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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Daily Drift

The Stupid ...

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Today in History

1540 The Society of Jesus, a religious order under Ignatius Loyola, is approved by the Pope.
1669 The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea falls to the Ottoman Turks after a 21-year siege.
1791 Jews in France are granted French citizenship.
1864 Confederate guerrilla Bloody Bill Anderson and his henchmen, including a teenage Jesse James, massacre 20 unarmed Union soldiers at Centralia, Missouri. The event becomes known as the Centralia Massacre.
1869 Wild Bill Hickok, sheriff of Hays City, Kan., shoots down Samuel Strawhim, a drunken teamster causing trouble.
1916 Constance of Greece declares war on Bulgaria.
1918 President Woodrow Wilson opens his fourth Liberty Loan campaign to support men and machines for World War I.
1920 Eight Chicago White Sox players are charged with fixing the 1919 World Series.
1939 Germany occupies Warsaw as Poland falls to Germany and the Soviet Union.
1942 Australian forces defeat the Japanese on New Guinea in the South Pacific.
1944 Thousands of British troops are killed as German forces rebuff their massive effort to capture the Arnhem Bridge across the Rhine River in Holland.
1950 U.S. Army and Marine troops liberate Seoul, South Korea.
1956 The U.S. Air Force Bell X-2, the world's fastest and highest-flying plane, crashes, killing the test pilot.
1964 The Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, issues its report, stating its conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
1979 US Congress approves Department of Education as the 13th agency in the US Cabinet.
1983 Sukhumi massacre: Abkhaz separatist forces and their allies commit widespread atrocities against the civilian population in the USSR state of Georgia.
1996 The Taliban capture Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul.
2003 European Space Agency launches SMART-1 satellite to orbit the moon.
2007 NASA launches Dawn probe to explore and study the two larges objects of the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
2008 Shai Shigang becomes the first Chinese to walk in space; he was part of the Shenzhou 7 crew.

Non Sequitur


Boy Author Raises $400K for Sick Friend

Boy Author Raises $400K for Sick Friend (ABC News) 
When Dr. David Weinstein heard that a boy named Dylan Siegel was trying to raise money toward the rare liver disease he studies, he mostly just thought the boy was cute. Dylan was only 6-years-old, after all. But Dylan's best friend had the rare disease, and he was determined to do something about it.
A year later, Dylan, who is now 7, has raised $400,000 by writing a book called "Chocolate Bar."
"Boy, have I been shocked," said Weinstein, who studies and treats patients with glycogen storage disease at the University of Florida. "He's raised more money for this disease than all the medical foundations and all the grants combined. Ever."
As a result, the Global Genes Project, a rare diseases advocacy group, honored Dylan and his best friend, Jonah Pournazarian, with the RARE Champion Award -- which typically goes to grown-ups, Dylan's father, David Siegel, told ABCNews.com.
"Kids can change the world just like any of us," Siegel said.
Jonah has a rare form of glycogen storage disease, a hereditary disorder that means his liver can store sugar but can't release it, causing him to have dangerously low blood sugar levels that can result in seizures or even death.
Jonah has an especially rare form of the disease -- type 1b -- which means he also has a compromised immune system, Weinstein said. Catching a stomach bug from a classmate could land him in the hospital or even kill him.
"This is a disease that affects one in a million people," Weinstein said. "In the United States ... it's probably close to 50 people with type 1b."
So when Dylan found out about his friend's disorder, he went to his parents and told them he wanted to raise money for Jonah, Dylan's father told ABCNews.com.
They thought it was sweet and offered to help him with a bake sale or a lemonade stand.
"He's like 'Don't patronize me. I want to do something big,'" Siegel said with a laugh.
So 24 hours later, Dylan brought them the pages to a book called "Chocolate Bar." He explained that, to him, "chocolate bar" means "awesome." "Disneyland is so chocolate bar," the book starts out. The last page says, "I like to help my friends. That is the biggest chocolate bar."
So the Siegels had 200 copies printed and sold them at a school event. Within a matter of hours, they sold out and made $6,000.
Since then, they've printed more books and even delved into T-shirts, tote bags and cellphone cases. Dylan's goal is to raise $1 million, and he's sure he can do it.
Weinstein said the money is already helping his lab by allowing him to hire additional staff and paying for studies. He's currently studying a gene therapy treatment that has shown promise in curing dogs with glycogen storage disease, and trying to find solutions to other problems that develop as a result of the disease and its treatment.
Even though people come from 38 countries to visit Weinstein's lab, it came within one day of closing for lack of funds. Thanks to Dylan and Jonah, Weinstein said he could stop worrying about funding and work on finding a cure.
"It's making a huge difference," Weinstein said.
Siegel couldn't be more proud.
"When you're 6, you've got grand visions ... all these things just seem attainable," he said. "It's been a blast. ... It validates a 6-year-old's vision of what he thought change could be."

Diver photographs ‘Cookie Monster of the Sea’

Mauricio Handler's wife was first to spot sea sponge that looked like famous 'Sesame Street' character, and swam to him laughing through her mask
Stove Pipe Sponge, Aplysina archeri
Scuba divers are often amazed by the beauty of the reefs and their colorful inhabitants, and sometimes they’re even amused.
That certainly was the case for Mauricio Handler and his wife, Julia, during their last adventure to the reefs of Curacao in the Caribbean.
Among their many wonderful discoveries was that of a purple sea sponge that strongly resembled the famous Cookie Monster Muppet of “Sesame Street” fame.
Handler said via email that he had initially swam past the peculiar-looking sponge, without noticing it among the many other sponges on the reef.
But Julia came face to face with what the Handlers now refer to as “The Cookie Monster of the Sea,” and could not contain her laughter.
“It was Julia who went to get me, laughing through her mask about the unusual sponge,” Handler said. “So I did an about-face and went straight to it, and worked the subject to light it perfectly to get as much personality out of the picture as possible.”
It was a job well done by the photographer, who said the Cookie Monster was actually three tube sponges that had fused together over time. (Sea sponges, while they may appear to be plant-like, are actually multi-cellular animals that attach to the sea floor, or to reefs, and feed by filtering particles from currents.)
“I could not believe the fact that this was so unusual—so unique and humorous,” added Handler, who was shooting with a Nikon D3 DSLR, and a Nikon 105 macro lens.
The Cookie Monster of the Sea, which was featured earlier this week by the Daily Mail, is about three feet tall and located off Westpunt in northwest Curacao.
It cannot speak, obviously, but Sesame Street fans might imagine what it would be saying if it could: “Me want cookie!”

Should Poor People Eat? Let's Hear From Both Sides!

by Peter Hart
(Photo: <a http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-135839051/stock-photo-closeup-of-woman-with-shopping-cart.html?src=Lt5AcPY31xrHJ7nbGcHPxA-1-37 "> via Shutterstock </a>)OK, so maybe this headline is slightly unfair, but it seemed like a good way to capture the essence of a USA Today story (9/18/13) about the fight over food stamps.
As you may already know, House Republicans are looking to cut some $40 billion from the SNAP program, otherwise known as food stamps, over the next 10 years.
It's not unusual for politicians to disagree; one would hope that journalism might intervene on the side of the facts. But here's how USA Today's Paul Singer presented the issue:
The cost of the federal food stamp program has exploded over the past decade, according to the Department of Agriculture. In 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By 2012, there were 46 million people enrolled at a cost of a little under $75 billion.
Democrats say the program has grown because the economy tanked; Republicans argue much of the expansion is attributed to states giving benefits to people who do not qualify.
 Well OK then–either there was a massive economic collapse, or people are cheating the government. Who's to say which side is right?
The paper gets quotes from lawmakers–Republican Eric Cantor's office explains they aim to "restore the integrity of this safety-net program," while Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern says the idea that people are cheating in order to get food stamps instead of working is "a lie."
Again, who's right? That would seem to be a rather important matter. Luckily there's plenty of evidence available. Alan Pyke of ThinkProgress recently noted (9/6/13) that the latest report from the Department of Agriculture's inspector general found no problems with "high-dollar overpayments" in the SNAP program. And according to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (3/28/13), SNAP  "has one of the most rigorous payment error measurement systems of any public benefit program," with a very small amount of funds going to overpayment (about 2 percent of the total cost of the program). And the group's research also shows that increased enrollment in SNAP is historically correlated with economic downturns. This is what caused the size of the program to spike in 2008 and 2009; the rate of growth has slowed considerably since then.
So there does not seem to be much of a problem with "waste"–which is the core argument that one side of this debate is making (unless their real aim is to simply reduce the amount of money poorer people get to buy food).  But USA Today doesn't seem interested in arriving at this conclusion, preferring to take the line they use in the subhead–that these cuts "could cut waste or hurt poor, depending on viewpoint."
That's balance, of course–and it's also very misleading.

Pregnant Clinton Global Initiative staffer killed in Kenya mall shooting

A 33-year-old pregnant staffer for the Clinton Global Initiative and her boyfriend are among those killed in the Kenya mall shooting, former President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday.

Elif Yavuz, a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania, had been expecting a baby with Ross Langdon, an award-winning architect, who was also killed in the rampage.

Yavuz, Clinton said, was due to give birth in just two weeks.

"I saw her just a couple weeks ago in Dar es Salaam when I was there," Clinton said in an interview on "CBS This Morning." "She was nine months pregnant, just a couple of weeks away from delivery. So she and her baby's father were walking in that mall in Nairobi, because she wanted to have the baby in Kenya. She thought that would be best. And they were both killed."

Yavuz and Langdon wanted to have the child, their first, in Nairobi because of its reputation as being safe.

"We were shocked and terribly saddened to learn of the death of Elif Yavuz in the senseless attacks in Nairobi," Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton said in a separate statement. "Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS. Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly."

As many as 62 people are feared dead in the siege that began on Saturday, when gunmen stormed the multilevel Westgate shopping center in Nairobi.

Yavuz, a Dutch citizen of Turkish heritage, earned a masters degree international studies at Johns Hopkins, and joined the Clinton Foundation after receiving her doctorate from Harvard's School of Public Health earlier this year.

"Elif committed her career and her life to helping those in need," Julio Frenk, dean of Harvard's School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Her compassion was an inspiration to everyone she touched at HSPH and the broader global community in which she lived and worked. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her."

Yavuz did her dissertation on malaria in East Africa.

"She was a force," Harvard assistant professor Jessica Cohen, who worked with Yavuz in Uganda, told the Daily News.

Langdon, a Tazmanian native, designed an AIDS hospital in Kenya and had recently delivered a TED Talk on sustainable architecture.

Regional Associates, the architecture firm Langdon co-founded, posted a statement on its website lamenting the loss:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss our friend and colleague Ross Langdon and his partner, Elif Yavuz. Profoundly talented and full of life, Ross enriched the lives of all those around him. Ross's leadership on projects throughout East Africa was inspirational, and he will be will be very, very sorely missed by us all. Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with Ross and Elif’s families at this very difficult time.
According to the firm, Ross had been working on projects in London, Sydney, Norway, Uganda and Rwanda.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ross was in the process of completing an HIV/AIDS clinic in Uganda and "about to start on a $35 million museum telling the story of the earliest fossil record of walking humanoids in Kenya.”
"They were agents-of-change in the best sense," Peter Adams, a friend of the couple, wrote in a blog post. "Both had dedicated their lives to working for a peaceful world. Both had so much to offer."

Net closing in on woman alleged to have stolen Willie Nelson's stuffed armadillo

The net is closing in on a woman allegedly caught on camera stealing country singer Willie Nelson and his band’s unofficial mascot, a stuffed armadillo named Ol' Dillo, from the sound desk stage at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York last Thursday. Ol’ Dillo belongs to one of 80-year-old Nelson’s sound engineers, Aaron Foye, and typically takes in the show from atop Foye’s console at stage left. Dillo has been with the band for the last three years.
The Capitol distributed video footage from one of its security cameras clearly showing a woman (medium build; dark, shoulder-length hair) walking onto the stage and absconding with the unassuming armoured mammal, lifting it from its perch atop the mixing console. Tom Bailey, manager of the Capitol Theatre, said he and his staff have come up with several clear images of the woman who made off with Ol’ Dillo.

“We now are quite clear as to what the perpetrator looks like,” Bailey said. “We’re going to close this thing up right and get that armadillo back to Mr. Nelson.” Bailey and his staff have been talking with Nelson’s management and Port Chester police about how best to proceed. A criminal complaint is likely to follow soon, Bailey said.

Texas Roadhouse, a chain of barbecue joints, is also offering a $1,000 gift card for information leading to Ol’ Dillo’s return. “We are appalled at the theft of an armadillo,” Travis Doster, the restaurant’s public relations director said. “Such low-down behavior can’t be tolerated. We are also willing to enter into a armadillo exchange and give one of our armadillos to the bandit if they will return it to Willie.”

Did you know ...

That subprime lending execs back in business 5 years after the crash

Just why do repugicans hate Americans

Here's a laundry list for cleaning up the everglades

The Truth Be Told

This insane and delusional repugican Says 2014 Will Be Great Because Minorities and Young People Won’t Vote

Nevada repugican Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey let his lips get a little too loose on a local talk radio show when he admitted that the only way repugicans can win is if minorities and young people don’t vote.
Hickey said, “We have some real opportunities in 2014. This is a great year in an off presidential election. Seemingly no Democrat at the top of the ticket against Sandoval.No Harry Reid. Probably where we had a million voters turnout in 2012, we’ll have like 700,000. A lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not turn out in a non-presidential year. It’s a great year for repugicans.”
The repugicans know that when minorities and younger people show up to vote, they lose. This knowledge is behind everything from voter suppression efforts to their optimism about 2014. It is a little stunning to hear an elected repugican admit that if the full electorate shows up, the repugican cabal expects to lose, but it’s the truth. The only chance that repugicans have of winning elections outside of their red state base is if Democrats don’t show up.
The backwards thinking in the repugican cabal is amazing. Instead of trying to expand the size of the repugican cabal by courting minorities and young people, repugicans are perfectly happy to only win off year elections. Actually, the lesson that the repugican cabal has learned is that they should try to shrink the size of the electorate, and turn every year into an off year election. The repugicans are more interested in preventing Democrats from voting than they are in convincing Democratic supporters to vote repugican.
This logic is why House repugicans are perpetually appealing to their base with an endless stream of votes against Obamacare. They think that the electorate will be repugican in 2014. They don’t expect Democrats to show up and vote. The best way to throw a monkey wrench into their plan is to not take a break in 2014. Work just as hard as you would on getting your friends and family to the polls on Election Day.
The repugicans are counting on Democrats sitting out 2014. The message is clear. The only way that they can win is if Democrats don’t show up.

The repugican Traitors Call for a Government Shutdown Even If Obamacare Isn’t Defunded

Over half of repugican voters and Koch-antipatriots are clamoring for a government shutdown if repugicans fail to kill the ACA. …

Missouri repugican Leaves a Loaded Gun In Public State Capitol Bathroom

A Missouri House repugican staffer has become the poster boy for NRA intelligence by leaving a loaded gun in a public restroom on top of toilet paper dispenser in the state capitol.

Here are the details from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A Missouri House staffer allegedly left a loaded gun in a public restroom in the state Capitol last week.
According to a Capitol Police incident report, a Kahr CM9 9mm pistol – later claimed by House Speaker Tim Jones’ legislative assistant Dave Evans – was found on top of the toilet paper dispenser in a men’s restroom in the Capitol basement Friday. The incident report states that the gun “was fully loaded with one round in the chamber and six rounds in the magazine.”
Capitol police returned the gun to Evans after Jones’ secretary Lisa Bondurant called to report that it was misplaced. The incident report states that Evans didn’t have paperwork for the gun with him, but he “offered a very detailed description of the weapon and the holster (and) was able to identify the weapon by the brand, caliber, color, size, the holster and the ammunition count and type that was in the weapon.”
Police say that no charges will be filed in the incident. It is legal in Missouri for legislators to carry their guns in the capitol, but Evans showed the dangerous side of this foolish law. What would have happened if a child would have gotten a hold of the gun? Since Evans left the gun in a public restroom, anybody could have found it. Was it really necessary for Evans to be carrying a loading gun in a building that already has armed security?
For being a negligent idiot, Dave Evans should lose his concealed carry permit. No responsible gun owner would ever leave their weapon on top of a toilet paper dispenser in a public restroom. The whole incident is mind boggling. Any Missouri parent should think twice about sending children on tours of the capitol if there could possibly be loaded weapons laying out in public. People like Dave Evans represent the Republican way.
The repugicans are protecting your Second Amendment rights while making every public space a little less safe, one unattended loaded weapon at a time.

Daily Comic Relief


Five Places That Are Still On Fire

Living near an active volcano can make you nervous, but it's not the only fire down below. Coal is a long-burning mineral hidden underground that can ignite when the circumstances are right.

Those circumstances include contact with air, which happens when we try to take the coal out of the ground for our own purposes. Here are five coal seams that have been burning for a long time.

Man found dead in car of cardiovascular disease had been researching symptoms of heart attacks

A man found dead inside his car at a university car park had researched heart attack symptoms online just hours before he died.

The 38-year-old was found dead inside his car, where he had been living, at Grand Valley State University, Michigan on Monday morning. Police said the man, identified as Phu Quoc Theiu Tran, had died overnight from cardiovascular disease.

His body was found by a university security staff member. It is understood he was a student at Grand Rapids Community College and had been using the university’s computer lab just hours before he was found.

When police checked the computer he used, they discovered he was researching symptoms of heart attacks on the webmd.com website. They said it appears he then got back into his car, in which he had been living, reclined in the front seat and covered himself with a blanket.

Man tried floating from Mexico to US on bag of marijuana

A man was arrested off the coast of San Diego trying to swim into the US using a duffle bag full of marijuana as a floatation device.

US Border Patrol Agents arrested the unidentified man on Sept. 19 after spotting him approximately 600 yards from shore just north of the U.S./Mexico border.
The swimmer was floating on a duffel bag holding more than $23,000 in illegal drugs. Inside the bag, federal agents said they found seven bundles of marijuana weighing more than 50 pounds.

The man, described as a 55-year-old Mexican citizen, was taken into custody.

There's a news video here.

Roadside vendor shot at after serving onion-less omelet

A roadside egg vendor was shot at by a customer in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh, India, for not using onion while making omelets. The incident took place on Saturday evening near Aliganj market when the egg vendor Deepu Kashyap was busy catering to his customers.
At around 7.30pm, Yogesh alias Khurana reached his stall along with his relative identified as Pujari and four more friends. The group ordered omelets and Kashyap served them to the group. Khurana after having a bite realized that Kashyap had not used onion while preparing the omelette. He picked a fight with him and the group began to assault Kashyap.

Local shopkeepers gathered at the spot and tried to intervene. Khurana then whipped out a countrymade pistol and fired at Kashyap with an intention to kill him. The bullet grazed past his forehead and Kashyap was taken to a local government hospital for treatment. Sanjay Kumar Yadav, additional superintendent of Etah police said that Kashyap was out of danger.

The 'correct' way of preparing and cooking an omelet in India. There's no extra charge for the insects.

A case was lodged against Khurana, Pujari and four more unidentified persons under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 386 (extortion) among other charges. The group escaped from the area and efforts to catch them are underway.

Sri Lanka holds seven gold eaters

Seven people have been arrested at Sri Lanka's main international airport after security checks showed they had swallowed pieces of gold. It is believed they were attempting to smuggle the precious metal into India and avoid import duties.

The men - one Sri Lankan and six Indians - were about to board a flight to Chennai (Madras) when they were apprehended, officials said. The men have been taken to a hospital to allow nature to take its course. A total of 25 pieces of gold were detected.
A spokesman for Sri Lanka Customs, Leslie Gamini, said that the detainees, who are between 40 and 50 years old, were being fed with banana, curd and pittu, a Sri Lankan dish made of rice flour and shredded coconut. So far four pieces of gold had been retrieved from two of the men, he said.

"The gold has not been valued or weighed - investigations are going on," he said. India is the biggest gold market in the world. Demand for gold has risen after the recent drop in prices. Last week India increased the duty on imports of gold jewellery to 15% from 10%, in its latest attempt to curb the demand for the precious metal.



The Real Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg

(Image: David Bachrach/Library of Congress)
For a long time, it was thought that there was only one existing photograph of President Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863. As you can see, it's a shot of the dignitaries on stage, taken by David Bachrach (interactive graphic #3 identifies many of the people in the picture).

But Bachrach wasn't the only photographer at the event. Alexander Gardner and his crew were there, and made an experimental "stereograph" photo of the crowd. A picture was taken from from two slightly different vantage points, with the aim of showing them together through the left and right eye for a 3D effect. With the technology of the time, they could have been taken several minutes apart. In 2007, John Richter identified Lincoln in the background of the stereograph photos. Now there were three photographs of Lincoln at Gettysburg!

(Image: Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress)
Then enter UNC-Asheville media teacher and former Disney animator Chris Oakley. A longtime Civil War buff, Oakley took a new look at Gardner's crowd photographs. He and his students have spent the past two years analyzing the pictures and have found Lincoln, but in a different spot. To back his claim, the team used computer feature analysis of both the "new" Lincoln and the people around him to make identifications. 

Of course, to proclaim such a find, Oakley had to have the data to back it up. Oakley's quest to confirm one person in a large crowd shot is detailed at Smithsonian magazine, with an interactive look at the photographs: Here.

Archaeologists find Chimú tomb in Lambayeque

Another day, another fascinating archaeological discovery out of northern Peru. Excavators working at the Saltur archaeological complex have found a number of tombs, including an intact tomb of a female noble. 
Archaeologists find Chimú tomb in Lambayeque
The intact tomb of a female noble unearthed at the Saltur
archaeological complex [Credit: Andina]
According to Peru21, the woman buried in the tomb was around 30 at the time of her death, and was interred with a number of ceramic vessels, as well as the remains of several fish and birds. Investigators found her body posed with bent knees and her head facing southward. La Republica reports that the tomb is probably around 600 years old.

Archaeologist Luis Chero told press that findings at Saltur and nearby sites could provide important information about ancient civilizations in northern Peru. Unfortunately, looters beat the investigators to at least one of the tombs in the area. 

“In addition to the presence of ceremonial architecture from the Lambayeque culture, we’ve round funerary sites at the dig where we’ve been able to identify four tombs from the Chimú period and one that’s probably from the Chimú-Inca period, but was profaned by looters and we’ve only been able to recuperate some offerings,” Chero said.

RPP Noticias reports that this is the first completely intact tomb that excavators have discovered at the site, as grave robbers have plagued the area for years.

According to Peru21, there are 60 people working onsite at Saltur, and dig leaders estimate they they’ve excavated about 40% of the site.

Nine megalithic graves discovered in Mysore district

Nine megalithic graves said to be from the Stone Age were discovered at villages of Hosaagrahara, Chunchanakatte, Kasaba and Mirle hoblis of K R Nagar taluk in the district on Monday.
Nine megalithic graves discovered in Mysore district
A menhir in a ruined megalithic site in Rohma [Credit: Subhashis Das/Megalithic India]
The rocks were found during a fieldwork carried out by S G Ramadasareddy, Prof M K Mruthyunjaya and others of Government First Grade College, Kuvempunagar.

The megaliths and remains were found on the banks of river Cauvery in Gandhanahalli, Kurubarahalli and Lalandevanahalli villages. The rocks are 10-20 feet long. Shards of red and black earthen pots, bones, grinding stones, stone equipment etc were found near the megaliths.

At a farm belonging to J N Rajegowda, two megaliths, 12 feet in length, were found facing each other. Another megalith found in Yelemuddhanahalli, was reportedly used for animal sacrifice. 

While the locals are of the opinion that the holes in the megaliths were made by their forefathers to conduct rituals, archaeologist Mahadevaia said research says that people from older ages made these holes to decide the time by sighting stars in the sky. The megaliths found here are said to have similarities with those found in Kerala, parts of Europe and Turkey.

Random Photos

The Incredible Dinosaur Wall Of Bolivia

Some things appear where you least expect them. Although dinosaur tracks have been discovered the world over, climbing up a near vertical wall in a Bolivian quarry? Zooming up hundreds of feet towards the skies?

Yet here they are. Spread across a limestone slab a mile long and almost 300 feet high, this great wall at Cal Orcko near the city of Suvre reveals more than 5,000 footsteps, with 462 discrete trails.

'Cascade of events' caused sudden explosion of animal life

The explosion of animal life on Earth around 520 million years ago was the result of a combination of interlinked factors rather than a single underlying cause, according to a new study.
'Cascade of events' caused sudden explosion of animal life
Anomalocaris "arm" from the Mt. Stephen Trilobite Beds, Middle Cambrian, near
Field, British Columbia, Canada [Credit: Wilson44691/WikiCommons]
Dozens of individual theories have been put forward over the past few decades for this rapid diversification of animal species in the early Cambrian period of geological time.

But a paper by Professor Paul Smith of Oxford University and Professor David Harper of Durham University suggests a more holistic approach is required to discover the reasons behind what has become known as the Cambrian Explosion.

Theories for the Cambrian Explosion fall into three main categories – geological, geochemical and biological – and most have been claimed as standalone processes that were the main cause of the explosion.

Whatever the cause, this major evolutionary event led to a wide range of biological innovation, including the origin of modern ecosystems, a rapid increase in animal diversity, the origin of skeletons and the first appearance of specialist modes of life such as burrowing and swimming.

Among the weird and wonderful creatures to emerge in the early Cambrian was Anomalocaris, the free-swimming, metre-long top predator of the time with a mouth composed of 32 overlapping plates that could constrict to crush prey. It is distantly related to modern arthropods, including crabs and lobsters.

Vertebrate animals also made their first appearance in the Cambrian Explosion, the distant ancestors of modern fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Professor Smith, Professor Harper and a team of scientists have spent four years working on data from a site in northernmost Greenland, facing the Arctic Ocean.

The site, at Siriuspasset, is located at 83°N, just 500 miles from the North Pole in a remote part of north Greenland. Although logistically very difficult to reach, Siriuspasset attracted the team because of the high quality of its fossil material and the insights it provides.

Professor Smith and Professor Harper's findings are published in the latest edition of the journal Science.

Professor Smith, lead author of the report and Director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, said: 'This is a period of time that has attracted a lot of attention because it is when animals appear very abruptly in the fossil record, and in great diversity. Out of this event came nearly all of the major groups of animals that we recognise today.

'Because it is such a major biological event, it has attracted much opinion and speculation about its cause.'

Described by the researchers as a 'cascade of events', the interacting causes behind the explosion in animal life are likely to have begun with an early Cambrian sea level rise. This generated a large increase in the area of habitable seafloor, which in turn drove an increase in animal diversity. These early events then translate into the complex interaction of biological, geochemical and geological processes described in individual hypotheses.

Professor Harper, Professor of Palaeontology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University, said: 'The Cambrian Explosion is one of the most important events in the history of life on our planet, establishing animals as the most visible part of the planet's marine ecosystems.

'It would be naïve to think that any one cause ignited this phenomenal explosion of animal life. Rather, a chain reaction involving a number of biological and geological drivers kicked into gear, escalating the planet's diversity during a relatively short interval of deep time.

'The Cambrian Explosion set the scene for much of the subsequent marine life that built on cascading and nested feedback loops, linking the organisms and their environment, that first developed some 520 million years ago.'

Professor Smith said: 'Work at the Siriuspasset site in north Greenland has cemented our thinking that it wasn't a matter of saying one hypothesis is right and one is wrong. Rather than focusing on one single cause, we should be looking at the interaction of a number of different mechanisms.

'Most of the hypotheses have at least a kernel of truth, but each is insufficient to have been the single cause of the Cambrian explosion. What we need to do now is focus on the sequence of interconnected events and the way they related to each other – the initial geological triggers that led to the geochemical effects, followed by a range of biological processes.'

A day in the life of the mysterious odd-clawed spider Progradungula otwayensis

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Five Surprising Things That Have Cow Parts In Them

So, you're a vegan and you're mad that you can't drink Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. Well, maybe you want to skip this post because your day ain't going to get much better. You see, almost everything in the world contains something made from animal parts and by-products.

Don't believe us? Here are 5 things in the world that you wouldn't believe are made from or contain animal by-products or use them in the manufacturing process.

Court to decide whether horses are vicious

A court is to hear a case that could result in horses being classified as a "vicious" species. A boy's parents sued a farm owner in the state of Connecticut after he was bitten by a horse named Scuppy in 2006. A lower court said Scuppy belonged "to a species naturally inclined to do mischief and be vicious".

The state supreme court will now hear an appeal. If upheld, the lower court's ruling could make horse ownership uninsurable, say equine industry figures. The legal action began in 2006 after a boy tried to pet Scuppy at Glendale Farms in Milford.
The animal reportedly bit the child on his right cheek, inflicting a serious injury. The boy's father, Anthony Vendrella, sued the farm's owners, but lost in 2010 at a New Haven court. That court ruled there was no evidence the farm's owner knew of any previous incidents of aggression involving Scuppy.

But a Connecticut Appellate Court later overturned this ruling, finding that testimony suggested Scuppy's species was "vicious" and that the boy's injury had been foreseeable. If upheld by the state's supreme court, the ruling would be the first in the nation to classify horses as a vicious species, say analysts. Horse farmers say that could make it difficult to pair horses with children, and damage a $221m (£138m) a year industry.

Animal Pictures