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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, May 2, 2014

The Daily Drift

Gee whiz Charlie Brown ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 198 countries around the world daily.   

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Today is - Tuba Day

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Magenta, L'ancienne-Lorette, Paris and Lyon, France
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Colombo, Sri Lanka
Kirtipur, Nepal
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Cairo, Egypt
The Pacific
Makati, Quiapo and Manila, Philippines
Woolloongabba and Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1670 The Hudson Bay Company is founded.
1598 Henry IV signs Treaty of Vervins, ending Spain's interference in France.
1668 Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle ends the War of Devolution in France.
1776 France and Spain agree to donate arms to American rebels fighting the British.
1797 A mutiny in the British navy spreads from Spithead to the rest of the fleet.
1798 The black General Toussaint L'ouverture forces British troops to agree to evacuate the port of Santo Domingo.
1808 The citizens of Madrid rise up against Napoleon.
1813 Napoleon defeats a Russian and Prussian army at Grossgorschen.
1863 Stonewall Jackson smashes Hooker's flank at Chancellorsville, Virginia.
1865 President Andrew Johnson offers a $100,000 reward for the capture of Confederate President
1885 King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo Free State.
1890 The Territory of Oklahoma is created.
1919 The first U.S. air passenger service starts.
1923 Lieutenants Okaley Kelly and John Macready take off from New York for the West Coast on what will become the first successful nonstop transcontinental flight.
1941 Hostilities break out between British forces in Iraq and that country's pro-German faction.
1942 Admiral Chester J. Nimitz, convinced that the Japanese will attack Midway Island, visits the island to review its readiness.
1945 Russian forces take Berlin after 12 days of fierce house-to-house fighting.
1946 Prisoners revolt at California's Alcatraz prison.
1968 The U.S. Army attacks Nhi Ha in South Vietnam and begins a fourteen-day battle to wrestle it away from Vietnamese Communists.
1970 Student anti-war protesters at Ohio's Kent State University burn down the campus ROTC building. The National Guard takes control of campus.

Non Sequitur


Apple Maps Discovers ‘Loch Ness Monster'

World Discovers Apple Maps
Could Apple Maps finally have discovered the existence of the Loch Ness monster? And, as a result, could the world finally recognize the existence of Apple Maps?
Apple Maps Discovers ‘Loch Ness Monster,’ World Discovers Apple Maps (Photo)A satellite image (left) from Apple's version of Google Maps shows a mysterious white blob, with what appear to be a pair of flippers at its side, underneath the waters of Loch Ness in Scottish Highlands.
According to the totally-non-biased “experts” at the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, a six month study has concluded the image is “likely” proof of the fabled monster's existence.
‘We've been looking at it for a long time trying to work out exactly what it is. It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. You can see some boats moored at the shore, but there isn't one here. We've shown it to boat experts and they don't know what it is,” club president Gary Campbell told the Daily Mail. “Whatever this is, it is under the water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie.”
Deep-sea biologist Andrew David Thaler said otherwise on Friday after taking a few minutes out of his day on Friday to study the image. Ironically, he used Google Earth to discredit the fan club's months of hard, analytical work.
“The accompanying image is a low-resolution satellite image of a boat wake, available, apparently, only on Apple Maps. There's really not deconstruction needed, it's a boat wake,” Thaler wrote on his blog.
He even found a handy-dandy GIF made from higher-resolution satellite images of what he believes is the very boat that created the wake in question.
While proving his point about the monster-sized boat wake, he also proved that Google is far better resource for monster hunters hunting monsters on their smartphone.
“Apple doesn't have it's own imaging satellites. The fact that the image only shows up in Apple Maps, not Google, is due to Apple either using a slightly different image set to stitch together a picture of the loch, or has a less robust algorithm for dealing with artifacts,” Thaler explained.
“Both the boat in the northern picture and the ‘ghost boat’ in the monster picture are about 20 meters long. There are no 20-meter long catfish. There are no whale sharks in Loch Ness (how would they survive in freshwater?). It's a boat,” Thaler continued. “If something looks exactly like a boat wake, in a place where there are plenty of boats, when a similar boat can actually be seen in the same region, it's a boat.”

'Animal Architecture,' an awesome new photo book about the structures critters create

 'Animal Architecture," by Ingo Arndt and J├╝rgen Tautz, with a foreword by Jim Brandenburg, is a beautiful new science/photography book exploring the mystery of nature through the "complex and elegant structures that animals create both for shelter and for capturing prey."
Arndt is a world-renowned nature photographer based in Germany, whose work you may have seen in National Geographic, GEO and BBC Wildlife.
Above, a grey bowerbird's bower in Australia's Northern Territory. "The grey bowerbird goes to extreme lengths to build a love nest from interwoven sticks and then covers the floor with decorative objects. The more artful the arbor, the greater the chance a male has of attracting a mate."
"Arndt’s photographs display wonders such as the colourful mating arenas of bowerbirds in West Papua and the fantastic nests created by ants in Africa," says publisher Abrams and Chronicle.
"Studio photographs supplement the images from Arndt’s journey and offer close-up views of the nests, mounds and webs constructed by the animals. Features both breathtaking photography and scientific insight into animal behavior."
I spotted the book via a Guardian photo gallery, which you should check out here.

New Orchid

A gorgeous new orchid species has been discovered in Panama: More


A UC Berkeley graduate student used new computer graphic techniques to produce this realistic, full-color digital image of an extinct plant called a lycopod that flourished 400 million years ago: More

Baby Gorillas the Newest Additions at Bronx Zoo

Baby western lowland gorillas make their debut.

White Bengal Tiger Cubs Make Their Debut

The Buenos Aires Zoo recently presented white Bengal tiger triplets, just three months old, to the viewing public for the first time.

Chimps Choosey About Wood Type for Their Beds

The Beatles sang about Norwegian wood, but for chimps, only one kind of wood will do when constructing beds.

Animals with Bigger Brains Have More Self-Control

Big-noggined animals have better impulse control compared to lesser-brained creatures, a new study argues.

Did you know ...

China Approves Jail Time for Rare Animal Eaters

Government deems 420 species of wild animals as rare or endangered, including giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins.

Poachers Kill More Wildlife Than Wolves

Poaching doesn't attract the same public outcry as wild predators do, according to conservation officials.

Tiny Insects Shown in Digital 3-D Color

A new color 3D modelling system lets you see bugs as you've never seen them before.

Adaptation Keeps Sloth's Lungs from Being Crushed

Evolutionary adaptation keeps vital organs from crushing their lungs.

Secret to Surviving Extinction?

If you hope to avoid extinction, it pays not to be a finicky eater.



10 Ways Animals Live Longer

What are the universal keys to longevity? An extensive look at multiple birds and mammals reveals 10 predictors that an animal will live a long life.

10 Most Unusual Animal Vocal Mimics

The animal kingdom is full of vocal mimics, including some who use the skill to cleverly outwit others.

Hobo Spider Bites Might Not Be So Toxic After All

Whether hobo spider bites are toxic to people has been a matter of debate, but a new study suggests the spider's venom may be less harmful thought.

Pet Bearded Dragons Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

A salmonella outbreak that has so far sickened 132 people in 31 states over the last two years has now been traced to pet breaded dragons.

Tiny Flying Reptile Ancestor to Giant Pterodactyls Found

Many pterodactyls, such as the ones depicted in Jurassic Park, were huge, but the dino-era airborne beasts evolved from a tiny flying reptile.

Daily Comic Relief


New Crustaceans Found Crawling on Dead Whale Bones

The newly found crustacean was found living on the bones of a dead whale at the bottom of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved

Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved
The source of the bizarre "bio-duck" sound has finally been found.
A mysterious duck-like sound recorded in the ocean around Antarctica has baffled scientists for decades, but the source of the sound has finally been found, researchers say.
For more than 50 years, researchers have recorded the so-called "bio-duck" sound in the Southern Ocean. Submarine crews first heard the oceanic quack, which consists of a series of repetitive, low-pitched pulsing sounds, in the 1960s.
"In the beginning, no one really knew what it was," said Denise Risch, a marine biologist at NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass. Because the sound was so repetitive, scientists first thought it might be human-made, possibly coming from submarines. As time went on, people suggested a fish may be making the sound, but it seemed too loud, Risch said. [Listen to Mysterious Bio-Duck Sound]
It turns out, Antarctic minke whales actually produce the duck-like sound, Risch and her colleagues have found. Years' worth of audio recordings will now provide a wealth of information on the abundance, distribution and behavior of these elusive cetaceans, the researchers said in their study, detailed today (April 22) in the journal Biology Letters.
Mystery quacks
The bio-duck sounds come in sets spaced about 3.1 seconds apart. The noises also occur seasonally, and have been heard simultaneously in the Eastern Weddell Sea off Antarctica and Western Australia.
In February 2013, during the Southern Hemisphere's summer, Risch's colleagues tagged two Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) off of Western Antarctica with suction-cup tags. The researchers meant to study the whale's feeding behavior and track their movements.
The tags also contained underwater microphones, and Risch analyzed the acoustic recordings. She found they contained the duck sounds, as well as downward-sweeping sounds previously linked to the whales. The sounds "can now be attributed unequivocally to the Antarctic minke whale," Risch and her team wrote in the study. The researchers don't know for sure whether the tagged whales or other nearby minke whales made the sounds.
What the sounds mean in whale-speak remains a mystery to scientists. The whales may use the sounds for breeding or navigation, Risch speculated. The researchers don't know, either, whether only males make the sounds or females also partake. For example, male humpback whales, unlike females, perform complex songs during their mating season.
The fact that the sounds were heard off both Antarctica and Western Australia suggests that some whales remain in Antarctica year round, while others migrate to lower latitudes, as other whales do, the researchers said.
Acoustic time capsule
Now that minke whales have been identified as the source of the mysterious sounds in ocean recordings, researchers can use those recordings to glean information about the distribution, abundance and behavior of these vocal animals.
"The fantastic thing about acoustics is you can go back in time," Risch said.
The recordings will be especially useful in tracking these animals in winter, when visual surveys are impossible due to weather conditions. Researchers could put out buoys with microphones during the summer, and later retrieve them to learn about the whales' activity in colder months.
The ability to track minke whales acoustically also offers an alternative research method to controversial Japanese whaling practices, Risch said. "It shows killing is not necessary."

Four New Species of Killer Sponges Found

Four new species of flesh-eating sponges have been discovered near the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Modern Sharks Sleeker Than Ancestors

Sharks have been on Earth for ages, but today's sharks turn out to have leaner, meaner bodies than those of extinct sharks.

Sharks Contain More Pollutants Than Polar Bears

Greenland sharks joined the list of top Arctic predators that suffer under heavy loads of accumulated persistent organic pollutants in their bodies.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • Here's How Much Doctors Actually Make
  • U.S. Warming Fast Since The First Earth Day
  • Buy One Quadrillion Zimbabwe Dollars for US$121.95
  • A Shopping Center Introduces Passing Lane. FINALLY!
And more ...
This cuttlefish is our Animal Picture, for today.