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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Daily Drift


Kürbis mit Kopfschmerzen - pumpkin with headache ;-) by Halloween Fans on Flickr.
The repugicans give me a headache

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
American Beauty Rose ... !
Today is Miss American Rose Day 


Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, Byward Market, The Village, Britannia, Winnipeg, Longueuil and Chatham,  Canada
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Peshastin, Gig Harbor, Estero, Topeka, Suffolk and Winchester, United States
Lima, Peru
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Curitiba and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Buenos Aires and Avellaneda, Argentina
Lo Prado, Chile
Managua, Nicaragua
Jalapa Enriquez and Tijuana, Mexico
Minsk, Belarus
Sofia, Bulgaria
Dublin, Ireland
Rome, Ivrea and Milan, Italy
Stockholm, Ronneby, Uppsala and Kista, Sweden
Saint-Aman and, Rouen, France
Madrid, Valencia and Vigo, Spain
Reykjavik, Iceland
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Slough and London, England
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Manilla, Philippines

Today in History

480 BC Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.
1587 In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuse's larger Catholic force at Coutras.
1709 Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.
1714 George I of England crowned.
1805 Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleon's army at the battle of Ulm.
1818 The United States and Britain establish the 49th Parallel as the boundary between Canada and the United States.
1870 The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.
1903 The Joint Commission, set up on January 24 by Great Britain and the United States to arbitrate the disputed Alaskan boundary, rules in favor of the United States. The deciding vote is Britain's, which embitters Canada. The United States gains ports on the panhandle coast of Alaska.
1904 Bolivia and Chile sign a treaty ending the War of the Pacific. The treaty recognizes Chile's possession of the coast, but provides for construction of a railway to link La Paz, Bolivia, to Arica, on the coast.
1924 Baseball's first 'colored World Series' is held in Kansas City, Mo.
1938 Czechoslovakia, complying with Nazi policy, outlaws the Communist Party and begins persecuting Jews.
1941 German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.
1944 U.S. troops land on Leyte in the Philippines, keeping General MacArthur's pledge "I shall return."
1945 Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon form the Arab League to present a unified front against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
1947 The House Un-American Activities Committee opens public hearings on alleged communist infiltration in Hollywood. Among those denounced as having un-American tendencies are: Katherine Hepburn, Charles Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson. Among those called to testify is Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan, who denies that leftists ever controlled the Guild and refuses to label anyone a communist.
1968 Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis.
1973 Arab oil-producing nations ban oil exports to the United States, following the outbreak of Arab-Israeli war.
1977 Charter plane crashes in Mississippi, killing three members of popular Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, along with their assistant road manager, the pilot and co-pilot.
1991 Oakland Hills firestorm destroys nearly 3,500 homes and apartments and kills 25 people.
2011 In the Libyan civil war, rebels capture deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte, killing him soon afterward.

Non Sequitur


NCIS Tackles Women in Afghanistan

TV's biggest show puts spotlight to good use

Tuesday's “NCIS” was titled “Anonymous Was a Woman.”

In that episode, someone has stolen the identification of a deceased female soldier, and that person happens to show up dead. The team is trying to determine who murdered the impersonator, and there's a lot to unravel in this one. The search led to Afghanistan, where McGee and Gibbs will find themselves at an Afghan women's shelter. As it happens, it's a shelter that Mike Franks spent years secretly supporting.
In that episode, women who dared to rise above "slave" status were tracked down and murdered, sometimes with acid to the face, which can cause cardiac arrest.

When we pull out of there, the lucky women will be the ones who are murdered.

The unlucky ones will have acid thrown in their faces and they will be killed.

I renew my call for the US military to offer every women in Afghanistan safe passage to America and a jobs training program to help them assimilate.

The crazy repugican cave dwellers think women are their slaves so let's TAKE them.
Let the women-hating wingnuts screw goats for the rest of their lives.


Did you know ...

That a mother of two was arrested after confronting McDonald's president about poverty wages

In street protests: the weapon of choice

The repugicans lost; now it's time for the circular firing squad

To organize or die

Son of Slain WI Sikh Temple President Plans to Run Against Paul Ryan

Democrat Amar Kaleka, cites failed repugican leadership and a need for stricter gun laws, in his bid to unseat Paul Ryan. …
Amar Kaleka, the 35 year old son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the slain former leader of the Oak Creek Sikh temple, is planning to run for Congress against Wisconsin repugican Paul Ryan. White Supremacist Wade Michael Page murdered Kaleka’s father and five others in the infamous Oak Creek Sikh Temple massacre on August 5th, 2012. Kaleka, a Democrat,  says he intend to challenge Paul Ryan for Wisconsin’s 1st District House seat in 2014. Ryan was re-elected to his House seat in 2012, when he defeated Democrat Rob Zerban by a 55-43 margin. However, the district barely delivered a victory for the Romney-Ryan ticket, as Barack Obama and Joe Biden garnered 47 percent of the vote to Romney-Ryan’s 52 percent in 2012. Given the poor public marks repugican Congressmen are showing in recent polls, Ryan’s seat could be competitive in 2014.
Kaleka criticized repugican leaders, including Ryan for shutting down the government and for not doing their jobs, and he says he wants to bring Democracy back to America. He also understandably wants Congress to enact stricter gun laws, especially making sure that gun purchasers are required to undergo more rigorous and comprehensive background checks. Ryan is an opponent of background checks even though the Sikh Temple massacre occurred in his district.
Kaleka said he intended to run for office when he was older, but his father’s death has weighed heavily upon him, and he felt the need to run in his father’s memory. Kaleka is also an Emmy award winning film maker. He directed the film Jacob’s Turn, which is about a four-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome who joins his first T-ball team. Of course it goes without saying that his compassionate leadership would be a welcome improvement over Paul Ryan’s cruel brand of wingnuttery. Ryan has been re-elected to Congress seven times after first winning his seat in 1998, but last year was his worse showing ever, so perhaps Kaleka can run him out of the House in 2014.

They never learn ...

Friday, October 18

John Hagee Says We are a Pagan Nation Without Shame

John Hagee is a insane lunatic
According to Hagee, "America is becoming a pagan society; we are in a moral free-fall."…
John Hagee is upset, and that is putting things lightly. He is fuming over the continued existence of the constructed Other his own religious thought-world has created. Alright, you say, he’s part of the religio-wingnut whackjobs. Of course he is upset. When are the religio-wingnuts NOT upset? Good points. But the teabangelical/teahadist/talibangelical us vs. them worldview has become increasingly problematic for American society, foisting upon us a culture war to add to all our other real problems, problems that have nothing to do with belief, but with fact. Think how much better our world would be if we could focus some of this time and energy on addressing problems like education and crime, and the economy and pollution, or maybe our crumbling infrastructure.
This religious strife isn’t what the Founding Fathers intended. Not at all. They wanted to free America from the specter of the religious strife that had haunted Europe for centuries. As Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Hagee, like others among the religio-wingnuts, lacks this spirit of tolerance. In contrast to Jefferson, Hagee has a “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” attitude. He has previously said that we should “outlaw the practice of witchcraft and Satanism in the US military, lest we offend the god of Heaven.”
Obviously, such a law is unconstitutional. But the religio-wingnuts have always seen the Constitution as an obstacle. Rightly, they see the Wall of Separation as a barrier to their rapacious appetites, with the result that they want to kick it down. They completely fail to see the other side of the coin, that the wall protects them from any one religion legislating itself at the expense of others, and let’s face it: for all of christian history, nobody has hated christians like other christians. For most of American history, that threat was seen to come from catholicism. As recently as John F. Kennedy, in fact, just a half-century ago.
Now Hagee is saying that “Secular humanism is a pagan god.” According to Hagee, as Right Wing Watch relates, secular humanism is to blame “for everything from drugs and mental illness to rape and domestic abuse.”
Well of course he thinks this way. After all, it was Moses who created the true/false distinction in religion, and “false gods cannot be translated,” as religious scholar Jan Assmann puts it.[1]
Never mind that mental illness and these other crimes and behaviors are as old as humanity itself, or, that since Hagee believes his god created humans, can therefore all be laid at god’s own door.
Let’s face it: there was no secular humanism in the ancient world, but ancient Israel suffered mental illness, drugs, rape and domestic abuse just as did Pagan cultures, including the christian Roman Empire and its spiritual descendents – America included.
You would think, listening to Hagee, that christian Europe between jesus and the secular European Enlightenment was a Kingdom of god on earth: a paradise. It was anything but. It was a many centuries-long nightmare for those in Europe who failed to toe the line (Pagans, jews, and “heretics”) and no better for those non-christians outside Europe (Pagans, muslims and others, including Native Americans) who were visited by crusades to forcibly convert them.
Yet Hagee proclaims: “America is becoming a pagan society; we are in a moral free-fall.”
When the Boy Scouts of America are censored and penalized for refusing to accept homosexual scout leaders, we are a pagan nation without shame…we have endorsed sodomy and called it an alternative lifestyle. It’s not an alternative lifestyle; it was, is, and always shall be an abomination unto the lord.
And the thing is, Hagee and his co-religionists are all free to separate themselves from the practice of sodomy. If they really believe what they say, they would not use drugs or beat their wives and children (though they would hand their daughters over to rapists). Far from it, if their children showed disrespect for parental authority, they would drive the ungrateful little bastards into the street and stone them to death. That’s what god wants, after all. The bible says so and we know the bible is the inerrant word of god. Hell, they should be stoning each other for shaving and wearing the wrong clothes and eating the wrong foods.
The fact is, the First Amendment, inconveniently for Hagee, agrees with Jefferson’s outlook, specifying that there shall be no laws enacted that establish religion. Not your religion, not my religion. Not Hagee’s religion (whatever that is). Not any religion.
Government must be above and separate from religion establishments. You wouldn’t know that, of course, to listen to the religio-wingnuts with their claim that America was established by and for christians.
Look at their claim that some religions do not deserve First Amendment protections. Islam is not a religion they say, but a cult, and therefore not protected. Islam is the world’s second largest religion. If Islam is not a religion, every other religion in the world outside of christianity is a cult, with the result that the ONLY religion protected by the First Amendment is christianity.
Neat trick, is it not? Be default, America becomes not only a christian nation demographically but officially. The Constitution is turned into toilet paper and the religio-wingnuts gets everything they want.
We Americans really should not be divided by religion. With all the other things we have to deal with, our personal beliefs should not be a subject of contention. Two opposite points are true and deserve notice here:
  • If there were NO belief in a god or gods, we would not be suffering religious strife. This statement speaks for itself; what more needs be said?
  • If there was a belief that all gods exist (polytheism), we would not be suffering this strife. Pagan religions are not “for export.” There is no idea of a universal “truth” that is true for all. Pagan religion, as ethnic religion, is linked closely to the culture in which it exists. “They think of their religion as true, but they don’t think of it as uniquely true; in particular they don’t think of it as something for export,” observed noted anthropologist Raymond Firth.[2]
It is the “in between” distinction that is the problem, what Jan Assmann calls the Mosaic Distinction: the idea that there is one god and that he has “revealed” himself to us through divine commandments and threatened us with destruction should we fail to obey (the true/false distinction noted above). Bad enough if there was only ONE monotheism to deal with, but we were unlucky enough to get three: judaism, christianity, and islam, all of whom claim sole and unique access to this god and whose end-time scenarios each demand destruction of the others.
The contrast between these religious outlooks is startling: There were a great many things ancient polytheistic peoples fought over, but religion was not among them. Because if all gods exist, your god and my god, what is there to fight over? And if you look at ancient history, you don’t find crusades and jihads and inquisitions.
It wasn’t that people didn’t feel their gods helped them; they just didn’t feel the need to force everybody to believe in their gods; such a effort is silly if your enemy’s god is known to exist. The Romans devastated Israel in the jewish Revolt (CE 66-73) but they never made judaism illegal as a result. Nobody questioned the jewish god’s existence. Polytheists (what jews thought of as Gentiles and christians as Pagans) questioned the efficacy of worshiping just one god but nobody thought to make that illegal.
As Jan Assmann has persuasively argued, ancient polytheism was a means of translation between cultures – an “ecumene of nations” as he puts it. All gods exist and different cultures can identify with each other’s gods, seeing the same gods with different names or aspects. It was not until the arrival of monotheism that “Paganism” was invented, insofar as anything that was outside of monotheism was seen as the “Other.”
Jan Assmann correctly identifies monotheism as “counterreligion” as opposed to religion, “because it not only constructed but rejected and repudiated everything that went before and everything outside itself as ‘paganism.’”[3] Regina Schwartz argues that “Violence is not only what we do to the Other. It is prior to that. Violence is the very construction of the other.”[4] As Bart Ehrman notes, “basic tolerance was one of the central aspects of ancient Greco-Roman religion…There was no reason that everyone should worship the same gods any more than everyone should have the same friends. All the gods deserved to be worshipped in ways appropriate to them.”[5]
And as Jonathan Hirsch says: “Nothing in human nature…suggests the inevitability of the notion that there is only one god.”[6] Some argue that there is nothing in human nature that suggests any god at all.
We should be able to get along despite our different beliefs, whether our belief is that there are many gods or no gods or just one. In the America of the Constitution, christians are free to worship their one god, just as free as muslims are to worship their idea of the one god, just as free as polytheists are to believe in all the gods, and just as free as atheists are to believe none of them exist.
It is the Religio-wingnuts that has made this war in contravention of the U.S. Constitution. Most christians, like most christians throughout history, are able to live side by side with their neighbors, whatever their beliefs, just as are most muslims, atheists, and Pagans. We didn’t want this war, but we cannot afford to lose it, because to lose it is to lose America itself.
[1] Jan Assmann, “The Mosaic Distinction: Israel, Egypt, and the Invention of Paganism,” Representations 56 (1996), 48-67. For Pope Benedict XVI’s objections to Assmann’s thesis see Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance. Christian Belief and World Religions (San Francisco 2004), 210-214, 221-222.
[2] Raymond Firth, “Conversion from Paganism to Christianity, RAIN 14 (1976), 3-7.
[3] Assmann (1996), 48-67.
[4] Regina Schwartz, The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (University of Chicago Press, 1997), 5.
[5] Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament. A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Third Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2004), 30.
[6] Jonathan Hirsch. God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism (NY: Viking Compass, 2004), 1-2.

Ghoul Friend

Disney's latest Mickey Mouse Short has a Halloween theme. Mickey's car overheats on a dark and spooky road, and all I can think about is why would putting the loose radiator cap back on help when the coolant is gone? And who needs a wrench to tighten a cap? Then he's pursued by some scary ghoul that might look like Goofy if it were alive. That's where the fun begins!

Study reveals brain ‘takes out the trash’ while we sleep

In findings that give fresh meaning to the old adage that a good night’s sleep clears the mind, a new study shows that a recently discovered system that flushes waste from the brain is primarily […]

Market bubbles may be predictable, controllable

It’s an idea financial regulators have dreamed of. Experiments on a simple model of chaos have found that it may be possible not only to predict an extreme event, like a stock market collapse, but […]

Daily Comic Relief



Since the 1850s, engineers have been experimenting with powered lighter-than-air flight, essentially balloons with steering and propulsion. Like other early aeronautical experiments, the trial-and-error period was lengthy and hazardous. Dirigibles and blimps were filled with lifting gases like hydrogen or helium, intended for many uses, from military and research to long-distance passenger service.

The growth of the airship suffered numerous setbacks, including the famous Hindenburg disaster in 1937, and never developed into a major mode of travel. Despite the challenges, more than 150 years later, a number of airships are still in use and development around the world as cargo carriers, military platforms, promotional vehicles, and more.

Stonehenge Treasures Reveal Worshipers' Sophistication

Among the treasures on display in a new exhibit are a magnificent bronze dagger, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, earrings, pendants and other gold jewellery.

Boy Scout Leaders Topple Ancient Rock Formation

Three men face potential felony charges after they filmed themselves turning over a rock formation in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. They posted a video of the incident on Facebook, in which they rock is pushed off its pedestal, and the men high-five each other. The men are unnamed in the story, but are tagged on Facebook as  Dave Hall, Glenn Taylor and Dylan Taylor.  They talk about how they saved some child from potentially being hurt by the precariously-balanced rock. Utah state park officials say there will be consequences for their actions. A criminal investigation is underway.

And to show just much much of an idiot each of these morons are:
UPDATE: Video of scout leader Glenn Taylor blaming park rangers for not removing the rock, forcing him and his friends to take matters into their own hands.

Waves vs. Stone

The Kannesteinen Rock is an unusual rock formation on the Norwegian island of Vågsøy. The slab of eclogite has been weathered by the waves for thousands of years. From the sea side, it’s about 3 meters tall. At its widest, it’s about 10.4 meters in circumference.
Some people say that it looks like a goblet, but local people refer to it as a chair. Perhaps that’s why tourists often climb on top and sit on it. It’s a hard climb, but so some even more daring people prefer to jump to the summit from an adjoining rock.

How French Toast And 8 Other Foods Got Their Names

You could debate which country boasts the best local food and flavor, but one thing is clear: Some of our favorite foods have been stamped with approval by the nations that concocted them.

We all benefit as a result, though we take for granted the origins and stories that led to these gastronomic wonders. Here's a look at how some cocktails and snacks got their starts.

How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs and toast: sounds like an ascetic breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sounds plain. Sounds boring. Sounds like something you'd eat in a dark kitchen, alone, standing up, quickly and efficiently with a tiny frown.

But scrambled eggs, when done right, can one of the most glorious, indulgent, and straight-up sexy meals of all time. You could make them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each in a different pan, each with a different technique - and all would be, in their own creamy, runny, fluffy way, perfect.


Burgers is a mesmerizing website made by artist Guthrie Lonergan with hundreds of scrolling, multiplying, clickable hamburgers.



Driverless car started itself before crashing into diners outside restaurant

A woman suffered minor injuries and diners had to jump to safety as a runaway car, without a driver, crashed into tables outside a restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, on Wednesday night. 
The woman was taken for treatment by paramedics shortly after the two-door Toyota crashed into tables on the footpath at about 8pm. It is believed to have been started accidentally by its owner's remote control device.

South Australian MP Don Pegler who was having dinner at the adjacent table, said he had heard the car alarm deactivate before the car rolled into a table of diners. “I heard the remote control make a sound “woop woop” then the engine engaged and it rolled forward,” he said.
“There was a table full of people and lucky there was enough space and the young lady was pushed forward rather than the car go over her. It could have been a lot worse.” Police suspect the car had been left in gear, allowing it to move when the engine was started remotely.

Man accused of firing real gun at invisible person he was chasing

Police in Florida have charged a man with aggravated battery for opening fire on an invisible person he believed he was chasing. Roger Sartori, 53,of Brooksville in Hernando County, was arrested on Monday. Deputies say Sartori's daughter and boyfriend returned home to find Sartori talking to himself and people that were not there.

Sartori's daughter said she went to change for bed and that is when she heard crashing and banging noises coming from outside the bedroom door. Sartori was reportedly heard saying, "So you guys are gonna take my things from me and want to play these games, huh?" The couple said they then heard Sartori start chasing invisible people and yelling, "Get back here!"
She reportedly told detectives that is when she saw a flash of light outside the bedroom window and heard two gunshots. She said she never saw her father with a gun. Sartori's daughter and her boyfriend told police they fled the house because they feared for their own safety. According to an arrest report, when the couple fled, they looked back and saw Sartori leaning out a bedroom window, pointing a black assault rifle at them, and watching them as they left the area.

When deputies arrived, they say Sartori denied every shooting a gun and threatening anyone with a gun. Sartori reportedly told deputies he had a cap gun that did not have real bullets. Deputies say they did not find a cap gun in the residence but did find three handguns, a long gun and an assault rifle. An arrest report notes that a Smith & Wesson . 22 was found loaded with six cartridges. However, four had been discharged. Sartori was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. He is being held on $2,500 bond. If released he will be tested for drug or alcohol use weekly.

Mall evacuated after grieving man sprinkled fiancée's ashes at eyewear store

Police in Florida say a man who threw a “suspicious” substance into a store at a mall on Tuesday, triggering a hazardous materials investigation, was spreading his fiancée’s ashes.

Police Lt. Pat Ledwith said the man, whom police are not identifying, was still mourning the loss of his fiancée, who died several months ago and had a connection to the LensCrafters at Westfield Southgate Shopping Center in Sarasota, and decided to spread her ashes at the mall. At about 11:20am, he spread part of the ashes at the LensCrafters store, and it was a report of that incident that triggered the emergency response.
Officials closed the mall, not allowing people in or out of the shopping center during the investigation. The mall was reopened at about 1:45pm. “He did not realize the commotion he would cause,” Ledwith said, adding the man didn’t see any media reports or know about the investigation until he was contacted by police.

Ledwith said the man was “very apologetic” and had “no malicious intent.” Police have offered him grief counselling though its victim advocacy program. There is security video of the man surreptitiously sprinkling the ashes on the floor through the mall, Ledwith said. Ledwith said police do not plan to charge the man.

Random Celebrity Photos


Marilyn Monroe, c. 1947
Marilyn Monroe, c. 1947

Stores use sniffer dog to detect if underage teenagers are trying to buy alcohol using fake ID

Norwegian government-owned alcoholic beverage retailer, Vinmonopolet, is using a Springer Spaniel named Tutta as a weapon against the use of fake identification cards .
Tutta's sensitive nose is able to detect if underage teenagers are using someone else's, or fake ID when trying to buy alcohol.
People who are nervous will secrete substances into the skin which Tutta can detect. Tutta now visits various outlets to sniff out the potential use of fake ID cards.
Every year Vinmonopolet reject 10,000 woud-be customers because they are not old enough, or lack valid identification. Campaign "Id hund.no" highlights what young people risk if they use someone else's, or fake ID.

There's a news video here.

Mechanical Engineers Discovered How the Arapaima Becomes Piranha-Proof

These are the sharp teeth of the feared piranha, a freshwater predator which, according to urban (or technically jungle) legend, can devour human or cattle that falls into the water in mere seconds. Go ahead take a closer look, then ask yourself, how could anything protect itself against those razor sharp teeth?
Believe it or not, there is actually a species of fish that has figured it out. Meet the freshwater fish Arapaima gigas, which lives in the Amazon River in Brazil. The arapaima is a large fish - it can reach lengths more than 7 feet (2 m) and weigh more than 200 lb (100 kg) - so how does it survive in a river infested with the carnivorous piranhas?
A couple of years ago, mechanical engineer Marc Meyers was sport fishing in Brazil and caught an arapaima. To catch one, fishermen waited until the fish comes up for air (arapaimas have lungs and need to breathe fresh air - another peculiarity about the species, but that's another story), then tossed a large hunk of meat as bait. If the arapaima missed the meat, the bait would only survive five minutes in the water before the piranhas get to it.
That got Meyers thinking how the arapaima, which should've been a swimming buffet for the hungry piranhas, survived. The answer is in in its scales. Continue reading
A couple of years ago, mechanical engineer Marc Meyers was sport fishing in Brazil and caught an arapaima. To catch one, fishermen waited until the fish comes up for air (arapaimas have lungs and need to breathe fresh air - another peculiarity about the species, but that's another story), then tossed a large hunk of meat as bait. If the arapaima missed the meat, the bait would only survive five minutes in the water before the piranhas get to it.
That got Meyers thinking how the arapaima, which should've been a swimming buffet for the hungry piranhas, survived. The answer is in in its scales.
In 2011, Meyers and collegues at University of California San Diego took an arapaima scale and simulated a piranha bite. They found that the piranha tooth shattered before it could fully penetrate tissue beneath the scale. That's because the tough scales can resist pressures up to 1.7 million pounds per square inch (that's twice the maximum pressure that the steel hull of the Seawolf class nuclear submarine could handle, by the way)
But how could the arapaima scales be so tough? Meyers found that the scale combined a heavily mineralized outer layer (similar to the hard enamel of a tooth) combined with an internal layer of more squishy collagen fibers stacked in a criss-cross manners, similar to strands of wood in a plywood.
According to Science:
The hard-on-soft pattern does the trick, Meyers says. If you shatter a uniformly rigid material—say, a ceramic bowl—cracks will spread from the site of impact all the way through, he explains. But because the hard outside of an arapaima scale is backed by more squishy material, "the cracks will stop." It's a common armoring strategy, he notes. Take our teeth, which are covered in enamel but have a core made from more pliant dentine.
A particularly nice feature of the arapaima scales is that they're tough, yet lightweight and flexible. Three features that would make for a perfect armor, according to Robert O. Ritchie of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Ritchie, Meyers and colleagues placed the scales in an X-ray beam and then applied force to them and found that the collagen layers can re-orient themselves - in real time - to resist the force. In essence, it's an adaptable body armor. Ritchie said to The Telegraph:
“The dermal scales of the Arapaima fish are a prime example of how the structural arrangement of simple biological components can create armour with the capacity to be tough yet penetration resistant.
“The ability of the A. gigas’ outer dermal layer to resist predatory attacks derives from its sophisticated structure from the nano- to macro-length-scales.
“The outer mineral layer gives the scale hardness and penetration resistance whereas the overlapping of the scales and the corrugated outer surface of the mineral layer allow the scales to bend transferring tensile stress to the inner lower-mineralised lamellae.”
The structure of the arapaima scale may inspire engineers to create a new type of body armor. "Lightweight body armor is something everyone wants," he said as reported by National Geographic's Phenomena, "the Kevlar armor our troops get is extremely heavy and many people don't bother wearing them. But nature does it very well."

The Abominable Snowman Lives

Research by Professor Bryan Sykes, a geneticist from the University of Oxford, has found a genetic match between an ancient polar bear and samples said to come from the Yeti - suggesting the creature known as the Abominable Snowman is still living in the Himalayas.

Professor Sykes conducted DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one found in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, in northern India, and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles east. a

Geneticist Unravels Yeti's DNA

The Himalaya's mysterious Abominable Snowman might harbor an even deeper mystery, according to an Oxford University geneticist who says he has sequenced the mythic beast's DNA and proved its existence.
For centuries, native people in the snow-peaked Himalaya Mountains have described an elusive apelike animal that roams the range, and which they call the yeti.
Bryan Sykes, a professor of genetics at Oxford, sequenced DNA taken from two unidentified animals killed in Himalaya ranges of India and Bhutan in recent decades.
The small samples - including a single hair found a decade ago, and the jawbone of a mummified animal discovered in the 1970s by a hunter - were compared to a database of thousands of known animals, and the results were intriguing.
The samples suggest, according to Sykes, that the animal many people have reported seeing may be an unknown species of bear, related to an extinct polar bear.
"This is a species that hasn't been recorded for 40,000 years. Now, we know one of these was walking around ten years ago. And what's interesting is that we have found this type of animal at both ends of the Himalayas. If one were to go back, there would be others still there," Sykes told reporters.
Sykes believes the animal could be a hybrid descended from two species of bear, an extinct polar bear and a closely related brown bear.
He said accounts of hunters, mountaineers and others who claim to have seen a yeti, may have come face to face with an unknown bear that acts strangely.
"The fact that the hunter, who had great experience of bears, thought this one was in some way unusual and was frightened of it, makes me wonder if this species of bear might behave differently. Maybe it is more aggressive, more dangerous or is more bipedal than other bears," he said.

Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction ...

A species of one of the world’s tiniest creatures, ocean plankton, is heading for extinction as it struggles to adapt to changes in sea temperature. And it may take local fisheries with it.Research led by […]

Space-Born Jellyfish Struggle on Earth

Jellyfish born in space? Yes, NASA sent jellyfish into space aboard the space shuttle missions, and studied their development and behavior. The jellies that developed in low-gravity orbit had trouble adjusting when they landed on earth. The problem seems to lie with learning to tell up from down.
When a jelly grows, it forms calcium sulfate crystals at the margin of its bell [1]. These crystals are surrounded by a little cell pocket, coated in specialized hairs, and these pockets are equally spaced around the bell. When jellies turn, the crystals roll down with gravity to the bottom of the pocket, moving the cell hairs, which in turn send signals to neurons. In this way, jellies are able to sense up and down. All they need is gravity.
Compared to normal, earth-born jellyfish, the space-born jellies had trouble moving around. Their
gravity-sensing organs developed normally, but the creatures may have missed the developmental window for learning how to use them. The research could have implications for humans, who also have gravity-sensing organs in the inner ear. Could children born in zero gravity during long space journeys grow up without knowing how to learn to deal with gravity? Read more at Deep Sea News.

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