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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.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, now there's a idea  ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily

Go fly a kite  ... !
Today is - International Kite Day

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Today in History

1236   Henry III marries Eleanor of Provence.
1526   Francis of France, held captive by Charles V for a year, signs the Treaty of Madrid, giving up most of his claims in France and Italy.
1797   Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austrians at Rivoli in northern Italy.
1858   Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie escape unhurt after an Italian assassin throws a bomb at their carriage as they travel to the Paris Opera.
1864   Confederate President Jefferson Davis writes to General Joseph E. Johnson, observing that troops may need to be sent to Alabama or Mississippi.
1911   The USS Arkansas, the largest U.S. battleship, is launched from the yards of the New York Shipbuilding Company.
1915   The French abandon five miles of trenches to the Germans near Soissons.
1916   British authorities seize German attachĂ© Franz von Papen's financial records confirming espionage activities in the U.S.
1917   A Provisional Parliament is established in Poland.
1920   Berlin is placed under martial law as 40,000 radicals rush the Reichstag; 42 are dead and 105 are wounded.
1942   President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders all aliens in the U.S. to register with the government.
1943   Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Charles DeGaulle meet at Casablanca to discuss the direction of the war.
1943   Italian occupation authorities refuse to deport Jews living in their territories in France.
1969   A blast on the U.S. carrier Enterprise in the Pacific results in 24 dead and 85 injured.
1980   The United Nations votes 104-18 to deplore the Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.
2000   UN tribunal sentences 5 Bosnian Croats to prison for up to 25 years; they were charged with killing some 100 Muslims in a Bosnian village in 1993.
2004   The Republic of Georgia restores the "five cross flag" as its national flag after some 500 years of disuse.
2005   Huygens probe lands on Saturn's moon Titan.
2010   Yemen declares war on al-Qaeda terrorist group.
2011   Zine El Abinine Ben Ali, former president of Tunisia, flees to Saudi Arabia after a series of demonstrations against his regime.

Non Sequitur


Plane crashed twice in one day on New Zealand beach

Things went from bad to worse for two New Zealand pilots after crash landing onto a beach on Friday – and then plunging into the ocean when they tried to take off again. Pilot Dennis Horn and his co-pilot Manfred Scherbius were both uninjured in the double crash, though said their pride had taken a bit of a battering.
The drama at Martins Bay beach began when the newly-installed engine of their microlight plane cut out in mid-air, bringing the plane down on rocks just off the shoreline. “Basically the engine stopped. Sort of thing the pilot doesn't want to hear especially if he's only got one engine,” Mr Horn said after the first crash.

“We actually landed on along some rocks there which was a bit rough but it only damaged the aircraft slightly.” Concerned crowds gathered as they carried out minor repairs, and cheered as they set off down a makeshift runway on the sand with the hope of completing their journey.
But their joy was short-lived as the plane swerved off-course and landed nose-first in the surf. Mr Scherbius said they had been so concerned with avoiding the trees and boats that they had not realized how close to the water they had become. Yet even after the second crash, both pilots walked away unscathed. The plane however suffered a broken wing and lost a propeller blade.

Did you know ...

That a man burns down his own house; So of course he blames Obama

That the Obamacare horror stories told by tea party members are lies; The newspaper finally admits it

That private contractors can make more than the president

That scientists have a new theory on how the brain creates a personality

Obama Puts the repugicans On Notice That Obstruction Won’t Be Tolerated in 2014

President Obama called 2014 a year of action, and then boldly called out those who are unwilling to help the American people.…
barack obama  
Oopsie, looks like repugicans pushed President Barack Obama too far. You’d think they would learn…
In this week’s address, President Obama called 2014 a year of action, and then boldly called out those who are unwilling to help the American people by saying, “I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part.”
Speaker Boehner, that was for you and your House of Do-Nothings.
The President said that this year of action should start with Congress quickly passing emergency unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans who lost it. And then he announced that he’s taking his case right to the people, in his State of the Union address.
Watch here:
The President put repugicans on notice that he will not allow them to fritter away his agenda, “This will be a year of action. I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part. And that action should begin by extending unemployment insurance for Americans who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own.”
Note that the President is not blaming people who were laid off in the middle of one of our worst recessions for being in this position. This is part of his defense against the repugican talking point that the unemployed are lazy, which is just another excuse to coldly ignore the starving.
“This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job. And it demands responsibility in return by requiring that they prove they’re actively looking for work. But Republicans in Congress just let that lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans.”
It’s sort of an emergency, Obama explained, because 14 million will be impacted if repugicans keep up their assault on reality. “And if this doesn’t get fixed, it will actually hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year.” The shrub recession is hardly the fault of the workers, after all, and yet repugicans have yet to make any noise about taking away the welfare they generously hand out to corporations.
“Earlier this week, Democrats and repugicans in the Senate took the first steps toward making this right. But Congress needs to finish the job right away.”
The President laid out plans for putting these folks back to work, but he’s not going to wait for Republicans to do the right thing.
The President has learned from his first term.
Obama knows that he needs to take his case to the people directly, because the repugicans will do nothing without public pressure. So, he shot an arrow into their obstructionist hearts, “And at the end of the month, in my State of the Union Address, I will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success.”
Oh dear. If there is one thing Obama is really, really good at, it’s mobilizing the country around issues of economic justice. See the 2012 campaign. The repugicans have stirred the governing President into campaign mode, handing him the issue he most cares about on a silver platter during an off election year, and that is not good for repugicans.
The Democrats couldn’t have written a better set up for 2014 if they’d tried. It’s almost as if a trap had been set for repugicans, knowing that they would be unwilling to take positive action for the economy and the people.
The President finished by explaining that positive action needs to be taken, “As Americans, that’s what we should expect. And after everything you’ve done to recover and rebuild from crisis these past five years – after all your hard work and sacrifice – that’s what you deserve.”
In other words, you deserve a Congress that will actually do things for you like pass a jobs bill and stop punishing the unemployed for the actions of irresponsible bankers and a failed repugican ideology that allowed unregulated institutions to overextend. Since House repugicans have proven that they won’t do their jobs without being prodded, Obama is going to use the bully pulpit to galvanize the people into action.
The repugicans can continue obstructing jobs, but it’s an election year and Obama’s going to make a stink about it. See, he doesn’t have to run for office again, but they do.
Something got under Barack Obama’s skin, and it was probably the utter gall of repugicans refusing to renew UI benefits just because he is President – operating a bit like Chris Christie’s office, hurting the people in order to service their petty agenda.
I suspect the repugicans are going to regret pushing Obama into campaign mode in an election year. He’s poised for a fight, and this fight is the one he’s always wanted to have. It’s also a fight the people, even in Boehner’s district, just so happen to agree with Democrats on. The repugicans can play their obstruction games, but they will pay for it.

Liberals Have Fought Alone Since the War on Poverty Ended in 1980

The snide satisfaction wingnuts gloat in their declaration that the War on Poverty failed is apropos given how they sabotaged it …
poverty weapon of mass destruction
Because this is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a War on Poverty, there has been a lot of discussion this week about its success or failure. Liberals try to argue the War on Poverty worked, but in doing so, they do themselves an injustice. The entire premise of the question assumes that the War is ongoing and that we should be able to look around and see the positive outcomes (or not) of government efforts to eliminate poverty. That is a false premise. The War on Poverty ended long ago. Today, we have minor skirmishes with poverty after conservatives sabotaged the War in 1980.
Of course, you have the wingnuts crowing this week that “the War was lost, the War has failed.” Wingnut token star, Marco Rubio, was selected to make Wednesday’s 50th anniversary speech the wingnuts were itching to make. His basic ideas can be summarized as, “See, the government can’t solve poverty. Nothing is better than it was before the War on Poverty was declared. In fact, the War on Poverty was destructive. It led to the breakdown of families, and dependence on social programs. Our wingnut policies are better. These ideas include: 1) encourage marriage, 2) change federal funding to block grant funding to states, and 3) cheer for America, because we can do it…with our bootstraps.”
As usual, the wingnuts are dead wrong. They can crow that the War on Poverty was lost, but they are the ones who waved the white flag in 1980 with the election of their idol, Ronald Reagan. In social service circles, they use the term “retrenchment,” to describe 1980-1982 and beyond, which in war terms means, “to fall back into reinforced trenches,” and in fiscal terms means, “to cut back.” Liberals would have to investigate the statistics from 1979 to actually talk about how well the War on Poverty succeeded, but they are continuously asked to defend the outcomes of a War that ended decades ago based on the statistics of today. Even with these constraints, liberals are still able to show that their gutted anti-poverty programs are pulling millions out of poverty. But, had the War on Poverty continued, poverty rates may be as low as unemployment rates.
In 1968, the supplemental poverty rate was 24% and the official rate was 12.8%, just as the War on Poverty was moving into full gear. But, after “in-kind” benefits like food stamps, energy assistance, and health insurance were offered to the poor, the resulting adjusted poverty rate in 1968 dropped further to 9.9%. As the War on Poverty continued, it just kept getting better.  In 1979, the official poverty rate had dropped to 11.6%, but after “in-kind” benefits were provided, the adjusted rate was actually lowered to 6.1%. The adjusted official poverty rate would never see this low point again. As of 2012, the supplemental poverty rate was back up to 16.0% after having reached a low in 2000 of approximately 14%. But anti-poverty programs continue to work. Without them, the poverty rate would be almost 30% currently. (Please note, both supplemental and official poverty rates are being used, because the official poverty rate, while inferior, has been the basis of most academic scholarship).
In their 1981 article, “The Reagan Budget: A Sharp Break with the Past,” poverty experts, Sheldon Danziger who formerly led University of Wisconsin’s Center for Poverty Research, and Robert Haveman, wrote, “Indeed the President’s 1982 and 1983 budget reform plans and the allocation of funds among programs (current and proposed) have represented a sharp break with the recent past. It is evident that the administration is attempting to reverse the trend of the 1960s and 1970s… Between 1965 and 1981…expenditures for income security (Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and other programs that provide, cash transfers or access to essentials) increased from 22% to 34% of the budget. In percentage terms, the growth in health expenditures-now largely Medicare and Medicaid-was even more rapid, from 1.4% to 10% of the budget. Similarly, the share of the budget devoted to education, training, employment, and social services increased from 1.9% to nearly 5% (during this period). Taken together, the budget share of these three categories of social programs doubled from 25% to 50%.”
So, the War on Poverty represented a doubling of government investment in vulnerable people. However, the 1982 proposed budget cuts to anti-poverty and educational programs were dramatic, averaging 20%:
Medicaid                                                                -10.4%
Welfare                                                                   -17.5% 
Social services block grant                               -17.8%
Food Stamps                                                         -19.1%
Low-income Energy Assistance                       -25.8%
Education aid                                                       -17.9%
Training and employment programs            -46.2%
Guaranteed student loans                               -23.0%
For perspective, most programs received a cut of no more than 5% during last year’s sequestration.
Reagan was able to hide most of his callous agenda, because poverty responds more to the economy than it does to government programs, and the improving economy of the 1980s served to reduce the poverty rate even as Reagan slashed social programs. The 1990s were similar; the booming economy reduced poverty, countering the actions of government as it tore away at anti-poverty programs through welfare reform. The decision to pursue welfare reform in 1994 came as the War on Poverty, long over, had turned into a War on the Poor.
But the bastions of the weakened War on Poverty remained: Food stamps, the WIC (women, infant, children) program, Head Start, TRIO Educational Opportunity Programs, Legal Aid, TANF, School breakfast and School Lunch programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit, (which has its roots in of all places Milton Friedman and Richard Nixon), energy assistance, housing assistance, etc. Sure, the programs have been gutted multiple times. Eligibility has become severely limited. Millions who need programs can’t access them. Yet, even with everything stacked against them, liberals can still talk about how government is keeping people out of poverty. Furthermore, over time, in this last recession, these programs were critical for keeping people out of poverty. It is just that the government’s hands have all too often been tied by wingnut obstruction in terms of actually reducing poverty in ways that would make our nation less embarrassing on the international stage. The richest nation on Earth still boasts the second highest child poverty rate (23.1%) among developed nations (cheers to Romania for inching out first place). Liberals can still stand tall for putting in decades of their own battles, not just to end poverty, but to find a way around conservatives who worked at every turn to prevent them from their mission of reducing poverty.

Robert Gates Smacks Down the repugican cabal

 ‘I agreed with all the president’s decisions on Afghanistan.’ robert-gates-cbs 
Robert Gates smacked down repugicans who are using his book to criticize President Obama by saying,’I agreed with all the president’s decisions on Afghanistan.’
RITA BRAVER: I think what people are troubled by is that you criticize President Obama on actions, particularly on his commitment to the war in Afghanistan, while it’s still going on, and people are saying, ‘Look, that’s just not right.’
ROBERT GATES: I make very explicit in the book that I agreed with all the president’s decisions on Afghanistan, the ones that he made in 2009 and subsequently. My one concern was that over the course of 2010 and early 2011, the president began to have reservations about whether it would all work. That didn’t seem like an unfair thing to say.
This is something that I noticed while reading excerpts of the book. Gates does criticize some aspects of Obama’s presidency, but he is also evenhanded. He offered plenty of praise for the president too. The media and repugicans jumped on the negative, and left out the positive. If Gates had disagreed with President Obama and thought his leadership was so poor, he would have resigned or taken his concerns public.
Gates did neither. I think his book will be an instructive and interesting read, but the media narrative about the book was wrong. The repugican narrative that Gates’ book proves that Obama is a president who is jeopardizing our national security is equally wrong. The gossipy mainstream press isn’t interested in an evenhanded account of what Robert Gates experienced. They would rather seize on the juicy gossip, and polarize everything through their hyperpartisan lens.
Robert Gates is a repugican, but he is another repugican like Colin Powell who doesn’t seem to fit the direction that the current repugican cabal is moving in. Gates is so fed up with Washington that he moved the whole way across the country to get away from DC. Robert Gates has set the record straight, and he is not going to let the purpose and meaning of his book be warped for partisan political gain.

The repugicans Will Kill 240,000 Jobs In 2014 By Not Extending Unemployment Benefits

The repugicans will have killed an additional 240,000 jobs in 2014 according to The Council of Economic Advisers ...
Surprise is a brief mental state experienced by humans as the result of an unexpected event that can be pleasant, unpleasant, positive, or negative. It is incomprehensible that anyone would be, or could be, surprised over an event that was foretold ad nauseum would happen in the near future; especially when it was based on hard empirical data. It was astonishing, really, that when the December jobs report showed the economy added only 74,000 jobs, media reported that the numbers were “surprisingly weak,” particularly since the economy seemed to be on the upswing. What is surprising is that for the past year economists have warned that the true job-killing effects of repugicans’ economic agenda would begin taking effect at the end of 2013 and no-one is saying “we told you so,” and it is curious why not.
It is important to remember that repugicans came into the 112th session of Congress promising they would focus on creating jobs and immediately began a crusade to reduce the nation’s long term deficit and cut domestic spending. Every economist warned repugicans that taking money out of the economy was the fastest way to kill jobs, but instead of heeding real economists’ warnings, they launched a job-killing crusade that has not yet reached its climax. John Boehner was warned the first round of repugican cabal spending cuts would kill a million jobs and he said “so be it.” The repugicans are not the least bit surprised the jobs numbers were “lower than expected” because it was exactly what they expected and they took advantage of the December report to assail the Obama Administration.
The repugicans argue that the jobs report underscores the President’s economic policies have failed after claiming the economy was improving, but they leave out one very important point. The economy is indeed improving for Wall Street, corporations, the oil and pharmaceutical industry who recorded record profits that the nation’s economic growth is measured by. The repugicans claim that Congress should focus on creating jobs by gutting regulations and cutting taxes, but business owners need paying customers that are in short supply because repugicans have been frantically taking money out of the economy to kill jobs.
For three years repugicans focused on reducing the nation’s long term deficit that does not, will not, and has not created even one job; yet it dominates the repugicans’ economic agenda. They have also implemented severe austerity and cut domestic spending that does not, will not, and has not created even one job because it takes money out of the economy and kills jobs; cutting regulations and taxes will not change the fact that Americans are cash-strapped. The Congressional Budget Office warned on several occasions that the repugican sequester will kill 1.6 million jobs through fiscal year 2014, and cautioned its effect on jobs would begin being felt in the fourth quarter of 2013. One can only imagine the horrid job numbers if the economy was not in as good a shape as it is now.  The media is “surprised by the weak job numbers” and repugicans blame the President, but for anyone paying attention, the weak numbers were right on schedule with repugican plans to kill jobs and thwart economic recovery for everyone but their corporate donors.
The last three months of 2013 gave repugicans more opportunities to kill jobs and they used the government shutdown, food stamp cuts, and unemployment benefit expiration to great effect. The government shutdown cut 0.25% from annual economic growth and cost 120,000 jobs in just its first 12 of its’ 16 day run. It hurt the housing industry by halting IRS verifications for mortgage applications, and small businesses were hurt by the shutdown of Small Business Administration loan guarantees. In addition, the CEA report by Harvard economists said the shutdown “affected consumer spending and business investment and hiring as well” and warned “the economic data over the next quarter or more are likely to be ghastly.”
The November 1st $5 billion in food stamp cuts (for 2014 alone) will have their own devastating effects on jobs because each dollar of food stamps infuses well over $1.70 of spending in the economy that creates or sustains jobs. Most economists say food stamps (SNAP) have a “multiplier effect of 2 to1” that means every food stamp dollar has amplified economic benefits primarily helping grocers and the food production industry that benefits when recipients shop in their stores. John Boehner worked behind the scenes in November to kill more jobs during talks between the House and Senate to pass a still-languishing farm bill because despite negotiators finding common ground on a bill, the Speaker demanded steeper food stamp cuts that quashed the farm bill.
The repugicans also will have killed an additional 240,000 jobs in 2014 according to The Council of Economic Advisers who estimated that not extending the unemployment benefits will have a deleterious effect on hiring because, like every repugican policy that takes money out of the economy, it kills existing and potential jobs. In fact, every dollar spent on programs like food stamps, unemployment benefits, and all other domestic programs is immediately spent and put back into the economy and not hoarded like the wealthy, Wall Street, corporations, and the oil industry that have recorded obscene profits over the past year but not hired. It is why the third quarter economic report was misleading in its alleged good news because although big business invested in inventory that raised GDP significantly (3.6%), real growth (Gross Domestic Income) rose only 1.4% that means Americans do not have money to spend that is key to business expansion and hiring.
The December jobs report was not a surprise, but it was weak and precisely what repugicans wanted and economists predicted. The repugicans launched a campaign to gut regulations and cut taxes that has never created jobs because it puts money in the hands of corporations and big business and not the people who drive job creation; American consumers.  Besides 1.6 million jobs expected to be lost due to the sequester, the government shutdown killed at least 120,000 jobs in its first six days, and the $5 billion in food stamp cuts in 2014 will take $10 billion out of the economy and kill more jobs. Not extending unemployment benefits will kill 240,000 jobs on top of the nearly one million lost during 2013 before the shutdown, food stamp cuts, or sequester had time to do their job-killing damage. This is the message President Obama and Democrats have to drive home to the American people who know they are either jobless or barely surviving much less having money to spend that creates jobs.
Business owners know why they cannot hire new workers, or expand, and it has nothing to do with regulations or taxes. They also know that as fewer Americans have money to spend they will have to start letting workers go just to stay afloat and that no amount of tax cuts or deregulation will bring in customers. Despite all the damage repugicans have wrought on the economy, or the number of jobs they deliberately killed in 2013 alone, they spent the last three months killing nearly another million jobs in 2014  in addition to nearly a million in 2013 and 1.6 million slated for 2014 due to the sequester. The only people surprised by the “surprisingly weak” December jobs report were comatose over the past year, because the CBO, real economists, President Obama, and repugicans knew it was coming; only repugicans celebrated because their plans were bearing fruit.

Total corruption ...

...Organized crime infiltrated and compromised UK courts, police, HMRC, Crown Prosecution Service, prisons, and juries
A leaked Scotland Yard report disclosed in The Independent documents the near-total corruption of the British government and justice system by organized criminals. The report documents "Operation Tiberius," which dates to 2003, and contains a series of explosive allegations about corruption, including the sale of £50,000 "get out of jail free cards," the buying off of juries, and the "at will" infiltration of Scotland Yard by gangs.
The report quotes a Senior Investigating Officer who said, "I feel that at the current time I cannot carry out an ethical murder investigation without the fear of it being compromised." It claims that a Metropolitan Police detective's son was employed as a torturer for one gang, and that the detective impeded any investigations into the gang his son worked for and the crimes he committed.
There's no reason to suspect that the crimes documented in Tiberius stopped there, nor that they couldn't take place today. And yet today, the political establishment sees nothing wrong with total surveillance of every person in the country, from ubiquitous CCTVs to illegal harvesting of Internet data and mobile phone logs.
The thing that corruption stories -- even astounding ones like this -- teach us is that our systems need to account for the possibility that the authorities are corrupt, or sloppy, or duped. Creating laws that give police and magistrates the power to declare anything anyone does illegal, storing massive DNA databases, allowing for secret courts and warrantless surveillance, creating unaccountable systems of censorship, and letting spies run wild are all examples of systems designed on the presumption that the establishment is both uncorrupted and perpetually uncorrectable.
In one case identified by Tiberius, a leading criminal was acquitted of importing cannabis after he allegedly “bought” members of the jury hearing his case. A named police officer “was involved in some way or another”, according to the report.
Tiberius also revealed the Met was concerned at the time with a national newspaper story on the ability of the Adams family to escape the law by penetrating the criminal justice system.
In 1998, police appeared to have finally made a breakthrough when Tommy Adams was jailed for more than seven years for importing cannabis.
However, the article cited by Tiberius stated that the “only reason the Adams family had allowed the prosecution to succeed and had not resorted to bribery or intimidation to thwart it, was because the other brothers wanted to teach Tommy a lesson for getting involved in crimes they had not authorised”.
The article concluded: “Witnesses terrified into silence, dodgy jurors, bent lawyers, bent policemen and bent CPS clerks – all are part of the same cancer eating away at justice. A cure for the malady will not be easy to come by. Perhaps we should begin by acknowledging that the patient is sick.”

Canadian spy agency admits to illegally spying on Canadians

The Communication Security Establishment of Canada -- a secretive spy agency that's already been caught lying to a judge and illegally spying on diplomats at the Toronto G20 -- has admitted that it illegally spied on Canadians as well.
CSE also admits it's allowed to help CSIS, the Mounties and Canada Border Services Agency "in a variety of circumstances — including intercept operations against a Canadian or individuals in Canada."
National security blogger Bill Robinson says that means CSE can use information gleaned from Canadians.
"If it falls into the government's collection priorities, they certainly will use it," he said Friday.

Somali Al Qaeda affiliate orders Internet shutdown

Al-Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-affiliated faction in Somalia, has ordered the nation's ISPs to shut off the Internet, or else. The Somali government has ordered the ISPs not to shut down.

Random Photos

Burglar caught after falling asleep in car he was trying to steal

A burglar was caught sleeping in a car outside the house he had broken into. Police picked up Alexander Sinclair, 30, after banging repeatedly on the window of the car parked outside the house he'd just burgled.Officers had been called by the house and car's owner, who woke at 6am to find his front door ajar and his car keys missing. He had gone outside expecting the vehicle to have gone too, but instead he found Sinclair sleeping. Sinclair told police he had been on his way to the train station after a night out drinking in Cardiff and when it started to rain he just needed somewhere dry to rest.
He claimed he locked the car doors, on Rhymney Street, Cathays, Cardiff, in case the owner came out but intended posting the keys back in the morning. Cardiff Crown Court heard it wasn’t the first time that Alexander Sinclair had fallen asleep on the job. The court was told that in April last year, Devon and Cornwall police had to use bolt cutters to open the door of a hotel room where they found him fast asleep under a duvet.
Against doctors’ orders, the 30-year-old had been mixing alcohol with his depression medication, said defense counsel Byron Broadstock. Giving him a six-month suspended sentence for the Cardiff offense, Recorder Judge Eleri Rees said that going into someone’s home had a profound psychological effect on the victim. She ordered Sinclair, who admitted burglary, to undergo a alcohol treatment program.

Police release CCTV footage in appeal to catch Eggnog brawler

Detectives investigating a shop brawl sparked by thieves who tried stealing a carton of Eggnog have released CCTV footage of the fight in a bid to trace a man who threw punches before fleeing the fracas.
The man can be seen struggling with staff who tried to detain him at A-Z Bargain on Soho Road in Birmingham on 3 December, but he manages to get away before police arrive.

His cap is knocked off his head at one point during the scuffle revealing his face to the camera – but he’s not yet been identified. A second man was arrested at the time and is currently on bail. Detective Constable Richard Marsh from Birmingham CID hopes the appeal may prompt someone to come forward and help identify the man in the video.
He said: “Staff were punched and threatened with a weapon when they challenged the pair but were able to hold on to one of the two men until police arrived – but the second suspect got away. To use such an excessive amount of violence because of a dispute about a carton of Eggnog is inexcusable. Please help us find him by getting in touch with a name.”

Man stole hand sanitizer to make Screwdriver cocktails

A Pennsylvania man faces charges after confessing to stealing a large amount of hand sanitizer from a hospital. Lee B. Ammerman, 51, of Altoona, is accused of taking 12 containers of liquid hand sanitizer over the span of several months and allegedly told police he stole them so he could drink them for the alcohol.
"I mix the liquid with orange juice," Ammerman said after he was detained on Jan. 2 at the hospital and questioned about the thefts. Police said a man matching Ammerman's description was seen concealing hand sanitizer in an arm sling before leaving the hospital Oct. 21, and on Dec. 10, Ammerman allegedly stole more containers.
An employee allegedly saw Ammerman steal hand sanitizer on Dec. 23, and police were able to positively identify their suspect as Ammerman. Police said Ammerman was headed to a restroom at the hospital when officers confronted him and asked him to answer some questions about the thefts.
Ammerman agreed to speak with police and admitted to stealing the hand sanitizer. Ammerman said he stole "a large amount" of the containers, worth $6.65 each. In all, UPMC Altoona is asking for $79.80 to pay for 12 containers and said employees had to replace four to six containers each day in November and December. Ammerman was charged misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property.



Burglar who thought he was trapped in eye care store did peculiar things

No one’s really sure what was going through Michael Garvin’s mind when he broke into an Ada, Oklahoma eye care store last Saturday. All police and store employees have is the aftermath of a very strange night. Garvin, 22, used the businesses phone to call 911. He apparently hung up the first time. The dispatcher had to call back twice. Garvin picked up the second time.
The break-in still has Ada police, and Ada Family Eye Care owner Chris Gurley scratching their heads."He obviously wasn't in the right state of mind, I'm sure. He ended up wearing some of my staff's lab coats, and tried on different clothing," said Gurley. "There was apparently a pair of shorts that were even in my office back there that he found." Garvin was inside for nearly an hour. Surveillance cameras captured his every move starting at around 5am..
"He was pretty incoherent. His actions weren't that of a normal person," said Ada Police Chief, Mike Miller. "He got a little bit agitated because he couldn't get out, and at that point is when he started tearing up a few displays and clearing off a few counters with golf clubs," said Gurley. He says it appears Garvin kicked in the bottom glass of the front door, and at some point that glass slid down. Chris believes the burglar thought his exit was blocked.
"Simple door latch might have gotten him out," said Gurley. But, Garvin called 911. When police arrived, he threw a hand mirror at them then ran and hid in the attic. "They found that the front door was busted in and saw someone inside and called for backup," said Miller. "We were able to surround the building, go in and find this person that broke in, and arrested him. [I've] never had anyone in my office not be able to get out," said Gurley. Garvin was released from the Ponotoc County jail on Tuesday on a $1,000 bond.

Ghost Heart

This is a " Ghost Heart ". It has been decellularized, leaving only connective tissue.
The organ can then be reseeded with a patients own cells to regenerate it so it can be transplanted without fear of tissue rejection.

Hang Ten



Surf Girls And Waves http://bit.ly/1bNWtfB


Spelling Hieroglyphics

Here are a couple fun cartoons from Dan Piraro of Bizarro Comics. Yes, spelling in hieroglyphics could be hard. But I suspect that it's even more difficult in Tamarian.

Paranthropus boisei lived on tiger nuts

An Oxford University study has concluded that our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million-1.4 million years ago survived mainly on a diet of tiger nuts. Tiger nuts are edible grass bulbs still eaten in parts of the world today. The study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, also suggests that these early hominins may have sought additional nourishment from fruits and invertebrates, like worms and grasshoppers.
This is Olduvai Hominid 5 (OH 5), the most famous of the early human fossils, which was found at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Study author Dr Gabriele Macho examined the diet of Paranthropus boisei, nicknamed "Nutcracker Man" because of his big flat molar teeth and powerful jaws, through studying modern-day baboons in Kenya. Her findings help to explain a puzzle that has vexed archaeologists for 50 years. Scholars have debated why this early human relative had such strong jaws, indicating a diet of hard foods like nuts, yet their teeth seemed to be made for consuming soft foods. Damage to the tooth enamel also indicated they had come into contact with an abrasive substance.
Previous research using stable isotope analyses suggests the diet of these homimins was largely composed of C4 plants like grasses and sedges. However, a debate has raged over whether such high-fiber foods could ever be of sufficiently high quality for a large-brained, medium-sized hominin. Dr Macho's study finds that baboons today eat large quantities of C4 tiger nuts, and this food would have contained sufficiently high amounts of minerals, vitamins, and the fatty acids that would have been particularly important for the hominin brain. Her finding is grounded in existing data that details the diet of year-old baboons in Amboseli National Park in Kenya -- a similar environment to that once inhabited by Paranthropus boisei. Dr Macho's study is based on the assumption that baboons intuitively select food according to their needs. She concludes that the nutritional demands of a hominin would have been quite similar.
Amboseli National Park with baboons

Dr Macho modified the findings of the previous study on baboons by Stuart Altmann (1998) on how long it took the year-old baboons to dig up tiger nuts and feed on various C4 sources. She calculated the likely time taken by hominins, suggesting that it would be at least twice that of the yearling baboons once their superior manual dexterity was taken into account. Dr Macho also factored in the likely calorie intake that would be needed by a big-brained human relative. Tiger nuts, which are rich in starches, are highly abrasive in an unheated state. Dr Macho suggests that hominins' teeth suffered abrasion and wear and tear due to these starches. The study finds that baboons' teeth have similar marks giving clues about their pattern of consumption. In order to digest the tiger nuts and allow the enzymes in the saliva to break down the starches, the hominins would need to chew the tiger nuts for a long time. All this chewing put considerable strain on the jaws and teeth, which explains why "Nutcracker Man" had such a distinctive cranial anatomy. Paranthropus boisei lived on tiger nuts
This image shows the palate and maxillary teeth of Paranthropus boisei (OH 5)
The Oxford study calculates a hominin could extract sufficient nutrients from a tiger nut- based diet, i.e. around 10,000 kilojoules or 2,000 calories a day -- or 80% of their required daily calorie intake, in two and half to three hours. This fits comfortably within the foraging time of five to six hours per day typical for a large-bodied primate. Dr Macho, from the School of Archaeology at Oxford University, said: 'I believe that the theory -- that "Nutcracker Man" lived on large amounts of tiger nuts- helps settle the debate about what our early human ancestor ate.
On the basis of recent isotope results, these hominins appear to have survived on a diet of C4 foods, which suggests grasses and sedges. Yet these are not high quality foods. What this research tells us is that hominins were selective about the part of the grass that they ate, choosing the grass bulbs at the base of the grass blade as the mainstay of their diet. 'Tiger nuts, still sold in health food shops as well as being widely used for grinding down and baking in many countries, would be relatively easy to find. They also provided a good source of nourishment for a medium-sized hominin with a large brain. This is why these hominins were able to survive for around one million years because they could successfully forage -- even through periods of climatic change.'

Aniva Rock Lighthouse

Sakhalinskaya Oblast, Russia

A formal penal island used by the Russians, Aniva was once sought after by both the Russia and Japan. This now Russian controlled territory sits uninhabited in the seas between Japan and the eastern coast of Russia.

Daily Comic Relief



An Underwater Museum Off Isla Mujeres

The MUSA is an underwater museum found off the coast of Isla Mujeres in Mexico. The MUSA, or Museo Subacuático de Arte, is the brainchild of Jason DeCaires Taylor, a British artist who was motivated to act after the devastation of 2008's Hurricane Wilma.

By designing sculptures and placing them on the sandy bottom of the sea, Taylor was fulfilling two purposes. First, he was creating an artificial reef onto which coral would grow and within which sea life might flourish. Second, he was diverting human attention away from the overtaxed natural reef.

10 Animals Who Can Talk

Most of us find it impressive to see a dog that knows more than a handful of basic commands, but that's small potatoes compared to these amazing animals who can actually speak. Take N'kisi (the parrot above), for example, who has a vocabulary of more than 950 words and has a basic understanding of verb tenses.
In a story told by Jane Goodall, after seeing a photo of the acclaimed primatologist, N'kisi had the opportunity to meet her in person, whereupon he looked at her and asked, "Got a chimp?"
And that's only one critter of the 10 amazing talking ones on the list over at Oddee.

Say Hello to the Worms of Your Nightmares

This isn't a photoshop. It's a picture of the giant gippsland, a worm that reaches up to nine feet in length don't worry, they don't usally grow longer than three feet long. Yeah, it's pretty much just alive for the sake of giving you nightmares.
The worm takes up to five years to mature and can actually live for a full decade. If you're screaming just looking at these photos, there is one thing that might make you feel a little better, the giant gippsland rarely comes to the surface during its entire life -though that does mean that if you visit Australia they're going to be hanging out, writhing under your feet. Well, you will probably actually hear the audible gurgles their bodies make as they slither underground.
Think of them next time you have a hard time sleeping, just think of these monster worms and then you'll be motivated to get up out of bed and go do something since you won't be sleeping any time soon anyway.

A Living Time Capsule

Some living things can be held in a suspended animation of sorts and be "resurrected" long afterward. Plant seeds are the most common example, and the brine shrimp capsules that develop into "sea monkeys" are a familiar animal example of cryptobiosis.

A shrimp called Daphnia is more commonly known as a water flea. Their egg cases can develop into water fleas months later, or they can sink into the sediment of lake bottoms, where they remain dormant. Evolutionary ecologist Lawrence J. Weider developed a method for resurrecting these eggs after years of dormancy. He hatched a plan to dig up old Daphnia eggs from the bottom of Minnesota lakes and compare the resulting animals to current populations, to see how the changing environments of the lakes (which were well documented) led to any differences in the water fleas. The results of the experiment are fascinating. But that's not what's most mind-boggling about this story.  
To gather the animals, Dr. Weider and his colleagues took a boat out on the lakes. “It’s a smaller version of a party barge, with a hole cut out of the deck,” he said.

Through the hole, the scientists lowered a tube and pushed it about three feet into the sediment — deep enough, Dr. Weider thought, to gather water flea eggs a few decades old.

The scientists then went back to Oklahoma, sifted the cases from the mud, and started resurrecting the animals. They also extracted Daphnia DNA, giving them more data to analyze.

Only then did Dr. Weider get an estimate for the age of the sediment in South Center Lake from another lab.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding me?'” said Dr. Weider.

The lab concluded that the bottom of the lake’s sediment core was about 1,600 years old. The oldest eggs that Dr. Weider and his colleagues had successfully hatched were about 700 years old.
Read about the 700-year-old shrimp and what they tell us about how changing environments change species in an article by Carl Zimmer at the New York Times.

Study Finds Widespread Biofluorescence Among Fish

Biofluorescence is widespread among marine fish species, indicating its importance in communication and avoiding detection, finds a new study. The research shows that biofluorescence - a phenomenon where organisms absorb light, transform it, and emit it as a different color - is more common in the animal kingdom than previously known.

Conducting aquarium-based experiments and a series of reef dives using high-intensity blue lighting, the researchers led by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History identified more than 180 species of biofluorescent fishes across 50 fish families.

Animal Pictures