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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, July 20, 2012

The Daily Drift

 You have a little hideaway in the mountains too, right?

Some of our readers today have been in:
Jerudong, Brunei
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Cape Town, South Africa
Klang, Malaysia
Ankara, Turkey
Triopli, Lebanon
Kaghak, Armenia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Durban, South Africa
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Belgrade, Serbia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Nis, Serbia
Willemsted, Curacao
Pasig, Philippines

And across the USA in cities such as:
Chippewa Falls, Halethopre, Harlingen, Hyannis, Issaquah and Vincennes

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!
Editor's Note: We are a tad later in the day publishing today's posts - we thought we'd keep you on your toes.

Today in History

1402 Tamerlane's Mongols defeat Ottoman Turks at Angora.
1588 The Spanish Armada sets sail from Corunna.
1715 The Riot Act goes into effect in England.
1864 Confederate General John Bell Hood attacks Union forces under General William T. Sherman outside Atlanta.
1867 Imperial troops in Guizhou, China, kill 20,000 Miao rebels.
1881 Sioux chief Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army.
1917 Alexander Kerensky becomes the premier of Russia.
1942 The U.S. Army Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) begins its first training class at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
1944 Adolf Hitler is wounded in an assassination attempt by German Army officers at Rastenburg.
1950 The U.S. Army's Task Force Smith is pushed back by superior North Korean forces.
1951 King Abdullah of Jordan is assassinated.
1969 Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the moon.
1976 The Viking spacecraft lands on Mars and begins taking soil samples.

Real men

Or ... How two strangers helped a kid in a wheel chair in 100 degree heat

From video over at KMBC.
A wonderful story about a kid in a wheelchair, Patrick Connelly, going to a country music concert and suddenly realizing he couldn't see the singer - everyone in the audience had stood up, as folks always do (annoyingly) at concerts.

Patrick started crying because all he could see were people's legs.

Suddenly, two men in the audience came out of nowhere and lifted Patrick up, and held him up for a good 15-20 minutes - they even carried him up to the stage for a bit (see photo below).

And it was 100 degrees out.

The mom is still trying to find out who the men were. Really neat story. KMBC's report on the story, and the video of the mom telling the story, is great too.

Screen shot from KMBC video.

Bruce Springsteen makes light of London concert curfew

Bruce Springsteen took a swipe at London festival bosses who pulled the plug on his duet with Sir Paul McCartney over the weekend by continuing the performance at a separate show in Dublin, Ireland.

Happy birthday, air conditioning!

Yesterday was the 110th anniversary of air conditioning. The building pictured above—1040 Metropolitan Ave. in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York—was the first building in the world to enjoy the luxury of cold air blowing on a blisteringly hot day.
A junior engineer from a furnace company figured out a solution so simple that it had eluded everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to the naval engineers ordered to cool the White House when President James A. Garfield was dying: controlling humidity.
The junior engineer who tackled the problem was Willis Carrier, who went on to start Carrier Corporation. The solution he devised involved fans, ducts, heaters and perforated pipes ... Carrier’s plan was to force air across pipes filled with cool water from a well between the two buildings, but in 1903, he added a refrigerating machine to cool the pipes faster.
It's a neat technological story, and as the New York Times piece points out, Carrier's invention wasn't just about making people comfortable. In the beginning, it was about allowing a specific job to get done even when the weather was hot. In fact, air conditioning is still the tool that makes things like computers possible, by creating dust-free, low-humidity clean rooms where the parts can be manufactured.
Read the rest of James Barron's piece in the New York Times City Room blog

Did you know ...

About the rise of the lesbian super-pac

That staying home in November is not an option

About carbon - it's freaky

That PZ Myers refuses to ride the the chariot of the gods

Giant infographic reveals TSA to be the worst thing ever made by humankind

Screen Shot 2012 07 18 at 3 24 53 PM

Two clippings from an attractive infographic that presents a great deal of damning information about the TSA.
Screen Shot 2012 07 18 at 3 20 44 PM

Non Sequitur


Romney tax-mania grows

What's odd is that Romney doesn't seem to realize that he's already lost this battle.  It's only a question of time, and his returns will be released.  But by dragging it out, he's inflicting maximum damage, and that doesn't even include what may, or may not, be damaging in the returns themselves.
First, the Boston Globe reports on the ever-growing number of repugicans calling on Romney to release his returns. Keep in mind that the repugicans are like sheep to the slaughter - they always line up dutifully, all in unison, on any and every issue. Yet on this one, they're falling apart at the seams. That's an indication of how bad this has gotten for Romney,
The list of moronic repugicans advising Romney to give up earlier tax returns includes Representative Ron Paul and Governor Rick Perry, both of Texas; Haley Barbour, a former repugican national cabal chairman; and Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

“Politically, I think that would help him,” Paul told Politico on Tuesday. “In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want.”

Wingnut journalists such as Post columnist George Will and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol are also urging further disclosure.

“He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It’s crazy,” Kristol said on “Faux News Sunday.” “You’ve got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two.”
Next up, Ryan Grim and Zach Carter over at Huffington Post report that Romney has not, in fact, released all of his 2010 returns - the only returns to date that he claims to have fully released.
Romney released his 2010 tax return in January of this year, a document that first informed voters about the existence of his Swiss bank account and financial activities in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But people who own foreign bank accounts are required to file a separate document with the IRS that provides additional details on such overseas bank holdings, and Romney has not released that form to the public.

The Romney campaign did not respond to HuffPost's request to view the document.

Tax experts say it is almost certain that Romney did file the form, known as a Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or "FBAR" in accountant slang. The penalty for not filing an FBAR can be severe, and the IRS would have expected to receive the form since Romney listed the Swiss bank account on his tax return. Listing the account on his tax return and then failing to file the subsequent FBAR would have been asking for a hefty fine, and would probably have heightened IRS scrutiny of prior tax filings.
Prize quote:
For individuals seeking to game the U.S. tax code, Swiss bank accounts are only useful when used illegally.
Oh, and Romney is whining again, via the Chicago Trib:
"This idea of criticizing and attacking success, of demonizing those in all walks of life who have been successful is so foreign to us we simply don't understand it," Romney told a townhall-style meeting.
No, what's foreign to us is paying only a 15% tax rate and hiding our money in Swiss bank accounts.

Oh, and having a home that's so large that even your car has its own elevator is also pretty foreign.

Yep, Mitt Romney, nothing foreign there:

Did Romney pay no taxes at all in 2009?


When a sports team says that they have won three out of their past five matches you can be pretty sure that they won three of the last six matches as well. If they had won that other match they would want to include it so they can claim a four out of six record.

Romney has released his 2010 return and has promised to release his 2011 return when he files it. There is clearly a reason for the fact that Romney will only release two years when the bare minimum requirement for Senate confirmation hearings is three. The question then is not if Romney's 2009 return is damaging but how damaging it must be for Romney to need to hide it.

Joshua Green writing in Business Week suggests that what with the financial markets crashing in 2008-9, it is quite possible that Romney paid no taxes at all in 2009.

"You people" have enough of our tax info


Not very presidential.
Ann Romney dismissed concerns about her husband’s tax returns Thursday, contending that the two of them have “given all you people need to know.”

“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” the potential first lady said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.”

“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she added later.
"You people."  Is that like "the little people"?

Interestingly, the phrase "you people" is usually used, inappropriately, against blacks (see def. 2 and 3), as former repugican chair Michael Steele implicitly confirmed here.  Good thing there aren't any African-Americans in this race.  Or for that matter, any African-American journalists sitting across from you when you use the phrase "you people":

I'm not suggesting that Mrs. Romney is a racist.  I am suggesting that the Romneys are so out of touch with regular Americans that they don't even understand that it's probably not a good idea to use the phrase "you people" about a black reporter, or a black president.

As for Mrs. Romney's comment that:
“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,”
Isn't that what we're trying to do?

And finally, as for Mrs. Romney playing the Mormon card - which is interesting, since the Romneys don't often seem to want to raise attention to the fact that they're Mormon - the Romneys had no choice but to give the Mormons 10% of their income.  It wasn't like they voluntarily "chose" to do it, or could have chosen not to do it (from what I've heard, good luck trying not to pay your tithe, especially if you have money).

It is interesting, however, how we're now to believe that giving the Mormons the 10% they demand proves that all other financial questions are off limits.

So now being a Mormon means you don't have to release your tax returns when you run for office, and it means you can lie to the FEC or SEC with impunity. Huh. Never knew that.

All of this is just another sign of how desperate the Romneys are becoming in response to the outrage over their refusal to come clean on their taxes.

NB Speaking of "you people," quite a diverse lot of faces over at the Romney headquarters today:
RT: The Guv addressing RFP staff this morning...
You people look awfully white.

Can Romney cope in a crisis?

Last Wednesday the Presidential campaign began for real. Next Wednesday it will take a two week break as the whole planet watches the London Olympics. Romney is trying to sell himself as a seasoned business executive who knows how to take tough decisions in a crisis situation. He now has seven days to turn his campaign around before the narrative defined by Team Obama sticks.

Team Romney was hoping to seize the media narrative by announcing their choice of Vice President. Instead they are going to spend the next seven days explaining why it is unfair for Romney to be held responsible for Bain Capital, why he won't release his donor lists and why voters should trust a corporate raider who won't reveal his tax returns.

The Romney campaign exhibits the same care and planning as his advisors put into the Iraq war. Obama's attack on Bain was certainly savage but it should not have been unexpected.

'Etch-a-Sketch' was an embarrassing but understandable slip of the tongue, a momentary slip of the tongue that unintentionally summed up Romney's post-truth campaign style. Gillespie used the phrase 'Retroactive Retirement' in a prepared response to a question he knew was going to be asked. It wasn't an accidental slip of the tongue, it was the best response that Team Romney could come up with.

The whole notion that business 'crises' remotely resemble government crises is nonsense. Worst case in the typical business crisis is you miss your numbers for the quarter and your bonus. Its a very rare business crisis where your job is on the line. I work in security and so we occasionally have situations that are rather more serious but they only rarely rise to the level of the A&E department at the local hospital.

The Presidency is in a completely different league. There is always at least one serious crisis in progress, often more, those crises develop in hours or days rather than months or years and the stakes are much more than mere money.

Another big difference between government and business is goodwill. When Romney went in to save the US Winter Olympics from the corruption scandal, pretty much everyone involved wanted him to succeed. In government there are more than a few people in your own party wanting to see you fail, let alone the opposition or a foreign government.

Nobody doubts Obama's ability to respond in a crisis, he has been doing the job for four years. Why should anyone believe that Romney can cope when he can't managed to run a political campaign which is the only thing he has been doing for the past six years?

Wouldn't it be neat if Romney's VP were an exorcist?

Seriously, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal participated in an exorcism in college.  
From Tim Murphy at Mother Jones:
No, really. Jindal himself wrote about the experience in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, in an article entitled "Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare." The short of it is that, while Jindal was an undergraduate, his close friend, Susan, with whom he had maintained a wholly non-romantic relationship, began acting strange. One might attribute this to the fact that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Jindal assumed she had been possessed. A sample:
Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
College, right?

The problem for Jindal going forward is that the absolute last thing that Romney wants, as the first-ever Mormon presidential nominee from a major party, is to spend even more time talking about a religious tradition that many Americans view with suspicion.
Kiss that one goodbye.

The truth hurts

Thank goodness the authorities have busted these hardened front-yard garden criminals

Illegal garden
High-tech kitchen garden evangelist Roger Doiron says: "If this garden is deemed illegal, we're in deep you-know-what."
Earlier this year, Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp of Drummondville, Quebec planted the front yard of the future: a gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables. Now they're being ordered by town officials to remove most of their gardens (town code states that a vegetable garden can't occupy more than 30% of the area of a front yard) in the next two weeks to make their yard conform with newly harmonized town code. Front yard kitchen gardens are not the problem; they're part of the solution to healthier and more sustainable communities.
PETITION: Stop the War on Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

New welfare restrictions target booze, tattoos

Taking aim at what they call an abuse of the taxpayers' money, a growing number of states are blocking welfare recipients from spending their benefits on booze, cigarettes, lottery tickets, casino gambling, tattoos and strippers.

Health News

Man watching TVInactivity 'as deadly as smoking'

The Only Known Recording of Sigmund Freud’s Voice

(Video Link)
The father of psychology spent the last year of his life in Britain. A BBC radio crew visited him at his home on Dec. 7, 1938. He was suffering from jaw cancer and uttering every word was agonizing. But he managed to make the following statement:
I started my professional activity as a neurologist trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an older friend and by my own efforts, I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges, and so on. Out of these findings grew a new science, psychoanalysis, a part of psychology, and a new method of treatment of the neuroses. I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not believe in my facts and thought my theories unsavory. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an International Psychoanalytic Association. But the struggle is not yet over.

Tattie Scones

1lb/500g potatoes, cooked and mashed1 oz/30g butter, melted plus for greasing
1/2tsp salt
1 medium egg
4 oz/125g flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
1tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 395F/200C/Gas 6
Place the mashed potato in a large baking bowl and add all the other ingredients to form a sticky dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approx ½ inch/1 cm thickness. Cut into saucer sized rounds then score a cross into the dough to mark 4 equal wedges.
Grease a baking sheet with butter and bake the scones for 15 minutes until golden brown and risen. The scones can also be cooked on the stove top on a griddle or heavy based frying pan. Cook the scone 5 minutes on either side until golden and risen
Eat while warm.

Caffeine Crystals

The beautiful image above is a false-colored scanning electron micrograph of the crystals of caffeine, the magical thing that makes tea work:
Caffeine is a bitter, crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. In plants, caffeine functions as a defence mechanism. Found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves and fruit of some plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyses and kills certain insects feeding on the plant. The main crystals of caffeine were 400-500 microns long; however, this crystal group formed on the end of the larger crystal and measures around 40 microns in length.
It's part of the winners' gallery over at Wellcome Image Awards 2012: here

Colorful Alright

Nine Of The World's Most Ridiculously Secure Safes And Vaults

Plan on breaking into Fort Knox? Or maybe Cheyenne Mountain, Iron Mountain, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York? Forget it! You can't. Because they belong to the world's most ridiculously secure safes and vaults.

Record Treasure Hauled From Shipwreck

A record 48 tons of silver is recovered from a British cargo ship that was torpedoed and sank in 1941. Read more
  Record Treasure Hauled From Shipwreck

Afghanistan minerals fully mapped


The US Geological Survey releases a first-of-its-kind country-wide map of the mineral resources in Afghanistan.

An unusual lake in Kazakhstan

This unusual lake is situated in Kazakhstan. In 1911 there was a boat slip here and the valley was flooded. The new lake was called Kaindy. It's a favorite place of many divers.   More

The new gem of the Russian internet

Marina Maksimova aged 21 has become very popular in the Russian social nets, boys say it's impossible to look into her eyes... 

Random Photo

Beautifully Designed Solar Trees

Designed by Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove and manufactured by Artemide, Solar Tree is an urban lighting system. This futuristic design uses panels and LED lighting units to provide environmentally friendly illumination powered by solar energy.

The plant-like structure is made of twenty steel pipes, which resemble plant stems and grass. Six of the pipes support solar panels, four support large lights, and ten grass-like stalks are topped with LED lights. All of the steel pipes are connected to 38 solar cells that are in turn connected to a battery system and to an electronic device hidden in the base.

Huge hole in Mars

 Apod Image 1207 Marshole2 Hirise 2560
This "hole in Mars," imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is an opening into an underground cave. The hole is approximately 35 meters across. NASA reports, "Holes such as this are of particular interest because their interior caves are relatively protected from the harsh surface of Mars, making them relatively good candidates to contain Martian life."

Astronomical News

Sputnik satelliteDid a Sputnik really crash in Scotland

Exoplanet Neighbor is Smaller than Earth

Astronomers believe they have found a planet about two-thirds the size of Earth orbiting a star 33 light-years away. Read more
Exoplanet Neighbor is Smaller than Earth

Weird Ancient Spiral Galaxy Discovered

Gravitational tugs from a small intruder galaxy is believed to be responsible for sculpting ancient galaxy's unusual spiral structure. Read more
Weirdly Ancient Spiral Galaxy Discovered

Exploring Dwarf Galaxy Mysteries

The Discovery Channel Telescope will be used to find answers to the most vexing of dwarf galaxy mysteries. Read more
Exploring Dwarf Galaxy Mysteries: DCT Science

Dunes Swarm Over Martian Plain

It looks like an extraterrestrial campsite, but those little tents are in fact Martian sand dunes. Read more
Dunes Swarm Over Martian Plain: Big Pic


Awesome Pictures

Towering Aspens by Doug Dance Nature Photography on Flickr.

Neanderthals Used Medicine

Looking into the plaque in between neanderthal teeth reveals medicinal plants. Read more 
 Neanderthal Tartar Shows Evidence of Medicine
Dental hygiene probably wasn't too high on the list of things for Neanderthals to worry about. But in this case, that's a good thing because the tartar found on their teeth told researchers quite a bit about life in the prehistoric age:
Karen Hardy at ICREA, the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, working with Stephen Buckley at the University of York, UK, and colleagues, used a scalpel to scrape tartar off the teeth of five Neanderthals. They chemically analysed some of the tartar samples, and examined others using an electron microscope.
The microscope revealed cracked starch granules, which suggests the Neanderthals roasted plants before eating them. More evidence for the importance of fire was found in the chemicals within the tartar: there were aromatic hydrocarbons and phenols, which are associated with wood smoke.
Unexpectedly, there were few lipids or proteins in the tartar, suggesting the Neanderthals of El Sidrón ate little meat. However, one Neanderthal consumed yarrow, a natural astringent, and camomile, an anti-inflammatory.
"It's very surprising that the plants we were able to securely identify were those with a bitter taste and no nutritional qualities – but known medicinal properties," says Hardy. Neanderthals were apparently able to select plants for medical use, she says.

Mona Lisa's Skeleton Found?

A complete skeleton has been found at the site of a former nunnery in Italy and may belong to the woman who is believed to have posed for Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.  
Read more
Mona Lisa's Skeleton Found?

This Is a 600-Year Old Bra

Archaeologists were surprised to find it and three others at a castle in Austria because the invention of the bra is thought to date back little over a century:
Fashion experts describe the find as surprising because the bra had commonly been thought to be only little more than 100 years old as women abandoned the tight corset.
Instead, it appears the bra came first, followed by the corset, followed by the reinvented bra.
One specimen in particular “looks exactly like a (modern) brassiere,” says Hilary Davidson, fashion curator for the London Museum. “These are amazing finds.”
“Four linen textiles resemble modern-time bras” with distinct cups and one in particular looks like today’s version, it said, with “two broad shoulder straps and a possible back strap, not preserved but indicated by partially torn edges of the cups onto which it was attached.”
And the lingerie was not only functional.
The bras were intricately decorated with lace and other ornamentation, the statement said, suggesting they were also meant to please a suitor.

The Daughter of Dawn

In 1920, a feature film was shot in Oklahoma starring an entirely Native American cast -300 people from the Comanche and Kiowa nations, in authentic sets and costumes they themselves provided. It was a love story. Such a thing was completely unique in an era when movies only showed Indians as foils for the cavalry or gunfighters. The film, The Daughter of Dawn, received critical acclaim at preview showings, but was not widely distributed. As years went by, those associated with the movie assumed it was lost or destroyed, as so many of those early films were.
In 2005, Brian Hearn, the film curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, received a phone call from a private investigator offering to sell him a silver nitrate film that he had received as payment from a client. The PI hadn’t watched it, but he thought it was The Daughter of Dawn. The museum did not have a film collection at that time, so Hearn enlisted the aid of the Oklahoma Historical Society. After copious fundraising, the OHS was able to purchase the reels and restore them so this priceless record of Comanche and Kiowa history, Oklahoma history and early film history could get the audience it never had a chance to get in 1920.
The Daughter of Dawn was screened for the first time in almost a century last month at the deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City. Future screenings haven’t been scheduled yet, but keep an eye on the website for news. The Oklahoma Historical Society also plans to release the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray, complete with features on the history of the film and one particularly important artifact therefrom.
Read the story of how The Daughter of Dawn was filmed, meet the historic cast, and see the first ten minutes of the film at The History Blog.

The Secret of the Aurochs

The movie Beasts of the Southern Wild is a live-action film featuring aurochs, which are extinct animals. How did they do that? National Geographic talked to second-unit director Ray Tintori about the animals in the film, and found out the big, fearsome, prehistoric cattle were played by baby potbelly pigs in costume!
We put a foam, bison-like hump under the nutria skins, to throw off the shape. With the horns, well, safety was the No. 1 concern at all times. And we must have gone through 40 versions of costume design, trying to figure it out. The first time we put wooden horns on one of the pigs, we realized we’d just handed a switchblade to a toddler. Because the pigs were always rooting around and charging everything. They’d run into us, and we’d be like, “Ow! Oh, my God that hurts!”
The horns we wound up using were really soft, like cast latex. In some of the footage we have, the horns would bend every time the pigs ran into something. The coolest thing about it was figuring out how to design the horns to look like they’re part of the skull. Because you really can’t have any wobble. We had to design a way to attach tusks and horns to a pig’s head without hurting the pig.
Read more about the porcine movie stars at NatGeo News.

Hummingbirds keep flying

Hummingbirds can keep flying under light, moderate, and even heavy rain:
These minute birds — which use their amazing hovering skills to harvest nectar — have to feed almost daily or they will perish. Given that they inhabit regions that are not exactly arid, they are almost certain to be forced to fly in the rain at some point.
Armed with five Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna), a garden water-gun and a laboratory, Victor Ortega-Jimenez and Robert Dudley of the University of California, Berkeley, aimed to work out just how much it cost the birds to do so. [...]
“We demonstrated that hummingbirds can deal very well in light-to-moderate precipitation, practically without costs,” says Ortega-Jimenez. “But, even in heavy rain, despite the evident postural and wing kinematic changes produced by drop impacts and plumage wettability, these tiny birds can maintain flight control.”
Daniel Cressey of Nature's News Blog has the post and video clip: here

Swarming invasive insect discovered US

Two Elm Seed Bugs are seen in this undated handout photo provided by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Animal News

How Vegetarian Dinosaurs Feasted
The super speedy eaters could efficiently remove leaves from branches before swallowing them whole. Read more
 Dolphins May Be Math Geniuses
The brainy marine mammals could be far more skilled at math than was ever thought possible before. Read more

Animal Pictures

Bison by Doug Dance Nature Photography on Flickr.