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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Daily Drift

Oh, Yeah ...!
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For those interested: In World Cup play The United States bested Ghana 2- 1: Germany bested Portugal 4 - 0 and  played to a 0 - 0 tie in play on the sixth day of the tourney.

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Today  is no celebration today -  Day

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Non Sequitur


Today in History

1155 German-born Frederick I, Barbarossa, is crowned emperor of Rome.
1667 The Dutch fleet sails up the Thames River and threatens London.
1778 British troops evacuate Philadelphia.
1812 The War of 1812 begins when the United States declares war against Great Britain.
1815 At the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon is defeated by an international army under the Duke of Wellington.
1863 After repeated acts of insubordination, General Ulysses S. Grant relieves General John McClernand during the siege of Vicksburg.
1864 At Petersburg, Union General Ulysses S. Grant realizes the town can no longer be taken by assault and settles into a siege.
1873 Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for attempting to vote for president.
1918 Allied forces on the Western Front begin their largest counter-attack yet against the German army.
1928 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to cross the Atlantic by airplane.
1936 Mobster Charles 'Lucky' Luciano is found guilty on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution.
1942 The U.S. Navy commissions its first black officer, Harvard University medical student Bernard Whitfield Robinson.
1944 The U.S. First Army breaks through the German lines on the Cotentin Peninsula and cuts off the German-held port of Cherbourg.
1945 Organized Japanese resistance ends on the island of Mindanao.
1951 General Vo Nguyen Giap ends his Red River Campaign against the French in Indochina.
1953 South Korean President Syngman Rhee releases Korean non-repatriate POWs against the will of the United Nations.
1959 A Federal Court annuls the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.
1966 Samuel Nabrit becomes the first African American to serve on the Atomic Energy Commission.
1979 President Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the Salt II pact to limit nuclear arms.
1983 Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

Supreme Court Says No to Gun Straw Purchases

Riley v. California, No. 13-132
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld a federal rule banning “straw purchases” of guns.  This means that one person cannot buy a gun for the sole purpose of giving or reselling it to another person.  The purpose of the law is, actually two fold.  First, this is part of the system that law enforcement uses in criminal investigations to trace guns back their owners.  Second, it is one way to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not eligible to have them under existing laws.
Writing for the majority, in Abranski v. U.S. Justice Kagan said
No piece of information is more important under federal firearms law than the identity of a gun’s purchaser — the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer.
Justice Scalia joined by Roberts, Thomas and Alito in dissent, wrote: “The Court makes it a federal crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner,” he wrote.  “Whether or not that is a sensible result, the statutes Congress enacted do not support it — especially when, as is appropriate, we resolve ambiguity in those statutes in favor of the accused.”
This case began when a former police officer, Bruce James Abranski, bought a glock in Virginia and later transferred the gun to his uncle.  Abranski falsely indicated on a federal form that he was the “actual buyer” even though he had already agreed to buy the gun for his uncle.
The form also contained the following warning: “You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.  If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearms(s) to you.”
Later, police arrested Abranski because they thought he was involved in a bank robbery.  Although no charges were laid in relation to the bank robbery, Abranski was charged with making false statements about the purchase of the gun.
Abranski argued that he wasn’t a straw buyer because his uncle was eligible to buy a gun – an argument supported by the NRA which had previously resisted legislative efforts to crack down on straw purchases.
The problem with Abranski’s argument is that his false statement prevented the gun dealer from insisting that the actual buyer fulfill legal requirements including appearing in person with proper ID and submitting to a background check. Then there’s the fact that the form stated clearly that since he was buying the gun for another person, he was not the actual buyer.
The dissenting opinion overlooked the fact that a ruling in Abranski’s favor would make law enforcement’s job harder.
The dissenting opinion also overlooks the reality that straw purchases could initially involve someone buying a gun for someone who is eligible to have that gun, but that doesn’t anticipate the possibility of that gun then being sold or given to someone who isn’t eligible, under existing laws, to have a gun.  In fact, one of the NRA’s complaints regarding penalties for straw purchases as proposed in the 2013 gun legislation debate was the original owner could be held liable for the intention of parties far down the chain of possession.
The ruling was welcomed by the Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a commonsense law that helps keep guns away from those we all agree shouldn’t have them. Criminals, domestic abusers, and those with a history of serious mental illness should not be able to send a straw person into a gun store to pass a background check and buy a firearm on their behalf. This practice exploits a loophole in our criminal background check system and the court was right to keep it closed.
 The fact is this ruling will prevent the calamity that would have made law enforcement’s job impossible and it seals shut one of the many loopholes through which people who shouldn’t have guns gain access to them.  It may be a bad day for the NRA, but it is a good day for Americans who reject the idea that one person’s “right” to own a gun is more important than another person’s right to live.

Religio-Wingnut christians Take It To a New Low By Handing Out Guns In Cults

The notion of so-called christians exposing themselves as the anti-christs they really are is being played out in the drive to put more guns in the hands of more people…
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted line from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet appears to argue that the names of things do not matter, only what things really “are.” The line’s meaning is applicable in America in the sense that although the overwhelming majority of religio-wingnut Americans hate everything jesus christ preached and taught, calling themselves christians and followers of christ does not change the fact they are anti-christ in every sense of the name. The notion of so-called christians exposing themselves as the anti-christs they really are is being played out in the drive to put more guns in the hands of more Americans, especially religio-wingnut christian Americans; it is no surprise it is being advanced by religio-wingnut christian cults.
Last month at the Lone Oak First baptist cult in Paducah, Kentucky, a line of people wrapped around the building waiting anxiously to get inside, but not because they sought spiritual guidance from jesus christ’s teachings, but to win one of the twenty-five guns being raffled off. One may be inclined to think Lone Oak First baptist is an aberration among cults purported to be “followers of christ,” but according to the Kentucky baptist conven, handing out human-killing weapons is the best way to get people into cult. Last year there were at least 50 “christian” cult gun giveaways in Kentucky alone, and an official at Lone Oak baptist said handing out free guns is a rallying point to bring people to christ.
According to Lone Oak Sunday school indoctrinator David Keele, “We’re doing two things here. One, we’re going to talk about the Second Amendment to bear arms. But that isn’t the primary thing. The primary thing is who jesus is.” The only primary thing is that Keele and Kentucky baptists lack even a rudimentary understanding of who jesus was or why calling themselves christians while crusading for 2nd Amendment rights makes them rank liars and anti-christs for opposing christ’s teaching.
The featured speaker at the baptist gun giveaway was hired by Kentucky Southern Baptists as a traveling full-time evangelist who defended the Baptists giving away guns and said, “if giving away guns allows them to come into the doors of the cult to hear that the cult has a message that’s relevant to their lives, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.” The paid evangelist wasted little time getting to the christian message that is relevant to people’s lives and told other christians that, “There’s no government on the face of this earth that has the right to take this gun from me” to thunderous applause. The evangelist even said he believed in christ’s message of turning the other cheek, but only to a certain point; a certain point that cannot be found in any of christ’s teachings.
The idea of christian cults handing out guns, following the teachings of the NRA, and crusading for the 2nd Amendment is not restricted to Kentucky or baptists. Other christian cults in other states regularly offer guns alongside bibles cementing their proud identity as “followers of christ.” The christian cults handing out guns brings up a larger point regarding so-called christians in this country; there are very few, if any, christians in America. It is especially true of the christian lunatic fringe that supports any repugican candidate, wingnut policies, or agenda founded on greed and inhumanity. It is highly likely the last American to adhere to christ’s teachings was not a christian by any stretch of the imagination, but he certainly understood the value in christ’s moral teachings. Thomas Jefferson created his own rendering of christ’s teachings after carefully removing every reference to christ as a deity, miracle worker, or supernatural being in “The Jefferson Bible.
It is impossible for any American to support wingnuts or repugicans and be a follower of christ no matter how devoutly they claim christianity as their religion. In fact, it is relatively safe to say that if a person calls themselves a repugican, teabagger, libertarian, or an independent and votes for repugican candidates and claim they are also christians, they are pathological liars of the first order. It is utterly impossible to support any repugican policy and be a christian, and yet they are the people most likely to claim their religious devotion to christianity informs their support of wingnuts in general and repugicans in particular.
Any christian that supports the NRA or adheres to the 2nd amendment as the be all, end all defining trait of being an American, they are a liar and not remotely close to being a christian. In fact, unless a so-called christian lives in the wilderness and depends on hunting for survival, there is no reason to own a firearm if they subscribe to christ’s teachings in the bible that all they need is faith that they will be resurrected by christ after they die; even if they die at the hands of an armed intruder.
One often hears so-called christians claim they adamantly support feeding, housing, and providing healthcare for the poor, and in the same breath claim their undying support for repugicans; they are liars. The same people vehemently claim they believe in, and support, the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all Americans, and then vote for repugicans passing legislation restricting gay, women, and people of colors’ equal rights. Religio-wingnut christians who oppose the federal government, taxation, and Constitutional prohibition on establishing religion are in violation of christ’s admonition to pay taxes and obey government authority like a good slave. The list goes on and on, but the point is glaringly obvious; it is impossible to be a christian and support repugicans on any level.
On a larger scale, it is a near-impossibility to find a so-called christian of the wingnut type that follows the bible they claim is the infallible word of god. It is true they have latched on to a couple of verses that fit their culture of hate, but it is a rare day indeed to hear even one wingnut christian cite one verse attributed to their avatar of light jesus christ. The so-called christians are not even good jews as part of their storied judeo-christian heritage. They worship graven idols like the cross their lord and savior was crucified on, swear allegiance to a symbol of objects in the sky and Earth (American flag), and violate the majority of the ten commandments they insist should replace the Constitution. However, it is their devotion and dedication to repugicans, guns, and a culture of greed and inhumanity that informs they are not christians; they are anti-christs.

A catholic Iraqi refugee attacked, beaten in New Mexico by man who thought she was muslim

by David Ferguson

An Albuquerque woman was attacked in her home and her family's U.S. citizenship papers were torn up by a man who incorrectly believed that she was muslim.
Albuquerque's KRQE Channel 13 reported that, ironically, the woman and her family are catholic Iraqis who fled that country six years ago to escape religious persecution. They told KRQE that they never expected this to happen to them in their adopted homeland.
Around midday last week, Seham Jaber was home alone when the doorbell rang. Thinking it was her husband, she opened the door without looking, only to be attacked by a man wearing a mask and gloves. The man punched her face and body and shouted anti-muslim epithets, she said.
"The irony is the individual thought the family was muslim, and they're actually refugees from Iraq who are catholic," said the Albuquerque Police Department's Simon Drobik.
The attacker demanded to know where the family kept its "money and gold." He then ransacked the house, taking money and jewelry. When he found the family's U.S. citizenship papers in a back room, he destroyed them in front of Jaber.
Jaber's husband found her semi-conscious on the apartment floor with injuries to her face, head, chest and abdomen.

Bank clerk's €90,000 'fell in river while tire was being changed' defence failed to impress judge

A former bank employee in Salzburg, Germany, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for embezzlement. He claimed that almost €90,000 had “fallen into a river” when he stopped to change his car tire. In 2013 the bank clerk was tasked with transporting the money from a savings bank branch in Obertauern to its headquarters in Radstadt. During the trip, the 46-year-old said he got a flat tyre, and claims that whilst he was fixing his car the money got swept away. He said that he had put the money in a plastic bag, and then into a banana box which he put in the boot of his car. He also put a bag containing €670 worth of coins and blank savings books in the boot. He claimed that when he noticed he had a flat tire, he had to put the banana box on the ground near to the car, in order to access the spare tire and jack. He told the judge that he didn’t notice that the fast-flowing Taurach river was nearby.
The judge was incredulous. “You put money worth almost €90,000 near to a flooded stream - did you not think that might be dangerous?” The bank clerk said that suddenly he noticed that the banana box had gone, but could not explain how it might have fallen into the river. “This is a question that has given me sleepless nights, maybe I knocked the box with the spare tire, maybe the coins shifted, and the box fell down…” Police, mountain rescuers, and fire fighters searched the river for hours looking for the money but only found €3,500.
The prosecution accused the clerk of having thrown in some of the money so that people would believe it had been an accident, and said that he in fact embezzled around €87,000 euros. The defense pleaded for an acquittal, despite the many contradictions in the accused’s testimony. "There was a chain of unfortunate circumstances. He had no motive, he was not in debt and had no financial obligations,” his lawyer, Helmut Schott, pleaded. However, the judge ruled that he could not believe the man’s story. The bank was awarded compensation of €87,000 euros.

Man who bought more than 1,000 bags of chips in bid to meet his pop idol arrested for littering

Japanese police have arrested a pop fan for littering after he bought more than 1,000 packets of chips to collect tokens offering the chance to win a backstage pass to a Nana Mizuki concert.
Kazuki Fukumoto, of Hyogo Prefecture in central Japan, was arrested last Tuesday after allegedly dumping 89 cardboard cartons of chips – still containing the chips – in fields and forests across the district. Police have charged Mr Fukumoto, 25, with violating the waste disposal and public cleaning law. Fukumoto admitted the charges.
“I bought in bulk, but I was troubled about what to do with them, so I threw them away,” was the straightforward explanation that he gave to police. The office worker also admitted spending Y300,000 (£1,750, $3,000) on the boxes of chips, which weighed in at 458 pounds. In addition to having a string of hit pop songs, 34-year-old Nana Mizuki is one of Japan’s most famous voice actresses.
In collaboration with crisp manufacturer Calbee, fans were invited to collect tokens attached to packets for the chance to win one of 10 backstage passes for Mizuki’s concert in Yokohama on August 3. The winners will also have the chance to meet Mizuki at the event. The winners of the lottery will be announced in July and as Fukumoto is unlikely to receive a custodial sentence for his crime, he may yet be fortunate enough to meet his idol.

Pittsburgh cop punches teen at gay pride march

punched punches1 
Video of a teen being grabbed by the neck and punched by a cop has sparked outrage in Pittsburgh--not least because she was apparently arrested while arguing with an anti-gay activist protesting the city's PrideFest.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says he has launched an investigation into the incident and promised that "we won't look the other way," according to WPXI.
The footage, posted to Facebook Sunday afternoon, shows the officer grabbing the girl by the hair, trying to pull her to the ground and delivering several blows to her head and body as she continued to resist.
Ariel Lawther, 19, was charged with resisting arrest and released on $5,000 bond. According to a criminal complaint, the reporting officer "got pushed and kicked" while trying to break up the dispute between Lawther and another person, and "pulled the woman out and grabbed her hair and punched her in the stomach a few times."
The officer, who was not named, is on desk duty pending the result of the city's investigation. According to The Gaily Grind, eyewitnesses report that the girl did not assault the officer before he grabbed her.

The repugicans rejoice in the return of Debtor's prisons

by Alan Pyke

A mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail over the weekend while serving a two-day sentence. Eileen DeNino, 55, was put in the cell where she died because she could not pay thousands of dollars in fines relating to her children's truancy from schools in the Reading, PA area.
The cause of DeNino's death is not yet known, but investigators "found no evidence that the death was suspicious," according to the Eagle. She was reportedly on medication for high blood pressure and other health issues. "Prison officials said they issued no medication to DeNino before her death," however.
DeNino had been cited 55 times since 1999, according to the Reading Eagle. On top of the individual fines for truancy, the Pennsylvania courts applied a variety of fees that amplified DeNino's debt. "DiNino's court file shows a laundry list of court fees for one case alone: $8 for a 'judicial computer project'; $60 for Berks County constables; $10 for postage," the Associated Press writes.
The two judges who preside over truancy cases in the county where the DeNinos live expressed regret and frustration over DeNino's death. "She didn't have a job. She was living in a house owned by a family member. She was on welfare. We sat and talked for a long time in my office and I could see that she couldn't pay the fines," Reading District Judge Wally Scott told the Eagle. "I cleared all her cases last year."
District Judge Dean R. Patton sentenced DeNino to 48 hours in jail after she failed to produce documentary evidence of her inability to pay the more than $2,000 in accrued fines and fees. The sentence could have been as long as 45 days of jail time. "I bent over backwards for this woman," Patton told the Eagle, "but I can't just dismiss her cases without justification."
Thousands of people have been jailed over truancy fines in the county since 2000, and two in three of those jailed have been women, according to the AP. But the criminalization of poverty is a much broader national phenomenon, with court costs and fees magnifying the statutory penalties for a variety of minor infractions such that the financial penalty snowballs into an unpayable debt for low-income people.

Grade School Principal Makes Kids Walk For Hours In Baking Heat WITHOUT WATER

Grade School Principal Makes Kids Walk For Hours In Baking Heat WITHOUT WATER
The principal at a North Carolina elementary school principal is in hot water after parents say she forced a bunch of students outside to trudge around a dirt track for over two hours without hydration because they failed to wear their uniforms on the last day of school.
The incident happened on Tuesday at Manchester Elementary School just outside Fayetteville, N.C., reports The Fayetteville Observer.
The principal is Tammy Holland.
Complaining parents say the trouble began when their kids showed up at school in regular garb instead of khakis and white polo shirts.
The principal’s response, peeved parents allege, was to order the offending kids outside to schlep around a dirt trail on the Manchester Elementary campus.
The temperature was in the high 70s when the slog started and in the high 80s when it finally ended over two hours later. The high humidity made the air seem hotter.
Later in the day, the temperature would climb into the mid 90s.
Parents say the kids had to continue walking until they showed up with their uniforms or just took them home.
Throughout the punishment, parents said, Holland didn’t allow the kids inside. She forbade teachers from giving them water.
Parent Laquitta Lockhart said her fifth-grade daughter wore a pink shirt, a vest and jeans on the last day of school.
At some point in the morning, Lockhart explained, she got a call from an administrator telling her to bring her daughter’s uniform to school. She did, she said, but she wasn’t in any hurry because she was unaware of her daughter’s plight.
“When I got out there, they had stopped under the tree because it was so hot,” the mad mom told the Observer. “It would break your heart.”
She found her daughter among about 10 other kids — exhausted and perspiring in the heat.
“I said, ‘Why are you so hot?’”
Her daughter explained that she had “been walking since 7:50.”
Lockhart immediately called the school district, and district officials finally intervened to put an end to the 2014 Manchester Elementary trail of tears.
Another parent told the paper that Manchester Elementary fifth graders had worn regular clothes on the last day of school last year. Holland, who is new to the school this year, had instituted a rule against such dress-code violations. However, the parent said, the school failed to communicate the new rule sufficiently.
School district officials are now investigating the allegations, according to district superintendent Frank Till Jr.
“If there’s an issue, then the issue needs to be dealt with,” Till told the Observer.
The superintendent also noted that forced physical activity is illegal under school district rules.
The last time Fayetteville-area schools made national news, former middle school principal David Ellis Edwards was arrested for allegedly touching three students inappropriately or forcing them to engage in sex acts. The students were all male and between 11 and 14 years old. A parent of one of the boys was sitting in a waiting area near Edwards’s office as one of the alleged incidents happened.

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Computers and the Fate of Indigenous Peoples

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The Story Of Betty Boop
Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick. She originally appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising.
Here's a look at the origins of some of the earliest and most controversial cartoon 'superstars.' Boop-Oop-A-Doop!

Let's 'Go!'

Ancient Chinese Game Boards
The board game 'Go' is truly fascinating. Not only did it appear in the mists of time (more than 2,500 years ago), the rules of it are deceptively simple and the terminology of the game is epic and profound in scope - but also it is a game without a set ending - it will continue for as long as your opponent is willing to fight and not throws down the towel.


The Preserved Ruins Of An Earthquake Destroyed Town
Beichuan is a town located north of the provincial capital of Chengdu, in China, in a valley well-known for the Longmen or Dragon Gate seismic fault. In May 12, 2008, the town was ravaged to the ground by a devastating earthquake that rocked the region and reduced large swathes of Sichuan province to a hellish jumble of concrete and limbs.
After the earthquake shattered the town, the government was faced with the insurmountable task of cleaning up the place and providing shelter to those displaced. With more than 80% of the buildings in Beichaun leveled to the ground, this was proving to be a logistical challenge. It was decided that Beichuan would never be rebuilt, or even excavated, but would remain in its current state as a memorial.




The ocean is acidifying 10 times more rapidly than during a major period of global warming.
New evidence implicates one of Earth's biggest impact craters in a mass extinction that occurred 33.7 million years ago.
Runaway icebergs are bashing into Antarctica's shores, leading to dramatic population losses of the tough species trying to exist in the region.

Early signs point to a strong, disruptive El Niño

Whales and fish are showing up in odd places, nesting pelicans are in dire straits, and experts are increasingly convinced that this will be a significant event

El Niño
Yellowfin tuna are being caught far north of their typical range this season.
A developing El Niño in the equatorial Pacific has generated the usual predictions of drastic weather changes—some devastating, some beneficial—throughout the world.
There’s a 90 percent probability that an El Niño will form, according to some experts. That’s up considerably from previous predictions, but the main question at this point is whether this will be moderate El Niño or, more likely, a powerful warm-water event such as those in the early 1980s and late ’90s.
(El Niño is characterized by unusually warm sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, whereas a La Niña is characterized by unusually cold temperatures. Strong El Niños typically alter weather patterns and can cause severe flooding in some areas, and droughts in others.)
The extent of El Niño’s strength won’t be known until late summer or fall. But based on several interesting signals, in the form of mammals, birds, and fish showing up where they don’t typically belong, it’s looking as though this El Niño is going to be a very powerful event.
El Niño
Bryde’s whale mom and calf swim off Huntington Beach, California, in an extremely rare sighting
Earlier this week two Bryde’s whales, a mother and calf, were photographed during two voyages on the same day off Huntington Beach, California, by researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger.
Bryde’s whales, which measure to about 45 feet, are fairly common in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Sightings off California, however, are extremely rare.
Schulman-Janiger said that during NOAA surveys off California between 1991 and 2005, there was only one confirmed sighting of Bryde’s whales, which are also referred to as “tropical whales” because they prefer a warm environment.
El Niño
Mahi-mahi, such as this one, are already being encountered just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Less than a week earlier, a large pod of pilot whales showed off Dana Point on the Orange County coast. Pilot whales are found around the world, including off Mexico, but it had been nearly 20 years since they were last spotted off Southern California.
In late March, false killer whales, another ultra-rare visitor from warmer waters, thrilled whale watchers off Orange County.
Marine creatures showing in odd places often portends strange happenings in their environment.
El Niño
Pilot whales, which had not been seen off California in almost 20 years, were spotted off Dana Point on June 7.
Fishermen are seeing signs, also. Anglers out of San Diego, on short excursions into Mexican waters, began catching yellowfin tuna in May. That’s unprecedented, according to some, as this sub-tropical species typically doesn’t show that far north until late summer, if at all.
During the El Niño in 1983 to 1984 and 1997 to 1998, however, yellowfin tuna migrated north early and, during the summer, were caught well into U.S. waters. (The 1997-98 El Niño generated heavy rainfall throughout California during the winter, and prolonged periods of rough seas exacted a heavy toll on sea lions and other mammals. Sub-tropical fish species were biting as far north as Oregon.)
“We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” Tim Barnett, marine research emeritus with the San Diego-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told KPBS. “The first yellowfin tuna was caught in May—that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection.
“And the other thing too is the first dorado (mahi-mahi)—first of June. That has never happened before. They really like the warm water and you normally don’t see them here until September.”
El Niño
California brown pelicans, such as these two off Cabo San Lucas, are having a tough time in the Sea of Cortez, perhaps because of unseasonably warm water and a diminished bait fish supply.
Barnett said the 1997 to 1998 El Niño, the biggest in a century, caused a northward shift of the entire fishery population, and he predicts a similar event is developing.
Water temperatures are unseasonably warm in some areas off Southern California, but only by a couple of degrees. Temperatures are significantly warmer than usual, however, off parts of western Mexico, including the Sea of Cortez.
This not only drives fish populations and some mammals beyond their typical range, but it causes shifts in bait fish populations.
This appears to have seriously affected California brown pelicans, about 90 percent of which breed and rear young in the Sea of Cortez.
Researchers recently discovered that the 2014 breeding season was so poor that one scientist referred to it as “a bust.”
El Niño
False killer whales off Dana Point in late March, in a very rare sighting\
Sam Anderson, a UC Davis biologist and part of a survey team that visited traditional nesting sites, told ABC News that where they would typically encounter tens of thousands of breeding pairs of pelicans, there were only sparse numbers. Some nesting sites were alarmingly deserted.
“That’s what we call a failure, a bust. The bottom dropped out,” Anderson said.
Mark Rayor, who runs Jen-Wren Sportfishing in the Sea of Cortez, in Baja California’s East Cape region, said sardines and other types of bait fish are largely absent.
Rayor has logged water temperatures as high as 86 degrees, which is more typical of late July or August. He said blue marlin and sailfish, which generally begin to arrive in early August, are already showing in the offshore blue water. (Above NOAA chart shows where sea-surface temperatures are abnormally warm in portions of the Pacific.)
Anderson, however, was reluctant to place all of the blame for the pelicans’ plight on the developing El Niño.
“During most El Niño events we’ve seen, numbers of nesting attempts drop by at least half to two-thirds, and production goes down, too. But it drops from thousands to hundreds, not 10 or less.”
Whether El Niño is to blame or not, however, a powerful El Nino appears imminent, and the marine environment, on this side of the equator anyway, is already somewhat off-kilter.
And these are just some of the early messengers of change; they probably won’t be the last.

Charon's Cracks

Cracks in Pluto’s Moon Could Indicate it Once Had an Underground Ocean

If the icy surface of Pluto’s giant moon Charon is […]

A Sea Of Orange Happiness

The California Poppy Reserve
Fifteen miles west of the city of Lancaster, in Los Angeles County, California is Antelope Valley, a dry and somewhat desolate looking place - it is after all the western tip of the Mojave Desert. Yet depending on the rainfall, between mid-February through mid-May something quite extraordinary happens.
This otherwise bleak wilderness springs in to life and Californian poppies bloom in their millions. The landscape becomes awash with vivid yellows and vibrant oranges. It is a fantastic hidden treasure of California. 

Tectonic Speeding

New study challenges the idea that the rate of plate movement remains stable.

Daily Comic Relief


The fireflies that hunt other fireflies

4663355926_a6626b5668_zMale fireflies of the species Photinus carolinis light up the night in search of mates. But someone is watching. And I don't mean humans or female P. carolinis.
Instead, writes Jason Bittel, the females of a different firefly species have their eye on the P. carolinis males. And this is not good news for the boys.
“These fireflies flash the wrong signal and pretend like they’re a female Photinus carolinis,” said Rebecca Nichols, an entomologist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “The male will come down thinking he’s going to mate, and then the Photuris will grab him and eat him.”

Swimming Hippos

More than a million years ago, hippopotamuses paddled across a shallow pool in the region that's now northern Kenya, occasionally scraping their feet on the sandy bottom.

The Da Vinci Princess and the Fly

Found in the sarcophagus of a Renaissance princess, a black soldier fly raises new questions about the insect's path from America to Europe.

The Frogs That Carry Their Tadpoles On Their Backs

You are probably well aware of the life cycle of most frogs. They lay their eggs in water and when the tadpoles hatch, they are on their own with no parental intervention. The lucky few will develop through this larval stage in to frogs.
Yet there are a few South American species, such as the Mimic poison frog which do things a little differently. They carry their tadpoles about on their backs.

Animal Pictures