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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, March 12, 2014

The Daily Drift

You got that right ...

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

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Today in History

1496 The Jews are expelled from Syria.
1507 Cesare Borgia dies while fighting alongside his brother, the king of Navarre, in Spain.
1609 The Bermuda Islands become an English colony.
1664 New Jersey becomes a British colony.
1789 The United States Post Office is established.
1809 Great Britain signs a treaty with Persia forcing the French out of the country.
1863 President Jefferson Davis delivers his State of the Confederacy address.
1879 The British Zulu War begins.
1884 Mississippi establishes the first U.S. state college for women.
1894 Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for the first time.
1903 The Czar of Russia issues a decree providing for nominal freedom of religion throughout the land.
1909 British Parliament increases naval appropriations for Great Britain.
1911 Dr. Fletcher of the Rockefeller Institute discovers the cause of infantile paralysis.
1912 Juliet Low founds the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.
1917 Russian troops mutiny as the "February Revolution" begins.
1930 Gandhi begins his march to the sea to symbolizes his defiance of British rule in India.
1933 President Paul von Hindenburg drops the flag of the German Republic and orders that the swastika and empire banner be flown side by side.
1933 President Roosevelt makes the first of his Sunday evening fireside chats.
1938 German troops enter Austria without firing a shot, forming the anschluss (union)of Austria and Germany.
1939 Pius XII is elected the new pope in Rome.
1944 Great Britain bars all travel to neutral Ireland, which is suspected of collaborating with Nazi Germany.
1945 Diarist Anne Frank dies in a German concentration camp.
1959 The U.S. House of Representatives joins the Senate in approving the statehood of Hawaii.
1984 Lebanese President Gemayel opens the second meeting in five years calling for the end to nine-years of war.
1985 The United States and the Soviet Union begin arms control talks in Geneva.
1994 The Church of England ordains women priests.

Non Sequitur


Amtrak Offering Free Residency Program For Writers

Amtrak is hoping to bring the glory of the written word back on board their trains by offering a writer's residency program.
Up to 24 writers will be chosen to ride for free for two to five days, with a sleeper car and desk to call their own, as the train rolls across the country and the words spill out onto the page.
It’s a novel approach to bringing train travel back into vogue, but laptops, tablets and smartphones lack the romantic qualities generally associated with writing on a train, and the writers who attend this program will probably spend more time worrying about WiFi and phone signals and less time taking in the surroundings and simply letting the ride inspire them.

Did you know ...

That there is choice for sex workers in Phoenix: cult or jail

About the North Dakota oil town with the highest rents in the country

About basking in a repugican paradise

That the IMF debunks myth: taxing rich nit bad for the economy

That millenials leaving religion due to anti-gay teachings

About how I lost my father to faux news

That NASA discovered 700 new planets and some may have life

That military rape victims are screwed again by congress

The repugicans Darkest Fears Realized ...

ACA Causes Number of Uninsured to Drop Across All Ages

According to Gallup, the number of uninsured Americans continues to drop. The repugicans deepest fears have come true. With the exception of seniors, the ACA is causing the number of uninsured to drop across all ages.
Gallup has the details:
The uninsured rate for almost every major demographic group has dropped in 2014 so far. The percentage of uninsured Americans with an annual household income of less than $36,000 has dropped the most — by 2.8 percentage points — to 27.9% since the fourth quarter of 2013, while the percentage of uninsured blacks has fallen 2.6 points to 18.3%. Hispanics remain the subgroup most likely to lack health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 37.9%.

The uninsured rate among 26- to 34-year olds and 35- to 64-year olds continues to decline — now at 26.6% and 16.3%, respectively. The February Enrollment Report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighted no significant changes in young adults’ enrollment in the health exchanges since its December report, with the cumulative total enrollment rate among 18- to 34-year-olds hovering at 25%. The Obama administration has made young adults’ enrollment in a health insurance plan a top priority, as healthcare experts say 40% of new enrollees must be young and healthy for the Affordable Care Act to be successful.
What this means in practical terms is that people across all age groups are signing. Seniors have Medicare, so they are already covered. The healthcare law is working as intended. People have more income they are paying less for health insurance, and more people are being covered.
This is all devastating news for repugicans who were certain that the law was going to collapse. They have planned their entire 2014 and 2016 election strategies on running against Obamacare. It seems that now they will be running against a law that has given millions across all age groups access to healthcare.
The repugicans have cooked up the perfect recipe for failure. Things are looking good for Democrats, President Obama, and the ACA, and once the enrollment goal is met, repugicans will have officially been completely wrong about Obamacare.

The repugicans Have Found Their Dream Leader and His Name Is Vladimir Putin

There is some division among repugicans who cannot quite decide if they want to fight Vladimir Putin or fornicate with the Russian, but one thing is clear; wingnuts love Vladimir…

Republican archetype PutinEvery movement, especially political movements, seeks a leader that champions its cause as a prototype that all members of the movement can point to as the ideal on which they are based and is regarded as the model or perfect first form. Because repugicans, as a political cabal, are fractured into different groups with relatively disparate goals, they have had a high degree of difficulty finding an archetype to represent both theocrats seeking to install the christian bible as law of the land and neo-cons driven to dominate the world through military conquest. One might mistakenly assume that repugicans yearn for another Ronald Reagan as their archetype, but his record of cowardice in the face of terrorism, belief in the separation of cult and state, and taxing and spending like a madman, his liberal record disqualifies any reiteration of him as the prototypical repugican champion. In fact, over the past twenty years, although repugicans cite Reagan as their idealized leader, they have never found a candidate in his image because even their man-god Reagan was not a prototypical wingnut.
Now it is becoming clear that repugicans are on the verge of finally, at long last, finding an archetype of everything disparate 21st Century wingnuts stand for who is part shrub, part evangelical freak Mike Huckabee, and part neo-con Dick Cheney rejecting the rule of law. There is some division among repubgicans who cannot quite decide if they want to fight Vladimir Putin or fornicate with the Russian, but one thing is clear; wingnuts think he is a “real leader” and lust for a repugican president like Putin.
The repugicans, wingnut talking heads, and evangelical fanatics have lined up behind their prototypical wingnut Putin, and contrary to what some may think, it is not solely because they hate President Obama they have spent no small amount of time comparing to the Russian president. This past week Faux News  hack Ralph Peters was effusive in praising Russia he asserted “has a real leader, while our President is incapable and unwilling to lead.” Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani could barely contain his enthusiasm for Putin and said “Putin decides what he wants to do and does it in half a day. He makes a decision and executes it quickly and everybody reacts. That’s what you call a real leader.”
Another wingnut talking head praised Putin because “he likes to hang out with his shirt off and tells the West if you mess with me I’ll kill you all.” Even half-term, half-wit Sarah Palin compared the wingnut’s hero with President Obama and said,  ”people look at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil, and our President wears mom jeans and equivocates.” Another Faux News hack said, “In Putin, you’ve got a big strong guy, muscular and shirtless on a horse who wrestles tigers, while the President wears mom jeans.” It is unclear why wingnuts are obsessed with mom jeans, whatever they are, but it is likely to compare President Obama’s diplomacy first foreign policy with a big shirtless leader who subscribes to the  shrub foreign policy of pre-emptively invading sovereign nations; the wingnut’s idea of a “real leader.”
However, as much as repugicans are enamored with Putin’s rapid decision to invade Ukraine without going to the United Nations or a reason other than he wanted to, it is the religio-wingnuts that would install Putin as America’s theocratic dictator tomorrow if they could convince Americans to amend the Constitution to allow a christian foreigner to rule America. The religio-wingnuts regard Putin as their archetypical leader because he made it Russian policy to do what christian fanatics yearn for in America; crackdown on gays and make christianity the state religion. In fact, christians anointed Putin the “defender of the christian civilization” or as christian lunatic zealot Bryan Fischer asserted, Putin is “the lion of christianity, the defender of christian values, the president that’s calling his nation back to embracing its identity as a nation founded on christian values. To ever think we would get to the day that Russia would be more advanced spiritually than the United States. I mean, it’s just staggering to see what is happening to this country.”
Fischer, like nearly all evangelical christians heaped praise on Putin for signing a ban on gay propaganda and gushed that “this is public policy that we’ve been advocating and here is a nation in the world that is actually putting it into practice.” It was reported that the World Congress of Families (WFC) summit meeting (Pro-Life Olympics) is still being held in Moscow despite Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. As noted in the article, the communications director of the WCF “justified, exonerated, and extolled Putin’s behavior because Putin is behaving a lot like the shrub” by pre-emptively invading a sovereign nation. Although shrub never claimed he was defending christian civilization by hunting down gays, banning abortion advertising, and likely ban abortion, there is little doubt he would have if he had the authority. As an aside, abortion is the top birth control method in Russia because contraception is prohibitively expensive; something christians yearn for in America as evidence by their rabid opposition to contraception coverage in healthcare prescription plans.
Americans should not be deluded that if they had the opportunity, repugicans would install a Putin-like character as president in a heartbeat. Their praise of Putin’s decisive leadership in invading a sovereign nation like the shrub, and staunch support for a state-mandated christian religion authorizing the hunting down and brutalizing of gays signals their intent for America if they were left unchecked. The argument that wingnuts and repugicans love Putin because he is the polar opposite of President Obama has some merit but misses the bigger point entirely. It is true that repugicans hate that President Obama defends and supports the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all Americans, and they cannot tolerate the President’s “diplomacy first” foreign policy, but what they want in a president is a christian dictator who, like Putin and the shrub, invades sovereign nations on a whim, and forces christianity down the throats of every American under threat of death. It is true that repugicans have found their archetype to rule over America, but since Vladimir Putin cannot run for the presidency, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan, and Rick Santorum all have presidential aspirations and a prototype in Russian president Putin to model themselves when the 2016 repugican primaries begin.

Kansas repugicans Want to Outlaw Any Free Speech They Don’t Like

If Kansas repugicans have their way, our fact-based world will soon be illegal and reality’s liberal bias a distant memory. They have done all they can to resist facts short of simply making it illegal to teach them, and that oversight will be corrected with a new piece of legislation, Senate Bill 401, “AN ACT concerning crimes and punishment; relating to promotion to minors of material harmful to minors.” And no, this bill, which is backed by the (un)American (anti)Family AssHats, is not aimed at pornographers. It is a sort of “religious freedom” bill like those we have seen in Kansas and Arizona, but aimed at teachers rather than at gays and lesbians.
Harmful material, in case you’re wondering, also does NOT include a bible filled with rape and murder and King Solomon’s lurid musings (e.g. Song of Songs 7:1-9). They do still definitely want to bring the bible back to school in Kansas. Harmful material, in this case = reproductive facts and anything else they might not approve of.
According to The Wichita Eagle,
Senate Bill 401, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, was drafted in response to a January incident at a Shawnee Mission middle school in which a poster used in sex education classes was put on a classroom door.
What were they thinking at Shawnee Mission middle school? Everybody knows babies come from god.
Yes, the reproductive system has been deemed pornographic. Sexual facts have been deemed pornographic. Boys do not have penises and girls do not have vaginas and never shall the twain meet in fundamentalist fantasyland.
Shawnee Mission district has removed the poster “pending a detailed review of the material.”
SB 401 has your typical Religio-wingnut impetus behind it. Mary Pilcher-Cook (r-Shawnee) who introduced it, has also introduced a bill requiring parental consent for sex education in public schools, SB 376. You’d think sex education would be a given – stay home if you want to believe in storks or a sex-free jesus-based baby delivery system.
The Kansas-National Education Association is not impressed, pointing out that, “If this bill were to pass, it would provide more ammunition for anyone to petition to bring a teacher, librarian, or principal before a grand jury.” The KNEA makes clear that,
Senate Bill 401 removes from public, private and parochial schools the defense of literary or artistic merit or significance when someone accuses the school of exposing students to “offensive” materials.
The same applies to literature. For years people have tried to get books pulled from literature classes and school libraries. Huckleberry Finn, I Know Why the Caged Bird
Sings, Are You There god? It’s Me, Margaret are three examples of books that have been challenged over the years. But the defense of literary merit has been allowed. Senate Bill 401 removes that defense from public, private, and parochial schools.
If you think this only has to do with “obscenity,” you are wrong. While the bill does address obscene materials, its provisions also apply if “a reasonable person would find that the material or performance lacks serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value for minors.” This language is so broad as to include almost anything.
Could someone challenge Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry as lacking “political value?”
Makes you wonder how these people deal with all the pornographic material in their Bibles, both violent and sexual. What the bible has in it makes this poster seem tame by way of comparison.
What is interesting is that, where the bible is concerned, the religio-wingnuts are a big defender of the “free exchange of ideas.” In February 2013, the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom got upset that a Kansas school banned fliers with biblical verses. This prompted Legal Counsel Matt Sharp to say,
Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas. The law on this is extremely clear: school policies cannot target religious speech for exclusion. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.
The Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit, K.R. v. Unified School District No. 204, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, explains, “Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. Non-disruptive, private student expression is protected by the First Amendment.” Moreover, “the government may not discriminate against speech based on its viewpoint, regardless of the forum.”
The lawsuit also notes that the student’s posting of the material did not “interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activity within the school.”
“Marginalizing students of faith removes an important influence for good from the school community,” added Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We hope the school district will revise its policy so that students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”
So…Free speech cannot be discriminated against “regardless of it’s forum” – unless that forum contains material the American Taliban does not like. Remember when wingnut groups in Kansas tried to keep Harry Potter away from children? The First Amendment wasn’t a big deal then, was it?
Unless the content is christian-specific, in fact, religio-wingnut groups care nothing at all for the First Amendment rights of the students, as demonstrated by a couple of examples, also from Kansas:
Books involving sexual relations, especially homosexual relationships, are often targeted. A 1995 federal court case involved the Olathe, Kansas, school board, which voted to remove the book “Annie on My Mind” from school libraries. The novel illustrates a lesbian relationship between two teenagers. The court found the school board violated the students’ rights under the First Amendment and the equivalent provisions of the state constitution. Although the school board originally said they banned the book because of its “educational unsuitability,” the court ruled that they actually objected to the book’s premise and principles and overturned the book’s removal. (Case v. Unified School District No. 233)
Another example of censorship based on homosexuality was the 2000 case of Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, Texas. Members of a church in Wichita Falls fought to remove two books, “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate,” because they objected to the books’ descriptions of homosexuality. The city council voted to restrict access to the books if 300 people signed a petition asking for the restriction. Another group of citizens filed suit after the books were taken out of the children’s section and put on a locked shelf in the adult area of the library. The federal district court permanently stopped the city from enforcing the resolution permitting the removal of the two books because the resolution was not narrowly tailored, had no review process and was unreasonably content-based. (Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, Texas)
If Kansas repugicans have their way, King Solomon can fantasize about a woman’s breasts in class, but, in the words of the KNEA, “A teacher who takes a field trip to the state capitol and suddenly notes the bare breasted woman in the artwork in the rotunda can be accused of recklessly exposing students to nudity.”
So the First Amendment protects religious belief but it does not protect facts? By now the world should realize that whatever First Amendment these groups are citing, it is NOT the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because THAT First Amendment most definitely states that the government shall not establish religion. Period. And it guarantees freedom of speech for everyone, not just jack-booted religious thugs trying to force their religious beliefs down the throats of others. It cannot be applied “as wanted” to those things they want read and withheld from the things they don’t like. That is not how it works, and it is to be hoped that Kansas voters will soon remind them of that. If not, you know the courts will.

Spanish TV station broadcast error-packed map of Europe during Ukraine report

A Spanish television station has been left red-faced after misplacing several European countries on a map used in a report on Ukraine's crisis.
The error by TV channel Telemadrid came during a segment examining the possible effects of the crisis in the Ukraine on Europe's gas supply.
The story featured interactive graphics to demonstrate Ukraine's position as a supply hub for the transport of gas from Russia to the rest of Europe. But the map of Europe used by the public broadcaster contained a number of glaring errors.
While Ukraine was in its rightful place on the map, the colourful graphic shifted both Germany and Poland one step to the east. The result had Germany in the position usually occupied by Poland while Poland found itself in Belarus. Poor Belarus, meanwhile, had ceased to exist.

Drunk driver with shirt inside out and backwards told police he was on his way to kill his friend

Alberto Moreno drove past an officer at such high speed, the officer just saw a blur and felt his car shake. Another law officer said Moreno's pick-up went "so fast that a speed was unable to be determined."
When investigators on Feb. 18 finally stopped Moreno, 45, in Fort Pierce, Florida he slurred out "that he was on his way to kill his friend for screwing him over earlier that day and that he knew he was speeding and all over the road as well as drunk."
Moreno, whose shirt was inside out and backwards, smelled of booze. He said he'd been imbibing all day, saying he'd just come from his house where he'd quaffed half a dozen beers. Investigators asked Moreno whether he'd complete field sobriety exercises.
He said he'd be glad to, and stepped out of his GMC pick-up, losing his balance. After performing field sobriety exercises, Moreno, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested on a DUI charge.

Man carrying large stuffed fish arrested

A man was arrested in Ukiah, California on Wednesday after being spotted carrying a large stuffed fish, the Ukiah Police Department reported.
According to the UPD, an officer contacted a man walking in North State Street shortly after midnight on March 5 while carrying a six-foot-tall, stuffed fish.
The man was identified as Colt C. Lyon, 31, of Eureka, who was reportedly on parole in Humboldt County and had left the county without permission.
He was arrested on suspicion of violating his parole.

Man set his mother's clothes on fire because she wouldn't give him money to buy marijuana

A Texas man is facing charges after investigators say he set his mother's clothes on fire at an apartment in northwest Harris County on Saturday morning.
Investigators say the damage was minor at the complex with damage limited to the clothing.
"Our investigation found that 18-year-old John Carter was angry at his mother because she would not give him money so he could buy marijuana, so he started setting her clothes on fire," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal Office.
Carter was arrested and charged with arson, then booked into the Harris County Jail. He's out on a $30,000 bond.



A Brief History Of The Domain Name

At the end of 1985, there were a whopping total of six domain names registered in the world. That number has expanded to 265 million names registered globally. As the world celebrates the web's 25th anniversary, it seems fitting to acknowledge the network addresses that help us navigate through the robustness of the Internet today.

The Soul Of The World's Most Expensive Violin

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin (built by Italian instrument maker Giuseppe Guarneri) that is older than the United States of America - 273 years old, to be exact. The violin is named for its most famous owner, the leading 19th-century Belgian virtuoso and composer Henri Vieuxtemps, who loved it so much he wanted to be buried with it.

It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

Make taser-proof clothing with carbon-fiber linings

On Hackaday, Shenzhen demonstrates some proof-of-concept "taser-proof clothing" created by adding carbon fiber to the clothes' lining. The carbon fiber textile can be procured in a variety of forms, including upholstery fabric (58" wide, $19.50/yard) and peel-and-stick 50cm tape rolls (this is vinyl, not carbon fiber). Shenzhen claims this will work even if the taser's prongs get to the wearer's body: "Electric current flows through the carbon tape and not through the human body. Always. Even if the taser's needle pierced the skin."

Cthulhu Trees, Burger Porn and More

Porn Burger Shows the Most Heavenly Burgers on Earth (Porn Burger)
Superhero Poop is Available on Etsy...Because the Internet? (The Mary Sue)
This Cologne Seriously Rocks (Incredible Things)
This Abandoned Outdoor Movie Theater in Sinai is Amazing (This Is Colossal)
Image: Stumpthulhu Will Rise (Nerd Approved)

For Sale on eBay

Soviet Nuclear Bomber (Low Mileage!)

(Photo: 1987, Soviet Air Force Tu-95 escorted by US Navy F-14A)
In 1952, the Soviet Union flew its first Tu-95 "Bear"strategic bomber. This turboprop plane was designed to fly great distances (up to 10,000 miles) to drop nuclear weapons inside the United States. During the Cold War, these planes occasionally flew with their deadly payloads menacingly close to US airspace.
Now obviously you're thinking: "I've got to own one!" Well, it looks like the mysterious German seller has pulled it down from eBay. Hopefully this is only a temporary measure and it'll be back online soon.
Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica says that the plane is a Tu-95MS built in 1987. It's a variant designed to fire cruise missiles. It was owned by the Ukrainian Air Force and comes with only 454 flight hours on the odometer.
The bomber is a fixer-upper. The seller says that "It is necessary to make a technical service and prolongation of the data limit." But that's nothing that a good shade tree mechanic can't tackle.

Curious Things That Fall From The Sky

Rain and snow aren't the only things to fall from the sky. Throughout history rare occurrences have been recorded of other less expected and surprising forms of deluge.

In 2001, parts of India were showered with mysterious red particles that were thought to contain alien microbes. Here are some more examples of this bizarre phenomenon.

The Idyllic Blue-Rinsed Town Of Chefchaouan, Morocco

Northwest of Morocco is a charming little town popular among tourists for its distinctive powdery blue painted streets. Chefchaouan is located right in the heart of the Rif Mountains, beneath the shadows of two peaks called Ech-Chaoua.

In the 1930's Chefchaouan was populated by Jewish refugees. As part of their tradition, the Jews painted their houses blue as a reminder of the blue sky and God above in heaven. Though the Jews no longer dominate the town's population, the locals still follow the tradition and renew the paint job on their houses and streets.

The Abandoned Island of Inchkeith

The Island of Inchkeith lies in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. According to sources it had been inhabited, intermittently, for 1800 years before its relatively recent abandonment. It was an important island, strategically and militarily, and therefore suffered many attacks from the 14th century onward, first during the Scottish Wars of Independence, right through until World War Two.

However, Inchkeith’s use was not limited to the military. On several occasions it was also used to quarantine the sick; first in 1497 when people suffering from grandgore, modern day syphilis, were sent to the island, only to return, or so they thought, when God reinstated their good health. It is probably safe to assume most if not all died out on the island.

In 1589 Inchkeith was used as an enforced isolation refuge for sufferers of the plague. During the reign of James IV the island was also used for a linguistic experiment. The king sent a mute woman and her two infants to the island, to see which language the infants would speak. He assumed it would be the language of God, the ‘original language’. In the end, the children never spoke.

First and foremost, the island served a military purpose. The most thorough efforts to mobilize and fortify Inchkeith were made over the course of World War One and Two. Numerous large gun emplacements, artillery houses and other military fortifications can still be found in various states of disrepair. The lighthouse, built in 1803, is not manned but is still in working order. Military use of the island ceased in 1967, after which Inchkeith was used as a farm for for some time. It is now completely abandoned.

Daily Comic Relief


The World's Largest Horse

Picture of the world's largest horse. A Belgian Draft named Brooklyn Supreme, who weighed 3,200 lb (1,500 kg) and stood at 19.2 hands (1.98 m). It took a 40 inch collar to fit its neck and a bar of iron 30 inches long to make one shoe. Brooklyn Supreme was foaled in 1928 and died in 1948.

On the Trail of Florida's Skunk Ape

Florida’s version of Bigfoot is called the Skunk Ape, for its terrible odor. It’s been sighted for many years in the swamplands of the Everglades. Dave Shealy is the Skunk Ape’s biggest fan. He was only ten when he first saw a Skunk Ape, and that wasn’t his last sighting. Shealy runs the  Skunk Ape Research Headquarters on his property near Big Cypress National Preserve. He was happy to tell author Joseph Stromberg the history of the ape.
“Local Native American groups from around here, the Seminoles and the Miccosukee tribe, they’ve known and told stories about the skunk ape for centuries,” he said. Over the past 60 years or so, Floridians of all stripes began reporting that they were seeing the creature. (A similar pattern happened in the Pacific Northwest, where indigenous beliefs in the Sasquatch eventually led to the skunk ape’s better-known cousin, Bigfoot.)

In one of the earliest well-publicized sightings, a pair of hunters claimed the ape invaded their camp in 1957. It’s unclear who coined the name skunk ape, but it appears to have surfaced sometime during the '60s. During the 1960s and '70s, the period when Shealy had his first sighting, more and more reports trickled in, as far north as the Florida panhandle, but most often in the Everglades. The skunk ape eventually attracted mainstream attention, including a bill introduced (but not passed) in the Florida legislature in 1977 that would have made it illegal to “take, possess, harm or molest anthropoid or humanoid animals.” It was around this time that Shealy, a teenager, spotted evidence of the creature for the second time, in the form of enormous four-toed footprints left at night near his hunting camp deep in the Big Cypress interior.
But that’s just the beginning of the many sightings. Shealy even has a video from an encounter in 2000. Stromberg looked over the evidence -or rather, the lack of real, physical evidence- and decided the Skunk Ape must be as apocryphal as Sasquatch. But then he latched onto a clue that might explain the sightings reported over the years. Read the rest of the story at Smithsonian.

Australian man bitten by deadly snake grabbed a beer and hoped for the best

When Rod Sommerville thought he might die after an eastern brown snake bit him in his backyard in Yeppoon, Central Queensland last month he decided a final cold beer was in order. The 54-year-old was moving a few pot plants in his yard when the two and half foot snake nipped him on the finger. Rod's reaction was to grab his shovel and "whack it on the head". As soon as he was done with the snake, he called an ambulance, grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down.
"I said to myself, if I'm going to cark it I'm going to have a beer, so I got a Goldie out of the fridge and drank that; 'cause you know eastern browns are the second most venomous snake in the world," Rod said Rod's teenage son was on the couch and slept through the whole thing because Rod didn't want to wake him and make anyone panic. "If you panic it makes it worse," he said.
Rod was taken straight to the Yeppoon Hospital, but transferred a short while later to Rockhampton to get the anti-venom. But his ordeal wasn't over just yet, with Rod suffering an allergic reaction to the anti-venom. He ended up spending four days in intensive care. Rod still isn't out of hospital after three weeks. "The reaction nearly killed me as well, so it was a double whammy," he said. Rod's kidneys were affected and that's kept him in hospital recovering for weeks.

Wild boar outwitted security guards at Pakistan Supreme Court

A wild boar made fools out of security guards as they tried to capture it after it broke into the Supreme Court in Pakistan on Friday.

The shaggy intruder broke into the heavily-guarded gated compound in Islamabad and was only driven out after a struggle lasting around half an hour, which left two staff injured.

Baby African crocodile found on Russian building site

Street cleaners found a baby African crocodile at a construction site in St. Petersburg. The creature, which is just a few days old and under 50 centimeters long, lives in temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius and higher and was all but frozen to death when the janitors spotted it on Tuesday.

The animal might have got into a rubbish bag by accident and been thrown away by the owner, a municipal housing official said. Alternatively, the crocodile could have been brought to Russia as an egg, which its owners could have mistaken for the egg of an ostrich and thrown away after seeing that what hatched out didn't look like a bird, experts at the local zoo said.
Municipal housing officials gave the animal a temporary shelter in their office, placing it in an aquarium filled with sand and feeding it beef and water. The animal has now been transferred to quarantine center Veles in the Leningrad region for temporary keeping until a permanent home is found for it.

The local zoo and aquarium refused to take the beast, with the zoo officials saying it would grow to be three to four meters long and the zoo's premises had no capacities to keep such a big animal. The quarantine center will also look to move the animal. “We don't need crocodiles, especially the African ones: they are angry,” Veles director Alexander Fyodorov said.

Three-foot long Steve the sturgeon found living in puddle weeks after flood escape

A three-foot long fish that escaped from an aquatic center during recent flooding has been found safe and well. The sturgeon, named Steve, swam out of World of Water in Romsey, Hampshire when it was flooded in early February.Staff at a car wash a mile from the center discovered him in a deep puddle. Center manager Mark Bradbury said he was "hugely relieved" Steve had been recovered and "only a little worse for wear for his travels."
The seven-year-old fish was used as part of the shop's displays. "He must have crossed the road and got to the petrol station through the flood water. He's got a few bumps and scrapes but is happy to be back with his friends," he explained.
The focus is now on finding Steve's friend Chadwick, a large koi carp, who escaped at the same time. Despite sightings, he hasn't yet been retrieved.

Hammerhead shark eats out of diver’s hand

Diver Eli Martinez aims to change negative views about sharks by interacting with them in waters off Bahamas, where hammerhead sharks enjoy protection hammerhead shark
Hammerhead shark feeds out of Eli Martinez’s hand in Bahamas
An experienced diver who leads shark diving tours took multiple trips and spent hours diving with hammerhead sharks in waters off Bimini Island, Bahamas, this winter before the sharks got used to his presence and became comfortable eating out of his hand.
hammerhead sharkEli Martinez of SDM Adventures based in North Alamo, Texas, had hammerhead sharks slowly swim up to him and open their mouths to take in the fish he was offering. The scene resulted in an array of compelling photos, as you can see.
“This was my second season visiting the great hammerheads of Bimini and working with them this close,” Martinez said. “They are very large sharks, but they are elegant predators. They don’t have a lot of interest in divers as they are so interested in the bait we are offering them.
“But you still have to respect these animals and be careful, following the obvious rules they demand.”
Hammerhead sharks can grow to 19 feet and weigh up to 1,300 pounds. Though their mouths are small in proportion to their bodies, they are equipped with rows of sharp teeth. Hammerhead sharks are known to eat fish, squid, octopus, crustacea, and other sharks, and are not considered man-eaters.
Reportedly, as of 2013, there have only been 33 known attacks by hammerhead sharks on humans, and none were fatal.
hammerhead shark
Diver Eli Martinez touches a hammerhead shark with both hands
The damage man has done to the sharks, however, has been devastating, and it is one reason why Martinez is trying to change the negative views many people have about sharks by interacting with them.
“They are coveted by the shark fin trade because of their very large fins, so they have been relentlessly hunted and the global population of these sharks has suffered,” Martinez said. “Fortunately the Bahamas is a shark sanctuary and while they are in these waters they enjoy protection.”
The great hammerhead sharks are an endangered species and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, Martinez explained.
“It is truly a privilege to spend time in the water with these animals and an honor to be able to share them with the world to show how amazing and beautiful they truly are.”

Animal Pictures