says that the camps, some of the least studied of all Roman monuments, were temporary homes and headquarters for the would-be conquerors' legions and armies.
The 260 camps provided transient, basic accommodation for thousands of soldiers at a time.
They are some of the largest Romans remains to have survived, and the camps discovered in Scotland were significantly larger than those found south of Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall.
Dr Jones, 42, said:  ‘For the first time we have a picture of the true extent of the Roman war machine in Scotland. 

'The repeated campaigns to conquer Scotland were bloody, brutal and ultimately unsuccessful for the Roman Empire.
‘They had to deal with tribes unwilling to be conquered, and strained resources, as soldiers were always needed to fight wars elsewhere throughout their vast Empire.‘
A 16th Century illustration of a pictish warrior: Romans feared the Scottish tribesmen for many reasons - among them their habit of fighting naked
A 16th Century illustration of a Pictish warrior: Romans feared the Scottish tribesmen for many reasons - among them their habit of fighting naked
Hadrian's Wall: Despite the huge force in 260 camps of soldiers, the Romans failed to subdue the unruly tribesmen north of the wall
Hadrian's Wall: Despite the huge force in 260 camps of soldiers, the Romans failed to subdue the unruly tribesmen north of the wall
She added:  ‘The Roman army in Britain left an archaeological legacy that is the envy of the rest of the Roman world. The forts fortresses and frontier defenses are rightly celebrated but less well known are the temporary camps. These were constructed to house the army for short periods of time while on campaigns patrols and manoeuvres
‘By mapping and recording the hundreds of army outposts in Scotland, we have provided an important benchmark for further research into the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. ‘
Many of the camps have been discovered through archaeological aerial survey flights, particularly during dry summers, where the outlines of ancient structures lying beneath the soil show up as crop marks.
A number of Roman camps - including Pennymuir in the Scottish Borders - have survived despite thousands of years of changes to the landscape and are still remarkably well preserved.
The majority of camps are situated around the Borders and in the south of the country, but a first-century camp in Kintore in Aberdeenshire, the size of over 60 football pitches, has seen the largest excavation in the world of any camp left by the Roman Empire, revealing new information about the day-to-day lives of Roman soldiers while on the march.
Over 180 Roman ovens have been recorded there alongside numerous pits. The debris recovered from these pits - often rubbish thrown away by the soldiers - gives an insight into the life of an army on the move during one of the first Roman campaigns in the north east of Scotland.

'You don’t expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest'

Norfolk diver discovers prehistoric forest off the coast of Cley next the Sea
by Lauren Cope
Diver Dawn Watson by one of the 10,000 year old trees found off the coast of Norfolk. Picture: Rob Spray/Geoff Robinson Photography
Diver Dawn Watson by one of the 10,000 year old trees found off the coast of Norfolk.
Diver Dawn Watson by one of the 10,000 year old trees found off the coast of Norfolk. Picture: Rob Spray/Geoff Robinson PhotographyThousands of years ago it would have been a forest stretching for thousands of acres: a canopy of leaves and sea of green traveling as far as Europe.
Now, a Norfolk diver has discovered what remains of a prehistoric forest dating back 10,000 years – just 300 meters off the north Norfolk coast.
Amateur diver Dawn Watson, 45, found the ancient oak trees while diving in the North Sea off Cley next the Sea – and described the discovery as “amazing”.
Experts believe that the lost forest, which was just eight meters under the sea, could have been hidden since the ice age – and could have been part of an enormous forest stretching as far as the continent.
The amateur diver said she was “absolutely thrilled” to have stumbled on the trees, which now form a natural reef on the sea bed and teem with vibrantly colored fish and plants.
Diver Dawn Watson by one of the 10,000 year old trees found off the coast of Norfolk. Picture: Rob Spray/Geoff Robinson PhotographyShe said: “The sea was quite rough by the shore, so I decided to dive slightly further out and after swimming over 300 meters of sand I found a long blackened ridge.
“When I looked more closely I realized it was wood and when I swam further along I started finding whole tree trunks with branches on top, which looked like they had been felled.”
It is believed the woodland was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose – and it was only last winter’s stormy weather that has revealed it.
Mrs Watson, who has been diving in the North Sea for around 16 years, added: “It was amazing to find and to think the trees had been lying there completely undiscovered for thousands of years. You certainly don’t expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest.”
Rob Spray, Mrs Watson’s partner, has started surveying the forest with her. He said: “At one time it would have been a full-blown Tolkien-style forest, stretching for hundreds of miles.
“It would have grown and grown and in those days there would have been no one to fell it, so the forest would have been massive.
“It would have looked like a scene from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, which is something we don’t get in this country anymore. Geologists are very excited about it. It was a really miraculous find.”
Now, the couple, who run the Marine Conversation Society’s survey project Seasearch in East Anglia, hope that radio carbon dating can pinpoint exactly how long the forest has been there.
“We plan to do more dives so we can map the forest and get an idea of its size and scale,” Mr Spray said. “It is extremely exciting as it may be hiding lots of undiscovered fossils of mammoths and sea creatures.”
Last year an ancient forest was exposed along the Welsh coastline after storms washed away peat and exposed gnarled tree trunks on the shore.

11 Years And Counting

Opportunity On Mars
The Mars Opportunity rover has driven 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004. That is farther than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has driven. The rover's work on Mars was initially planned for three months.
During that prime mission and for more than a decade of bonus performance in extended missions, Opportunity has returned compelling evidence about wet environments on ancient Mars.

White Blob on Ceres

A strange, flickering white blotch found on the dwarf planet Ceres by a NASA spacecraft has scientists scratching their heads.

Double-Take Reveals Changes

Here today, gone tomorrow; a bright layer of frost lining a crater wall is vanquished by the springtime sun -- and seen by a NASA Mars satellite high overhead.

Comet's Dusty Old 'Snowflakes'

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is shedding its old dusty coat and Europe's Rosetta mission is catching the individual flakes to understand some fascinating cometary dynamics.

Monster Ring System

If you thought Saturn's ring system was impressive, spare a thought for the rings surrounding this giant exoplanet -- the rings of J1407b are so big that they eclipse the massive world's host star!

Asteroid Has its Own Moon

NASA has released radar observations of the 325 meter-wide asteroid that flew safely past Earth today, but in those grainy observations, asteroid 2004 BL86 appears to have company -- a small moon.

Mysterious blue fox spotted at London hotel

A mysterious blue fox has been spotted at a Travelodge in south east London.
A worried guest at the Travelodge in Woolwich spotted the creature whilst at the hotel bar .

A man in the bar was able to befriend the fox by feeding it Doritos.

The animal was then escorted away from the hotel by staff.

Two Chinese men caught by Bulgarian customs officers with 2 million baby eels in their luggage

Customs officials in Bulgaria have seized two million live baby eels hidden in luggage. Two Chinese men arriving from Madrid were detained at Sofia airport for trying to smuggle the eels in eight containers.
Officials said that the tiny eels, known as elvers, had been declared as food items. The European eel is classified as a critically endangered species and cannot be exported outside the region. Their sale is also heavily regulated within the EU.
Elvers are seen by some as a delicacy. Just 1kg (2.2lb) can fetch up to €1,300 (£1000; $1500) in Asia, according to customs officials. The eels had been placed in bags filled with water and are believed to have been worth several thousand euros.
A rescue center at an aquarium in the coastal city of Varna has taken them in. The European eel is protected by an international agreement and trading in the species without a permit is forbidden worldwide.

Gunfire meant for iguana terrified vacationing family

A North Carolina family said their idyllic vacation in Islamorada, Florida, was suddenly interrupted by a moment of terror on Wednesday morning when they heard a gunshot whistle past them and smack into the wooden dock at the Upper Matecumbe Key resort where they were staying. " Run, someone is shooting at us," Robert Wells, 54, said to his wife Ruth. Ruth Wells, 49, told detectives she whisked her children off the resort's beach, and the family locked themselves in their hotel room, according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office report.
The family did hear at least one gunshot that may or may not have hit the dock. But it wasn't the Wells in the cross-hairs. Rather, an iguana perched on the seawall of a house next to the Pines and Palms Resort at mile marker 80.4 was the intended target. And from the blood Sheriff's Office deputies found on top of the seawall, apparently it was a successful reptile hunt. Jeffrey Spencer Bennett, a gynecologist who lives at mile marker 80.5 on the Old Highway, directly north of the ocean-side resort, told deputies that he saw a large iguana sitting on the seawall of his 3-acre property. Bennett said he went inside his house and retrieved his .22-calibre Remington rifle.
He went back outside to the yard, where he said he shot the rifle once and the iguana fell into the water. He told deputies that he positioned himself to take the shot facing the water. No one was in his line of fire, he said. Bennett told police he is an experienced hunter and would never shoot in the direction of people. He also said he had between 10 to 20 higher-calibre guns locked in a safe in his home, "and he would not use them to shoot at iguanas," wrote Deputy Luis Gomez. Asked in an interview if he thinks the bullet went through the iguana and into the Pines and Palms dock, he responded, "Impossible." He declined to comment further.
Gomez said he stood on the dock where the Wells said they were when they heard the gunshot. He lay down on the dock and looked over and saw a "small indentation" in the wood. He said the indentation was facing north and toward Bennett's property. However, he added, "It is unknown if the indentation was caused by the projectile that struck the dock." Gomez and other deputies did not find any shell casings in Bennett's yard. The Wells told deputies they did not want to press charges against Bennett "because they felt it was not done intentionally," Gomez said. The State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case. Bennett faces one count of improper exhibition of a firearm, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Couple heartbroken at being forced to give up pet bear they've looked after for 33 years

Jeff and Debbie Gillium of Lodi, Ohio, have been the proud owners of an adult bear for 33 years, but a state law now threatens to break up the trio. The couple have owned Archie since the black bear was 6 years old. "I rescued him from a horrible situation. he was living in a cage that was four feet high," said Jeff Gillium. Now, Archie is nearing 40 - and near the end of his life. But Gillium fears his beloved pet might die before he has to. The Ohio Department of Agriculture sent the couple a letter last week saying they must either provide a permit for the bear, voluntarily surrender him to be tranquilized and transferred out of state, or transport him themselves.
"The ODA says they're going to come out and use a tranquilizer," said Gillium. "That might kill him. My only other option is to kill him myself." An agency spokeswoman said the Dangerous Wild Animal Act was passed in 2012 to prohibit casual dangerous wild animal ownership in Ohio. "The law provided a reasonable opportunity for existing owners to obtain a permit to keep their animals and this owner did not comply," said Erica Hawkins. "If relinquished as requested, the Department's animal health veterinarians will work to identify an appropriate, permanent home for the animal and will use their professional judgment to develop a plan for the safe movement of the animal."
Debbie Gillium said the couple was never informed of the law. "We didn't know," she said. "The only thing I was told is that we were grandfathered in from the division of wildlife and the USDA." That law changed in 2012, after several exotic animals were let loose in Zanesville, Ohio by a suicidal owner. If you owned your "pet" before then, you had to apply for a permit and prove proper caging and care for the animal. Before 2012, there was no law against owning exotic animals. The Gilliums have the correct permits for Archie up until 2013.

They say when they went to renew they were told they didn't have to. Now that it's too late to get a permit, state law prohibits them from keeping Archie. "I think that he should be allowed to finish out his life here, his years here," said Debbie. "I think that's the fair thing. We are not using him for profit. He's never harmed anybody in all these years. They should've notified us they had all summer." The ODA says they will look into whether or not the couple was notified in 2012 when the law changed and also whether or not they had the up to date permits before then.

Bubble machine brings joy to young gorillas

Playful gorillas are having great fun with their new toy - a bubble machine. The play-thing has been entertaining young western lowland gorillas at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury in Kent.
The bubble machine was donated by a supporter of the park after keepers drew up a wish-list of useful items that would help enrich the animals' lives.
Animal director Neil Spooner said: "Enrichment is a vital part of how we care for our animals here and we are always looking for new and exciting themes.

"Enrichment is just one of the many ways we keep our animals active and healthy." Lorna Wanless, head of the gorilla section at Howletts, said: "Jouki and Nkoumou love trying to catch them and Nkoumou even managed to pop one."

Tiger entertains self by making giant snowballs

Tanya the tiger at Kaliningrad Zoo in Russia plays with a giant snowball that she made herself. Keepers at the zoo were mystified as to how the giant snowballs were appearing in the enclosure, suspecting that youths were heaving them over the fences after the zoo was shut to the public.
Tanya only plays like this when she thinks no-one is around. She rakes up as much snow as she can and then rolls it from one side of the enclosure to another, resulting in multiple snowballs being formed. .

Atlantic, Pacific Fish Mixing

The Atlantic Cod could displace valuable Alaskan fish as the natural barrier of the Arctic Ocean warms with climate change.

Dolphins: The Humans of the Sea

ANIMAL MAGNETISM
Few other animals evoke such mystery and curiosity as the dolphin. The more we study them, the more we want to know about them. We know that dolphins live 30 to 40 years. They have a distinct social structure, traveling in flexible groups of between 6 and 12 called pods. Young dolphins stay with their mothers for three years or longer before moving on to a new pod. Yet, remarkably, a daughter will often return to her mother’s group to have her first calf.
A dolphin’s cerebral cortex -the portion of the brain that plans, thinks, and imagines- is larger than a human’s and, indeed, dolphins are adept at planning, thinking, and imagining. According to professional trainers, there is no limit to what a dolphin can learn.

* Dolphins learn quickly. Two dolphins at Sea Life Park in Hawaii knew entirely different routines. One day the trainer accidentally switched the two dolphins and didn’t know why they seemed so nervous about performing the stunts. One dolphin, trained to jump through a hoop 12 feet in the air, refused to jump at all until she lowered it to 6 feet. The other seemed shaky about navigating through an underwater maze while blindfolded. Not until the show was over did the trainer discover the error. The dolphin who had jumped through the 6-foot-high hoop had not been trained to go through a hoop at all. The other dolphin was familiar with the blindfold but had never navigated the underwater maze. Yet, somehow, each had figured out how to perform the other’s tricks before the end of the routine.
* Dolphins can learn sign language. They can understand syntax and sentence structure, knowing the difference between “Pipe fetch surfboard” (“Fetch the pipe and take it to the surfboard”) and “Surfboard fetch pipe” (“Fetch the surfboard and take it to the pipe”). When asked, “Is there a ball in the pool?” the dolphin is able to indicate yes or no -meaning it has understood the language, formed a mental image of the object referred to, and deduced whether the object is or is not there. This is called referential reporting and is otherwise only documented in apes and humans.

* Dolphins consistently demonstrate imagination and creativity. At the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Lab in Hawaii, two young trainers were working with a pair of bottle nose dolphins named Akeakemai and Phoenix. The trainers got the dolphin’s attentions and then, together, they tapped two fingers of each hand together, making the symbol for “in tandem.” They both threw their arms in the air, the sign language gesture that means “creative.”

Animal Pictures