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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.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Daily Drift

True that ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play Germany eliminated France 1-0 and Brazil eliminated Colombia 2-1 in play on the twenty-third day of the tourney.

It is sort of a big deal for the guys that is... !
Today is  - Bikini Day
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Byward Market, Chatham, Ottawa, L'ancienne-Lorette and London, Canada
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The Pacific
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Today in History

1776 The Declaration of Independence is first printed by John Dunlop in Philadelphia.
1806 A Spanish army repels the British during their attempt to retake Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1814 U.S. troops under Jacob Brown defeat a superior British force at Chippewa, Canada.
1832 The German government begins curtailing freedom of the press after German Democrats advocate a revolt against Austrian rule.
1839 British naval forces bombard Dingai on Zhoushan Island in China and occupy it.
1863 Federal troops occupy Vicksburg, Mississippi and distribute supplies to the citizens.
1892 Andrew Beard is issued a patent for the rotary engine.
1940 Marshal Henri Petain's Vichy government breaks off diplomatic relations with Great Britain.
1941 German troops reach the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union.
1943 The Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history, begins.
1944 The Japanese garrison on Numfoor, New Guinea, tries to counterattack but is soon beaten back by U.S. forces.
1950 American forces engage the North Koreans for the first time at Osan, South Korea.

Non Sequitur


Jobs return, but low pay remains a problem

Tie guy with empty wallet
When the government’s monthly jobs report comes out, analysts focus mostly on, well, jobs. But it may be time to start focusing on another element of the report that hasn’t been doing as well as the raw employment number: incomes.
Employers have added nearly 1.1 million jobs so far in 2014, averaging a respectable 213,000 per month through May. Analysts expect the tally to rise by another 215,000 or so when the government releases the June numbers on Thursday. All those new jobs have pushed the unemployment rate down from 6.7% to 6.3% so far this year, a welcome bright spot in the so-called recovery.
But other numbers suggest many of those new jobs involve part-time or low-wage work, which is why an improving job market isn’t generating as much new consumer spending as it ought to. “Just because more people are working doesn’t mean conditions overall are improving that much,” says Jeffrey Rosen, chief economist at research firm Briefing.com. “What we haven’t seen is a large pickup in hours and in actual earning levels.”
Ordinary families falling behind
As with other types of data, aggregate numbers on income don’t necessarily reflect the struggles ordinary families are dealing with. Economists often cite aggregate personal income figures as a gauge of consumers’ well-being. By that measure, things are improving — the latest numbers show personal income up 3.5% from year-ago levels.
When adjusted for inflation, taxes, government transfer payments and other factors, disposable income per person is rising by about 1.2%, which means people overall are staying a bit ahead of inflation. But the long-term average is nearly 3%, yet another indication that the whole economy seems to be stuck in low gear. Plus, those numbers might be skewed if high earners are getting big raises while others are stuck in place, which some economists think is happening.
Meanwhile, wage, salary and workweek data published along with the monthly job numbers show a somewhat different story. Average hourly earnings for all employees have risen just 2.1% during the last year, which is roughly the same as inflation. And the average workweek, at 34.5 hours, is the same as it was a year ago. So those numbers show the typical worker isn’t getting ahead at all. Families that are more sensitive to gas and food prices, which have been rising more than average inflation, are more than likely falling behind.
It’s good news that wages have ticked up during the past year, as 2.4 million new workers started earning a paycheck. That has pushed total earnings for all workers up by about 4.2% during the past 12 months, according to calculations by Briefing.com. But that also fails to capture the distribution of income or explain whether the typical family is enjoying more financial stability.
Other numbers suggest the middle class remains under stress. Median household income today is $53,145, according to Sentier Research, which is about 4% lower than it was before the last recession began at the end of 2007. By that measure, incomes have improved a bit from the low point in 2011, but it is still likely to be years before household income regains lost ground. And median household income better reflects the lot of ordinary families, because it accounts for all the workers in a family, including those who may have lost jobs and ended up without a paycheck. It also eliminates distortions that might be caused by a small number of high-income workers pulling up an average.
Various types of data obviously show different things, but economists generally agree that weak job growth and flatlining incomes largely explain a subpar recovery. Other factors contribute: Fewer Americans are taking on debt to fuel spending, for instance, and the typical family still hasn’t regained a lot of the wealth lost in the housing bust. “Unless wages accelerate or consumers decide to dip further into already meager savings, spending is likely to remain subdued,” Ross Koesterich, global chief investment strategist for BlackRock, wrote recently.
More jobs must materialize before typical workers see meaningful hikes in pay, since most employers can still tap a large pool of relatively cheap labor. When workers become a bit more scarce, that’s when pay is likely to rise in earnest. Until then, a steady increase in jobs is likely to be the best news on the economy we’re likely to get. If it keeps up.

Obama Calls Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard to Commend Them for Being Great Role Models

obama phone
President Obama called US Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard on Wednesday to commend them for making their country proud and being great role models during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The President told them, “Well you guys all did us proud, not just by hard you played and how well you did, but you guys just carry yourselves with a lot a class, and it makes people really respect the sport and you guys are really great models for a lot of sports.”
Watch here:
Speaking to Dempsey and Howard the day after the US team lost to Belgium 2-1 extra-time in the round of 16, the President commended them for capturing the country’s imagination, “You guys did great, and as somebody whose first sport was soccer, although I was never that good, to see the way you guys captured the hearts and imagination of the whole country was unbelievable. And obviously, the sport has been growing steadily just because so many kids are playing it at a young age, but this is the first time where I think you really ended up having a whole country focused.”
“Clint, you were fantastic and Tim, I think uh, I don’t know how you’re going to survive the mobs when you come back home, man,” the President deadpanned. We got a peek of Obama’s half smile that ushers in the full Obama grin before he finished, “You’re going to have to shave your beard.”
They expressed a hope that they had made the President proud, so the President assured them, “Well you guys all did us proud, not just by hard you played and how well you did, but you guys just carry yourselves with a lot a class, and it makes people really respect the sport and you guys are really great models for a lot of sports.”
Obama seemed to understand their disappointment, but he buoyed them by saying, “But what you guys accomplished is really really significant and it will make a difference in the country.” He asked them to relay his congratulations to Coach Klinsmann and the entire team on their hard work.
In closing the call, the President said he hoped he would see them at the White House soon, and he still has the jacket they gave him.

Obama Drops a Truth Bomb On The repugican cabal

President Obama laid it out for repugicans. If the repugican cabal doesn’t move to the center, they will never win the presidency again.
Transcript from President Obama’s interview with Marketplace:
Ryssdal: Another culture question — the culture of this town. Your mantra this year has been “pen and phone,” right? “I am going to do whatever it takes with executive order to govern,” basically. And you have done that on immigration, you have done it on the minimum wage for new federal contract workers — all kinds of things. The question, though, is — and I understand your frustration with the repugican majority in the House of Representatives — is that where we are now? That it’s one guy with a pen in this town, who is running the American economy?
President Obama: Well, unfortunately, we have a Congress that’s broken down. And I know that a lot of times people who are watching what’s happening in Washington sort of feel like, “You know, a plague on both their houses. Democrats, repugicans, they’re all the same. None of them care about us.” But the truth is that we have a very specific problem. We have a House of Representatives that is so ideologically driven at this point that they are not able to carry out basic functions of government. So we saw this during the government shutdown. The idea that we would shut down the government based on a notion that we’ve got to drastically cut the basic safety net — despite the fact that the deficit has come down by more than half during my presidency — is not based on common sense, it’s not based on any sound economic theories. It’s based on the ideological predispositions of a handful of folks who are currently calling the shots in the House of Representatives. The same is true, we just recently saw, with immigration reform; we have bipartisan support for immigration reform. We know that the economy would grow faster, that we would end up seeing $1.4 trillion in additional growth in the United States if in fact we passed immigration reform. We know that there are companies across the country, particularly in the high-tech sector, that are begging to have highly skilled immigrants — who we’ve trained, we’ve paid for and are now going back to their home countries to start businesses — stay here in the United States. Despite all that, we still couldn’t get the House of Representatives to act, primarily because of politics, primarily because they’re captive of a small ideological band inside their caucus. And so, I don’t think this is a permanent state of affairs; I think over time the repugican cabal will move back to the center, mainly because if they don’t, they’ll never win the presidency again.
Obama was right. The repugicans have no choice, but to move back to the center. The repugicans haven’t even begun that process. In fact, they have responded for calls to move to the center by moving harder to the right. This isn’t rocket science. Since the Great Recession, the country has been moving more to the left. The repugican cabal has responded to this shift by resisting all change and purging their cabal of anyone who isn’t a lunatic fringe ideologue.
The repugican cabal continues to try to fool voters into supporting their agenda. They like to disguise their extremist agenda with moderate sounding people and language, but voters aren’t buying. Eventually, repugicans are going to get sick of losing presidential elections, and decide to move to the middle. After they move back to the middle, Congress will start functioning and things will get done.
The president laid out the reason why it doesn’t matter who repugicans nominate in 2016. As long as they insist on running to the far right in a center-left country, Democrats will remain in the White House.

All The Single Ladies

Female Voting Power and The Looming Extinction of The repugican cabal
Beyoncé aas Rosie the Riveter
Democrats are wooing single women — a rising power of a voting bloc, while repugicans spit in their face.
While repugicans at Faux insult single women by calling them “Beyoncé voters” who depend on the government, Democrats embrace them. Specifically all the single ladies out there — a growing and powerful new voting bloc, who tend to vote for Democrats. They’re even calling their new get out the vote push ROSIE, as in Rosie the Riveter, Re-engaging our Sisters in Elections. (Yes, Beyoncé has paid homage to Rosie.)
DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward explained ROSIE to NPR’s Mara Liasson in May, “We can identify a voter by their marital status and then match that to a turnout model that helps us identify those unmarried women who when they vote they will vote for Democrats, but are not likely to vote this cycle. We want to go after those voters and start a conversation with them about how this election has a stake in their lives and why they should care about it.” And now, post Hobby Lobby, Democrats have quite the calling card.
Jackie Calmes broke down the numbers in the New York Times Wednesday morning:
Half of all adult women over the age of 18 are unmarried — 56 million, up from 45 million in 2000 — and now account for one in four people of voting age. (Adult Hispanics eligible to vote, a group that gets more attention, number 25 million this year.) Single women have become Democrats’ most reliable supporters, behind African-Americans: In 2012, two-thirds of single women who voted supported President Obama. Among married women, a slim majority supported Mitt Romney.
She points out that the Democratic party isn’t asleep at the wheel. They’re wide awake and they’re wooing these voters:
Democrats and allied groups say they are wooing single women — young and old, highly educated and working class, never married and divorced or widowed — with unmatched ardor. They have seized on this week’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, five men, that family-owned corporations do not have to provide birth control in their insurance coverage, to add to their arguments that the Democrats, not the repugicans, represent the interests of women.
Democrats will be using the historical repugican assault on women’s rights (the legislation pushed by repugicans since the 2010 midterms is enough to make thinking people despair for their country) to motivate women to the polls.
This growing and powerful voting bloc is why we wrote that the Supreme Court (and the repugican cabal) would be sorry about Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision. Just to seal the deal, the Court even took repugicans’ one talking point away from them, by clarifying that they did indeed intend their ruling to be taken broadly. That translates to all forms of birth control that an employer can decide they don’t want to offer women in their healthcare insurance, because they have feelings about women using contraception. These feelings rarely seem to translate into any sense at all, leaving these folks making an argument against all contraception just so that they can get Obama. They call this position anti-abortion (aka, in their inaccurate parlance, “anti-choice”), but of course it’s the opposite, since contraception is the single best way to reduce abortions.
As recent elections have shown, this bloc doesn’t turn out for midterms but they make a difference in presidential elections. However, they made a huge difference in Virginia after the repugican cabal turned off even repugican women by running what was then seen as an extremist — but is now the norm — misogynistic, woman-hater candidate who thinks he knows a lot more about a woman’s body than he does.
But the Supreme Court just gave Democrats a way to mobilize this voting bloc that doesn’t usually turn out in midterm elections. The court handed it to Democrats on a silver platter. The wingnuts on the court might be agitators, but they aren’t the brightest agitators going. Maybe they’re being instructed by Karl Rove, and we all know thug is out.
Since single women are on the rise, repugicans have gone out of their way to demonstrate their contempt for single women. Instead of trying to woo single women, repugicans choose to try to control them via shame, as if they have no idea what decade it is.
Women hold tremendous power in their hands; they can force their needs and the needs of their children to be heard – but first, they have to vote. In every election.
Five men who couldn’t find their way around a female body or science or medicine to save themselves — obviously, or they would know that contraception is often used for medical purposes — just made a decision to spit in the face of all women who have ever used contraception. They shouldn’t have the power to make decisions about issues they clearly do not understand. A Democratic Congress could pass new legislation to protect women from the wingnut SCOTUS.
The repugicans have gone out of their way to shame women for needing contraception; their newest talking point is that birth control is only nine dollars, so get off your lazy slut butts and pay for it yourselves. (repugican civility is at a low point, or what one hopes is their low point.) It’s as if they want a teeny, tiny tent.
In the meantime, the Democratic Party is putting a ring on it.

Hobby Lobby Wasn’t Enough For wingnuts Who Want To Rewrite The Constitution

In fact, there is a desire among many wingnuts to hold a new Constitutional Convention to craft a new document that adheres strictly to their warped vision…
Devotion is an overwhelming feeling of strong love, or loyalty, to a cause or person that is not unlike religious fervor. If one listens to repugicans, teabaggers, the religio-wingnuts, and wingnuts in general, their devotion to the U.S. Constitution is second only to their devotion to their religion they conflate with the nation’s founding document and law of the land. However, their so-called devotion is not to the Constitution either in principle or its current form, but to a minority of its parts based on their beliefs and policies that are decidedly contrary to most of the document they claim sole ownership of.
Many wingnuts are adamantly opposed to most of the Constitution’s amendments, and even those they hold near and dear to their hearts depend on their distorted interpretation including those in the Bill of Rights they would amend tomorrow if they were able. In fact, there is a desire among many wingnuts to hold a new Constitutional Convention to craft a new document that adheres strictly to their vision of a nation the Founding Fathers never intended. Even if they are not advocating a new Constitution, they demand the nation return to the original intent of the Constitution’s framers and therein lies their opposition to most of the Constitution’s Amendments.
There was never a better example of conservative’s demand to return to 1787, and the original intent in the Constitution, than Rick Santorum parroting a yearning many repugicans espouse. On C-SPAN last Sunday, Santorum said that the Founding Fathers were right when they limited voting rights during the creation of the United States for the sake of continuity. “You could say that’s horrible, that’s terrible. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But it was consistent with the values the government was founded upon.” It is also the desire of many conservatives today to return to 1787 when voting was limited to only adult white men with property with the 21st Century proviso that property-holding white men adhere to the christian religion.
There are many repugicans today that regret women, people of color, and young adults (over 18) were granted equal rights and the ability to vote. Several Southern states enacted voter suppression laws specifically targeting young adults, people of color, and women. Subsequently, the Constitutional Amendments giving women, African Americans, and young people voting rights (Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth) would be eliminated if wingnuts had their way primarily because they do not support repugicans.
Wingnuts also oppose Constitutional amendments besides those dealing with voting rights such as the 17th that allowed the people to directly elect Senate representatives, and the 16th giving the federal government authority to levy income taxes to operate the government.
Most of the wingnut opposition to constitutional amendments are those enacted after the Civil War, and there are still racists in America who regret the 13th Amendment freeing the slaves was ratified and became the law of the land. It is unbelievable, but there is a reason one hears various evangelicals and wingnuts state openly that African slaves were happier and lived a quality life as indentured servants, and it is likely they would abolish the 13th amendment today if they were allowed to give African Americans “a happy existence.”
Of all the Amendments enacted after the Civil War, it is the 14th Amendment conservatives hate above all others because it provided citizenship to persons born in America, due process rights to all citizens, and equal protection under the law fulfilling the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that “all (men) are created equal.” According to the preponderance of 21st Century wingnuts and religio-wingnut’s beliefs, all Americans do not deserve equal protection under the law or the right to due process protections. While conservatives are at it, they would eliminate the 9th Amendment because the Framers understood their were other rights not specifically enumerated in the original Document that would have to be addressed that led to subsequent amendments to ensure all Americans enjoyed equal rights.
As the nation observed over the past four years, wingnuts seek to deny women equal protection and due process rights to decide their own reproductive health, prevent gays from marrying the person they love, and eliminate Americans’ equal protection from predatory religious imposition. In fact, it is the 14th Amendment’s provision(s) that racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and especially evangelical christians appeal to the courts for authority to violate the rights of Americans unwilling to conform to the religio-wingnut and wingnut vision of America.
The Bill of Rights’ Amendments would not be spared wingnut’s axe in the vision of “their” America, particularly the 1st Amendment. Freedom of speech was attacked by repugican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who sued an organization for exercising free speech and it was frankly surprising a court found that Jindal’s lawsuit was an attempt to restrict free speech. The wingnut Supreme Court distorted the freedom of speech clause by granting free speech rights to corporations to buy elections, and anti-choice protestors to interfere with women seeking medical care. Of course, it has just been three days since Americans witnessed the High Court strike down half the populations’ freedom from establishment of religion in its Hobby Lobby ruling. The religio-wingnuts have sought to use the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause to impose religion on the population for thirty years and the High Court gave them the assist they needed to achieve their goal.
The Amendment’s are not the only parts of the Constitution wingnuts despise; they would eliminate Article VI, paragraph 3 and impose a religious test all candidates would have to pass in order to hold public office. There are at least seven states that prohibit American citizens from holding public office if they deny the existence of god, and religio-wingnut agitators support the theocratic notion that only christians are worthy of holding public office. State’s rights advocates would certainly abolish the Supremacy Clause that establishes that the federal constitution, and federal laws, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitutions.
The list of Constitutional amendments and articles repugicans and their wingnut cohort oppose, and would abolish by legislative fiat or outright eliminate in devising a new Constitution, belies their so-called adoration and devotion to the document; whether it is the original version ratified in 1789 or the current amended Constitution. It is safe to say that a new wingnut Constitution would include an establishment of religion, guns everywhere, and state’s supremacy over the federal government and little, if anything, else.
The repugicans and their assorted allies claim they love the Constitution and demand a return to its original intent, but their assertion belies every policy, stated agenda, and phony devotion they claim to a document they hate as much as this nation’s waning democracy. If they had the authority, wingnuts would shred and then burn the Constitution with extreme prejudice and rewrite it with input and express consent of corporations and the religio-wingnuts (the wingnut Supreme Court).

Bowe Bregdhal is not what winguts want you to believe

The U.S. Army announced today that they "have no reason to believe" that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was involved in any misconduct during his five years in captivity. Soldiers who had served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan had accused him of supplying information to the Taliban. Bergdahl remains in outpatient care in Texas.

Nazi "Perfect Aryan" Poster Child Was Jewish

Taft was born to Latvian Jewish parents who moved to Germany in 1928 to pursue musical careers. In 1935, her mother took her to a photographer to get pictures. A few months later, the mother was shocked to see Hessy's picture on the cover of a major Nazi magazine.
Hessy's mother confronted the photographer and demanded an explanation. The photographer, Hans Ballin, explained that he had deliberately submitted a photo of a Jewish baby to a Nazi photography contest that searched for the most beautiful Aryan baby. The Telegraph explains:
“I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” the photographer told her.
He succeeded: the picture won the contest, and was believed to have been chosen personally by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
Frightened she would be recognised on the streets and questions asked about her identity, Prof Taft’s parents kept her at home.
Her photograph appeared on widely available Nazi postcards, where she was recognised by an aunt in distant Memel, now part of Lithuania. But the Nazis never discovered Prof Taft’s true identity.
The family fled Germany in 1938. They went to Latvia, then France, then Cuba, and then the United States, where they settled. Taft, now 80, is a professor of chemistry in New York City.

Colorado's booming legal weed economy

It's not just the $10M in taxes the state's earned in four months -- it's also the $12-40M in law enforcement savings from not busting and imprisoning pot smokers.
And then there's the huge economic dead-weight losses averted by not turning productive working people into felons and destroying their families by putting them in jail. Pot related arrests -- the major source of drug busts -- are down 50%. Murders are down more than 50%.
The governor (who opposed legalization) is projecting $134M in tax revenue next year.

Tricking Your Senses

Do you trust your senses? It turns out they can be totally fooled -- with the proper tools. 

Common Fear

Is something sneaking up on you? It doesn't even have to be sneaking, for us to be afraid of it. Turns out humans have closeness issues. Tara reports. 

Health News

With the amount of sugar in soft drinks, does it make any sense to try to curb their consumption with a tax? Laci looks into the issue.
A sunburn or tan is the obvious result of skin exposure to sun, but how exactly does the sun cause less visible changes to our skin? 



America's Vanishing Historic Movie Theaters

During the golden age of Hollywood, the excitement of going to the movies wasn't only about seeing the stars on screen. It also meant spending time at the neighborhood movie theater, an architecturally ornate center of the community's social life.
Photographer Stefanie Klavens has long been interested in 20th-century American popular culture and has created a photographic series of iconic movie palaces titled 'Celluloid Dreams.'

The Norwegian Town Whose Name Is One Letter Long

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales is the town with the longest name. 
But what about the world's shortest place name?
It's hard to get much shorter than the Norwegian town of Å.

Taj Mahal Summer Palace

Excavations in a garden near the Taj Mahal have revealed the remains of a summer palace.  

How Railroad Tourism Created The Craze For Traditional Native American Baskets

It turns out that Native American baskets which are the most prized today were made for the tourist and collector market, which flourished between 1890 and 1930 - from the years when the railroad first brought carloads of tourists and fortune seekers West, to the Great Depression, which essentially killed the market.
Recently Collectors Weekly spoke to John Kania and Alan Blaugrund in order to write an article about these beautiful pieces. They have just written a comprehensive book on the subject, with a focus on how to identify baskets based on their materials and construction techniques.

Thor's Hammer

An inscription on a 1,000-year-old amulet confirms that small Viking charms do represent Thor's hammer.

Denisovans in Tibet

Denisovans, a prehistoric species of human, passed beneficial DNA to Tibetans, who then helped push Denisovans to extinction.

El Nino

El Niño is back, scientists say. So get set for some freaky stuff to happen around the world this summer and fall.

Discover The Unknown In Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory

Nestled away in the wooded outskirts of Arecibo in Puerto Rico sits a gigantic, man-made crater. It's not actually a crater, but a radio telescope called Arecibo Observatory built in the sixties by Cornell University in collaboration with the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory.
Unlike optical telescopes which gather images using visible light waves, radio telescopes use low frequency radio waves and the telescope needs to be tucked away in the woods so that it doesn't receive interference from nearby radio and television signals. Puerto Rico was chosen as the location of the observatory because it is near the equator, allowing maximum ability to study celestial bodies.

Daily Comic Relief


Men swam through flood waters to save stranded fox cub

Two meters of water didn't stop a couple of men from Saskatchewan, Canada, swimming through a field to save a stranded fox cub. Colin Graham lives near the village of Welwyn, about 250 kilometers east of Regina, which was hit hard with rain on the weekend. Some areas got 100 to 200 millimeters.

"All of our crops here are under a lake pretty much," Graham said. Since this spring, Graham has been watching a family of foxes on his property. "[They] have been sitting out on this rock pile near our house for all spring," he said. "My sister wondered what happened to the foxes, so we drove out there and there was just one rock sticking out of the top of the water."
On top of that rock, Graham noticed one young fox stranded on what he estimated was about eight feet of water. "One guy I was with, Jordan Olson, suggested that we should probably just go out there and swim and get it," Graham said. While the fox stranded on the rock pile was probably about 75 metres away, Graham and Olson dived in rescue the animal.
"When I first got there, he had a little bit of energy and he bailed off the rock and into the water and tried to swim away," Graham said. "But I was able to catch up to him." Graham said the fox was not a lot bigger than a kitten. "We put it in the back of my truck and our house is right close there so we took it home, dried it off, and got it warmed up," he said. "Then we were driving later and we saw the mother out there so we took him back. They're reunited," Graham added, laughing. "I saw them running around the other day."

Chicken rescued after being found wandering outside KFC restaurant

A chicken has been rescued after being found wandering outside a KFC restaurant in Clackmannanshire. The ISA Brown chicken was discovered roaming around on Clackmannan Road in Alloa on Monday.
The bird, who has been named Peggy, is now in the care of the Scottish SPCA's Edinburgh and Lothians animal rescue and re-homing center. Kirsty McQuade, animal rescue officer, said: "Peggy is missing a lot of feathers and isn't in great condition.
"At this stage we don't know how she came to be there. She could have strayed from home but we also have to consider that she may have been abandoned. Clackmannan Road is very busy and Peggy could easily have been run over, so we're really glad she was rescued.
"Anyone who can help us with our inquiries should get in touch as soon as possible. We'll look after Peggy and find her a loving new owner if she can't be returned home. Anyone with information is being asked to contact the SPCA."
The jokes just write themselves sometimes so take it away ...

Seeing Eye Dogs Don't Know That Their Humans Are Blind

What do dogs think about? I look at my own dog and wonder that. I'm especially curious what he dreams about, which he does, loudly and often. What is inside a dog's mind?
This is an especially important question for people who train guide dogs. A better understanding of dog perceptions can improve training.
For example, can a guide dog who helps a blind person understand that the human cannot see? Anthropologist F. Gaunet studied the expressions of guide dogs and non-guide dogs when they want food from their humans.
He determined that both kinds of dogs try to give visual cues to humans that they're hungry. Guide dogs, however, also learned to give auditory cues, such as smacking their lips loudly, to communicate with people. Here's a selection from an abstract of a journal article that Gaunet published on the subject:
A novel audible behaviour was observed: dogs licked their mouths sonorously. Data analyses showed that the guide dogs performed this behaviour longer and more frequently than the pet dogs; seven of the nine guide dogs and two of the nine pet dogs displayed this behaviour. However, gazing at the container where the food was and gazing at the owner (with or without sonorous mouth licking), gaze alternation between the container and the owner, vocalisation and contact with the owner did not differ between groups. Together, the results suggest that there is no overall distinction between guide and pet dogs in exploratory, learning and motivational behaviours and in their understanding of their owner’s attentional state, i.e. guide dogs do not understand that their owner cannot see (them). However, results show that guide dogs are subject to incidental learning and suggest that they supplemented their way to trigger their owners’ attention with a new distal cue.

Newfound Wasp Literally Has Skeletons in Its Closet

Newfound Wasp Literally Has Skeletons in Its Closet
Nests of the bone-house wasp D. ossarium are closed by an outermost vestibular cell filled with dead …
A newly discovered wasp has been keeping a gruesome secret: It stuffs ant corpses into the walls of its home.
As far as scientists know, the behavior is unique in the animal kingdom. The new creature has been named Deuteragenia ossarium, or the "bone-house wasp," after the historical ossuaries piled high with human skeletons found in monasteries or graveyards.
"It was a totally unexpected discovery," said Michael Staab, a researcher at the University of Freiburg in Germany.
Skeletons in the closet
Staab had been studying the homemaking habits of cavity-nesting wasps in eastern China, and he and his colleagues had set up trap nests in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, a subtropical evergreen forest in the Yangtze River Basin that's home to steep cliffs and animals like clouded leopards and Asian black bears.
Cavity-nesting wasps may live in self-made holes or pre-existing tunnels in plants or pieces of wood. These cavities typically contain several brood cells — the wasp equivalent of a single hexagon in a beeswax comb — which are separated by thin walls made of bits of plant, resin or soil. Scientists have even found bits of insects in the mix.
A typical nest of the bone-house wasp D. ossarium containing four brood cells with a pupae each.
But when Staab's team collected the trap nests, they found something unusual: In 73 of the nests, the researchers discovered an outer cell packed with the whole bodies of dead ants. The species behind the corpse houses was a spider-hunting wasp previously unknown to science. The findings were detailed today (July 2) in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
A smelly shield
Staab said he was puzzled by the discovery until he considered the location of the carcass-filled cells. The dead ants were always found in an outer vestibular cell, a chamber built by a female wasp to close the nest after she lays eggs.
Wasp architects may favor dead ants as a building material because of the way their carcasses smell, Staab and his team suspect. Scents on the ants' bodies, even in death, might offer camouflage or protection from predators — a red flag to stay away — as many ants are fierce defenders of their nests, the researchers wrote. The ant most commonly found in walls of wasp homes was Pachycondyla astuta, an aggressive ant species with a mean sting that's abundant in the region.
Because the brood cells are where the wasps' larvae live, this strategy may help ensure the survival of their young.
Staab said he and his colleagues never directly observed the wasps building one of their bone houses, nor did they see the wasps kill ants to turn them into "bricks."
"However, due to the very good condition of all ant specimens in the ant chambers, we assume that the wasp must actively hunt the ants and not collect dead ants from the refuse piles of ant colonies," Staab told Live Science in an email.
Other wasps — especially parasitic ones — resort to similarly grisly measures to protect their offspring. The parasitic wasp Dinocampus coccinellae, for example, hijacks ladybug bodies, turning its victims into zombie slaves that keep predators away from its larvae. And elsewhere in the animal world, other creatures — even snakes — have taken advantage of the bad reputation of ants to survive. A 2009 study in the journal Insectes Sociaux described how banded cat-eyed snakes lay their eggs in the fungus-filled chambers of aggressive leaf-cutter ants to keep their reptilian babies safe before they hatch.

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