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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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Daily Drift

Yes, vote the repugicans out - America cannot take any more of their stupidity! 

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Barquismeto, Venezuela
Erbil, Iraq
Zeven, Germany
Tbilisi, Georgia
Zagreb, Croatia
Vienna, Austria
Athens, Greece
Ankara, Turkey
Tallinn, Estonia
Lima, Peru
Johannesburg, South Afirca
Koszalin, Poland
Lahore, Pakistan
Bangalore, India
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hanoi, Vietnam
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Bangkok, Thailand
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Doha, Qatar
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Hanover, Germany
Baghdad, Iraq
Tokyo, Japan
Vrbovec, Croatia
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Pretoria, South Africa
Riga, Latvia
Yerevan, Armenia
Melbourne, Australia
Tokat, Turkey
Lviv, Ukraine
Sampaloc, Philippines
Novosibirsk, Russia
Geneva, Switzerland
Milan, Italy
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Sydney, Australia
San Jose, Costa Rica
London, England
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Yekaterinburg, Russia
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Kiev, Ukraine
Moscow, Russia
Copenhagen, Denmark
Istanbul, Turkey
Budapest, Hungary
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Sofia, Bulgaria
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Quito, Ecuador
Taipei, Taiwan
Santiago, Chile
Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Manchester, England
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Murcia, Spain
Seoul, Korea
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Caracas, Venezuela
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Bogota, Colombia
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Kedzierzyn-Kolze, Poland

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Today in History

394   Theodosius becomes sole ruler of Italy after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus.
1422   Sultan Murat II ends a vain siege of Constantinople.
1522   One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan's trip around the world makes it back to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
1688   Imperial troops defeat the Turks and take Belgrade, Serbia.
1793   French General Jean Houchard and his 40,000 men begin a three-day battle against an Anglo-Hanoveraian army at Hondschoote, southwest Belgium, in the wars of the French Revolution.
1847   Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves back into town, to Concord, Massachusetts.
1861   Union General Ulysses S. Grant's forces capture Paducah, Kentucky from Confederate forces.
1870   The last British troops to serve in Austria are withdrawn.
1901   President William McKinley is shot while attending a reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by 28-year-old anarchist Leon Czolgosz. McKinley dies eight days later, the third American president assassinated.
1907   The luxury liner Lusitania leaves London for New York on her maiden voyage.
1918   The German Army begins a general retreat across the Aisne, with British troops in pursuit.
1936   Aviator Beryl Markham flies the first east-to-west solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
1937   The Soviet Union accuses Italy of torpedoing two Russian ships in the Mediterranean.
1941   Germany announces that all Jews living in the country will have to begin wearing a Star of David.
1943   The United States asks the Chinese Nationals to join with the Communists to present a common front to the Japanese.
1953   The last American and Korean prisoners are exchanged in Operation Big Switch, the last official act of the Korean War.
1965   Indian troops invade Lahore; Pakistan paratroopers raid Punjab.
1976   A Soviet pilot lands his MIG-25 in Tokyo and asks for political asylum in the United States.
1988   Lee Roy Young becomes the first African-American Texas Ranger in the force's 165-year history.

Did you know ...

That Ryan Louis Cooper wonders if professional blogging might lead to plagiarism

... and the NYTimes wonders when lying became so prevalent. Uh, Pot? Meet Kettle...

That alcohol is a bigger gateway drug than marijuana

Oh, and here's the original Paul Ryan marathon running time calculator

The repugicans are livid over Dem video of Ted Kennedy criticizing Romney


From HuffPo:
In a politically savvy move, Democrats on Tuesday used clips from Mitt Rommey's losing 1994 campaign for Senate against the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) in a moving video tribute to Kennedy, who served nearly five decades in the Senate.
Clips shown during the first night of the Democratic National Convention included Romney's now infamous reiteration of his pro-choice position, in which he assured voters, "You will not see me wavering on that." More recently, as he pursued national office, Romney has reversed himself on abortion rights, and is now firmly anti-abortion.
rnc chair Reince Priebus, known of late for his racist attacks on President Obama, tweeted about the video in anger:
The video prompted repugican national cabal chairman Reince Priebus to tweet: “Classless Dems use tribute video of deceased Ted Kennedy to attack Mitt Romney.”
Right. Because the guy who planned on using a hologram of deceased Ronald Reagan at last week's repugican cabal would know anything about class.

And of course, why didn't they use a dead Reagan hologram? Not because of any sense of decorum. Oh no. Get this:
So why were the plans axed? According to Reynolds, it was out of concern the deceased Reagan might outshadow the very-much-alive Romney. ”At the time he hadn’t chosen Paul Ryan, so I think they were a little worried about his energy,” Reynolds said. ”Even in a hologram form I think Reagan’s going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating.”
The repugicans were afraid that even a dead guy would have more appeal than a very much alive Mitt Romney.


CNN wingnut talking head calls Demoratic convention "vagina monologues"

CNN talking head, and wingnut blogger, Erick Erickson is finding himself in some hot water after his tweet about tonight's Democratic Convention speakers, many of whom were women:

"First night of the Vagina Monologues in Charlotte going as expected."
I guess to a repugican it's artifice when you let women-folk in to the boys' tree house.

Phil Lynott's mother deeply upset by Mitt Romney using Thin Lizzy's music

The mother of Irish rock legend Phil Lynott has objected to the Mitt Romney campaign using Thin Lizzy's music at last week's repugican national cabal. Philomena (Phyllis) Lynott said her son would not have approved of the US Republicans playing the Thin Lizzy anthem "The Boys Are Back In Town" at Romney's nomination as presidential candidate.

She said that the late Thin Lizzy front man would have rejected any association with the repugicans particularly the christian right wing of the cabal. The 81-year-old Dublin woman has said that she was upset that one of her son's most famous rock songs was used by the repugicans to endorse Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. The Thin Lizzy singer would have opposed the repugican anti-gay and pro-rich policies, she said. Instead she believed her son would have backed Barack Obama.

She said: "As far as I am concerned, Mitt Romney's opposition to gay marriage and to civil unions for gays makes him anti-gay – which is not something that Philip would have supported. He had some wonderful gay friends, as indeed I do, and they deserve equal treatment in every respect, whether in Ireland or the United States. Neither would Philip have supported his policy of taxing the poor and offering tax cuts to the rich, which Paul Ryan is advocating. There is certainly no way that I would want the Lynott name to be associated with any of those ideas. There is nothing I can do about it except express my views,"

She added, "But I do want to be clear that I would not want Philip's music to be used in any way that could hurt a single person, and this is the effect of what happened with Paul Ryan using and abusing my son's music in that way. A lot of fans and musicians are very angry about it and I can fully understand why. There is a black president of America, which to me – as it would have been to Philip, as a proud, black Irishman – is wonderfully symbolic. I have a lot of time for Barack Obama, so to hear 'The Boys Are Back in Town' being appropriated by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their campaign against him is deeply upsetting."

The repugican cabal and Romney invent their own reality

The Romney campaign repeats its lies no matter how many times they're dis-proven  

A half-dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's claims that President Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law and will cut Medicare benefits by $716 billion.
The New York Times even reported that Mr. Romney has been "falsely charging" President Obama with removing the work requirement. USA Today calls the Romney campaign's claim that Mr. Obama has "funneled" money out of Medicare to pay for the federal health care law a "false line of attack" that's directly contradicted by Medicare's chief actuary. "Medicare's money isn't being taken away," the paper concludes.

The DOJ accuses BP of "culture of corporate recklessness"

Everyone who follows the environment has known this for a long time, but glad to see the Department of Justice coming around. While in the US this week I've watched a few BP TV commercials that are floating their corporate line about cooperation and help, conveniently overlooking the widely reported problems starting with the failed response right into their payment problems with those negatively impacted by the massive oil spill.
The DOJ could and should be doing more to stand up for those hit by the bad choices made by big business. It's false to be labeled as "bad for business" when demanding accountability by a business though that won't stop some from making the charge.

Why should BP be above the law?
“The behavior, words and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall,” the government lawyers wrote.

“Yet they were condoned in a corporation engaged in an activity [deepwater drilling] that no less a witness than Tony Hayward [former BP chief executive] himself described as comparable to exploring outer space.”

If the DoJ can establish gross negligence, the penalties under the Clean Water Act would be up to $21 billion, depending on how much oil was spilled. Compensatory and punitive damages would come on top of that sum.

Creditors propose 6 day work week for Greece

Maybe the creditors would be even happier if first born children will be signed over to the creditors or would they prefer a country of indentured servants?

Greeks should operate a six-day working week for all sectors, international creditors said in a letter to the Greek government, a measure which forms part of a wider set of demands in return for aid to the country.

In the leaked letter, reported in the Guardian newspaper, the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund call for Athens to implement the measure as part of the bailout agreement with lenders.

According to the paper, the letter states that more flexibility must be implemented to work schedules, including working into the weekend by increasing the number of maximum working days to six.

Software Company CEO: "I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar."

StrunkKyle Wiens, the CEO of a software development company, gives an English grammar test to prospective employees. Here's why:
If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use "it's," then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.
Grammar signifies more than just a person's ability to remember high school English. I've found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.
But why is this important for computer programmers?
You see, at its core, code is prose. Great programmers are more than just code monkeys; according to Stanford programming legend Donald Knuth they are "essayists who work with traditional aesthetic and literary forms." The point: programming should be easily understood by real human beings — not just computers.
And just like good writing and good grammar, when it comes to programming, the devil's in the details. In fact, when it comes to my whole business, details are everything.
I hire people who care about those details. Applicants who don't think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren't important.

Forget TV Pickers, Meet The Real Mavericks Of The Antiques World

Long before Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz swaggered into the spotlight with 'American Pickers,' writer Maureen Stanton became fascinated with another rugged Alpha Male of the antiques world. But unlike Wolfe and Fritz, the brash 40-something man she calls by the pseudonym 'Curt Avery' tends to avoid the spotlight.

Avery is a professional antiques hustler, wheeling and dealing at flea markets all over the country - 30 or 40 per year. And between September 4 and 9, 2012, he'll be one of thousands of vendors at the last Brimfield Antique Show of the year, the largest such outdoor flea market in the country, which happens three times a summer.


Driveway by coconv on Flickr.

Cops Bust Teen Boys In Walmart "Arrest" Scheme

Dopey duo sought to steal $20 worth of Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards
In a scheme that could only be hatched by a pair of teenage boys, a 17-year-old Floridian yesterday posed as an plainclothes cop and "arrested" his underage buddy for purportedly shoplifting $20 worth of Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards from a Walmart, police report.

Elderly Farmer Accidentally Plants 1,000 Pot Plants

The 74-year-old German man mistook their seeds for those of sunflowers
By Sam Schulz Elderly Farmer Accidentally Plants 1,000 Pot Plants

A German farmer unwittingly planted pot plants in his field, police told NBC News.

An elderly German farmer accidentally planted more than 1,000 pot plants, mistaking their seeds for sunflower seeds, police told NBC News on Wednesday.
Concerned neighbors alerted police in the Bavarian town of Moembris to the one-acre field where the 74-year-old was growing cannabis in place of his usual potatoes, NBC News reported.
The cops told the man, whose name they didn't release, to destroy the plants — which he did at their insistence. It is a crime in Germany to knowingly grow pot plants.
"The friendly elderly gentleman was surprised at the strange plants that had grown next to the flowers but did not identify them as cannabis plants," a police statement said.
According to police, officials said the leaves of the type of cannabis plants the man had accidentally planted were too weak to be intoxicating. Still, the case was presented to a local prosecutor so a judge could decide whether to file charges.

Buffalo man tried to eat bogus $50 bills

Authorities say a 35-year-old Larry Jones tried to swallow several counterfeit $50 bills after he was caught trying to use the bogus money at a western New York amusement park.

The Benefits Of Drinking Water

This infographic dispels some of the common myths surrounding the benefits of drinking water. Additionally it shows how much men and women should drink and shows the proportion of water in the human body.

The Snappy Lunch

Owner of restaurant touted by Andy Griffith dies
The owner of a Mt. Airy, N.C., restaurant made famous by "The Andy Griffith Show" has died after a long illness.
Moody Funeral Home director Rixie Gordon said Charles Dowell died Tuesday. He was 84.
Dowell was known for his "World Famous Pork Chop Sandwich," and for the many years he stood in the window of his restaurant cooking the pork chops while tourists watched through a window.
Griffith's TV character, Sheriff Andy Taylor, once recommended Snappy Lunch as a nice place to take a date.
The restaurant opened in 1923 inside a former post office building and provided lunch for mill workers and students at nearby schools. Dowell started working there in 1943. After buying out his partner, he became the sole owner in 1960.

Vegetarian-Only McDonald's Opening in India

McDonald's is planning to open a vegetarian-only restaurant in India, the first ever in the fast food chain's history.
So, even less real food at Micky D's - who thought that possible?!

Random Photo

ATMs installed in Indian police stations to ward off thieves

Banks in India's Jaipur city have begun installing cash machines inside police stations in a bid to ward off burglars.

The government-owned Bank of Baroda became the first to install a cash machine inside the Kotwali police station in north Jaipur. The police have rented out the space at 20,000 rupees (£227; $360) a month. Jaipur has 59 police stations.

Thieves have often targeted unguarded ATMs in the city to steal cash. In one case, they escaped with a machine. A Bank of Baroda official said they would no longer need to deploy security guards at the ATMs since burglars would not dare to enter a police station.

Jaipur police commissioner BL Soni said that they had reached an understanding with both government and private banks to install ATMs at police stations. "The scheme will benefit both sides. It will ensure security [for the ATMs] and we will earn some rent," Mr Soni said.

Ten People Who Have Faked Their Own Deaths

While it's not something most people will ever have to resort to, there are a few legitamate reasons to fake your own death. Of course, if you do it because you think you're wanted for a crime, it might be a good idea to check that you are actually wanted first:
Bennie Wint thought he was a wanted man, so he went. On the eve of his marriage to Patricia Hollingsworth in 1989, he went for a swim, and never came back. He was presumed drowned, and his fiance, his ex-wife, and his four-year-old son mourned for him. Twenty years later, he was pulled over for not having a light bulb on his license plate, and he couldn't help but confess his sins. He told the police he had slipped away and “had never looked back” because he thought he was wanted on drug charges...It turns out, he wasn't wanted on drug charges after all, so the whole affair was for naught.
Let that be a lesson to all of you who think you're wanted for a crime. Also, if you're going to fake your death, don't go to your funeral...that's just asking for trouble.
Read nine more stories of faked deaths at Oddee.

Man given Asbo over bomb-making hobby

A man who had a "bomb workshop" at his Hull home has been given a 10-year anti-social behavior order banning him from owning certain fireworks. Paul Smith, of Holm Garth Drive, was also given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty at Hull Crown Court to owning explosive substances. Smith told police it was a "hobby" when they found two pipe bombs in a workshop at his home earlier this year.

The 40-year-old was even given a bomb-shaped birthday cake, police said. Smith, who also pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of a Class B drug, has been banned from owning flares or fireworks that are not commercially available under the order. During the search, officers had found bomb-making equipment and a number of "sophisticated" explosives. An Army bomb disposal team had to make his house safe, police said.

Det Ch Insp Steve Hibbit, from Humberside Police, said: "We never found any evidence that Mr Smith had any intent to harm anybody, either as a group or an individual. But anybody making devices like that inevitably brings danger to themselves, to others in the immediate vicinity and who's to know how this would've ended up." Smith told police he had an interest in explosives "in the same way that other people have an interest in collecting stamps".

Det Ch Insp Hibbit said: "What is extraordinary is the fact that he was living at home [with his parents] and he was even given a birthday cake in the shape of a bomb. If it wasn't so dangerous it could be comical. He was clearly self-taught using recipes that are readily available to anybody, but it's not a joke. It is a very serious matter."

Robbed woman threatened with evil spirits

A woman in Australia was robbed after being told "evil spirits" would threaten her family if she did not hand over her possessions, police said. Police have released CCTV vision of two woman wanted for questioning over the incident on Thursday.

About 12.30pm a woman, 60, withdrew money from a bank in Cabramatta’s CBD and was approached by two wome. The pair told the woman “evil spirits” would bring bad luck to her family if she did not hand over her possessions for “blessing”. The woman then handed the pair her money and jewellery.

Police believe similar incidents have occurred in Chatswood and Haymarket in an attempt to take advantage of “beliefs within the Chinese community”. The first suspect is a woman of Asian appearance with an average build. She is about 40 years old, with short, dark yellow hair and about 160cm tall. She speaks Mandarin and was wearing a brown leopard-print top, black tights and brown boots.

The second woman is also of Asian appearance with a thin build. She is about 40 years old, with long black hair and about 160cm tall. She speaks Mandarin and was wearing a dark, long-sleeved t-shirt. Police are also seeking a third woman who was not captured on CCTV. She is of Asian appearance, about 30 years old, 155cm tall, with an average build. She has long black hair, speaks Mandarin and at the time was wearing a pink jumper.

A man has close encounter with oddly behaving moose

It was not what Brent Olsen expected to see when he woke up at his home in Westford, Vermont, on Sunday morning - a bull moose with a hoof on his car. "I had run out in my shorts from the morning and I started hollering at it. 'Do not jump on my car Mr. Moose.,'" Olsen recalled.

After chasing it away from his vehicle, Olsen was intrigued by the up-close encounter with the moose. He grabbed his camcorder as it walked around his yard. "A moose with ivy in its horns. I thought it was kind of cute," he said. But the moose's behaviour quickly became anything but cute. "It scared the crap out of me," Olsen said. He ran for safety inside his home, leaving the camcorder outside. Apparently the moose wanted to go inside the home too.

"My roommate had gone in to his bedroom and had his .32 special rifle out and he said he was going to defend the house. He was going to shoot it if it was coming in the house," Olsen said. As Olsen and his roommate waited nearly an hour for the state game warden to arrive, He says the moose rammed the house four more times. "It was very nerve racking, hoping this thing was going to behave itself until the game wardens gets here," he said.

"I have never seen a moose act like that," said Vt. Fish & Wildlife Lt. Curtis Smiley. After observing it for a period of time, a state game warden killed the moose, saying it exhibited signs of brain worm. The parasite causes odd behaviour, like walking in tight circles. It can also make the animals off balance and cause their heads to tilt. Wardens say approaching wild animals is never a good idea. "We recommend people keep a safe distance from any wildlife no matter what size it is. All wildlife can be dangerous, whether it is big or small," Lt. Smiley said. "Very sad to see a beautiful healthy animal suffer from something like this," Olsen said.

Amazing Space Photography By Astronaut Andre Kuipers

André Kuipers is a physician and ESA astronaut. He is the second Dutch person to ever fly in space and the first Dutch astronaut to ever return to space. On Flickr, Kuipers has shared over three hundred of his amazing photographs from space.

From Auroras and the Milky Way, to never seen before views of our breathtaking planet, Kuiper's photostream is incredibly popular with each image being viewed tens of thousands of times.

Eleven Incredible Navigable Aqueducts

Navigable aqueducts (sometimes called water bridges) are bridge structures that carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or roads. They are primarily distinguished by their size, carrying a larger cross-section of water than most water-supply aqueducts.

Although Roman aqueducts were sometimes used for transport, aqueducts were not generally used until the 17th century when the problems of summit level canals had been solved and modern canal systems started to appear.

What People In 1899 Thought The Year 2000 Would Look Like

If people living in the year 1899 could have seen what life would be like in the year 2000 they probably would have been disappointed, although 3D TVs and tablet computers would have seemed pretty far out.
Check out these illustrations which:
...were made by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. The first series of these pictures were produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris.
For the most part technology hasn't caught up with our science fiction dreams, and in some cases this is definitely a good thing! I do wish we had winged firemen though...       

Stolen wallet recovered 40 years later is a miniature time-capsule

A 2011 piece from the NYT's David W. Dunlap tells the story of the recovery of a long-lost wallet that was stolen from a Times art director in 1970, and which was recovered from "a void between an old unused window on the second floor and the masonry seal behind it" in fall of 2010. The wallet is a miniature time-capsule of iconic and odd items from the era, collected in this Retronaut set.
Mr. Rodriguez happened to be on duty at the security desk and seized his opportunity. He showed the wallet to Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson called this reporter, who's something of a Times historian. This reporter called Mr. Resta, who retired in 1999 but still lives in New York. Mr. Resta, laying aside his understandable suspicions, agreed to meet all of us at 229 West 43rd Street, share some memories and get his wallet back.
When Mr. Cisneros handed the wallet to him, Mr. Resta opened it gingerly and turned away for a moment, overcome by the tide of memory. After composing himself, he gave Mr. Cisneros a grateful kiss. And he didn't lose a moment showing off the glamor-puss shot of Mrs. Resta from 1963. ''She still is glamorous,'' he said, with evident pride and pleasure.
Before coming into Manhattan on the morning of our meeting in November, Mr. Resta told his wife that he knew he'd find a clipping in the wallet from 1968 - Senator Edward M. Kennedy's eulogy for his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Mr. Resta can still recite the phrase that meant so much to him: ''Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.''
CITY ROOM; Long-Lost Wallet Is Returned, Memories Intact

Retro Photo


New York City, 1936
New York City, 1936

A $83,000 bill for scorpion sting

An Arizona woman is wondering what hurt more: getting stung by a scorpion or seeing her hospital bill after treatment.

This Little Creature May Hold The Key To The Fountain Of Youth

Why do humans live so long? The African naked mole rat might have the answer. Something is keeping us alive, and we do not know what it is. Now, a real Methuselah of the mammals is beginning to hint at what it takes to make a century. The African naked mole rat, whose name describes its charming appearance, has a pair of fearsome front teeth.

It lives in burrows in which one aggressive female prevents all the others from mating and forces them to look after her own offspring. The animal is about the same size as a mouse, but it lives eight times as long, with plenty getting to 30 or so.

The Beautiful Golden Tortoise Beetle

The Golden Tortoise Beetle is a widely distributed North American insect with a typical size of 5 -7 mm. Recognizable by their golden colour, they have the ability to change colours when disturbed. This color change is accomplished by microscopic valves controlling the moisture levels under the shell. Their preferred food are Morning Glory leaves.

Here's a gallery of the Golden Tortoise Beetle.

Four endangered tiger cubs and over 100 pangolins seized from car in Vietnam

Four rare tiger cubs and 119 endangered pangolins have been seized from a car used by suspected wildlife smugglers in the north-central province of Ha Tinh, Vietnam. Police successfully tracked down and detained the large consignment being illegally transported out of the province on September 4. The four tiger cubs were in cages, with the biggest tiger weighing 11 kilograms and the three others weighing 3.5 kilograms each.

After receiving a tip off from the public, the provincial police dispatched scouts to lie in wait along the highway that runs from Tay Son Town in Ha Tinh Province to Vinh City in the neighboring province of Nghe An. At 1.30am, a black Camry car appeared from the direction of Huong Son District moving towards the Duc Tho District of Ha Tinh Province. Police in Duc Lam Commune swooped on those driving the car and transporting the illegal consignment.

Police also uncovered several fake number plates, which the transporters used to confuse authorities. The two people transporting the consignment, 36-year-old Ho Sy Hanh and 33-year-old Bui Van Muoi from Nghe An Province, failed to present any legal documents. They claimed they had been hired to transport the animals to Hanoi. The entire haul of animals has been taken over by the Investigation Agency under the Ha Tinh Police Department for necessary procedures before being transferred to the Department of Forest Management in the province.

This is the largest consignment ever of tigers and pangolins that has been caught in Ha Tinh Province. A police official said that all the animals apart from one pangolin were alive. It is estimated that globally as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild. The animals are hunted for their fur, bones and other body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Pangolins, often referred to as "scaly anteaters", are also prized in China and Vietnam for their food and medicinal value.

Giant worm found in gutter of house in China

A half-meter-long earthworm was found in the gutter of a house on Thursday in southwest China. Li Zhiwei, a worker from the Forestry Bureau of Binchuan County, saw the slinking worm by the gutter when he was putting out some Chinese dates to dry in the backyard.

"It looked like a snake, I looked carefully and found it was actually a huge earthworm," said Li, who added that he decided to keep the worm and raise it in his backyard. The elongated earthworm has attracted neighbors, who have never seen one this long before.

Depending on the species, an adult earthworm can be anywhere from 10 mm long and 1 mm wide to 3 m long and over 25 mm wide. An earthworm's body size is closely related to their environment, and depends on variables like the weather, precipitation and the texture of the soil.

They tend to grow longer and larger during humid seasons if they intake sufficient nutrition and have no natural enemies. Biologists plan to study the long earthworm that Li found and define its classification and perhaps identify the reason why it was able to grow so long.

Four-legged chicken born in India

A rare four-legged chicken hatched in Kitam village of India's north-eastern Sikkim state. The bird has two normal front legs and an extra set of what appear to be suspended legs that dangle from behind.

Veterinary expert, Arjun Adhikari, said that there is no definite reason behind the deformity and it could be operated on. However, in India worshiping a rare structured animal or killing it is not a new practice.

"Polymelia is basically a genetic deformity. It happens during development of embryo and sometimes not only in chicks but other animals also this happens and it's not a surprising thing but it happens very rarely," said Adhikari.

The rare four-legged chicken was hatched five months ago and has been living a normal life like other chickens.

Huge green-fanged spider jumped out of Noel Gallagher's guitar case

The backstage area of a Jersey music festival had to be quarantined after a large spider jumped out of Noel Gallagher's flight case. Jersey Live crew were unpacking his guitars on Sunday when they saw the "huge black spider with green fangs". Representatives of the Jersey-based Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust were on site fundraising and took the spider away for analysis.

Gallagher had yet to arrive so was said to be "unaware" of the panic. Matt Goetz, head of herpetology for Durrell, said the spider was now living in a jar on his desk. Although Mr Goetz said he thought he knew the family it came from, he wanted to double check and said it would need to be sent to an expert for analysis. Jersey Live spokeswoman, Jayne Houghton, said: "Staff immediately set about catching the spider and an area backstage had to be quarantined for nearly 20 minutes.

"Noel had not arrived at the gig and so was blissfully unaware of the panic the spider caused." Noel Gallagher has been touring around Europe over the past few months and Mr Goetz said the spider could have come from anywhere, including the UK. "You will need a spider expert, I would probably send it off to a museum to identify the species and exactly where it comes from," said Mr Goetz. Even though spiders like it exist in the UK, there are no plans to release it into the wild because it could come from somewhere like South America.

He said: "I am sure it would do no harm if we let it go but I will probably keep it here in my office for a couple of days and then maybe find somebody who would be sure about it." Mr Goetz said the quarantine would have been a sensible measure given how many places musicians visit. "If they come to Jersey from god knows where and a spider jumps out of [their cases], it could be a dangerous spider from the tropics," he said.

Retired police sniffer dog tracks down new owner's stolen purse

Retired police sniffer dog turned pet Sam stunned his owners after he used his incredible sense of smell to find a stolen purse. The clever German Shepherd helped recover Tracy Thompson's purse after she was pick-pocketed on a shopping trip. Sam was joined by Tracy's 25-year-old daughter Jenny Thompson as he put his tracking skills to one last test. Tracy, aged 48, from Blackshaw Moor near Leek, Staffordshire, explained: "I couldn't believe what happened. I knew Jenny had taken him down there but I never thought he would find anything. He's amazing." Tracy was targeted by distraction thieves as she visited Pets at Home in Longton on Tuesday.
She was upset because the purse contained photographs of her brother Paul who died aged 21, and a snap from her daughter's wedding. Her father's £80 pension, £35 cash and a number of bank cards were also taken. Tracy said: "A couple engaged me in conversation and then they took my purse. I rushed after them but they swore at me and ran off. I just thought if I could get the purse back maybe they would have left the photographs. I was calling for help but no-one could stop them." After hearing how upset her mother was, Jenny, who bought Sam from the force a year ago, decided to get Sam on the case. He had been put through rigorous training and worked for six years before Jenny snapped him up as a family pet.

Jenny said: "After seeing how upset my mum was I thought we might as well give it a go and see if Sam could remember his training. People thought I was mad because he hadn't worked as a tracker for more than a year, but I just had a feeling that he would pull it off." Jenny and a friend drove Sam down to the store that evening to try to sniff out some clues. She added: "I just told him to search and instantly he knew what to do." Sam pulled his owner through a broken wall on to wasteland around 500 meters from the shop. She said: "We were searching a big area and the grass was up to my knees when he suddenly Sam lay down. When I looked he had a bank card between his front paws with my mother's name on. I was so shocked I started crying."

Over two hours, Sam managed to also recover Tracy's purse, one of the photographs, vouchers and receipts. He also picked up a bag of brand new medical equipment that had been dumped. Jenny said: "Sam is an absolute star and the best dog anyone could ever wish to have as a pet. He is very intelligent and knows when something is not right. These items were hidden and you would never have known they were there." A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "An investigation was undertaken by officers. A 26-year-old woman from Stoke-on-Trent was arrested on Thursday in connection with the theft. She has been bailed, pending further inquiries, to a date in September."

Kittens rescued after being born 25-feet up tree

Firefighters had to be called out after a cat gave birth to kittens up a tree. The RSPCA was contacted after a member of the public spotted a cat and three kittens 25feet up a tree in Littleover near Derby. Trainee inspector Sarah Burrows went to the scene and rang the fire service when she realized they were too high up to reach. Firefighters used ladders to rescue the animals.

The mother cat, who has been named Squirrel, was taken with her three kittens, thought to be a fortnight old, to the RSPCA Derby and District Branch. Another kitten had been found on the ground below the tree around two weeks ago. It was taken by a member of the public to a vet and is now being cared for by a cat rescue charity. It is thought Squirrel would have been going up and down the tree to find food.

Sarah said: “I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the call to say that a cat and her newborn kittens were up in a tree. It didn’t quite ring true. But when I arrived we could just see mum poking her head out of the nook in the tree, it was quite bizarre indeed. She clearly thought this was the best place to keep her kittens safe, but I don’t think she had really thought it through as to how she was going to get them down afterwards!

“I would like to thank the fire service for getting mum and her kittens to safety.” Malcolm Hall, customer care manager at the RSPCA centre, said: “This is quite a remarkable story. You hear about them being born in sheds and unusual places, but this is the first I have ever heard of a tree. Squirrel is very friendly so we are hoping that maybe she is owned and that her owner will come forward as a result of this publicity.”

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