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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Daily Drift


Some of our readers today have been in:
Sejny, Poland
Johannesburg, South Africa
Lagos, Nigeria
Toa Alta, Puerto Rico
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Manama, Bahrain
Cape Town, South Africa
Bordeaux, France
Puchong, Malaysia
Swarzedz, Poland
Ankara, Turkey
Karachi, Pakistan
Kota, Kinabalu, Malaysia
Vries, Netherlands
Medan, Indonesia
Slough, England
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Warsaw, Poland
Edinburgh, Scotland
Minsk, Belarus
Sandakan, Malaysia
Montevideo, Uruguay
Surabaya, Indonesia
Poznan, Poland
Manchester, England
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Seremban, Malaysia
Odessa, Ukraine
Sampaloc, Philippines
Saint George's, Grenada
Oxford, England
Corlu, Turkey
Panevezys, Lithuania
Bangkok, Thailand
Abucay, Philippines
Taipei, Taiwan
George Town, Cayman Islands
Istanbul, Turkey

Today is Robinson Crusoe Day

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Today in History

1327 Edward III is crowned King of England.
1587 Elizabeth I, Queen of England, signs the Warrant of Execution for Mary Queen of Scots.
1633 The tobacco laws of Virginia are codified, limiting tobacco production to reduce dependence on a single-crop economy.
1793 France declares war on Britain and the Netherlands.
1861 A furious Governor Sam Houston storms out of a legislative session upon learning that Texas has voted 167-7 to secede from the Union.
1902 U.S. Secretary of State John Hay protests Russian privileges in China as a violation of the "open door policy."
1905 Germany contests French rule in Morocco.
1909 U.S. troops leave Cuba after installing Jose Miguel Gomez as president.
1930 A Loening Air Yacht of Air Ferries makes its first passenger run between San Francisco and Oakland, California..
1942 Planes of the U.S. Pacific fleet attack Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.
1943 American tanks and infantry are battered at German positions at Fais pass in North Africa.
1944 U.S. Army troops invade two Kwajalein Islands in the Pacific.
1945 U.S. Rangers and Filipino guerrillas rescue 513 American survivors of the Bataan Death March.
1951 Third A-bomb tests are completed in the desert of Nevada.
1960 Four black students stage a sit-in at a segregated Greensboro, N.C. lunch counter.
1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson rejects Charles de Gaulle's plan for a neutral Vietnam.
1965 Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and 770 others are arrested in protest against voter discrimination in Alabama.
1968 U.S. troops drive the North Vietnamese out of Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon.
1968 South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu declares martial law.
1986 Two days of anti-government riots in Port-au-Prince result in 14 dead.

Non Sequitur


Highest Wave Ever Surfed

That little speck in the middle of the photograph is pro surfer Garrett McNamara surfing a humongous wave off the Praia do Norte beach in Nazare, Portugal. The wave, reported to be around 100 ft tall, is a record breaker (the previous record, also held by McNamara, was a wave 78 feet tall):
In the small town of Nazaré, on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, a single red lighthouse stands at the shoreline. The small road leading to the lighthouse is, on any normal day, completely deserted. But on Monday, hundreds of people packed the road — photographers and spectators — as the huge swells battered the rocky shoreline. But most cameras seemed unable to capture the height of the sea from such a close vantage point — lauded surf photographer To Mane took a much wider angle, ultimately capturing a stunning view of McNamara’s ride atop the unfathomable wave.
Nick Carbone of TIME Lightbox reports: Here.

Random Celebrity Photo


Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes

Onesies deemed inappropriate for school

Teenage pupils have been told off for wearing onesies to school. Students at Chailey School near Lewes, East Sussex, sported the  garments last week after teachers said they were allowed to wear warmer clothes as temperatures plummeted to -4C.
Staff, however, meant thick jumpers and gloves. But some pupils opted to wear the fashionable all-in-one pyjama-style outfits.

In a letter to parents the school said: “Could I please point out that it is not appropriate or acceptable – as has occurred in a few cases – for students to wear ‘onesies’ or shorts.

“Jeans or trousers and jumper/fleece and a warm jacket, hat and gloves are appropriate of course.”

Saudi Arabian authorities order shops to build sex-segregation walls

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have ordered shops that employ both men and women to build separation walls to enforce segregation.
The order was issued by Labor Minister Adel Faqih and was verified by Abdullatif al-Sheikh, the head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, commonly known as ‘Mutawa’ or religious police.

The new rule states that a separation barrier, no shorter than 1.6 meters, should be erected to divide men and women in the workplace.

In December, the head of the religious police accused the labor ministry of failing to promote a safe work environment for women in the country as many have complained of harassment.

Senior monks at Tibetan monasteries "disappeared" by Chinese authorities

Via the pro-Tibetan-sovereignty news website Phayul comes new reports that Chinese authorities in central Tibet have detained some of the senior-most monks at three major monasteries: Sera, Ganden, and Drepung. 16 of them "were whisked away on the pretext of a meeting by Chinese officials in the Lhasa region on January 14. The condition and whereabouts of those disappeared remain unknown. More at phayul.com.

Separately, the Washington Post has a roundup of the grim news that the total number of immolation protest is now close to 100

Russia scraps law enforcement deal with U.S. in new blow to ties

Russia scrapped a law enforcement agreement with the United States on Wednesday, further turning back the clock on a "reset" in relations since President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin last year.An order to end the deal, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, was posted on the government's website. It said the agreement, under which Washington provided financial assistance for law enforcement and drugs control programs, "does not address current realities and has exhausted its potential".
Alexei Pushkov, a Putin ally who heads the international affairs committee in the lower parliament house, said Russia was "reformatting its relationship" with the United States.
"This is already the third agreement canceled in the last half-year. We are saying farewell to our dependence on 'Power No. 1'," he said on Twitter.
Putin's foreign policy rhetoric has frequently focused on external threats since he returned to the presidency in May.
Moscow ordered the U.S. Agency for International Development to cease operations in Russia in October, saying the United States was using the mission to interfere in politics.
It has also outlawed U.S.-funded "non-profit organizations that engage in political activity".
Moscow was infuriated by a U.S. law adopted in December that bars Russians accused of grave human rights abuses from entering the United States and freezes any assets they have there.
It responded with legislation imposing similar measures and banned the adoption of Russian children by American families, damaging what was left of the "reset" in ties initiated by U.S. President Barack Obama at the start of his first term.
Putin has also sought to shed Russia's image as a financial aid recipient. The Foreign Ministry said the agreement was reached at a time when Moscow was short of funds for law enforcement, but Russia could now provide for itself.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow declined immediate comment.
Russia announced in October that it was withdrawing from a decades-old agreement under which Washington helped it dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons. Russia argued it now had the power and finances to carry out disarmament itself.
Dmitry Trenin, director at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank, said Putin was playing on Russians' patriotism by portraying Washington as a meddling foreign power in an attempt to cast dissenters as traitors working for an outside threat.
"Mr. Putin's goal is to reduce as much as he can U.S. influence on Russia internally," he said.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of damage but they believe the pay-off will be bigger: whoever opposes the leadership here will be seen as a fifth column who is doing the bidding of the United States, unpatriotic at minimum and very likely a traitor."
Several members of a protest movement against Putin, which started after allegations of vote rigging in a 2011 parliamentary election, have been portrayed by the media as being on the payroll of foreign countries.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the U.S. human rights bill, named after lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in detention in 2009, as "odious", but said Moscow wants constructive ties with the United States.
Trenin said Moscow was unlikely to cut major initiatives. Russia allows the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to use a rail route through its territory to transport equipment.

Did you know ...

That all 100 senators are now on twitter

Why replacing state income tax with bigger sales tax is a bad idea

That turning up the bass will scare birds away from planes

Here are 10 places to see before they're gone

That more Americans have been killed in gun deaths than by terrorists

The repugican Austerity Cultists Chant Their Spending Cuts Mantra As They Sink the Economy

Kill Jobs and Growth
There are times when taking a new, untested approach to solve a problem after exhausting all other options is a brilliant idea and often a method of last resort. Obviously, no sane person would deliberately pursue a course of action that experts doomed to failure, and especially if there were living examples of a particular agenda’s failure. After repugican economic policies created a world-wide recession, many European nations imposed harsh austerity measures that have proven to be abject failures, leading repugicans to champion austerity as if results would be different because America is exceptional. If nothing else, one can say with confidence that when repugicans find an economic policy that fails, they are duty-bound to repeat it regardless the consequences.
The latest fourth quarter report on GDP growth revealed precisely what economic experts not working for the Heritage  Foundation have predicted for four years; reduced government spending during an economic recovery retards growth. Although the news was not entirely bad, the repugican’s drive to enact harsh austerity measures predictably produced the same results England has experienced as their gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The data released yesterday showed that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012 also, and the 0.1 percent contraction is entirely attributable to cuts in government spending; precisely as economists have warned for nearly four years. Britain’s conservative government was criticized by the International Monetary Fund for their steadfast, and errant, belief that austerity is the key to economic success despite its failure that now threatens their credit rating. Still, they persist defending austerity in spite of a looming triple-dip recession repugicans are wont to repeat for America in their spending cut frenzy.
America’s private sector is doing just fine, and the good news is that personal expenditures, non-residential investment, and business investment were all up, but repugicans promise to decimate GDP growth by enacting sequestration cuts experts warn will reduce GDP growth by 0.7 percent in 2013 and destroy as many as one million jobs. The repugican’s budget guru, Paul Ryan, decried the sequester cuts and negative impact on jobs during his failed bid for the vice-presidency, and said,  ”Now there’s one thing we’re going to have to deal with to make sure we protect jobs around America, and that is these devastating sequestration cuts.” This week, Ryan said “I think the sequester is going to happen-we can’t lose those spending cuts” because “Democrats rejected the repugican cabal’s replacement legislation” that cut the food-stamp program, slashed Medicaid, defunded the Affordable Care Act, and disaster relief, and failed to produce their own Draconian cuts. However, Ryan is lying.
President Obama’s initial deal to avoid the fiscal cliff paired a tax increase on the wealthy with spending cuts of $1.22 trillion over 10 years, including “a new measure of inflation that slows the growth of government benefits,” including Social Security, $400 billion in savings “from federal health care programs; $200 billion from other mandatory programs like farm price supports, $100 billion from military spending; and $100 billion from domestic programs.” The repugicans balked at the President’s balanced approach and now Ryan is pushing for austerity that is guaranteed to kill jobs, reduce GDP, and send the economy into a recession; typical repugican goals.
The repugican cabal’s passion for austerity by way of spending cuts and deficit reduction to harm the poor, middle class, elderly, and children may lead one to believe President Obama has not cut spending during his first term, but the facts tell a completely different story. In fact, under the President’s stingy economic policy, “the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II,” and as the shrub's wars are winding down and government spending fell, so did GDP, but it is still not enough for repugicans. An economist with the Center for American Progress said, “we know what will happen if policymakers don’t work to scrap the sequester and eliminate the useless debt limit policy: We will have slower economic growth and job creation this year and in the future,” which fits right in with repugican attempts to imitate Europe’s disastrous austerity measures and keep America’s economy barely surviving at best, and falling into a deep recession at worst.
If there were no living, real time examples of conservative governments imposing austerity that devastates economies, one might be think that repugicans were making a last ditch attempt to save the economy, but now that most European nations, and now America, are struggling because of reducing government spending, they could be forgiven. However, the repugican cabal knows precisely what austerity will do to the economy, and as Paul Ryan himself said, sequester cuts will devastate the economy and kill jobs, but the repugicans are going forward anyway. What America’s economy needs, and what every real economist advises, is government stimulus such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that, by all accounts, saved America’s economy and prevented a nation-ending deep economic depression. House repugicans still have not even considered passing the President’s American Jobs Act because they know it will grow the economy and put Americans to work, and with no chance of making President Obama a one-term President any longer, their remaining goal is killing jobs, the economy, and imposing real economic hardship on the American people; a feat they are incredibly proficient at.

Obamacare treats insurance companies like Jews being shipped to Auschwitz, per Idaho repugican cabal

From the Spokesman newspaper:
As the debate over Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s proposed state health insurance exchange heats up, a North Idaho senator has sent out a mass email and posted a message on Twitter comparing the role of insurance companies to “the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps,” saying the federal government is using private insurers and in the future will “pull the trigger” on them.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, r-Cottonwood, defends her analogy. “I just want people to hear the truth and to be aware that what is being presented before us is a socialistic program,” Nuxoll said Wednesday. “There is no disrespect for any group or people with the analogy. … I just want people to know the truth.”
Nuxoll went on to defend her comments, saying “I felt badly for the Jews.”  Apparently so badly that she chose to co-opt and mangle their history.
Ah, repugicans.  Not only can you count on them to make a ridiculous Hitler comparison about pretty much anything President Obama does, but true to form, for repugicans, Hitler’s victims weren’t people – they were corporations.  Because kids, as everyone knows, corporations are people. And apparently, now they’re Jewish people.
Yes, the world will never forget the six million limited equity partnerships that Hitler destroyed.
Idaho repugican state Senator Sheryl Nuxoll thinks Obamacare is “socialist” (of course) and that it’s also 1940s-socialism’s greatest enemy, Hitler.  Any student of history knows that the Soviets and Hitler may have started off as friends, but ended up as arch-enemies, and that the Soviets played a key role in beating Hitler.  But repugicans don’t let historical inaccuracies and contradictions get in the way of a good smear.
And in defense of Senator Nuxoll, everyone knows that World War II was really about Hitler’s crazy plan to provide affordable healthcare to working-class Jews, or “Hitlercare,” as it was known in everyday parlance.
Now, I’m not a big fan of the “don’t ever invoke Hitler” club.  While most invocations of the Holocaust are simply nutty, if we have a blanket policy that every invocation of the Holocaust is flat-out wrong, and that we should never ever compare anything to Nazi Germany, then what we’re really saying is that the Holocaust was so unique that it could never happen again.  So don’t worry about it.  And I don’t buy that. I think historians of Hitler’s rise would tell you that it’s quite an interesting story to look at, the gradual nazification of the country, and the step-by-step demonization, and de-humanization, of Jews.
That lesson of the danger of incremental-evil is not a bad one.  And I worry sometimes that these blanket calls to never invoke Germany might lead us to assume that it could never happen again.
Having said that, Nuxoll’s comments, that insurance companies are like Jews about to be gassed, is simply bizarre and offensive.  Though it does provide a wonderful window into the soul of the modern repubgican cabal.  To repugicans, corporations that stop people from getting life-saving health care are the “victims. And the corporations’ victims, people without (or with insufficient and costly) health care, are the Nazis.
That’s about all you need to know about the insane lunatics who control the repugican cabal.
So repugicans think this is 'healthcare'?
That means these naked women and children being led to the 'shower' are the Nazi's and the ones leading them are the 'victims' then?!

The Nazi comparisons are most fervently made by those who are their equals when they try to demonize others and divert attention away from themselves and their shenanigans. But, let others accurately portray them for what they are and lo the hue and cry is deafening. The repugican cabal is the present day Nazi Party plain and simple, but they don't want you to know that let alone say it.

Sadly ...

As Wayne LaPierre Testified Against Gun Control, Another Multiple Shooting Occurred in Phoenix, Arizona

While Wayne LaPierre was testifying against gun control in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee at least three people in Phoenix, AZ were victimized in another multiple shooting.
Throughout the day, LaPierre has been arguing against any form of gun control. His basic argument against everything, but more guns was laid out in his opening statement, ” While we’re ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully – but honestly and firmly – disagree with some members of this committee, many in the media, and all of the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and our streets safe. Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals. Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families. As I said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future. Semi-automatic firearms have been around for over 100 years. They are among the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Despite this fact, Congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms and magazines from 1994 to 2004. Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime. And when it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest – background checks will never be “universal” – because criminals will never submit to them.”
This is the argument that LaPierre has made for hours today, and it was completely undone by one piece of news out of Phoenix, AZ. According to the Arizona Republic, “At least three people are injured after a shooting occurred in Phoenix Wednesday morning, officials said. Around 10:30 a.m., officials reported that three people had suffered gunshot wounds in a building on the 7300 block of 16th Avenue, officials said. It is unknown if the shooter is in custody.”
In a nutshell, this is why the NRA is going to lose this fight. Every time they try to argue that guns aren’t the issue, more people get shot. The NRA has adopted a strategy that I like to call Crazy and Gamey. According to the NRA, the real problems are crazy people and violent video games. The Crazy and Gamey strategy is meant to shift the focus away from the role of guns in gun violence. The fact that people with mental health issues have easy access to guns is not the problem.
While the NRA is blaming everything but the gun, more people are being shot with guns.
For this reason alone, the NRA and their smokescreen of pro-gun propaganda are destined to fail.

Newtown victim Heckled by Gun Nuts

by Taylor Berman

From their "What Would Django Do?" campaign to their ill-fated (and shooting-filled) Gun Masturbation Day to idiotic NRA commercials, pro-gun agitators have been on a roll.
But it's been a few days since their last PR disaster – surely they've done something stupid recently, right? Correct.
During a legislative hearing Monday at the Connecticut Capitol, protesters heckled the father of a six-year-old killed at Sandy Hook elementary.
When Neil Heslin, who was holding a picture of his deceased son during his testimony, asked the state senate why Bushmaster-type assault rifles should be legal, several gun nuts in the audience reportedly shouted him down, yelling "The Second Amendment!"
So just to repeat: the father of a six-year-old boy who died six weeks ago asked a question about the weapon that killed his son, and the the gun activists attending the testimony decided to heckle him.


Walmart sets limits on ammunition sales after demand surges

Two people walk outside a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido  
Walmart has started to limit sales of ammunition to three boxes per customer per day due to limited supplies, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Sales of guns and ammunition have risen across the United States since the December 14 shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.
Walmart U.S., is the largest unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc the world's largest retailer and the largest U.S. gun seller. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer had said that it works to strike the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that it sells firearms responsibly.
"In order to take care of as many customers as possible, starting Thursday, January 24, all ammunition sales were limited to three boxes per customer, per day as supply is limited at this time," spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told Reuters on Wednesday.
Walmart was a charter member of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's coalition against illegal guns and adopted a 10-point code established by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership that goes beyond what the law requires.
Data released on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal Background Check System showed that nine of the top 10 days for firearms checks from November 30, 1998, to January 27, 2013, including December 14, 2012, occurred since Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then shot and killed himself. Lanza also killed his mother before the school massacre.
You will note they aren't limiting the ammo to just three boxes per wacko because it is the right thing to do, they are doing so because they don't have enough supply on hand.

Man fatally shot 22-year-old who drove into wrong driveway

 A 69-year-old suburban Atlanta man faces a murder charge after authorities say he shot and killed a 22-year-old man who had mistakenly driven into his driveway. An arrest warrant states that Rodrigo Abad Diaz of Duluth, Ga., was fatally shot in the head Saturday as he tried to drive away from Phillip Sailors' home in Lilburn, northeast of Atlanta.
According to Diaz's friends, who were in the vehicle at the time of the incident, the 22-year-old had received incorrect directions from a GPS device which led him to Sailors' driveway, the Atlantic Journal-Constitution reports. They were in the area to pick up a friend.
Sailors' attorney, Michael Puglise, tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was home with his wife late at night, and assumed the young man arrived to commit a home invasion. Puglise says Sailors was defending his home and maintains his innocence.
Gwinnett County Jail records show that Sailors was being held on a murder charge.

Woman arrested after falling through police station ceiling

Police  in Maui, Hawaii arrested a woman on Monday who fell through the ceiling of the Kihei Police Station and landed on the floor of the prisoner processing room. Maui Police Lt. Wayne Ibarra said Sheryl Vazquez, 34, was detained by officers after she fell through the rafters above the station, and broke through the ceiling of the facility.

Police say Vazquez was placed under arrest for criminal property damage, criminal trespass, criminal tampering (all in the second degree), as well as disorderly conduct. Vazquez did not complain of pain, nor were any injuries observed, said Lt. Ibarra.

A preliminary police investigation revealed that Vazquez had possibly gained entrance into the crawl space above the ceiling from somewhere outside of the building. Maui Police say Vazquez caused damage to the ceiling area of the prisoner processing room and several other ceiling panels in different rooms within the building.

An officer with the newly launched Maui Police Department Crisis Intervention Team, who is specially trained in dealing with mentally ill people, was at the Kihei station and contacted Vasquez before transporting her to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for evaluation.

The Real “Billy the Kid”


The Real “Billy the Kid”
The only known authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid in 1879.
The only known authenticated photograph of William Bonny aka Billy the Kid in 1879.

Ancient Mound Built in Record Time

The largest mound at Poverty Point, La. may have been built in a few months or less, approximately 3,200 years ago. 

Spring May Spring Earlier in Northern Forests

The yearly south-to-north wave of spring green may begin weeks earlier due to continually warming temperatures. 

The Russians: "Human DNA can be changed and rearranged with spoken words and phrases"

Telepathy, remote healing and Einstein-Rosen bridges:
Our DNA stores data like a computer’s memory system. Not only that, but our genetic code uses grammar rules and syntax in a way that closely mirrors human language! They also found that even the structuring of DNA-alkaline pairs follows a regular grammar and has set rules. It appears that all human languages are simply verbalizations of our DNA. Most astounding of all, the team discovered that living human DNA can be changed and rearranged with spoken words and phrases. The key to changing DNA with words and phrases is in using the right frequency. Through the application of modulated radio and light frequencies, the Russians were able to influence cellular metabolism and even remedy genetic defects. The team achieved incredible results using vibration and language.
This is much better SF than Deepak Chopra ever wrote.

Buried Antarctic Lake Yields Hints of Life

Water retrieved from subglacial Lake Whillans contains tiny cells that responded to DNA-sensitive dye.

Random Photo

Vintage Auto Advertising by Nigel Smuckatelli on Flickr.

How scientists documented the extinction of a sub-species of Indian rhino

How do we know when a species no longer exists in a given area? The process, as explained by Brian Switek, is grimly fascinating. Scientists used dogs to find piles of rhino poop between October of 2009 and April of 2010. They found 22 dung piles, but DNA analysis showed that 17 of those belonged to a single rhino. After that rhino was killed by poachers, the rhino footprints vanished and no new piles of scat appeared.

Dog found in New Mexico reunited with Kentucky owner

Mandi Smith, of Fort Campbell, Ky., is reunited with her dog, Pooka, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport in Albuquerque, N.M. The Chihuahua-dachshund mix, also known as a chiweenie, disappeared from her yard 18 months ago and was found wandering the streets 1,200 miles away in Espanola, N.M., in January. The dog was traced to Smith by her microchip, but how she got to New Mexico is a mystery. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)   
Mandi Smith's 5-month-old puppy disappeared from the family's Fort Campbell, Ky., yard 18 months ago. So when Smith got a call saying Pooka had turned up in northern New Mexico, she says she was more than a little surprised. "At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me," the 26-year-old Smith said Wednesday, adding that she played the voicemail from the Espanola Valley Humane Society more than once.
"I thought I'd never see her again."
But it was no joke. The now 2-year-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix, also known as a "chiweenie," was found wandering the streets in Espanola on Jan. 12. She was traced back to her military family by a microchip that Smith says had been installed just days before she went missing.
Smith and the dog were reunited Wednesday at Albuquerque's airport.
Surrounded by cameras and reporters, it was unclear if Pooka recognized Smith. But she clearly looked content to be snuggled in her arms.
Pooka has been staying with a foster mom, Melanie Lopez, who brought the dog to the airport for the reunion. Also on hand was Claudia Inoue, a Santa Fe animal lover who donated Southwest Airlines frequent flier awards to Lopez. Southwest Airlines waived the $75 fee for Smith to carry the dog home on the plane.
Smith says she had Pooka for just four months when she disappeared after the family let her out to do her business.
"I don't know if she got out through a hole in the fence or what," Smith said.
Smith planned to head straight back to Kentucky, where she said the now full-grown dog would be welcomed into a much larger household.
With Pooka missing, Smith got two new dogs, a German Shepherd and a German Shepherd mix, because "I was depressed."
And Smith recently gave birth to a fourth child.
Nina Stively, community outreach manager at the Espanola Valley Humane Society, said Pooka had recently given birth herself and was still nursing when she was found. Attempts to find her puppies were unsuccessful.
The rest of the dog's story and how she traveled more than 1,220 miles to New Mexico, however, will likely forever remain a mystery.
"I have no idea," she said. "And she's not talking."

The Tongue Parasite

Look at who's come to say hello! It's our dear friend, Cymothoa exigua.
Are you facing a lonely Valentine's Day? You'll never be alone again once Cymothoa exigua crawls into your mouth. This parasite will eat and replace your tongue:
When one of these crustaceans encounters a rose snapper, it enters the fish's mouth and steadily devours the fish's tongue. Once it has done this, the crustacean uses hooks on its underside to attach itself to the floor of the fish's mouth and thereafter serves as a replacement tongue (Figure 2.8).
Move over, Laina. You've got competition.

Baby Musk Oxen Are Surprisingly Adorable

The musk ox is an Arctic mammal of the family Bovidae, noted for its thick coat and for the strong odor emitted by males, from which its name derives. Musk oxen primarily live in Arctic Canada and Greenland, with small introduced populations in Sweden, Siberia, Norway and Alaska.

Animal News

The ubiquitous city dwellers descended from Middle Eastern racing pigeons, new DNA studies show. 
Dogs were once prized for their fat content, suggest studies of 2,000-year-old canine burials.
A thought observed channeling through a fish's brain was about -- you guessed it -- food.
The find suggests these parasites may have plagued animals for much longer than previously known.
The discovery of dinosaur feathers is changing the way we look at these prehistoric creatures.

Animal Pictures