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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.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Daily Drift

Word ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 199 countries around the world daily.   

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Today  is -  Donald Duck Day

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Today in History

1064 Coimbra, Portugal falls to Ferdinand, king of Castile.
1534 Jacques Cartier sails into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada.
1790 Civil war breaks out in Martinique.
1861 Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke begins working in Union hospitals.
1863 At the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia, Union and Confederate cavalries clash in the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.
1923 Bulgaria's government is overthrown by the military.
1931 Robert H. Goddard patents a rocket-fueled aircraft design.
1942 The Japanese high command announces that "The Midway Occupation operations have been temporarily postponed."
1945 Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki declares that Japan will fight to the last rather than accept unconditional surrender.
1951 After several unsuccessful attacks on French colonial troops, North Vietnam's General Vo Nguyen Giap orders Viet Minh to withdraw from the Red River Delta.
1954 At the Army-McCarthy hearings, attorney Joseph Welch asks Senator Joseph McCarthy "Have you no sense of decency?"
1959 The first ballistic missile-carrying submarine, the USS George Washington, is launched.
1972 American advisor John Paul Vann is killed in a helicopter accident in Vietnam.
1986 NASA publishes a report on the Challenger accident.

Non Sequitur


Space Internet

The world wide web may seem like a global community, but two-thirds of the planet still remain without access. Now, Google is planning to change this by launching a fleet of 180 satellites to provide web access for the 4.8 billion people not yet online.
But the idea of global internet is nothing new. In the late 90's, several companies began projects to provide worldwide voice and data communications.

The Infinite Jukebox

The Infinite Jukebox, for when your favorite song just isn't long enough. This web app lets you upload a favorite MP3 and will then generate a never-ending and ever changing version of the song. It does what Infinite Gangnam Style did but for any song. It will play forever. You can also pick from a long list of songs.

Did you know ...

That psychiatrists say homophobia is a mental disorder
That women are more stressed at home than at work
About a troubling trend in government since the 90's
About Norway's reality show starring birds and a squirrel
About why red m&m's disappeared for a while
Hey, is this the end of the banana?
That the biggest struggle working in retail isn't low wages
That there is a bipartisan bill would prohibit Congress from flying first class at taxpayers' expense
That legal pot in the us is crippling the Mexican cartels
Just how terrible US internet really is
Alas, et tu, Jet Blue?
About how you'lll get screwed  if wingnuts kill the post office
These 13 snarky headlines about women improved
That a very rich jerk gets work release for 7th DUI
That unionization is the next step for fast food workers
That New Jersey mistakenly over-bills tax-payers doesn't tell them about the error
About how the wingnuts are killing women
That children grow unhappy after age 11 thanks to technology, among other things

Wingnuts Use Racism To Try To Discredit Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos

It was just a matter of time before the opposition and criticism of astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson became overtly racist ...

deGrasse TysonThere are a few things that elicit absolute outrage from the dominant racist wing of the wingnut delusion in general and, repugicans and teabaggers in particular, than African Americans; particularly intelligent, well-respected, and articulate African Americans. One has only to reflect on the wingnut delusion's blatantly racial opposition to anything proposed by President Barack Obama, even favored wingnut policies, to understand that their racism supplants even getting what they, or the American people, once supported and still want if only a white male president proposed them. Over the course of the past three months, wingnus, particularly christian religio-wingnuts, have discovered a new African American villain to attack because not only is he articulate, extremely intelligent, and very popular the world over, he is an esteemed scientist debunking their fairy tale beliefs and driving a stake into the heart of repugicans beholden to the energy industry and denying global climate change..
It was just a matter of time before the opposition and criticism of astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson became overtly racist, and it is no real surprise that Faux News provided a nationally-televised forum for a white supremacist to say “I hate this guy.” Apparently, Faux News felt the necessity to give the christian creationist cult an ally in their war on science, and deGrasse Tyson, so they invited overtly racist Gavin McInnes to rail on the scientist because he mentioned that he was racially profiled growing up in New York. Now, it is important to note that although Faux News, as the media outlet for the christian religio-wingnut and racist wingnut movement, is delighted to host a racist to attack a super-intelligent African American, but their real motivation was rallying support against Tyson’s 12 week take-down of climate change denial, and to a lesser degree his destruction of creationists’ ignorant attempt to discredit science in general.
The racist McInnes said about Tyson, “I hate this guy. White liberal nerds love this guy so much, he could defecate on them like Martin Bashir’s fantasies and they would dance in the streets. All he does is, he’s drunk with adulation. And he talks about things like ‘when I was young in New York I would get racially profiled when I’d go into stores.’ Back then he looked like he was in the The Warriors. He had a huge afro and a cutoff shirt and New York was a war zone. Sorry, you fit the profile.” At least McInnes did not deny that Tyson was racially profiled and most likely by white nationalists like McInnes who built a reputation as a despicable white supremacist Faux promotes at every turn; especially when they attack intelligent African Americans. Faux News knows the type of cretins McInnes represents because he has been a frequent guest and a former writer for Vdare, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as a “white nationalist hate group.” As recently as 2011, McInnes said “I love me some VDARE” and wrote an article for the hate group that claiming a Canadian university was a “multi-cultural madrassa” because it rejected requests to host another white supremacist, Jared Taylor, whose bona fides includes advocating for racial segregation and promotes founding all white towns. Exactly the type of hate-mongers Faux knows will incite their racist audience that may be “educated” into understanding that the extreme weather events devastating their lives is the result of burning fossil fuels and not because their god is angry prayer is not in schools, the bible is not the Constitution, or gay people exist.
Faux News’ problem, like repugicans, fanatical christians, and their climate change-denying fossil fuel associates with Neil deGrasse Tyson is that besides being a likeable and articulate African American, he is single-handedly decimating any energy industry claim that climate change is a liberal plot, a hoax, or not man-made. It is certain that Tyson understands the influence he, and Cosmos, is having on informing the population about the urgency of addressing climate change as well as the program’s value for promoting science as the only solution to saving the environment in the short term and the human race over the long term.
Tyson said that because Cosmos premiered not only on Fox, but on the National Geographic channel and 181 countries in 46 different languages, “It tells you that science is trending in our culture, and if science is trending, it can only be good for the health, wealth, and security of our species and our civilization. And yet, many members of our species still deny that the globe is warming thanks to human activities, a point that Cosmos has not only made a centerpiece but that the program has frankly argued threatens civilization as we know it.” Although extremist christians will deny it with their dying breath, Neil deGrasse Tyson does not defame, confront or condemn the stupidity of those that deny science, particularly climate science, and it is a testament to his desire to reach idiots through teaching. Tyson masterfully uses various educational modalities to prove science debunks climate deniers, and creationists’, claims and after twelve weeks Faux News’ only recourse was either admit denying climate change is the purview of malicious idiots, or pay a racist to attack the intelligent African American destroying their repugican, bible thumper,and oil industry lies.
However, Tyson did point out wingnut lunacy of rejecting science and specifically cited the repugican cabal as why there has been no action to reduce the existential threat of global climate change. Tyson said that repugicans who reject and lie about the science of climate change are not only dangerous for America and its people, it is bad strategy. He said, “At some point, I don’t know how much energy they have to keep fighting an emergent scientific truth. The repugican cabal are resistant to embracing the facts of climate change that the legislation they should be eager to influence, they’re left outside the door. Because they think the debate is whether or not it’s happening rather than what policy and legislation can serve their interests going forward.” In that Tyson is mistaken because repugicans, fossil fuel industry, and christian fanatics know climate change is happening and devastating the nation, and they are pushing legislation and policy that serves their, the fossil fuel and evangelical extremists, interests exclusively. They have about as much interest in reducing the effects of climate change as they do in helping protect the American people and it is curious that Tyson would not admit it because he knows it is the truth.
Although it is typical and despicable for Faux News to bring on a noted racist and white supremacist to attack Neil deGrasse Tyson because he is systematically destroying what pathetic arguments wingnuts use to deny climate change, it is a sign they, and repugicans are desperate. Every single week for the past three months Cosmos and Tyson have deconstructed and decimated evangelical fanatics and repugican claims science is an abomination before god and wrong, and that the bible and fossil fuel devotees are infallible. It is true that with mountains and centuries of scientific facts at his disposal, there is nothing Faux News, repugicans, or evangelicals can use to defend their position or refute even one claim made by an intelligent African America man like Neil deGrasse Tyson, so they resort to their despicable and base inclination and bring a racist pig to say “I hate him;” because he is Black, smart, and changing minds.

The repugican cabal Has Institutionalized Dishonesty

The repugican cabal has made dishonesty an art-form, lying about everything from Obamacare to Benghazi, from the economy to prisoner exchanges…
Politicians lie. We all know this. There are lies of omission and lies of commission and lies that are the result of willful ignorance and lies that are the result of simple ignorance in its purest form. But only one cabal has institutionalized dishonesty, and that is the repugican cabal.
They have lied about everything, from Obamacare to Benghazi to the economy, like these,
And of course, this one:
No single article can list every repugican lie, so I will use pictures as well as words here, both in the interest of space and because some people remember better what they say, rather than what they read. Images can be powerful.
The repugicans who pass this around…
ignore this…
and this…
and worst of all, this…
The Miami Herald reported during Election Day 2012 that,
“The numbers in Florida show this was winnable,” Brett Doster, Florida advisor for Romney, said in a statement. “We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table…”
“Something left on the table…Yes, that would be the truth.
If you will remember, Mitt lied so often about everything that nobody had any clear idea hat he really thought about anything. Yet he felt he had a reasonable expectation to win. On any important issue, you could find video of Mitt saying both “yes” and “no.”
Mitt flip-flopped. He made up for this by lying about flip-flopping.
And repugicans obviously think that’s okay, as the recent bruhaha over the prisoner exchange that returned Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to his family:
Duncan D. Hunter (r-CA) flip-flopped.
The repugicans deleted comments they made previously in support of freeing Bergdahl so that they can accuse Obama of doing what they had previously supported
They claim Obama did not discuss the exchange with them but it turns out Obama did discuss it with them as far back as 2011
And they are sure as shooting not going to bring up the 500+ GItmo prisoners released by the shrub. For the math challenged, that’s 100 x as many prisoners as Obama exchanged for Bergdahl
The Cuban anarchist, Ted Cruz, falsely claimed until Obama no American president had ever negotiated with terrorists
Sarah Palin condemned Obama’s action yet in 2008 prayed for his release.
Well, Obama answered her prayers.
John McCain flip-flopped: he was for a prisoner swap and then suddenly against it. And not only did he flip-flop, but he then lied about having flip-flopped.
And perhaps the most egregious example of dishonesty and hypocrisy comes from Oliver North. North, deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and convicted on multiple counts after engaging in trading 2000 missiles to Iran in exchange for seven Americans being held in Lebanon, then gave the money from that missile sale to Iran Contra death squads…well, let’s just let a photo do the talking:
Yet North had posted on Facebook in 2011,
Today, I received from the National League of POW/MIA Families, a “Never Forget Bracelet” emblazoned with the name of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He was seized on June 30, 2009 in Afghanistan and is being held by the Haqqani Organization – a Taliban affiliated terrorist group – in northwest Pakistan. Sgt Bergdahl and his loved ones here at home deserve our prayers and encouragement until he is rescued or released. That’s what we do. We’re Americans.
“That’s what we do” – until a black president does it, apparently. And then, somehow, he gains the right to condemn President Obama.
Of course, the mainstream media is more than willing to let North get away with this without reminding viewers of Iran-Contra, but Jon Stewart was not. As Stewart put it, “You’re saying it now like it’s a bad thing.”
This dishonesty is nothing new. It has been written about before. Lindy West at Jezebel wrote about Paul Rayn National Convention Speech in Florida back in 201, observing that “the stuff in Ryan’s speech wasn’t true” and that “they’re not even subtle, carefully orchestrated lies, either. They’re obvious lies, debunkable by even the drunkest, most casual armchair wonk watching the speech.”
And nobody cared. If you care, here is Salon’s list of Ryan’s brazen lies that night.
You cannot no separate the repugican cabal from lies, because without lies, as the picture worth 10,000 words says,

The repugican cabal To Block Bill That Would Help 40 Million People Because It Raises Taxes on Millionaires

Senate repugicans are signaling that they are going to block Elizabeth Warren’s bill to help 40 million students refinance their loans, because it would raise taxes on millionaires.
Sen Warren’s bill would allow students to refinance their old debt at today’s lower interest rates. In many cases, Warren’s bill would allow those who are burdened by student loan debt to slice their interest rate from 6% or 7% to 3.86%. Her legislation would help 40 million borrowers, and would be paid for by phasing in a new tax on millionaires in 2015.
President Obama gave the bill his full support.
The president said:
I’ve taken action on my own to offer millions of students the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10% of their income. But Congress needs to do its part. The good news is that Senate Democrats are working on a bill that would help more young people save money. Just like you can refinance your mortgage at a lower interest rate, this bill would let you refinance your student loans. And we’d pay for it by closing loopholes that allow some millionaires to pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.
That’s the choice that your representatives in Congress will make in the coming weeks – protect young people from crushing debt, or protect tax breaks for millionaires. And while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I will keep doing whatever I can without Congress to help responsible young people pay off their loans – including new action I will take this week.
Although this bill has 35 Senate co-sponsors, repugican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is signalling that he is going to block the legislation from passing. McConnell said, “This bill doesn’t make college more affordable, reduce the amount of money students will have to borrow, or do anything about the lack of jobs grads face in the Obama economy.”
The truth is that McConnell is going to obstruct a piece of legislation that would help 40 millions Americans save money and get out of debt, because he refuses raise taxes on a few thousand of the wealthiest Americans.
Forty million people are going to continue to be crushed by crippling student loan debt because repugicans refuse to raise taxes on millionaires. This is what Citizens United money is able to buy the wingnut billionaires. Warren’s bill is a common sense proposal that would help tens of millions of people, but it will be obstructed because it would cost some millionaires their pocket change.
People are suffering because the wealthiest Americans are running the repugican cabal. The likely fate of Warren’s bill is another example of why the nation must get the big donors out of our campaign finance system.

Walmart's Executive Bonuses Have Cost Taxpayers $104 Million Since 2009

Since 2009, Walmart has ducked $104 million in taxes by exploiting a tax loophole around bonus payments to just eight top executives, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF).The retail giant is using a longstanding tax loophole for deducting executive pay that comes in the form of stock options and other bonuses tied to company performance. The eight top employees tracked in the IPS/ATF report earned $298 million in deductible compensation from 2009 to 2014, creating nearly $300 million in write-downs for the company. Those deductions over the years translate into a $104 million reduction in what the company has had to pay the Internal Revenue Service.
That $104 million "would have been enough to cover the cost of free school lunches for 33,000 children for those six years," the report notes. Walmart reported a $17 billion profit last year.
A Walmart spokeswoman told the Huffington Post that the ATF/IPS report is "flawed" and defended the company by saying that "we comply with federal tax laws." No one is disputing the legality of the executive compensation deductions revealed in the IPS/ATF report, but a pair of lawmakers have been trying to reform the system so that large, highly profitable corporations would no longer be able to get taxpayer subsidies for their massive executive pay packages.

Fahrenheit 1989

China Erases Memories of Tiananmen
by Bernhard Zand in Beijing
Fahrenheit 1989: China Erases Memories of Tiananmen
Twenty-five years ago, the Chinese army violently suppressed protests on Tiananmen Square. To this day, Beijing uses pressure, censorship and money to stifle all attempts to commemorate the seminal incident in an up-and-coming China. More

Random Celebrity Photos

Bettie Page

Woman jailed after throwing half-eaten sandwich in dispute over use of multiple parking spaces

A Florida woman was arrested on Tuesday after Fellsmere police obtained a warrant to arrest her for the charge of misdemeanor battery.
Police say Julia Hinebaugh, 20, argued with a victim over his use of multiple parking spaces, denying her ability to park.
Investigators say Hinebaugh and the victim called each other names in the presence of each other's children, allegedly prompting Hinebaugh to throw a half-eaten sandwich at the victim, striking him in the back of the head.
Hinebaugh was arrested and transported to the Indian River County jail without incident.

Woman entered stranger's house and demanded beer

A 52-year-old woman from Wheeling, Illinois, who authorities say entered a home and helped herself to beer is being held on $100,000 bond.
Lidia Zuradzka faces residential burglary charges after authorities say she entered a stranger's home on Monday. The female homeowner was upstairs when Zuradzka entered through an unlocked door.
The homeowner came downstairs and discovered Zuradzka, a stranger, standing in the living room holding a beer that had been on a table.
When the homeowner asked Zuradzka what she was doing, Zuradzka responded, "I want beer." Zuradzka fled after the woman screamed.
There's a short news video here.

Pakistan teen shot, thrown in canal over marriage

Pakistani police say an 18-year-old woman has "miraculously survived" after being shot and thrown into a canal by her father for marrying against the family's wishes. Local police officer Ali Akbar said Saturday the girl's father attacked her in Hafizabad, a city 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad. The assault on Wednesday came days after a 25-year-old woman was beaten and stoned to death by her family for marrying against their wishes.
Akbar says Saba Maqsood, married a man last week, but her father Ahmed brought her back to his home, promising she would not be harmed. The next day Ahmed took her to a deserted area and tried to kill her, he said.
Akbar says the young woman is being treated at a hospital.

'We'll Get You'

An Albanian Boy's Life Ruined by Blood Feuds
by Katrin Kuntz and Maria Feck (photos) in Shkoder, Albania
'We'll Get You': An Albanian Boy's Life Ruined by Blood Feuds
Blood feuds still exist in Albania and those involved have to live a life in hiding. They include people like Leonard Qukaj, who has left his home only rarely in the last four years for fear of being murdered by a rival clan -- or by his own uncle. More



DNA analysis of Near Eastern farmers supports Neolithic migration through Cyprus and Aegean

The mitochondrial DNA of the first Near Eastern farmers has been sequenced for the first time. In the research, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, experts analyzed samples from three sites located in the birthplace of Neolithic agricultural practices: the Middle Euphrates basin and the oasis of Damascus, located in today’s Syria and date at about 8,000 BC.
Experts analyzed samples from three sites located in the birthplace of Neolithic agricultural practices
The paper is signed by Daniel Turbón and Alejandro Pérez Pérez, from the Department of Animal Biology of the University of Barcelona (UB); Eva Fernández, from Liverpool John Moores University; Cristina Gamba, Eduardo Arroyo Pardo and Pedro Cuesta, from Complutense University of Madrid; Eva Prats, from the Spanish National Research Council, and Josep Anfruns and Miquel Molist, from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). The study is focused on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA —a type of non-Mendelian maternally inherited DNA— from the first Neolithic farmers, by means of samples obtained by the UAB research group which were first processed by the UB research group.
The Neolithic: a profound revolution in human societies
Agricultural and husbandry practices originated around 12,000 years ago in a region of the Near East known as the Fertile Crescent. This phenomenon, known as “Neolithic”, meant a profound social, cultural and economic transformation of human populations (agricultural production, sedentary farming lifestyle, origin of the first cities and modern societies, etc.).
Sites are located in today’s Syria and date at about 8,000 BCE.
Eva Fernández, first author of the article who got her PhD from UB, explains that “the Neolithic Revolution rapidly expanded from these territories into Europe, where the hunter-gatherer subsistence economy —prevailing till then— was replaced by an agropastoral producing system”. To know the nature of the diffusion of the Neolithic —in other words, to know if it was a population migration process or a cultural adoption— has been widely debated for the last fifty years. Different research fields, for instance archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistics and, more recently, human paleogenetics, have made contributions to the discussion.
The unknown genetics of first Near Eastern farmers
The genetic composition of first Neolithic populations was one of the mysteries of science till today, although some advances in European Neolithic populations’ genetics were made during the last decade. Professor Daniel Turbón points out that the results revealed by the study published in PLOS Genetics “are the first ones regarding first Near Eastern farmers; in other words, the genetic stock of original Neolithic”.
Samples were obtained by the UAB research group and first processed by the UB research group
However, it is important to remember that other data have been published about European first farmers, to be exact in Catalonia (by Cristina Gamba et al., 2012), the Basque Country (by Hervella et al.) and Germany (by Wolfgang Haak et al., 2010, and Brandt et al., 2013).
“Conclusions of previous studies —explains Turbón— are based on the comparison with current Near East populations, as first agricultural societies’ genetics have remained unknown until now”.
From the Near East to Europe
The study published in PLOS Genetics provides a new framework to interpret the results of other studies about European Neolithic populations, stress the authors. According to conclusions, genetic affinities have been observed between the mitochondrial DNA of first Neolithic populations and the DNA of first Catalan and German farmers.
The study is focused on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA —a type of non-Mendelian maternally inherited DNA— from the first Neolithic farmers
This suggests that probably Neolithic expansion took place through pioneer migrations of small groups of population. Moreover, the two main migration routes ―Mediterranean and European― might have been genetically linked.
“The most significant conclusion —highlights Eva Fernández— is that the degree of genetic similarity between the populations of the Fertile Crescent and the ones of Cyprus an Crete supports the hypothesis that Neolithic spread in Europe took place through pioneer seafaring colonization, not through a land-mediated expansion through Anatolia, as it was thought until now”.
How did the Neolithic Revolution spread?
Other scientific studies had already provided signs of an alternative scenario of Neolithic spread in Europe different from the one through Anatolia. According to Turbón, “recent archaeological finds have proved that the Neolithic arrived to Cyprus around 10,600 years ago, some years after the first documentation of agricultural practices in the Near East”.
The study provides a new framework to interpret the results of other studies about European Neolithic populations
Architecture and burial models found in Cyprus’ sites are similar to the ones found in the Middle Euphrates basin, “that indicates a direct colonization of these territories”, highlights the author. “Besides, spatial interpolation of radiocarbon dates from different Neolithic sites in the Near East and Europe also suggests a first seafaring expansion through Cyprus”, he concludes.
In order to support these conclusions, the scientific team aims at analyzing a greater number of human Neolithic samples from other regions of the Fertile Crescent, and at increasing the number of genetic markers analyzed in the samples.


The World's First Folk Architecture Reserve
In Slovakia, you can travel back to 1272 just by visiting the world's first folk architecture reserve, the village of Čičmany. The village, surrounded by mountains, is catchy enough even for those who are just passing by due to its timbered houses with white geometrical patterns decorating the walls.
These were first made by using mud and lime and later, in the 19th century the houses' exteriors were painted to protect the logs from the sun. Motifs were also added.

Insane Hail Storm

On June 3, a series of storms passed through Nebraska. Some places in Nebraska reported baseball-sized hail. Here are a series of photos to show the damage the severe weather has caused.

Saving Tropical Trees

Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows

Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount […]

Mountains From Space

Astronauts and satellites provide views of the top of the world from low-earth orbit.

Daily Comic Relief



"The bunyip, or kianpraty, is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia...
 [One] suggestion is that the bunyip may be a cultural memory of extinct Australian marsupials such as the Diprotodon, Zygomaturus, Nototherium or Palorchestes. This connection was first formally made by Dr George Bennett of the Australian Museum in 1871, but in the early 1990s, palaeontologist Pat Vickers-Rich and geologist Neil Archbold also cautiously suggested that Aboriginal legends "perhaps had stemmed from an acquaintance with prehistoric bones or even living prehistoric animals themselves... When confronted with the remains of some of the now extinct Australian marsupials, Aborigines would often identify them as the bunyip.""

German Rocket Cats

A 16th century German artillery manual by Conrad Haas contains an illustration of a cat with some kind of incendiary device attached to its back. And a bird. The Associated Press called them “jet-propelled cats and birds.” They interviewed a historian who responded, “I really doubt this was ever put into practice, it seems like a really terrible idea.” Zak Smith was astounded that a historian would answer in such a way. Of all the weird things medieval people did in the name of war, this picture seems altogether tame.
European History People sent burning pigs stampeding toward their neighbors regularly and would put a rooster on trial for real actually with a lawyer and everything if someone said it laid an egg without a yolk. If someone like that was soberly strapping a rocket to a cat and you interrupted them in their cat-to-rocket-strapping-room they’d look up like “Yeah?” and they would have this big pinky white person expression on their face like it wasn’t even a little bit weird.
It turns out that the device is less of a rocket and more of an arson method. But getting from “rocket cat” to “of course they did that!” takes us on a ride through some of the awful things people have done in the name of war and progress, in a hilarious essay at The Toast.

What a 66-million-year-old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a team of researchers from McGill University and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
A McGill field crew is collecting fossils as part of a field course in Grasslands National
During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology - the regrowth of plants after a fire - revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The researchers also found evidence that the region’s climate was much warmer and wetter than it is today.
“Excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, we found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it. From this, we were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance”, says Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Macroevolution at McGill University.
The researchers’ discovery, published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, revealed that at the forest fire site, the plants are dominated by flora quite similar to the kind that begin forest recovery after a fire today. Ancient forests recovered much like current ones, with plants like alder, birch, and sassafras present in early stages, and sequoia and ginkgo present in mature forests.
“We were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone,” says Emily Bamforth, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the study’s first author. “Moreover, we now have evidence that the mean annual temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 10-12 degrees Celsius warmer than today, with almost six times as much precipitation”.
“The abundant plant fossils also allowed us for the first time to estimate climate conditions for the closing period of the dinosaurs in southwestern Canada, and provides one more clue to reveal what the ecology was like just before they went extinct”, says Larsson, who is also an Associate Professor at the Redpath Museum.
Forest fires can affect both plant and animal biodiversity. The team’s finding of ancient ecological recovery from a forest fire will help broaden scientists’ understanding of biodiversity immediately before the mass extinction of dinosaurs. “We won't be able to fully understand the extinction dynamics until we understand what normal ecological processes were going on in the background”. says Larsson.

This Fish Can Pick up 150 Times Its Own Bodyweight

This is the northern clingfish (Gobiesox maeandricus). It's a fish common to the Pacific coast of North America. It's called a clingfish because it has a large sucker on the bottom of its body. This sucker can attach firmly to rough, slimy surfaces and withstand a lot of pressure. The image above shows a 0.8 ounce clingfish attached to a 6 pound rock. Under the right conditions, a nothern clingfish can pull 150 times its own bodyweight.
The sucker consists the pectoral and pelvic fins of the clingfish, which are fused together. They're roughly textured on the edges with microscopic hairs which provide friction between the fish and the object it's attached to.
The northern clingfish puts its sucker to good use. It uses it to stick to rocks in rough tidal areas and to attack mollusks.
Dr. Adam Summers, a professor of biomechanics at the University of Washington, says that this type of sucker would not be useful in dry conditions. But wherever it's wet, it's perfect. Someday, humans may be able to manufacture suction cups based on that of the northern clingfish. These would be ideal for climbing in wet walls, such as up a waterfall.

A mysterious animal ate an entire 9-foot great white shark

Scientists: A mysterious animal ate an entire 9-foot great white shark
Scientists in Australia tagged a healthy 9-foot great white shark as part of program to track these animals. Four months later they found the tracking device washed up on a beach. Something—something really big—had eaten this apex predator. But what creature could dine on such ferocious prey? The recovered tracking device showed a rapid temperature rise and a sudden 1,900-foot-deep plunge. It stayed there for many days, moving around and occasionally ascending to go down again until it finally reached the shore. That's all the information that scientists gathered from the tracking device. The researchers believe the data shows that a super-predator gobbled the shark, then swam down at high speed, and kept going on with his life. The recorded temperature indicates that the tracking device was inside the mysterious monster's digestive system until it got out.

Why koalas are sometimes "treehuggers"

From an interesting report in Wired:
In a new paper in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, a team of Australian and American researchers report that as temperatures rise, koalas tend to put more of their bodies in contact with the trees they inhabit. The science behind this involves something called conductive heat transfer, wherein a warm object (say, a koala) transfers heat to a cooler one (like a tree) and both objects approach the same temperature. The trees stay cool by sucking up water hidden deep in the soil from the baking sun...

They found that as it got hotter outside, the koalas tended to sit lower in the trees, in a posture now formally described in the scientific literature as “tree-hugging.” In milder weather, the koalas sat higher, reclined back, or rolled themselves into balls.

“Koalas have a very limited diet and so will, when given the opportunity, choose food trees,” says Warren Porter, a co-author and professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. However, the koalas preferred acacia trees over eucalyptus in warmer weather. That makes sense: the acacias, which the koalas do not eat, tended to be 6.5 – 8.5°F cooler than the eucalyptus trees the koalas dine on.

Animal Pictures