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

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Daily Drift

Two AM Sunday morning magically becomes Three AM ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 195 countries around the world daily.   

Some people are just delusional ... !
Today is -  There is no special celebration today

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Today in History

1618 Johann Kepler discovers the third Law of Planetary Motion.
1702 Queen Ann becomes the monarch of England upon the death of William III.
1790 George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.
1853 The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson is unveiled in Washington, D.C.
1855 The first train crosses Niagara Falls on a suspension bridge.
1862 On the second day of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Confederate forces, including some Indian troops, under General Earl Van Dorn suprise Union troops, but the Union troops win the battle.
1862 The Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack) is launched.
1880 President Rutherford B. Hays declares that the United States will have jurisdiction over any canal built across the isthmus of Panama.
1904 The Bundestag in Germany lifts the ban on the Jesuit order of priests.
1908 The House of Commons, London, turns down the women's suffrage bill.
1909 Pope Pius X lifts the church ban on interfaith marriages in Hungary.
1910 Baroness de Laroche becomes the first woman to obtain a pilot's license in France.
1921 Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato is assassinated while leaving Parliament in Madrid.
1921 French troops occupy Dusseldorf.
1941 Martial law is proclaimed in Holland in order to extinguish any anti-Nazi protests.
1942 Japanese troops capture Rangoon, Burma.
1943 Japanese forces attack American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle will last five days.
1945 Phyllis Mae Daley recieves a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She will become the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II.
1948 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools is unconstitutional.
1954 France and Vietnam open talks in Paris on a treaty to form the state of Indochina.
1961 Max Conrad circles the globe in a record time of eight days, 18 hours and 49 minutes in Piper Aztec.
1965 More than 4,000 Marines land at Da Nang in South Vietnam and become the first U.S. combat troops in Vietnam.
1966 Australia announces that it will triple the number of troops in Vietnam.
1970 The Nixon administration discloses the deaths of 27 Americans in Laos.
1973 Two bombs explode near Trafalgar Square in Great Britain injuring 234 people.
1982 The United States accuses the Soviets of killing 3,000 Afghans with poison gas.
1985 Thomas Creighton dies after having three heart transplants in a 46-hour period.

Non Sequitur


Fast Food Workers Reveal The One Item You Shouldn't Order

We all know that eating too much fast food can be incredibly bad for your health, and that many fast food chains cut corners to maximize profits, but according to the fast food workers who chimed in to Ask Reddit there is at least one item at every restaurant you should never order.
As a former employee of Little Caesars I can attest to the fact that the "butter" used on the Crazy Bread sticks is an awful, fake food product that was never refrigerated and would sit out for months.
Ever since I worked there I can't bring myself to eat at Little Caesars, and after you read this list of what not to eat you may think twice before you pick up some fast food.

The Truth Be Told


Did you know ...

That having a gun in the house does not make a woman safer

That Barkhad Abdi, 'Capt. Phillips' co-star, is broke

The repugicans Have Thrown 2 Million People Off of Unemployment Benefits Since Dec 28

mcconnell-boehner 2 million and counting. That’s the number of people who’ve been kicked off their unemployment benefits after repugicans deliberately let the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expire, according to a new analysis from Ways and Means Committee Democrats.
“The estimate includes the number of people in each state who have lost coverage since the program’s Dec. 28 expiration. Every week, 72,000 people, on average, are losing their unemployment benefits nationwide without an extension of the program.”
If this isn’t happening to you or someone you know, you might not realize that these are real people. People who want to work and are looking for work, and have been kicked to the gutter by repugican values. Here’s a state by state breakdown of these real people, provided by the Ways and Means Committee Democrats.
State: Estimated Number of People Losing UI Thru March 8
AK: 8,608
AL: 19,267
AR: 15,838
AZ: 25,754
CA: 339,101
CO: 31,468
CT: 35,035
DC: 7,215
DE: 5,446
FL: 109,654
GA: 76,362
HI: 4,131
IA: 11,300
ID: 6,831
IL: 116,136
IN: 28,969
KS: 10,746
KY: 24,769
LA: 12,601
MA: 79,777
MD: 33,862
ME: 6,723
MI: 76,580
MN: 22,269
MO: 34,944
MS: 18,092
ND: 2,377
NE: 4,392
NH: 2,504
NJ: 124,569
NM: 9,731
NV: 26,023
NY: 178,177
OH: 57,869
OK: 10,638
OR: 31,221
PA: 109,061
PR: 39,777
RI: 8,323
SC: 22,785
SD: 508
TN: 31,423
TX: 105,409
UT: 6,231
VA: 21,969
VI: 1,762
VT: 1,485
WA: 38,876
WI: 39,777
WV: 10,731
WY: 2,023
*North Carolina was ineligible for the federal unemployment insurance
But if that’s not enough reason to care, perhaps knowing that repugicans refusing to renew long term emergency unemployment benefits will cost us all 240,000 jobs this year will increase the stakes.
This is the repugican economy — nothing for the people, everything for the corporations. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (r-KY) even tried to use unemployment benefits to kill Obamacare, so if Democrats will stab Americans in the back and kill another program that is helping people and has boosted both personal income and spending, the repugicans would consider not filibustering emergency help.
On February 6th of this year, McConnell led his Senate repugicans into no votes on yet another thing that used to have bipartisan support during economic hardship — the extension of long term benefits for the unemployed. This was bipartisan because not only did it help the people directly, but it helps the economy as well. The repugican Senators blocked a three month extension on benefits for the long term unemployed. “Democrats were united in support of restoring unemployment benefits, but only one repugican, Dean Heller of Nevada voted to extend the benefits.”
It goes without saying that House repugicans have blocked the effort numerous times. If you see a program that might help the economy and does for sure help people, you can just forget it even being put up for a vote in this House. And the Senate will operate just like the House if repugicans win the majority, as we can see from the repugican Senate Minority Leader’s votes.
Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) laid out the cost of one repugican vote, “A financial crisis is confronting more and more families every day that repugicans fail to support an extension of this vital program. One repugican vote in the Senate is all that stands in the way of two million people and their families coming one critical step closer to seeing their financial lifeline restored as they look for work.”

Darrell Issa Turns Off Democrat’s Mic Then Flees the Room During Lois Lerner Hearing

Like a rat who could not wait to flee his own sinking ship, Darrell Issa (r-CA) turned off the microphone of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, and fled the room after Lois Lerner took the Fifth at Issa’s latest IRS witch hunt hearing.
House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings described Issa’s behavior in a statement:
During a hearing today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa posed questions for approximately 15 minutes to former IRS official Lois Lerner, who stated as she had nine months ago that she was invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
When it came time for the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, to take his turn for questions under Committee and House Rules, Issa quickly adjourned the hearing, turned off Cummings’ microphone, and refused to allow him to make any statement or ask any questions.
Cummings immediately protested, stating: “You cannot have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that. And it’s absolutely un-American.” Issa then returned, turned on Cummings’ microphone, and allowed him to begin his statement.
However, when it became clear that Issa did not like what Cummings was saying, Issa again turned off Cummings’ microphone and repeatedly signaled to repugican staff with his hand across his neck.
Cummings proceeded to read his statement and questions in the hearing room as all of the Committee’s repugicans fled the hearing room.
Rep. Cummings’ statement accurately described what is visible in the video above. Some media outlets have reported this as an argument between Issa and Cummings. There was no argument. Cummings tried to speak. Issa cut off his mic. Issa turned the Democrats mic back on, adjourned the hearing, and quickly ran out of the room.
Like a cockroach running from the light, Issa couldn’t wait to escape the hearing room after it became clear that he lied to the world on Faux News Sunday. Lois Lerner never had any intention of testifying. That didn’t stop Issa from inventing some breaking news that he passed on to Faux News that Lerner would be testifying.
Issa should have been humiliated, but he was outraged that Lerner would not play a part in his attempt to revive the widely debunked IRS scandal. Faux News is expressing shock that Lerner didn’t testify, but they have known since Sunday that she wasn’t going to play a role in Issa’s latest show trial abuse of power.
Rep. Cummings was correct. That was no way to run a hearing; however it did lay bare the partisan witch hunt that Darrell Issa is carrying out against President Obama. What we saw today was not democracy. It was a pathetic attempt to grandstand in order to revive a scandal that doesn’t exist.
The only person in that room who deserves to be investigated it is Darrell Issa.

Koch Puppet Paul Ryan Uses The Ukraine Crisis To Push The Keystone XL Pipeline

paul ryan
Paul Ryan (r-WI) was on CNN’s New Day on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics, namely the situation with Russia and Ukraine, but also in regards to the President’s recent budget proposal. In regards to the Obama Administration’s response to Putin’s actions against Ukraine, Ryan made sure to heavily criticize the President before finally giving him a backhanded compliment and admitting that Obama is not to blame for the current crisis.
RYAN:  There are a lot of moves that this administration has made in the area of foreign policy with respect to the Russians, Syria, missile defense, that I think has projected weakness. And, I think when you have the world superpower having a foreign policy that, in my opinion, is weak and a defense policy now that shows weakness, I think it invites aggression. I think that it creates a vacuum that is filled by these types of actions.
But, let’s be really clear.  Who is to blame for this?  Vladimir Putin is to blame for this. And, I think the administration is making the proper responses.
Obviously, Ryan felt compelled to take the position that many repugicans have taken in the past few days, which is that Obama is ‘weak and indecisive.’ This has already grown beyond tiresome. Considering the amount of blowback that Obama and the administration received by even suggesting that military action might be needed in Syria, it is apparent that this nation is extremely war weary. The American people want a President who is going to push for diplomatic measures rather than military aggression when it comes to international situations.
You have to think that most repugicans know that. They know that Obama has taken the right course of action on foreign policy since coming into office. Also, it seems a bit silly to state that Obama has been weak and indecisive when he has taken a lot of appropriate flack from the left and right alike regarding the use of drone attacks on terror organizations. On top of that, repugicans really seem to forget that Obama brought down Osama bin Laden, something that our cowboy pretender the shrub wasn’t able to accomplish.
Still, the repugican cabal needs to somehow undermine this President every chance they get. The current course of action revolves around using the talking point that Obama’s has shown weak leadership when it comes to foreign policy and that has led other countries to be more aggressive. Ryan was obviously playing to the base and following orders by making that statement.
However, later in his interview, Ryan really made sure to bow to his masters when he suggested that the crisis in Ukraine meant that the US had to approve the Keystone XL pipeline now. His reasoning was that the pipeline would provide much needed oil to Europe and allow them to not be as dependent on Russia for their energy needs.

RYAN:  We should move forward on natural gas exports very quickly.  I think we should approve an LNG terminal on the East Coast to go to Europe.  I think we should approve the Keystone Pipeline.  I think we should show that the U.S. is going to be moving forward on becoming energy independent and supplying energy to Europeans -
BOLDUAN:  Moving forward with the Keystone Pipeline -
RYAN:  Absolutely.
BOLDUAN:  – that development would take years though to actually make that happen.
RYAN:  Kate, the signal that America is open for energy business and America is going to be helping our allies with energy resources so that they can be less dependent on Russian energy resources.  The signal is very, very important.
Even Kate Bolduan seemed a little surprised by Ryan shoehorning the Keystone pipeline in there. As you can tell, she told Ryan that it would take years before the pipeline would become operational and transporting oil. However, by him using this international crisis as justification for the pipeline, he is basically admitting that Keystone XL has nothing to do with American energy independence. While he mentioned that the pipeline would allow America to be energy independent, he let loose the real reason for approving the pipeline–importing oil to the world market to benefit the energy companies.
As anyone who understands how the oil market works, just because this oil might be transported to and refined in the US, doesn’t mean that it will only be for American consumption. In regards to the extension of the pipeline, this oil is located in Canada and the proposal is that the pipeline will carry it down through the US to different distribution or refining facilities. The product will then be sold to whoever purchases it. It isn’t going to do anything to make America less dependent on foreign oil.
In trying anything possible to justify the need for the Keystone XL pipeline, Ryan just opened Pandora’s Box and revealed the real reason behind it. He admitted that it is all about making more oil available on the market so the energy companies can profit. By making it easier to transport and distribute dirty tar sands oil, it allows energy companies to keep the world dependent on oil as its primary energy source as long as possible.

Random Photos

Delhi police lost password for complaints portal in 2006, haven't checked it since

The Delhi police lost the password for a portal that hosted complaints that had been passed on by the Central Vigilance Commission after an initial vetting. 667 complaints had been judged serious enough to be passed onto the police since the password was lost in 2006, but none have been acted upon, because no one had the password. Now they have the password. Presumably, the 667 unserved complainants believed the police to be either too slow or incompetent to have gotten back to them.
Each Delhi government department under the CVC, including the MCD, DDA and several investigating agencies, have a chief vigilance officer to look into complaints. If a complaint reaches the CVC, either it tackles it independently or it sends it to the concerned department.
In 2006, a portal monitored by the CVC was created, putting the complaints it sent to departments online. Each department could access the portal with a password. Complaints regarding the Delhi Police were also sent to the portal.
Every year, the CVC holds meetings with government departments to take stock of the complaints with them. Sources said that since 2006, the CVC had got no feedback on complaints pending with the police.

A Drunken Joyride in an Airplane

A company that provides aerial tours of the Grand Canyon notified police in Boulder City, Nevada, that one of their airplanes was missing from the Boulder City Airport. Officers responded to find a man was taking off and landing the plane over and over. Since they could not chase him, they had to wait for a landing. On the fifth observed landing, they managed to arrest 47-year-old Paul Michael Weddle.
Officers watched Weddle flying “in a reckless manner,” even coming close to another plane after an abrupt turn, the report said.

Weddle wouldn’t show his hands to the arresting officer and was eventually tackled by police, the report said.

He later told officers he wanted to complete the take-off and landing portion to obtain his pilot’s license, the report said.
Weddle’s blood-alcohol content was 0.132 percent. He was taken to the hospital before being booked on charges of DUI and vehicle theft. The question arising from the incident is, how, in this era of tight airport security, did Weddle get into the airport?

'Legend of Zelda' Sword Used In Real Life

A Houston man pulled out a weapon during a fight with his girlfriend’s husband. It’s not that unusual sounding until you discover the weapon was a replica sword from Legend of Zelda.
According to a report, Eugene Thompson and his girlfriend had an argument, leading to her calling her estranged husband who then came round to the house and eventually began to charge towards Thompson:
That’s when Thompson says he grabbed his replica master sword from ‘The Legend of Zelda.’
“I heard him heading to the bedroom where I was, so I jumped in the closet and I grabbed one of my replica swords, and I pulled it out and stood at the doorway, and he was coming down the hallway at me while I was yelling, ‘Go away, you don’t live here’ and he just walked right into the point of the sword, I don’t know if he thought it was a toy,” said Thompson.
Both men wound up in hospital: the husband with two stab wounds from what was very much not a toy, and Thompson with injuries from a flowerpot to the head.
Full report: Click2Houston

Use the Force, My son

A 13-year-old Builds Nuclear Reactor

A 13-year-old boy from the UK has built a working nuclear reactor just in time to beat the record of a 14-year-old American boy.
As you’d probably guessed, Jamie Richards’s project didn’t involve the nuclear fission found in most nuclear power plants. Instead, reports the Lancashire Evening Post:
Jamie, who is 14 on Sunday, started building the reactor in October in a under-used science laboratory at Priory Academy and finally finished the task this morning , making two atoms of hydrogen smash together to make helium – a nuclear fusion.
Referring to an American child who detailed a similar project in a TED talk in 2012, Jamie told the newspaper that:
One day, I was looking on the internet for radiation or other aspects of nuclear energy and I came across Taylor Wilson and his reactor. I looked at it, thought ‘that looks cool’ and decided to have a go. Basically I made a star in a jar.

Tall and Smart?

A small genetic correlation may exist between height and intelligence, a new study finds.

About That Bum Knee

A new study published online today in the journal Rheumatology […]



Rock the bells

Stonehenge pieces may have been chosen for acoustic properties

Could the rocks of Stonehenge been part of a early history symphony?
Stonehenge has been the source of endless speculation since the strange formation of rocks was first discovered.
But a new theory may be the most interesting of all, with some now saying the rocks at Stonehenge were chosen because of their acoustic properties.
“There had to be something special about these rocks,” archaeo-acoustic expert Paul Devereux told the BBC. “It hasn't been considered until now that sound might have been a factor.”
Devereux led a project by the Royal College of Art in London, which attempts to understand how ancient humans perceived their world. The study results, published in the journal Time and Mind found that a number of the bluestone rocks at Stonehenge emitted sounds similar to bells when they are struck.
If the stone’s sonic properties were a motivating factor for those who transported them approximately 200 miles to the Stonehenge site, it may help further explain why some historic artifacts have said the rocks had mystical properties. Earlier this month, researchers said they had pinpointed the exact location that a number of Stonehenge’s bluestones were originally transported from. However, the new research has ultimately raised even more questions as to how exactly ancient humans were able to transport them over such a great distance.
In addition, the study found that a number of the bluestones at Stonehenge show evidence of having been physically struck.
“When struck, some make a range of metallic sounds, from pure bell-like tones to tin drum noises to deeper gong-like resonances,” Devereux and his colleagues write in the study, noting that about 5 to 10 percent of the 1,000 plus rocks they tested emitted the unusual sounds.
In fact, the diverse set of sounds emitted from stones in the study suggest that rocks at Stonehenge may have been used to create a virtual symphony to the ears of the ancient world.
“There's lots of different tones, you could play a tune,” Devereux told the BBC. “In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks."

Bureau of Land Management reports increase in theft, damage of fossils from public lands

This story about the recent loss of a millions-of-years-old dinosaur footprint uses the word "vandals" to describe the criminals, but I think that's misleading. Yes, the perpetrators destroyed the footprint, but they did so accidentally in the process of trying to steal a piece of public, shared natural history to sell on the private market. It seems like "fossil poachers" might be a better label for what's going on and what the Bureau of Land Management is trying to fight.

Watch the Arctic’s Old Ice Not So Magically Disappear

Ice reflects the sun's heat. No ice...well, of course, that means heat not reflected and more heat absorbed instead, quickening the pace of warming…
We just saw how climate change deniers hijacked Apple’s board meeting to demand more pollution. We learned how they hate the idea of “so-called climate change” and “the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability.” This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) video is anything but amorphous. It makes very clear that climate change is taking place by revealing the profound and continuing loss of old arctic ice from 1987 to 2013:
Naturally, this sort of thing does not go into the Earth’s Big Book of Good Things. Ice reflects the sun’s heat. No ice…well, of course, that means heat not reflected and more heat absorbed instead, quickening the pace of warming. Ultimately, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could be affected. AMOC is the reason Europe has a mild climate.
For now.
The repugicans are very fond of ignoring the fact that the amount of ice changes, so that if there is, at a particular moment, more ice this year than last year, they jump up and call “hoax!”, ignoring the longer trends that disprove their claims, as the chart below demonstrates:
You can see for yourself that a little extra ice one month (or even year) doesn’t mean anything against the record of 30 years.
We have also recently seen that this past January was the fourth warmest on record. A dunderhead could see why this is important, which leaves out Faux News and its luminaries, who steadfastly stick to their story that anthropogenic global warming is some sort of liberal plot:
On the January 29 edition of his show, Sean Handjob, who had previously said global warming was debunked because it was cold in Iowa, said, “I Don’t Care What Your Liberal Friends Say … I Think Global Warming Is A Hoax.”
And just the other day, on February 28, we learned on Faux News’ The Five, that four out of five co-hosts agree: there is no science to global warming.
And of course, there is David Barton, who, speaking for people everywhere who pretend to know stuff they don’t know, and following up his earlier claim that we haven’t had global warming in sixteen years (despite the fact that all the evidence points to ever increasing temperatures in that time), says our bizarre weather is due not to man’s impact on the environment (anthropogenic global warming) but is due to abortion: we opened a door that lost god’s protection over our environment and that’s our choice”:
Look. Global warming deniers are not the smartest people on the planet. But they are the most dishonest and they have corporate money to burn. And all they have to do is sow doubt. They don’t have to actually win the debate they started in the first place.
But the facts don’t like. NOAA’s 2012 State of the Climate report tells the tale:
In December 2012, NOAA reported that the 2012 record low was 18% smaller than the previous record, nearly 50 percent below average.
Despite all this, despite the consensus of climate scientists and despite the evidences of their own five senses, in January, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to deny the reality of climate change. Never mind man-caused climate change, but climate change period. All 24 Republicans stuck their heads in the sand. As ThinkProgress reported, these Republicans have accepted a collective $9.3 million in contributions from the fossil fuel industry that is, in large part, driving that climate change they say isn’t happening.
Until the water is up around their necks, there will probably be no way to get a repugican to admit to the reality of anthropogenic global warming and, who knows, by then David Barton may have convinced them all that if we stop abortion the waters will recede. Stopping abortion, after all, doesn’t cost corporations. It’s a cheap – if completely ineffective – Bronze Age solution to a scientific problem.
And it is therefore exactly what the repugicans want. Reality is expensive. But god doesn’t cost them a penny.

The Truth Hurts

A 1685 Ocean Current Map

The focus of this map from 1685 is the ocean currents, while we find the land masses are the most interesting part. The proportions are strange, but it’s pretty complete considering the measuring tools and methods available at the time. The Mississippi River flows through Texas, and Florida is missing, but the details of the coastlines are pretty familiar. This map is part of a collection of historical graphs from the British Library in an exhibit called Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight. See more examples from the exhibit at Buzzfeed.

Satellite captures massive storm swirling off Antarctica

A European satellite that flew over Antarctica on Wednesday captured a massive storm churning in the ocean off its northern coast.
The satellite — known as EUMETSAT, which monitors weather and climate from space — was conducting an overflight when it caught the late summer storm with swirling clouds extending thousands of miles from its center.
According to Simon Proud, a postdoctoral associate at MIT's atmospheric, oceanic and climate sciences program, the cloud tail stretches nearly 3,500 miles.
Of course, big storms and harsh weather are not unusual for Antarctica, one of the most treacherous and isolated places on Earth.
Earlier this year, a Russian research vessel that was trapped in the ice off East Antarctica for 10 days led to a international effort to rescue the 52 people onboard.

NASA: Damn the Monoliths, Full Speed Ahead to Europa

Jupiter moon Europa.
That warning, as given in Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two novel, was pretty explicit but apparently it is going to go unheeded by NASA.
According to Space.com, NASA wants to launch a mission to Europa by 2025. Yesterday's White House 2015 federal budget request allocates $15 million to develop a space program to visit the icy moon of Jupiter, which has a potentially life-supporting ocean of liquid water underneath its icy exterior.
"Europa is a very challenging mission operating in a really high radiation environment, and there's lots to do to prepare for it," said NASA chief financial officer Beth Robinson. "We're looking to launch sometime in the mid-2020s."
Artist's concept of the Europa Clipper mission.
While the space program is wide open, one candidate project is NASA's Europa Clipper, a probe that would orbit Jupiter and make flyby trips to Europa to study the moon's environment. An exciting potential is to have the probe cruise through Europa's 125-mile-high water plumes, spotted by Hubble back in December 2013, to collect and analyze samples.
Artist's concept of Europa water vapor plume.

Strange Signal From Galactic Center Is Looking More And More Like Dark Matter

Dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized in astronomy and cosmology to account for a large part of the mass that appears to be missing from the universe. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level.

The more that scientists stare at it, the more a strange signal from the center of the Milky Way galaxy appears to be the result of dark matter annihilation. If confirmed, it would be the first direct evidence for dark matter ever seen.

Daily Comic Relief


Boneco: The Beekeeping Donkey

Manuel Juraci is a beekeeper in Itatira, Brazil. There are a lot of beekeepers in the small town, but Juraci is one of the most successful, and one of the reasons is that he has Boneco the donkey to help haul the honey. Boneco can accompany his master on his rounds safely in his custom-made beekeeping donkey suit! Read about Boneco, and a beekeeping dog as well, at Gizmodo.

Marine scientists identify lobsters' ancestors

Scientists have long believed that lobster-like crustaceans first appeared on planet Earth about 360 million years ago. But FIU marine scientist Heather Bracken-Grissom contends the ancestor of our favorite mealtime decapod actually may have started roaming the planet at least 12 million years earlier.
Marine scientists identify lobsters' ancestors Spiny Lobster
Using fossil records and DNA testing, a team of international scientists led by Bracken-Grissom has determined the first lobster-like crustacean appeared on planet Earth approximately 372-409 million years ago.
"This is the most complete study of lobsters to date. One hundred and seventy-three species were analyzed, including commercially important species such as Maine lobster, Florida's spiny lobsters and the redswamp crayfish, which Louisiana is famous for," Bracken-Grissom said. "We also included some very rare species, recently discovered in the 1970s, who had never been included in an analysis before. It was interesting to include them because we got to see where they fell in the lobster tree of life."
The study, published in the Oxford Journal Systematic Biology, also examined the evolutionary relationships among lobsters, or how different species are related to each other. Bracken-Grissom's study found present crayfish distributions mirror the break up of the supercontinent Pangaea and Gondwana, the two southern supercontinents. The study also uncovered cryptic, or hidden diversity, with the discovery of several potential new species within lobsters.
"It's important to understand their evolutionary relationships, since that has implications for biodiversity estimates and increased evolutionary understanding," Bracken-Grissom said. "It also has implications for conservation efforts, fisheries management and aquaculture management."
Commercial fisheries and aquaculture rely on spiny, slipper and reef lobsters to bring in billions of dollars each year for human consumption and aquarium trade. Lobsters also contribute to the cultural livelihood of many communities that celebrate these delicacies through festivals, crayfish boils and other social activities.

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