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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, June 3, 2013

The Daily Drift

Yeah, it's kinda like that today

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Today in History

1098   Christian Crusaders of the First Crusade seize Antioch, Turkey.  
1539   Hernando De Soto claims Florida for Spain.  
1861   Union troops defeat Confederate forces at Philippi, in western Virginia  
1864   Some 7,000 Union troops are killed within 30 minutes during the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia. 1888   The classic baseball poem "Casey at the Bat," written by Ernest L. Thayer, is published in the San Francisco Examiner.  
1918   The Finnish Parliament ratifies a treaty with Germany.  
1923   In Italy, dictator Benito Mussolini grants women the right to vote.  
1928   Manchurian warlord Chian Tso-Lin dies as a result of a bomb blast set off by the Japanese.  
1938   The German Third Reich votes to confiscate so-called "degenerate art."  
1940   The German Luftwaffe hits Paris with 1,100 bombs.  
1942   Japanese carrier-based planes strafe Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands as a diversion of the attack on Midway Island.  
1952   A rebellion by North Korean prisoners in the Koje prison camp in South Korea is put down by American troops.  
1965   Astronaut Edward White becomes the first American to walk in space when he exits the Gemini 4 space capsule.  
1969   74 American sailors died when the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans was cut in two by an Australian aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.  
1974   Charles Colson, an aide to President Richard Nixon, pleads guilty to obstruction of justice.  
1989   The Chinese government begins its crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Hundreds are killed and thousands are arrested. 

Non Sequitur


Former presidential yacht to dock on NC coast

A former presidential yacht dating to the 1930s is stopping in North Carolina to go on display.
The Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is scheduled to host dockside tours of the Honey Fitz on Saturday. Proceeds from the tours benefit the Friends of the Museum.
The 92-foot Honey Fitz was christened in 1931, passed from private hands to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942. It saw service during World War II. President Dwight Eisenhower renamed it the Barbara Anne.
When John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, he renamed the presidential yacht Honey Fitz. It was the nickname of his maternal grandfather. It was sold during the Nixon administration and has been in private hands ever since

Did you know ...

About the high school student suspended for criticizing school administration on twitter

About why people are addicted to conspiracy theories

About the outrageous attacks on supporters of church-state separation

That's leadership for you ...

"Grover Norquist is a Muslim because he has a beard"

So says the former chair of the Texas repugican cabal

Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum (a religio-wingnut group), and former chairwoman of the Texas repugican cabal, said in a presentation at a tea party meeting that repugican cabal anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is a secret muslim because, among other things, he sports a beard.
Grover Norquist is trouble with a capital T. As you can see, he has a beard. And he’s showing signs of converting to islam himself, he’s married a muslim woman. But he denies that he’s converted himself.
What is wrong with these people?  This woman shouldn’t have been allowed with 100 feet of the chairmanship of their cabal.  And for the Texas tea party to be proudly disseminating this video only goes to show the ongoing racism that’s in that movement as well as the religio-wingnuts and the repugican cabal.

And these people wonder why they can’t win elections.

Behind Their 'Patriotic' Disguise The tea party Behaves Like The American Taliban They Are

During the shrub junta, there was a lot of talk about patriotism any time a question arose about the legitimacy of the Iraq war, and the implication was that questioning the shrub junta was unpatriotic because a real patriot is someone who feels strong support for his or her country regardless the leader’s deceit in taking a nation to war based on lies. Early in President Obama’s first term, the Koch brothers, neo-conservatives, and the repugican cabal took advantage of racial animus for the African American President and funded a so-called “grassroots” movement of alleged patriots who, within months of the President’s swearing in, complained they were overtaxed and suffering tyranny. The teabaggers, as they called themselves, immediately claimed they were patriots and any opposition to their agenda was tantamount to Marxism or Nazism and they demanded to take “their country” back to when a white man inhabited the Oval Office. However, there is nothing remotely resembling patriotism in teabagger ranks, and as time went on a pattern developed that linked teabaggers to the Taliban and it did not take long for them to threaten violence to impose their will.
The concept of threatening, calling for, and inciting violence against the government has never been part of being a patriotic American, but there has been no dearth of violent threats from conservative malcontents that make up the majority of teabaggers. Recently, another instance of a teabagger calling for gun violence was reported over a repugican senator’s vote for immigration reform, and it is becoming an all too common occurrence unique to the so-called patriot group that throughout its existence threatened violence and armed insurrection to control the direction of the government. Threatening to use force to impose their will is not limited to disaffected racists, and has been embraced by teabag leaders since the anti-American group came into existence.
Whether it was Sarah Palin telling her sycophants to “don’t retreat, reload,” Michelle Bachmann calling for Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous,”  or Sharon Angle citing “second Amendment remedies” against Congress for not acquiescing to teabagger demands, it is always and only teabaggers calling for violence against their “enemies” in government.  Throughout their short existence, repugicans were on the sidelines inciting teabaggers with time-tested tactics of fear-mongering with outright lies. Throughout the healthcare reform debate, John Boehner led repugican assertions that the Affordable Care Act was “government takeover of your healthcare,” and in January Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent out a frightening email to gun owners warning that “You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment, on your rights, on your freedom; they’re coming for your guns.”
These so-called patriots, the teabaggers, justify their outrage and threats of violence with claims that President Obama is destroying America and it is the greatest proof they are as stupid as they are un-American. During the healthcare reform debate and during their rallies, teabaggers claimed they were “taxed enough already” and “came unarmed this time” despite the President just gave them a tax cut in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus). After shrub-repugicans assisted the banking industry to tank the economy and destroy Americans’ jobs, retirement accounts, and thousands of small businesses, the President righted the economy, created millions of jobs, saved the American automobile industry, increased gas production, and presided over record corporate and Wall Street profits only to be accused of destroying the economy and giving teabags justification to threaten violence to take the country back to economic devastation under repugican rule
For the past two-and-a-half years, teabaggers in Congress openly touted shutting down the government, letting the economy “fall off the fiscal cliff and see what it’s like,” and default on the nation’s debt despite their un-American policies would send the nation into a depression. One of teabaggers’ claims of patriotism is adhering closely to the framers’ intent in writing the Constitution and opposing everything President Obama supports as unconstitutional with no basis in fact, and yet the only part of the Constitution they recognize as valid is the 2nd and 10th Amendments that incite them to pass nullification laws and threaten civil, race, or revolutionary war. Calls for insurrection against the government pre-dated attempts to enact gun safety measures, and as part of their lunacy to revisit the American Revolutionary War, teabaggers decried President Obama’s policies as tyranny that repugicans in Congress are too happy to endorse as truth. Teabaggers have cited the IRS investigation into their perjury on “social welfare” applications and illegal campaign donations as Obama tyranny, but their cries of tyranny are little more than criminals playing the victim card when their dubious practices are revealed.
Teabaggers are not patriots; they are the tea party Taliban. No other group in America openly threatens violent insurrection against the legally elected government of the United States, passes nullifications laws, supports theocracy, and no patriot calls for assassinating elected representatives for their votes. The repugicans are just as culpable for not tamping down threats and calls for revolution or civil war, and openly advocating for armed revolutionif President Obama won re-election.” There is a reason teabag leaders advocate for armed resistance against the federal government and it is because they know their followers are bound to take them seriously and begin an uprising to overthrow the government evident in gun zealots stockpiling weapons and ammunition to defend themselves against government tyranny they never claimed during the shrub junta, and it exposes their real anti-American bent is racial animus. Teabaggers were content with millions of jobs lost, a decimated economy, and unnecessary wars so long as a white man was president, but they became uber-patriots fighting tyranny when an African American was elected President.
The tea party is no more patriotic to America than Osama bin Laden was, and their desire to see this government fail is only matched by their incessant threats to “take America back” to the 1770s when the country was under tyrannical English rule. Teabaggers feel strong support for America, but it is an America that never existed and unrelated to 2008 when their worst nightmare came true; the people elected an African American President. After he saved the economy, cut spending, created jobs, and cut taxes that most Americans believed earned him a second term, the tea party Taliban threatened more violence, stocked their armories, and prepare for revolutionary war.

Reality is ...


We don't need no stinkin' guber'mint!

Yeah, baby, 'cause those big corporations are lookin' out for us every day.

From "In These Times"

Mississippi Lavishes $1.3 Billion in Subsidies on Nissan as Workers Get the Shaft

Thirteen years after Japan-based automaker Nissan chose the small, impoverished community of Canton, Miss., as the site of a new auto-assembly plant, a just-released study shows that the company is failing to deliver on its promise of high-wage job creation in Mississippi-while at the same time draining the state of revenue used to pay for a massive package of subsidies.

According to a study released on Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based research group Good Jobs First, the citizens of Mississippi-which ranks dead last among U.S. states in median household income-are bestowing an estimated $1.33 billion in subsidies on Nissan over a 30-year period for the privilege of hosting the factory.


According to the incentive package to which Mississippi and Nissan agreed in 2000 and modified as Nissan added more jobs, Nissan jobs were to start at a minimum of 125 percent of the state or county average-whichever was lower-before rising to 150 percent of the average in the surrounding county.

But "[s]tate auditor reports did not address the issue of wage rates," the Good Job First report notes critically.  With no monitoring, Nissan's wages initially started at $13.25 an hour for the first two years of employment as preliminary work at the plant began in 2001, only slightly above the state average of $12.64 or the Madison county average of $12.88.

Pay for full-time workers has stagnated at around $22 an hour over the past five years, although Nissan is promising an increase later this year. However, the overall wage average is pulled down by the large contingent of part-timers making $9.25 to $12 an hour. These workers, hired from temporary agencies rather than Nissan itself, now comprise 35 percent to 40 percent of the Canton workforce, according to worker estimates.

Oh, The stupid - it hurts

From Think Progress

Exxon CEO: 'What Good Is It To Save The Planet If Humanity Suffers?'

At Wednesday's meeting for ExxonMobil shareholders in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson told those assembled that an economy that runs on oil is here to stay, and cutting carbon emissions would do no good.

He asked, "What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?"

One good would be that humanity has a habitable place to live. And in acting to stop the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change, we could avoid a great deal of suffering. Tillerson missed the billions of dollars in damages, thousands of lives lost, millions displaced, and rampant ecological destruction due to the carbon emissions that cause climate change.

US embassy warns about visiting Egypt’s pyramids of Giza

A stern warning from the US embassy in Cairo about visiting Egypt’s famed pyramids of Giza is not good news for the Egyptian economy, which depends on foreign tourism.  Giza is the site of the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid.
The US embassy has issued a warning for American tourists to avoid the pyramids of Giza at night, and only go if they’re with a “recommended or trusted guide,” because large crowds of people are surrounding and terrorizing cars of tourists, possibly to extort money out of them.
In recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy has become aware of an increasing number of incidents at or near the Giza Pyramids. The majority of these incidents are attributed to over-aggressive vendors, though the degree of aggressiveness in some cases is closer to criminal conduct. Other more serious incidents have been reported involving vehicles nearing the Pyramids, with angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding on the vehicles – and in some cases attempting to open the vehicle’s doors. While the motive is less clear (possibly related to carriage operators wanting fares), it has severely frightened several visitors. A common theme from many of these reports is the lack of visible security or police in the vicinity of the Pyramids. U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the Pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables.
While expats in the region say that the US embassy often “overblows” the threat, in this case, the associate provost at the American University in Cairo, said the threat was warranted, and he issued an even sterner warning on his blog:
It’s getting really bad out there. I’ve been going off and on for 13 years, whenever a visitor is in town. So I’m pretty tough when it comes to dealing with the normal scams to which my tourist friends are subjected at the Pyramids. I’ve dealt with corrupt police, and I’ve dealt with a jerk Bedouin pretending to become very angry when I told him $100 for my friend to ride a camel for 15 minutes was ridiculous (he grabbed my shirt and screamed theatrically in my face as a police officer laughed nearby).
Egypt, Pyramids, Giza, Middle East
The Great Sphinx’s face with a set of pyramids in the background and a beautiful purple sunset sky day in Giza, Cairo, Egypt
So, it’s not like I’m easily scared by anything that happens at the Pyramids, that repository for all of Egypt’s most villainous swindlers (every nation has some). But in recent months it has become almost unbearable. It feels almost like an openly criminal environment now. The problem is not only “lack of visible security,” but in some cases the security are either working with the vendors on their scams, or are sexually harassing female foreigners quite openly, even those who are obviously accompanied by their husbands.
In short, if you visit Egypt in the near future, don’t even think of going to the Pyramids unless you’re on a large organized bus tour. Anything else is a big risk, for now. And the World Economic Forum recently ranked Egypt last among travel destinations in terms of safety.
[T]he evaluation of the safety and security environment has dropped to the lowest position of all countries covered in the Report (140th).
This is awful news for Egypt’s tourist industry, that’s suffered over the years, first from terrorism, then from the recent political unrest.  All of this led to fewer tourists:
Tourist numbers have fallen, from 14 million in 2010 to 10.2 million in 2011, and 10.5 million for 2012. The good news is that, after a sluggish start, total numbers for 2012 picked up with a strong surge toward the end of the year.
Tourism is a huge part of the Egyptian economy.  CNN reports that the tourism industry employs 18 million people in Egypt, which is an insane number.  And tourism brought in more than $10 billion in 2012.  So the news of the pyramids becoming increasingly unsafe, and the guards being either in cahoots with the criminals, or simply not caring, isn’t going to help.

Father Found Guilty After Son Accidentally Shot, Killed Brother

A Minneapolis father whose 4-year-old son found a gun in the home and accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother with it has been found guilty on four criminal counts, including two counts each of manslaughter and child endangerment.
(credit: Hennepin County)Before last December’s incident, 31-year-old Kao Xiong left one of his semi-automatic hand guns under his pillow, which is where the 4-year-old found it. Xiong and his wife were apparently making lunch in the lower level of the house when the accidental shooting happened.
Prosecutors said that the pistol was used in the shooting lacked a working safety and was one of several weapons police found improperly stored in the home.
On Friday, a jury acquitted Xiong of one count of gross misdemeanor child endangerment.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called it a “tragic case” and recognized the struggle to balance the family’s grief over the loss of the young child and the violation of the law that resulted in his death.
There was an effort on both sides to work out a plea bargain, but they weren’t able to reach one.
Aside from the gun that killed the child, investigators found three handguns, three bolt-action rifles and a semi-automatic rifle in the home. Xiong told police he is an avid hunter.

Lost airport teddy bear 'seeks' owner

Bristol Airport is trying to find the owner of an antique teddy bear left in a carrier bag within the departure lounge over a year ago. Staff said the bear, who they believe is called Glyn, was found with an old photograph dated 1918, and other items.

On the reverse of the photograph - sent to "our darling daddy" - it names the children and Glyn the bear. Airport police and security have tried to trace the passenger but to no avail, and are now asking the public for help.

Airport spokeswoman Jacqui Mills said it was obvious Glyn had been "well loved" for many years. "Glyn's temporary home is by my desk, but he needs to find his family," she added. "During the last 14 months we had been hopeful that the search would result in Glyn being reunited to his family.

"We have not been successful in this search and have drawn a blank, we would be delighted if anyone can help solve the mystery of Glyn." Anyone with information is asked to contact Bristol Airport.

Legendary Atari cartridge dump to be excavated

http://uploads.neatorama.com/images/posts/190/62/62190/1370118914-0.jpgAfter producing too many copies of its infamously terrible E.T. game, Atari dumped the unsold inventory in a remote New Mexico landfill. Thirty years on, the local authorities have greenlighted an excavation to see exactly what's down there.

The Best Way to Win an Argument?

shoutingAre you having trouble persuading people to your point of view? Express yourself more stridently. That's what researchers at Washington State University discovered. Victoria Woollaston of the Daily Mail writes:
They analysed more than a billion tweets posted during various American sporting events, including the 2013 Super Bowl, to the test whether being accurate or being confident made Twitter users more popular.
Despite professional pundits and amateur fans making a similar amount of correct and incorrect predictions, the tweeters who 'yelled' louder were seen as more trustworthy and had more followers.
To test the theory, two economic students from the university studied the language used by sports pundits who often 'yell' for attention.
Jadrien Wooten and Ben Smith compared the tweets of professional pundits - celebrities with verified Twitter accounts - with amateur tweeters that claimed to have some sports expertise in their bio. […]
Words like 'vanquish,' 'destroy' and 'annihilate' posted in Tweets were considered to be confident words.
The researchers used these confident words in place of being able to measure loudness online.
The research found that the professionals were correct with their predictions 47 per cent of the time.
Whereas the amateurs made accurate predictions in 45 per cent of cases.
However, the professionals were more confident, scoring a .480 confidence rating compared to the amateurs' .313.
If a professional pundit accurately predicted every game of the baseball playoffs and series, the authors estimated his or her Twitter following would increase 3.4 per centr
While an amateur would get 7.3 per cent more followers.
A confident professional would increase his or her following by nearly 17 per cent, whereas a 'loud' amateur would get 20 per cent more followers.

The Little Free Library

The Venezuelan design firm Stereotank brought their little library to the Nolita neighborhood of New York City. The cover protects books from the elements while holes provide illumination for patrons.

Canadian High School Creates All-Hockey Curriculum

physicsCole Harbour, Nova Scotia loves its native son, Sidney Crosby, who is a highly accomplished hockey player. The residents also love that sport so much that their high school now teaches all subjects in reference to it:
A Nova Scotia high school has created a curriculum where every subject — from physics to design technology to dance — centres on hockey.
Cole Harbour District High School, in Sidney Crosby's hometown, received special recognition from Hockey Canada this week for its special project, which encompasses all subjects in all grades.



An Atom Undressed

There's no privacy anymore. Not even for an atom now that scientists have a quantum camera:
AN ATOM'S electrons are an ever-shifting quantum melee, but it turns out you can still take their photograph as if they were standing still. A quantum-style microscope has imaged the hydrogen atom's wave function, the equation that determines its electrons' positions – and in turn the atom's properties. [...]
how on earth do you make an image of such an object? Measuring the position of a single electron "collapses" the wave function, forcing it to pick a particular position, but that alone is not representative of its normal, quantum presence in the atom. "Wave functions are difficult to measure. They're exquisite quantum objects that change their appearance upon observation," says Aneta Stodolna of the FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Her team decided to make a picture using a technique dreamed up 30 years ago that can be thought of as a quantum microscope. Rather than taking an image of a single atom, they sampled a bunch of atoms. This removes the quantum nature of each individual atom's electron, forcing it to choose a particular location from those it is allowed to reside in. Do it with enough atoms and the number choosing each spot will reflect the quantum probabilities laid out by the wave function.
Lisa Grossman of New Scientist explains: Here.

Two young Irish mothers on life support after smoking 'contaminated' cannabis resin

Two young mothers are fighting for their lives after consuming cannabis resin which Irish police believe was contaminated. Medical teams are battling to save Samantha Morgan (24) and Alannah Molloy (25) who suffered multiple organ failure. Gardai believe the pair, who did not know each other, were dealt "contaminated" drugs by the same dealer and though to be cannabis - but there are also concerns it was mixed with some other more potent substance.

Samantha's mother revealed how she has "lost all hope" for her daughter. Fidelma Morgan, who lives in Drogheda, County Louth, said she believed her "little baby" was slipping away. "We've been told that the best case scenario is that Sam will be left with permanent brain damage. We are just distraught," she said. "She's my little baby and my only child, and now she's slipping away from me. We've lost all hope. My father is already making his way over from England for whatever will happen next. We're bracing ourselves for the funeral to be honest."

Ms Morgan was described as a "wonderful mother" to seven-month-old son JJ by family friends who were as shocked by the tragedy as her mother. It's believed that the young woman was socialising on Monday night and had taken the substance. The family of Alannah Molloy also revealed they have braced themselves for the worst: "We're under so much pressure right now, things are extremely difficult for us. But we honestly don't know whether she will [survive]." Ms Molloy, who has one child, lives in nearby Kilsaran with her brother. It's understood that she has also suffered "catastrophic" organ failure.

Cllr Pearse McGeogh, who knows the Molloy family, pleaded with other young people in the Co Louth area not to take anything resembling cannabis. "Please, please destroy it if you have any. We must avoid another situation like this. We are talking about two young girls now battling to survive." Sources close to the garda investigation said they believe they have identified the dealer who sold the drug.

There are two news videos on this page.

Healthy lifestyle habits may improve your memory too

Healthy eating is linked to better memory across all adult age groups, a study finds. 
Do you remember what you had for breakfast? If you're a healthy eater, there's a greater chance that you'll recall.
A healthy lifestyle is linked to better memory across all adult age groups, even if you're younger than 40, a new study finds.
UCLA researchers and the Gallup organization worked on a poll of 18,552 U.S. adults 18 and older.
Healthy eating, not smoking, and exercising regularly were linked to better self-perceived memory abilities. Respondents across all age groups who engaged in just one healthy behavior were 21% less likely to report memory problems than those who didn't engage in such behaviors.
Researchers say they were surprised to find that about 14% of the youngest group (ages 18-39) complained about their memory. About 22% of middle-age adults (ages 40-59) and 26% of older adults (ages 60-99) did.
"Memory issues were to be expected in the middle-aged and older groups, but not in younger people," says the study's lead author, Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center.
In general, younger people's memory problems may differ from those in older adults, Small says. For example, stress may play a bigger role, he adds. Still, the survey's findings reinforce the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle at all ages to help limit cognitive decline, he says.
"Along with the other healthy behaviors, it's likely that healthy eating is helping keep the heart and blood vessels healthy," says Mary Ann Johnson, national spokeswoman for the not-for-profit American Society for Nutrition. "The brain needs a healthy blood supply to function."
She says protecting your memory isn't just for older adults. "We think of losing one's memory as late in life, but it is a very long process that has been playing out over decades."
Neil Levin, spokesman for the not-for-profit American Nutrition Association, says, "The earlier signs of people's memory starting to decline in younger years are not necessarily associated with Alzheimer's," he says, but certain behaviors may be risk factors.
"A lot of young people tend to feel either they are invulnerable or they are not going to live a long time so they might engage in riskier behaviors in terms of diet, smoking and lack of exercise that would affect them long-term," he adds.
Small, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, says that if younger people are experiencing memory problems, they should see their doctor. "The sooner they get help, the better the outcome."
The article appears in the June issue of the journal International Psychogeriatrics.

Inside The Mind Of The Amnesiac Who Revolutionized Neuroscience

Henry Gustav Molaison (1926-2008), previously known as H.M., was an American memory disorder patient whose hippocampi, parahippocampal gyrus, and amygdalae were surgically removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. The lobotomy was botched and left him unable to form new memories. He was widely studied from late 1957 until his death in 2008.
His case played a very important role in the development of theories that explain the link between brain function and memory, and in the development of cognitive neuropsychology.

What Is The Limit To How Fast A Human Can Run?

The limit to how fast a human can run is 9.48 seconds for the 100-meter race, 0.10 seconds faster than Usain Bolt's current world record, according to Stanford biologist Mark Denny. That is, if you are talking about natural human beings.

In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Denny modeled the fastest human running speed using records of men's 100-meter race results going back to the 1900s. He plotted the annual best times in the race into a graph and used computer programs to come up with an equation whose curve best models the behavior of the actual graph he obtained.

Random Picture



Touring Turkey The Lazy Man's Way
Opened on May 2, 2003, Miniatürk is a bizarre theme park that reproduces the wonders of Turkey in miniature. And it's exactly as kitschy and fun as you might expect. Found at the end of the Golden Horn, across from Eyüp, the park is worth a visit if you're in the mood for something totally different.

Miniatürk is split roughly half between the sights of Istanbul and the rest of Turkey. Even in miniature, the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are impressive, and Miniatürk allows you to see them from a bird's eye view. You can walk across a miniature version of the Bosphorus Bridge, listen to football chants at Atatürk Stadium, and even pay a lira to steer a model ferry across a mini-Golden Horn.

Peña De Bernal

Now Officially The World's Tallest Rock
About 8.7 million years ago in what is north central Mexico, a pair of tectonic plates converged. One was forced under the other and sank in to the mantle of the Earth. The resulting volcanic activity formed a dacite rock which, after hardening, eventually forced itself through as a solid plug to the surface.

This subduction zone activity created Peña de Bernal which has weathered the passing time remarkably well. It has recently been declared the tallest monolith on Earth. Its height is 433 m (1,421 ft).

World's First Bird

Move over, Archaeopteryx - there's a new (well, actually older) dino in town that claims to be the world's first bird:
An archaic bird known as Aurornis xui, described this week in the journal Nature by paleontologist Pascal Godefroit and colleagues, is the latest entry in the debate over which animal qualifies as the first bird and how birds evolved.
The delicately preserved specimen, which includes fossil remnants of feathers, was discovered in the roughly 160-million-year-old rock of China's Tiaojishan Formation. While Aurornis lived about ten million years earlier thanArchaeopteryx, and very far from the prehistoric European archipelago thatArchaeopteryx inhabited, the new study found that the two plumage-covered creatures were close relatives at the very base of bird evolution.
Brian Switek of National Geographic explains: Here.

Burp-less cows

Scientists' $10M goal
A team of international scientists is going to spend $10 million to try to breed a herd of all-star cows - ones that don't burp a lot.
The idea is to cut down on the cows' methane emissions, which would have a two-fold benefit, explains the Verge: It would help the environment by reducing a potent greenhouse gas, and it would help farmers by making the cows more efficient and thus reducing feed costs.
The scientists have found that some cows simply belch less than their peers, even when fed the same diet. They're going to start with 25 of these well-mannered dairy cows and expand the herd to 1,400 through selective breeding, reports the University of Aberdeen, which is leading the project.
As for the environmental benefits of reducing cow emissions: "It's silly, but it's also a big problem," notes Grist.
Some farmers have experimented with special diets, but that gets expensive and ends up reducing beneficial nutrients from the cow along with the methane.

Animal Pictures


(via 500px / Photo “Almost there..” by Jim Wu)