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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, June 15, 2012

The Daily Drift

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Everybody hurts ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Glasgow, Scotland
Bangkok, Thailand
Warsaw, Poland
Moscow, Russia
Edinburgh, Scotland
Kulim, Malaysia
Phatthaya, Thailand
San Salvador, El Salvador
Monteria, Colombia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Fort-De-France, Martinique
Medellin, Colombia
Krakow, Poland
Cape Town, South Africa
Amsterdam, Netherlands
London, England
Klang, Malaysia
Kathmandu, Nepal
Kuantan, Malaysia
Belgrade, Serbia
Kluang, Malaysia
Sanaa, Yemen
George Town, Malaysia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jerudong, Brunei

Today in History

1184   King Magnus of Norway is defeated by his rival, Sverre.
1215   King John signs the Magna Carta.
1381   The English peasant revolt is crushed in London.
1389   Ottoman Turks crush Serbia in the Battle of Kosovo.
1607   Colonists in North America complete James Fort in Jamestown.
1752   Benjamin Franklin and his son test the relationship between electricity and lightning by flying a kite in a thunder storm.
1775   George Washington is named Commander in Chief by Congress.
1779   American General Anthony Wayne captures Stony Point, New York.
1836   Arkansas is admitted into the Union as the 25th state.
1846   Great Britain and the United States agree on a joint occupation of Oregon Territory.
1849   James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, dies.
1862   General J.E.B. Stuart completes his "ride around McClellan."
1864   The Battle for Petersburg begins.
1866   Prussia attacks Austria.
1877   Henry O. Flipper becomes the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
1898   The U.S. House of representatives approves the annexation of Hawaii.
1916   President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.
1917   Great Britain pledges the release of all Irish captured during the Easter Rebellion of 1916.
1920   Three African Americans are lynched in Duluth, Minnesota, by a white mob of 5,000.
1928   Republicans, convening in Kansas City, name Herbert Hoover their candidate for President.
1932   Gaston Means is sentenced to 15 years for fraud in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.
1940   The French fortress of Verdun is captured by Germans.
1944   U.S. Marines begin the invasion of Saipan in Pacific.
1947   The All-Indian Congress accepts a British plan for the partition of India.
1958   Greece severs military ties to Turkey because of the Cyprus issue.
1964   The last French troops leave Algeria.
1977   The first general election in Spain since 1936 results in victory for the UCD (Union of Democratic Centre).

The Beatles - 50 Years On

On Jan. 1, 1962, The Beatles flunked an audition at Decca Records in London. Label executive Dick Rowe's brush-off: "Guitar groups are on the way out."

It was an inauspicious start for the group that would soon dominate global society and a downbeat Day 1 in the year that saw the scrappy Liverpool lads evolve into the Fab Four who forever altered the course of pop music.

No other entertainers in history have been as popular, as influential, as important or as groundbreaking. The best-selling act ever sold 600 million albums worldwide and racked up 20 No. 1 U.S. singles, a Billboard record that still stands. The band hijacked the entertainment media and transcended music to become a chapter in world history.

Its members had political clout, spiritual authority, cultural sway and the ears of the planet.

Betsy Ross had 3 husbands, and other flag facts

Thursday was Flag Day, marking the date in 1777 when Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes.

A 150-year-old Photographic Mystery

The Museum of the Confederacy is asking for your help in identifying the people in eight Civil War-era photographs. They are hoping that someone might see a family resemblance or have other photographs of or information about these folks. Even if you don’t recognize them, it’s awesome to imagine that you knew them.
See the whole collection at Buzzfeed.

Photoshop before there was Photoshop

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NY Daily News posted a fine gallery of old timey altered photos. Above, "Lincoln's head was placed atop South Carolina politician John Calhoun's body in this 1860 photo. Interestingly enough, Calhoun died in 1850." At left, the powerful Benito Mussolini would never require the services of a horse handler! "Historic photos that have been altered"

Ten Bizarre Questions You Have To Answer To Get Into Yale's Secret Societies

After it was reported about the shocking growth of Yale's secret societies, The Yale Herald offered to pass along the full results of its campus-wide survey on Yale's secret clubs.

Are the repugicans just incompetent or are they trying to sabotage the economy

Rhetorical question. Forget I asked.

While I'm not so sure the repugican leadership isn't thinking "let's tank the economy," I'm positive that for the past four years they've been thinking: "If we pass x, y, and z it will help the economy which will help Obama's re-election, so we have to block any legislation that helps his re-election."

Of course, they're the same thing - destroying the economy and stopping Obama from being re-elected - but in politics, it's all too easy to make a disconnect between the two, and thus repgicans can hold themselves harmless for a very real, and effective, four-year strategy to harm the American economy.

From Michael Cohen in the Guardian:

Beyond McConnell's words, though, there is circumstantial evidence to make the case. The repugicans have opposed a lion's share of stimulus measures that once they supported, such as a payroll tax break, which they grudgingly embraced earlier this year. Even unemployment insurance, a relatively uncontroversial tool for helping those in an economic downturn, has been consistently held up by repugicans or used as a bargaining chip for more tax cuts. Ten years ago, prominent conservatives were loudly making the case for fiscal stimulus to get the economy going; today, they treat such ideas like they're the plague.

Traditionally, during economic recessions, repugicans have been supportive of loose monetary policy. Not this time. Rather, repugicans have upbraided Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, for even considering policies that focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.

And then, there is the fact that since the original stimulus bill passed in February of 2009, repugicans have made practically no effort to draft comprehensive job creation legislation. Instead, they continue to pursue austerity policies, which reams of historical data suggest harms economic recovery and does little to create jobs. In fact, since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, repugicans have proposed hardly a single major jobs bill that didn't revolve, in some way, around their one-stop solution for all the nation's economic problems: more tax cuts.

US family wealth down nearly 40% since crash

Why is the financial pain limited to the 99%? Wall Street pay has declined, but it's fair to see that most Americans would gladly live on their income level, even in it's current state. Our failure to address this problem only reinforces the argument that neither party represents middle class America.

The average American family lost 38.8 percent of its wealth from 2007 to 2010, with the biggest losses concentrated among households with the most assets tied to their homes, a Federal Reserve study shows.

Median net worth declined to $77,300 in 2010, an 18-year low, from $126,400 in 2007, the central bank said in its Survey of Consumer Finances. Mean net worth fell 14.7 percent to a nine-year low of $498,800 from $584,600, the central bank said today in Washington.

What Americans Spend on Groceries

Tired of high grocery bills? Quit griping! According to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are actually spending less of our money on groceries than we did 30 years ago.
Lam Thuy Vo of NPR's Planet Money blog explains:
We now spend a much bigger share of our grocery money on processed foods, which includes things like frozen dinners, canned soups and snacks. We spend much less on meat, largely because meat is much cheaper than it was 30 years ago.
More at NPR's Planet Money Blog.

Health News

Some 30% of American working adults sleep less than six hours-thus quadrupling their risk of stroke.
Getting less than six hours of sleep per night? It may be time to rethink your schedule.

Hitchhiker writing book about 'The Kindness of America' shot by stranger in drive-by shooting

So much for the 'Kindness' part

A West Virginia man is recovering and another man is in jail after what authorities described as a random shooting on Saturday night near Glasgow. Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier said that on Saturday night, Raymond Dolin, 39, was sitting on the side of Highway 2 a few miles west of Glasgow and waiting for a ride when a man drove up in a maroon pickup, shot him and drove off shortly before 6 p.m.

Dolin, from West Virginia, is hitchhiking across the country and writing a memoir called "The Kindness of America," Meier said. He was able to flag down a passer-by for help and is now recovering at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. Authorities from several counties, the Montana Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Land Management and Fort Peck tribal officials began a large manhunt for the driver of the pickup.

They learned the man had asked for directions from a nearby resident before heading east. Tribal officers spotted the pickup in Poplar and Roosevelt County Sheriff's deputies were able to track it Culbertson, where they arrested the driver, 52-year-old Charles Lloyd Danielson III, of Washington, in connection with the shooting about four hours after it happened.

Meier said there doesn't appear to be any connection between Dolin and Danielson. "It’s totally random," he said. "These two gentlemen did not know each other. They’d never seen each other and we don't know of a motive. We don’t know why this happened." Danielson is being held at the Roosevelt County Detention Center on suspicion of felony assault with a weapon and driving under the influence.

There's a news video here.

New Driver Side Mirror Eliminates the Blind Spot

Of course, you could have such a mirror already. It would just be curved enough to cover the blind spot to the rear and left of the driver. But that curve would also distort the image, leaving the driver uncertain about the location of objects in the mirror. Thankfully, Drexel University mathematician R. Andrew Hick’s patented new design solves that problem:
Hicks’s driver’s side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver’s side mirror. Unlike in simple curved mirrors that can squash the perceived shape of objects and make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks’s mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable. [...]
“Imagine that the mirror’s surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball,” Hicks said. “The algorithm is a set of calculations to manipulate the direction of each face of the metaphorical disco ball so that each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide, but not-too-distorted, picture of the scene behind him.”
Hicks noted that, in reality, the mirror does not look like a disco ball up close. There are tens of thousands of such calculations to produce a mirror that has a smooth, nonuniform curve.

Car Thief Tried to Steal Judge’s Car

Ooh, the nerve of some people! Judge Lillian Sing of San Francisco released a convicted auto thief with some stern warnings, only to get this as payback:
Phillip Bernard was in Community Court on Tuesday for a check of his progress while on probation for an auto burglary conviction.
Bernard, who is homeless, had missed an earlier appearance and had failed to follow his probation requirements. "I wasn't too happy with him," Sing said.
But Community Court is set up to get people help, not send them to jail for minor infractions. So Sing let him off with a stern admonishment.
"I told him he had better get into a harm reduction program and get going with a job search," Sing said.
No sooner did Sing's gavel go down, however, than Bernard exited the Polk Street courtroom, went around to the alley in back, pulled out a weighted sock and smashed the rear passenger window of a car, police said.
As fate would have it, a couple of beat cops were passing by. They nabbed Bernard, ran the car's plate and bingo - up popped the judge's name.

Man Steals Cars with Stolen Tow Truck

A Florida man was accused of stealing a tow truck and using it to swipe other cars.

From the newswire

Man flees crash and leaves kids, wife
A Texas man is behind bars after he reportedly fled the scene of a crime, leaving behind his children and pregnant wife -- who is expecting their 10th child.
Drunk man slept in wrong house
Authorities in western New York say a 20-year-old man thought he was sleeping on his friend's couch when state troopers woke him up over the weekend.

News of the Bizarre

Lungs found on Los Angeles sidewalk

 Wikipedia Commons E E6 Heart-And-Lungs
On Sunday, a Los Angeles woman found what appear to be a pair of lungs on the sidewalk. Wonder if (ahem) someone coughed them up. L.A. County Coroner's Office spokesman Ed Winter, told the L.A. Times that he found the situation “a little strange.” "Lungs on sidewalk: Officials unsure if organs are human's or animal's"

Australian coroner agrees that dingo took baby in 1980 case

The eyes of Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and her ex-husband, Michael Chamberlain, welled with tears as the findings of the fourth inquest into the disappearance of their 9-week-old daughter, Azaria, were announced in court.

Greek who slapped woman on TV sues

The Greek extreme-right party spokesman who caused an uproar last week by slapping one female politician on live TV and throwing a glass of water on another has sued the two women as well as the television channel that hosted the news show.
He's in the wrong so HE sues?! Typical repugican Nazi ... blaming others for their actions.

The Maeklong Railway Market

Welcome to the Mae Klong railway market in small town Thailand. The town of Mae Klong is about 72 kilometers, or a casual 1 drive, south west of Bangkok.
Eight times a day, the shopkeepers have to interrupt their business, quickly pull down the roofs of their shops, drag their goods inside, then stand against their shop fronts breathing in — to let a train go through. That’s right, a train. A big, steel, commuter train traveling quite fast, straight through the middle of the mall.

The Katskhi Pillar

Deep in the Caucasus region, where Western Asia and Eastern Europe meet, the small country of Georgia has a number of surprises. Not least is the Katskhi Pillar, a 130 feet high limestone monolith. Even more surprising than the monolith itself, however, is the fact that there is a church on its apex.

It is not a large church by any means - space alone demands its diminutive size. The church - or more likely a hermitage - was made in the 9th or 10th century and lay abandoned from the thirteenth century onwards. Surprisingly, there are no records of the monolith being climbed after it was deserted until as late as 1944.

A Short History Of The Campsite

There is a satisfying immediacy about the prospect of establishing an encampment for the night - clearing the site, erecting the tent, chopping wood, building a fire and cooking over the live flame - that in turn suggests a meaningful connection to landscape, place and the rugged life of backwoods adventurers.

In essence camping is an act of faith and survival, a way to buttress a modest, isolated human settlement against the forces of nature. The camp is a temporary substitute for the home - a place to dwell, to sleep, to interact socially, to prepare and eat food. Stripped of any but the most vital conveniences, the camp is literally and figuratively open to the stimuli of its natural surroundings.

Islands of Exile

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Alcatraz may be the most infamous prison island (unless you count Australia… OK, I'm kidding!), but it's hardly the only one. Smithsonian lists ten "islands of exile," some of which were true penal colonies while others were just unfortunate destinations for banished individuals. Included are the likes of Patmos, Greece, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, and Robben Island, South Africa. From Smithsonian:
Île Sainte-Marguerite, France
Just off the coast of Cannes in the Mediterranean Sea, the small, forested island of Sainte-Marguerite—about two miles long and a half-mile wide—was home to one of history’s most enigmatic prisoners. The convict, whose identity was concealed behind what was most likely a black velvet mask, was brought to the island in 1687, during the reign of Louis XIV, and locked up in the Royal Fort, then a state prison. (His barren cell can still be seen.) Later, he was moved to the Bastille, where he died in 1703 at around age 45.
The prisoner’s identity and the reason for his incarceration are still not known. But over the centuries, they have been the subjects of much speculation. One popular theory, that he was an older brother of Louis XIV, became the basis for Alexander Dumas’ classic tale The Man in the Iron Mask.

The Water's Hot

Human Fingerprints on Ocean Warming Detected

Natural fluctuations alone do not explain warming in the upper layers of the world's ocean.  
ocean warming

The Fire Rainbow

Photo: Lisa Foss 
Forget the Double Rainbow, there's a new celestial phenomenon that makes us yelp "OMG what does this mean?"
Lisa Foss of Ely, Minnesota saw this brilliant display of what some colloquially term a "fire rainbow" on Monday, while another show popped up in Edgewood, Texas on Saturday.
The rainbows are caused by ice crystals in the thin, distant clouds being at just the correct angle to refract the sunlight into the colors of the prism.
Meteorologist Scott Sistek of KATU has more.

Cosmic Headlights and the Origin of Gamma Ray Bursts

Figure 1: The positions in galactic coordinates of the GRBs in the BATSE 4B catalog, showing the isotropy of the burst sky distribution (see C.A. Meegan, et al., Nature, vol. 355, 1993, p. 143.

by Eric J. Heller
Departments of Chemistry and Physics
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Gamma-ray bursts pose one of the greatest mysteries of modern astrophysics. Almost every day, there is a huge, localized burst of gamma-rays lighting up the sky, which often outshines all the other gamma ray sources in the sky put together. Then the source of the burst vanishes, often in a few seconds. The bursts come from all over the sky, seemingly at random. Until now there has been no convincing explanation for them. The answer, it turns out, may be automotive in nature

The Mystery of Gamma Ray Bursts

Gamma ray bursts (GRB) were discovered in 1967 by satellite-borne detectors looking for violations of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. They are extremely bright sources of radiation, typically lasting for seconds. Some are very sharply peaked in time, others have a longer falloff. Burst time-scales go through the 30 ms scale to hundreds of seconds. Even if the GRBs we see are somehow collimated toward us (as we shall argue they are) , they are by far the brightest electromagnetic events in the Universe. They are more or less randomly distributed across the sky, as seen in Figure 1, and happen about once a day. There is strong evidence that the GRBs seen so far are extragalactic, since recent observations have associated faint galaxies to the burst sights. It is now known that they emanate from distant galaxies. While the bursts were detected in the gamma region of the spectrum, there are also x-ray and visible portions of the spectrum. GRBs remain an active area of research [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. Typical bursts are shown in Figure 2 . A galaxy from which another burst originated is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 2: Sample of GRBs detected by the BeppoSAX/GRBM. It shows just an example of the possible morphology, duration and intensity variety of the GRBs
The explanations for these bursts have been diverse. Most involve black holes created by massive stars. Since the collimation issue is not resolved, the total energy in the bursts ranges enormously, depending on the solid angle assumed for the beam. If the radiation were isotropic, the total energy involved would be almost unimaginable and very hard to accommodate into existing theory. On the other hand if the bursts are extremely collimated, and we just happen to see the ones aimed at us, the energies are more modest. None of the proposed models is very satisfactory, in that aspects of the data remain unexplained or that unknown physics has to be arbitrarily invoked. Here, we give a simple explanation showing they are in fact the result of routine activities by extraterrestrials.


The explanation of GRBs falls into place if we consider the activities of extraterrestrial intelligent beings. It is assumed that such beings, in our galaxy or other galaxies, are quite capable of space travel over great distances, at speeds near the speed of light, c. The relativistic time dilation , where , dictates that travelers have a huge advantage in traveling close to the speed of light, in terms of the space ship clock time to arrive at a destination. The energy requirements, E, on the other hand get arbitrarily large as the speed of light is approached, i.e. . We are only 250 years since the invention of the steam engine; advanced societies could easily have had a million-fold more time to develop technology. We dare not assume they are limited in their capacity to generate enormous amounts of energy.
Space travel at relativistic speeds is not without its hazards. It is well known that “brown” matter and other debris populates intragalactic space, and perhaps intergalactic space, with some density. Objects ranging in size from baryons and atoms to masses of the order of Jupiter might be encountered, though the larger ones would certainly be known ahead of time, or easily seen. Smaller sized objects are another issue. We assume here that a collision at relativistic speeds with something the size of a baseball, or perhaps even small molecules, is bad even for space vehicles of very advanced societies. At the very least, such vehicles must “look ahead” for larger objects it would collide with, and move out of the way when they are detected. It should also have a way of moving the much more numerous small objects out of harm’s way.

In other words, space ships must have headlights, and perhaps beams powerful enough to disintegrate or displace small bodies well in advance of arrival. These would naturally need to be extremely collimated. The requirement to see far enough ahead might make them quite energetic. An observer along the line of the path vehicle would always see very blue shifted (i.e., mostly gamma) radiation, since we would see only those beams from ships traveling directly toward us at relativistic speeds. But why do we see a “burst” of 0.1–10 seconds?

Figure 3: Galactic region (left) and host galaxy (right) from which the gamma ray burst GRB 9901231 originated (from reference 21
If a space vehicle in another galaxy were traveling exactly in our direction (of course at some time in the past) then perhaps we should see their “headlights” for more than a few seconds. However, several explanations exist for this, all of which can coexist. The burst may be an indication that the ship has its low beams on most of the time, switching to high beam only long enough to destroy objects in its path. This would explain their short and variable duration (the time required to destroy different debris is variable), and the asymmetry in time of some GRBs, some of which have a long time tail (destruction beams from ships may be chirped, for example, visible radiation followed by microwave, to increase effectiveness). Secondly, depending on the collimation, extremely slight deflections in path of the vehicle, or deflection of the headlight beam by changes in matter distribution in the vicinity of the vehicle would be sufficient to explain the brief duration of the typical gamma ray “flash”. It is also possible that small objects, once detected, are obliterated with a focused flash from the vehicle. Thus the variation in the duration of the flashes, their spectral content, and the total energy fluence are easily attributed to variations in source spectral content, propagation fluctuations of the type just mentioned, and earth’s position in the beam as it sweeps by.

Proposal for a Test

The solar system is sufficiently large to test the idea of extreme collimation of the beam. Let us suppose that the beam has an initial width of 100 m, with a mean wavelength of 10-12 m, in the gamma region. Using the asymptotic formula for the spreading of a Gaussian beam (Born and Wolf, Principles of Optics), we have the angular spread in radians, given by radians (1)
After one billion years of travel this beam would spread to a size of about 106 kilometers, only about 1% of the earth-sun distance. If the GRBs are remnants of destruction beams, their width at the beam waist might be 100 times smaller, giving a width a billion years later on the order 1 AU. These figures make it worthwhile to contemplate building a solar orbiting gamma ray camera, in order to detect differences between arrival signatures on earth and on the satellite which might reveal a beam width on the order of a few AUs or less.


We have shown that GRBs are explained as byproducts of narrowly collimated headlights and protection beams of extraterrestrial vehicles in other galaxies, where the bursts are known to originate. These beams would have an approximately 10–15 radian spread. This explanation requires ten to twenty orders of magnitude less energy in the source than an assumed astrophysical “collimated” source with a beam spread of 1 to 10 degrees.

Figure 4. Headlights. This particular example is of terrestrial origin.
No one has seen a GRB originating from within our own galaxy. No doubt there are extraterrestrials traveling around here too, but the beams would be very narrow due to a thousand-fold or greater reduction in propagation distance, and conceivably destructive. Probably we have never been “hit” by one of them. Indeed, tra_c laws or common courtesy may prohibit aiming of such concentrated radiation toward inhabited planets in one’s own galaxy; however, other galaxies are much too distant to have to worry about, explaining why we see bursts only from distant galaxies.
The GRBs originate only within distant galaxies as far as we know. This is easily explained, since extragalactic travel is either out of the question (even for advanced societies) because of the great distances involved, or else intergalactic space is so empty that it is common practice to leave your headlights off when traveling between galaxies.
Editor’s note: This work is consonant with the evidence amassed by Scott Sandford of NASA that internal combustion engines may be common in interstellar space. See “Proof that UFOs are Powered by Internal Combustion Engines,” Scott A. Sandford, AIR 6:2.

Iron Age Olympics

roman artifacts

Artifacts Unearthed at Olympic Park

Roman artifacts from the Iron Age have been found at the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Archaeology News

China Unearths Over 100 New Terracotta Warriors

The life-size figures were excavated near the tomb of China's first emperor.

Pollution Turns Carnivorous Plants Vegetarian

Carnivorous plants like the pitcher plant, Venus flytrap, and sundew have evolved to get necessary nutrients from the bugs they eat, usually because the soil in their environments don’t have enough of them. But a new study shows that at least one kind of carnivorous plant, the common sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) will stop doing so when there is more nitrogen than usual in their soil, such as when nitrogen-rich acid rain falls.
A study published in New Phytologist shows that this artificial rain of fertilizer is now making carnivorous plants lose interest in insect prey. Plants in lightly-polluted areas got 57 per cent of their nitrogen from insects; in areas that receive more nitrogen deposition, that figure fell as low as 22 per cent.
“If there’s plenty of nitrogen available to their roots, they don’t need to eat as much,” explains Dr. Jonathan Millett from Loughborough University, the report’s lead author. Instead, they rely more on nitrogen absorbed through their roots.
How did the plants manage this rapid shift in diet? Millett says earlier experiments have suggested they can make their leaves less sticky, trapping fewer prey. He adds that a color change may also contribute; sundew plants in highly polluted bogs are much greener than those growing in nutrient-poor conditions. The latter typically have a red color that’s believed to attract insects. He even suggests that looking at the color of sundew plants could give ecologists a quick way to gauge how much nitrogen pollution an area has suffered.
That may be handy for us, but it may spell trouble for the species, which spent a lot of time evolving its specialized niche, and may not be so successful adapting to rapidly changing conditions.

Animal Pictures