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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.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Daily Drift

'Nuff Said!

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Today in History

1607   English colonists land near the James River in Virginia.  
1648   Margaret Jones of Plymouth is found guilty of witchcraft and is sentenced to be hanged.  
1779   The War of Bavarian Succession ends.  
1846   The United States declares war on Mexico after fighting has already begun.  
1861   Britain declares its neutrality in the American Civil War.  
1864   The Battle of Resaca commences as Union General Sherman fights towards Atlanta.  
1888   Slavery is abolished in Brazil.  
1912   The Royal Flying Corps is established in England.  
1913   Igor Sikorsky flies the first four-engine aircraft.  
1944   Allied forces in Italy break through the German Gustav Line into the Liri Valley.  
1958   French troops take control of Algiers.  
1968   Peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam begin in Paris.  
1981   Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt.

Non Sequitur


Acne bacteria to blame for back pain

Your backbone is a column of alternating vertebrae (bones) and intervertebral discs (cushions). The bones provide the strength and support, while the cushion discs allow movement and flexibility. Occasionally, thanks to a mix of age [...]

Did you know

That public opinion may be the one enemy the NRA fears

That in the recovery, the rich gained $5.6 Trillion while the rest of us lost $669 Billion

That the U.N. finds little appreciation for human rights among U.S. businesses

With All of His Advertisers Gone, Lush Dimbulb Becomes A Wingnut Welfare Bum

Lush Dimbulb’s advertisers have deserted him, and the only way his radio remains financially sustainable is by being bankrolled by wingnut organizations. In short, Lush is now taking handouts.
After the news that 48 of Cumulus Media’s top 50 advertisers have requested that their ads no longer appear on Limbaugh’s show, the other shoe dropped. Media Matters reported that, “Lush Dimbulb’s syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, is the single largest independent contractor to the Heritage Foundation according to their latest 990 filing with the IRS, receiving $2,236,555 from the think tank. With advertisers fleeing his show, and as a result radio companies suffering major losses, the fiscal sponsorship of the wingnut movement is now fiscally critical…Without wingnut welfare, which has also included sponsorships from FreedomWorks, Lush Dimbulb and Sean Handjob’s shows would not be financially viable.”
Wingnuts argue that the free market should be left alone. They make entire careers out of “keeping the government out of the free market.” They oppose any government regulation or taxation because it interferes with the free market, but when the free market decided that Lush Dimbulb’s show was not financially sustainable they threw their ideology out the window, and started subsidizing Dimbulb’s program.
What Dimbulb is doing is even worse than welfare. Lush Dimbulb and his fellow wingnut hate speech show hosts are engaging in payola. Groups like FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation spend millions of dollars a year paying the likes of Glenn Brick, Sean Handjob, and Lush Dimbulb to talk up their efforts without disclosing to their audiences that they are being paid to do so. Wingnut hate speech radio is a pay to play business, and thanks to the advertiser boycott, payola is the only thing keeping Lush Dimbulb’s show financially afloat.
The advertiser boycott has been so effective that Lush Dimbulb is living off of corporate welfare.
Lush Dimbulb, who once suggested that poor people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, can’t generate enough advertising revenue for his show to financially sustain itself. The glory days are over for Dimbulb. He is now dependant on the generosity of his fellow ideologues. The same wingnuts who want to defund PBS are secretly slipping Lush Dimbulb cash under the table.
If Big Bird should be subjected to the whims of the free market, Lush Dimbulb should too.
Thanks to the advertiser boycott, Lush Dimbulb’s show is in worse shape than anybody thought.

Even repugicans Are Destroying Their Own cabal’s Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, himself a repugican, mocked repugicans on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday for their criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi, saying they had a “cartoonish” impression of military capabilities.
Sunday, May 12
Gates also scoffed at the idea that the State Department engaged in a cover up to protect Hillary Clinton. When asked, his answer was a definitive, “No.”
He continued, “I worked with Secretary Clinton pretty closely for two and a half years, and I wouldn’t want to try and be somebody… trying to convince her to say something she did not think was true.”
Watch here via CBS:
Gates, who was appointed by the shrub but stayed on for two years at Obama’s request, said that some critics of the administration have a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”
Gates was not impressed with repugican criticism, “It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm’s way, and there just wasn’t time to do that.”
Since the only people screaming about Benghazi are Republicans with a political agenda, Gates was calling repugican ideas about the military “cartoonish.”
Gates fiercely defended the administration. He shot down the many repugican suggestions for how things should have been handled during the Benghazi attack, “Frankly, had I been in the job at the time, I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were. We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible. I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances.”
Gates made the critics look like children playing war games when he pointed out that their suggestion to send a small number of special forces troops in without knowing what the threat is would have been “very dangerous.” Gates explained that the critics’ suggestions were ridiculous, because sending special forces in without “knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, would have been very dangerous.”
As a repugican, Gates strident defense of the administration and scathing dismissal of the repugican criticism carries more weight than if he were a Democrat. As a Democrat, fair or not, he could be dismissed as playing the partisan. This is a moment when Obama’s strategy of reaching across the aisle to repugicans and appointing or keeping on several key repugicans is paying off.
Gates, a former Air Force Officer, is an unimpeachable source for how to handle a situation like Benghazi. In 1974, he served on the National Security Council. He worked for 26 years in the CIA and he served under President George H. W. Bush as the Director of Central Intelligence. In 2008, U.S. News & World Report named him one of America’s Best Leaders. He knows more than the Congressional pipsqueak chicken hawks whinging about how their G.I. Joe would have handled Benghazi. He’s actually been in charge in similar situations, he understands the complexities of gathering intelligence.
Any day now, someone is going to ask House repugicans about their strutting talk of defunding of Libya, which led to their own party rebuking them. Or maybe they’ll be asked about their defunding of security. Or maybe someone will ask John McCain if he knew ahead of time about the security issues in Benghazi as he claimed, why didn’t he say something. Or maybe someone will ask repugicans how the sequester is impacting our ability to protect ourselves at home and abroad, given their efforts to defund the government on the day of the Boston bombing.
It’s called overplaying your hand.

The truth be told

Sunday, May 12

New law will fix the DMCA, make jailbreaking, unlocking and interoperability legal ...

... your help needed!

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Thomas Massie (r-KY) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) have introduced a landmark technology bill called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 [PDF] that reforms the way our devices our regulated. It fixes a glaring hole in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), changing the rules so that you are allowed to remove restrictions and locks from your devices provided that you don't violate other laws (as it stands, removing a lock, even to do something legal, like installing unapproved software on your iPhone or change carriers, is banned by the DMCA). The bill clarifies that security researchers don't violate the law by publishing information about flaws in the devices we trust and depend upon, and makes it legal to break "lock-out codes" that stop mechanics from fixing cars.
This is a watershed moment in 21st century technology law, and it's desperately needed. Every day that goes by sees us more dependent on devices that are increasingly designed to be as opaque as possible -- devices made by companies whose business-model treats customers as adversaries who undermine profits when they turn to third parties for software, repairs and services. It is only the presence of the terrible rules in the DMCA that makes this business attractive -- without these rules, technology locks would be quickly broken in the marketplace and competition -- as well as transparency -- would thrive. If you want to be sure that the devices that fill your rooms, your pockets -- and increasingly, your body -- are well-behaved and trustworthy, please support this bill.
FixTheDMCA.org and a broad coalition of groups are calling on Americans to write to their representatives in support of this bill. Until now, almost all technology activism has been reactive, fighting against bad rules. We finally have the chance to make some good rules, to establish a positive agenda for freedom, trustworthiness and transparency in the devices that form the nervous system of the 21st century.
"The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013" has 3 parts: - It amends Section 1201 to make it clear that it is completely legal to "circumvent" if there is no copyright infringement.
- It legalizes tools and services that enable circumvention as long as they are intended for non-infringing uses.
- It changes Copyright Law to specify that unlocking cell phones is not copyright infringement.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

US State Department orders removal of Defense Distributed's printable gun designs

The US State Department has ordered Defense Distributed to take down the designs for a working 3D printed gun, citing export control rules set out in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson is appealing, and says that ITAR does not apply to "non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities" -- though this carve out is for works stored in a library. Wilson's appeal may turn, then, on whether the Internet is a library for the purposes of this regulation. In the meantime, the designs are still up on The Pirate Bay, and are for sale in printed form in an Austin bookseller. More than 100,000 copies of the designs were downloaded from Defense Distributed's servers in the brief time that they were online.
“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” reads the letter, referring to a list of ten CAD files hosted on Defcad that include the 3D-printable gun, silencers, sights and other pieces. “This means that all data should be removed from public acces immediately. Defense Distributed should review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any other data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”
Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas in Austin, says that Defense Distributed will in fact take down its files until the State Department has completed its review. “We have to comply,” he says. “All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers.”
Wilson's project is raising some important legal questions, such as whether design files can be considered expressive speech under the First Amendment, and whether the Internet is a library. The question of code-as-speech was famously considered in the Bernstein case, where strong crypto was legalized. However, as we discovered in the 2600 case, judges are less charitably inclined to code-as-speech arguments when they're advanced by non-academics, especially those with counter-culture stances.
Impact litigation -- where good precedents overturn bad rules -- is greatly assisted by good facts and good defendants. I would much rather the Internet-as-library question be ruled on in a less emotionally overheated realm than DIY guns.

Bike lanes led to 49% increase in retail sales

Back in November 2012, the New York Department of Transportation released a report called Measuring the Street: New Metrics for the 21st Century, which had some compelling figures on the way that local business benefits from bike-lanes, for the fairly obvious reason that cyclists find it easy to stop and shop, as compared to drivers, who are more likely to continue on to a mall with a big parking lot, or shop online.
In many ways, these data come as no surprise. We know that when towns invest in bicycle infrastructure, people will ride more — the number of people traveling by bicycle increases when there is infrastructure to make traveling by bike safe and easy.
We also know that people who travel along a street by bicycle have fewer barriers to stopping at a local business than people who travel along the same street by car. It's very easy to hop off a bicycle and find a place to secure the bike; not so with finding parking for an automobile. In fact, a recent study suggest that bicycle riders tend to spend more at local businesses over the course of a month.
This new study makes it clear: investing in bicycle improvements boosts small businesses. And what town or city doesn't want to boost activity at local businesses?

Man blew up family home after wife and children went on picnic without him

A Polish man was critically injured after he decided to blow up his house when he realized his wife and children had gone on a picnic without him.

Czeslaw Kaminski, 69, was so incensed when he woke to find a note from his wife to say that she had gone away for the day with the children that he decided to destroy the family home to teach her a lesson.

But after lighting a fire in the basement and throwing two gas cylinders on top of the property in the village of Chechlo Drugie near Lodz in central Poland, he failed to leave in time and was caught in the blast when the house was blown to smithereens. He was taken to hospital by an air ambulance where his condition was described as critical.

Hospital spokesman Bozena Kozanecka said he was in a coma in intensive care. The man’s wife Grazyna said: "He called me on the mobile home and demanded that I go home, but when I refused he said he was going to get revenge. I did not take him seriously and then I returned home to find this." Neighbors said that the couple's relationship was excitable and that there were often heated arguments.

Woman accused of slapping police officer so she could be jailed and forced to stop smoking

A woman apparently took an extreme measure to try to quit smoking, and it got her arrested. Etta Lopez, 31, is charged with assaulting a police officer.

"It was totally unprovoked," Deputy Matt Campoy said. Out of nowhere, a woman purposefully blocked his way as he left his shift at the Sacramento County Jail, California. "All of a sudden she stepped into me and slapped me in the face," he said.

According to deputies, Lopez knew she'd immediately be arrested, and slapped a cop to kick a habit. Lopez allegedly admitted she sat in front of the county jail for hours intent on assaulting an officer to get arrested and be put in jail, where she would be forced to stop smoking cigarettes.

"There's easier ways to stop smoking besides hitting a cop," Roger Spearman, a neighbor, said. The neighbor Lopez says she does smoke a lot, and they used to smoke together. "I have not heard of something like that before," Kimberly Bankston-Lee with the anti-smoking group Breathe California said. "If it led somebody to doing something like that to quit, that lets us know in the community that we have a real problem."

Fart in the face led to knife fight

It started when he farted. A woman from Immokalee, Florida, who is accused of throwing a kitchen knife at her longtime boyfriend told detectives she became angry when he passed gas in her face while they were watching TV on Tuesday night.

Deborah Ann Burns, 37, said when she confronted her 53-year-old boyfriend about the flatulence he told her to “shut up.” The two began arguing and at some point ended up in the kitchen, deputies reported. The boyfriend was later found outside the home with a small knife wound to his stomach.

Burns told detectives her boyfriend was the one who wielded the knife, but he told deputies it was Burns who threw the 8-inch kitchen knife at his stomach. The victim said Burns then left through the back door, but shortly returned to the front door in an attempt to get back inside the home.

The couple’s fight continued to escalate, with Burns eventually picking up a stick and hitting her boyfriend’s arm. She ran away from the home before deputies arrived, but they later found her. Burns is being held at the Naples Jail Center on a $50,000 bond, facing a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.


Sunday, May 12

Study finds brain system for emotional self-control

Different brain areas are activated when we choose to suppress an emotion, compared to when we are instructed to inhibit an emotion, according a new study from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Ghent [...]


Trading high-fat food for carbs increases alertness during the day, a new study finds.

Why Mango Is Good For You

Mangoes contain a store of phenolic and carotenoid compounds (gallotannins, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and more) that seem to offer some protection against several types of cancer. Vitamin A and beta-carotene in mango can boost your eye health, while vitamin B6 helps control homocysteine in the blood.

High levels of this amino acid are associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The soluble fibre in mangoes slows down the release of sugar into your blood, but mangoes are sweet, so not the best fruit choice for slimmers.

Why are barns red?

If you've ever spent much time in American farm country, then you've probably noticed that there's a strong tradition there of coating barns and outbuildings with red paint. Why?
Because nuclear fusion.
Okay, the actual answer is simply because red paint has long been a cheap color to buy. But, explains Google engineer Yonatan Zunger, there is some really interesting physics lurking in the background of that price point.
What makes a cheap pigment? Obviously, that it’s plentiful. The red pigment that makes cheap paint is red ochre, which is just iron and oxygen. These are incredibly plentiful: the Earth’s crust is 6% iron and 30% oxygen. Oxygen is plentiful and affects the color of compounds it’s in by shaping them, but the real color is determined by the d-electrons of whatever attaches to it: red from iron, blues and greens from copper, a beautiful deep blue from cobalt, and so on. So if we know that good pigments will all come from elements in that big d-block in the middle, the real question is, why is one of these elements, iron, so much more common than all of the others? Why isn’t our world made mostly of, say, copper, or vanadium?
The answer, again, is nuclear fusion.
You can read the full story on Zunger's Google+ page. In my experience, white is another really common barn color, due to the fact that whitewash — a paint made from calcium hydroxide and chalk (which is also calcium) — is way cheap, as well. Calcium is also one of the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust ... clocking in at number 5, right under iron in the top 10. I'm sure there's some different science that accounts for the high concentrations of calcium on our planet, but the same principal applies. Cheap paint is paint made with abundant (and easily accessible) elements. And abundant elements happen because of physics.

Plague Helped Bring Down Roman Empire

The cause of the Justinianic Plague appears to be settled through new DNA evidence.

Lost Lands Found by Scientists

Atlantis was a myth, but real-life lost lands do exist. A submersible takes a rock sample from the seafloor near Brazil.
A manned research submersible takes a rock sample from the seafloor near Brazil. 

by Ker Than  
 A lost continent off the coast of Brazil may have been found, scientists announced this week.
Granite boulders dredged from the seafloor off the coast of South America two years ago could be remnants of a long-vanished continent, according to Roberto Ventura Santos, the geology director of Brazil's Geology Service.
"This could be the Brazilian Atlantis," Santos told reporters, adding that he was speaking metaphorically and not claiming to have found the legendary sunken world. "Obviously, we don't expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic," he said.
Santos and his team speculated that the granite—a relatively low-density rock found in continental crust—belonged to a continent that was submerged when Africa and South America drifted apart and formed the Atlantic Ocean about 100 million years ago.
But Michael Wysession, an Earth and planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, noted that granite can find its way onto the seafloor through other means. "There are pieces of granite in the middle of the seafloor that date to about 800 million years ago when we had a snowball Earth scenario and there were large pieces of rock embedded in ice rafts"—mobile glaciers, essentially—"all over the ocean," explained Wysession, who was not part of the discovery. "As those ice rafts were melting, large blocks of rock dropped down all over the seafloor."
Wysession thinks that because the ocean floor has been extensively mapped with satellites, it is unlikely that evidence for any major lost continent will be found. "There's nothing that big that's hidden down there," he said.
The Atlantis-like lost, hidden, or fantastic world is a common theme in fiction. There are J. R. R. Tolkein's Middle Earth and James Hilton's Shangri-La, not to mention Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. The original lost land, Atlantis, was first mentioned by Plato around 360 B.C. According to Plato, Atlantis sank into the earth and drowned beneath the seas. Real continents rarely disappear in such dramatic fashion. "Continents by definition are made of low-density rock and cannot be subducted deep into the earth," explained Staci Loewy, a geologist at the University of Texas at Austin.
Nonetheless, there are real "lost lands" like the Brazilian "Atlantis" that have disappeared from view because of rising seas or the geological upheavals of plate tectonics and erosion. "Parts of continents can be worn down by erosion, and fragments can be broken off and isolated as microcontinents when larger continents break apart," Loewy said.
Here are some actual "lost lands" discovered by science.
A supercontinent believed to have formed around 300 million years ago, Pangaea was an enormous landmass that later broke up to eventually form the continents we know today.
Scientists now think several other supercontinents—such as Kenorland, Columbia, and Rodinia—existed before Pangaea, but the shapes of these ancient land masses are unclear.
Rodinia, for example, was a supercontinent thought to have been formed about one billion years ago; it's believed that it subsequently broke apart to form Pangaea.
"Those pieces are now part of the modern continents, but they have been significantly altered by one billion years of plate tectonics and erosion such that reconstructing the supercontinent of Rodinia is very difficult," explained Loewy.
While they appear stationary, Earth's landmasses shift around over geologic time, carried across the planet's surface by the slow, grinding movement of enormous, shell-like plates.
"The surface of the earth is made up of a rigid layer called the lithosphere; the lithosphere is broken into numerous pieces referred to as tectonic plates," Loewy explained.
"These plates move around the surface of the Earth, colliding into each other, creating mountains such as the Himalaya and Andes; pulling apart from each other, creating volcanic ridges in the middle of oceans like the mid-Atlantic Ridge; and sliding past each other, such as in the San Andreas Fault in California."
Scientists earlier this year announced that they had found evidence of a drowned "microcontinent" off the coast of Africa, near the island of Mauritius.
Sand grains from Mauritius's beaches were found to contain fragments of the mineral zircon that were between 660 and 2 billion years old—far older than the island itself.
One theory is that the sand grains are remnants of Mauritia, a lost microcontinent that once existed off the coast of Africa and which was submerged when India broke apart from Madagascar about 85 million years ago.
Microcontinents are shards of land broken off from continents and supercontinents. The distinctions among the three aren't clear-cut, however, and labeling a landmass a continent or microcontinent can be arbitrary since there are no precise size requirements for each term.
New Zealand, for example, is actually part of a large continental structure that includes the Campbell Plateau. "It's not all that different in size from Australia, but because most of it is underwater, we call Australia a continent and New Zealand an island," Wysession said.
Microcontinents can also merge into larger structures. For example, "the north African edge of the supercontinent Gondwana broke up into slices like the pieces of an apple, and each of those [microcontinents] moved north to form southern Europe," explained Louis Jacobs, a paleontologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Though Asia and North America are now separated by a thin strait, it is very shallow—about 150 feet (46 meters) deep—and when sea levels are low, such as during ice ages, the two continents are connected by a land bridge known as Beringia.
According to a controversial theory, humans heading east after leaving Asia some 40,000 years ago found their way blocked by glaciers and were forced to settle in Beringia for thousands of years until conditions thawed enough for them to continue to North America.
Less contentious is the theory "that the Clovis people came over from Siberia to North America about 14,000 years ago," Wysession said.
Scotland's Hidden Landscape
In 2011, geologists studying ocean-mapping data stumbled upon a previously unknown landscape now buried beneath more than a mile of marine sediment off the coast of Scotland.
The hidden landscape, which had an estimated area of about 3,861 square miles (10,000 square kilometers), had furrows cut by rivers and peaks that were once part of mountains.
Scientists think it was briefly elevated above the waves by geological processes about 55 million years ago but became submerged again after about 2.5 million years.

Awesome Pictures

Earth News

Sometimes the fiercest, hottest flames can leave behind cool soils.
Very specific mineral and metal particles high in the atmosphere cause the formation of cirrus clouds.

There's 400 ppm carbon dioxide?

In my atmosphere?
It's true. Although the real concern in climate science is average concentrations of carbon dioxide over much longer periods of time, surpassing the 400 ppm mark, even for a day, is a historic milestone. 400 ppm was once a level we talked about avoiding altogether through mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Now, it's a reminder that we're not really doing anything to circumvent the steady increase in global carbon dioxide concentrations and global average temperature.
At 400 parts per million, we are far beyond what's natural or even what's been seen since humans evolved.

Hearing the Russian Meteor, in America

Sound Arrived in 10 Hours, Lasted 10 More How powerful was February’s meteor that crashed into Russia? Strong enough that its explosive entry into our atmosphere was detected almost 6,000 miles away in Lilburn, Ga., [...]

The waters of the Moon

There is water on the Moon. We've known that since 2009 and we keep finding evidence of more of the stuff. That's not the really fascinating part about this article by Joseph Stromberg. Instead, there two really cool things that you should learn: 1) The water on the Moon probably came from Earth and 2) the water on the Earth probably came from outer space

Plants Talk to Each Other Using Underground Fungus Network

Plant rhizomes
If you think it's weird that plants can "talk" to one another, here's something even weirder: one way they talk to one another is via a network of underground fungus!
Many plants have a chemical armory that they deploy when aphids attack, with chemicals that both repel the aphids and attract parasitic wasps that are aphids' natural predators.
The team grew sets of five broad bean plants, allowing three in each group to develop mycorrhizal networks, and preventing the networks' growth in the other two.
To prevent any through-the-air chemical communication, the plants were covered with bags.
As the researchers allowed single plants in the sets to be infested with aphids, they found that if the infested plant was connected to another by the mycorrhizae, the un-infested plant began to mount its chemical defense.
Those unconnected by the networks appeared not to receive the signal of attack, and showed no chemical response.

Deep-Sea Methane Ecosystem Found in Atlantic

Deep-sea explorers recently discovered a methane-based ecosystem nearly one mile beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Few of these methane-munching ecosystems have been found along the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Animal News

"I was almost eaten by a hippo"

Hippopotamuses — big, lumbery, and related to whales — are described as being "mostly herbivorous". They are also MUCH faster than they look. And they are one of the most aggressive animals you'll ever meet. This combination of traits created an incredibly harrowing experience for river guide Paul Templer. — 

The rogue reptiles of the River Thames

The Fortean Times' Neil Arnold surveys the current monstrous inhabitants of the Thames and its tributaries, and the not-so-cryptozoological creatures that they might turn out to be: "There have even been reports of alligators." 

Animal Pictures