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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.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Daily Drift

The Second of our trees of December ...!
 
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
 
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Today is  - National Mutt Day

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Boronda, Fontana, Helena, Opelika, Pima and Tampa, United States
Burnaby, Quebec, Ottawa, Longueuil, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, Canada
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mexico City, Mexico
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia
Florianopolis and Barueri, Brazil
Panama, Panama
Europe
Laval, Cherbourg-Octeville, Vern- Sur- Seiche, Paris, Roubaix and Salon-De-Provence, France
London, Cambridge and Woodbridge, England
Bucharest, Romania
Ivrea, Naples and San Giorgio a Cremano, Italy
Arendal, Norway
Stuttgart and Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Ruse, Bulgaria
Gdansk and Warsaw, Poland
Ryazan, Moscow and Saratov, Russia
Cacem, Portugal
Dublin and Waterford, Ireland
Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Kista and Vallentuna, Sweden
Asia
Singapore, Singapore
Mulyorejo and Jakarta, Indonesia
Patna, Pune, Jodhpur, Shillong, Indore, Roha and New Delhi, India
Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
Bangkok and Bang Rak, Thailand
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Faisalabad, Pakistan
Tungi, Bangladesh
Nay Pyi Taw, Bruma
Astana, Kazakhstan
Seongnam, Korea
Kuwait, Kuwait
Africa
Johannesburg and Centurion, South Africa
Al Minya, Egypt
The Pacific
Perth, Sydney and Homebush, Australia
Mandaluyong City and Manila, Philippines

Today in History

1804   Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of France in Notre Dame Cathedral.  
1805   Napoleon Bonaparte celebrates the first anniversary of his coronation with a victory at Austerlitz over a Russian and Austrian army.
1823   President James Monroe proclaims the principles known as the Monroe Doctrine, "that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by European powers."  
1863   General Braxton Bragg turns over command of the Army of Tennessee to General William Hardee at Dalton, Ga.  
1864   Major General Grenville M. Dodge is named to replace General William Rosecrans as Commander of the Department of Missouri.  
1867   People wait in mile-long lines to hear Charles Dickens give his first reading in New York City.
1907   Spain and France agree to enforce Moroccan measures adopted in 1906.  
1909   J.P. Morgan acquires majority holdings in Equitable Life Co. This is the largest concentration of bank power to date.  
1914   Austrian troops occupy Belgrade, Serbia.  
1918   Armenia proclaims independence from Turkey.
1921   The first successful helium dirigible, C-7, makes a test flight in Portsmouth, Va.
1927   The new Ford Model A is introduced to the American public.
1932   Bolivia accepts Paraguay's terms for a truce in the Chaco War.  
1942   The Allies repel a strong Axis attack in Tunisia, North Africa.  
1944   General George S. Patton's troops enter the Saar Valley and break through the Siegfried line.  
1946   The United States and Great Britain merge their German occupation zones.  
1964   Brazil sends Juan Peron back to Spain, foiling his efforts to return to his native land.  
1970   The U.S. Senate votes to give 48,000 acres of New Mexico back to the Taos Indians.  
1980   A death squad in El Salvador murders four US nuns and churchwomen.  
1982   Dentist Barney Clark receives the first permanent artificial heart, developed by Dr. Robert K. Jarvik.
1993   NASA launches Space Shuttle Endeavor on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.  
1999   UK devolves political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive, the administrative branch of the North Ireland legislature.  
2001   Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, one of the most complex bankruptcy cases in US history.

Culinary Delites

Simple Orange Chicken
Chinese Recipe: Simple Orange ChickenA good orange chicken should have just that little bit of sweetness and tanginess to it without being completely overpowering. It should also have that beautiful, slightly sticky gloss and marinade that perfectly coats the chicken. Most orange chicken recipes will have you fry the chicken first to get it nice and crispy, but if you want to make this dish healthier, skip the breading and the frying. Cook the chicken pieces in a skillet, then pour the sauce over and let the chicken and sauce boil until you get that perfect gloss.
Orange Chicken Recipe
Ingredients
MARINADE
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
THE REST
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
Directions
  1. Make the marinade: whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, sriracha, ginger, and white pepper in a bowl.
  2. In a large zipper-lock bag or large bowl, combine the chicken and 2/3 cup of the marinade. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  3. Heat the remaining marinade in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the marinade to a boil. Stir together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water, then stir that into the marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened (about 1-2 minutes. Keep warm.
  4. One at a time, dip the chicken into the beaten eggs, then dredge in the remaining 1 cup cornstarch, pressing in to coat.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. In batches, add the chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through (about 1-2 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, then discard the excess oil. Serve the chicken immediately, tossed with the marinade and garnished with sesame seeds.
  6. Enjoy!

Diabetes and Yogurt

yogurt-calcium-lg
Does a yogurt a day keep diabetes away?

A high intake of yogurt has been found to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research published in open access journal BMC Medicine. […]

A neural "off-switch" for pain documented

In Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states, a paper in Brain by researchers led from the St Louis University Medical School, scientists document their work in switching off neural pain pathways by activating an adenosine receptor.
The technique doesn't rely on opiod-receptors, decreasing the likelihood that people who receive this treatment will become addicted to the treatment.
In this research, Salvemini and colleagues have demonstrated that activation of the A3 adenosine receptor subtype is key in mediating the pain relieving effects of adenosine.
"It has long been appreciated that harnessing the potent pain-killing effects of adenosine could provide a breakthrough step towards an effective treatment for chronic pain," Salvemini said. "Our findings suggest that this goal may be achieved by focusing future work on the A3AR pathway, in particular, as its activation provides robust pain reduction across several types of pain."
Researchers are excited to note that A3AR agonists are already in advanced clinical trials as anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents and show good safety profiles. "These studies suggest that A3AR activation by highly selective small molecular weight A3AR agonists such as MRS5698 activates a pain-reducing pathway supporting the idea that we could develop A3AR agonists as possible new therapeutics to treat chronic pain," Salvemini said.

Alan Grayson Warns Corporate repugicans A New Political Movement Is Coming To Take Them Down

Representative Alan Grayson (Democrat -FL) has a message for the corporations and repugicans who are spreading income inequality. Grayson warned that the greed of corporations has spawned a new political movement that will take them down.
Grayson told Salon,
alan-grayson-gingrichIf one person falls out of the middle class, that’s sad. But if millions of people fall out of the middle class, that creates a backlash which is being seen all over the country, and will potentially create a new political movement of the disenfranchised.
….
Even people who are employed now, many of them are not making enough money to survive. And the outlet more and more for people that they see is this kind of civil disobedience, because the political system has become completely unresponsive to their genuine concerns and their physical needs.
….
Wal-Mart is a machine that exists solely for the purpose of enriching its owners and…the top managers of Wal-Mart, and in so doing wreaks havoc on the lives of both workers and suppliers.
Rep. Grayson was correct. History has shown that once people get pushed too far, they push back. There is a reason this year’s Walmart Black Friday protests were the biggest ever. The same income inequality fostering dynamic that means workers starve while the wealthy and corporations profit also plays a large role in creation of the environment that leads to people brawling in stores to get those “doorbuster” deals on Black Friday.
As The Washington Post’s Luke O’Neil wrote, “The exact demography of shoppers on Thanksgiving and Black Friday isn’t clear, with the former being too new a trend to track, and it seems to have been changing over recent years, with a higher percentage of millennials taking part of late, but studies have shown the shoppers are more likely to be non-white, or single mothers.”
The same people who are being underpaid for their work by their corporate employers are also the ones who feel so desperate that they resort to physical violence to save a few dollars while shopping.
The undercurrent of frustration, anger, and desperation is the mixture that fuels the creation of new populist movements. What Rep. Grayson was discussing were the forces that cause people to stand up and fight back. The rage of the new class of “have nots” has been growing since the economy collapsed. The repugicans along with their wealthy and corporate backers don’t see the danger coming.
When the people who have been held down do stand up, it is going to be repugicans and the Koch pro-corporate agenda that will feel their wrath.

Tom Tancredo Says repugicans in Congress Have Stockholm Syndrome

Tancredo says the reupican cabal is impotent. Impotent yes. Because they're ideologically blinkered idiots. Not because they identify with their "captor" Obama.…
tom_tancredoThe stupidest of the stupid repugicans, Tom Tancredo, wrote in an op-ed at Wing Nut Daily saying that the repugican cabal suffers from Stockholm syndrome. They must, he says, because they haven’t stopped President Obama on immigration.
Yes, this is the same Tom Tancredo who lost the Colorado gubernatorial primary this year and so might be feeling some sour grapes; and the same Tom Tancredo who in another classic sour-grapes moment, launched a “Stop Christie Pac” to keep New Jersey's Chris Christie out of the White House, saying,
“I very well might have started a PAC designed to stop repugican RINOS, but Christie helped me put a face on it.”
Tancredo has always worn his extremism on his sleeve, and if he hates RINOS, he hates black presidents more, (if there is one thing Tom Tancredo knows about the Negro, it is that they should not be president). Look how the poor repugican cabal has suffered for it, afflicted with Stockholm syndrome!
Tancredo writes,
Millions of Americans who voted against President Obama’s policies on Nov. 4 are no doubt puzzled by the repugican cabal’s cowardice in responding to attacks on the Constitution by Obama. It appears the repugicans are again afflicted by a peculiar species of political disorientation, the Stockholm Syndrome.
Let’s leave aside for the moment fantasies of “attacks on the Constitution.” Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, as Wikipedia tells us,
is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.
Wait a second…empathy and sympathy for Barack Obama…from the House? From repugicans?
Tancredo insists,
The Stockholm Syndrome in this case is a natural byproduct of repugican cabal’s imprisonment for six long years in the Barack Obama-Harry Reid Fun House, where no repugican proposal ever enjoyed a floor debate or a roll call vote. Although they have now do stolen  majority control of both houses of Congress, they have forgotten how to legislate. The mere threat of an Obama veto, like the threat of a Harry Reid temper tantrum, is enough to send repugicans back to the drawing boards in search of a more “bipartisan solution.”
One, I don’t think Tancredo understands what Stockholm syndrome is. Two, Tancredo and  and the rest of us are remembering the last six years very differently.
Tancredo remembers the “good old days”:
In 1994, repugicans in the House of Representatives got tired of living in the shadow of perpetual irrelevance. They created and then campaigned on the “Contract with America,” a series of pledges on specific policy issues. Running against the cynicism and conventional wisdom of the day, they stole 26 new seats in the House and became the House majority for the first time in 40 years.
He claims that “What repugicans need now is not a new “contract” but a new backbone. He warns repugican leaders of the “impotence” of their “‘words not deeds” strategy.
“Words not deeds.” Tancredo thinks that six years of non-stop obstructionism, six years of opposing every word Obama has uttered and every action he has taken, in the process defunding everything they could defund, is evidence of a lack of backbone?
The repugicans even shut down the U.S. government, for crying out loud, at a cost of billions of dollars. To the dismay of their own governors, they are threatening to do it again.
They spent billions investigating “scandals” they themselves had invented, and billions more voting again and again to repeal Obamacare even though they had no realistic chance of doing so.
Impotent yes. Because they’re ideologically blinkered idiots. Not because they identify with their “captor” Obama.
And “repudiated”? (And keep in mind this is the cabal that thought they had a mandate when Obama won in 2008 and again in 2012). How is it then that every liberal initiative on the ballots in November (raising the minimum wage) were passed by voters, while every wingnut initiative (cell personhood) was defeated? That doesn’t sound like any sort of a repugican mandate to us.
And if you look at the polls, what the people want jibes much more closely to what Obama is offering, than to what repugicans say they intend to do. If repugicans are assuming the midterms give them some sort of mandate – that might be part of the problem.
But let’s look at Tancredo’s “solution”:
Instead of yelling “Cowards!” at this group of impotent leaders, we need to find a more constructive way to awaken them from their hypnotic trance. And, of course, they all have citizens back home in their states and districts who might be so upset by this spectacle they could be inspired to administer either a healing bromide or a swift kick in the behind. As the old saying goes, if they can’t see the light, maybe they can feel the heat.
Fortunately, there is a path out of this maze, a compass that every elected official has been given and has sworn to follow. Each member of Congress has a compass called the U.S. Constitution. Each takes an oath of office to defend and protect that Constitution. Today that Constitution is under direct assault by the president of the United States, and the only question – I repeat, the only question – is whether members of Congress will fulfill their oaths to defend and protect that Constitution.
Face-palm moments such as this have defined the repugican cabal’s past six years. First, repugicans would have to prove Obama violated the Constitution. They haven’t done that because they can’t do that. They can’t do that because Obama would have to first violate the Constitution, and he hasn’t done that.
It isn’t Stockholm syndrome repugicans are suffering from, but cognitive dissonance.
Tancredo has been saying for a while now, “He should have been impeached many times.” He just can’t ever explain why. The best he could do back in May, according to the Colorado Statesman, was all those invented scandals:
Tancredo ticked off several potential charges, including the so-called Fast and Furious scandal, the White House’s reaction to an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and Obama’s use of executive orders to enact policy.
And even this was just more of what Tancredo had been spewing two years before.
You might remember when, leading up to Election Day 2012, how cognitive dissonance-inflicted Tancredo took a vorpal blade to reality in Wing Nut Daily as he made a tortured argument for impeaching President Obama for treason – over Benghazi, of all things. Which the world now knows, of course, thanks to the repugicans’ own report – as Tancredo knew then – was much ado about nothing.
Reality is still crap to repugicans and Obama is still the enemy in Tancredo’s eyes. He always will be, because he is a black man living in a White House. And by living there, Obama is “destroying the America that I love.”
The America Tancredo loves doesn’t exist, and has never existed. It is, in fact, forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. But Tancredo wants us all to join him on his crazy train to nowhere.
Without realizing he is talking about himself, Tancredo cautions that, “There is precious little time remaining to free them [repugicans in Congress] from their illusions.”
He is right about that. But the illusion is that America wants what they want. America doesn’t, and The repugicans will get slapped in the face again by reality on Election Day 2016.
Only cognitive dissonance will keep repugicans from feeling it.

The repugicans: Freeloading off the political system for twenty years

by echochamberlain 
In the last twenty years, there have been three occasions when the repugicans have stolen national elections, while receiving less votes than the Democrats.
The direction of the nation would be vastly different, and the progressive legacy so much more profound, if, in each instance, power had simply been granted to the side that won the most votes.
In the 1996 Congressional elections, the House Democrats received 60,000 more votes than the repugicans, but the repugicans remained in the majority, and in control of the legislative agenda.
The Congressional term produced the Balanced budget act and tax relief act of 1997, but beyond that, it was a period of extreme volatility and confrontational politics, personified by Newt Gingrich, whose management style was so disorganized and unpredictable that within three years, his own lieutenants tried to depose him in a chaotic coup. By the time he was forced out in 1998, many former members say they were terrified to open up the newspaper in the morning, fearful he had said or done that could cause them political heartburn.
If the Democrats had taken back the House – because they got the most votes – the nation would have been spared the dysfunction, and there would have been far less of a sense of the country remaining fundamentally conservative. Although the repugicans would still have retained the Senate, the Democratic House, under Dick Gephardt, would have controlled the legislative agenda, which would have been decidedly more progressive.
In 2000, the shrub was eventually anointed as pretender, despite receiving half a million votes less than Al Gore.
Al Gore won – because he got the most votes –  and the tax levels would most likely have remained at the moderately progressive levels under Bill Clinton. 9/11 would likely still have happened, although greater heed may have been given to the infamous August memo.
Gore certainly would not have invaded Iraq. (he described the invasion as one of the worst strategic blunders in American history). A trillion dollars and thousands of lives would have been spared, and greater focus, and resources, would have been given to Afghanistan.
Gore would likely have used executive action in response to climate change, and been more liberal on stem cell research, perhaps even fast tracking gene modification to mitigate against conditions such as Alzheimer’s. There would likely have been no gutting of FEMA and no appointment of an ineffective official to head it, increasing the liklihood of a better response to Katrina.
In a broader sense, there would have been the acknowledgement of a full and equal ideological retort to the twelve years of the ‘Reagan Revolution’, and a legitimate claim that the country was moderating away from its oft-claimed wingnut leaning. Instead, the illusion of wingnut parity, or preeminence, continued – the repugican cabal propped up by the quirks of the system rather than by actual numerical superiority at the ballot box.
In the 2012 Congressional elections, The repugicans again retained control of the House, despite receiving less ballots less than the Democrats. This time, they trailed by an astonishing 1.4 million votes. There is no precedent for this – no House ‘majority’ in the history of the Republic has ever governed with less of a public mandate.
If the Democrats had won – because they got the most votes – the teabaggers would be a more impotent, fringe group on the periphery of the public discourse than they are now. There would have been no 2013 debt ceiling crisis, roiling markets and shaking consumer confidence. There would have been no government shutdown lasting sixteen days, costing the economy a staggering 23 billion dollars and shaving half a point off G.D.P growth. There would not be yet another investigation into Benghazi, after seven prior investigations that concluded no evidence of wrong-doing. There would be no frivolous lawsuit against the president, nor chatter of Impeachment.
With the Senate having passed a bi-partisan Immigration bill with more than two-thirds of the chamber voting yea, the house would, by now, have followed suit, with a final bill coming out of conference, bound for the president’s desk. Substantial Immigration reform would be the law of the land.
And yet, the idea persists that the nation is divided down the middle, and the repugicans have a legitimate mandate to stymie the President’s agenda. If the Democrats were back in control of the House – because they got the most votes – the teabagger movement would be largely viewed as a momentary reactionary fart, and the repugicans would only have been in control of the chamber for two of the last eight years – having stolen only one congressional election out of four, reflecting the broader, and more dire context of the repugicans having not winning the Presidential popular vote once out of the last six elections.
To put this into perspective, there have been three instances in the last twenty years, when the cabal that considers society to be a meritocracy, has assumed power without meriting it.
The cabal that abhors the mindset of getting a medal just for participating, has three times come first, not by winning, but just by participating.
And the cabal that says you shouldn’t just expect the system to take care of you has three times been taken care of by the system.

The Truth Be Told

http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/XhkoVSO3cNtKXiG9QExo3w--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9ZmlsbDtoPTQzNztweW9mZj0wO3E9NzU7dz01MDA-/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ucomics.com/tt141130.jpg

Chicago schools lost $100M by letting Wall Street engineer their finances

In 2007, the school raised $1B, and instead of issuing bonds, it let the bankers who'd been courting it talk it into issuing a floating-rate bond that it swapped into a fixed-rate issue.
It was the largest auction-rate security issued by any Illinois school board -- it was a larger issue than the state of California's. And it lost them $100 million.
Few Illinois government entities took advantage of the new, um, flexibility, but the Chicago Public Schools did in a big way, issuing $1 billion of auction rate securities by 2007 and swapping them into fixed rates. That amount of auction-rate securities issuance was not only more than any other school district in Illinois issued, it was more than was sold by the state of California. Crisis followers no doubt recall that the auction-rate securities market promised investors that the instruments were almost as liquid as money-market funds, and they could get cash back in weekly auction. The reality was that there was not enough investor buying at auctions. Dealers were supporting the auctions and carrying more and more inventory. When the monoline insurers were facing downgrades, which would have left the investment banks with losses (most issues were guaranteed by monolines), dealers dumped their inventories and quit supporting the market. The deals had clauses so that if the investor was unable to get his money back at a weekly auction, the issuer, here meaning Chicago Public Schools, would have to pay a much higher interest rate.
And that’s before you get to the swap losses.
The story shows a not-surprising backstory: bankers were actively soliciting the Chicago Public Schools with proposals involving auction-rate securities, the hot product of the day. CPS hired a politically connected former banker to evaluate the deals. Any regular reader of this site no doubt has figured out that it takes a high level of expertise to evaluate derivatives, and that’s well beyond the skill level of most “bankers”. The open question here. Even so, in this case the analysis was so slipshod that it raises the question of whether the advisor ever intended to do anything more than provide a paper trial supporting going ahead with the deal.

Lost Masterpiece Found in the Background of a 90s Children's Movie

Róbert Berény (1887-1953) was an accomplished Hungarian painter famous in his homeland for his avant-garde innovations. One of his more important works, Sleeping Lady with Black Vase, disappeared in Hungary in the 1920s. More than 80 years later, an art historian rediscovered it in the background of the 1999 American children's movie Stuart Little.
In 2009, Gergely Barki of the Hungarian National Gallery sat down to watch a movie with his daughter Lola. They saw a television presentation of Stuart Little. The Guardian describes Barki's experience:
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Bereny’s long-lost masterpiece on the wall behind Hugh Laurie. I nearly dropped Lola from my lap,” said Barki. “A researcher can never take his eyes off the job, even when watching Christmas movies at home.”
Barki wrote many emails to people who worked on the film. 2 years later, he got a response from a set designer:
“She said the picture had been hanging on her wall,” Barki said.
“She had snapped it up for next to nothing in an antiques shop in Pasadena, California, thinking its avant garde elegance was perfect for Stuart Little’s living room.”
After leaving Sony, she sold the painting to a private collector who has now brought the picture to Budapest for sale by auction.
Berény's Sleeping Lady with Black Vase will be auctioned on December 13. The starting price is €110,00 ($136,930 USD).

55-ton crane lifting boat toppled onto neighbor's house

A 55-ton crane lifting a boat in the Albany suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, toppled over and crashed into a house on Friday afternoon. It reportedly narrowly missed a young man sitting in his bedroom.
The boat's owner, Louise Cashmore, said that the crane was blown over by a gust of wind and crashed into a neighbor's home. She said three neighbors had to climb out of the window. Albany station officer Graeme Butter said the young man who survived the crash "was very lucky, he was in his bedroom and the crane came right through it."
Another neighbor reportedly pulled a woman out of the house shortly after the crash. She was described as being "hysterical" Ms Cashmore said she and her husband had wanted to move the boat to an area behind their house in Unsworth Heights. She said she "felt awful" about the large hole left in her neighbor's home.

"It crashed and I don't know where the boat went flying to but it's gone, "she said, adding: "Just as well I took the rabbit off the deck." The driver of the crane was taken to hospital with a minor leg injury. It's likely that the house is a write-off.
There's an overhead video of the house and crane here.

Random Celebrity Photos

1965- Sally Field as ‘Gidget’ by x-ray delta one on Flickr.
Sally Field

Hearse with human rights lawyer's body in the back stolen moments before his funeral

It was a dramatic farewell for a human rights lawyer from Sydney in Australia. Seth Richardson's family say that it would have appealed to his wicked sense of humor. As his family prepared for the funeral of the 52-year-old in the Blue Mountains on Thursday a man jumped in the hearse and stole it – with Mr Richardson still in a coffin in the back. "One of the funeral guys who works for the funeral home went out to the hearse to grab the trolley to put it under the coffin and in a split second this guy jumped out of the bushes, jumped straight into the hearse and started it up," Mr Richardson's sister-in-law Hayley West said.
"The funeral guy was banging on the window going 'what the hell are you doing? You can't drive away in the hearse'. Then he ran into the hall and yelled 'someone has taken the hearse, with Seth!'" Mr Richardson's brother, Tobias Richardson, was in the foyer of the Wentworth Falls School of Arts preparing for the service as the drama unfolded. He called police telling them "someone had stolen a car with my dead brother in the back. And the police thought it was a murder," Ms West said. "And there was this weird confusion, and he was like 'no, he's already dead, it's a hearse'."
Tobias Richardson took matters into his own hands, jumping into his car and giving chase. Fortunately the hearse had turned into a cul-de-sac and Tobias Richardson blocked the only way out with his own car. The police arrived moments later and detained the driver. "At one stage we were imaging an OJ Simpson-style chase with helicopters. The funeral director didn't know what to say to us, he was saying 'this had never happened before, and all I can say is that the coffin is glued down, so if anything happens Seth will be okay."
The whole incident unfolded over 20 minutes and Mr Richardson's funeral still proceeded on time at noon. "Seth would have thought this was so funny, he had a wicked sense of humor," Ms West said. Police said the man who had taken the hearse was a 49-year-old man with dementia who had gone missing from a nursing home at Leura at 7am on Thursday. Staff had searched the nearby shops and the train station before contacting police who attended the home before being called out to investigate the stolen hearse. The 49-year-old was taken to hospital and no further police action is expected to be taken.

Call to ban commercial use of intravenous drips as hangover cure

A senior doctor from the US Government's health institute has said that the commercial use of Intravenous (IV) drips to treat hangovers should not be allowed. Dr Lorenzo Leggio runs a unit at the National Institutes of Health that specializes in the research and treatment of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

Bride hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, groom and best man arrested following wedding brawl

A bride has been hospitalized and her groom and his best man charged with disorderly conduct following an alcohol-fueled brawl at their wedding reception in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, early on Saturday morning.
Celebrations were in full swing when the bride became unwell just after midnight and guests called an ambulance. When paramedics arrived they called for police back-up because of the drunk and rowdy crowd.
Police said when they turned up some of the wedding party became aggressive and threw punches. It took six police units to bring the situation under control, they said.
The groom and the best man were taken into police custody and have now been charged with disorderly conduct. Police said the maid of honor was also spoken to but not taken into custody. The bride is receiving treatment in the Royal Hobart Hospital for alcohol poisoning.

Darth Vader and Imperial Stormtroopers felt the force in collision with overhead street sign

Darth Vader and a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers felt the force of a blow from a road sign after not paying attention while hitting the campaign trail.
Darth Vader, who had his name legally changed by deed poll, was campaigning for the Ukrainian Internet party on a platform promoting e-government and improving financial transparency.

But as they were carrying out an "Imperial March" on the streets of the Ukrainian capital Kiev on their Vadermobile, they failed to notice a street sign which bashed both of the Imperial Stormtroopers on the head.
The street sign then swung forward, before slipping back to smash Darth Vader, who was standing behind them, firmly on the head, knocking off his helmet as he struggled to avoid falling from the vehicle. The Vadermobile has been a very public part of the Internet party's attempts to draw attention to problems with corruption in the country.

Man given conditional discharge after court appearance for theft of items worth two pence

A man has appeared in court in Derry, Northern Ireland, charged with the theft of two aftershave testers from Boots valued at one pence each. Keith Shannon (44) with an address in Letterkenny or alternatively in Larne was charged with stealing the items on November 22 and on November 26. The court was told that police were called to Boots after reports that a man was seen to put something shiny in his pocket after being at the aftershave counter.
The man left without paying. On November 26 police received another report of a man being detained in Boots after lifting a tester and trying to leave the store without paying. The value of the testers was one pence each.
At interview Shannon said he had gone in to Boots with the intention of stealing the aftershave. District Judge Barney McElholm said he did not care whether Shannon lived in Letterkenny or Larne, but if he appeared at this court again for shoplifting he was going to prison. Shannon was given a conditional discharge for a period of two years.

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Death By Vanity – The History of Makeup Poisoning

by Fleur-de-Gigi
maria gunningShe had been the 18th century equivalent of Angelina Jolie; a celebrity who caused men to faint in awe of her beauty. Maria Gunning was the eldest of the four daughters of John Gunning of Castlecoote, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, she and two of her sisters were known as the Three Graces, becoming the focus of much attention in London in 1751 as they headed to the capital to become actresses. They enjoyed superstar status with Maria requiring a military escort to protect her from curious onlookers when she went for daily strolls in Hyde Park. But it was Maria Gunning’s beauty regime that led to her nasty demise, as the lead-based make-up she insisted on plastering on daily resulted first in the loss of her looks, then deadly blood poisoning.
The toxic make-up is said to have killed well-known actress Kitty Fisher and even Elizabeth I, who was never seen without her whitened ‘mask of youth’. Maria was labelled the first victim of vanity when she died aged 27 in 1760, her beloved face eaten away by acid. The noxious effects of the lead caused Maria continued skin eruptions which just encouraged her to powder her skin more vigorously to mask the blemishes. She liked to use ceruse, a compound to whiten her skin composed of lead oxide, hydroxide, and carbonate. The lead, unbeknown to her, was poisonous, and the hydroxide and carbonate combined with the moisture in her skin formed acids that slowly ate it away. To redden her lips, she liked mercuric fucus, with the lead and mercury seeping into her blood through the skin that slowly poisoned her.
 Although her account is famous, the history of deadly makeup goes much much deeper in history.
Queen Elizabeth I was a user of ceruse, a mixture of white lead and vinegar that was applied to the face to make the skin appear paler. One of Shakespeare’s most popular sonnets pokes fun at the common metaphors used to describe the ideal beauty:
“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more fair then her lips fair
If snow be white, why then, her breast is dun,
If hair be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks…”

elizabeth i youngIt is widely believed the queen died of blood poisoning at the age of 70 in 1603, possibly caused by the noxious ‘Mask of Youth’ she used to achieve that snow white skin. Pale skin was a sign of wealth and class in Elizabethan Britain. A variety of substances were used to make the skin whiter, including ceruse. Ceruse, a lead mixture, was poisonous, and the hydroxide and carbonate combined with the moisture in the skin formed acids that slowly ate it away.
Even is earlier times pale skin was desired and achieved by cerussa, a mixture of white lead and vinegar that was favored by the nobility and by those who could afford it. This white foundation was applied to the neck and bosom as well. The first record of this skin-whitener was found in 1519 in Horman’s “Vulgaria puerorum”, and by the time of Elizabeth’s reign was well-established as an essential item for the fashionable woman. Naturally, spreading lead upon one’s skin caused a variety of skin problems; some authors of the time warned against it, describing how it made the skin “grey and shrivelled”, and suggesting other popular mixtures such a paste of alum and tin ash, sulpher, and a variety of foundations made using boiled egg white, talc, and other white materials as a base. Egg white, uncooked, could also be used to “glaze” the complexion, creating a smooth shell and helping to hide wrinkles.
s1600Young_Woman_Receives_Gifts_From_Venus_and_the_Three_Graces%2C_Botticelli.jpg 1600×1067 píxeles
Once an ideal whiteness was achieved-sometimes complete with false veins traced onto the skin-coloring was applied. Facepaint, generally referred to in period as fucus, came in a variety of reds and was used mainly upon the cheeks and lips. Madder, cochineal, and ochre-based compounds were all used as blush and lip-color, but vermilion (mercuric sulfide) was the most popular choice of the fashionable court lady. Apparently this color could be laid on quite thick; One Elizabethan satirist commented that an artist needed no box of paints to work, but merely a fashionably painted lady standing nearby to use for pigments.
Ancient Egyptians may have been the first to plaster on killer cosmetics. Their exaggerated eye makeup was made of malachite (a green ore of copper), galena (lead sulfide), and, most famously, kohl, a paste made of soot, fatty matter and metal (usually lead, antimony, manganese or copper).
What, aside from chronic eye inflammation, would this mean for the average Egyptian?
“The exposure would eventually lead to irritability, insomnia and mental decrease,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist in Omaha, Neb. “The ocular skin is most likely to absorb materials due to its thin, nearly transparent qualities. Couple this with the mucous membranes being a hop, skip and a jump away from the area where cosmetics are applied and you have a potentially serious problem.”
Men and women in ancient Greece took things a step further by slathering lead not just around their eyes, but all over their face. Their white lead face cream, according to a 2001 article in the journal Clinics in Dermatology, was designed to “clear complexions of blemishes and to improve the color and texture of the skin” and was such a big hit that lead-based face masks soon became all the rage.

roman women makeupDespite lead’s health hazards, ranging from skin ruptures to madness to infertility, upper-crust Romans went on to use white lead (or cerussa, the key ingredient in those once-popular lead paints) to lighten their faces, then topped that off with a bit of red lead (or minium, currently used in the manufacture of batteries and rust-proof paint) for that “healthy” rose glow. Lead was also a major ingredient in the hair dyes of the day, either intentionally or otherwise. According to scholars, the place was lousy with lead and some have conjectured that lead-lined viaducts, cooking pots and wine vessels — and the resultant poisoning —  helped bring about the fall of the empire.

Of course, the use of white lead in ancient Rome paled in comparison to the workout it got during the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The “dead white” look was tres chic back then and as a result men and women painted their faces with a mixture of white lead and vinegar, peeled their skin with white lead and sublimate of mercury and used lead sulfate to remove their freckles

roman pompeiiAccording to Kevin Jones, curator at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum in Los Angeles, the use of cosmetics packed with lead, mercury, arsenic and other dangerous elements made for a particularly vicious cycle. “People would put whitening on their skin and over time, it would eat the skin away, causing all sorts of scarring,” he says. “And the way they covered that up was to apply thicker amounts of the makeup, which would then exacerbate the situation. It was a horrible process — once you got started you couldn’t stop.”
The worst, however, was not over. In 1869, the American Medical Association published a paper entitled “Three Cases of Lead Palsy from the Use of a Cosmetic Called ‘Laird’s Bloom of Youth’” which outlined the symptoms (fatigue, weight loss, nausea, headaches, muscle atrophy, paralysis, etc.) caused by the regular use of the much-touted skin whitening lotion, advertised as a “delightful and harmless toilet preparation” which, incidentally, contained lead acetate and carbonate. Other popular blooms, balms, powders and potions of the 19th and early 20th century such as Berry’s Freckle Ointment, Milk of Roses, Snow White Enamel and Flake White contained mercury, lead, carbolic acid, mercuric chloride and a handful of other “delightful” corrosives.
Lucrezia_Borgia by Bartolomeo VenezianoIn 1936, Ruth DeForest Lamb, chief education officer of the FDA, published a collection of these tragic tales of botched beauty in her book “American Chamber of Horrors,” a move that helped bring about the eventual passage of the revamped Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Among other things, the new law brought cosmetics and medical devices under FDA control. Further safety measures followed, such as the FDA’s 1977 requirement that U.S. cosmetic manufacturers list ingredients on the label.
“Back in the day, there were high acute exposures of lead in cosmetics because they didn’t know better,” says Malkan, cofounder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “But we know better now and unfortunately, there’s still lead in lipstick and mercury in some mascaras. We’re also being exposed to chemicals like phthalates many times a day through personal care products like shampoos, face creams, fragrances, aftershaves, deodorants.”
The repeated cumulative exposures to multiple toxic chemicals is a “different way to look at it than back in the day,” Malkan says, but it’s “what we’re most worried about now.”

Remember the Sand Creek Massacre

by Ned Blackhawk
Many people think of the Civil War and America’s Indian wars as distinct subjects, one following the other. But those who study the Sand Creek Massacre know different.
On Nov. 29, 1864, as Union armies fought through Virginia and Georgia, Col. John Chivington led some 700 cavalry troops in an unprovoked attack on peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho villagers at Sand Creek in Colorado. They murdered nearly 200 women, children and older men.
Sand Creek was one of many assaults on American Indians during the war, from Patrick Edward Connor’s massacre of Shoshone villagers along the Idaho-Utah border at Bear River on Jan. 29, 1863, to the forced removal and incarceration of thousands of Navajo people in 1864 known as the Long Walk.
In terms of sheer horror, few events matched Sand Creek. Pregnant women were murdered and scalped, genitalia were paraded as trophies, and scores of wanton acts of violence characterize the accounts of the few Army officers who dared to report them. Among them was Capt. Silas Soule, who had been with Black Kettle and Cheyenne leaders at the September peace negotiations with Gov. John Evans of Colorado, the region’s superintendent of Indians affairs (as well as a founder of both the University of Denver and Northwestern University). Soule publicly exposed Chivington’s actions and, in retribution, was later murdered in Denver.
After news of the massacre spread, Evans and Chivington were forced to resign from their appointments. But neither faced criminal charges, and the government refused to compensate the victims or their families in any way. Indeed, Sand Creek was just one part of a campaign to take the Cheyenne’s once vast land holdings across the region. A territory that had hardly any white communities in 1850 had, by 1870, lost many Indians, who were pushed violently off the Great Plains by white settlers and the federal government.
These and other campaigns amounted to what is today called ethnic cleansing: an attempted eradication and dispossession of an entire indigenous population. Many scholars suggest that such violence conforms to other 20th-century categories of analysis, like settler colonial genocide and crimes against humanity.
Sand Creek, Bear River and the Long Walk remain important parts of the Civil War and of American history. But in our popular narrative, the Civil War obscures such campaigns against American Indians. In fact, the war made such violence possible: The paltry Union Army of 1858, before its wartime expansion, could not have attacked, let alone removed, the fortified Navajo communities in the Four Corners, while Southern secession gave a powerful impetus to expand American territory westward. Territorial leaders like Evans were given more resources and power to negotiate with, and fight against, powerful Western tribes like the Shoshone, Cheyenne, Lakota and Comanche. The violence of this time was fueled partly by the lust for power by civilian and military leaders desperate to obtain glory and wartime recognition.
Expansion continued after the war, powered by a revived American economy but also by a new spirit of national purpose, a sense that America, having suffered in the war, now had the right to conquer more peoples and territories.
The United States has yet to fully recognize the violent destruction wrought against indigenous peoples by the Civil War and the Union Army. Connor and Evans have cities, monuments and plaques in their honor, as well as two universities and even Colorado’s Mount Evans, home to the highest paved road in North America.
Saturday’s 150th anniversary will be commemorated many ways: The National Park Service’s Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site, the descendant Cheyenne and Arapaho communities, other Native American community members and their non-Native supporters will commemorate the massacre. An annual memorial run will trace the route of Chivington’s troops from Sand Creek to Denver, where an evening vigil will be held Dec. 2.
The University of Denver and Northwestern are also reckoning with this legacy, creating committees that have recognized Evans’s culpability. Like many academic institutions, both are deliberating how to expand Native American studies and student service programs. Yet the near-absence of Native American faculty members, administrators and courses reflects their continued failure to take more than partial steps.
While the government has made efforts to recognize individual atrocities, it has a long way to go toward recognizing how deeply the decades-long campaign of eradication ran, let alone recognizing how, in the face of such violence, Native American nations and their cultures have survived. Few Americans know of the violence of this time, let alone the subsequent violation of Indian treaties, of reservation boundaries and of Indian families by government actions, including the half-century of forced removal of Indian children to boarding schools.
One symbolic but necessary first step would be a National Day of Indigenous Remembrance and Survival, perhaps on Nov. 29, the anniversary of Sand Creek. Another would be commemorative memorials, not only in Denver and Evanston but in Washington, too. We commemorate “discovery” and “expansion” with Columbus Day and the Gateway arch, but nowhere is there national recognition of the people who suffered from those “achievements” — and have survived amid continuing cycles of colonialism.

Seven Ways Colonial Jamestown Was a Living Hell

Nina Strochlic
So we just heard the desperate colonists resorted to cannibalism. But that’s not the only reason the Virginia settlement was horrific. Nina Strochlic gives us six more.

Were our esteemed forebears actually cannibals? New archeological evidence indicates a firm yes. According to Smithsonian magazine, a recent excavation in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia finally turned up evidence of what’s long been hinted at. During particularly harsh beginnings upon landing in the New World, desperate colonists resorted to human flesh for sustenance. But that’s not the only malady that befell early settlers. Here are some reasons to be thankful you arrived on this continent in the four centuries since.
It Was Originally All Men
Three shiploads of men docked at Chesapeake Bay on April 26, 1607. Three weeks later, they had settled Jamestown, an unused bit of land the Native Americans had deemed undesirable. The next year, two brave women set foot in the colony, but then it took another 13 years for a crop of young unmarried or widowed women to arrive.
And They Couldn’t Get Along
The crop of men landing at Jamestown were soldiers by trade, and all were accustomed to leadership roles. Soon everyone was butting heads. The famous John Smith barely escaped a sentence to hang, others were accused of hoarding food, some were blamed for an escape attempt, and still others admitted knowledge of spies and plans of rebellion. Within three months, one of the original six councilors was charged with mutiny and executed. The discontent prompted Smith to write a long missive lamenting the mismanagement and corruption within the colony.
Then There Was No Food
The Jamestown settlers were hardly farmers. In 1609, two years after landing and settling on the tough piece of land, the pioneers faced a brutal famine, bluntly dubbed “The Starving Time.”
Or Water
The colonists had seriously bad timing. Landing in spring of 1607, they entered at the beginning of a seven-year drought, which turned out to be the driest period the region experienced in 770 years.
And Everyone Was Dying
Within the first nine months of life in Jamestown, the original 104 ship passengers had dwindled down to 38. A ship stocked with supplies was lost at sea, and the colony’s remaining inhabitants grew desperate. Only a week into their arrival, things began to go awry. Men died “of the boudie Flixe,” “of the swelling,” “of a wound given by the Savages,” and sometimes just “suddenly,” wrote George Percy, who was later president of the colony. Ships of men, 800 in all, set sail to Jamestown in the summer of 1609, but when the last ships arrived less than a year later, there were only 90 colonists left who had survived drought, famine, attacks, and widespread disease.
So They Ate Each Other
From documents written during and after the time, historians gleaned that the desperate settlers may have engaged in cannibalism. “And now famin beginneinge to Looke gastely and pale in every face, thatt notheinge was Spared to mainteyne Lyfe and to doe those things which seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corpes outt of graves and to eate them,” Percy wrote. “And some have Licked upp the Bloode which hathe fallen from their weake fellowes.” Another testimony describes a man who killed, salted, and ate his wife, and later was executed for the crime.
The recent archeological discovery is the first confirmation of these written reports. “Given these bones in a trash pit, all cut and chopped up, it’s clear that this body was dismembered for consumption,” Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley says of the recent findings. The child was a girl, possibly around 14 years of age, and probably either a maid or daughter of a man arriving on a resupply ship. The bones showed signs of “tentative” blows, but Owsley doesn’t believe she was murdered for food. “It appears that her brain, tongue, cheeks and leg muscles were eaten, with the brain likely eaten first, because it decomposes so quickly after death,” Smithsonian writes.
And There Were Constant Attacks
Within hours of disembarking their ships, a few dozen of the new colonists were attacked by Native Americans. In those first few months, the attacks didn’t lessen. By November 1610, the Native Americans surrounded the fort and blocked any food supplies from getting in. They were successful—only 60 of the 240 in the fort had survived. And as anyone with the briefest grasp of American colonial history knows, this was just the beginning of years of settler vs. natives brutality on both sides. For the Jamestown settlers, things didn’t get easier for a while. In 1622, just months after “the first Thanksgiving,” 347 colonists were killed in an attack by Powhatan Indians.

If you wanna go to deep space, as NASA does, you gotta have lots of plutonium, which NASA doesn't

 A ‘hot cell’ at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where plutonium is processed. Photo: Alexandra Witze
A ‘hot cell’ at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where plutonium is processed.  
In the journal Nature, Alexandra Witze writes about a precious commodity for the American space program--plutonium. NASA currently has 35 kilograms of plutonium-238 to power its deep-space missions, but that won't get us very far, and they're worried about running out. The story explores research into creating more of the stuff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee:
The isotope is not found in nature, so it has to be made in nuclear reactors. But the main US supply shut down in 1988, when the Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina, run by the Department of Energy (DOE), stopped making 238Pu as part of a nuclear-weapons phase-out. Four years later, the DOE began purchasing small amounts of the isotope from the Russian government, but those acquisitions have also ended.
As a result, NASA now has just 35 kilograms of plutonium product — a small supply that may not match the demand to send missions to Mars, the moons of Jupiter and beyond. And the crunch got even worse in late 2013, when budget constraints led NASA to cancel a program to develop a radioisotope power source that would have used one-quarter of the plutonium of conventional designs.

Space-Time Ripples and 'Strange Stars'

So-called strange stars, made of radically different stuff than ordinary matter, may finally be detectable.










Take it from us ...

That's good advice ... but what about the lion?

Canadian lobsters found off Yorkshire coast as cruise ship passengers take pity on their dinner

Canadian lobsters have been found off the Yorkshire coast after being thrown back in the sea by well-meaning passengers taking pity on their dinner aboard cruise ships. The lobster, homarus americanus, normally found thousands of miles away off the Atlantic coast of North America occasionally finds its way into the pots of local fishermen.
Scientists at the University of Hull have said they will examine any that are found in future to see if they carry disease that could be a threat to the native population found in the UK’s biggest lobster fishery after the issue was raised at a meeting. Skipper Gary Redshaw found one 50 to 60 miles east of Bridlington.
He said: “In the past we have heard one officer on the watch talking to another on the cruise ship saying some of the passengers were going to buy lobsters and release them, thinking they were doing good. But in fact they can do a lot of damage. I think it’s a good idea to study them as they could be giving English lobsters a disease.”
Finds of the Canadian lobster, whose closest relative is the European lobster, homarus gammarus, are rare, and laboratory tests have shown that while the different species will mate their offspring are infertile. Mike Cohen, from Holderness Fishing Industry Group, said: “We think the most likely route is that they are getting thrown overboard from cruise ships. People buy lobster for dinner, feel sorry for it and ask the waiter to chuck it over.”

Dog Visits Hospital for Two Years Waiting for Deceased Owner

A little dog named Masha went to the hospital in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia, with her owner when he was admitted two years ago, and then visited him every day. But when he passed away, Masha returned again and again. And she still goes there every day, waiting for her master.
Masha has become a well-known, and much loved, figure at the Novosibirsk District Hospital Number One, where patients and workers ensure she has a warm bed and food to eat.

But, aware of her obvious sadness at being unable to find her owner, staff are hoping an animal lover will come forward to adopt her and give her a new home.

Chief doctor Vladimir Bespalov told Novosibirsk Vesti TV: 'You see her eyes, how sad they are - it’s not the usual shiny eyes for when a dog is happy. You can see this in animals in the same way as with people.

'There is nothing medicine can do for her here, but we are still hoping that Masha will be able to find another owner. One day, and we very much want this day to come soon, our Masha will trust somebody.'
Masha has been compared to Hachiko, the dog who waited for his owner at the train station for eleven years after the man died. Read more about Masha at The Siberian Times.

Disruptive pig removed from flight

A pig didn't fly on Wednesday after it was removed from a US Airways flight out of Connecticut due to its disruptive behavior.
Jonathan Skolnik, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a passenger on the flight, said he thought the woman with the pig was carrying a duffel bag when she got on the plane and headed straight for the empty seat next to him. "But it turns out it wasn't a duffel bag.
"We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash," he said. "She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth. I was terrified, because I was thinking I'm gonna be on the plane with the pig," Snolnik added, saying he guesses the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.
But the flight didn't take off with the pig. The woman and the animal eventually deplaned. American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed that a passenger brought the pig aboard as an emotional support animal. After the pig became disruptive, she was asked to leave, a spokesperson said.

Hunters Find Bullets from American Civil War in 185-Year Old Alligator’s Hide

bullet2
A group of Mississippi hunters who shot and killed an alligator weighting 910 pounds (413 kilograms) on Sunday, were amazed when they discovered that the animal already bore injuries caused by musket ammunition from the Civil War era. A total of 9 spherical projectiles was found, and the various tests and analysis realized on them have confirmed that they were indeed fired at the animal in the 19th Century.
Nine of the wounds on the animal are believed to have been caused by Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-muskets. These old injuries were concentrated around the animals tail and hind legs, suggesting that the reptile could have possibly been used as a target for shooting practice by Confederate troops.
The huge animal also bore five other bullet wounds from three different calibers of hunting rifles, as well as many dents and scars, which shows that it survived many firearm injuries in the past. It did not however, survive the six .50-caliber bullets fired at him by the group of amateur hunters from Jackson, who were finally able to take it down.
The bullets were confirmed as authentic musket ammunitions from between 1850 and 1870.
The bullets were confirmed as authentic musket ammunition from between 1850 and 1870.
This incredible animal specimen brings a whole new perspective on this large crocodilian reptile endemic to the southeastern United States. American alligators have been known for years to live well over 50 years and were thought capable of possibly living as long as 70 of 80 years, but this unique specimen was estimated to have been 185 years old at the time of its death.
Other reptiles like turtles, have been known to have lifespans of over 150 years, but it is the first specimen of crocodilian of such an old age ever found. It is also one of the biggest alligators ever killed in the United States. The heaviest ever recorded, weighing in at a staggering 1,011.5 lbs, was pulled out of a river in Alabama in August of this year.

Animal Pictures