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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, November 6, 2013

The Daily Drift

Who Knew ...?!

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Mind Blowing Sax ... !

Today is Saxophone Day 


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Today in History

1429 Henry VI is crowned King of England.
1812 The first winter snow falls on the French Army as Napoleon Bonaparte retreats form Moscow.
1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected 16th president of the United States.
1861 Jefferson Davis is elected to a six-year term as president of the Confederacy.
1863 A Union force surrounds and scatters defending Confederates at the Battle of Droop Mountain, in West Virginia.
1891 Comanche, the only 7th Cavalry horse to survive George Armstrong Custer's "Last Stand" at the Little Bighorn, dies at Fort Riley, Kansas.
1911 Maine becomes a dry state.
1917 The Bolshevik "October Revolution" (October 25 on the old Russian calendar), led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, seizes power in Petrograd.
1923 As European inflation soars, one loaf of bread in Berlin is reported to be worth about 140 billion German marks.
1945 The first landing of a jet on a carrier takes place on USS Wake Island when an FR-1 Fireball touches down.
1973 Coleman Young becomes the first African-American mayor of Detroit, Michigan.
1985 Guerrillas of the leftist 19th of April Movement seize Colombia's Palace of Justice in Bogata; during the two-day siege and the military assault to retake the building over 100 people are killed, including 11 of the 25 Supreme Court justices.
1986 A British International Helicopters Boeing 234LRR Chinook crashes 2.5 miles east of Sumburgh Airport; 45 people are killed, the deadliest civilian helicopter crash to date (2013).
1986 The Iran arms-for-hostages deal is revealed, damaging the Reagan administration.
1995 The Rova of Antananarivo, home of Madagascar's sovereigns from the 16th to the 19th centuries, is destroyed by fire.
1999 Australia's voters reject a referendum to make the country a republic with a president appointed by Parliament.

Non Sequitur


Planes Collide in Air, Everyone Survives

Two single-engine planes collided at an altitude of 12,000 feet above Superior, Wisconsin, Saturday. One plane crashed into the ground, while the other went into a dive. The pilot managed to regain control and make an emergency landing. The nine passengers of the two planes were all skydivers, and parachuted to the ground. Mike Robinson was one of the skydivers aboard the crashed plane.
The pilot had on an emergency parachute and was able to get out of the plummeting fuselage, although he suffered cuts to his hands and face, Robinson said. NBC station KJBR of Superior reported that he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, but Robinson said he did not seem too badly injured.

The other aircraft, a Cessna 185 with five jumpers and a pilot on board, went into a steep dive, Robinson said. Three jumpers had been on the step on the aircraft's exterior, and two were able to jump immediately, but the third was pinned to the outside, he said. Eventually that person was able to leap, and two others inside also jumped. The pilot was able to pull out of the dive after losing several thousand feet, then landed that aircraft, although it suffered damage, Robinson said.

“The outcome for us was as good as it could be,” he said.

Did you know ...

That scientists found fossil in Australia of a wombat the size of a car

The Koch brothers could make $100 billion on keystone pipeline

An assassin in clown suit kills Mexican drug cartel captain

About how a poisonous toad became a Paris fashion accessory

These 4 pro-active tips to get you off the fiscal cliff

These 23 reasons to avoid GMO's

Here's 5 reasons America is in trouble

That digital piracy is not harming entertainment industries

Reality Bites

Monday, November 4

The repugicans Get Nervous As Wendy Davis Trails By Just 5 In Texas Governor Race

wendy davis 
If repugicans weren’t taking Wendy Davis seriously before, they should start now. A new poll found Davis trailing repugican Greg Abbott 40%-35%.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll demonstrated how far Davis has come in a short period of time. In a two candidate race Abbott leads Davis 40%-34% with 25% undecided. In a three person contest, Abbott leads Davis 40%-35% with Libertarian Kathie Glass at 5%. Davis matches up with Abbott in terms of favorability rating. Both candidates have a favorability of 37%, and an unfavorable of 24%.
It has been decades since Democrats have been able to start a governor’s race in such good position. Texas is still Texas. There are no real signs yet that the electorate is dramatically shifting towards the Democratic Party. Davis is going to face a difficult contest, and repugicans are going try to knock down her approval rating before the election really gets moving next year.
Wendy Davis has a lot going for her though. She is going to have a level of funding and organization that state wide Democrats have lacked in Texas. Texas is one of those red states that often gets ignored and written off by national Democratic donors and organizations. This won’t happen with Davis at the top of the ticket in 2014. Wendy Davis has focused on a message that is heavy on Texas and Texas values. Much like the rise of other Democratic candidates who happen to be female, Davis and her message are a good fit for her state.
Her abortion filibuster made her famous, but Sen. Davis is more than a one issue candidate. She’s going to be formidable, and she will give Texas repugicans some headaches throughout the 2014 campaign. The wildcard in this election is Texas’ voter ID law. There may be enough voters in the state who are willing to vote for Wendy Davis, but for her to win those voters have to be able to vote.
Everything from the voter ID law to repugican dominance makes this a difficult contest for Wendy Davis to win, but if she can stay close it will be another demonstration that Texas is changing, and give repugicans even more reason to be nervous about the future.

Rand Paul Proves His Ignorance, says “Liberals Have No Idea of How Capitalism Works”

by Allen Clifton
In all the hoopla over just how ridiculous Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been lately, along with his seemingly endless onslaught of asinine statements these last few months, I had almost forgotten about Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.  For all the attention Ted Cruz has received, we really shouldn’t forget that Rand Paul was one of his cheerleaders during the whole shutdown fiasco.
Well, Paul did an interview with Sean Handjob where he decided to continue his attack on “Obamacare” (shocking, I know) and claimed that if “Obamacare” is so good “why do they have to advertise to get you to do it?”
Funny, I’ve often asked the question, “If “Obamacare” is so terrible, why do repugicans keep lying about it?”
He also went on to say that, “Liberals have no idea of how capitalism works.”
Actually, here’s his full comment on liberals and capitalism:
“Liberals have no idea of how capitalism works.  They have no idea why, when you go to Wal-Mart, products are cheap, how they get from one point to the other, and how they’re distributed in such a cheap fashion.”
I wanted to put his full comment out there, because of the sheer irony between his statements about the need to advertise “Obamacare” and knowing how capitalism works.
First, the Affordable Care Act is not socialized medicine, it’s health insurance reform.  Maybe Mr. Paul needs to learn how the law works before commenting on it?  Just a thought.
Second, according to Rand Paul, if something is good—there’s no need to advertise it?  Using that mindset, Apple, Google, Samsung, Honda, Toyota, Southwestern Airlines — they’re all “bad.”  After all, if their products and services are so good, why do they have to advertise them?
Attention all Business majors: Forget what you know about sales, marketing and advertising.  If any company must advertise their product or service to get people to use it, it’s a failure.  Well, at least according to Rand Paul.
Now let’s move on to, “liberals have no idea of how capitalism works”—are you serious?
As a liberal, I think I have a damn good grasp of how capitalism works.  I also have a pretty good grasp of how flawed capitalism is.  ”Pure” capitalism is every bit the failure as communism or socialism.  Unchecked, and unregulated, capitalism will build a society (as we’ve seen since “Reaganomics” took the U.S. by storm in the 1980s) where a small percentage of the population has everything and the vast majority has next to nothing.
Now, I’m not saying capitalism is all bad, but it has its flaws like every other economic ideology and needs oversight and regulation for it to be successful.
Capitalism is also driven by consumer spending, not tax cuts.  If demand for a product is there, jobs will be there.  Cutting taxes sounds good to those who lack the ability to think for themselves, but what these tax cuts really do is line the pockets of the rich executives while they cut and slash their workforce to “streamline” the process and increase their profits.
Another thing capitalism does well is feed greed.  The more you give it, the more it wants.  The richer you make the richest among us, the richer they’re going to want to be.  Profits in the millions get replaced by profits in the tens of millions.  Profits in the tens of millions get replaced by profits in the hundreds of millions.  Profits in the hundreds of millions get replaced by profits in the billions.
It’s perpetual and it’s never ending.
But unfortunately for 98% of us, money is not infinite.  There’s only so much to go around, and the more we allow the top 2% to hoard most of it, the worse off the rest of us are going to be.
People like Paul often talk about the greatness the United States once displayed and how we need to get “back to traditional American values.”  Well, during the strongest periods of growth our country has seen, taxes were much higher (and oddly we had balanced budgets when they were higher) and unions were much stronger than they are right now.
Why is it, in the 1950s, we could grow as a nation with much higher taxes and stronger unions, but now both of those are tantamount to “crazed socialism run amok” according to wingnuts?
Rand Paul’s “Ayn Rand” Libertarian tribal beliefs are an absolute failure in practice.  ”Survival of the fittest” and “every man for himself” is not a feasible philosophy with which to build a successful nation.  That’s why in all of human history we’ve never seen a successful society built on Libertarian principles, and the closest examples we have are nations like Somalia (small government, little or no taxes, no regulation) which are absolute disasters.
Liberals are also well aware of how it’s possible to produce cheap products.  And yes, unfortunately it’s necessary to outsource some jobs to keep costs lower for American consumers and keep our economy going.  That’s not always the “PC” thing to say, but it’s the unfortunate truth.
However, for Paul to act as if greed has nothing to do with the issues that are going on in this nation is absolutely absurd.  He blames hardworking people, sometimes working 50 or 60 hours a week to survive, for being drains on our economy because they need some government help.  All the while, he fiercely defends the companies that these individuals work for which pay such a lousy wage that, even when working full-time, they’re still unable to survive without help.
All while the executives at most of these companies are being paid absurd salaries.  Depending on which study you look at, the CEO to average worker pay ratio currently sits anywhere between 185: 1 to 325:1.
Yup, that’s capitalism alright.  And that’s with regulations.  Imagine how much worse that ratio would be if there were no regulations on capitalism?  You really think the median household income in the United States would rise if there were no minimum wage?  If you believe that, you’re insane.
But that’s exactly what individuals like Rand Paul believe.
So, while he might sit there and say liberals don’t understand capitalism, I think it’s pretty clear judging by the policies Senator Paul supports—he doesn’t understand much of anything.

John Boehner Kills ENDA by Claiming Preventing Workplace Discrimination Kills Jobs

boehner-face Harry Reid may get ENDA passed in the Senate today, but John Boehner has killed the bill by opposing it because preventing gay discrimination in the workplace would kill jobs.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel put out a statement that killed any hopes that ENDA will be brought to the House floor for a vote, “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”
With a single sentence statement Speaker Boehner has managed to express his support for workplace discrimination, remind American that many elected repugicans are opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians, and he is refusing to allow a vote in the House on a bill that would likely pass.
Apparently in the repugican mind, nothing is better for job creation than some good old fashioned workplace discrimination. Much of the repugican cabal remains woefully out of step with the times. A 2011 poll found that 73% supported prohibiting workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians. The American people want ENDA passed, which seems to be the primary reason why Speaker Boehner won’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. The repugicans believe that gay and lesbian workplace discrimination is already covered by other laws, but it isn’t.
Speaker Boehner is actually arguing that workplace discrimination grows the economy, but Boehner’s opposition isn’t about the economy at all. The Speaker is killing this bill because he doesn’t want enrage the anti-gay activists and bigots in his own party.
It is laughable that John Boehner would try to disguise his ugly position with talk of jobs and the economy. Economic growth and development are harmed when discrimination is allowed to prevent qualified people from being hired. Boehner’s statement on ENDA was cowardly, deplorable, and should be condemned by Democrats.
Killing ENDA is not the American way.

The repugican War on the ACA Is An Attack On Women

American Burkha After America invaded Iraq and the people learned the shrub and Cheney fabricated evidence to launch an unprovoked war, repugicans defended the nation’s intervention in the Middle East because Arab women were forced to be in subjection to men. It is true that in many nations predominated by muslims, women are second-class citizens and little more than property mandated to do the will of their husbands, but if that is the criteria for invasion and war, America should be attacked for allowing repugicans to mistreat women and attempt to put them in their biblical roles as birth machines and slaves.
Shortly after the 2012 general election, the rnc assessed the electoral damage due to their anti-women agenda and concluded that a friendlier outreach effort would assuage the harm their misogynistic and patriarchal agenda caused them. However, instead of de-escalating their war against women, they ratcheted up their attacks that continue unabated nearly a year after the election loss that drove them to reconsider aggressively attacking women’s rights. Since the beginning of 2013, repugicans passed Draconian laws restricting women’s right to choose their own reproductive health, and recently a few Americans were outraged that ALEC’s Texas voter ID law disenfranchises married women by suppressing their right to vote. However horrendous restricting women’s right to vote may be, an oft-forgotten attack in the repugican war against women is the continued assault on the Affordable care Act (ACA).
The ongoing war against the ACA by repugican messiah Ted Cruz is an attack on women that he enlisted ALEC’s assistance to continue. In 2011, ALEC created the “State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare” that detailed how to dismantle the ACA locally, and it was Cruz who co-authored the report describing Obamacare as “unconstitutional federal overreach and violation of 10th Amendment rights” that would become ALEC’s model legislation to upend the Affordable Care Act. Of course repugican misogynists and patriarchs lust to derail the Affordable Care Act; because besides giving millions of Americans access to affordable health care insurance, it restricts insurance companies from discriminating against women. If there is anything wingnut christians cannot and will not comport, it is prohibiting powerful men from victimizing women.
Before the ACA, the private insurance industry forced women to pay higher premiums than men and restricted coverage that is unique to women’s needs, but the health law repugicans detest addressed those discriminatory health and economic practices and brought them to a long-overdue end.  The health law prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage for being a woman (a pre-existing condition), mandated that new health plans cover maternity care, gives women access to depression screenings, allows them a mammogram every two years, access to counseling for domestic violence at no cost, and ensures women will not have a co-pay for birth control. American women should make no mistake that one of the primary reasons repugicans hate the ACA is for its benefits to women they believe are second class citizens at the mercy of men as mandated in the christian bible.
Ted Cruz knows all about keeping women subjugated to men because his mentor, father, and preacher Rafael Cruz expounds that “god commands us men to teach your wife, but unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife.” The elder Cruz is not alone in his biblical subversion of women, and although repugicans hardly espouse evangelicals’ hate toward women publicly, there is a phalanx of wingnut christians speaking on their behalf.
For example, Pat Robertson said, “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” He also opined that if women get married, they “accept the headship of a man, your husband; the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.” Pat Buchanan concurred with Robertson and claimed “Rail as they will about ‘discrimination,’ women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed” as a man and it explains the repugican opposition to equal pay for equal work and the Equal Rights Amendment. It is no wonder that in Texas, repugicans are disenfranchising women’s right to vote to keep them politically impotent that is a very popular prospect among christian wingnuts.
A teabag leader of the Central Mississippi tea party thinks that women shouldn’t be allowed to cast a ballot because according to her “there is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women that are diabolical in how they can skewer a person. I do not see that in men.” Another tea party activist, regular Faux News guest, preacher, and founder of an organization Sean Handjob serves as an advisory board member said that America’s greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote and longed forthe good old days when men knew that women are crazy and knew how to deal with them.” If America’s women think for one second that repugicans adhering to wingnut christianity would not like to take America back to the good old days when men knew how to “deal with them” they can look at repugican-controlled states and understand the right to vote or control their reproductive health are just opening salvos in the war against women.
The source of the concept that women are second class citizens is founded in the bible that christian wingnuts claim is the blueprint for America that many repugicans subscribe to in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress as well. Shortly after the start of the 113th Congress, failed vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan re-introduced a fetal personhood bill that repugican-controlled states have inserted in state budgets and bills like the Preborn Pain Act introduced by the Texas ALEC Chair, Representative Jodie Laubenberg (r). The idea that women are unqualified to vote, do not deserve equality in healthcare costs, should not earn equal pay, or are unqualified to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health is so deeply ingrained in christian wingnut circles that even repugican women support their subjection to patriarchs in repugican ranks.
American women make up 51% of the population in this country, but they are perpetually under-represented and assailed as second-class citizens underserving of equal rights. The assault on the Affordable Care Act is as much about allowing the insurance industry to discriminate against women with repugicans’ blessings as it is about healthcare for uninsured Americans, and it is likely that given the opportunity many repugicans would restrict women’s right to vote unless they follow their repugican husbands’ orders and vote for christian wingnuts. If women thought for a second that repugicans learned from their mistakes in the 2012 election, they just need to look around and see that misogyny, patriarchal domination, and religious fervor to put them in their biblical role as subservient is raging on and unfortunately, there is no superpower going to come to their aid except themselves; if they are allowed to vote.

The truth be told

Wednesday, October 30

Nazi Plunder ...

1,500 Modern Artworks Found in Munich Flat

Nazi Plunder: 1,500 Modern Artworks Found in Munich Flat
The spectacular discovery of modernist masterpieces in a squalid Munich apartment is the latest twist in a story that began almost 80 years ago. Many of the works appear to be among those confiscated by the Nazis as "degenerate art," and it remains unclear what will become of them. More

Truth is ...

Barbers in Ontario to be forced to learn women's styling techniques

Barbers in the Canadian province of Ontario are facing the prospect of being forced back to school to learn how to do things like highlights and perms, some of them after decades of experience cutting men's hair. New provincial legislation forces about 300,000 tradespeople to be certified in their trade, from electricians to home contractors.


Doctor who had part of his tongue bitten off after putting it in elderly patient's mouth convicted

A former doctor will be sentenced in December for sexual battery after placing his tongue in the mouth of an elderly patient during an examination.

Kenneth Seen, 52, of Spencer, West Virginia, was convicted of the crime in Roane County Circuit Court this week. According to State Police, the patient bit off a “significant portion” of the doctor’s tongue at the time.
Seen had originally claimed the patient, a 77-year old man with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, grabbed his tongue and forced the incident at Roane General Hospital. Troopers though said the patient, who died in October 2012, was immobilized and unable to grab anything.

Roane County Circuit Judge Tom Evans will sentence Seen on Dec. 16. Seen was no longer an employee of Roane General Hospital as of August 2012 when the incident was first reported.

Woman runs ver boyfriend after refusal to stop at MickyDs

After an evening out drinking, a Tennessee woman became so angry with her live-in boyfriend for failing to make a McDonald’s pit stop that she struck him three times with his own vehicle.
Crystal Greer Brooks, 33, Santiago Hernandez, 41, and a second man were travelling in Kingsport in Hernandez’s truck early on Thursday morning when Brooks got mad because “they didn’t stop at McDonald’s.”

Brooks demanded that Hernandez pull over. When he complied, Brooks replaced him in the driver’s seat of the Chevrolet S-10. While Hernandez was standing in front of the truck, Brooks drove into him, knocking the father of her child to the ground. She then “pulled forward and struck him 2 more times with the truck,” police charge.
A responding officer noted that Hernandez had abrasions on his arm and back, and his “clothing appeared torn, consistent with being dragged on the pavement.” Brooks denied ploughing into Hernandez, claiming that he had actually jumped on the truck’s hood. Brooks was arrested for aggravated assault and booked into the Sullivan County jail, where she remains in custody.

There's a short news video here.

School-issued iPads Lead to Theft

More and more schools are going the extra mile to make sure every student has an iPad or other electronic device to use in school. Whether the school district gets a grant, allocates part of the budget, or works to raise extra funds, the innovation is inevitably announced in the local newspaper. What could possibly go wrong?

Quite a few schools have learned the hard way that thieves read the papers, too. USA Today reports on several cases of break-ins in which thieves made off with dozens or even hundreds of iPads at a time. In one school that had invested in security carts to wheel from class to class, the carts themselves were missing. Keeping the devices together at school makes it easier for mass theft, but districts that allow students to take the devices home have seen a rash of thefts as well.
That's exactly what happened in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, which serves about 6,000 students in northeastern Ohio. The district issued 1,300 iPads to its middle school students last fall.

At first, the tablets were a triumph for the district, "shouted from the rooftops" in celebration, said district spokeswoman Angee Shaker. Nobody considered this might attract robbers, who saw middle school students as easy targets.

Less than a week after the tablets were handed out, more than a dozen students had been mugged on the way home from school. The thieves had learned to deactivate a tracking software on the tablets, so they stole iPads exclusively, Shaker said.
The article does not address the issue of students who report the devices stolen so they can keep them, but you know that happens as well. One of my naive daughters left an iPod out in plain sight and it was stolen by another student. As she had paid for it herself, and then paid for a replacement, I hope she learned a lesson.

Kids who sleep more, may eat less

It seems everyone is looking for a culprit when it comes to childhood obesity: fast food, sugary drinks, super-sized everything. But it turns out part of the blame may lie with the simple matter of […]

Daily Comic Relief


Estonian man has set out with his amphibious car for land and water trip around the globe

An Estonian man on Saturday began a trip around the world in a Toyota Land Cruiser that he turned into an amphibious vehicle that will cross land, oceans and rivers on a 60,000 kilometer (37,000 mile) journey. Mait Nilson, 44, a mechanical engineer who worked on the project for the past seven years, waved goodbye to friends and fans as he set off from Taillin on a journey he estimates will take nine months.
"This has been my dream since I was a 10-year-old boy and spent summers at our cottage near lake Peipsi in East Estonia," Nilson said before his departure in the vehicle dubbed Amphibear. Amphibear looks much like a typical 4x4, aside from large attachments surrounding it which allow it to metamorphose into a 10 meter boat. It sports an anchor, hydraulic pump and portable toilet. A stove is built into the back door.
"The first sea crossing will be the Strait of Gibraltar, the first river crossing is in Senegal, and the first ocean crossing is the Atlantic," Nilson said. He will be joined by several co-pilots on different legs of the journey. "Amphibear can cover 120 nautical miles in a day in ideal conditions. Most legs last less than 5 days and can be covered when the weather forecast is good. On land the car-boat can drive at speeds of up to 110 km/h," Nilson said.

The vehicle will travel through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, USA, Canada and Russia. "So far I have spent around 200 hours at sea with my amphibious car," Nilson said. "As an amphibious vehicle, Amphibear has some disadvantages when compared to a catamaran or a boat. It has a higher center of gravity, less room for crew and equipment. Its big advantage is low wind drag, meaning less risk to capsize due to wind than sailing catamarans," Nilson added.

A Giant Hovering Roundabout For Cyclists In The Netherlands

Hovenring is an incredible suspended roundabout conceptualized and designed by IPV Delft specifically for cyclists to safely make their way across congested traffic by traveling overhead.

Located between Eindhoven and Veldhoven in the Netherlands, the circular steel bridge offers an alternative route for cyclists as well as an aesthetically pleasing landmark for locals and visitors. The structure adds an intriguing sight to the landscape that includes a pylon that soars approximately 230 feet high with 24 steel cables attached to it, holding the circular pathway up like a hovering saucer.

Awesome Pictures

Weird Forests Once Sprouted in Antarctica

Strange forests with some features of today's tropical trees once grew in Antarctica.

The Spectacular Blood-Red Hues of Indonesia’s Mount Bromo Volcano

Mount Bromo may not be the tallest volcano on Java, but it could well be the most spectacular. More

Giant rubber duck victim of earthquake

A giant rubber duck art installation fell victim to a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan on Thursday.
Workers in Taoyuan county tried to re-inflate the duck, the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, after its air pump malfunctioned during Thursday's earthquake in Taiwan.

But the artwork had suffered too many tears and leaks thanks to high winds, and it collapsed onto the surface of the lake where it had been installed. Some Taiwanese residents were so upset, they called for a 10 second silence to commemorate the duck.

Officials soon came to the rescue however, with the bright idea of moving the 59 foot inflatable onto dry land. Taiwan's Central News Agency reported it would take seven to 10 days to completely repair the duck, but by Saturday afternoon it was looking plump and healthy on its new land-base.

Photos of Spiders Battling Dangerous Foes

We're used to thinking of spiders as the top killers of the minibeast world, but sometimes they meet their match in other creepy-crawlies...More

Alligator found under escalator at Chicago airport

A small alligator found under an escalator at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has left authorities puzzled.A maintenance worker discovered the alligator, which is about a foot long, on Friday in Terminal 3, Chicago Police spokesman Jose Estrada said Sunday.
An officer captured the reptile by putting a trash can over it.
"We don't know where it came from or how long it'd been residing in the airport facilities," Estrada said. "It's one of those random incidents."
The gator is now being cared for by the Chicago Herpetological Society.
"It was in pretty bad shape," said Jason Hood, the group's president. "We're trying to get it healthy and find a place for it."
He said the gator would likely head to an out-of-state alligator farm once authorities give the organization the all-clear to release the animal.
No one was injured.

Spiky-Headed Sharks Survived Mass Extinction, Surprising Scientists

An exotic, ancient shark thrived into the age of dinosaurs, study says.

A reconstitution of the falcatid shark, one of the three cladodontomorph shark species discovered, in the depths of an ocean that covered what is now southern France 135 million years ago.
The factoid shark, which had a hook-like protuberance over its head, was one of a group of small sharks that survived into the era of dinosaurs.
by Dan Vergano

A family of small sharks—some of which had spiky heads—cruised the ancient seas for far longer than scientists had suspected, surviving to about 120 million years ago. Their surprising survival suggests that deep oceans sheltered predators during past mass extinctions.

Some 252 million years ago, roughly 90 percent of the planet's marine species perished in the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event.
Tied to everything from volcanic eruptions to ocean oxygen depletion to severe climate change, the Great Dying represents the most severe challenge to life's survival seen in the fossil record.
Among the victims were thought to be a wide variety of early cladodont sharks. These sharks—which brandished long, sharp, T-shaped teeth—are today seen as vanished, unsuccessful cousins of modern broad-toothed sharks.
However, an international team led by Switzerland's Guillaume Guinot of the Natural History Museum in Geneva, reports in the journal Nature Communications that the sharks survived the Great Dying, lasting at least another 170 million years—well into the age of dinosaurs.
"Something we didn't ever expect—[it's] so amazing to find these ancient sharks," Guinot says. "We were looking for modern sharks, to be honest."
Ancient Sharks Survived
The team reports that teeth from three new species of cladodont sharks—one of which is unlike any kind seen before—turned up in limestone fossil beds in southern France.
The 170-million-year survival of the sharks was a revelation to researchers not involved in the new study.
"It would be the equivalent to finding a living population of the descendants of T. rex [today]," says ancient shark expert and independent researcher John-Paul Hodnett.
Nevertheless, Hodnett says, "I have to agree with their conclusions. They have genuine cladodont shark teeth."
"If they had just survived the mass extinction and then died out, that would have been no great surprise," paleontologist Mike Benton, of the University of Bristol, U.K., said by email.
"However, survival by a 100 [million years] into the Mesozoic is interesting—even if they were presumably quite rare during that long span of time."
A Toothsome Tale
The sharks were small ones—likely only about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long—and their teeth were tiny, about a millimeter across.
Even so, they were true predators, likely dining on the ancestors of today's squids and small fish in ancient oceans, Guinot says.
One of the shark species discovered by the team sported teeth similar to a more ancient shark called the falcatus shark, whose males sported a flat, sword-shaped fin above their heads, thought to have been used for sexual displays.
A second species belonged to a family of sharks with two fins on their backs, similar to modern Port Jackson sharks found today off Australia's coasts.
And the third sported teeth with neat cutting edges never before seen on this kind of ancient shark, but often seen on modern ones.
Finally, the teeth also possessed an enamel structure similar to the teeth of modern sharks as well—another surprise, Hodnett says.
The results "strongly suggest that this trait evolved more than once" in sharks, he says, pointing to how evolution sometimes finds different avenues to the same toothy ends.
Ancient Escape Act
The limestone beds where the shark teeth turned up were deep ocean floors some 120 million years ago, study author Guinot says.
That suggests that although ocean oxygen depletion was at least one likely cause of the extinctions seen during the Great Dying, some isolated seas served as refuges for the sharks and their prey.
The small cladodont sharks probably were flexible enough in their diet to survive in the deep ocean or on the coasts.
"These were not top, top predators—they would have eaten lots of things," Guinot says.
"They probably ate other sharks as well."

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