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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.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Daily Drift

True that!

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 countries around the world daily.
Water ... !

Today is Inner American Water Day 


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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Managua, Nicaragua
Byward Market, Montreal, Ottawa, Sioux, Lookout, Britannia, Thunder Bay, Mississauga and Toronto, Canada
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puebla, Seymour, Helena, Boise, Sarver, Sparta, Hickory, Dallas, Gilroy and Auburn, United States
Jalapa Enriguez, Mexico
Lima, Peru
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Barcelona, L'Olleria and Madrid, Spain
Reykjavik, Iceland
Bari, Milan and Bologna,  Italy
Sofia, Bulgaria
Dublin, Ireland
Oslo and Sandsli, Norway
Edinburgh and Saint Andrews, Scotland
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Helsinki, Nokia and Espoo, Finland
Birmingham, Manchester, Rickmansworth, Bradford, London, Wakefield and Stockwell, England
Kiev, Ukraine
Zabki, Poland
Moscow and Chelyabinsk, Russia
Covilha, Portugal
Rouen, Lyon, Toulouse, Roubaix and Navenne, France
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Bogor, Jakarta and Garut, Indonesia
Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Bikaner, Pondicherry, Kolkata, Shillong, Kottayam, Mumbai and Hyderabad, India
Ahvaz, Tehran and Gorgan,  Iran
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Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Nanashan, China
Amman, Jordan
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Rabat, Morocco
Cape Town, South Africa
Tunis, Tunisia
Tripoli, Libya
Abuja, Nigeria
Homebush, Sydney and Surry Hills, Australia
Cagayan De Oro, Philippines

Today in History

1762 The British fleet bombards and captures Spanish-held Manila in the Philippines.
1795 The day after he routed counterrevolutionaries in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte accepts their formal surrender.
1813 U.S. victory at the Battle of the Thames, in Ontario, broke Britain's Indian allies with the death of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, and made the Detroit frontier safe.
1821 Greek rebels capture Tripolitza, the main Turkish fort in the Peloponnese area of Greece.
1864 At the Battle of Allatoona, a small Union post is saved from Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood's army.
1877 Nez Perce Chief Joseph surrenders to Colonel Nelson Miles in Montana Territory, after a 1,700-mile trek to reach Canada falls 40 miles short.
1880 The first ball-point pen is patented on this day by Alonzo T. Cross.
1882 Outlaw Frank James surrenders in Missouri six months after brother Jesse's assassination.
1915 Germany issues an apology and promises for payment for the 128 American passengers killed in the sinking of the British ship Lusitania.
1915 Bulgaria enters World War I on the side of the Central Powers.
1921 The World Series is broadcast on radio for the first time.
1931 Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon complete the first heavier than air nonstop flight over the Pacific. Their flight, begun October 3, lasted 41 hours, 31 minutes and covered 5,000 miles. They piloted their Bellanca CH-200 monoplane from Samushiro, 300 miles north of Tokyo, Japan, to Wenatchee, Washington.
1938 Germany invalidates Jews' passports.
1943 Imperial Japanese forces execute 98 American POWs on Wake Island.
1947 US President Harry S Truman delivers the first televised White House address.
1948 A magnitude 7.3 earthquake near Ashgabat in the USSR kills tens of thousands; estimates range from 110,000 to 176,000.
1955 The first James Bond film, Dr. No starring Sean Connery, debuts.
1965 U.S. forces in Saigon receive permission to use tear gas.
1966 A sodium cooling system malfunction causes a partial core meltdown at the Enrico Fermi demonstration breeder reactor near Detroit. Radiation is contained.
1968 Police attack civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland; the event is considered to be the beginning of "The Troubles."
1969 Monty Python's Flying Circus debuts on BBC One.
1970 The US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is established.
1970 Members of the Quebec Liberation Front (QLF) kidnap British Trade Commissioner James Cross in Montreal, resulting in the October Crisis and Canada's first peacetime use of the War Measures Act.
1986 Britain's The Sunday Times newspaper publishes details of Israel's secret nuclear weapons development program.
1988 Brazil's Constituent Assembly authorizes the nation's new constitution.
2000 Slobodan Milosevic, president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, resigns in the wake of mass protest demonstrations.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

The repugican cabal committing Obamacare suicide?

Find out if your congress critter is withholding their own pay during the shut down

New food labels could help curb food wastage

Young viewers tune out faux news in record numbers

Obama Rips repugicans, ‘If you’re being disrespected it’s because of that attitude you got.’

President Obama ripped House repugicans for claiming that they are being disrespected in the government shutdown. Obama said, ‘If you’re being disrespected it’s because of that attitude you got.’
The president talked about the growth in the economy, and the damage that the government shutdown is doing. He talked about how people won’t get their next paycheck. President Obama repeated that there was one way out of this for repugicans. They have to pass a clean CR. Obama said that there are enough repugicans in the House to end the shutdown today. Obama said that Boehner could end this in the next 5 minutes, but he won’t let the bill get an up or down vote because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his cabal.
The president said that if repugicans want the shutdown to end, there is a simple way to prove it. They can let the Senate bill come up for a vote and the shutdown could end in the next half hour. The president, “My simple message is call a vote.” He said if you are for a shutdown you’ll vote against the Senate bill. If you are against a shutdown you’ll vote for the Senate bill.
Obama said that one faction is refusing to allow a vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions. The president said that repugicans, “got exactly what they want, and now they’re trying to get out of it.” President Obama quoted  Marlin Stutzman (r-IN), “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
The president replied, “Think about that. You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There’s no higher honor than that. You’ve already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one. Workers like these, so the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it. What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job. What you get is our medical researchers back on the job. What you get is little kids back into Head Start. What you get are our national parks and monuments open again. What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow. What you get are workers continuing to be hired. That’s what you get. That’s what you should be asking for. Take a vote. Stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now. If you’re being disrespected it’s because of that attitude you got. That you deserve to get something for doing your job.” He said that if regular people did what the House repugicans are doing, they’d get fired.
The president said that this shutdown has nothing to do with deficits and defaults, and some of the things that repugicans are asking for would add to our deficits.
Obama, “This whole thing is about one thing. The repugican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act.” He pointed out the flaw in the repugican plan. The government is shutdown, but the ACA is open for business. He noted that since repugicans have taken control of the House we have one of this crisis every three months.
Later, President Obama talked about the debt ceiling and repeated that, “There will be no negotiations over this.” He said once again that repugicans do not get to extract a ransom for doing their jobs.
President Obama continues to make it clear that repugicans aren’t going to get anything. This speech was all about putting the pressure on John Boehner to allow a vote on the clean CR. House repugicans are setting themselves up for ridicule with comments about being disrespected. Obama pounced on Stutzman’s comments because they reflect the attitude of the repugican cabal. This shutdown isn’t about doing what’s right for the American people. This is about their egos and defeating Obama.
House repugicans are desperate. They want a way out of this, but they don’t know what they want, and Democrats aren’t going to give them anything. Eventually, maybe some year, repugicans will realize that Obama and the Democrats aren’t playing. The repugicans wanted a shutdown. They’ve got their shutdown, and now they are going to have take their medicine if they want to get out of the mess that they’ve created.

Senator Al Franken Donates His Salary to Second Harvest During the repugican Shutdown

Unlike some in Congress who claim they won’t be taking their salary, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) specified the charity to which his salary will be sent. Franken will be donating his salary during the GOP shutdown to Second Harvest Heartland, a hunger relief organization that works throughout Minnesota.
“Second Harvest Heartland is a great organization that works throughout Minnesota, providing vital assistance to families who would otherwise go hungry,” said Senator Franken in a statement. “Just as I was prepared to do in 2011 when we faced a possible shutdown, I won’t be taking my salary. I believe that while the government is shut down, donating my salary to charity is the right thing to do, and I’m going to make sure that money goes toward helping people who might be badly affected by the shut down.”
The Senator’s office explained that he chose this organization because “he said people who rely on the federal government’s safety net programs may need help making ends meet as a result of the shutdown.”
Members of Congress make $174,000 a year, with leadership making more. Speaker John Boehner (r-OH) makes $223,500 annually, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (r-KY) and the President pro tempore of the Senate make $193,400.
The Washington Post is keeping a running tally of which lawmakers have sworn to “refuse” their salaries. As of this writing, they’ve determined that at least 56 Republicans and 48 Democrats have claimed that they will refuse or donate their salaries.
However, under the Constitution, members of Congress and the president must be paid by law, so they can’t technically just refuse their salaries. Under the 27th amendment, lawmakers’ salaries can’t be altered until the start of a new term. Thus they will be donating money if they are really “refusing” it, and not just putting out a statement saying that they are “refusing” their salary.
A Boehner spokesperson told The Washington Post that the speaker “will not be paid for the duration of the shutdown.” Note the passive voice here — this could mean anything. How will he not be paid? He has to be paid per the law. Is he going to wait to collect his paycheck or is he really giving the money to charity or back to the government? Look for specificity in these promises or they are sort of meaningless.
In January, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced a bill designed to prevent lawmakers from getting paid if the government was shutdown. The Daily Beast noted, “A similar bill passed the Senate unanimously in 2011, but the House never voted on it.”
So, the repugican-led House blocked a bill to keep them from getting paid when they take the economy hostage.
Since repugicans are behind this shutdown (and no, they don’t get a break just because they are not part of the suicide caucus because as of this writing, they haven’t managed to stand up to the tea jihadists), including charging newbie Ted Cruz who specializes in adolescent hubris, their first order of business should have been to shut down their own perks and salaries. Not all of Congress, not their staffers, but their own. Jumping off the bridge because Ted said so isn’t good enough for highly paid alleged adults whose job it is to fund the government.
Personal accountability might help them grow up.

The Consequences of the Debt Ceiling Fight

I just saw on the news that 38% of the people think failing to pass an increase in the
national debt is a good idea, which means that 38% of the people are financially illiterate.

In round figures, the national debt is 16 Trillion, the interest on that debt is 400 billion or 2%.
The deficit this year is $600 billion. So, let's imagine that a default caused interest rates on
government debt to spike to 40% from 2%. That would make our deficit 8 trillion dollars,
or half the total output of the country. Try living on half the pay you have now and imagine
the country in the same shape. Could you avoid bankruptcy? Think 40% is too high?
That was the rate of Greece at the height of its crisis. Today Greece is at 10%, so we'd be
talking about only 2 trillion up from $400 billion. And if you think we have to do something
drastic now to avoid Greece's fate, the deficit is dropping now at the fastest pace in the last
60 years because tax revenues are increasing and the stimulus has ended. It is reaching sustainability.

No, refusing to raise the debt ceiling would destroy America as a prosperous country.
I can only hope that a majority of Congress is smarter than its constituents.
I agree - this is how stupid most people are.

It's so crazy for pundits to have such strong opinions on Obamacare when it's not started yet.

Shouldn't you SEE a movie before you write your review?

The truth be told

D.C. Businesses Respond to Government Shutdown

An estimated 800,000 federal employees are off work today without pay, as the U.S. government shutdown continues. In Washington, D.C., many local businesses are stepping up to help out the workers they depend on. The Washington Post published a list of places that are offering free food or discounts to federal workers. ABC News has such a list, too, with offers of other services in addition to food and drink, such as theaters and fitness centers and museums that are offering free admission to make up for the closing of the Smithsonian facilities. After all, furloughed workers have time to fill, and tourists cannot easily reschedule their trips. Some of the offers come with an exclusion:
Pork Barrel BBQ Pork Barrel BBQ is also offering free food for the duration of the shutdown to all government employees -- well, every government employee except for members of Congress. The BBQ joint is serving up free pulled pork sandwiches all day, limit one per day, in Alexandria, Va.
The Washington businesses are building goodwill with their customers by being so generous, but if the shutdown lasts a while, they, too, will suffer economically from the loss of cash business.

Park ranger 'apologizes' to repugican congressman for government shutdown

Despite, or perhaps because of nasty on-cam stunts like Rep. Randy Neugebauer's (r-Koch Sucker), it won't work: according to a CBS poll, not only do more Americans understand that the repugican cabal is to blame the shutdown, but more repugicans disapprove of their doing so to try and stop Obamacare.


A 911 dispatcher laughed as man reported his girlfriend was on fire

Lalo Delgado's girlfriend caught fire in a freak accident on their way to Chiva Falls near Tucson, Arizona. But when he called for help, he says the way dispatcher handled the call was unprofessional. 911: 911 what is your emergency? Caller: My car just kinda caught on fire, my girlfriend caught on fire. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Lalo couldn't believe what he heard next. "Her initial reaction was laugh and giggle in the background," said Delgado. "It was very disturbing."
911: Is your girlfriend still on fire? Caller: No. 911: No? (laughter in background) 911: Ok. (chuckles) Umm... Is your vehicle still on fire? Caller:It's hilarious huh? 911: Sir, is your vehicle still on fire? Caller: I just heard you smirk... Inaudible. 911: Ok, sir it wasn't regarding that ok. Caller: Yeah, I just heard you laugh. "You're calling for help, you shouldn't be laughed at," said Delgado. The Pima County Sheriff's Department admits their dispatcher messed up.

"We did not perform as I expect or the citizens of this county expect us to," said Capt. Jim Berry. "We're going to correct that. Certainly I can understand why he was upset. I would be too." But they call this an "isolated incident." County dispatchers receiver more than 400,000 911 calls. They dispatch approximately 130,000. "We're investigating what the laughter was about," said Berry. They started investigating before the complaint ever came in. And say despite the call taker's poor performance, response time wasn't affected. Lalo disagrees.

"If she wasn't there playing around giggling and would have been right on it," said Delgado. "One minute, two minutes, every minute counts man." Lalo even called back. 911: 911, what is your emergency? Caller: Yeah. 911: Hello? Caller: Yeah I called in a few minutes ago and I just wanted to make sure you took me seriously.  By that time, help was already on the way. But his faith in 911, he says, already shaken. "Hopefully the next person that calls 911 doesn't get laughed at," said Delgado. The dispatcher is still working pending the outcome of the investigation. As far as Lalo's girlfriend, she is slowly recovering, but she has a long road ahead.

Fugitive caught when getaway paddle boat capsized

Police arrested a soggy fugitive after a paddle boat he tried using to evade capture capsized in Waterford Township, Michigan. Police say the incident happened just after 10am last Friday when agents with Michigan’s Department of Corrections attempted to locate fugitive Mark Steven Rood, Jr.
According to police, the 27-year-old Waterford Township man had several warrants for his arrest, including a felony fugitive warrant for absconding from probation. When officers and agents arrived on the scene, they saw Rood Jr. standing in the driveway with his 52-year-old father Mark Steven Rood Sr. As the officers approached the residence, Rood Jr. fled on foot.

Police say Rood Sr., who had previously been told of his son’s absconder warrant, continued to help his son avoid arrest and attempted to block the officers as they began pursuing his son. Rood Jr. was pursued on foot toward the nearby Lake Oakland, where police say he jumped in a neighbor's paddle boat to flee out onto the lake. Police say the boat eventually capsized and Rood Jr. fell into the water and was ordered to shore where he was taken into custody without further incident.
Rood Sr. was also taken into custody. Both father and son were transported to the Waterford Police Department where they were booked before being lodged at the Oakland County Jail. On Saturday, the duo were arraigned on one count each of felony obstructing. Rood Jr. was given a $25,000 cash bond on the new charge, while Rood Sr. was given a $20,000 cash bond. Both remain lodged at the Oakland County Jail.

Man with marijuana stuck to shirt arrested during traffic stop

When Jason Sprott got out of his car after being stopped by police in Waldo, Florida, on Sunday, he didn’t have to say a word about having drugs on him. It was right there on his shirt for the officer to see.

Sprott, 37, of Jacksonville, was stopped for speeding at around 1:22pm. When Sprott stepped out of his Chevy Astro van as ordered, Officer Kenneth Smith noticed a green leafy substance on the front of his shirt, according to a Waldo Police Department report. Smith also detected a strong smell of marijuana.
Sprott told the officer that he had been smoking pot and that he had some in his van. Smith found a clear plastic bin between the seats that contained several plastic bags of marijuana and a scale. Sprott also had $193 in cash in his pocket.

Sprott was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and keeping a vehicle for drug purposes. He is being held in the Alachua County jail on $17,500 bond.

Is a College Degree Worth It?

Hello, college graduates. It's October already, and you've been out of school for some months now. How's the job search going? Did you land that dream job yet? If they haven't already, your school loan repayment requests will start rolling in.
Artist Leon Reid IV doesn't think much of your college degree. In this art project, aptly titled "College Degree" (via Krause Gallery), he custom printed a roll of toilet paper.
For hundreds of thousands of newly-minted grads, Reid's sentiment is spot on. The Wall Street Journal reported a few months ago that 284,000 American college graduates with bachelor's degree and 37,000 holders of advanced degrees could only find jobs paying minimum wage in 2012. While that's down from the peak in 2010, it is still 70% higher than from a decade earlier.
It's no wonder that since the start of the Great Recession, more and more people have been beating the anti-college drumbeat. Venture capitalist and finance writer James Altucher said, as quoted in New York Magazine, "When [my daughters are] 18 years old, just hand them $200,000 to go off and have a fun time for four years? Why would I want to do that?" :
To Altucher, higher education is nothing less than an institutionalized scam—college graduates hire only college graduates, creating a closed system that permits schools to charge exorbitant ­prices and forces students to take on crippling debt. “The cost of college in the past 30 years has gone up tenfold. Health care has only gone up sixfold, and inflation has only gone up threefold. Not only is it a scam, but the college presidents know it. That’s why they keep raising tuition.”
Instead, Altucher proposed 8 alternatives to college, including starting a business, writing a book and traveling the world.
On the other hand, consider the graph above by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For adults 25 years and older, the data is clear: college and advanced degrees correlate with higher earnings and lower unemployment rates. Those with a high school diploma earn, on average, only $652 a week and has over 8% unemployment rate in 2012. Those with bachelor's degrees earn almost double ($1,066 a week) with half the unemployment rate.

A Kiss from the Fairy Princess Revives the Knight

Once upon a time, a brave knight charged forward in a joust against a wicked prince, only to be unhorsed and thrown to the ground, defeated. He would have remained there, but for the healing kiss of a kindly fairy princess. Revived, he returned to battle and slew his foe.
Lydia snapped this beautiful photo of a knight and his daughter at a modern joust. She explains that the little girl healed everyone on the field with her magic wand, then kissed her daddy.

Climate debate - is it about science, or values?

We haven't written much about the new IPCC report, largely because it doesn't say much you don't already know: The Earth is getting warmer and human activities are to blame for a good chunk of that warming. So what are we still arguing about? Climate scientists who make the case that the debate is less about science and more about individual values that affect how different people want to tackle the problems that the science exposes. (And, even, how big different people think those problems really are.) While the fact of climate change is difficult to refute, there's plenty of room for legitimate disagreement (and reasonable discussion) about values and the political policies that they shape. 

Why Americans Love Guns

In the wake of Sandy Hook, many gun-rights advocates adopted a so-called 'Wild West mentality' and asserted that the solution was to put more guns in the hands of citizens, namely teachers. This particular mindset can explain everything from 'Stand Your Ground' laws to the psychology of Walter White.

But how safe were gun-wielding Americans on the frontier? And why are firearms so inextricably linked to American history, and hence, our psyche? Collectors Weekly decided to find out.

The science of "new baby smell"

There are studies that suggest new babies really do smell different, and seem to trigger special brain chemical pathways in women. But, simultaneously, the smells we more consciously associate with "new baby" — i.e., the new baby smell used in baby products and baby-fresh scents — varies widely by culture. Make of this what you will. 

Daily Comic Relief


What Happens If An Astronaut Floats Off In Space?

NASA requires spacewalking astronauts to use tethers (and sometimes additional anchors). But should those fail, you'd float off according to whatever forces were acting on you when you broke loose. You'd definitely be weightless. You'd possibly be spinning.

In the film Gravity, which opens this month, two astronauts are on a spacewalk when an accident hurtles them into the void. So what would actually happen if you went, in NASA's terminology, 'overboard?'

Scientists generate first map of clouds on an exoplanet

On the exoplanet Kepler 7b, the weather is highly predictable, an international team of scientists has found: On any given day, the exoplanet, which orbits a star nearly 1,000 light-years from Earth, is heavily overcast […]

New view of dengue fever

Dengue fever, an infectious tropical disease found in more than 100 countries, has no cure and no vaccine. One reason why it has been difficult to develop new drugs for dengue fever is that there […]

Climate change pushing koalas to cooler trees

Land management practices must change to protect vulnerable koala populations, according to new University of Sydney research published today in the international biodiversity and ecology journal, Ecography. In the first study of its kind a […]

Amazing Photos Of Animals Congregating

There's nothing quite like seeing hundreds, thousands and even millions of animals congregating. Whether these photographers have captured animal migrations or these animals have come together to form huge breeding colonies, one can't help but sit back in awe at the way Mother Nature works her magic.

Meet the fish that happily live in the lake that turns birds to stone

Perhaps you have recently heard about Tanzania's Lake Natron, a body of water that has become famous on the Internet over the last couple of days because of the work of artist Nick Brandt, who took some eerie, posed photos of the calcified corpses of birds that he found along the lake's shore.
Natron, the stuff for which the lake is named, should also sound a bit familiar to you. That's because it's the mineral salt the ancient Egyptians used as part of their mummification rituals. (In fact, they used to harvest it from dry lake beds — Lake Natron isn't the only lake in Africa that's home to large quantities of naturally occurring natron.) It's both a serious drying agent and anti-bacterial, so immersion in natron can suck all the moisture out of a dead body while simultaneously preserving it against the ravages of microorganisms. As far as I can tell, that's what you're seeing in Brandt's creepy photos — birds and bats that look like Tim Burton's garden statuary, but are actually just mummified (and then propped up for artistic purposes).
Which brings us back to the video above. If Lake Natron mummifies birds, how do the fish survive?
Here's the smart-ass answer: Evolution.
Turns out, Lake Natron is an amazing example of an extreme niche environment where most life forms can't survive — but where a precious few adapt and thrive. The Lake is extremely salty and extremely warm (water temperatures can push above 100 degrees F). Because it's located in an arid region, rainfall is erratic, and so Lake Natron is also very shallow and prone to shrinkage. It's fed by hot mineral springs that bubble out of the ground. What you're left with is hot, salty, very very soft water that can, purportedly, feel viscous to the touch.
But those same conditions turn out to be pretty nice for certain species of algae. And the algae make great food for a species of tilapia that's adapted to the heat and the salinity. Both the algae, and the fish that eat them, live along the Lake's shorelines, near the hot spring inlets where mineral content (and, thus, food for the algae) is highly concentrated. The algae feed the fish ... and they also feed flamingos.
Yes, flamingos. The lake that looks like a death trap in photographs is actually a major flamingo breeding ground, crucial to the birds' continued survival. That's because the flamingos use the Lake as a defense mechanism, building up muddy "nests" near the shore, surrounded by just enough of the gross-feeling, undrinkable, smelly Lake Natron water to be a turnoff to would-be predators.
All told, Lake Natron is an incredibly cool (and weird) ecosystem — and one that won't be around forever. This, and a couple of other alkaline, high-salinity lakes in the same region, is slowly disappearing. Eventually, it'll become a plain, where grasses grow out of the salty, mineral-rich soil, and a whole new ecosystem develops.


Sniffing a beaver's butt: a surprisingly pleasant experience

From a National Geographic story by Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, the quote of the week:
“I lift up the animal’s tail,” said Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University, “and I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum. People think I’m nuts,” she added. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.’”
Crawford is talking about castoreum, a naturally occurring anal secretion found in beavers. The furry animals use it to mark their territory. We humans, however, have also found uses for castoreum. Most notably, as an ingredient in vanilla-flavored and vanilla-scented products.
Pictured: Hardened lumps of beaver anal secretions, as stored in the Deutsches Apothekenmuseum, Heidelberg Castle,

Boaters fined for harassing swimming moose

Two boaters have been fined a total of $2,500 for harassing a cow moose swimming in a lake in northwestern Ontario, Canada. Andrew Weiers of Dryden, Ontario, and Matthew Weiers of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, both pleaded guilty to the offense in Ontario Court of Justice and the boat, owned and operated by Andrew Weiers, has been seized.
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources said it received complaints about boaters harassing a swimming moose in Eagle Lake in Dryden on July 29. Court heard that conservation officers responded to the scene in Outlet Bay of Eagle Lake, where witnesses provided a video showing a boat circling a swimming moose. After circling the moose, the boat went to shore and then returned with three other adult passengers.
The boat repeatedly drove in tight circles around the swimming moose, preventing it from going to shore and then Matthew Weiers, a passenger, jumped out of the boat and onto the back of the swimming moose. Weiers was on the moose “a couple seconds” before the animal bolted into the woods, said Michael Prepp, an enforcement manager with the ministry. There’s no indication the moose was hurt, Prepp said. “We think that it got away and that it was fine,” he said.

Moose-related infractions are rare, he added. “When we were doing a search of our offense database looking for similar offenses for comparable penalties, there were very few,” he said. Moose will try to escape from predators, including humans, the ministry says, adding that a moose that cannot escape an attack can suffer extreme physical exhaustion and stress, including death. The boat will be returned to its owner once the fine is paid.

Animal Pictures