Welcome to ...

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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Daily Drift

Admit it you rather see this than anything else we could put here.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Amman, Jordan
Charleron, Belgium
Petaling jaya, Malaysia
Zagreb, Croatia
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Klang, Malaysia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Perai, Malaysia
Denpasar, Indonesia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Manila, Philippines
Cape Town, South Africa
Sampaloc, Philippines
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cebu City, Philippines
Warsaw, Poland
Moscow, Russia
Kuantan, Malaysia
Gdansk, Poland
Klang, Malaysia
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Poznan, Poland
Panama City, Panama

 Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1712   12 slaves are executed for starting a uprising in New York that killed nine whites.
1776   The amended Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson, is approved and signed by John Hancock–President of the Continental Congress–and Charles Thomson, Congress secretary. The state of New York abstains from signing.
1817   Construction begins on the Erie Canal, to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
1826   Two of America's founding fathers–Thomas Jefferson and John Adams–die.
1831   The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, dies at the age of 73.
1845   Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond.
1855   Walt Whitman publishes the first edition of Leaves of Grass at his own expense.
1861   Union and Confederate forces skirmish at Harpers Ferry.
1862   Charles Dodgson first tells the story of Alice's adventures down the rabbit hole during a picnic along the Thames.
1863   The Confederate town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant.
1881   Billy the Kid is shot dead in New Mexico.
1894   After seizing power, Judge Stanford B. Dole declares Hawaii a republic.
1895   The poem America the Beautiful is first published.
1901   William H. Taft becomes the American governor of the Philippines.
1910   Race riots break out all over the United States after African American Jack Johnson knocks out Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match.
1931   Novelist James Joyce and Nora Barnacle are married in London after being together for 26 years.
1934   Boxer Joe Louis wins his first professional fight.
1946   The United States grants the Philippine Islands their independence.
1960   The 50-star flag makes its debut in Philadelphia.
1976   An Israeli raid at Entebbe airport in Uganda rescues 105 hostages.

Happy Birthday USA

Wingnut Wunderkind is now a Liberal

Did you ever say something at 13 that you regretted later in life? At least you had the presence of mind not to get that captured on camera or social media for posterity, right?
What? It's on Facebook?! Well, at least you didn't get it on YouTube, right? What?
Well, at least you're not this guy:
Like so many teenagers, Jonathan Krohn says he cringes when he thinks of some of the deeply uncool things he said when he was 13. Unlike most teenagers, Krohn said those things on camera in a speech at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference, making him a YouTube sensation. Now? Krohn tells Politico's Patrick Gavin he's not a conservative anymore. He likes gay marriage and Obamacare. He's going to New York University in the fall. He name drops German philosophers. But his old fans can't accept that he's changed. "Come on, I was thirteen," he told Politico. "I was thirteen."
From Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic Wire: More | The interview at Politico

At least he grew up - unlike those who still spout the nonsense he used to spout.

Florida's repugican governor to refuse Healthcare Reform

There's the old obstructionist repugicanism that we all know by now. There's a big conflict of interest at play here since he made his money in the highly lucrative healthcare industry. Is Rick Scott blocking Healthcare Reform because it's bad for the people of Florida or because his healthcare business will make less profit?
Scott said the state will not expand the Medicaid program in order to lower the number of uninsured residents, nor will Florida set up a state-run health exchange, a marketplace where people who need insurance policies could shop for them.

"We care about having a health care safety net for the vulnerable Floridians, but this is an expansion that just doesn't make any sense,'' he told Faux host Greta Van Susteren.

Scott has gone back and forth on the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress cannot withhold federal Medicaid funding from states that opt out of a requirement in the overhaul to expand coverage to those just above the poverty line.
Thankfully the decision is not completely his to make so part of the battle will be fought in the Florida legislature.

The Ugliest Four-Letter Word In The English Language

The ugliest four-letter word in the English language: taxes.

Romney involved in business that disposed of aborted fetuses

So between blatant lying and investing in a medical waste business that disposed of aborted fetuses, which one do you think the radical right will find more offensive? At least Mitt has been consistent in that he has never been able to stay consistent with his stories. Anything that he said yesterday has no relevance to what he's going to say or do today.

More from Mother Jones on the Bain Capital and Mitt Romney lies.
Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the repugican presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the repugican primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina repugicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate's reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.

But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also contradict the official account of Romney's exit from Bain.

The mysterious millions of Mittens

Is it "blood money?"

You don't think he would handle American lives the same way...squeezing the maximum life out of the 99%?
....the Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in Elliott associates, l.p., a hedge fund specializing in “distressed assets.” Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and g.o.p. super-donor paul singer, whom fortune recently dubbed mitt Romney’s “hedge fund kingmaker.” (singer has given $1 million to Romney’s super-pac restore our future.) - More
Is this the really the type of president we want? The president our country can afford? -NO!

Romney to hold fundraiser with Barclays bankers in London

A trip to the Wild West of the banking industry for Romney. While shamed former CEO Bob Diamond has backed out, many more from the same side of Barclays will be present with open checkbooks for Romney.
Why is Romney showing such disregard for violations of the law by accepting Barclays money? It's as if he doesn't care how dirty the money is or how much the people paying have been involved in cheating people around the world.
Mr. Diamond had been one of 18 co-hosts for a dinner in London later this month in which guests are being asked to pay between $25,000- $75,000 to raise money for Mr. Romney, who will be in town for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Mr. Diamond is one of several top executives at Barclays who have thrown their weight behind Mr. Romney to help defeat President Barack Obama. He also hosted similar events in support of John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign.

At least 15 of Barclays Capital’s most senior bankers based in the US have donated $2,500 to the Romney campaign, the maximum allowable individual donation per election, Federal Election Committee filings show.

Barclays CEO Diamond resigns under pressure

Following the resignation of the Barclays Chairman, CEO Bob Diamond had suggested a hard fight to remain on the job. This morning Diamond resigned though the details of his exit compensation remain uncertain. As Joe Stiglitz has pointed out in his interview with The Independent, Diamond has spoken often about future bonuses being curtailed though nothing about the years of bonus money made based on phony business. Diamond, of course, has a lot of company in that department.
The Guardian is also reporting this morning that Barclays COO Jerry del Missier will also be resigning soon. Adding to the drama of the situation is Diamond's scheduled meeting with British MP's tomorrow. Diamond has allegedly told others that he would open up the scandal and detail how much previous (Labour) governments knew about the ongoing Libor scandal. Others have responded that unlike Capital Hill battles, the system in the UK is different and reacts quickly and harshly to such attacks.

Who will step in next to be Chief Gambler in Charge for Barclays? Anyone from his side of the banking world will be severely tainted. Not that being tainted has been an obstruction to power in the banking world.
The man who set up Barclays Capital and was responsible for much of Barclays’ increased profits stepped down as chief executive on Tuesday after calls for his resignation from politicians and shareholders.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne welcomed his resignation. "I think it's the right decision for Barclays, I think it's the right decision for the country because we need Barclays bank focused on lending to our economy and not distracted by this argument about who should be in charge," Osborne told the BBC. "I hope it's a first step to a new culture of responsibility in British banking."

He led a storm of political criticism of Barclays in the wake of the London inter-bank offered rate (Libor) manipulation scandal.

Did you know ...

... how the big banks are screwing us with overdraft fees.

Job insecurity in America

A terrified nation of disposable workers 
Alternet's new series on "job insecurity" opens with a frightening and infuriating piece from Lynn Parramore, who paints a picture of a nation where the new normal is to be marginally employed, in terror of a coming layoff, haunted by unshakable student debt, and in a continuous, panicked search for work, all at once:
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Our capitalist endeavor was supposed to make us safe from the vagaries of weather conditions and arbitrary events that harassed our ancestors. But somehow we’ve ended up more worried than ever.
Anxiety disorders now plague 18 percent of the U.S. adult population –- a whopping 40 million people. Only half that number are affected by mood disorders. The drug alprazolam — familiar by its brand name, Xanax — was prescribed 46.3 million times in 2010, making it that year’s bestselling psychiatric drug. Prozac, the happiness-and-optimism pill, has been pushed aside by a medication meant to just help you get through the day without collapsing in a puddle of anxiety.
It’s easy to see the appeal of popping a Xanax. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association paints a picture of workers on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
* Sixty-two percent say work has a significant impact on their stress levels.
* Almost 50 percent indicate their stress levels have increased between 2007 and 2008.
* Forty-five percent of workers say job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels.
...When we fear the hatchet will fall, when the future is a fog, when we’re paralyzed by powerlessness, we start to flip out. We pile on more work than we can handle. We don’t take sick days when we need them. We start fueling up on coffee and cigarettes, and dropping the things that are good for us, like leisure activities and trips to the gym. Under chronic stress, our immune systems start to buckle from “overresponsivity.”

Cops in USA to drive around in pornoscannerwagons, covertly irradiating people and looking through their cars and clothes

American cops are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering's Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call "the amazing radioactive genital viewer," now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly, and you (yes you).
These pornoscannerwagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America's streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don't worry, it's not a violation of privacy. As AS&E's vice president of marketing Joe Reiss sez, "From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be."
You know, I never looked at that way. I guess that's why I'm not the VP of marketing and he's getting the big bucks.
It would also seem to make the vans mobile versions of the same scanning technique that’s riled privacy advocates as it’s been deployed in airports around the country. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is currently suing the DHS to stop airport deployments of the backscatter scanners, which can reveal detailed images of human bodies. (Just how much detail became clear last May, when TSA employee Rolando Negrin was charged with assaulting a coworker who made jokes about the size of Negrin’s genitalia after Negrin received a full-body scan.)
“It’s no surprise that governments and vendors are very enthusiastic about [the vans],” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “But from a privacy perspective, it’s one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.”
Also: "the vans do have the capability of storing images."

Random Celebrity Photo


Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot

Kitty litter increases risk of suicide?

A small subset of suicide attempts may be linked to an infection that starts in the litter box.

Honest Names For Snack Foods

Before Marketing complained, the R&D people at your favorite snack companies came up with these honest snack food names: More

Busy, Inc.: Is being busy a lifestyle choice?

Women never retire.

That was my holiday epiphany last Christmas, or Thanksgiving, when I noticed that all the men in the house were watching TV, playing Xbox, or napping, while the women were busy cleaning house and making dinner for a gazillion relatives.

Even mom, at the ripe age of 81 (or 82?) doesn't get a respite.  It seems no one told her at age 65 that she could stop doing all that "woman's work" around the house at about the same time dad stopped being an auto executive.

The retirement gap between men and women is likely easing somewhat in "modern" families where men take on more of the traditionally feminine roles of "keeping house."  But still, it's an obvious, and probably overlooked, observation (by men at least) that women don't ever get to "stop" like we do (again, in traditional homes).

Which leads to articles in the NYT and Slate about "busy" people.  Hanna Rosin sums up the NYT piece in Slate:
The “Busy Trap,” after all, is written by a man and one who does not mention having children. And in his view a 23-year-old single man has a daily reality not all that different than a 40-year-old mother of three. “Almost everyone I know is busy,” writes Tim Kreider, “They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.s make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications.”

But after that brief moment of revenge/relief I began to feel pretty uneasy, because what good does it do me that men live this way too? So many lines in that story made me cringe in self recognition: “Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half hour with classes and extracurricular activities.” And then this part, which really hit home: “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life can not possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy.” My one quibble with Kreider is his insistence that this kind of busyness is a form of bragging, a one-upsmanship over who worked more hours, familiar from how my investment-banker friends from the '90s used to act.
I've always been annoyed by "busy people."  I've never been one.  Perhaps it's my inherent laziness, or my inner Greek, but I've never understood people who "don't have time."  Putting parenthood aside (and even with parenthood, moms still seem to get the shaft), the busy people began about the time of college, which for me was the early 1980s, and it moved into full swing in law school.

The busy people were your friends and fellow students who always spent far more time than you did studying.  The thing is, it's not like they necessarily got better grades (though some did).  Which begs the question of whether busy-ness, in school at least, is a sign of the over-achiever or the UNDER-achiever (i.e., does the student study more because he's a geek, or because he needs to study more to keep up with the rest of us?)

There was certainly a "cult of study" when I was in law school.  People were insane.  They formed elite study groups at the beginning of the year, because "that's what law students do."  And they studied every night for a gazillion hours and never had time to do anything social because, you know, law school is just insanely hard.  I never understood that.

(It used to drive me nuts when people would find out I was in law school, and then wax about how "hard" it must be.  It was hard, like any good education at any good school.  But it simply wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be - which has always made me suspect that med school is its own busy-trap.)

Law school was certainly harder than undergrad (and harder than grad school, for me at least).  And undergrad was harder than high school.  But law school wasn't such a quantum leap harder than undergrad that everyone needed to suddenly stop having a life outside of school.  Yet many law students did.  And they were proud of their lifelessness.  For many, being busy was a form of bragging.  But that doesn't necessarily mean that they made themselves busy so that they could brag.  The bragging could have been an afterthought to the busy-ness - making ego lemonade out of busy lemons, as it were.

While my lack of busy-ness - I'm the last person who would say no to an invite to do something because "I have something else scheduled" (and I'm also the last person to schedule any weekend plans in advance) - is I suspect due in part to my own laziness, I sometimes suspect that the busy-ness of certain friends comes not from any desire to brag, but perhaps from the opposite of my lazy-ness.  While I like to turn my brain, and body, off after a long day of work, they like to turn it on.  Thus the endless tennis lessons, polo lessons, book clubs, etc.

And to some degree I'm jealous of my busy friends. There's a certain way of life in Paris, and I suspect NYC, where people tend to take advantage ("profiter", as we say in French) more of their surroundings.  In Paris, my friends are always going out to the latest show, exhibit, or just for dinner, or a nighttime picnic, with friends.  My New York friends are similar.

But, recently a New York friend complained that, yes, people are always out and about it NYC, but the problem is they're ALWAYS out and about, making it impossible to organize anything with her friends.  In Paris in August, the traditional vacation time, a friend posts a single message on Facebook that they're having a "pique-nique" at 7pm next to the Seine, and the next day somewhere between 7 and 20 friends will eventually show up, no further organizing necessary.  In NYC, she said, you'd have to organize the picnic a good month in advance, or no one would show (same in DC, I fear).  "Can you imagine just posting on Facebook that you're throwing a picnic, and then just expect people to show?" she asked me.

So I'm torn on the whole "busy" thing.  There is a part of me that feels like maybe I'm not "living" enough.  But there's also a part that feels far too many of my friends are living a bit too much, and thus not living much at all.  They've lost any sense of the impromptu, of caprice, in their lives.

I'm reminded of the T.S. Eliot passage:
We do not wish anything to happen.
Seven years we have lived quietly,
Succeeded in avoiding notice,
Living and partly living.
There have been oppression and luxury,
There have been poverty and licence,
There has been minor injustice.
Yet we have gone on living,
Living and partly living.
So is "busy" a prerequisite to living? Or an impediment?

Sonic Booms Shatter Supreme Court Windows

The Praça dos Três Poderes (Three Powers Plaza) in Brasilia, Brazil, is that nation’s governmental seat, and the home of the world’s largest continuously-flown national flag. The flag is replaced every month with ceremony. On Sunday, that ceremony included a flyover by two Mirage 2000 fighter jets. Rarely do supersonic planes fly low enough to be seen for a display like this. What could possibly go wrong?
Although nobody was injured the fighter flew so low and fast that the shock wave they generated broke almost all the windows of Supreme Court glass facade.
In a statement, Brig Ar Kanitz Marcelo Damasceno, chief of the Center for Social Communication of the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB), said that the Brazilian Air Force Command has initiated the investigation of the incident and will compensate the damage caused.
See a video of the flyover at The Aviationist.

For all the country fans out there

Faith Hill

Ten Ways To Keep Your Car Clean Even If You're Lazy

You may think of your car as a means to get from point A to point B. But it's more. It's a little bit like your house with everything in it. Kids, dogs and cats, food etc. And no matter what you do, your car always ends up a mess.

Here are ten simple ways to keep your car from becoming a rolling trashbag.

Five New Uses For Eggshells

Though there's lots to love about an egg, it turns out the shells are actually the incredible part. They can be used for a variety of different garden uses, among other purposes. Here are some new uses for eggshells.

Seven Communities Who Salvage Trash to Survive in the World's Dumpsites


You're really doing it wrong

Satanists claim theft of poster is hate crime

A couple who claim to be Satanists believe they’re a victim of a hate crime and were targeted because of their religious beliefs. Someone cut down a political poster stating, “VOTE SATAN” from their front porch where they live in Mountain View, a suburb of Denver. “We are Satanists… Satanists,” said Luigi Bellaviste.
Luigi and Angie Bellaviste belong to the Church of Satan. They even have a Satanic Bible in their home. The couple is upset because a poster they had hanging from their front porch was recently cut down. It wasn’t very popular with some neighbours. “Everybody that sees that sign says, ‘What is going on with those people?,’” said neighbour Mary Morasco.

The couple’s home and yard are decorated with items like a Christmas tree that has been painted black, skulls and the number 666. They believe the cutting down of the poster was an attack on their religious beliefs. “I feel like we’re being treated unfairly because it’s not a so-called mainstream religion,” said Luigi. “I know of many people who have the Virgin Mary and tons of Jesus memorabilia ‘I Love Jesus’ and what is the difference?” said Angie.

The couple wants the police to consider the incident a hate crime because their religion is protected by the U.S. Constitution. “Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran,” said Luigi, “or something like that got damaged by somebody against those beliefs that would certainly be considered a hate crime.” An officer with the Mountain View Police Department said the report will likely be filed as theft because there was no obvious attack on the couple’s church or religious beliefs.

Man held at gunpoint and stabbed for not being a barber

A man had a gun pulled on him and was stabbed in front of his 6-year-old son in Southwest Philadelphia’s Elmwood section on Saturday morning, apparently for not being a barber, according to police.
Cops said the 29-year-old victim was inside his house on 64th Street near Chelwynde Avenue giving his 6-year-old son a haircut shortly after 7:30 a.m. Saturday when a stranger came in through his front door and asked if he was a barber. The man replied that he was not and the other man left the house without incident before returning about five minutes later and asking for a haircut, police said.

When the victim told the man he wasn’t a barber and asked him to leave, police said, the man pulled a black semiautomatic handgun from his pocket. The victim grabbed the man and struggled with him, at which point the man pulled out a small knife and stabbed him six times in the arms and chest, police said.

The victim was able to force the man outside, and police said the attacker dropped his gun at that point, then picked it up and fled westbound on Chelwynde Avenue in a dark grey SUV. The man stabbed was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and listed in stable condition. The attacker is described as a tall black man in his mid 20s with a light complexion who wore a black long-sleeve shirt and black track pants.

Man used sword and peanut butter sandwich in attack on three women

Polk County deputies jailed a Winter Haven man on felony charges of battery and aggravated assault on Friday. The tools of the alleged attack: a 4-foot sword and peanut butter sandwich.
Mark Christopher Miller, 50, used the sword to threaten two women, one of them pregnant, and then smeared another with the sandwich before the deputies hauled him away, according to his arrest report. As the deputies drove him to jail, Miller tore a piece of padding from the inside of the patrol car with his teeth.

The fracas began when Miller heard a disturbance outside his mobile home at 2500 U.S. 92 W. No. 18A. He exited sword in hand and “poked” it at the 6-month pregnant woman’s stomach. She managed to grab the blade and stop him from stabbing her. Another woman stepped in to protect her and Miller threatened to kill her.

When a third woman intervened, Miller smeared her chest with a peanut butter sandwich he apparently carried. When deputies arrived at Polk County Jail, they found the 4-inch chunk of padding bitten from a divider in the vehicle lying next to Miller’s feet. Miller told the deputies he indeed carried a sword during the incident, but never left the doorway of his mobile home.

Don’t Bother with Positive Thinking, Do Positive Actions Instead!

Want to be happy? Don't try to think yourself happy, just smile instead (regardless of how you feel). Want to boost your will power? Tense up.
Countless self-help books advocate that you think yourself rich/thin/happy, but that won't work according to author Richard Wiseman. Instead of positive thinking, he said in his new book Rip It Up, the best thing is to do positive action, as he explained in this article in The Guardian:
This is the granddaddy of them all. As Laird's study demonstrated, smile and you will feel happier. To get the most out of this exercise, make the smile as wide as possible, extend your eyebrow muscles slightly upward, and hold the resulting expression for about 20 seconds.
As Hung's experiments show, tensing your muscles boosts your willpower. Next time you feel the need to avoid that cigarette or cream cake, make a fist, contract your biceps, press your thumb and first finger together, or grip a pen in your hand.
DIETING: Use your non-dominant hand
When you eat with your non-dominant hand you are acting as if you are carrying out an unusual behaviour. Because of that you place more attention on your action, do not simply consume food without thinking about it, and so eat less.
To overcome procrastination, act as if you are interested in what it is that you have to do. Spend just a few minutes carrying out the first part of whatever it is you are avoiding, and suddenly you will feel a strong need to complete the task.

Man uncovers mysterious old woman walking in his garden using night vision camera

A wildlife lover was shocked when a video camera he set up to film animals at night took ghost-like images of an elderly woman. Dick Williams was ‘gobsmacked’ when he saw the film of a female in slippers and a dressing gown on a path in his back garden.

Photo from SWNS.

Mr Williams, 88, and police officers have so far failed to identify the woman, who was in the garden at about 10pm. ‘We spoke to the police and they took a photo round to local nursing homes, but we haven’t heard anything back yet,’ he said.

‘We wondered whether it was someone sleepwalking or someone living at the local residential home. I don’t think it’s a ghost. I don’t believe in them. Of course, people can make up their own minds.’ He added: ‘Nobody has come forward to say that they might know who it is.

‘Because of the angle the camera was at we could only see her legs up to her lower back. She was heading towards the shed when she disappeared out of view and at no point did she come back into shot.' Mr Williams, who lives with his wife in Churchstoke, Powys, had put out the camera to film local wildlife.

A Line Millions of People Long

Photo via Steve McCurry's Simple Act of Waiting
Think that you're queueing in the longest supermarket checkout line ever? Well, at least you're not in this line of millions of people waiting to bathe in the Ganges river, as photographed by Steve McCurry. What an amazing sight!
Alice Yoo of My Modern Met wrote:
The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage that's been called the world’s largest act of faith, the greatest show on earth and the largest gathering on the planet. In 2001 it was held in Allahabad, India where the India government estimates that about 70 million people came to bathe in the holy river Ganges where it meets with the also holy Yamuna river. Bathing in the holy waters at this particular time is said to wash away your karmic debt or cleanse you from your sins. It's literally a shortcut to spiritual liberation.
In this particular photo, it shows people traversing temporary pontoon bridges built along the Ganges River to facilitate movement. Fascinating.

The Underwater Sculptures Of Jason DeCaires Taylor

Jason DeCaires Taylor is an eco-sculptor, an artist who has found a way to make his sculptures meld seamlessly with the natural world.
His works become one with nature and even support life, as demonstrated by the ring of sculptures shown above which now serve as habitats for coral and aquatic critters who fancy a human of their very own to call home.

Awesome Pictures

untitled by CGinMN on Flickr.

Mass extinctions reset the long-term pace of evolution

A new study indicates that mass extinctions affect the pace of evolution, not just in the immediate aftermath of catastrophe ...
Continue Reading

UN Warns of Impending Environmental Disasters

Every generation has environmental problems to tackle, but we can face them without always worrying about the end of the world ... More

One hundred years of earthquakes

This map of all the world's recorded earthquakes between 1898 and 2003 is stunning. As you might expect, it also creates a brilliant outline of the plates of the Earth's crust—especially the infamous "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Plate.
But the real story—which Smithsonian points out and which was also the first thing I noticed—lies elsewhere. To put it colloquially: Holy shit, you guys, look at all those intraplate earthquakes!
Plate tectonics explains a lot of things, but it doesn't totally explain why earthquakes (and, in rare cases, extremely large earthquakes) happen in places far from the meeting point of two pieces of crust. There are a few possible explanations out there. We just don't know yet which one is correct.
One of the theories explaining intraplate earthquakes is based off the fact that the tectonic plates we know today have not been constant throughout Earth's history. Some of the places that are now "intraplate" were once right along fault lines. Others are at spots where continents began—and then failed—to split apart. All these things might leave behind spots of "weak" rock that's more prone to upheaval than the strong, intraplate rock around it. Studies in the 1990s found that 49% of all intraplate earthquakes happen near places like this. Of course, that leaves 51% of the shaking still unexplained.
Read more about this and other theories for why intraplate earthquakes happen.
Check out Smithsonian's write up, which includes a nice comparison between this image and a cartoon map showing the tectonic plates.
View the image, created by data visualizer John Nelson, on Flickr

The World's Most Amazing Waterfalls

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Feel the power of the planet's mightiest and most beautiful waterfalls.

In the picturesque mountains

Kirgizia has many wonderful places and landscapes. Here we are going to show you some. More

Woman trying to kill bedbugs burns down apartment block making 30 people homeless

Authorities say a Kentucky woman trying to kill bedbugs accidentally started a fire that destroyed several apartments in downtown Carlisle in Nicholas County. It took firefighters from several counties to put it out. Not only had to battle the flames, but the extreme heat as well. You could see the flames shooting out from the apartment's roof from several blocks away. "I was scared to death for my husband because he was in the apartment," says Vicky Bussell, who lived there.
Firefighters disappeared into the smoke as they climbed the ladder to make sure everyone was out the building. It took hours to get a handle on the out of control fire. "I've never really seen anything like this before," says Brianna Ross. About 30 people lost their homes. Six families in the apartment building where the fire started, and ten families next door. "It damages you. It's hard when you lose everything," Bussell says.

The Carlisle Fire Chief says a woman doused her couch in alcohol to try to get rid of bed bugs, and when she dropped her cigarette, the fire started. "They're just belongings, you can replace them anytime. Main thing is, nobody got hurt," says Randal Lutes, who lost everything. While everyone did make it out, four people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Jackie Bond's mother was one of them:

"My mom's bed ridden. I take care of her everyday. I don't know where I'm going to take her, I don't know what to do." Red Cross will be helping some of these people with a place to stay Friday night, but after that, many of these fire victims say they don't know where they'll go. "I guess i just work until we build everything back up," Bond says. "Everybody's alive. As long as everybody's alive, I'll find a way. I'll have to."

Fifty-three arrested in Sri Lanka in anti-mosquito searches

Police arrested 53 people for failing to eliminate stagnant water and other mosquito breeding grounds as Sri Lanka tries to prevent dengue fever, which has infected thousands already this year.
Police, army and health officers searched 11,500 houses in the capital Colombo over seven hours on Sunday, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. Those arrested for not cleaning up their surrounding environment face fines and up to six months in jail. He said this is the first time police made such a large number of arrests from Colombo for failing to clean mosquito breeding places.

Dengue fever has killed 74 people this year and infected 15,000. Health officials say it has increased because residents have become more careless about cleaning their properties and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. The flu-like illness is spread by the Aedes mosquito and spikes during the annual monsoons, when the rains leave puddles of stagnant water where the insects breed. In Sri Lanka, the southwest monsoon that usually begins in May lasts until September.

Dengue starts suddenly with a high fever, rash, severe headache and pain behind the eyes and in the muscles and joints. The severity of the joint pain has given dengue the name ``breakbone fever.'' Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite also are common. The government said last week 10,000 security forces had been deployed to help dengue eradication efforts this month. They help to search houses and buildings to detect breeding places and join other public workers to clean public buildings and places.

Ten Bizarre Looking Bats

Cute, ugly or both? Bats may be Fledermaus in German but they're much more than just flying mice... and much less cute as well. These 10 bizarre bats take ugliness to the next level, in fact, and we're talkin' cracked mirror, turn-to-stone ugly.

Animal Pictures