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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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Daily Drift

Lone wolf so to speak ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Zagreb, Croatia
Manila, Philippines
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ankara, Turkey
Bordeaux, France
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Baghdad, Iraq
Johannesburg, South Africa
Cayenne, France
Szczecin, Poland
Puchong, Malaysia
San Salvador, El Salvador
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Town, South Africa
Casablanca, Morocco
Muar, Malaysia
Multan, Pakistan
London, England
Saravejo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cheras, Malaysia
Islamabad, Pakistan
Sampaloc, Philippines
Luqa, Malta
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Rabat, Morocco
Al Jizah, Egypt
Kaunas, Lithuania
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Hyderabad, Pakistan
Cartago, Costa Rica
Monterrey, mexico
Hanoi, Vietnam
Surabaya, Indonesia
Karachi, Pakistan

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Today in History

1699 The Treaty of Karlowitz ends the war between Austria and the Turks.
1720 Guilio Alberoni is ordered out of Spain after his abortive attempt to restore his country's empire.
1788 A fleet of ships carrying convicts from England lands at Sydney Cove in Australia. The day is since known as Australia's national day.
1861 Louisiana secedes from the Union.
1863 President Lincoln names General Joseph Hooker to replace Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
1875 Pinkerton agents, hunting Jesse James, kill his 18-year-old half-brother and seriously injure his mother with a bomb.
1885 General "Chinese" Gordon is killed on the palace steps in Khartoum by Sudanese Mahdists in Africa.
1924 Petrograd is renamed Leningrad.
1934 Germany signs a 10-year non-aggression pact with Poland, breaking the French alliance system.
1942 American Expeditionary Force lands in Northern Ireland.
1943 The first OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agent parachutes behind Japanese lines in Burma.
1964 Eighty-four people are arrested in a segregation protest in Atlanta.
1969 California is declared a disaster area after two days of flooding and mud slides.
2005 Condoleezza Rice is appointed to the post of secretary of state. The post makes her the highest ranking African-American woman ever to serve in an U.S. presidential cabinet.

Non Sequitur


German court: Internet provider can be sued for damages for down-time

A German court just ruled that the Internet is “essential,” and therefore Internet providers have to compensate costumers for down-time when their Internet connection isn’t working.  In other words, not just forgiveness of your bill for the period you don’t have Internet access, but actual damages.
It’s an interesting ruling that raises some interesting issues. In the US, it’s hard to figure out what anyone in government thinks is essential (since so many don’t think healthcare is).  But even for Germany, this seems to be a big step.
“The Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways. Therefore loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car,” a court spokeswoman told Germany’s ARD television.
Even though my business (writing here, plus running a cloud-related business) is all about Internet access, I have mixed feelings about such a ruling. Being down for two months is bad and inexcusable, and sure, most of us do have so much tied to our laptops that without access, paying bills and other tasks is time consuming and a hassle.  But calling it “essential” feels like another level. Having access to Facebook really isn’t essential, or even necessary for anyone.
Computer via Shutterstock
Yes, I agree that Internet providers should be held accountable for downtime and not charge for those periods, but declaring something essential goes far beyond compensating downtown. Having access to heating in the winter is absolutely essential in my mind (another area that the political class sees differently), and food is essential, but the internet?
The judge compared Internet access to owning a car.  And while I don’t have a car or drive much, I would view a car as a lot more important for anyone not living and working near public transport. As much as my own livelihood relies on it, I’m just not sure Internet access is essential in the same way as other things I consider truly essential.
What do you think? Were the Germany courts correct? Is Internet access a do-or-die thing in your life?  And even if it isn’t in your life, is it in anyone’s?

Military lifts ban on women in combat, religio-wingnuts flip out

It looks like my old t-shirt that read, “If gays get their civil rights, then everyone will want them,” just came true. The last (last?) vestige of discrimination against women in the military is gone – the ban on women in combat has been lifted, effective May 15.
And the religious right, and women-haters everywhere, died a little.
From the Washington Post:
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced Thursday a lifting of the ban on female service members in combat roles, a watershed policy change that was informed by women’s valor in Iraq and Afghanistan and that removes the remaining barrier to a fully inclusive military, defense officials said.
Panetta made the decision “upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” a senior defense official said Wednesday, an assertion that stunned female veteran activists who said they assumed that the brass was still uneasy about opening the most physically arduous positions to women. The Army and the Marines, which make up the bulk of the military’s ground combat force, will present plans to open most jobs to women by May 15.
Like the ban on gays, the ban on women in combat was a long time coming and based in all sorts of myths and fears. ThinkProgress reports that one of the biggest fears the women-haters have is having to poop in combat.
After Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s surprise announcement on Wednesday that women would be free to serve in most or all combat roles by 2016, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by former Marine infantryman Ryan Smith. Smith argued that since soldiers had to “defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face” during his tour in Iraq, women could not be permitted in combat because it would “humiliate” men:
Societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. It is humiliating enough to relieve yourself in front of your male comrades; one can only imagine the humiliation of being forced to relieve yourself in front of the opposite sex.
Despite the professionalism of Marines, it would be distracting and potentially traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex, particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene. In the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position. Combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. The relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms.
Pooh-shy. That’s a new one.
And while we can all enjoy the expected fireworks from the religious right, the Joint Chiefs all supposedly supported this move. They were not so unified when it came to lifting the gay ban.
That’s not to say that women will get every combat job a man might get.  More from NPR:
female soldier
All of the service branches are supposed to come up with plans by May 15 for integrating women into combat positions and for requesting exemptions, Pentagon officials said.
The services are most likely to request exemptions in elite units where only a small percentage of men are able to meet the demanding standards, such as the Navy SEALs and the Army’s Rangers and Green Berets. Unless it’s impossible for any woman to ever be as physically able for those specific jobs, and the jobs themselves require a level of physical ability that a woman could never achieve, then I’d think it would be better to simply require any candidates pass a physical regimen and prove their worth.  I assume men have to pass the same physical test to get these elite positions.
Actually, it looks like the Israelis might have helped things along here.  From the officially-designated hate group, the (un-)American (anti-)Family Association:
Apparently the IDF has gone totally PC on national defense, and the research on which my column yesterday was based, accurate at the time, is now outdated. The IDF was right before, and wrong now, but it looks like they’ll have to figure that out the hard way just like we will.
The IDF is actually now advertising “hardcore battle roles for women” in the Israeli Defense Force. They now have a grand total of 27 female pilots, have a largely female battalion of women who patrol the southern border and “ambush… enemy forces,” female soldiers who partner with dogs in their K-9 unit, a combat battalion whose job it is to “neutralize…weapons live in the field of battle,” and sea-going unit whose job it is to “safeguard Israel’s civilian ports.”
Right, because if it’s one the thing the Israelis are known for, it’s their weak-kneed PC military.
I couldn’t end this story without first checking what that other officially-designated hate group, the (anti-)Family Research Council, had to say.  It seems that FRC worries that military women will lose their je ne sais quoi if they fight in combat.
In an incredibly compelling article for the Marine Corps Gazette, Capt. Petronio says that while she was extremely successful during both combat tours, she is a shell of her former self. (And based on the nightmarish conditions Ryan Smith shares in the Wall Street Journal, it’s no wonder.) “Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was,” (including a diagnosis of deployment-induced polycystic ovarian syndrome), “and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry. I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion… that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.” Like us, she appreciates what the Pentagon is trying to do but believes that diversity is not a military necessity. “Let’s embrace our differences to further hone in on the Corps’ success instead of dismantling who we are to achieve a political agenda,” she pleads.
Yes, God forbid that women in the military suffer the same injuries as men.
While I’d prefer that none of our troops suffer any injuries, it seems downright 1950s to argue that it’s okay for our men in uniform to suffer mentally and physically from serving in the military but not women.  What’s the difference?  This attitude reminds me of tornado drills we use to have when I was in grade school back in Illinois.  I distinctly remember that the girls would get down on the ground in front of their lockers and scrunch down in a seated ball, while the boys would stand over them with their hands pushed against the lockers.  At the time it was explained that this was to protect the girls should anything fall from the ceiling. Even then I did a bit of a kiddie-double-take over the bizarre logic.
Military service has hurt, even ruined, a lot of men too, especially over the last decade or so.  It’s typical twisted logic that the religious right thinks that’s okay for men, but verboten for women.  They oppress you because they love you, the same reason they’re always oppressing gays.  I do wish they’d stop loving all of us nearly so much.

Deleted Web pages show NRA profiting from Dom Perignon, Beringer sales

Wouldn’t you just kill for a Moet?

Newly-uncovered NRA Web pages, which had apparently been deleted, show how fine French champagne (and America’s top vineyards) are helping to finance America’s extreme lobby.  The National Rifle Association, America’s largest pro-gun lobby, has an “NRA Wine Club” where members buy wine and a portion of the proceeds go to finance the NRA’s pro-gun politics.
AMERICAblog has uncovered deleted Web pages showing that the NRA Wine Club, as recently as only two months ago, included such august spirits as famed French champagne maker Moet et Chandon’s world-renowned Dom Perignon.
Oh I can see the protests now: “Dom Perignon, a champagne to die for.”  Or “Wouldn’t you just kill for a Moet?”
But it’s no laughing matter.  Gun industry expert Tom Diaz, author of the new book, “The Last Gun,” tells me that any company involved with the NRA has “blood on its hands”:
“There is no such thing as innocent commercial involvement with the National Rifle Association. Any company that advertises or shares revenue with the NRA is underwriting gun violence and has as much blood on its hands as Bushmaster Firearms.”
Here’s Moet’s rather expensive Dom 2003 going for a cool $139:
Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 5.04.39 PM 
And here’s Beringer’s expensive $100-a-bottle cabernet is listed as well:
Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 5.04.45 PM
And NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre makes clear in a letter, since removed from the NRA Wine Club Web site (but I found a copy anyway), that sales of Dom Perignon and Beringer via the NRA Wine Club will “directly benefit” the NRA.  I wonder how Moet and Beringer fans feel about that.
Here’s LaPierre’s letter that was on the site, but now can only be found in cache:
And here’s the NRA Wine Club front page which, oddly, isn’t nearly as detailed as it used to be.  The front page now lists none of the actual wineries included in the deal.  But fret not – I found a cached copy of the NRA’s wine list.
First, the current home page:
NRA Wine Club
Now for the list of wines included in the deal, that are no longer live online.  The list includes Moet et Chandon’s Dom Perignon, Beringer, and a rather pricey Louis Roederer champagne.  And according to the cache header, this is a copy of the page as it appeared on November 27, 2012 – so that means this was only two months ago:
The NRA has teamed with a company called Vinesse that works with several wine clubs. In this case, NRA members and others can join the “American Cellars Wine Club,” and reportedly a donation goes to the NRA with each bottle purchased:
220px-Dom-perignon_logoThe NRA is recruiting new members through its Wine Club, with a donation from every bottle of wine purchased going to the organisation to support its battle to preserve the Second Amendment.
“Begin supporting the NRA with your wine purchases today!” reads the strapline on the club’s website.
The Drinks Business is reporting, a few other wines included in the NRA club, and one of the winemakers was none too pleased about it:
moetAccording to Australian newspaper the Herald Sun, Yalumba has quickly distanced itself from the controversial US National Rifle Association after it emerged that it was one of 20 Australian producers sold via the group’s wine club.
The privately owned company is currently investigating how four of its wines made it onto the NRA’s profit-making club – a donation from every bottle of wine purchased through the club goes to the NRA to support its battle to preserve the Second Amendment.
Among the other Australian producers selling their wines via the NRA Wine Club are St Hallett, Jim Barry Wines, d’Arenberg, Tahbilk, and Primo Estate.
Other wines being offered via the NRA Wine Club:
Beringer_logoHundreds of wines are available through the site, from a Campo de Borja Garnacha at US$6.99 right up to Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Insignia 2008 at $159.99.
Champagne lovers can pick up Louis Roederer Cristal 2005 at $199.95 a bottle, or Dom Perignon 2003 for $139.99, and weapons enthusiasts might like to pop the cork in traditional style using a Laguiole Champagne sabre ($149.95).
Of course the biggest irony is that some reviewers already say not to try the American Cellars Wine Club, even before the NRA connection went public.  Imagine what’s going to happen now.
I’m still shocked that Moet et Chandon and Beringer are letting their august brands, and products like Dom Perignon, be associated with the NRA.  Especially now that an Australian winemaker has pulled out.  How long will it take for Moet et Chandon, Beringer, and Louis Roederer come to their senses?

How a bat-shit crazy guy was allowed to buy an arsenal

Long story short: 14 year old nutjob of a kid kills his mom, goes to a state hospital for the dangerously mentally ill, gets out, is permitted to buy a veritable arsenal.  Still beyond nutters.
From the Star Tribune:
What Olson’s deputies found in the home in Watertown Township was chilling: 13 guns, including semi-automatic rifles, an AK-47, a Tommy gun, assorted shotguns and handguns, including a .50-caliber Desert Eagle.
Even more disturbing was the letter Oberender had written recently to his late mother, Mary: “I am so homicide,” it said in broken sentences. “I think about killing all the time. The monster want out. He only been out one time and someone die.”
Even though Oberender killed his mother with a firearm, even though he was committed to the state hospital in St. Peter as mentally ill and dangerous more than a decade ago, he was able to obtain a permit to purchase firearms last May. That piece of paper gave Oberender, now 32, the ability to walk into any licensed Minnesota retailer and buy any assault weapon or pistol on the rack.
“The system failed in this case,” Olson said in an interview.
Ya think?
The Star Tribune did a great job walking you through how this maniac was able to buy enough firepower to take on a modern army – he had a Tommy gun, which is one of those Eliot Ness, Al Capon style submachine guns.  This is a Tommy Gun:
tommy gun
Tommy Gun 
Why is any permitted to buy something like this, let alone a crazy guy who’s already murdered his mother?
Read the entire story, and weep.

Annie Oakley


Annie Oakley: First American female superstar.  Beat her future husband in a sharp shooting match when she was 15 years old (and won $100 from him, a tidy sum in those days).  Had a rivalry with another female sharpshooter (who billed herself as younger and more attractive than Annie) who was also part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (but no one remembers that other woman’s name, so guess who won?).  She taught over 15,000 women how to shoot in her lifetime and once said “I would like to see every woman know how to handle [firearms] as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” and was a total bad ass.
Annie Oakley: First American female superstar.  Beat her future husband in a sharp shooting match when she was 15 years old (and won $100 from him, a tidy sum in those days).  Had a rivalry with another female sharpshooter (who billed herself as younger and more attractive than Annie) who was also part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (but no one remembers that other woman’s name, so guess who won?).  She taught over 15,000 women how to shoot in her lifetime and once said “I would like to see every woman know how to handle [firearms] as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” and was a total bad ass.

Tibetan teen dies before immolation protest, leaves note for Dalai Lama’s return

The pro-Tibetan sovereignty news site phayul.com reports that Jigjey Kyab, 17, was found dead this week due to suspected self-poisoning, just before a planned self-immolation. The teen doused himself with kerosene and was carrying two lighters in his hands. His body was recovered from a busy street in his home town in the Luchu region of eastern Tibet.
"Jigjey Kyab made an attempt to self-immolate but he apparently died before he could set himself on fire" said Lhamo Kyab, a former political prisoner living in Dharamshala. "He had reportedly consumed poison prior to his self-immolation protest to ensure that he didn’t fall into the hands of the Chinese authorities alive.” In earlier instances, surviving Tibetan self-immolators have suffered amputations of all limbs, verbal abuse, interrogations, and maltreatment by doctors and Chinese officials at the hospitals. The condition of more than a dozen Tibetan self-immolators remains unknown.

 In note found by his family (shown at right), he wrote:
"I pray that my aspirations will be fulfilled. If you are your mother’s son - rise up. Sons of the Land of Snows - rise up. Singers of the Snow Land - rise up. May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for thousands of aeons. My respect to the white snow lion (symbol of Tibet). My prayers for happiness in Tibet."
"Father and mother, it is my hope that you will take care of yourselves. You are the most loving people in this world. I will repay your kindness in my next life."
Earlier this week, a 23-year-old man became the 99th person to self-immolate since 2009
Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala, India, asked Tibetans to refrain from this form of protest, as he also urged all Tibetans not to celebrate the ceremonial new year, in mourning.
In a statement issued by the government in exile and the office of the Dalai Lama, Sangay said:
“Kindly pray for all who have sacrificed their lives and for all who continue to suffer in occupied Tibet. The Central Tibetan Administration continues to appeal to Tibetans to not undertake drastic actions and still self-immolations persist in Tibet. The universal demands of the Tibetans have been the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.”

A Man stole vehicle so he could drive south to escape cold weather

In an effort to escape the winter cold and snow, police say an Iowa man stole a vehicle and drove hundreds of miles south to Mississippi in search of warmer weather. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said 46-year-old Coralville man Harold E. Schneider took a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon from an Iowa City driveway and drove it roughly 600 miles before he was caught.

According to a criminal complaint, sometime during the evening of Dec. 31, 2012, Schneider went up to a residence in Iowa City. Parked in the driveway was a black 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with keys inside. The estimated value of the jeep is more than $27,500. Police said Schneider drove off in the jeep and the theft went unnoticed until Jan. 1, 2013.

The theft was reported to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the jeep was reported in a nationwide system as a stolen vehicle. The next day, at 7:40am the jeep was stopped by the Panola County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi. Schneider was behind the wheel, police said. Batesville, the county seat of Panola County, is nearly 600 miles from Iowa City.

Police said during an interview with an investigator, Schneider admitted to stealing the jeep. Schneider allegedly told the investigator he was “tired of the cold weather and the snow and he was trying to go south where it was warm.” Schneider allegedly sold items inside the jeep to fund his road trip. Schneider now faces one count of first-degree theft, a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He was booked at the Johnson County Jail on Jan. 19 and remains there on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

A South Carolina woman choked man for hogging blanket

A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina woman was charged with domestic violence after a 49-year-old man told police she became mad and choked him when he tried to pull more of the blanket over himself while they were in bed late on Wednesday.
Tina Berryhill Rucker, 42, was charged with criminal domestic violence after officers were called at about 11pm.

The victim told officers the couple were in bed when he pulled the blanket over to cover himself up and Rucker got mad. The victim said Rucker jumped on top of him and choked him.

Officers noted the victim had signs of being choked and was bleeding on his neck from fingernails marks. Officers also noted that Rucker was intoxicated and did not want to cooperate with police.

Fourteen Wonderful Island Resorts In The Maldives

The Maldives are very famous for its natural beauty which includes the blue ocean and white beaches, accompanied by clean air and pleasant temperatures. Due to its extraordinary underwater scenery and clean water, The Maldives are ranked among the best recreational diving destinations of the world. It consists of 1.192 coral islands, of which over 50 were turned into marvelous resorts.

Some '80s Tech Inventions That Never Really Took Off

Life in 2013 isn't that much different from life in the 1980s. There are no flying cars. There are no floating cloud cities. There is no teleportation or interstellar space travel.
But what we do have in abundance are those quirky little inventions that make life just that tiny bit easier: affordable cell phones, GPS systems, high-speed internet, debit cards, frost-free freezers, budget airlines and longer-lasting batteries to name a few. And then there are the inventions that never really took off.

Lightning Linked to Headaches, Migraines

Lightning produces negatively charged currents, increases air pollutants and releases fungal spores, all of which may contribute to head pain.

People in the US Still Die from Black Death

Regular cases of the Bubonic Plague spring up every year in the American southwest.

During Your Lifetime, You'll Spend about 43 Days on Hold

Please remain on the line. Your call is important to us.
Annoyed yet?
That's just a fraction of the 43 days the average person will spend on hold with automated customer service in one lifetime, according to a survey conducted by data collection provider ResearchNow and commissioned by TalkTo, the developer behind the business-centric texting app of the same name.
After polling 500 consumers, ResearchNow determined that 58 percent get ticked off at waiting, and 48 percent believe calling a business is useless. Overall, 86 percent said they had been put on hold when calling a business. [...]
Being on hold nearly became a lifestyle for an Australian man who called Qantas airline to confirm a flight, back in July 2012. Andrew Kahn claimed he waited 15 hours, 40 minutes and 1 second before he hung up. "I had had enough," Kahn told the Telegraph last August.

The Tree Of Life

(And Its Super Fruit)

The medicinal properties of the baobab fruit are the stuff of African legend. The baobab fruit has three times as much vitamin C as an orange, 50% more calcium than spinach and is a plentiful source of anti-oxidants, those disease-fighting molecules credited with helping reduce the risk of everything from cancer to heart disease.

Until recently, this super-fruit was off limits to consumers, unless they fancied a shopping trip to Africa. But now the baobab fruit has won approval from EU food regulators. Expect it to be winging its way to a supermarket shelf near you.

Five Vegetables That Cause Weird Physical Reactions

Ever since childhood, we've all been urged to eat our vegetables. And while we're not disputing the fact that veggies are great for your health, it's also undeniable that certain of these healthy foods have some pretty strange side effects.

Check out the following vegetables, which hold the fascinating power to change the color and smell of your urine and tint your skin Jersey Shore orange, among other weird and wonderful things.

Amazing Pictures


Tetons. Wyoming. on We Heart It - http://weheartit.com/entry/47030755/via/ashfresa

Roman Marker Used to Measure Earth Found

Ancient Romans once measured Earth based on triangulated measurements and now archaeologists have uncovered one of their key markers. 

Fireworks From A Century-Old Nova

Nova GK Persei is a white dwarf star that threw an epic fit. It steals material from its companion star, and this material piles up on its surface, heated and hugely compressed. All at once it underwent catastrophic nuclear fusion, detonating like a bomb, blasting countless trillions of tons of matter outward at 1000 km/sec.

That happened more than 1,400 years ago. The light reached Earth in 1901, and over the ensuing century we have watched the debris expand like fireworks.

True Facts About The Tarsier

Ze Frank is back with another of his "True Facts" videos, this one about the tarsier, which I have apparently been mispronouncing. As in previous videos in the series, the facts take a backseat to the pictures of the critters, to which Ze reacts the same way you do. 

Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way to Navigate

Ancient mariners aren't the only ones that used the stars to navigate. It turns out that the lowly dung beetle does as well when it rolls its ball of muck in a Moonless night:
Dung beetles like to run in straight lines. When they find a pile of droppings, they shape a small ball and start pushing it away to a safe distance where they can eat it, usually underground.
Getting a good bearing is important because unless the insect rolls a direct course, it risks turning back towards the dung pile where another beetle will almost certainly try to steal its prized ball.
Dr Dacke had previously shown that dung beetles were able to keep a straight line by taking cues from the Sun, the Moon, and even the pattern of polarised light formed around these light sources.
But it was the animals' capacity to maintain course even on clear Moonless nights that intrigued the researcher.
Jonathan Amos of the BBC explains how beetles navigate using the stars: Here.

Dinosaur News

Pint-sized carnivores get a boost from researchers who examined their teeth.
Cows may be triple Einsteins -- compared to most dinosaurs, scientists say.

Undersea Animal News

Great white sharks are victimized by ravenous cookiecutter sharks, which bite out chunks of great white flesh.
The elusive giant squid, so rare a sight, is ready for its closeup in this photo gallery.

Animals That Love The Beach

The beach with its charms not only attracts a large number of tourists but also many other animals.

A Man bit ostrich to death as part of suicide bid

A man was rescued by police at a zoo in Shaoguan City, China, on January 19 after a bizarre suicide attempt. The man, Li, 27, from Yunnan Province, attacked an ostrich in the zoo and bit it to death in front of onlookers, including children and elderly people.

He then slashed his wrists as police were called. Xu Jianwen, deputy head of Datang Road police station said  that when he arrived at the scene, Li was highly excitable and simulated firing a gun at the policemen.

Li was covered in blood when police arrived. As he began to lose strength, Li lay on the ostrich’s corpse like a pillow before police approached him tentatively. He offered little resistance as police dragged him away. He was rushed to hospital where his condition soon stabilized.

A suicide note was found on him. The note urged his parents to have a good life, saying there was no need to worry about him anymore. Li works as a security guard and has been described by colleagues as an introvert who is unusually quiet when at work. He was also described as being straight-forward.

About 15,000 crocodiles in mass escape during South African floods

About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from a farm in South Africa's far north amid heavy rains and flooding. The owner was forced to open the crocodile farm's gates on Sunday to prevent a storm surge. Many of the crocodiles have been recaptured, but more than half are still on the loose.

The crocodiles escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, a tourist site about 15km (nine miles) from the small town of Pontdrif, which borders Botswana. Zane Langman, the son-in-law of the farm's owner, said that many of the crocodiles had escaped into dense bush and the Limpopo River, the second biggest in South Africa.

"There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot. We go to catch them as soon as farmers call us to inform us about crocodiles," said Mr Langman. "I heard there were crocodiles in Musina [about 120km away] on the school's rugby field."

Mr Langman said he went to rescue friends in a flooded house in the area by boat on Sunday. "When we reached them, the crocodiles were swimming around them. Praise the Lord, they were all alive," he said. The floods have killed at least 10 people in Limpopo province.

Eleven live otters found in airport luggage

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport has seen countless traffickers attempt to smuggle a myriad wild animals out in luggage, but never otters - until earlier this week.

Officers at the airport’s Wildlife Checkpoint and the Royal Thai Customs discovered 11 live otters when they scanned a bag that had been left at the oversized luggage area of the airport.

As the bag bore no tags and no one claimed it, the officers opened the luggage to find six Smooth Coated Otters and five Oriental Small Clawed Otters inside. The otters, which look to be juveniles, will undergo health checks before being handed over to the Bang-Pra Breeding Center in Chonburi for care.

Throughout Southeast Asia, otters are disappearing from their former ranges thanks to high demand for the animals’ pelts and for their use as pets, wildmeat and traditional Chinese medicine. While officials have intersected otter skins before, this is the first time a bundle of live otters has been found at the airport.

Animal Pictures


Proud Wolf by Nakial.