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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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Daily Drift

They dug their own grave, now let them stay there ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 countries around the world daily.
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Today is Balloons Across The World Day  

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Blue Bell, Rio Rancho, McGahyesville, Carol Stream, Visalia and Goshen, United States
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Today in History

1263 At Largs, King Alexander III of Scotland repels an amphibious invasion by King Haakon IV of Norway.
1535 Having landed in Quebec a month ago, Jacques Cartier reaches a town, which he names Montreal.
1862 An Army under Union General Joseph Hooker arrives in Bridgeport, Alabama to support the Union forces at Chattanooga. Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain provides a dramatic setting for the Civil War's battle above the clouds.
1870 The papal states vote in favor of union with Italy. The capital is moved from Florence to Rome.
1871 Morman leader Brigham Young, 70, is arrested for polygamy. He was later convicted, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
1879 A dual alliance is formed between Austria and Germany, in which the two countries agree to come to the other's aid in the event of aggression.
1909 Orville Wright sets an altitude record, flying at 1,600 feet. This exceeded Hubert Latham's previous record of 508 feet.
1931 Aerial circus star Clyde Pangborn and playboy Hugh Herndon, Jr. set off to complete the first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean from Misawa City, Japan.
1941 The German army launches Operation Typhoon, the drive towards Moscow.
1950 The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schultz, makes its first appearance in newspapers.
1959 The groundbreaking TV series The Twilight Zone, hosted by Rod Serling, premiers on CBS.
1964 Scientists announce findings that smoking can cause cancer.
1967 Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, is sworn in. Marshall had previously been the solicitor general, the head of the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a leading American civil rights lawyer.
1970 A plane carrying the Wichita State University football team, staff, and supporters crashes in Colorado; 31 of the 40 people aboard die.
1980 Congressional Representative Mike Myers is expelled from the US House for taking a bribe in the Abscam scandal, the first member to be expelled since 1861.
1990 Flight 8301 of China's Xiamen Airlines is hijacked and crashed into Baiyun International Airport, hitting two other aircraft and killing 128 people.
2001 NATO backs US military strikes in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Non Sequitur


War Plan Red

The U.S. Plan to Invade Canada
When this bizarre story surfaced a few years ago, it reminded us if this quote, attributed to Warren G. Harding: "I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends -they're the ones that keep me walking the floors nights."


If you had to invade another country, how would you do it? Believe it or not, the United States military spent a lot of time pondering that question in the late 1920s, when it came up with a plan to invade its closest neighbor, Canada.

There was certainly a precedent for the two nations battling it out. The Continental Army invaded Canada during the American Revolution, and the U.S. Army made repeated incursions during the War of 1812. In 1839 the state of Maine only narrowly avoided a shooting war with the province of New Brunswick over a border dispute. Then, in 1866, about 800 Irish-American members of a group called the Fenian Brotherhood tried to occupy part of Canada for the purpose of using it as a bargaining chip to force Great Britain to grant independence to Ireland (They were quickly driven back across the U.S. border).

That last invasion had an upside for Canadians: It convinced the last holdouts in the independent provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec that they'd be better able to defend themselves against the next invasion if they banded together to form the Dominion of Canada, which they did on July 1, 1867.
Canadian soldiers in World War I. 

Of course, these skirmishes paled in comparison to World War I, which raged from 1914 to 1918. That war, which was precipitated by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, caught most of the belligerents by surprise. It also lasted longer and was far more costly in blood and treasure than anyone ever dreamed a war could be. None of the nations that fought in it wanted to be caught off guard again; many began planning for whatever war might be lurking around the corner. The American military drafted a whole series of color-coded war plans to cover just about every conceivable scenario: War Plan Black was a plan for war with Germany; War Plan Orange dealt with Japan, a rapidly growing power in the Pacific. Other colors included Green (Mexico), Gold (France), Brown (The Philippines), and Yellow (China). There was even a War Plan Indigo, in case the United States eve had to invade Iceland, and a War Plan White that dealt with civil unrest within America's own borders.


War Plan Red was America's plan for going to war with the British Empire, in the unlikely event that Britain (code name: Red) decided to "eliminate [the United States] as an economic and commercial rival." Since Canada (code name: Crimson) was part of the Empire and shared a 5,527-mile border with the U.S., much of the plan dealt with invading Canada and knocking it out of action before the British could use it as a staging ground for attacks on the U.S.

Here's how an invasion of Canada would have gone:

* The United States (code name: Blue) would attack and occupy halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada's largest Atlantic port. The attack would deny Britain access to the rail and road links it would need to land troops in Canada and disperse than across the country.

* Next, the U.S. Army would attack across the border along three fronts: Troops would attack from either Vermont or New York to occupy Montreal and Quebec City; from Michigan into Ontario; and from North Dakota into Manitoba. The effects of these attacks would be to seize Canada's industrial heartland while preventing similar attacks on America, and to further disrupt the movement of Canadian troops from one part of the country to another.

* Troops would cross from Washington into British Columbia and seize Vancouver, Canada's largest Pacific port. The U.S. Navy would blockade the port of Prince Rupert, 460 miles to the north.

Once the crisis passed and relations between America, Canada, and Great Britain returned to normal, the U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Canadian territory, right? No- "Blue intentions are to hold in perpetuity all Crimson and Red territory gained," the military planners wrote. "The policy will be to prepare the provinces and territories of Crimson and Red to become states and territories of the Blue union upon the declaration of peace."

So how seriously was the United States considering invading Canada? In all probability, not very. War Plan Red doesn't go into nearly as much detail as War Plan Black (Germany) or War Plan Orange (Japan), which military planners correctly assumed were much more significant threats. The intent of the other color-coded plans may have been to make war plans involving Germany and Japan seem less controversial. Why the subterfuge? After the horrors of World War I, in which nearly ten million soldiers died, many people concluded that planning for wars only made them more likely.

The U.S. military didn't feel this way, of course, and one way they may have gotten around public opinion was to come up with all kinds of improbable war plans to make the real plans more palatable. A public that would not have tolerated the idea of preparing for war with Germany and Japan would be less alarmed by the idea of the United States preparing for war with Germany, Japan, Canada, Iceland, Jamaica, Monaco, and Andorra.


Any sting Canadians might have felt when War Plan Red was declassified in 1974 was offset by the knowledge that Canada had drafted its own plans for invading the United States, and had done so several years before War Plan Red was approved in 1930. "Defence Scheme No. 1," as it was called, was created in 1921 by James Sutherland "Buster" Brown, Canada's director of military operations and intelligence. In many respects it was the opposite of War Plan Red: In the event that an American attack was imminent, Canadian forces would strike first, attacking and occupying key cities such as Albany, Minneapolis, and Seattle.

Unlike with War Plan Red, these cities wouldn't be annexed or even occupied for any longer than was absolutely necessary. The idea was to knock the U.S. off balance, then retreat back into Canada, blowing up bridges and destroying roads and railroads along the way in the hope of delaying the inevitable American counterattack until British reinforcements arrived. The plan received mixed reviews from the Canadian military: One general called it a "fantastic desperate plan that just might have worked"; other officers thought Brown was nuts. It remained on the books until 1928, when it was scrapped as impractical.

Did you know ...

That 401(k)s have made the rich richer and the rest of us poorer

Here's 9 foods with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut

Go ahead, fuck America, vote repugican

Treasonous House repugicans Are Giddy With Joy Over Shutting Down The Government

Boehner destroy the nationIt is natural for human beings to feel good for someone they know is excited and happy they are finally achieving a long sought-after goal, especially after years of hard work and perseverance. It is a sad fact of life, though, that throughout history there have been human beings that get excited and enjoy deliberately causing pain and suffering to other people. Yesterday House repugicans were absolutely giddy with joy they were finally achieving their two-and-a-half year goal of shutting down the government. It is highly probable that they are particularly excited their hard work will affect millions of American citizens and a laundry list of government employees enumerated in a 2011 contingency plan the last time Republicans tried to shut down the government. There cannot be many Americans left who are unaware that repugicans love causing harm to the American people, the economy, and the government they have campaigned vehemently against over the past two years, and few should be surprised they are excited they are close to shutting it down. In fact, after House repugicans voted to shut down the government unless Democrats acquiesce to repugican ransom demands unrelated to government funding, teabagger Michele Bachmann said “We’re very excited! It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”  Texas repugican congressman John Abney Culberson clapped his hands and celebrated the upcoming government shutdown repugicans lusted after for two-and-a-half years and could barely contain himself as he said, “It’s wonderful! We’re 100 percent united.” It is difficult to imagine taxpayer-funded congressional repugicans being so excited over shutting down the government of the people they were elected to serve, but there is no accounting for what makes repugicans happy.
No American should be surprised repugicans are tickled they get to wreak more havoc on America because just a little over two years ago House Speaker John Boehner said “I’m pretty happy I got what I wanted” after causing a credit downgrade, killing a million jobs, and adding $18.9 billion to the nation’s deficit besides setting the stage for sequestration and indiscriminate cuts to the defense of the United States. Boehner and repugicans were very pleased with themselves for keeping their sequester cuts in place in their continuing resolution that will kill 750,000 jobs before year’s end and about a million more next year as well as ravaging jobs in the defense industry crucial to the national security of the United States. One wonders just how much repugican joy is because they are harming the United States economy and government during a time of war, or if the 66% of repugican and 79% of teabagger voters are part of the happy conspiracy supporting House repugicans deliberate plot to weaken the United States while Americans are fighting a war in Afghanistan.
According to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, “any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information.” The repugicans deliberately harmed the U.S. economy in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, and the resulting sequestration cuts began affecting the defense industry on March 1 2013. Coupled with using extortion for political gain, the repugican plot to shut down the government must be regarded as one part of several subversive acts to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies. The Treason Clause is particularly applicable to repugicans because they were, and are, weakening the United States during a time America is at war in Afghanistan.
The repugicans lust to shut down the government is for reasons typical of traitors unwilling to accept they do not control the government.  First, like the last time repugicans shutdown the government, a Democrat is in the White House, and second, this Democrat in the White House is an African American the fascist power behind repugicans cannot manipulate so they are pleased the government, including regulatory agencies they cannot destroy, will be shut down. It is important for Americans to remember that repugicans threatened to shut down the government since they controlled the House in 2011, and it explains why Boehner and teabaggers are excited that finally they get to deny millions of Americans access to vital services, withhold hundreds-of-thousands of public servants’ pay, and a land another blow to the nation’s economic recovery during a time of war.
The repugicans are probably most joyous that they set up a scenario that whether the President and Democrats pay the ransom to keep the government running or not, millions of Americans will be adversely affected.  The repugicans will use any extreme measure to shut down the government and they hedged their bets by including a conscience clause giving christian medical providers the legal right to withhold medical care from gays and single mothers, and gave extremist christians the right to force their employees to adhere to their religious beliefs. House repugicans knew in advance Democrats or the President would not go along with theocratic amendments in the continuing resolution the same as they knew delaying the ACA’s implementation would never fly; so they included them to assure they could shut down the government. The Affordable Care Act is just the reason du jour for a shut down that, like the looming debt ceiling crisis, is cover for inflicting more economic damage on the nation during a time of war.
Even though America is at war in Afghanistan, it is believable repugicans are excited they get to further weaken the economy and thus the ability of the United States to protect national security interests at home and around the world. The repugicans want a government shutdown to harm the economy more than they want to eliminate the ACA, and regardless they think they are “doing the right thing,” shutting down the government and damaging the economy is treason according to Article III, Section 3. Any person who deliberately endangers the American economy during a time of war is guilty of treason, and it applies to House repugicans, their maniacal leader Senator Ted Cruz, 66% of repugican and 79% of teabagger voters, various Koch entities inciting opposition to the health law, and the Heritage Foundation that devised the health law and now campaigns to shut down the government if it is not eliminated.
The repugicans know the health law is good for Americans, and although esteemed economic expert Paul Krugman contends wingnuts “don’t understand” the policy behind the ACA, that is just not true. They understand it perfectly and know it is already succeeding or they would not take extraordinary measures to see it eliminated; including shutting down the government and harming the economy in a time of war. With national security agencies preparing to lay off personnel when the shutdown occurs, hundreds-of-thousands of defense industry employees already facing furloughs and job losses, and economic recovery hanging in the balance, it is time for Americans to face the reality that the repugican cabal is deliberately jeopardizing this nation’s security and for that they are guilty of treason.

Climate change deniers

The repugicans Crowdsource Stupid and Threaten Economic Destruction

Although they are different concepts, there is a connection between ignorance which is the lack of knowledge or information, and stupidity which is lacking the ability to learn and understand things such as knowledge or information. One of problems, and indeed reasons, repugicans are able to convince many Americans that their dangerous tactics to obstruct governance unless they are allowed to dictate how the country is run is because their supporters are dispossessed of information about how government operates. For the most part, any American who believes the repugican cabal’s contention that compromise and negotiation are mortal sins, and that shutting down the government and causing a credit default are sound legislative strategies is not only ignorant, they are seriously stupid and lack brain capacity to learn. The repugicans depend on Americans who are stupid and ignorant because it is the only possible way they would ever garner support for their crusade to wreak havoc on the government and the people unless they are allowed to control the government by extortion. It is likely a very safe bet that the average American could never pass the test to become a naturalized citizen out of sheer ignorance of the Constitution, and possible a safer bet that many Americans are just too stupid to grasp the concept of how government functions.  Indeed, in 2012 it was estimate that barely 60% of American adults could pass the citizenship test with a score of 6 out of 10 (60%), and it is likely why 66% of repugican voters and 79% of teabaggers want repugicans to shut down the government and default on the nation’s debts for an ever-growing list of reasons. Obviously, any American who advocates shutting down the government and defaulting on  the nation’s debts is not only ignorant of the dire consequences, they are stupid for encourage extremists in the repugican ranks who will, without pause, send the economy into a depression. It is why repugicans will shut down the government and push the nation toward defaulting on its debts.
With stupidity and ignorance as the source of their support, and an internal civil war as their backdrop, the dysfunction that is the repugican cabal is finally bearing fruit and threatens this government like no time since the Civil War. The situation in Washington is not partisan divide, and it is certainly not both sides making government less stable, less effective, and less predictable according to ratings agency S&P as why they downgrading America’s credit. Preeminent congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein opined that “The repugican cabal is “an insurgent outlier—ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited and social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” The two scholars came to a conclusion most Washington observers have finally come to realize that “Our problem is polarization but not just any polarization—asymmertric polarization. repugicans are more partisan than Democrats.”
This partisanship within the republican cabal between teabaggers and mainstream repugicans not only abrogates compromise internally, it has driven the nation from crisis to crisis and a state of flux since 2011 that few governments could survive. As James Fallows remarked, “This time, the fight that matters is within the repugican cabal, and that fight is over whether compromise itself is legitimate. The president and his administration, Democratic legislators as a group, and voters have essentially no leverage over the outcome. Nor is there a conceivable compromise the Democrats could offer that would placate the other side.” Any situation in a two-party, representative democracy where there is nothing short of complete abdication by one side to the opposition’s demands on pain of destroying its economy is not governance; it is an attempted coup d’├ętat. And it is treason in a time of war.
The repugicans in the House, and to a lesser degree in the Senate, have been under control of the most extremist wingnut sect this nation has likely ever experienced and the vote to shut down the government if Democrats do not accept the extremist repugicans conditions is but an inkling that the American people are in for some serious trouble. The repugicans were not satisfied passing a continuing resolution maintaining sequestration cuts the Democratic Senate went along with to keep the government running because the ACA is still going forward and Social Security and Medicare were not “reformed” to meet the demands of austerity-mad teabaggers. The sequester will eliminate 750,000  jobs before the end of this year, kill a million more in the next 12 months, and reduce total U.S. economic growth by 0.7 percent, but the damage is not severe enough for the extreme lunatic fringe of the repugican caucus in the House.
To ensure Democrats will not accept the House repugicans’ CR abomination, they added in a christian “conscience clause” for medical providers, allow employers to opt-out of the contraception coverage mandate, and a one-year delay of ACA implementation. The repugicans desperately want the government to shut down. Likely, repugicans are also lusting to cause a credit default because House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said it is his preference that the government shutdown “will fold into the debt ceiling fight,” because “I like combining all of our leverage which is sequester and the debt limit.” Ryan also used a veiled electoral threat against repugicans in the Senate by daring them to vote for “Obamacare” and “face the consequences with their constituents for having made that decision.” In repugican parlance, voting to keep the government running to serve the people and not acquiescing to outlandish teabagger demands is tantamount to voting for the health law’s implementation.
The only reason repugicans are in the position they find themselves is their dependence on stupid and insanely ignorant voters who support insane economic damage that will certainly affect all Americans. It is likely there are still some repugicans who understand that compromise is crucial to governing effectively, but they welcomed ideological extremist teabaggers in their ranks who have no idea of how government operates including what a government shutdown or credit default will do to the nation and world’s economy. In fact, there are still ignorant repugicans in the House, and the population, that do not comprehend what the debt limit is or what defaulting on the debt means for the nation’s economy.
It is important to remember that during the debt ceiling crisis of 2011 and the fiscal cliff crisis of 2012, there were teabaggers who wanted a default and the economy to go over a cliff “just to see what will happen.” There is no talking, debating, informing, or teaching a mentality that wants to “see what will happen” when the world’s economy goes into a depression. It is the height of stupidity to think something good will come of a default, or a government shutdown, and the overwhelming support among repugican and teabagger voters for an economic disaster informs that many, many Americans are too stupid to be allowed to have a voice in how this country is governed; unless they first pass the civics test to become an American citizen.

The repugican defination of "human"

Man arrested for laundry rage attack on senior citizen

A senior citizen was brutally knocked to the ground in a violent "laundry rage" attack after being accused of stealing another man's dryer.
Surveillance cameras allegedly caught Kenneth Wood, 55, battering Alexandros Dimitrelos, 75, at the Super Matt Laundry, in Fort Myers, Florida. Video shows the 6-foot, 210-pound Wood knocking down the 5-foot-5 Dimitrelos twice on September 9th.
It was all apparently because the retiree's wife put laundry in a machine Wood had previously claimed as his. The pair argued before Dimitrelos called Wood an “idiot” - sparking him to shove him on the ground.

Demitrelos stood up, before being knocked down again. Wood then appeared to kick his victim, grab his cellphone that he smashed up and then ran out of the building. Wood was arrested on Wednesday and charged with felony battery on a person 65 years or older and criminal mischief.

There's a follow-up news video here.

High school vice principal says students who made fun of him on social media guilty under CFAA, RICO

In Matot v. CH, et al, a middle school assistant principal named Adam Matot asked a court to find that two students who'd set up parody social media accounts mocking him had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and when the court laughed that out the door, asked the court to find that the students had violated the RICO Act and were engaged in organized crime. Thankfully, the court understood that this was raw sewage disguised as legal theory [PDF] ("Congress did not intend to target the misguided attempts at retribution by juvenile middle school students against an assistant principal in enacting RICO.") and found for the kids. Here's some trenchant analysis from Venkat Balasubramani:
This is a strange lawsuit brought by high school principal who alleged that defendants (students) created social media accounts using the principal’s name and likeness. Defendants allegedly posted materials, including some which were obscene, that caused his reputation to be diminished.
He brought suit against defendants and their parents, alleging claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and for defamation and negligent supervision.
On a motion to dismiss brought by one of the defendants, the court finds that plaintiff failed to adequately allege a cause of action under the CFAA. Reviewing the CFAA case law, the court says that plaintiff’s cause of action is premised on defendants’ use of protected computers beyond the scope of authorization (i.e., use in a way that “exceeded authorized access”). Finding that Nosal, Brekka, and US v. Drew all frowned upon this as a legal theory (particularly when restrictions are contained in terms of use agreements), the court rejects the claim. In front of the magistrate judge, plaintiff requested leave to add a RICO claim, but the judge rejects this:
Congress did not intend to target the misguided attempts at retribution by juvenile middle school students against an assistant principal in enacting RICO.
Talk about the understatement of the century!

Paul McCartney replies to women's message to The Beatles 50 years on

Two women from Essex have received a reply from Sir Paul McCartney, half a century after trying to contact him. Barbara Bezant and Lyn Phillips recorded a message to The Beatles in 1963 and sent a tape to a London theater where the band was playing. Decades later it turned up at a car boot sale and last week the women were reunited with the recording by BBC TV program The One Show.
At the time of the recording, Barbara Bezant and Lyn Phillips were 17 and 19 respectively and both lived in Eltham, south London. They saw The Beatles at the Lewisham Odeon in December 1963 and recorded their message on a reel-to-reel tape recorder before posting it to the Finsbury Park Astoria, where the band were due to play.
The tape was bought at a car boot sale in Great Yarmouth by local historian David McDermott who listened to it. He said: "It was like sitting in a bubble and being there when these two girls were making this tape. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and it made me wonder if these two were still with us."

Sir Paul wrote to Barbara and Lyn saying: "Hi Linda and Barbara, thanks very much for you lovely tape. It finally got through, better late than never. Keep enjoying the music, love Paul." The women had not seen each other for 40 years, although both were living in Essex - Barbara in Dovercourt and Lyn in Leigh on Sea. They said they were "amazed" to be reunited and to finally get a reply from a Beatle.

The Earliest Known Work of Norman Rockwell

In his illustrations, Norman Rockwell showed American life, both idealized and troubled. He defined American childhood, particularly in his illustrations for the Boy Scouts.
Rockwell demonstrated serious talent from an early age. Pictured above is his earliest surviving work, rendered at the age of 17. It's is a scene from "The Deserted Village," a 1770 poem by Oliver Goldsmith. In the Smithsonian magazine, Deborah Solomon describes it:
It was incredible to see­—a marvel of precocious draftsmanship and a shockingly macabre work for an artist known for his folksy humor. Rockwell undertook it as a class assignment. Technically, it’s an illustration of a scene from “The Deserted Village,” the 18th-century pastoral poem by Oliver Goldsmith. It takes you into a small, tenebrous, candlelit room where a sick boy lies supine in bed, a sheet pulled up to his chin. A village preacher, shown from the back in his long coat and white wig, kneels at the boy’s side. A grandfather clock looms dramatically in the center of the composition, infusing the scene with a time-is-ticking ominousness. Perhaps taking his cue from Rembrandt, Rockwell is able to extract great pictorial drama from the play of candlelight on the back wall of the room, a glimpse of radiance in the unreachable distance.
Rockwell had been taught in Thomas Fogarty’s illustration class that pictures are “the servant of text.” But here he breaks that rule. Traditionally, illustrations for “The Deserted Village” have emphasized the theme of exodus, portraying men and women driven out of an idyllic, tree-laden English landscape. But Rockwell moved his scene indoors and chose to capture a moment of tenderness between an older man and a young man, even though no such scene is described in the poem.
Put another way, Rockwell was able to do the double duty of fulfilling the requirements of illustration while staying true to his emotional instincts. The thrill of his work is that he was able to use a commercial form to work out his private obsessions.

World's First Camping Trailer Hotel

Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel is the world's first camping trailer and Pullman coach hostel in Bonn, Germany. The hostel which was opened in August of this year in a former storage facility, consists of 15 various vintage camping caravans, two former railway Pullman coaches and four used U.S. Airstream trailers all with shared washrooms.

The prices of the 120 beds in the 1600 square meter indoor complex range from 22 to 69 euros ($30 to $93) per night. Each trailer was individually designed by film and TV outfitter Marion Seul.

The Strange Sarcophagi Of The Chachapoya

By the time the Spanish arrived in Peru at the beginning of the 16th Century the Chachapoya people had already been subsumed in to the great Inca Empire.

Although they had resisted the Incas fiercely, the lands of these Warriors of the Clouds, as they were known, had been annexed and had been forced to adopt the customs and culture of their conquerors. Yet they left one thing behind - the strange sarcophagi in which they would bury their dead.



Hundreds camped out for chance of free chicken meals

Hundreds of people camped out outside Chick-fil-A's newest restaurant in Eldersburg, Maryland, last Wednesday, hoping to capture a promised year of free food from the fast food chain.

The Eldersburg location opened on Thursday, and 225 people were lined for the give-away - which allotted one meal per week for 52 weeks to the first 100 people in line.
A drawing was held, and 100 participants were selected.

They had camped out on-site for 24 hours before receiving their 52 combo meal cards.

Are Burger King Satisfries Really Healthier?

Is there such a thing as a healthier french fry? Well, the evil geniuses at Burger King have spent 10 long years coming up with one. Guest host Annie Gaus explains the science behind the new, 'healthier' Satisfry.

Pretending to Be Normal

We all go through that awkward phase. It's just for some of us, like Beth Evans, it begins at birth and continues indefinitely. Do your best to distinguish between the conversations inside your head and outside of it.

Health News

It’s not the little blue pill famous for helping men get big results, but for those who need it, the outcome might be even more significant. A new research report published online in The FASEB […]

Who would not want to live a long and healthy life? A freely available food supplement could help in this respect, scientists from ETH Zurich have demonstrated in roundworms. Vitamin B3 – also known as […]

UC Davis Health system researchers have identified for the first time a biological pathway that is activated when blood sugar levels are abnormally high and causes irregular heartbeats, a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia that […]

Climate change and the point of no return

Eric Holthaus reports on the aftermath of last week's climate change report, which found that anthropogenic causes are almost certainly behind global warming.
Without jumping up and down on the desks of their computer terminals, this forum of scientists has done about as much as they can do. With this report, they have proven humankind’s impact on the climate, and confidently projected dire consequences should world governments fail to act immediately.

What Lurks Beneath The Earth's Surface

Shinichi Kuramoto of the Center for Deep Earth Exploration in Japan displays a replica of earthquake fault rock.
Shinichi Kuramoto of the Center for Deep Earth Exploration in Japan displays a replica of earthquake fault rock.
Recently there has been an eruption of revelations from below the surface of the Earth: beneath Kenya and a deep in the Pacific Ocean. In just the past six months, there have been reports of new oilfield discoveries.
Inner Earth seems to be getting more attention these days than outer space. There may be nothing new under the sun, but there is a lot happening where the sun don't shine. Besides oil and water, researchers are digging for untold and medicinal knowledge and maybe even some of the deepest secrets of all.
Whole Earth Cataloguing
Humans have long imagined what wonders await explorers of the deepest lands and waters. The 19th century French novelist Jules Verne plumbed the fictional depths in such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Invading the planet's interior today is an essential undertaking, says Brenda J. Buck, a geoscientist at the . "There is much we have to learn about how our interaction with the Earth affects the Earth and all other living things, and how our interaction with the Earth affects ourselves."
For example, many naturally occurring materials are extremely dangerous to our health, explains Brenda, who focuses on medical geology. She names two: arsenic and asbestos. Both substances occur in nature, and asbestos has even been mined for use in many everyday applications. Now we know that both are .
"Where they occur is not always known," Brenda says. "Sometimes it isn't until people get sick that a search is initiated to figure out why. In other cases, routine analyses discover the presence of these materials and routes of human exposure are identified, but then studies are needed to find out if people are getting sick from these exposures."
New research, Brenda says, is revealing more minerals to be carcinogenic. She cites erionite, "a zeolite mineral that is similar to asbestos in size and shape and when breathed in the lungs is highly carcinogenic."
During investigations of the Earth's innards, scientists may discover all kinds of things.
Finding Faults
In one way, subterranean exploration is getting more difficult, Brenda says. Many places "have been so altered by human activities that they obscure what is there."
In her own backyard, Brenda says, it's difficult to locate the faults that cut across the Las Vegas valley. "Houses and shopping malls have been so built up that it is not easy to pick out the subtle elevational changes that indicate a fault scarp is there," she explains. "And since everything is built up, we can't easily — or can't at all — dig a trench to learn more about that fault."
One piece of info that would be nice to know, she points out: Is the fault likely to be tectonically active again?
But in another way, Brenda adds, "today we have satellites and other technologies that make it easier to discover new things about the surface and subsurface of the Earth."
Above And Below
It's true, says Compton Tucker, a senior scientist at the . A whole array of new geophysical tools developed for various tasks enable researchers to boldly go below where any human has ever ventured.
While reaching for the stars, we are also delving into the dirt.
New gravity data provided by satellites, Compton says, help researchers measure "very exactly, variations in the earth's gravity field — which tells you, certainly, things about water storage beneath the surface and how that varies."
The recent technology, Compton says, "comes out of our knowledge of gravity fields from firing ballistic missiles from point A to point B on the surface. Because if you don't know what the gravity field is, you have no possibility of hitting your target. So this is a very benign and actually beneficial use of something which has come out of the military sphere."
Unintended Consequences
Dig a little and there is no telling what you will find.
While engaged in sea-floor drilling, for instance, Japanese scientists have discovered ginormous amounts of microorganisms. "The total volume of those organisms is nearly equivalent to the on-land one," says Shinichi Kuramoto of the in Yokohama.
Life among the micro-creatures, dwelling in the deepdark of the Earth's interior, may potentially shed light on our planet's past, Shinichi says, and may even address the question: "Where do we come from?"

Knights Vs Snails

What's That About?

Recently a group of people working at the British Library went into their manuscripts store to have a look at some medieval genealogical rolls. They were examining an English roll from the last part of the 13th century which contains quite a lot of marginalia (scribbles, comments and illuminations in the margins of a book).

As anyone who is familiar with 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts can attest, images of armed knights fighting snails are common. Why is that? What do these images mean?

Human Hair Confirmed in Prehistoric Hyena Feces

Hyenas might have eaten prehistoric humans, suggests human hair found in a clump of fossilized dung.

At Least 100 African Elephants Killed By Cyanide Poisoning

The death toll is now at 100 and rising for African elephants recently killed by cyanide poisoning in just one Zimbabwe park.

Killer wasps leave many dead in China

Wasps have killed nineteen people in northwest China, with nearly 600 severely injured.

A hospital in Hanzhong City has treated 87 victims, eight have died and four are in a critical condition.

One of the victims there describes being chased and stung hundred of times, He Quancheng said: "These wasps surrounded me and I could not stand it, so I used a basket to cover my head and that's how I saved myself".

The insects' highly toxic stings can lead to anaphylactic shock and renal failure. Officials have urged people to seek medical help if they have been stung more than ten times.

Dry rot sniffer dog saves heritage

A seven-year-old golden Labrador, once abandoned by his owners for being "too boisterous", has carved out a career detecting dry rot hidden from the human eye. For Sam, locating the heady whiff of the fungus is the start of a new game which will end with extra cuddles from his handler and trainer, Peter Monaghan, a surveyor. But detecting the rot is a serious business for the National Trust, the charitable trust which maintains some of Britain's most treasured stately homes. Over the past year the trust has spent about £51.8m on property conservation alone. Standing at the heart of an estate which includes parks and a working farm, about 10 miles (16km) south of Cambridge, is the 17th Century Wimpole Hall.
It is the location of Sam's most recent assignment - scouring its 300-year-old basement to see just how far its dry rot had spread. It meant a long journey for Sam and Mr Monaghan, 60, from their home near Kendal, in Cumbria. But Sam is a well-traveled Labrador, as he is thought to be one of only two dry rot sniffer dogs - known as "rothounds" - working commercially in the UK. Sam and his colleague Wilson - a black Labrador - are on the payroll of Surrey-based Hutton and Rostron, a company specializing in controlling dry rot and decay in historic buildings. Dry rot, Serpula lacrymans, flourishes where there is moisture, and leads to decay and deterioration of timber. It is related to mushroom and toadstool fungi, and has a distinct "mushroomy" odor.

The rothounds are brought in at the early stages of fungal detection, locating problems at the source and enabling treatment to be more accurately targeted. In fact, their ability to sense the rot before it spreads and becomes more obvious, is one of the reasons why Wimpole Hall chose to call on Sam's services. "Dry rot has been an on-going problem for us. It was popping up everywhere and we just couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from," assistant house steward, Jess Marczewski says. "One of the trust's conservators suggested we try a different way of tackling it, and that's where Sam comes into the story." Sam is trained to detect active dry rot fungus and "the odd doughnut or two", Mr Monaghan says.
"I found Sam about five years ago at a rescue center in Cumbria, where he ended up after his family found him too boisterous to deal with," he explains. "But a boisterous working dog is exactly what's needed for sniffing out anything, whether it's drugs, firearms or fungus. You need a very focused, single-minded animal determined to find something that usually can't be seen." Dogs like Sam do not make good family pets, Mr Monaghan says. "Sam lives for the joy of working, praise from me - and the occasional doughnut." Sam's training took about two years to complete. The training, Mr Monaghan says, is much the same as for any sniffer dog - they are taught to follow a specific scent. Sam can locate the smell of dry rot among any other fungi, Mr Monaghan says. When he finds it, he drops to the floor with his nose in the direction of the scent.

Neighbors frustrated by stray chickens

A couple of chickens apparently flew the coop and are now making themselves at home in a Pasco, Washington neighborhood. But homeowners there are not rolling out the welcome mat for their new neighbors. Hazel Batchelor made the discovery last Wednesday. "It was kind of scary, because they keep coming back," said Hazel. Thankfully for Hazel, they were gone the next morning, but now they were her neighbor's problem. They managed to go over the fence and into the next yard.

Animal Pictures