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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.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Daily Drift

I know, but one can still hope can't they?

Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

Oh, Yeah ...

Today is  International Nude Day 

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Some of our readers today have been in:
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Today in History

1223 In France, Louis VIII succeeds his father, Philip Augustus.
1430 Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, is handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais.
1456 Hungarians defeat the Ottomans at the Battle of Belgrade, in present-day Yugoslavia.
1536 France and Portugal sign the Treaty of Lyons, aligning themselves against Spain.
1789 The Bastille, a fortress in Paris used to hold political prisoners, is stormed by a mob.
1798 The Sedition Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.
1864 At Harrisburg, Mississippi, Federal troops under General Andrew Jackson Smith repulse an attack by General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
1900 European Allies retake Tientsin, China, from the rebelling Boxers.
1933 Nazi Germany promulgates the Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health–the begining of the Euthanasia program.
1940 A force of German bombers attacks Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.
1941 Vichy French Foreign Legionaries sign an armistice in Damascus, allowing them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.
1945 American battleships and cruisers bombard the Japanese home islands for the first time.
1951 The George Washington Carver National Monument in Joplin, Missouri becomes the first national park honoring an African American.
1964 The United States sends 600 more troops to Vietnam.

Non Sequitur


MSNBC’s Collapse Began With The Departure of Keith Olbermann

MSNBC’s ratings have plunged this year, and the the domino effect of bad decisions that have killed the network’s ratings began with the departure of Keith Olbermann.
Last week, Olbermann himself took to Twitter and said a bit about his former employer’s ratings. First Olbermann retweeted, “This is sarcasm, yes? RT @JonahsSeafood Very, Very impressive #ratings @msnbc. Especially without the help of @KeithOlbermann. @maddow great job filling his void.”
When he was asked if he was taking a shot at Maddow, the former Countdown host replied:
Olbermann suggested that the network is in a state of collapse, and the second quarter ratings for 2013 have proven him right. MSNBC’s primetime is down 16% overall, and 12% with younger viewers. The primetime numbers for individual programs are even worse.
All In With Chris Hayes has been a complete ratings disaster. Hayes has lost 28% of The Ed Show’s viewers, and he is down 10% from Ed Schultz’s ratings with younger viewers. Hayes’ ratings struggles have led to Rachel Maddow having her worst quarter since 2008. Maddow’s struggles have led to Lawrence O’Donnell losing 15% of his total viewers, and 22% of his younger viewers.
MSNBC’s ratings decline can be traced back to three bad decisions.
The decision that started their decline was the departure of Keith Olbermann from the network. MSNBC head Phil Griffin thought that he could replace Olbermann with Lawrence O’Donnell. That decision spectacularly failed, but his next choice for the timeslot would prove to be more of a winner. Ed Schulz was the perfect fit for MSNBC’s 8 PM. His program had a bit of the sort of emotion and tone that Olbermann’s did. MSNBC rose to second in the cable news ratings. Occasionally, they even beat ratings leader Faux News.
However, earlier this year Phil Griffin made his second bad decision. Griffin decided that Schultz’s old school liberalism didn’t fit with the primetime lineup that he wanted to build. Griffin wanted a clone army of Maddow wonk nerds in primetime, and the blustery blue collar Schultz didn’t fit the bill. This resulted in Ed being shuffled off to the weekends to make room for Griffin’s third bad decision.
In his quest for hipper and younger viewers, Griffin installed Chris Hayes as the new 8 PM host. The Hayes that was smooth on his weekend morning show was quickly replaced by a host that has been at times painful to watch. Chris Hayes is the round peg that MSNBC keeps trying to fit into the square hole. It isn’t working. Nearly 30% of the viewers who tuned in for Ed have tuned out Chris Hayes. The flood of new young viewers hasn’t materialized, and Hayes is looking more and more like the television equivalent of a death row inmate.
MSNBC could have been positioning itself as a future challenger to Fox News. Instead, potential MSNBC viewers have moved over to a revived CNN. It is impossible to predict where MSNBC might be today if Keith Olbermann was still anchoring 8 PM, but the network would likely be in better shape than they currently are.
There is no chance of Olbermann coming back to MSNBC. He will be anchoring TBS’s MLB postseason coverage, and it being reported that he is talks with ESPN to host a late night talk show on ESPN 2. If the ratings for All In don’t improve, the move that makes the most sense is convincing Ed Schultz to come back to primetime, and sending Chris Hayes back to the weekends.
MSNBC has filled their bench with Maddow clone wonks, and unless they really want to break the mold and promote an African-American woman, it looks like they are going to sink or swim with Hayes.
Looking back, it’s clear that MSNBC’s downfall began with the bad decision to let Keith Olbermann walk out the door.

Did you know ...

That two Texas women sued rangers for 'unconstitutional' roadside cavity searches

About the high cost of childbirth in America

About Disney characters that make cameos in other Disney films

About these 12 old words that only survive in idioms

From Binders Full of Women to Binders Full of Tampons repugicans Humiliate Themselves Again

The repugicans keep finding new ways to humiliate themselves while alienating women, and the national trailblazers in this campaign of shame have been Texas repugicans.
Mitt Romney was widely mocked for his binders full of women comment during a presidential debate, but Texas repugicans took it to a whole other level by having state troopers confiscate tampons, maxi pads and other things that they believed could be used as potential projectiles from women as they entered the building to watch the debate on the repugicans’ incredibly unconstitutional anti-abortion bill.
Texas repugicans have been putting on a textbook study case on how to alienate women. First, they cut off Wendy Davis’ filibuster, and tried to pull the illegal move of changing the date and time of first attempt at passage of their anti-abortion bill in the public record. They followed that up by having state troopers haul a woman out of the committee hearing because she dared to tell the truth about the legislation, but the topper had to be the confiscation of tampons while allowing anyone carry a gun into state capitol.
The repugicans eventually realized that their intimidation tactic had backfired and they were being roundly mocked instead of respected, but beneath the jokes there was a not very subtle point. The repugicans were trying to humiliate the women that were entering the building, but once again, they have only managed to embarrass themselves.
You might be thinking that the terror alert level red tampon confiscation was just a Texas thing, but each time repugicans engage in this sort of anti-woman behavior anywhere in the country they are damaging their national brand. Many in the repugican cabal continue to believe that they can win elections with a base of support that consists of just senior citizens and angry white men. This is the delusion that allows repugicans to believe that there will be no repercussions for showing such overt contempt for women. There is a large segment of the right that really believes that women don’t matter. Their one and only concern is implementing their faith based agenda.
These same people learned nothing from the 2012 election. They still don’t believe in the collective power of their opposition. The repugicans foolishly and arrogantly think that they can get away with the demeaning of an entire gender, but they are wrong.
This pattern of systemic behavior has mobilized much of the largest voting bloc in the country against the repugican cabal. The repugican cabal can feel good about itself when they ram legislation down the throats of their citizens in states where they control the government, but those victories will be short lived. Women were a key constituency in the reelection of Barack Obama. Twenty members of the US Senate are women, and 16 of them are Democrats. Women and their supporters are an active political force, and each attempt to steal their rights energizes the movement.
Texas repugicans  passed their anti-abortion bill, but the cost will come at ballot boxes around the country in 2014, 2016, and beyond.
The repugicans are too stupid and arrogant to realize this, but their war on women is a battle that they are destined to lose.

Texas state capitol trooper confiscates woman’s Maxi-Pad ...

... but guns are okay

A woman was apparently waiting in line to go watch the Texas Senate debate and vote on new restrictions against abortion, and a state trooper searched her and confiscated her Maxi-Pads as being too dangerous to bring into the state senate visitors gallery.  He then started showing them to other people.
But guns are permitted into the state capitol.  Just not Maxi-Pads.
At the State Capitol here, a legal concealed gun is the equivalent of an E-ZPass.
To enter the sand-colored building, most people — schoolchildren on field trips, out-of-state tourists — must wait in line to pass through a security area outfitted with metal detectors and scanners. But those with state licenses to carry concealed firearms can enter in a matter of seconds. They simply hand their permit to a state trooper, who verifies its authenticity. No metal detector needed.
They also reportedly took away her diabetic supplies.  The woman, shortly after the incident, is in tears.
“In front of, all of these male troopers took away my maxi-pads, and made a huge deal out of flashing them around and showing… and then saying that I couldn’t go into the gallery, I couldn’t take maxi-pads into the gallery. I’ve never been… I’ve never been so humiliated in my life.”

Congressman who used to be a high school English teacher irks repugicans by marking their memos with a red pen

It would be far, far too much to hope for footnotes with proper citations.
Hoping that members of the House of Representatives will start using facts and coherent logic to advance the nation's interest is still a fool's errand, but there's one member of Congress, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), who's willing to at least pretend it's possible. Breaking out the teacher's most potent weapon, a red pen, he marked up repugican House members' letter to John Boehner forcing asking him to resist the immigration reform bill that has already passed America's slightly-less-insane upper chamber. Included in his comments are some words we haven't seen on a Congressional document in years, like "evidence," as well as an awesome invitation to "come by my office" if "you don't understand the bill."
Frankly, my favorite part is pointing out that given a proper word count, the bill is only 286 pages long. Why do I like this? Because "it's too long to read" is one of the GOP's new favorite reasons not to support things, which really does not help their anti-intellectual image. Obamacare, hate it or tolerate it, had about as many words as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, not that Congresspeople read at that grade level. Can we at least agree that Congress shouldn't sound so afraid of reading?
Congress is pretty much the least-popular thing in America, which is impressive in the land of Honey Boo-Boo and Chris Brown. If there's one kind of person who isn't afraid to do their job in the face of massive unpopularity, though, it's a high-school teacher.

House repugicans Serve Up A Hostage Menu To President Obama

House repugicans decided to write their latest debt ceiling demands on the back of a Chinese takeout menu. Their fortune cookie says “You will regret this.”
Rather than their usual cut-and-paste from magazines ransom note, House repugicans have come up with a menu of demands in exchange for extending the debt ceiling:
For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three and a half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said [Louisiana Rep. Steve] Scalise.
For a medium-sized increase in the debt limit, repugicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food-stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.
For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.
Just to be clear, because repugicans make this more tangled than a bowl of lo mein, the debt ceiling is about paying for spending that Congress has already authorized, and Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits Congress from challenging the legitimacy of that debt.
But repugicans love trying to get something by threatening to do nothing, so they found a takeout menu under a desk and went to work. I guess they figure giving him a menu will make it easier to blame President Obama for their plan to slash the social safety net. It’s like terrorists giving the hostage negotiator a choice of which hostage to shoot … then blaming the negotiator for the murder because “He chose the victim!”
As Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum writes:
The tea partiers have painted themselves into a corner. The economy is slowly recovering, and the deficit is falling, but they’ve promised ever more hostage taking anyway, and now they have to follow through. But their proposals combine arrogance and amateur-hour theatrics in a way that practically guarantees failure. They sound like a bunch of eight-year-olds who think they’ve come up with an oh-so-clever way to trap dad into raising their allowance or something. But Obama isn’t running for reelection anymore. All he has to do this time around is say no, and stick to it. If Republicans decide to flush the economy down the toilet in a fit of pique anyway, then maybe it really is platinum coin time.
And back in January, President Obama vowed he won’t negotiate on the debt ceiling:
[repugicans] will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.
I think President Obama will hold his position on this. I’d like to say House Republicans will open their fortune cookie, see “You will regret this,” and abandon their threat. But there are no I Ching manuals to predict House repugicans.

The repugican cabal's corruption grows deeper every day

From Crooks and Liars

[...] Senate thugs Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn issued an edict to sports organizations: If you help the administration promote Obamacare, we will destroy your reputation. Or something. Via TPM:

The letters, dated June 27, warn the chiefs of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and NASCAR that partnering with the administration to publicize the benefits of the health care law would damage their reputations.

Not content to leave it there, they went on:

We have long been concerned by the Obama Administration's record of using the threat of policy retaliation to solicit support for its policies or to silence its critics. Should the administration or its allies suggest that there will be any policy consequence for your decision not to participate in their outreach efforts, we urge you to resist any such pressure and to contact us immediately so that we may conduct appropriate oversight.

Charles Koch Launches Campaign to Eliminate the Minimum Wage

The majority of Americans are fortunate to never know what it means to be destitute, or exist in a condition where they lack enough money to afford basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, or health care, but there are forces in this country intent on creating an entire population living in poverty. Over the past thirty years, repugicans and their libertarian funders used a variety of means to create an economic environment conducive to the wealthy increasing their fortunes, and they couched their plutocratic machinations with promises that if the people gave more to the rich, their largesse would be rewarded with a return on their investment down the road that did nothing but crash the economy and create more wealth for the richest one-percent of income earners. Over the past four years, repugicans and their corporate masters changed tactics and promised the people that cutting the nation’s debt and deficit through austerity was the key to creating a vibrant economy, full employment, and a thriving middle class, and through it all the number of Americans slipping into poverty increased with no sign of letting up in the near or foreseeable future. Now, repugicans have abandoned any pretense of helping Americans improve their economic fortunes, and with unflagging support of their wealthy support mechanism are on a tear to create the nation of peasants America is destined to become. Over the past week, repugicans who know there are over 47-million Americans living in poverty and dependent of the Agriculture Department’s SNAP (food stamp) program passed a farm bill providing $195 billion in subsidies to agricultural corporations and eliminating food stamp and nutritional programs they considered extraneous, or irrelevant. Half of those affected are children, and over 10% are senior citizens living in poverty. It was not even an assault on minorities because more white Americans receive food stamps than African Americans or Hispanics proving that the repugican cabal’s goal is withholding food from all Americans living in poverty and they have enlisted a powerful ally to send more Americans deeper into poverty.
On Tuesday, billionaire libertarian Charles Koch joined repugicans pushing to eliminate the nation’s minimum wage he implied was the ultimate secret to lift Americans out of poverty as well as the major obstacle to economic growth. In fact, Koch said “we need to analyze all these government subsidies, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency, and we’ve got to clear out what reduces the mobility of labor.” A Koch-funded ad in Kansas insinuated minimum wage Americans earning $34,000 annually should consider themselves fortunate, but an American working full-time making minimum wage only earns $15,080 annually, if they can find full-time work. As it is, the poverty level for a family of four is $22,283 annual income, and even in the poorest state in the nation a worker earning minimum wage has to work 67 hours per week to afford the most meager apartment if they are fortunate enough to find a full-time job; food, utilities, and clothing are luxuries out of the realm of a poverty-level worker’s budget. Most medium to large businesses prevent full-time employment to avoid giving lunch breaks or benefits, and those working-poor Americans make up a large share of food stamp recipients Republicans just drove into hunger by eliminating SNAP funding from their Draconian farm bill.
Koch had the temerity to claim him and his brother’s political efforts to create poverty are not for their own benefit, but for the country’s greater good, and by country he means corporations; not the people. He also asserted that “other large companies are promoting some kind of special cronyism where they’re undermining economic freedom” and he certainly meant companies such as Costco Stores and Starbucks that pay a living wage that, according to Koch, are destroying Americans’ opportunity at economic freedom and chance of escaping poverty. Koch doubtless joins the Walton family company, WalMart, that recently threatened to scuttle plans to build three poverty-wage stores in Washington D.C. because the city council were considering a bill to require large companies to pay employees a living wage. As it is now, each WalMart store costs taxpayers a minimum of $1 million in public welfare and healthcare costs because they pay poverty-level minimum wage and maintain a strict policy against overtime pay, allowing workers to take bathroom breaks, or receive basic medical accommodations. According to Koch, who along with the Walton family holds more wealth than the majority of  Americans, the minimum wage is forcing companies to fire employees and rails at the notion of raising it to $9 an hour that would barely help 15 million poverty-level American workers afford to eat, find shelter, or afford basic healthcare.
What Americans are witnessing now is a conservative movement that is finally revealing their only economic agenda is creating poverty for the masses by openly raping what is left of economic opportunity from the people, or any chance for tens-of-millions of Americans to escape extreme poverty borne of pathetic minimum wages at part-time jobs. The nation already ranks near the bottom of every category for a developed country whether it is middle class wealth, infrastructure, social programs, healthcare, education spending, or children living in poverty and still, repugicans voted to eliminate overtime pay, end Medicare and Social Security, food stamps, promote eliminating the minimum wage, and all to, as Charles Koch says, lift Americans out of poverty and to spur economic growth. The Koch’s have even turned on their John Birch acolytes in the teabagger movement in Georgia by fighting the tea party to stop expansion of solar energy development because the billionaire brothers have not yet figured out how to charge Americans for harvesting energy from the Sun.
Americans are being assaulted on all fronts by repugicans and their corporate funding machine, and there is little doubt their intent is creating a destitute population. Last year the Koch brothers claimed the 2012 election was the mother of all battles, and since they lost that battle to create poverty by a repugican president are mobilizing to eliminate what little economic and survival protections the people have left. Eradicating funding for food stamps from the farm bill is just the beginning as repugicans threaten to block a debt ceiling increase unless President Obama submits and implements the Paul Ryan budget to hand over Social Security and Medicare to privatization, and any concerns over the $135 billion in food stamp cuts in Ryan’s budget were just eliminated when repugicans excluded SNAP funding from a farm bill. Now that their main contributor openly called for eliminating the minimum wage, the people must realize that last year’s mother of all election battles has escalated into open warfare to create what repugicans have panted for over the past thirty years; a nation of peasants serving a ruling plutocracy headed by Charles and David Koch.



In France, Twitter grudgingly yields to pressure and will identify users accused of hate speech

 Somini Sengupta in the NYT reports on Twitter's agreement this week, after months of legal battling, to ID several users who posted anti-Semitic comments on its service, whom French authorities want to prosecute for violating hate speech laws.
The case has important implications for Twitter users worldwide, as governments increasingly try to extract user information from the service. Legal experts say Twitter could have insisted that the French authorities seek to extract the user data by filing a claim in the United States, where the company is based.

Lokking at christianity's "myth of persecution"

From a book review at Salon:
Moss, professor of New Testament and early christianity at the University of Notre Dame, challenges some of the most hallowed legends of the religion when she questions what she calls “the Sunday school narrative of a cult of martyrs, of christians huddled in catacombs out of fear, meeting in secret to avoid arrest and mercilessly thrown to lions merely for their religious beliefs.” None of that, she maintains, is true. In the 300 years between the death of Jesus and the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, there were maybe 10 or 12 scattered years during which christians were singled out for supression by Rome’s imperial authorities, and even then the enforcement of such initiatives was haphazard — lackadaisical in many regions, although harsh in others. “christians were never,” Moss writes, “the victims of sustained, targeted persecution.”..

This is not to deny that some christians were executed in horrible ways under conditions we’d consider grotesquely unjust. But it’s important, Moss explains, to distinguish between “persecution” and “prosecution.” The Romans had no desire to support a prison population, so capital punishment was common for many seemingly minor offenses; you could be sentenced to be beaten to death for writing a slanderous song. Moss distinguishes between those cases in which christians were prosecuted simply for being christians and those in which they were condemned for engaging in what the Romans considered subversive or treasonous activity. Given the “everyday ideals and social structures” the Romans regarded as essential to the empire, such transgressions might include publicly denying the divine status of the emperor, rejecting military service or refusing to accept the authority of a court. In one of her most fascinating chapters, Moss explains how baffling and annoying the Romans (for whom “pacifism didn’t exist as a concept”) found the christians — when the Romans thought about them at all.

So, christians wound up in Roman courts for any number of reasons, but when they got there, they were prone to announcing, as a believer named Liberian once did, “that he cannot be respectful to the emperor, that he can be respectful only to christ.” Moss compares this to “modern defendants who say that they will not recognize the authority of the court or of the government, but recognize only the authority of god. For modern Americans, as for ancient Romans, this sounds either sinister or vaguely insane.” It didn’t help that early christians developed a passion for martyrdom. Suffering demonstrated both the piety of the martyr and the authenticity of the religion itself, and besides, it earned you an immediate, first-class seat in heaven. (Ordinary christians had to wait for Judgment Day.) There were reports of fanatics deliberately seeking out the opportunity to die for their faith, including a mob that turned up at the door of a Roman official in Asia Minor, demanding to be martyred, only to be turned away when he couldn’t be bothered to oblige them.
More at Salon, where there is a link to the book.

Leftie extremist rag The Wall Street Journal comes out against NSA surveillance

Randy Barnett at the WSJ: "The NSA's Surveillance Is Unconstitutional." When you've lost WSJ contributors on issues thought to be of concern only to privacy-freak-lefties, guys: you've lost the battle. 


HP builds secret backdoors into its storage products

Kevin Fogarty at Slashdot: "For the second time in a month, Hewlett-Packard has been forced to admit it built secret backdoors into its enterprise storage products." 

Fugitive arrested after commenting on own 'wanted' post

From the "Yep, He's Idiot" Department:

The Pasco County, Florida Sheriff's Office has a variety of ways of tracking down fugitives. But the way they arrested one on Friday was a first.
Matthew Oliver, 23, was wanted on a warrant in connection with a robbery. The department posted his picture Wednesday as the "Fugitive of the Day" on their Facebook page.
Not long after that, Oliver began commenting on the post.
And not long after that, he was arrested.
You can read the thread here: https://www.facebook.com/pascosheriff

Boston Strangler Case

DNA degrades over time, and how long it lasts depends on how well it's preserved

Daily Dishonesty


The East African Country That Isn't

When you think of Somalia, your mind probably conjures up images of a poverty-stricken, war-torn and lawless state - a place populated by pirates and bloodthirsty warlords, as seen in news bulletins. Somalia's neighbor Ethiopia doesn't fare all that much better, either, and to describe the region as troubled would be an understatement.

Yet between these two countries is a small and so far officially unrecognized state.
This is Somaliland.

The Most Interesting Man On Wikipedia

Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart (1880-1963) was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He is the most interesting man on Wikipedia.

He fought in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn't amputate them.



The "Pearl of Allah"

The Pearl of Allah also known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu is the largest pearl in the world. It was discovered in 1934 from the Island of Palawan in the Philippines. It measures 9.45 inches in diameter and weighs 6.4 kg. The pearl was produced by a giant clam, Tridacna gigas, and it is a non-nacreous pearl meaning it doesn’t have the iridescence of true gem pearls, like oyster pearls or mussel pearls. The interior of the pearl does not contain a mother of pearl material, in fact it is porcellaneous.

The Hardest Thing To Find In The Universe

What is rarer than a shooting star? Rarer than a diamond? Rarer than any metal, any mineral, so rare that if you scan the entire earth, all six million billion billion kilos of our planet, you would find only one ounce of it?

What is so rare it has never been seen directly, because if you could get enough of it together, it would self-vaporize from its own radioactive heat? What is this stuff that can't be seen or found?

Know Your Giant Monsters!

As the summer creature feature 'Pacific Rim,' hits theaters, we survey giant monsters in both film and natural history.

Bees Foil Carjacking in Sting Operation

From the "You can't make this stuff up" Department:

Pay attention; this one is complicated. Two guys in a Lexus in Craighall, South Africa, witnessed a BMW hitting a Peugot in a hit-and-run and then followed the perpetrator. When the two cars stopped, the Lexus passenger got out to take pictures for evidence. Three men got out of the BMW. One of them jumped into the Lexus and pointed a gun at the driver. The Lexus driver hit the gas pedal and backed the car swiftly into a wall. The wall collapsed, and thousands of enraged bees swarmed from their hive behind the wall and into the Lexus.
Resident Sophie Sigrist said that she had heard the crash and from her property was able to see the suspects running up the road while pulling off their clothing, likely due to the bees. Sigrist's husband told the police the cost of the damage to the wall could be as much as R100 000. The damage to the Peugeot was an estimated R50 000. The Lexus was reportedly a write-off.

The police report indicated that the BMW had been hijacked in Edenvale in May. The license was false and two extra licence plates were found in the car.
Emergency services responded and treated the two men from the Lexus for bee stings. The three men from the BMW are still at large. More

A Human Wall Protecting Baby Tortoises

Loggerhead tortoises are endangered and the most dangerous period of their life is when they cross from their nest to the sea. That's because birds find the little cuties to be tasty little snacks. Fortunately, this July 1, when 100 loggerheads recently headed to the sea from the Caribbean island of Bonaire, there were plenty of volunteers there to help guide the little babes to the ocean without fear of attack -and to keep them from getting lost on their short journey.

A real-life ouroboros

One explanation for this unusual behavior was offered in the Reddit thread discussing the gif:
Snake-owner here. One reason snakes do this is because they are agitated from getting too hot. Judging by the fact the snake is in the water bowl I would suspect this is the reason. EDIT: Snakes are cold blooded so their metabolic rate is controlled by how they regulate their body temperature, a hot snake has an increased metabolism and would likely feel hungry if it hasn't eaten recently, which could drive this behaviour. Turning off the heat-lamp and spraying them with cool water will cause them to spit themselves out.  I hope in this case it was ok :(

Animal News

Laser dots' rapid, random movement trigger pets' predatory instincts and spurs them into an ultimately fruitless chase. The most advanced ape on the planet falls for the same trick. 
Golf courses may provide perfect habitats for turtles, researchers find.

Animal Pictures


Windswept and Disinterested | Serengeti National Park, Tanzania