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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.


Friday, November 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, this means you ...!
 
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
 
True that ... !
Today is  - Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day
 
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Today in History

1501 Arthur Tudor of England marries Katherine of Aragon.
1812 As Napoleon Bonaparte's army retreats form Moscow, temperatures drop to 20 degrees below zero.
1851 Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is published in New York.
1882 Billy Clairborne, a survivor of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, loses his life in a shoot-out with Buckskin Frank Leslie.
1908 Albert Einstein presents his quantum theory of light.
1910 Lieutenant Eugene Ely, U.S. Navy, becomes the first man to take off in an airplane from the deck of a ship. He flew from the ship Birmingham at Hampton Roads to Norfolk.
1921 The Cherokee Indians ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review their claim to 1 million acres of land in Texas.
1922 The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins the first daily radio broadcasts from Marconi House.
1930 Right-wing militarists in Japan attempt to assassinate Premier Hamagushi.
1935 Manuel Luis Quezon is sworn in as the first Filipino president, as the Commonwealth of the Philippines is inaugurated.
1940 German bombers devastate Coventry in Great Britain, killing 1,000 in the worst air raid of the war.
1951 The United States and Yugoslavia sign a military aid pact.
1951 French paratroopers capture Hoa Binh, Vietnam.
1960 New Orleans integrates two all-white schools.
1960 President Dwight Eisenhower orders U.S. naval units into the Caribbean after Guatemala and Nicaragua charge Castro with starting uprisings.
1961 President Kennedy increases the number of American advisors in Vietnam from 1,000 to 16,000.
1963 Iceland gets a new island when a volcano pushes its way up out of the sea five miles off the southern coast.
1963 Greece frees hundreds who were jailed in the Communist uprising of 1944-1950.
1964 The U.S. First Cavalry Division battles with the North Vietnamese Army in the Ia Drang Valley, the first ground combat for American troops.
1968 Yale University announces its plan to go co-ed.
1969 The United States launches Apollo 12, the second mission to the Moon, from Cape Kennedy.
1979 US President Jimmy Carter freezes all Iranian assets in the United States in response to Iranian militants holding more than 50 Americans hostage.
1982 Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's outlawed Solidarity movement, is released by communist authorities after 11 months confinement; he would win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and be elected Poland's president in 1990.
1984 The Space Shuttle Discovery's crew rescues a second satellite.
1990 Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany sign a treaty officially making the Oder-Neisse line the border between their countries.
1995 Budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress forces temporary closure of national parks and museums; federal agencies forced to operate with skeleton staff.
2001 Northern Alliance fighters take control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.
2008 First G-20 economic summit convenes, in Washington, DC.
2012 Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.

Why we are unaware that we lack the skill to tell how unskilled and unaware we are

Each one of us has a relationship with our own ignorance, a dishonest, complicated relationship, and that dishonesty keeps us sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning. 
by David McRaney
Here’s a fun word to add to your vocabulary: nescience. I ran across it a few months back and kind of fell in love with it.
It’s related to the word prescience, which is a kind of knowing. Prescience is a state of mind, an awareness, that grants you knowledge of the future – about something that has yet to happen or is not yet in existence. It’s a strange idea isn’t it, that knowledge is a thing, a possession, that it stands alone and in proxy for something else out there in reality that has yet to actually…be? Then, the time comes, and the knowledge is no longer alone. Foreknowledge becomes knowledge and now corresponds to a real thing that is true. It is no longer pre-science but just science.
I first learned the word nescience from the book Ignorance and Surprise by Matthias Gross. That book revealed to me that, philosophically speaking, ignorance is a complicated matter. You can describe it in many ways. In that book Gross talks about the difficulties of translating a sociologist named Georg Simmel who often used the word “nichtwissen” in his writing. Gross says that some translations changed that word to nescience and some just replaced it with “not knowing.” It’s a difficult to term to translate, he explains, because it can mean a few different things. If you stick to the Latin ins and outs of the word, nescience means non-knowledge, or what we would probably just call ignorance. But Gross writes that in some circles it has a special meaning. He says it can mean something you can’t know in advance, or an unknown unknown, or something that no human being can ever hope to know, something a theologian might express as a thought in the mind of God. For some people, as Gross points out, everything is in the mind of God, so therefore nothing is actually knowable. To those people nescience is the natural state of all creatures and nothing can ever truly be known, not for sure. Like I said, ignorance is a complex concept.
It’s that last meaning of nescience that I think is most fun. Take away the religious aspect and nescience is prescience in negative. It is the state of not knowing, but stronger than that. It’s not knowing something that can’t be known. It’s not even knowing that you can’t know it. For instance, your cat can never read or understand the latest terms and conditions for iTunes, thus if she clicked on “I Agree,” we wouldn’t consider that binding. There are vast expanses of ignorance that your cat can’t even imagine, much less gain the knowledge about those things required to rid herself of that ignorance. That’s the definition of nescience I prefer.
I love this word, because once you accept this definition you start to wonder about a few things. Are there some things that, just like my cat, I can never know that I can never know? Are there things that maybe no one can ever know that no one can ever know? It’s a fun, frustrating, dorm-room-bong-hit-whoa-dude loop of weirdness that real philosophers and sociologists seriously ponder and continue to write about in books you can buy on Amazon.
I think I like this idea because I often look back at my former self and imagine what sort of advice I would offer that person. It seems like I’m always in a position to do that, no matter how old I am or how old the former me is in my imagination. I was always more ignorant than I am now, even though I didn’t feel all that ignorant then. That means that it’s probably also true that right now I’m sitting here in a state of total ignorance concerning things that my future self wishes he could shout back at me through time. Yet here I sit, unaware. Nescient.
The evidence gathered so far by psychologists and neuroscientists seems to suggest that each one of us has a relationship with our own ignorance, a dishonest, complicated relationship, and that dishonesty keeps us sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning. Part of that ignorance is a blind spot we each possess that obscures both our competence and incompetence.
Psychologists David Dunning and Joyce Ehrlinger once conducted an experiment investigating how bad people are at judging their own competence. Specifically, they were interested in people’s self-assessment of a single performance. They wrote in the study that they already knew from previous research that people seemed to be especially prone to making mistakes when they judged the accuracy of their own perceptions if those perceptions were of themselves and not others. To investigate why, they created a ruse.
In the study, Dunning and Ehrlinger describe how they gathered college students together who agreed to take a test. All the participants took the exact same test – same font, same order, same words, everything – but the scientists told one group that it was a test that measured abstract reasoning ability. They told another group it measured computer programming ability. Two groups of people took the same exam, but each batch of subjects believed it was measuring something unique to that group. When asked to evaluate their own performances, the people who believed they had taken a test that measured reasoning skills reported back that they felt they did really well. The other group, however, the ones who believed they had taken a test that measured computer programming prowess, weren’t so sure. They guessed that they did much poorer on the test than did the other group – even though they took the same test. The real results actually showed both groups did about the same. The only difference was how they judged their own performances. The scientists said that it seemed as though the subjects weren’t truly judging how well they had done based on any ease or difficulty they may have experienced during the test itself, but they were inferring how well they had performed based on the kind of people they believed themselves to be.
Dunning and Ehrlinger knew that most college students tend to hold very high opinions of themselves when it comes to abstract reasoning. It’s part of what they call a “chronic self view.” You have an idea of who you are in your mind, and it is kind of like a character in a story, the protagonist in the tale of your life. Some aspects of that character are chronic, traits that are always there that you feel are essential and evident, beliefs about your level of skill that are consistent across all situations. For most college students, being great at abstract reasoning is one of those traits, but being great at computer programming is not.
Dunning and Ehrlinger write that the way you view your past performances can greatly affect your future decisions, behaviors, judgments, and choices. They bring up the example of a first date. How you judge your contribution to the experience might motivate you to keep calling someone who doesn’t want to ever see you again, or it might cause you to miss out on something wonderful because you mistakenly think the other person hated every minute of the night. In every aspect of our lives, they write, we are evaluating how well we performed and using that analysis to decide when to continue and when to quit, when to try harder and work longer and when we can sit back and rest because everything is going just fine. Yet, the problem with this is that we are really, really bad at this kind of analysis. We are nescient. The reality of our own abilities, the level of our own skills, both when lacking and when excelling, is often something we don’t know that we don’t know.
Dunning and Ehrlinger put it like this, “In general, the perceptions people hold, of either their overall ability or specific performance, tend to be correlated only modestly with their actual performance.” We must manage our own ignorance when reflecting on any performance – a test, an athletic event, a speech, or even a conversation. Whether modest or confident, you often depend on the image you maintain of yourself as a guide for how well you did more than actual feedback. To make matters worse, you often don’t get any feedback, or you get a bad version of it.
In the case of singing, you might get all the way to an audition on X-Factor on national television before someone finally provides you with an accurate appraisal. Dunning says that the shock that some people feel when Simon Cowell cruelly explains to them that they suck is often the result of living for years in an environment filled with mediocrity enablers. Friends and family, peers and coworkers, they don’t want to be mean or impolite. They encourage you to keep going until you end up in front of millions reeling from your first experience with honest feedback.
When you are unskilled yet unaware, you often experience what is now known in psychology as the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon that arises sometimes in your life because you are generally very bad at self-assessment. If you have ever been confronted with the fact that you were in over your head, or that you had no idea what you were doing, or that you thought you were more skilled at something than you actually were – then you may have experienced this effect. It is very easy to be both unskilled and unaware of it, and in this episode we explore why that is with professor David Dunning, one of the researchers who coined the term and a scientist who continues to add to our understanding of the phenomenon.
Read more about the Dunning-Kruger effect from David Dunning himself in this article recently published in the Pacific Standard.

To Anybody Against Net Neutrality: Are You Out of Your Damn Mind?

by Allen Clifton
How has this become a political issue? Is this how divided we’ve become? Even when it comes to access to the internet, apparently we have to make it into a left vs. right argument. Oh, I know why – because President Obama dared to say that net neutrality is important and jackasses like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) feel the need to oppose anything and everything the president says. Not only that, but Republicans are shills for big business and these giant cable conglomerates really want to kill net neutrality.
Net neutrality should be one of the few things where there’s absolutely no debate among American consumers and politicians.
Let me break it down as simply as I can:
  • Are you someone who uses the internet for work and/or pleasure? Then you should support true net neutrality.
  • Are you a giant corporation that wants to further gouge the American consumer? Then you should oppose net neutrality.
Yes, it’s really that simple.
What net neutrality does is it ensures that the internet speed for which you’re paying Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner or whatever other internet provider you might have is the speed you’re getting when you’re using the internet. Meaning, if you’re paying Comcast to get 30 mbps download speeds, every website you visit will be delivered at the same speed. Whether you’re visiting CNN.com or YourLocalSmallBusiness.com, both sites will be available to you at the same speed.
Now, if that ends, then these internet providers can start throttling (slowing down) speed access to websites that aren’t paying them for premium access. Which means that if you’re paying for 30 mbps download speeds every month, you’ll only be given that speed for those websites that are willing or able to pay those premiums to your internet provider.
So let me paint a quick picture using Netflix as an example. Consumers who want Netflix pay Netflix $8.99 per month for their streaming service. Then let’s say the average consumer is paying $50 to their internet provider for 30 mbps download speeds.
Except - when they were using Netflix. Their internet provider will purposely slow down access to that content until Netflix pays more money so that the consumer can actually have usable access to the product and internet speed for which they are already paying. 
If that sounds ridiculous, it should. But the terrifying part is - it already happened
Then what happens one day when Netflix decides that they’re not going to absorb this cost, instead passing it on to the consumers? When that happens (and it will), at that moment, every consumer will then be charged more for Netflix so that they can have access to a product at the internet speeds for which they are already paying. In other words, they’re not just paying for their download speeds from their internet providers, but the right to have usable access to content on the internet.
And that’s just one example. This could potentially happen to every single website on the internet.
Small businesses owners who rely heavily on internet traffic being forced to pay fees they might not be able to afford just so that their customers can have access to their website at a usable download rate.
Killing net neutrality threatens small businesses, innovation, startup tech companies and even the news and information Americans have access to.
Now anyone who follows my writing knows I’m by no means an alarmist. But I say without hesitation that the end of true net neutrality terrifies me. To think that one day not only will access to the internet be controlled by these huge corporations like Comcast, but then the ability for Americans to gain access to the content on the internet will only be provided to those corporations willing to shell out huge sums of money to those internet providers.
And many Americans (like myself) don’t have a choice when it comes to which company they get their internet from. I either get Charter Communications (which is terrible) or I go without the internet. And that’s the same story for tens of millions of Americans all across this country.
I literally have zero patience for anyone who tells me that ending net neutrality isn’t a big deal. It’s a very big deal. You know when the internet goes crazy because someone who a lot of people know said something non-contextually offensive and you hear about it endlessly for weeks?
Well, that’s how people should be acting about ending net neutrality – x 1,000,000.
So, when someone says to me that they support companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon in ending net neutrality, the only thing I have to say to them is: Are you out of your damn mind? 

The wingnuts Outraged Over ‘Fortunate Son’ Show Their Ignorance Of Song’s Meaning

Wingnuts have expressed outrage over the choice to play 'Fortunate Son' at the 'Concert for Valor' on Veterans Day. It appears they have no idea what the song means…
concert for valor
On Veterans Day, HBO broadcast live from Washington, D.C.’s National Mall ‘The Concert for Valor,’ a star-studded tribute concert for the nation’s veterans. The show was capped by a performance of Credence Clearwater Revival’s classic protest song ‘Fortunate Son,’ performed by Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown. Immediately, social media was ablaze with outrage from wingnuts who felt that the song was inappropriate for the venue due to its content. Apparently, as the song was written at the height of the Vietnam War and highlighted the class disparities in the draft, they thought it was completely anti-soldier.
Eventually, many of those who commented on Twitter about the song pointed out that not only wasn’t it anti-vet, but that the song was actually quite appropriate to play in front of veterans considering its subject matter.
Patton Oswalt         @pattonoswalt 
Yeah, dummies, they played "Fortunate Son" at the . It's pro-soldier & anti-chickenhawk. As usual, outrage over nothing.

Radley Balko         @radleybalko 
"Fortunate Son" decries warmongering politicians, but has tremendous empathy for soldiers. So actually, it's perfect. http://m.weeklystandard.com/blogs/anti-military-anthem-played-concert-valor_818921.html 

Eric Boehlert @EricBoehlert 
FIXED: 40+ yrs after "Fortunate Son" was written, culturally clueless (chickenhawk) wingnuts are still clueless abt message.

Radley Balko         @radleybalko
This Fortunate Son silliness is a reminder that "supporting the troops" can also mean opposing impetuous decisions to send them off to die.
However, Wednesday morning, despite the clear evidence that the song is NOT a dig at soldiers, wingnut outrage flowed deep. John Nolte at Breitbart penned a screed claiming “left-wing millionaire and welfare queen” Springsteen politicized the concert with an “anti-troop song.” Nolte stated that the song might be about how the wealthy were able to avoid service, but the song itself also mocks soldiers as “unthinking dupes.” Not sure how one can get that from the song, but its written down so it must be true.
Meanwhile, over at Faux & Friends, the hosts decided to weigh in on the ‘controversy.’ As one would expect, Doocy and Co. weren’t quite knowledgeable about the actual lyrics of the song. Co-host Anna Kooiman, filling in for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, claimed the song was “a slap in the face” to veterans. After another fill-in co-host, Clayton Morris, sort of pointed out that the lyrics really aren’t against the troops and more about class struggles, Doocy chimed in that they should have added “historical context” instead of just playing a song that everyone knows to be anti-war.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Raw Story:

Below are the entire lyrics of the song for reference:
Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooo, their red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Ooo, they point the cannon at you, Lord
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, y’all
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yeah
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Yeah, yeah
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask ‘em, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”, y’all
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son, no, no, no

The Truth Be Told

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The wingnut teabagger Joni Ernst Admits Why repugicans Really Hate Obamacare

by Jonathan Chait
Wingnuts have made a series of specific predictions about the effects of Obamacare — overall costs would rise, insurers would flee the exchanges, premiums would go up, the ranks of the uninsured would not even fall. All these predictions have failed. And yet wingnut opposition to the law has not diminished. If you want to know why this is, listen to these secretly recorded comments from Iowa repugican Joni Ernst, via Radio Iowa and Greg Sargent. Here Ernst, speaking candidly to supporters, gets to the root of wingnut opposition:
“We’re looking at Obamacare right now. Once we start with those benefits in January, how are we going to get people off of those? It’s exponentially harder to remove people once they’ve already been on those programs…we rely on government for absolutely everything. And in the years since I was a small girl up until now into my adulthood with children of my own, we have lost a reliance on not only our own families, but so much of what our churches and private organizations used to do. They used to have wonderful food pantries. They used to provide clothing for those that really needed it. But we have gotten away from that. Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything.”
That’s the fundamental belief that motivates most, if not all, the wingut opposition: Health care should be a privilege rather than a right. If you can’t afford health insurance on your own, that is not the government’s problem.
I happen to find this belief morally bizarre. People who cannot afford their own insurance either don’t earn much money, or have health risks, or family members with health risks, too expensive to bear.
All of us non-socialists would agree that there ought to be some things rich people get to enjoy that poor people are deprived of. Access to health care is a strange choice of things to deprive the losers of — not least because one of the things you do to “earn” the ability to afford it is not just the normal market value of earning or inheriting a good income, but the usually random value of avoiding serious illness or accident.
Indeed, very few repugicans have the confidence to make the case openly that the inability of some people to afford the cost of their own medical care is their own problem. But that is the belief that sets them apart from major wingnut cabals across the world, and it is the belief that explains why they have opposed national health insurance every time Democrats have held power, and why they have neglected to create national health insurance every time they have.

Obama Flexes His Muscles As Powerless repugicans Can’t Stop Climate Change Deal

obama-point
The repugicans in Congress are throwing a fit over President Obama’s climate change deal with China, but there is nothing that they can do to stop the agreement.
The president announced the deal at a joint press conference in Beijing,
Today, I can also announce that the United States has set a new goal of reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025. This is an ambitious goal, but it is an achievable goal. It will double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution in the United States. It puts us on a path to achieving the deep emissions reductions by advanced economies that the scientific community says is necessary to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. It will help improve public health. It will grow our economy. It will create jobs. It will strengthen our energy security, and it will put both of our nations on the path to a low-carbon economy.

This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship, and it shows what’s possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge. In addition, by making this announcement today, together, we hope to encourage all major economies to be ambitious — all countries, developing and developed — to work across some of the old divides so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement next year.
The repugicans reacted by treating the agreement like it was the end of the world.
John Boehner said, “This announcement is yet another sign that the president intends to double down on his job-crushing policies no matter how devastating the impact for America’s heartland and the country as a whole. And it is the latest example of the president’s crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families. The repugicans have consistently passed legislation to rein in the EPA and stop these harmful policies from taking effect, and we will continue to make this a priority in the new Congress.”
The grumbling has been everywhere on the right, but behind the bellowing is a simple fact.
the repugicans are powerless to stop the president from taking action on climate change. Politico discussed the reality that repugicans are facing, “The kicker for repugicans eager to stomp all over the president’s agenda: Congress has little immediate recourse, despite McConnell’s pledges to use “the spending process” to rein in EPA. With so much action rolling through the pipeline, repugicans will have to choose their battles carefully if they want to make headway while proving they can govern.”
The good news for Democrats is that President Obama is in legacy building mode, and his already strong presidential legacy will be boosted by action of climate change. Thanks to the Clean Air Act, President Obama doesn’t need congressional approval for his actions on climate change. (Since the agreement with China isn’t a treaty, it also doesn’t require Senate approval.) The repugicans are going to scream and yell, moan and groan, and stomp and scream, but in terms of practical action there is little that they can do. The cabal of big oil and the Koch brothers can only stand on the sidelines and watch as President Obama makes history by dealing with the issue of climate change.

The repugicans put the EPA in their warped crosshairs

by Steve Benen
It’s almost as if we were looking at elected leaders from different countries. On the one hand, there’s President Obama, taking ambitious steps to address the climate crisis, and on the other hand, there are congressional repugicans, taking steps to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
Asked the other day about his goals for the next Congress, Mitch McConnell (r-Ky.) said his top priority is “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”
As Coral Davenport reported this week, repugican cabal leaders are united behind a vision intended to undermine the public’s environmental safeguards.
At this point, repugicans do not have the votes to repeal the E.P.A. regulations, which will have far more impact on curbing carbon emissions than stopping the [Keystone] pipeline, but they say they will use their new powers to delay, defund and otherwise undermine them. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, a prominent skeptic of climate change and the presumed new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is expected to open investigations into the E.P.A., call for cuts in its funding and delay the regulations as long as possible. […]
Mr. McConnell signaled last week that he, too, wanted to cut the E.P.A.’s budget to keep it from enforcing environmental regulations. The repugicans might also include provisions that would repeal the E.P.A. regulations in crucial spending bills – a tactic that could force a standoff between Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell over funding the government.
When a third of the country showed up in the 2014 midterms, they may not have realized they were voting on whether to gut the environmental protections.
Surprise.
Rebecca Leber added:
The repugicans have spent six years campaigning against President Barack Obama’s “war on coal” and promising to fight the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations. Now that repugicans have stolen control of both chambers of Congress, they are in a position to declare war with the EPA.
It’s a fairly broad agenda, and Leber noted it’s likely to focus on fighting ozone reduction, limiting the Clean Water Act, and blocking as many environmental regulations as possible.
Take a deep breath, a repugican Congress is coming.

The Truth Hurts

Finland warns of new cold war over failure to grasp situation in Russia

Western countries are at the gates of a new cold war with Russia, sparked by the Ukraine crisis and a continuing failure to grasp the depth and seriousness of Vladimir Putin's grievances with the US and EU, the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, has warned.Speaking to the Guardian at his official residence before Thursday's conference in Helsinki attended by the UK prime minister, David Cameron, and Nordic and Baltic state leaders, Niinistö said Finland had a long tradition of trying to maintain friendly relations with Russia. But it would not be pushed around.
"The Finnish way of dealing with Russia, whatever the situation, is that we will be very decisive to show what we don't like, where the red line is. And that is what we are prepared to do," Niinistö said, referring to recent violations of Finnish airspace by Russian military aircraft.
"We put the Hornets [US-made Finnish air force F-18 fighter aircraft] up there and the Hornets were flying alongside the Russian planes … The Russians turned back. If they had not, what would we have done? I would not speculate."

Man attacked ex-girlfriend with car headrest bomb

Spanish police have arrested the 36-year-old ex-partner of a woman who was hospitalized on Monday when a homemade bomb detonated in the headrest of her car seat.
The man was picked up by police in Elche on Tuesday in the car repair workshop where he works and remains in custody. His former partner, a 41-year old woman known by the initials R.P.M., received a number of superficial scalp injuries when the device detonated.
She was taken to Vinapoló hospital in the autonomous Valencia region but the relatively low amount of shrapnel involved meant that she could be treated and quickly discharged.

Emergency services were originally told that the woman's car airbag had exploded, causing burns but experts from the police's TEDAX bomb squad discovered evidence of what they described as a "homemade" but "low intensity" bomb. The car has been impounded as evidence and will be studied for further details of the device's construction.

Police responding to screams coming from apartment found frustrated lone chess player

Norwegian police responding to emergency calls about screams from an apartment were shocked to find the howls belonged to a lone chess player displeased with his performance.
The police received several calls on Monday evening after people heard screams coming from the apartment in Oslo.
When a police patrol arrived to investigate, they found the screams had come from a male chess enthusiast who was playing against a computer and had been repeatedly out-moved.
“We found a chess player frustrated by constantly losing against his own PC,” a police spokesperson said

Suspected serial toilet flusher thief arrested

Ten days after toilet flushers began disappearing from businesses' restrooms in Jacksonville, Florida, a 24-year-old man was arrested on charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property after the mechanisms were reported stolen from at least 17 sites in Jacksonville and Clay County.
James That Ton remains behind bars on $40,000 bail after his arrest, which also includes a charge of false verification of ownership. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office began investigating reports of flushing mechanism thefts from public restrooms at numerous businesses on Oct. 27, valued each at between $300 and $800.
On Tuesday, another one was reported stolen from a McDonald’s, video surveillance showing a man walking in and out of the restroom when the theft occurred, police said. A police officer identified the man from an unrelated theft arrest. Ton was arrested on Thursday at Future Metal Recycler. as he was selling scrap metal - a flushing mechanism, police said.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating 17 cases that could involve the suspect, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating similar thefts. Other victims of flushing mechanism thefts are asked to report the crime to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Man Calls Police to Escort His Girlfriend, Cops Show Up and Shoot Her in the Head

by Llywellyn Bird and Aaron Nelson
After the shots were fired, Stephens later asked if he could talk to the woman and that's when he was informed she was dead.A 40-year-old woman and mother of three from Ann Arbor, Michigan was shot and killed Sunday night after allegedly confronting police while holding a knife.
After hearing gunshots fired, Stephens asked if he could talk to his girlfriend and that’s when he was informed she was dead.
The woman’s boyfriend, Victor Stephens, 54, challenged the police on their handling of the incident, saying that the use of lethal force was excessive and that the situation could have been resolved through non lethal means. Stephens said:
“Me and her, we had an argument. Glass was being broke, so I called the police to escort her out,”
Police were called at approximately 11:45 pm by Stephens to escort his girlfriend from his property. When officers arrived, Stephens was in a separate hallway in the house away from where the incident occurred and she was pronounced dead at the scene. There were 5 other people at the house.
“They said ‘freeze’ and the next thing I know I heard (gunshots),” Stephens said.
Significant questions are being raised regarding the circumstances surrounding the event, the use of lethal force in the encounter by Ann Arbor police and the investigation being launched by Michigan State police into the fatal shooting.

annarborpoliceAnn Arbor Police issued this statement and Police Chief John Seto asked Michigan State Police to conduct an investigation into the incident, saying that those involved in the shooting and the community “deserve an objective, unbiased review of the facts surrounding this incident.”
Whether that goal can be achieved remains to be seen, as there are clear conflicts of interest with having the police investigate themselves as well as potential difficulties in ascertaining facts as a result.
This concern over objectivity is what prompted Wisconsin to become the first state to mandate outside reviews in police killings earlier this year as a result of activist movements in the state.
Retired Air Force officer Michael Bell, an advocate for this legislation had filed a wrongful death suit against police, who cleared themselves of any wrongdoing after killing his 21 year old son in an altercation. Bell hired his own investigators and submitted an 1,100 page report to the FBI and US attorneys, which brought important evidence and circumstances to light surrounding the incident and police response, and led to the case being settled after 6 years in court.
In researching, Bell also found that, “In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, we could not find a single ruling by a police department, an inquest or a police commission that a shooting was unjustified.” Demonstrating how difficult it can be for police to be impartial in their own investigations and citing lack of accountability as the culprit. Bell kept organizing and fighting for what ultimately became Wisconsin’s law mandating outside reviews.
In addition to objectivity in the investigation, police use of lethal force continues to be a major concern, with high profile incidents such as the recent Michael Brown shooting elevating the issue into the national consciousness.
Whether the investigation finds the killing justifiable or not, the question will remain of whether the deceased mother of three could have been disarmed and taken into custody without facing lethal force, and to what extent police should be responsible for attempting non-lethal means of resolution.
While some circumstances certainly justify the use of lethal force, it is intended to be the last resort in ending an altercation and only to be used when in extreme danger. If the facts come to show that this was not the case, accountability must be demanded. If nothing else, because the price for society is far too steep: 3 children will now enter adulthood in society with their mother having been taken from them by violence. And regardless of whether this woman was a good mother or not, this is not the kind of practice that engenders building a better society.

No Charges for DEA Agent Who Shot Innocent Grandmother During Botched Raid

by Matt Agorist
Only the state can smash down someone’s door in the middle of the night looking for an arbitrary substance, shoot an innocent person, say it was an accident, and enjoy complete impunity.
botched dea raid
A DEA agent who shot an innocent grandmother during a botched raid on her home will not face any charges.
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster announced last week that the shooting was accidental, therefore no charges will be filed against the agent involved.
The search warrant was served as part of a series of 13 raids to investigate several people allegedly selling prescription painkillers without government authorization.
Lillian Alonzo, 49, was shot through the arm with the bullet lodging in her torso in her Beech St. apartment on Aug. 27.
She survived the wounds, however the bullet remains lodged in her ribs and she has limited function of her arm.
According to the official investigation, the handgun of DEA Agent Michael Connolly accidentally discharged when the agent tried to kick Alonzo’s bedroom door in.
The report states that Connolly kicked the door, but it would not open. The third kick ended up breaking through the door, at which point Connolly’s foot was caught, causing him to fall back.
As he stumbled backward, he heard a gunshot. Once he regained his feet, Connolly saw his left arm was locked and the handgun looked extremely black.
“He saw his trigger finger along the slide of the gun. He did not remember feeling recoil. 
 He felt time slow down and wondered if the shot he heard was from him. He wondered how that happened,” the report reads.
As Connolly regained his hearing, he realized that his fellow officers thought they were being shot at. Connolly holstered his gun and told his fellow officers he had an accidental discharge.
According to Daniel Nunez, Alonzo’s son, based on the layout of the room, it is impossible that his mother could have been shot by someone facing the door.
Alonzo’s apartment was subsequently torn to shreds in fruitless attempt to locate drugs. “They should give my mom the help she needs. They destroyed everything; they tore up the apartment,” Nunez said. He said the DEA should apologize for its actions.
Alonzo is still trying to recover from the injuries sustained from the gunshot. According to Nunez, Medicaid is refusing to pay for Alonzo’s physical therapy, which she needs to regain control of her arm.
“She says she was innocent,” Nunez said his mother told him after the shooting. She then added: “I don’t know why they came to my home.”
Nunez said his mother has nothing to do with drugs and doesn’t even drink alcohol.
 “That woman has killed not even a cockroach,” he said
Alonzo’s daughters and her two grand-children were also in the home at the raid, luckily the children were not shot.
According to the Union Leader, the raid coincided with the arrest of two of Alonzo’s adult daughters and others on trafficking charges involving oxycodone. The family has said no drugs or weapons were found in Alonzo’s Beech Street apartment.
Alonzo, the sole resident of the Beech St. apartment, has not been charged with anything and federal prosecutors have said that charges against her are unlikely.
Unfortunately this is just another terrible side effect of the state’s attempt to control personal choice, otherwise known as the war on drugs.
Law enforcement, with the blessing of law makers, lay waste to the lives of others who they claim to be “protecting” in some relentless, immoral, and completely futile attempt to regulate what people can and can’t do with their own blood and flesh.

Homeless Man Loses All He Had Left, Only Photos of Late Wife, After Cop Throws His Bag in the River

by Matt Agorist
cop throws homeless man's bag in riverA Charleston, WV, police officer has been suspended with pay and is expected to resign after throwing a homeless man’s backpack into a river.
The man’s backpack contained a laptop that had the only photographs he had left of his late wife, according to sources within the department.
Patrolman Brian Lightner has been suspended since Sept 9, about four weeks after the incident, which resulted in the arrest of Andrew Joel Hunt, 26, on disorderly conduct and public intoxication charges.
The charges were later dismissed by the department on Oct 28.
According to the Charleston Gazzette, the backpack and laptop were recovered from the river by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office dive team, according to several officials, who agreed to speak anonymously about the allegations against Lightner.
The incident occurred on Aug 18 on the Spring Street bridge after Lightner saw several people standing in the road. One of those people was Hunt.
Hunt admitted to drinking and was arrested by Lightner after he refused to leave the scene.
When Hunt was released from jail the next day he filed a complaint stating that Lightner had thrown his belongings off the bridge.
Oddly enough, the department actually believed Hunt and sent in a dive team in who would recover his belongings.
Hunt eventually entered into a settlement with the city of Charleston for an undisclosed amount. When the Charleston Gazette reached out for comment, they were unable to reach him at his listed address of the Covenant House, an establishment that provides services to the homeless.
According to the Gazette, Kanawha County prosecutors gave Lightner a choice: resign or be charged with destruction of property, sources said. He has agreed to resign.








Bad Medicine

These days you can easily find dozens of effective remedies at the local pharmacy to treat anything from a sore toe to scalp itch.

Most of us take modern medical science for granted. MRIs, pain relievers, and the polio vaccine might not seem like a big deal today, but if you look back a couple hundred years, it may change your mind.

Hope for those with social anxiety disorder

socialanxietydisorder470x250Hope for those with social anxiety disorder: You may already be someone’s best friend


People with social anxiety come across better than they might think, study finds Making friends is often extremely difficult for people with social anxiety disorder and to make matters worse, […]

Genetically Superior

Reaching a ripe old age seems to have little to do with lifestyle and a lot to do with genes, concludes a new study on 17 of the oldest people on the planet.

Why did the Romans fail to conquer Scotland?

by David J Breeze
A statue of Agricola erected at the Roman Baths at Bath in 1894In the late summer of his seventh and final season (AD 83) the army of the Roman governor of Britain, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, defeated a larger Caledonian force at the battle of Mons Graupius. Agricola’s son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, writing at the end of that century, was able to say, perdomita Britannia, ‘Britain was conquered’. However, he goes on to state, ‘statim omissa‘, ‘it was immediately lost’. No permanent Roman forts of first century – or any other date – have been found beyond the Mounth, where the Highlands reach the sea at Stonehaven, though Roman camps are known, while archaeological evidence suggests that by about 90 all installations on and north of the Forth-Clyde line had been abandoned. Tacitus may have been indulging in hyperbole – not all Britain was lost, only the northern part – but nevertheless the Romans had failed to complete the conquest of the island, and had even withdrawn from territory which they had overrun.
The campaigns of Agricola, which from his second season (78 accepting the latest suggestions for the dating of his governorship, cf Birley 1981, 77; Campbell 1986) to his seventh (83) brought Roman arms from previously conquered Brigantia to victory at Mons Graupius, were the first of at least three occasions when Roman armies marched north to extend their empire. None appears to have lasted longer than about 25 years. Agricola’s northern progress was part of a continuous advance of Roman arms which led, within a period of 15 years, to the absorption of Wales, northern England and southern Scotland into the empire. Mons Graupius was merely the latest victory in a series, though it seems to have been last in that series.
The second northern advance was under the Emperor Antoninus Pius in the early 140s. This was a much more limited operation, whch resulted in the abandonment of Hadrian’s Wall and the establishment of a new frontier on the Forth-Clyde isthmus, the Antonine Wall. These conquests appear to have been abandoned soon after the death of Antoninus Pius in 161.
The third occasion was in 208. The Emperor Septimius Severus traveled to Britain and, together with his son and co-emperor, Caracalla, waged war on the Caledones and Maeatae. His aim, according to the contemporary historian Cassius Dio was to conquer the whole of the island, and he is recorded as reaching nearly the end of the island. The northern tribes submitted but then rebelled and it was while Caracalla was putting down this revolt that his father died at York and the son abandoned the newly won territory, together with Roman forts, and returned to Rome. Thus ended the last serious attempt to complete the conquest of the whole island: subsequent campaigns, for example, under Constantius Chlorus in 305/6, seem to have been punitive expeditions rather than attempts to conquer (there may have been earlier punitive expeditions, for example, under Ulpius Marcellus in the early 180s).

Archaeologists unearth grisly battlefield in largest World War I excavation ever

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
When World War I ended, Belgium filled up the trenches with earth. Now, archaeologists are digging them up.
The largest excavation of a World War I battlefield ever is underway in Belgium, The Telegraph reports. Trying to uncover the old front lines of Ypres and Passchendaele before a new gas pipeline is laid down in the area, 30 archaeologists have uncovered fortifications, uniforms, guns, and over 4,000 bullets or bombs — some still active.
There have also been more tragic discoveries. "We found a shoe with a foot but nothing else," archaeologist Simon Verdegem told The Telegraph. "Most touching is every time we find a soldier." The researchers hope to identity the four remains they've found to date and send them back to their living relatives.
The researchers also say the excavation has turned up discoveries that are making them rethink the details of the battles. And, in another surprise, The Telegraph reports that the team also discovered "well-preserved Roman remains just 10 meters in front of the German lines."

Archaeologists discover skeleton hidden in famed Amphipolis tomb

Archaeologists have long speculated about who might be buried in the Amphipolis tomb.
The ancient burial site, found in Greece's Serres region, dates to 325-300 B.C.E., and scientists believe it was built after the death of Alexander the Great. The tomb is the largest ever discovered in Greece, and archaeologists have been eager to determine who was buried inside it.
The tomb included three funeral chambers, but archaeologists recently discovered a secret fourth chamber that was apparently an "underground vault" beneath the third chamber. Now, the team is a lot closer to finding out just who the tomb belonged to — they just found a skeleton in the secret chamber, after months of excavations.
Ancient Origins says the discovery is "the moment that archaeologists and history buffs around the world have been waiting for."
Experts believe the tomb was home to a Macedonian royal, possibly Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great.

A ‘Stupidity’ Virus Has Been Discovered

green-algae
A virus known to attack green algae in lakes and rivers can also infect human brains -- and it’s making dummies out of us. The virus, called ATCV-1, can impair cognitive activity, learning and memory, essentially making a person who has the virus less intelligent, researchers in the U.S. have found. Scientists said this is the first time the virus has been observed in people.
“This is a striking example showing that the ‘innocuous’ microorganisms we carry can affect behavior and cognition,” Robert Yolken, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Maryland, who led the original study, told the Independent. All people have physiological differences “encoded in the set of genes each inherits from parents, yet some of these differences are fueled by the various microorganisms we harbor and the way they interact with our genes,” Yolken said.
Scientists discovered the virus accidentally while working on an unrelated study into microbes in the human throat. Throat swabs drawn from study volunteers showed unexpected traces of ATCV-1 in their DNA. Out of the 92 healthy adults screened in the study, nearly 44 percent of them had the virus, the authors said.
Study participants who had the virus performed around 10 percent worse on cognitive tests. Additionally, researchers noted the presence of the virus was correlated with lower attention spans and a “statistically significant decrease in … visual processing and visual motor speed.” While the virus is found in freshwater, there was no indication the only people who had it were swimmers and boaters. “These are agents that we carry around for a long time and that may have subtle effects on our cognition and behavior,” Yolken told Healthline. "We're really just starting to find out what some of these agents that we're carrying around might actually do.”
Subsequent tests involving mice produced similar results, Newsweek reported. Researchers inserted infected green algae into the mouths of mice and had them perform a series of lab tests. It took animals that had been injected with the virus 10 percent longer to find their way out of mazes. They also spent 20 percent less time exploring new objects than uninfected mice, researchers found.

Deep Sea Asphalt

Underwater tar mounds off the coast of Africa are teaming with an array of marine life, a new study reveals.

German police capture rogue kangaroo

Police in North Rhine-Westphalia are used to corralling the odd loose sheep, cow or horse, but this weekend's kangaroo was "definitely a first", a spokesperson said on Monday. The kangaroo has been taken to safety at a local animal park after it was found on Sunday hopping across the road, yet no one in the area around Kalkar in North Rhine-Westphalia has come forward to claim the animal.

"We have received many tips as to where kangaroos are kept in the area, though none of them have reported any of their animals missing," Kleve police spokesperson Schmickler said. "All of their kangaroos are home and accounted for." Police got a call on Sunday regarding an exotic animal seen on Römerstrasse, just outside of the town of Kalkar, 60 kilometers north west of Duisburg. Upon arrival, police found a lone kangaroo.
"We didn't believe the call ourselves," a police commissioner said. "But there really was a kangaroo, crouched four meters from the street in the bushes. We secured the road, and then it suddenly hopped quickly away." The kangaroo managed a 100 meter sprint before the police hit it with a tranquilizer dart. "You really can't believe how fast a kangaroo on the run is – it ran as fast as a racing dog." Schmickler said a local veterinarian was also on hand to help take the animal into custody.

It was obviously well cared for and well fed, "even a little fat," she said. "We're a very rural area here, and so we're often called to help with sheep, cows or horses who have run off, but this was definitely a first for our officers," Schmickler said. Kangaroos can legally be held as pets in Germany, Schmickler said, providing the home has plenty of space for them to hop around in. As it waits for the owners to come forward, the kangaroo is being well taken care of. Anyone missing a kangaroo is encouraged to claim their pet by calling the Kleve police.

Desperate search for lock-picking parrot that escaped from car

A parrot picked two locks on his cage and made his escape while being transported in a car in Essex. Magic, a Senegal parrot, was being moved temporarily while his owners from Leigh-on-Sea were on holiday. Their daughter Michelle Russell said Magic had been known to escape so a second lock had been put on the cage. Magic flew away when the car door was opened and has not been seen since Thursday. She said the green bird would be hard to spot if he was in a tree. Mrs Russell and her husband Lester were taking the bird from the home of her parents' Roy and Grace Jarvis to their own when he made his getaway. "Magic's escaped before, but he just flies around the room," she said.
"He's picked the ordinary lock before so my parents put an extra one on, a bit like a caribiner like climbers use for their ropes." When the cage was lifted out of the car, the door came open and the parrot flew off. "My father is devastated. Magic is very attached to him - in fact, he's the only person the bird likes," Mrs Russell said. "They've had the parrot for about 20 years so we're desperate."
Magic had been seen in a tree but although the family have searched, he has still not been found. "The camouflage means that he really just blends into trees. He's mainly green with a bit of yellow and some grey," she said. "He's going to be getting really hungry by now so we're hoping he'll fly down and someone will see him." Mrs Russell said they had taken advice from "experts on parrots" and have recordings of parrot calls which they plan to play out in the street.

Otter Vocabularies

Compared to other otters, giant otters may be the most socially, vocally complex. 

Two-meter-long Cape cobra spotted taking a dip on South African beach

An almost two-meter-long Cape cobra spent Monday afternoon at Hout Bay Beach near Cape Town.
Snake and reptile education expert, Shaun Macleod, said that it is not unusual for these cobras - which usually grow up to 1.5m - to go into water.
"They soak themselves in the water when they are about to shed their skin, so their skin gets irritated," he said.
Snakes in the Pacific Islands region are known to travel from island to island.
There's a radio interview with Mr Macleod discussing the incident here.

Animal Pictures