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.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Daily Drift

Flying Tigers

Some of our readers today have been in:
Santiago, Chile
Jakarta, Indonesia
Bogota, Colombia
Capetown, South Africa
Lviv, Ukraine
Bristol, England
Erbil, Iraq
Manila, Philippines
Medellin, Colombia
Nicosia, Cyprus
Makati, Philippines
Belgrade, Serbia
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Cebu City, Philippines
Johannesburg, South Africa

And today we have been real popular in Malaysia with readers in:
Kota Kinabalu
Kuala Lumpur
Johor Bahru
Shah Alam

As well as cities across the USA such as:

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1743   By the Treaty of Abo, Sweden cedes southeast Finland to Russia, ending Sweden's failed war with Russia.
1812   Napoleon Bonaparte's army defeats the Russians at the Battle of Smolensk during the Russian retreat to Moscow.
1833   The first steam ship to cross the Atlantic entirely on its own power, the Canadian ship Royal William, begins her journey from Nova Scotia to The Isle of Wight.
1863   Union gunboats attack Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, for the first time.
1942   Marine Raiders attack Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands from two submarines.
1943   Allied forces complete the conquest of Sicily.
1944   The mayor of Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, meets with the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed throughout the city.
1945   Upon hearing confirmation that Japan has surrendered, Sukarno proclaims Indonesia's independence.
1960   American Francis Gary Powers pleads guilty at his Moscow trial for spying over the Soviet Union in a U-2 plane.
1978   Three Americans complete the first crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon.
1987   93-year-old Rudolf Hess, former Nazi leader and deputy of Hitler, is found hanged to death in Spandau Prison.
1988   Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq is killed in an airplane crash suspected of being an assassination.
1998   President Bill Clinton admits to the American public that he had affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The truth hurts

Ryan jokes and laughs as 71-year-old is forced to the ground

I'm stealing Diane Sweet's headline (she posted this recently at Crooks & Liars) — because mine was far more editorial:
"VoucherCare Ryan" shows his repugican true colors:
Conscienceless & cruel (Granny, you're next)
Call this "burying the head" — I couldn't make myself put that up front.

But I swear there's something really off about these people. Something do to with empathy I think. Dunno, maybe it's an anti-christian thing.

Anyway, thanks to Diane for resurrecting this. Enjoy the full flavor of the man:

Diane's take:
This took place last fall at one of Congressman Rep. Ryan’s “Pay to Play” town hall meetings where he was discussing cutting Senior’s Social Security, and Medicare as a means of debt reduction. As you might imagine, one senior was not pleased.

But that's not the worst. Is Ryan Opus Dei, like Scalia and Thomas are rumored to be? If so, I could care less about your taxes, sir. Show me the marks from that torture-belt you guys wear.

That's right, Paul — I want to see what makes you think you're a christian. Got scars? 'Cause otherwise I can't figure it out.

Romney will either raise taxes, or charge elderly more for Medicare

Romney is bragging about how he's going to repeal ObamaCare.  Guess what?  He's going to have to raise taxes or Medicare premiums to make up the difference.
Romney would "have to find other ways to get the cost down in the future," said economist Marilyn Moon, a former trustee overseeing Social Security and Medicare finances.

"These (Obama cuts) were all on service providers," said Moon, now director of the health program at the nonpartisan American Institutes for Research. Romney "would have three options: either cut it out of providers in a different way, ask beneficiaries to pay higher premiums in various ways, or raise taxes in order to pay for it."

Romney made his promise to restore the cuts on Tuesday at a campaign stop in Beallsville, Ohio.

Did you know ...

That Ryan sponsored a pro-life bill that would make Romney's kids criminals

What liberal media bias?

Bowing to pressure, repugican Ohio Sec. of State announces uniform early voting hours thru-out the state

I guess it's now okay for foreign governments to violate the sanctity of UK embassies

So Britain is no better than Iran.  At least now we know.
What a bizarrely ignorant thing for the UK to tell Ecuador, that it's actually thinking of violating the sanctity of the Ecuadorian embassy in order to take Julian Assange into custody.

First off, it's Julian Assange, not Osama bin Laden - so let's get a little perspective here.

Second, the Brits are seriously threatening one of the most serious breaches of international law - violating the territory of a foreign embassy?  That puts British diplomats, and embassies, at serious risk in the future.  For example, if the Brits actually think that it's okay for them to raid the Ecuadorian embassy, then it's also okay for the Americans to raid British embassies in the future the next time we want to carry out one of those beloved extraordinary renditions.

From Reuters:
"Under British law we can give them a weeks' notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection," a Foreign Office spokesman said. "But that decision has not yet been taken. We are not going to do this overnight. We want to stress that we want a diplomatically agreeable solution."
If that's the case under British law, then I wouldn't want to be a British diplomat - because it's now fair game on Brits worldwide if their government truly takes international law this lightly.

Gentleman steals pot from police station because "that bud smelled so good"

David Allan Thompson, 27, was arrested for ripping off a bag of marijuana seized as evidence from the Charleroi Regional police department, in Pennsylvania. Mr. Thompson had gone to the police station on his own volition, according to reports, to "help out" cops. "Police said that back at the station, Thompson apologized repeatedly, telling police, 'I just couldn’t help myself. That bud smelled so good.' He also reportedly told police he couldn’t believe he was in trouble for 'taking a little bit of weed,' especially since he had stopped by to give them information." 

Prolific burglar didn't realize court-fitted GPS ankle bracelet was tracking her movements

Police said 30-year-old Kristen DaCosta was careful breaking into a Somerset, Massachusetts, home through a bedroom window. Police said she stole jewellery and left everything just as she found out. However, she didn't realize she was leaving detectives all the evidence they could need.

"She didn't destroy the place. She did not ransack it. But she certainly left her electronic fingerprint on the place for us. This lady was on a GPS monitoring device," said Chief Jospeh Ferreira of the Somerset Police Department. DaCosta was ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet because she was on probation in an earlier case.

Ferreira said she apparently didn't realize her movements were being tracked. "Lo and behold, we actually saw the full track of her coming into Somerset and stopped at a certain bedroom window," he said. Police said DaCosta was also sneaking through other neighbourhoods, suspecting of breaking into at least a dozen homes all over Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

DaCosta is charged with at least 17 break-ins while wearing the monitor, including burglaries in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven and Tiverton. Police said it's impossible to transfer the ankle bracelet to another person or take it off without alerting authorities. "We're actually grateful we're able to solve a number of crimes because of the stupidity of the people," Ferreira said.

Random Celebrity Photo


How to send vulture debt collectors packing

"Defending Junk-Debt-Buyer Lawsuits" is a paper written by Peter A. Holland of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and published in the May 1 issue of Clearinghouse Review. It's a clear, short, absolutely readable (and indispensable) guide to fending off speculative lawsuits from vulture debt-collectors. These are the debt collectors who buy up bad debts that banks and other creditors have written off (because there's insufficient evidence that the debt exists in the first place, or because it's past the statute of limitations, or because the debtor has been through a bankruptcy). Then they bulk-file lawsuits against the debtors, hoping that they won't show up in court to defend themselves, so that the vultures can win judgments and use them to go after houses, cars, salaries and so on. As Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith puts it, these vultures are buying up a lot of scrap paper, hoping to find a lottery ticket. It's surprisingly easy to fend off these bottom-dwellers, though. They have to prove that you owe them money. A brief moment spent scrutinizing the documents filed against you is usually enough to find evidence that will get the case dismissed. Holland's paper explains in detail just what to do to get these vampires to flee from your door:
Read the complaint and accompanying documents multiple times, highlighter in hand, while looking for intentional deceptions, errors, and omissions that could help your client prevail. First, look for defects on the face of the complaint. For example, the named plaintiff might be a different corporation from the entity named in the supporting documents. This occurs with surprising frequency. Second, if your state requires debt buyers to be licensed as debt collectors, check whether the debt buyer is licensed. Suing without a license creates standing issues, and, according to an increasing number of courts, it constitutes a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.16 The junk-debt buyer is subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the junk-debt buyer allegedly acquires the debt after default.
Third, look for the failure to prove the existence of (or the terms and conditions of) the alleged underlying contract. Failure to prove the contract is the rule rather than the exception. Often a contract is not even attached to the complaint. More often, some well-worn photocopy sample of a terms-and-conditions mailer is attached. This sample is often illegible, and almost never signed by the consumer. On close inspection, the printing date on this document often reveals that it was generated years after the account was allegedly opened. Also, the terms and con- ditions submitted may not be from the original creditor identified by the junk-debt buyer but are presented to make the claim appear supported.
Fourth, the debt buyer is usually unable to prove a complete and unbroken chain of title. Without a valid chain of title, the debt buyer does not have standing to sue.
Defending Junk-Debt-Buyer Lawsuits

Tax code slashes tax for hugely profitable companies

Citigroup, Abbott Laboratories, and AT&T are among the 26 companies that paid more to their CEOs in 2011 than they did in U.S. federal taxes, according to a study released on Thursday.
Tax breaks on research and development, past losses, and foreign-held earnings were among those lightening the tax load for many companies on the list, said the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C. Citi, Abbott and AT&T all took issue with the institute's methodology. All three said they paid all taxes owed in 2011.

US businesses paying more to CEO's than to US government

While the businesses profit enormously from the overall business environment in the US, shareholders and employees usually don't enjoy quality CEOs. There's nothing that suggests higher pay is linked to better corporate performance though you'd never know it by looking at the annual pay of the pampered class.

Citigroup, Abbott Laboratories, and AT&T are among the 26 companies that paid more to their CEOs in 2011 than they did in U.S. federal taxes, according to a study released on Thursday.

Tax breaks on research and development, past losses, and foreign-held earnings were among those lightening the tax load for many companies on the list, said the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.

Citi, Abbott and AT&T all took issue with the institute's methodology. All three said they paid all taxes owed in 2011.
Uh huh. The issue is not whether they paid taxes or even owed taxes, which suggests they're all concerned about the study.

Gahhhh! What Stresses People Out the Most at Work

By Cindy Perman
Stressed out at work? Take a number.

Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of American workers are stressed out by at least one thing at work, according to Everest College's 2012 Work Stress Survey conducted by Harris Interactive.
You know what gets on people's last nerve the most?

Gahhhhhh! That just makes my blood boil.Gahhhhhh! That just makes my blood boil. Yup - not getting paid enough. Some 11 percent of those surveyed cited pay as their biggest source of stress, followed by annoying co-workers (10 percent), commuting (9 percent), unreasonable workload (9 percent), and working in a job that isn't their chosen career (8 percent).

"[A] moderately improving economic landscape and lower unemployment numbers have not yet eased anxiety in the workplace and Americans are still, more than ever, concerned about their job situation," said John Swartz, the regional director of career services at Everest College.

Other sources of stress included poor work-life balance (5 percent), lack of opportunity for advancement (5 percent), and the boss (4 percent).

If you have any questions about whether or not you're stressed out, here are a few tell-tale signs, according to Psychology Today: You're less patient and sympathetic listening to other people's problems, you ask more "closed-end questions" to discourage dialogue, your dedication to exercise, diet, and friendship is waning, you feel trapped, you give people a lot of "Yes, but" answers to their suggestions and *gasp!* this one is the most horrifying to us here at the Pony blog - you've lost your sense of humor.

Workplace-advice site Work911.com offers these additional signs: You can achieve a "Runner's High" by sitting up. The sun is too loud. You can see individual air molecules vibrating. TV infomercials entertain you.

Women are definitely more stressed about money than men: 14 percent of women in the work-stress survey cited pay as their top stressor, compared to 8 percent of the men.

Call it economic optimism, freak-out fatigue, or whatever you want, but one of the most fascinating results from the survey is that the fear of losing a job is subsiding. The number of people who cited fear of being fired or laid off as a top source of stress dropped to 4 percent in this year's survey from 9 percent last year.

You know what really drives Tesla Martinez, president of the consulting firm Terra Nova Insights?
Talking about how stressed you are!

"Stressing that you're stressed will only leave you that way," Martinez said. "Folks who bum-rush their colleagues with naysaying or unload all their challenges versus taking a step back and realizing the grass isn't always greener. This can drain positive energy levels from their peers and drive colleagues a little loopy!"

And while we're at it, it's also maddening when people talk about how busy they are all the time, said Tony Schor, president of consulting firm Investor Awareness.

"I do not like it when people spend a lot of time talking to co-workers complaining about how they are soooooo busy," Schor said. "My feeling is if one is soooo busy, then they should not be talking about it and just go do the work required!"

So what about that other 26 percent in the work-stress survey - those people who said nothing at work stresses them out. Who are these magically unstressed people? Surely even the Sugar Plum Fairy finds something stressful about her job.

Not surprisingly, more than a third of those no-stress people (37 percent) were those who had a household income of more than $100,000. More men than women said they had no stress and there was a direct correlation with age - the older people get, the less stressed they are on the job, Swartz said.
So, the bad news is that we're getting older. The good news is, you'll be less stressed about it.

Whatever you do, don't talk about it. And if the sun gets too loud or you start losing your sense of humor - call for help!

Dark chocolate may lower blood pressure

Eating a little dark chocolate each day may be good for the heart, but only if you grab your running shoes in one hand and an apple in the other.

The first film adaptation of Frankenstein was shot in Thomas Edison's studio

Here is a vintage horror gem for your mid-week blues: Back in 1910, when he wasn't coming up with civilzation-changing inventions, Thomas Edison lent his studio in the Bronx out to filmmakers. While the Edison Company began with "actualities" (newsreels, real-life events, etc.), the studio eventually turned to fiction. And, perhaps not surprisingly, science fiction. One of the company's productions was the first ever film adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, directed and written by J. Searle Dawley. Clocking in at about twelve and a half minutes, it must have been one of the more ambitious projects to come out of Edison's studio and features some dangerous-looking pyrotechnics.

Why People Brag

Hey, did we tell you how we know why people brag? Y'know because we're pretty smart and all, and we read the Wall Street Journal, like all smart people do.
Anyhoo. Here's why:
People brag for all sorts of reasons, she says: to appear worthy of attention or love or to try and cover up our deepest insecurities. To prove to ourselves that we're OK, that people from our past who said we wouldn't measure up were wrong. Or simply because we're excited when good things happen to us.
And talking about ourselves feels good. According to the results of a series of experiments conducted by Harvard University neuroscientists and published in May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reward areas of our brain—the same areas that respond to "primary rewards" such as food and sex—are activated when we talk about ourselves. We devote between 30% and 40% of our conversation time to doing just that, according to the study, which didn't focus on boasting specifically, but on self-disclosure.
In one experiment, the researchers offered people small amounts of money to answer questions about themselves or others. They generally were willing to forgo earnings in order to talk about themselves.
Elizabeth Bernstein explains further why bragging is getting worse now that people have Facebook: More

Scrabble world abuzz after US player caught cheating in national championships

One of America's top young Scrabble players has been kicked out of the national championship tournament after being caught hiding blank letter tiles. John D. Williams, Jr, executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said that a male player was ejected from the 350-player event in Round 24 of the 28-round event.
The ploy was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the ejected player conceal a pair of blank tiles by dropping them on the floor, organizers said. Blank tiles can be used as wild card letters. When confronted by the tournament director, he admitted to it, organizers said. Mr Williams, who has served as executive director for 25 years, said this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament.

However, he said it's been known to occur at smaller, regional events. "It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this," he said. "It's the first time it's happened in a venue this big though. It's unfortunate. The Scrabble world is abuzz. The internet is abuzz." Williams would not identify the player by name or age because he is a minor. There are four divisions and he was competing in Division 3.

He said Division 3 is equal to "any great living-room player out there." The ejected player had concluded a previous game and never reinserted the blank tiles into his bag in an attempt to use them at his discretion in the next game, organizers said. The ejected player forfeited all of his wins. Mr Williams said there is usually "good self-policing in the Scrabble world" as players try to protect the integrity of statistics on the competitive circuit.

Sports Snubbed, Retained, and Should Have Been at the Olympics


Sierra Blair -Coyle lookin hot at the World Cup 
Photo courtesy of Damien Noble Andrews
The IOC decided to nix baseball from the games making it the first sport to be eliminated since polo in 1936. So what other sports were so important that baseball was bumped off?

Odds and Ends

Shipwreck to be freeze-dried, rebuilt
More than three centuries ago, a French explorer's ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, taking with it France's hopes of colonizing a vast piece of the New World - modern-day Texas.
Birth Control for South African Elephants
The contraceptive, given by dart, has been tested at 14 elephant reserves, proving 100 percent effectiveness with no negative side effects.

These aren't your typical loos
These aren't your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity.

Man Accidentally Shoots Self in Theater
Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the buttocks at a Nevada movie theater during a showing of "The Bourne Legacy." Police in Sparks, Nev., say the 56-year-old man's injuries are not life-threatening and no others were hurt.

Scratchy Bottom beats Brokenwind, but Shitterton takes the prize

It is an idyllic hamlet based around a single street of picturesque thatched cottages in rural Dorset. But however lovely Shitterton is, the tiny collection of homes on the edge of the village of Bere Regis has been named as Britain's most unfortunate place name in a new survey.
The tiny settlement between Dorchester and Poole beat the nearby valley of Scratchy Bottom, near Durdle Door in Dorset and Brokenwind in Aberdeenshire in the survey. Shitterton is a very literal English translation of the village name recorded in Norman French in the 11th century Domesday Book as Scatera or Scetra which means a little town that is on the stream of a midden or sewer. But Ian Ventham, chairman of Bere Regis Parish Council and proud Shitterton resident, said he does not find the name of the hamlet, with its long history, embarrassing.

"Shit is shit. Let's not beat around the bush, that is where the name comes from," Ventham said. "But it isn't a midden or shitheap now. It is a perfect rural hamlet with thatched cottages and idyllic Dorset countryside. Those of us who live here are not the least bit embarrassed by it." Shitterton hit the headlines in 2010 when residents got so fed up with pranksters stealing the standard road signs displaying the name that they clubbed together and bought a £680 one-and-a-half-tonne Purbeck stone version set in concrete.

The valley of Scratchy Bottom is thought to take its name from the fact that it is a rough and rugged hollow. Brokenwind was known as "Broken Wynd" in the 19th century, with wynd, a Scots word for a narrow path that snakes or winds between two larger roads. Crapstone, a picturesque village on the western edge of Dartmoor in Devon, came forth in the survey ahead of Golden Balls in Oxfordshire, Ugley in Essex, Crackpot in North Yorkshire, Backside in Aberdeenshire, Great Snoring in Norfolk and Happy Bottom in Dorset.

The leaning houses of Dawson City

This photo, taken by Kulvir Gil, shows a pair of houses in Dawson City, Yukon Territories, Canada.
Dawson City exists in a subarctic climate, the sort of place with a lot of permafrost—soil that remains frozen year round. In order for permafrost to happen, the mean annual temperature has to be colder than 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). But, in Dawson City, as in other parts of the Arctic, climate change has brought with it warmer mean temperatures. That means melting permafrost, a problem that affects the structural integrity of buildings built on the once-solid ground.
Evidence of melting permafrost in the central Yukon comes from Ottawa's Carleton University. The school's geography department has been studying the issue for 20 years. Its research shows the ground temperature in and around Dawson is increasing dramatically. That melts the permafrost and destabilizes the ground supporting the critical infrastructure.
Northern Climate Exchange co-ordinator John Streiker says things will probably get worse for Dawson before they get better. "All of your infrastructure, anything that's buried – foundations of buildings, even road beds, things like that – they all push up and down," says Streiker.
Read the rest of this CBC radio transcript about permafrost melting in Dawson City.
The photo above comes from Canada's Climate Change, a Facebook page highlighting real-world examples of Canada's changing climate.

Ten Of The Most Impressive Old Aqueducts

Aqueducts were built to bring a constant flow of water from distant sources into cities and towns, supplying public baths, fountains and private households. Many aqueducts over land connect points of similar height in a landscape, usually by bridging a river valley or other eroded opening in an otherwise flat area.

This list describes the old aqueducts that were built in the period since the 1st century till the 19th century.

Skeleton Army Rises from Bog

The remains of hundreds of warriors were hacked and sliced, showing signs of a violent battle 2,000 years ago.
Skeleton Army Rises from Bog

Open Waters On Northwest Passage

Observations by the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite suggest that the route may be ready for summer sea traffic sooner than expected.  
Open Waters On Northwest Passage

Antarctic Moss Lives Off Penguin Poop

Verdant green carpets of moss that emerge during the brief Antarctic summer have an unusual food source.  
Verdant green carpets of moss that emerge during the brief Antarctic summer have an unusual food source.

Cosmic 'supermom' discovered

Scientists have found a cosmic supermom.

It's a galaxy that gives births to more stars in a day than ours does in a year.

Ten Things You May Not Know About The Solar System

A collection of 10 unexpected and intriguing facts about our solar system - our sun and its family of planets - you probably did not know.

Awesome Pictures

The Secret to Karate Expert's Powerful Chop

Hi-yah! Karate experts are able to generate extremely powerful punches - much more powerful than what could've been generated by muscle strength alone - so what's their secret?
Turns out, it's all in the brain:
The study, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, looked for differences in brain structure between 12 karate practitioners with a black belt rank and an average of 13.8 years’ karate experience, and 12 control subjects of similar age who exercised regularly but did not have any martial arts experience. [...]
Brain scans showed that the microscopic structure in certain regions of the brain differed between the two groups. Each brain region is composed of grey matter, consisting of the main bodies of nerve cells, and white matter, which is mainly made up of bundles of fibres that carry signals from one region to another. The scans used in this study, called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), detected structural differences in the white matter of parts of the brain called the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex, which are known to be involved in controlling movement.
The differences measured by DTI in the cerebellum correlated with the synchronicity of the subjects’ wrist and shoulder movements when punching. The DTI signal also correlated with the age at which karate experts began training and their total experience of the discipline. These findings suggest that the structural differences in the brain are related to the black belts’ punching ability.

The Brain's Sewer System

Like the saying goes, everybody poops. Even your brain. But how does the brain get rid of its waste? Researchers have just discovered the mechanism: a "cleansing river" inside the brain that flush away waste.
In most of the body, a network of vessels carry lymph, a fluid that removes excess plasma, dead blood cells, debris and other waste. But the brain is different. Instead of lymph, the brain is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid. For decades, however, neuroscientists have assumed that this fluid simply carries soluble waste by slowly diffusing through tissues, then shipping its cargo out of the nervous system and eventually into the body's bloodstream. Determining what's really going on has been impossible until recently.
In this study, researchers led by U.R. neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard have identified a second, faster brain-cleansing system. Nedergaard an expert in non-neuronal brain cells called glia, has long suspected that these cells might play a role in brain cleansing.

Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained

Researchers have found what they believe is the key to understanding why the human brain is larger and more complex ...
Continue Reading

Humans, Neanderthals Did Not Have Babies

Recent research strikes a blow to the theory that humans and Neanderthals interbred.  

Ancestor of Sharks, Humans Had Sixth Sense

Detecting electrical fields under water gave this predator an edge on hunting, but humans shed this trait long ago.
Skate Embryo

Sharkzilla's Foamy Attack

Sharkzilla is the life-sized recreation of one of Earth's greatest ancient predators, megalodon. Now that the scientifically-accurate model is complete, we can use it to chomp something!  
Sharkzilla's Foamy Attack: Gotta-See Videos

Extinct Sea Creatures Got the Bends

Fossilized bones of marine reptiles suggest they got their own version of the bends.  

Joy at the Gorilla family reunion

Kesho and Alf are reunited at Longleat Safari ParkIn pictures: Gorilla reunion joy

After being separated for 3 years, 13-year old Silverback gorilla Kesho was reunited with his 9-year old brother Alf. And their joy of being reunited was immediately apparent:
Longleat [Safari Park] keeper, Mark Tye, said: "The keepers from Dublin weren't entirely sure the brothers would even know each other, but the moment they met you could just see the recognition in their eyes."
Conservationist and chairman of the APE Alliance Ian Redmond, remarked:
"What you're seeing is exactly what you think you're seeing," he said. "Two intelligent social mammals, who were separate, are pleased to see each other again and play together. It is gorilla joy, being reunited with someone you used to have good times with and now you can again, so it's gorilla happiness"
They're not so different from us, after all! The BBC has the slideshow: More

Baby Octopus

newborn octopus
A newly-hatched cephalopod swims by its yet-to-be-hatched sibling in this amazing photograph by Simon Chandra. The picture was taken off Pramuka Island, Indonesia, and submitted to National Geographic's Your Shot gallery. Then it was selected for the Weekly Wrapper to offer as downloadable wallpaper. More

How Long Until We Learn Animal Languages?

Many animals have learned parts of human language, but how close are humans to learning their speak?  
prairie dog

Camel + Llama = Cama

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: what do you get when you cross a camel with a llama? You get a cama, thanks to the efforts of the Camel Reproduction Center in Dubai. Camas are said to be friendlier than a camel and hardier than a llama. The cama pictured here is named Rama and was born in 1998. Three others have been produced since then, and as a camel and a llama have the same number of chromosomes, it is believed that camas may be able to reproduce. The cama is just one of several animals profiled in the Cracked article The 5 Coolest Pets Humanity Has Bred into Existence.

Animal Pictures


Fighter Pilot “Spitfire” one of the Czechoslovak squadrons in the RAF and his dog named Sally. Meeting after the combat mission. Czechoslovak squadrons in composition in the British Royal Air Force were: 68-I 310-I, 312, 313th (fighter) and 311-I (Bomber).