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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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Daily Drift

Born to be wild ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Tokyo, Japan
Jawa, Indonesia
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Cape Town, South Africa
Al Jizah, Egypt
Makassar, Indonesia
Novi Sad, Serbia
Ypsonas, Cyprus
Zurich, Switzerland
Ankara, Turkey
San Jose, Costa Rica
Jakarta, Indonesia
Szczecin, Poland
Liberty, Philippines
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Bogota, Colombia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lublin, Poland
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Lahore, Pakistan
Quezon City, Philippines
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Peshawar, Pakistan
Leeds, England
Bordeaux, France
Vancouver, Canada
Douala, Cameroon
Beirut, Lebanon

And across the nation of Malaysia in the cities of: Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya, George Town, Petaling Jaya, Seremban, Johor Bahru, Puchong and Kota Kinabalu.

Today is National Pie Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1901 A great fire ravages Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in property lost.
1913 The "Young Turks" revolt because they are angered by the concessions made at the London peace talks.
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt enters the presidential race.
1948 The Soviets refuse UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.
1949 The Communist Chinese forces begin their advance on Nanking.
1950 Jerusalem becomes the official capital of Israel.
1951 President Truman creates the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights, to monitor the anti-Communist campaign.
1969 NASA unveils moon-landing craft.
1973 President Richard Nixon claims that Vietnam peace has been reached in Paris and that the POWs would be home in 60 days.
1977 Alex Haley's Roots begins a record-breaking eight-night broadcast on ABC.
1981 Under international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung's death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.
1986 U.S. begins maneuvers off the Libyan coast.

Non Sequitur


Now, that's funny ...

High school graduation rate hits 78.2 percent, highest since 1974

Student Tiandre Turner makes his way to class at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, September 19, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress 
Graduation rates at high schools have improved to their highest level in nearly 40 years, driven by a surge in the percentage of Hispanic students earning diplomas, a government study released on Tuesday showed. Some 78.2 percent of U.S. high schoolers completed their studies and earned a diploma within four years in the 2009-2010 school year, according to U.S. Department of Education data.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said it was the best showing in on-time graduation rates since 1974, and he was especially encouraged by the improvement among Hispanic students, whose graduation rates surged 10 percent to 71.4 percent between 2006 and 2010, the last year for which data was available.
While hailing the rebound, Duncan said dropout rates remained "unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy."
Across the United States, four-year graduation rates were highest for students of Asian and Pacific-Islander heritage at 93.5 percent, followed by white students at 83 percent, and Hispanic students at 71.4 percent, according to the study.
American Indian and Alaskan Native students graduated at a rate of 69.1 percent, followed by black students at 66.1 percent, it showed.
Vermont had the highest four-year graduation rate in the country in 2010 with 91.4 percent of high school students in the state earning a diploma in four years.
Nevada had the lowest four-year graduation rate, with 57.8 percent of high school students earning a diploma on time, the department said.

You Are Here …

You are here3  
Looking from the surface of Mars…

Perspective Is Everything

Perspective is everything

U.S. Supreme Court rejects hospitals' Medicare claims suit

Members of the public who received tickets enter into the Supreme Court in Washington, March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed 
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday a bid by a group of 18 hospitals to reopen a specialized group of Medicare reimbursement claims that are up to 25 years old. The hospitals, which are entitled to extra compensation for treating a large number of low-income patients, claimed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services miscalculated those payments between 1987 and 1994.
The hospitals based their claim on a separate lawsuit that found in 2006 that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services used a flawed process to determine the number of low-income patients treated by hospitals. The miscalculation resulted in underpayments, the hospitals said.
When the hospitals appealed the payments, however, the agency's Provider Reimbursement Review Board rejected many of the claims as too old. In 2006, shortly after the lawsuit exposed the calculation mistake, the hospitals sued for the proper reimbursements.
The government argued the hospitals missed their opportunity to challenge the payments because the Medicare law imposes a six-month limit for appeals. Although the review board could have extended that deadline up to three years for "good cause," the hospitals filed their claims more than 10 years after the six month deadline expired.
The hospitals said it was unfair to impose the deadline under the circumstances, alleging the agency knew about and failed to disclose its calculation errors.
The district court sided with the government, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the decision in 2011. The government appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in the case in December.
The high court, in a unanimous ruling on Tuesday, found the hospitals had missed their opportunity to appeal. Relaxing the deadline would "essentially gut" the requirement that an appeal be filed within six months, or three years for good cause, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.
Robert Roth, a lawyer for the hospitals, said there was a "big problem" with the decision.
"It leaves providers without a remedy where they could not have known there was a problem with their Medicare payment until after their time for appeal had passed," he said.
It is now up to Congress to address that unfairness, he added.
The Justice Department did not immediately provide a comment.
Mark Polston, a former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services lawyer now at King & Spalding, said a ruling for the hospitals could have increased significantly the government's exposure to claims for past payment errors.
The case is Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-1231.

Supreme Court won't hear challenge to EPA rule making

Police officer patrols outside US Supreme Court in Washington after Justice O'Connor announced her resignation. REUTERS/Shaun Heasley 
The Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to consider reducing the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to set air quality standards, leaving intact a tough new limit on sulfur dioxide emissions in a victory for the Obama administration. Without comment, the court decided not to hear an appeal by Grupo Mexico SAB's Asarco LLC unit of a lower court ruling that upholds a 2010 EPA rule limiting sulfur dioxide in the air to 75 parts per billion over one hour.
Short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide has been linked to respiratory problems. (http://www.epa.gov/air/sulfurdioxide/).
On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama in his inauguration speech made the politically charged issue of climate change a top priority for his second term. He cited a need to protect future generations from man-made pollutants.
"The EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases during Obama's first term have been upheld in court, which is a favorable sign for proponents of climate change regulation," said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section, in a telephone interview.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is authorized to adopt standards that are necessary to protect the public health, while allowing an "adequate margin of safety."
Asarco, whose copper smelter in Hayden, Arizona, is one of the three main U.S. copper smelters, had been appealing a July decision by the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the EPA rule. It estimated the rule could cost companies $1.5 billion.
"The phrase 'adequate margin of safety' provides a needed buffer, given that the line where environmental harms become significant is too often very difficult to predict until after a harmful situation occurs," said Zygmunt Plater, a professor at Boston College Law School, in a telephone interview.
Leaving the D.C. Circuit ruling intact "suggests that implementation of protective regulations are not likely to be as constrained as they might have been a decade ago," he added.
Asarco contended that the D.C. Circuit gave the EPA an effective license to set needlessly stringent environmental standards, rather than standards "not lower or higher" than necessary as it said was required under Supreme Court precedent.
But in upholding the new standard, the D.C. Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction to review the EPA's rulemaking and that the agency did not act arbitrarily or unreasonably.
Sulfur dioxide is typically the result of fossil fuel combustion at power plants and other industrial facilities. The EPA had first set sulfur dioxide standards in 1971.
The U.S. Department of Justice had urged the Supreme Court not to accept Asarco's appeal. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, the world's largest publicly traded copper producer, filed a brief supporting Asarco's appeal.
Robert Steinwurtzel, a lawyer for Asarco, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. John Elwood, a lawyer for Freeport-McMoRan, declined to comment.
Uhlmann said courts are typically reluctant to get immersed in the nuts-and-bolts of environmental decision making, recognizing the EPA's greater expertise.
"The Supreme Court is far more likely to get involved when the issue is the authority to regulate," he said.
The case is Asarco LLC v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et al, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-510.

The Classics

Tennessee takes away gun permit from guy who threatened to kill anyone who tried to take away his guns

"Yeager — who made that frightening video promising he would start killing people if gun control legislation progressed — has had his handgun carry permit suspended by state officials, according to local TV reports."
This is Kismet.

The gun issue reaches the tipping point as the wingnuts are making more noise

Wingnut legislators and radicals continue to pollute our society with their gun obsession. They’re about to take the issue to a new and dangerous level. On the side of reason I’ll share my proposal for a realistic approach to protecting our schools.
Some repugican state legislators want just about every adult who has any conceivable connection to a given school to conceal carry a gun. That’s in class; the hallways, the cafeteria, auditorium, bathrooms; everywhere! Dozens of people armed per school. There are the obvious candidates for legitimate carry; Law Enforcement School Resource Officers. That takes care of the obvious candidates. But many on the right would arm administrators, teachers and yes, even custodians. Do we do this in other professions where guns might come into play? Do we arm all bank tellers for instance?
Arming teacher civilians concerns me. There are roughly 3,200,000 public school teachers to serve around 50 million students. If this awful idea catches on, are we really going to arm millions of teachers and all those other folks?
Also to be taken into account is the fact that women who constitute at least three-quarters of all teachers are not as enamored with firearms as men. CNN estimates 1 out of 10 women own guns in the U.S. That may or may not be true, but I know one thing to be at least anecdotally true. I’ve never met a lady gun nut. The idea that most female teachers are going to be comfortable packing is ludicrous.
Speaking of our gun-obsessed red state legislators, South Carolina State Senator, Lee Bright who never runs out of gun and anti-government ideas has a brand new distasteful bill to foist upon his fellow Carolinians. Bright has filed legislation that would give schools the option to include a class in marksmanship as part of their elective curricula.
Clearly there is zero need for such a class in today’s environment. If the kid really wants to blow a squirrel apart or become a sniper (the U.S. will always have a war to accommodate him), then he and pistol-packin’ Papa can seek out a rural friends’ back 40, set up targets in front of a raised berm and have at it. But this bill is a much more insidious piece of cultural propaganda that goes well beyond just being able to shoot straight.
The bill is called, “The South Carolina Gun Safety Program.” The title falls well short of its’ real purpose. “Gun safety is but a small component of what is essentially a right-wing cultural intrusion into the formative minds of high school students. In addition to firearms operation instruction, the course would teach “the history of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the role of firearms in preserving peace and freedom.” This has all the makings of the beginning of a mind-molding strategy to justify for young people the possibility of firing on anyone (read the federal government) who may be standing in the way of that sacred constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” and further to justify the use of firearms to kill in order to preserve “peace and freedom.” That’s sick!
Let me say this with all the clarity I can muster. There is a subset of wingnut extremists who want an armed insurrection. And brainwashing the younger population is part of their strategy to see that happens. Over the years the right has also purchased the overwhelming majority of firearms sold in America to facilitate that war when the advantage in armaments becomes too large to be overcome by their “enemies.” The numbers aren’t there yet but can be within a generation.
Don’t believe me? Believe James Yeager, the Tennessee CEO of Tactical Response, a company that teaches “defense.” He gained notoriety recently when he appeared on YouTube and said that he’ll start killing people if Obama is able to enact stricter gun laws. An exact quote; “Eff that. I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot.” Later he added, “If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”
How much clearer does a game plan have to be laid out? Tennessee authorities wisely lifted his gun permit and he apologized shortly thereafter (at the urging of a lawyer I’m sure), but I doubt he intends to cover the bullets tattooed in abundance on his left arm. He’s undoubtedly the new darling of the “life as militia” crowd. I salute his honesty and surely his rant will be great for his business of sharing the joys of pulling a trigger repeatedly pretending you’re back in the 1860′s (on the Confederate side of course).
If you want to get real conspiratorial you can look into the purported evangelical control of the U.S. Air Force Academy as reported by Truthout a couple of years ago.
Realizing that the only salvation for Democratic Progressives lay in the voting booth, Voter ID laws, designed to minimize the “liberal” vote to the point of impotency have been pushed through wingnut dominated legislatures at a fever pitch.
Let me bring reason into this conversation. In addition to mental health and other Obama Executive Order initiatives that have militia-worshipping panties in a wad, there is an additional solution that involves a law enforcement presence without schools becoming gun dealer subsidiaries. When I was down and out and living in a rather vicious gang-banger neighborhood, all illicit activity came to a screeching halt whenever a police car rolled through the hood. No drug sales, no drive-bys, no jump-ins, no gathering in the streets; nothing.
So, here’s the plan. Patrol each area around the schools from the time students arrive to the time they’ve all departed. If necessary park outside the school in plain sight. Have a direct communications link from inside the school to the specific police or sheriff’s vehicle assigned to that school and have a “red button” directly into the police or sheriff’s department, whichever is closer or has jurisdiction.
I don’t mind a Resource Officer or two, but that’s it. Schools aren’t tinhorn dictatorships, they’re centers of learning. Beepers are all the arms teachers’ need. Limit school access, making sure you don’t compromise fire exits. For the most part, even the most mentally disturbed among us will get the message. Neighborhood watch-type volunteers could be useful as well as additional eyes and ears.
There will be a need for a modest increase in funding in the state to bring this idea to fruition. Believe me, headlines notwithstanding, the money is there. Every state has its secret stash. South Carolina hides its excess lucre in the Insurance fund. Most school districts have reserve funds, some well into the multiple millions. For those districts lacking in resources, Uncle Sam can fill the void.
There are your choices. Reason or Yeager. Your vote is your concealed carry.

The sad thing is ...

... they really think we don't notice.
OK, 'think' might not be the best term

House repugicans Announce Big Plan to Ignore the Debt Ceiling and Hope It Goes Away

After telling the American people how important the debt ceiling is for nearly two years, House repugicans have decided to now ignore the debt ceiling and hope it goes away.
The Washington Post reported that, “Forget about raising the federal debt limit. House repugicans are proposing to ignore it altogether — at least until May 18. The House plans to vote Wednesday on a measure that would leave the $16.4 trillion debt limit intact but declare that it “shall not apply” from the date the measure passes until mid-May. This approach — novel in modern times — would let repugicans avoid a potentially disastrous fight over the debt limit without actually voting to let the Treasury borrow more money.”
After telling the country repeatedly that we must do something to get our spending under control, House repugicans have decided that none of that matters anymore. They have also determined that the debt ceiling which was supposed to be part of their grand scheme of political leverage to get the spending cuts that they they crave can be forgotten about.
I think House repugicans are trying to break up with the debt ceiling. Instead of having a mature talk about why their relationship isn’t working, House repugicans have decided to avoid the debt ceiling’s calls and texts. By ignoring it, House repugicans are hoping that the debt ceiling will move on and go away.
House repugicans have not only caved on the debt ceiling. They are disavowing the entire concept of a debt ceiling.
The repugican cabal leadership is now banking on the idiotic scheme of refusing to pay members of Congress until the Senate passes a budget. What is really going on here is that House repubgcans are running out of hostages. The repugicans could revive the debt ceiling crisis again over the summer, but now that they have admitted that the debt ceiling isn’t really all that important, there is nowhere for them to go on the issue.
House repugicans are not only waving the white flag. They are setting the flag on fire, and hoping that the American people forget that they ever started this whole debt ceiling fight to begin with.
This isn’t a retreat by House repugicans. It’s a complete surrender.

The economy and the wealth gap

It's a major problem with the US, even the world, economy is the redistribution of wealth into the hands of a few people and corporations. But, even as we write this, little is being done to correct the problem.
From Daily Kos...

Joseph Stiglitz looks at how the widening income gap is making it harder to get the economy rolling again.

Politicians typically talk about rising inequality and the sluggish recovery as separate phenomena, when they are in fact intertwined. Inequality stifles, restrains and holds back our growth. When even the free-market-oriented magazine The Economist argues - as it did in a special feature in October - that the magnitude and nature of the country's inequality represent a serious threat to America, we should know that something has gone horribly wrong. And yet, after four decades of widening inequality and the greatest economic downturn since the Depression, we haven't done anything about it. ...
Our skyrocketing inequality - so contrary to our meritocratic ideal of America as a place where anyone with hard work and talent can "make it" - means that those who are born to parents of limited means are likely never to live up to their potential. Children in other rich countries like Canada, France, Germany and Sweden have a better chance of doing better than their parents did than American kids have. More than a fifth of our children live in poverty - the second worst of all the advanced economies, putting us behind countries like Bulgaria, Latvia and Greece.

The truth be told

Montana family accused of $70M bogus phone charges

FTC asks judge to issue a preliminary injunction

A Montana family and their accountant are accused of tacking $70 million in bogus charges onto customer phone bills nationwide, then funneling some of that money through a religious organization to buy land and pay for the husband's legal bills.Steven Sann, his wife Terry, son Nathan and accountant Robert Braach run a maze of nine companies engaged in "cramming, " or adding unauthorized charges to a customer's phone bill, according to a civil complaint filed this month by the Federal Trade Commission.

Dancers at exotic club brawl over $1

Two dancers at an exotic club in Juneau have been cited after they brawled over a dollar bill.
Dodge County deputies say they were called to Silk Exotic last week to break up a fight.
They say it started when a customer tried to give a dollar to one of the dancers but the other dancer took it.
The sheriff's report says both women began to brawl.
They tussled on the floor, punching, slapping and pulling each other's hair.
Other dancers and customers separated the two.
Both women were cited for disorderly conduct.

Batmobile sold for $4.6 million

Batmoooo The original Batmobile driven on the 1960s TV series sold for auction on Saturday for $4.6 million. The seller was legendary kustom car king George Barris who had transformed the 1955 Lincoln Futura for television. The buyer was Rick Champagne, owner of an Arizona logistics company. Champagne says he's going to put the car in his living room. Batmobile sells for $4.6 million

The 16 Strangest Perfumes & Colognes in the World

Just in case you want to carry that funeral home scent around with you all day, there's a cologne for that. I can't imagine that it smells like anything other than carnations, but even so it would remind one of a funeral home. That's just one of the The 16 Strangest Perfumes & Colognes in the World, which include various foods, bodily secretions, fictional characters, and other scents that you'd normally want to wash off instead of put on. More

Random Photo


Lauren Marshall

Tuscany's Abandoned Asylum for the Criminally Insane

This abandoned facility for the criminally insane might look creepy, but the true terror of institutions like these was reserved for their inmates. More

The Deadly History of Persia’s Ancient Assassins

Learn about the deadly group of assassins who held the leaders of the ancient world in abject terror: the Hashashin. More

Tumor Found in 1,600-Year-Old Roman Corpse

A close-up of an odd tumor embedded with teeth hidden in the pelvis of an ancient roman woman.

In a necropolis in Spain, archaeologists have found the remains of a Roman woman who died in her 30s with a calcified tumor in her pelvis, a bone and four deformed teeth embedded within it.
Two of the teeth are still attached to the wall of the tumor researchers say.
The woman, who died some 1,600 years ago, had a condition known today as an ovarian teratoma which, as its name indicates, occurs in the ovaries . The word Teratoma comes from the Greek words "teras" and "onkoma" which translate to "monster" and "swelling," respectively. The tumor is about 1.7 inches (44 millimeters) in diameter at its largest point.
"Ovarian teratomas are bizarre, but benign tumors," writes lead researcher Núria Armentano, of the ANTROPÒLEGS.LAB company and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in an email to LiveScience.
The tumors come from germ cells, which form human eggs and can create hair, teeth and bone, among other structures.
This is the first time scientists have found this type of teratoma in the ancient world.
"his is an extraordinary case, not only for its antiquity, but also its identification in the archeological record," writes the research team in a paper published recently in the International Journal of Paleopathology.
The woman lived at a time of decline for the Roman Empire, with new groups (popularly known as the "barbarians") moving into Roman territory, eventually taking over Spain and other areas.
Who was she?
Archaeologists found the woman buried in a necropolis near Lleida in the Catalonia region of Spain. They only found a few artefacts buried with her: tiles known as tegulae that had been put over her body to form a gabled roof.
"Tegulae graves were the most common Roman burials. She was not an important or rich person. She had a low socio-economic status," Armentano explained.
The researchers note in their paper that while it's possible the woman never experienced symptoms, it's also possible that, despite the tumor being benign, it ultimately killed her.
"This ovarian teratoma could have been the cause of this woman's death, because sometimes the development of teratomas results in displacement and functional disturbances of adjacent organs," the researchers write. They note that infection, hemolytic anemia and pregnancy complications can also occur with an ovarian teratoma, events that could also have caused the woman's death.
Archaeologists working at the site of La Fogonussa near Lleida, in Spain, have uncovered an ancient female skeleton with an odd tumor embedded with teeth hidden in her pelvis. The tumor would not have changed her outward appearance, and researchers can't tell for certain what affect it had on her, Armentano explained.
"We suppose that, at least during a long part of her life, she was completely unaware of this tumor. Depending on the eventual complications, she could have suffered, but there" is no evidence of this, writes Armentano. "She could have died because of many other causes!"
Despite that uncertainty, historical records do indicate that this woman lived in a time period of great change. King's College London Professor Peter Heather notes in his book "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (Oxford University Press, 2006) that, by A.D. 411, Spain had been divided between groups known as the Vandals, Suevi and Alans.
The ancient writer Hydatius wrote that the "Spaniards in the cities and forts who had survived the disasters surrendered themselves to servitude under the barbarians, who held sway throughout the provinces."

This gigapixel shot of Mt. Everest shows global warming effects

Via Redorbit we learn of a very cool super-sized photo of Mt. Everest:
Filmmaker David Breashears has created a spectacular, two-billion pixel zoom image of Mount Everest to show the effects of climate change in the Himalayas.
The interactive photograph reveals stunning details of the world’s highest peak, allowing viewers to ‘navigate’ around base camp and the mountain.
Breashears captured 477 individual images to compose the gigapixel panorama of the Khumbu glacier from the Pumori viewpoint near Mount Everest. The images were obtained this spring from a vantage point above base camp through a 300-millimeter lens.
The photographer says he’s found evidence in the photo of climate change’s effects. From the Guardian:
By comparing his panorama with photographs from the 1950s, Breashears has been able to pinpoint just how much ice is gone from the mountain: “There are 49,000 glaciers in the Himalayas and most are showing a dramatic and accelerated melt rate.”
NPR’s All Things Considered has an interview with the photographer as well.
I’ve taken a series of screen captures below of his photo to show you some base camps for mountain climbers, circled in red, and how you can zoom in and see them in incredible detail.  The circle is very small and to the right in the first photo below.

Four Seasons of the Big River

One of the greatest river of Russia - Yenisei flows from Mongolia through Siberia and falls into the Arctic Ocean. We
are going to show you Yenisei photographs of Ilya Naimushin from Reuters Agency taken in different seasons.

Mike the Radioactive Fish

Mike the Radioactive Fish
He's no Blinky, but Mike the Murasoi is one hot fish! Hot as in radioactive, that is.
As part of its safety plan, Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco) monitors seafood caught near the Fukushima nuclear plant that experienced a meltdown back in March of 2011:
It was confirmed by Tepco to have amounts of radioactive cesium equal to 254,000 becquerels per kilogram, or 2540 times the limit of 100 becquerels/kg set for seafood by the government.
Scientists in the region are increasingly worried that other fish in the area are feeding off these and other contaminated species.
However, the murasoi specimen caught near Fukushima did not seem to show any major abnormalities in terms of its physical appearance.
Tepco is installing a new series of nets beneath the surface of the water around the 20 kilometer perimeter in hopes of restricting the migration of the contaminated fish outside of the region.
The Daily Mail has more: Here.

The Lobed Comb Jelly

This jellyfish has a better light show than the Disco Clam! The Monterey Bay Aquarium tells us a little about the lobed comb jelly:
Comb jellies are beautiful, oval-shaped animals with eight rows of tiny comblike plates that they beat to move themselves through the water. As they swim, the comb rows diffract light to produce a shimmering, rainbow effect. Voracious predators on other jellies, some can expand their stomachs to hold prey nearly half their own size.
Yep, disco cannibals. Which would make a great movie title or band name. More

Why Wolves Are Forever Wild and Dogs Can Be Tamed

Wolves are hard to train and never really lose their wild streak despite being so genetically similar to dogs, but new research reveals why wolves remain wild while puppies and their adult dog relatives are so loving and trusting of humans.
Much comes down to how they enter the world.
Evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord of the University of Massachusetts and colleagues, in a scientific first, discovered that wolf pups are still blind and deaf when they begin to walk and explore their environment at age two weeks.
“No one knew this about wolves, that when they begin exploring they’re blind and deaf and rely primarily on smell at this stage, so this is very exciting,” Lord was quoted as saying in a press release.
“When wolf pups first start to hear, they are frightened of the new sounds initially,” she added, “and when they first start to see they are also initially afraid of new visual stimuli. As each sense engages, wolf pups experience a new round of sensory shocks that dog puppies do not.”
Puppies, in contrast, begin to explore and walk after all three senses—smell, hearing and sight—are functioning. Instead of fearing stimuli, they seem to love it and even seek out new adventures, as anyone with a puppy happily nipping at their toes has found out.
“It’s quite startling how different dogs and wolves are from each other at that early age, given how close they are genetically,” Lord said. “A litter of dog puppies at two weeks are just basically little puddles, unable to get up or walk around. But wolf pups are exploring actively, walking strongly with good coordination and starting to be able to climb up little steps and hills.”
It then sounds like there is a tradeoff between world readiness and fear and aversion. Dogs, due to their association with humans, usually get an easier, more protected start. Puppies have time to grow and develop in guarded care. Wolves, on the other hand, have to nearly hit the ground running, able to escape predators and avoid other threats.
Lord and her team came to their conclusions after studying the responses of 7 wolf pups and 43 dogs to both family and new smells, sounds and visual stimuli.
But why are wolf pups, puppies, and adults of these species so differently behaved, when their genes are very similar?
At the gene level, Lord explains, “the difference may not be in the gene itself, but in when the gene is turned on. The data help to explain why, if you want to socialize a dog with a human or a horse, all you need is 90 minutes to introduce them between the ages of four and eight weeks. After that, a dog will not be afraid of humans or whatever else you introduced. But with a wolf pup, achieving even close to the same fear reduction requires 24-hour contact starting before age three weeks, and even then you won’t get the same attachment or lack of fear.”

Animal Pictures