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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.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: This weekend the local Highland Games will be held and the staff will be there and some of us will be participating in the heavy athletics, i.e., turning the caber (throwing telephone poles for those who are not familiar with the games). So our daily edition will be a complete day's posts albeit a bit later in the day than usual depending on  tonight's Caleidh (pronounced Kay-lee - a party) and the athletics on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Don't hold your breath for Monday's edition being on time either, although we plan on all editions being on time ... but we are Scots and when we party, well ...
More sophomore type humor  ...
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 Pets are family ... !
Today is - National Pet Day

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Today in History

1512 The forces of the Holy League are heavily defeated by the French at the Battle of Ravenna.
1713 The Treaty of Utrecht is signed, ending the War of Spanish Succession. France cedes Maritime provinces to Britain.
1783 After receiving a copy of the provisional treaty on 13 March, Congress proclaims a formal end to hostilities with Great Britain.
1814 Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba.
1898 American President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war with Spain.
1941 Germany bombers blitz Conventry, England.
1942 Detachment 101 of the OSS–a guerrilla force–is activated in Burma.
1945 After two frustrating days of being repulsed and absorbing tremendous casualties, the Red Army finally takes the Seelow Heights north of Berlin.
1951 President Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur as head of United Nations forces in Korea.
1961 Israel begins the trial of Adolf Eichman, accused of war crimes during WWII.
1961 Folk singer Bob Dylan performs in New York City for the first time, opening for John Lee Hooker.
1968 President Johnson signs the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
1974 The Judiciary committee subpoenas President Richard Nixon to produce tapes for impeachment inquiry.
1981 President Ronald Reagan returns to the White House from hospital after recovery from an assassination attempt.
1986 Dodge Morgan sails solo nonstop around the world in 150 days.
1991 The U.N. Security Council issues formal cease fire with Iraq.
1996 Forty-three African nations sign the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty.

Non Sequitur


Giant inflatable whale too ‘religious’ for park

Plans to beach a giant inflatable whale beside the Thames in London for a re-enactment of the story of Jonah have been refused because it would be too “religious”. Organizers had hoped to place the 50ft sperm whale, which is owned by a circus troupe, in a park opposite Tower Bridge during the school summer holidays.

The life-size creature, which children can explore inside, has been beached on the same spot in the past as part of a pirate-themed attraction for children. Actors were being lined up to play Jonah and other characters as part of an ambitious drive by the bible society to help reintroduce a new generation of children to once familiar stories. It follows research showing that children are increasingly unable to identify bible stories such as Noah’s Ark or Moses which were once a basic childhood staple.
The aim, the society insists, is not to promote any religious teaching but introduce children to some of the most dramatic stories previous generations would have known. But the plans were left in disarray earlier this week when the chief executive of the Potters Fields Park Management Trust, which runs the site, turned down the request explaining: “I am afraid that under the terms of our lease we are not allowed to have any events of a religious nature.”

James Catford, chief executive of the bible society, said: “We’re not here to tell children what to believe. We simply want to give them a really fun experience they will always remember. We thought that giving children the chance to sit in a large inflatable whale and have the story of Jonah read to them was a good place to start.” The society is looking for a new spot on which to beach the whale.
Kudos for the Park management for seeing this for what it is - a blatant attempt to pervert a new generation's minds by the religio-wingnuts of the UK - and stopping it in its tracks before they could do any damage.

Scorpion on the loose in Ireland turned out to be a toy

Reports of a scorpion on the loose in Waterford City turned out to be a false alarm.
It was spotted on Alphonsis Road on Thursday. However, Brian Fogarty got to the bottom of the situation.
He came across the "scorpion" next to the wheel of a car while walking his dogs and asked the neighbors for a jam jar or a newspaper to try to catch it.
He said he realized very quickly it wasn't real when it didn't make any attempt to run away when he put the jar on top of it. Brian said it was only a child's rubber toy.

The Beauty of a Deformed Frog

Brandon Ballengée is an “artist-biologist-environmental activist.” He has been studying the increasing instances of deformed frogs, particularly those with extra limbs, which are seem more now than should happen by chance.
Ballengée, whose research focuses on population declines and causes of deformities in amphibians, has been collecting these tiny critters from all over the world for more than 10 years. He uses enzymes to make their tissues transparent and injects colored dyes to make their bones, tissues and deformities stand out. The specimens are then posed, imaged with a high-resolution scanner and printed with water-based ink, according to Metro. His work provides an unprecedented view on this environmental issue -- and invokes empathy towards amphibians by making them look beautiful.
The pictures are from Ballengée's book, Malamp: The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians and are also part of an exhibit at Museum Het Domein in Sittard, Netherlands. See more of them at HuffPo Green.   

A New Probiotic Improves Pig Health, Reduces Manure Output

A New Probiotic Improves Pig Health, Reduces Manure Output
A new probiotic for pigs could mean less manure to […]

Transparent Armor Inspired by Oyster Shell

Super-tough windshields and vests could one day be made from shell-like structures.

Saving Ukrainian Zoo Animals from Starvation

One organization seeks to raise $45,000 for a Ukrainian zoo. Another zoo used social media and crowd-funding to acquire animal feed.

UN Court Orders Japan to End Antarctic Whale Hunt

The top court ruled the program was a commercial activity disguised as science.

Did a Dolphin Really Say 'Sargassum'?

“Sargassum” might be one small whistle for dolphins, and one giant leap for interspecies communication.

Mysterious Underwater 'Fairy Rings' Explained

They're not the work of World War II bombs or aliens or fairies. Instead, mysterious underwater rings spotted off the coast of Denmark are the result of poison.


Winged, awesome, and surprisingly rare

Pterosaurs weren't birds. They weren't dinosaurs, either. And they are definitely more than just pterodactyls. As an order, the pterosaurs contained a huge amount of diversity. Sordes pilosus looked like a flying monkeyduck. Quetzalcoatlus northropi was an extra in The Dark Crystal. Thalassodromeus sethi looked like something your brain would invent after watching Froot Loops commercials on acid.
But, despite that wide variety (and, from what scientists can tell, their ubiquity on every continent), it's incredibly rare to find pterosaur fossils. In fact, all the freaky pterosaurs we can recreate in pictures probably only represent a fragment of the order's true diversity. There are many more pterosaurs whose fossil remains aren't well-preserved or numerous enough for us to get a good idea of what they looked like. Why? The video linked to below from the American Museum of Natural History explains it.
Bonus: The museum has a whole pterosaur exhibit that opened April 5.

This pterosaur lived about 155 million years ago near a lake in what is now southern Kazakhstan where it likely dined on fish and other small prey. Its broad wings stretched from its wing bones to its ankles, and another flap of skin connected its legs, which it may have pumped during flight. Some fossils show that Sordes pilosus kept warm with a thick coat of fibers similar to fur.
This large pterosaur species lived around 70 million years ago on a plain in what is now western Texas. With a wingspan of at least 33 feet , Quetzalcoatlus northropi was about as big as a two-seater plane—larger than any other known flying animal. Quetzalcoalus northropi was named after Quetzalcoatl, a Mexican god of the air.
Thalassodromeus sethi had a crest three times larger than the entire rest of its skull, when seen from the side. Indeed, it had the largest crest of any known vertebrate. This large pterosaur species, with a wingspan of 14 feet, lived around 110 million years ago near a lagoon in what is now Brazil.

The mystery of the fossil spider footprints

How scientists figured out that a set of 260 million-year-old footprints were probably made by an arachnid and why those footprints are still shrouded in mystery.

What Makes Flies The Greatest Flyers?

Flies are one of the grossest pests that we encounter on a daily basis. But the flight patterns of flies are pretty insane. Anthony and Trisha Hershberger from Sourcefed discuss how incredible flies are.

6 New 'Dracula' Ant Species Discovered in Madagascar

Six new species of blood-sucking Dracula ant has been discovered in Madagascar.

Ants squirting formic acid

Their aggressive behavior was captured by Paul Quagliana, 43, a wildlife photographer, who found a colony of the ants on a log in Wareham Forest, Dorset. In order to trigger the insect’s reaction, he gave their nest a tap, which prompted the ants to squirt acid in the air from their tiny abdomens. ‘There are many different species of woodland ants in Britain and these are called Formica rufa,’ said Mr Quagliana, who lives in Gillingham, Dorset. ‘As a defense mechanism they squirt formic acid which smells a bit like salt and vinegar crisps or fish and chips,’ he explained. 

'll bet you didn't see the mantis on the orchid'

Neither did the fly.
This is from The Soul is Bone, and you might want to give them a look-see.



Shady front porch

Everyone wants one but this one is to the extreme.

Dead Plants Hold Earthquake Secrets

Earthquakes can cook dead plants and algae trapped in a fault, similar to how organic material transforms over eons into oil.

Hemp Gets High Five for Heart-Health Benefits

Heart-healthy chemicals are identified in seed oil from hemp, marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin.

Drug Traffic Is Trampling Central American Rain Forests

Rain forests in Central America suffer from drug traffic, and the smugglers aren't the only ones at fault.

Deadliest Mushroom Is Spreading Worldwide

The world's deadliest mushroom can kill you after a few mouthfuls, but a drug derived from milk thistle may help.


A fasciated Black-Eyed Susan

Daily Comic Relief


Swedish family had monster 'viking' rat living in their kitchen

A Stockholm family was horrified to find a monster "viking" rat living in their kitchen. Pest controllers who were called in to catch the beast found it measured 40 centimeters (15 inches) - not including the tail. The family in Solna, north of Stockholm, had no idea what was in store when their pet cat was too scared to go into the kitchen. "We thought it could be a little mouse, but after a while we figured it couldn't be because it was making too much noise," Signe Bengtsson said.

Her worst fears were confirmed while emptying the rubbish a few days later when she saw a rat guzzling leftovers under the sink. "It was right there in our rubbish bin, a mighty monster. I was petrified. I couldn't believe such a big rat could exist," she said. "I couldn't help but do the old classic and jump on the kitchen table and scream." Her husband Erik Korsås who was away at the time was dubious that such an enormous rat could really be living in his kitchen. "When my wife called I said 'Yeah, sure, take it easy, I'll be home on Sunday. But by then it had jumped into the waste bin and had a Swedish smörgåsbord with all the leftovers," he said.
As the rat made more appearances over the next day, the family took to stomping around as they passed the kitchen to ensure they wouldn't meet the rat from hell again. "By the time I got home, the rat was so domesticated that it just sat under the kitchen table," Korsås explained, adding that it had chewed through the water pipes connected to the dishwater and started a small flood. When the family saw the rat scurrying into a nook behind the dishwasher, they put the kitchen on lockdown and called the pest controllers, who arrived with three heavy-duty traps.

The rat was caught by the neck soon after, but didn't die immediately and scurried away behind the dishwasher again. Bengtsson called her husband home to deal with the creature, which later died. He measured the rat to be 39.5 centimeters from nose to the start of its tail. "The kids were afraid it would come back to life as some sort of zombie rat. They didn't want to touch it," Korsås added. It turned out that the rat had found its way into the apartment cellars by chewing through cement and wood, the pest controllers explained. "It was quite a shocking experience," Bengtsson added. "No one wanted to go into the kitchen after, and the cat was terrified for a week. The pest controllers said they'd never seen such a big rat before."

Cat becomes surrogate mother to premature chihuahua puppies

Two Chihuahua puppies born prematurely this week at the Brevard SPCA in Titusville, Florida have joined a litter of cats after they were shunned by their mother.
A Chihuahua went into premature labor and gave birth on Tuesday to four puppies, but two of them died shortly afterwards. The two survivors weighed only a few of ounces and were about as long as a person's index finger.

They were rejected by the mother dog, leaving the hours-old puppies with very little chance of survival without a mother's care, according SPCA staff.

The two puppies were introduced to Nessy, a 2-year-old Siamese mix that gave birth to four kittens last week, and the pups were immediately accepted into the litter.

Elephant Plays Water Polo

Beco is an elephant at the Columbus Zoo. He is celebrating his fifth birthday this weekend. Watch him play around with a very tough rubber ball -no wonder it’s his favorite toy! Seriously, the manufacturer should use this in an ad touting how tough their sports equipment is.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • Beer marinade reduces BBQ cancer chemical
  • Is you state prepared for a Zombie attack?
  • The most expensive burgers in America
  • 27 Facts about Fun
And more ...
This pair of Seadragons is our Animal Picture, for today.