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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, August 2, 2014

The Daily Drift

Ain't that the truth ..!
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Today in History

216 BC   Hannibal Barca wins his greatest victory over the Romans at Cannae. After avidly studying the tactics of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus eventually bested his Carthaginian adversary.
47 BC   Caesar defeats Pharnaces at Zela in Syria and declares, "veni, vidi, vici," (I came, I saw, I conquered).
1552   The treaty of Passau gives religious freedom to Protestants living in Germany.
1553   An invading French army is destroyed at the Battle of Marciano in Italy by an imperial army.
1589   During France's religious war, a fanatical monk stabs King Henry II to death.
1776   The Continental Congress, having decided unanimously to make the Declaration of Independence, affixes the signatures of the other delegates to the document.
1790   The first US census begins enumerating the population.
1802   Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed "Consul for Life" by the French Senate after a plebiscite from the French people.
1819   The first parachute jump from a balloon is made by Charles Guille in New York City.
1832   Troops under General Henry Atkinson massacre Sauk Indian men, women and children who are followers of Black Hawk at the Bad Axe River in Wisconsin. Black Hawk himself finally surrenders three weeks later, bringing the Black Hawk War to an end.
1847   William A. Leidesdorff launches the first steam boat in San Francisco Bay.
1862   Union General John Pope captures Orange Court House, Virginia.
1862   The Army Ambulance Corps is established by Maj. Gen. George McClellan.
1876   Wild Bill Hickok is shot while playing poker.
1914   Germany invades Luxembourg.
1918   A British force lands in Archangel, Russia, to support White Russian opposition to the Bolsheviks.
1923   Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes president upon the death of Warren G. Harding.
1934   German President Paul von Hindenburg dies and Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor.
1943   Lt. John F. Kennedy, towing an injured sailor, swims to a small island in the Solomon Islands. The night before, his boat, PT-109, had been split in half by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri.
1950   The U.S. First Provisional Marine Brigade arrives in Korea from the United States.
1964   U.S. destroyer Maddoxis reportedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats.
1965   Newsman Morley Safer films the destruction of a Vietnamese village by U.S. Marines.
1990   Iraqi forces invade neighboring Kuwait.
1997   Author William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), considered the godfather of the "Beat Generation" in American literature, dies at age 83.

Non Sequitur


Editorial Comment

As our regular readers know we have just switched over to an afternoon/evening post time for Carolina Naturally - somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-ish.
You may also have noted we shortened the blog to 20 items in lieu of the 30 we had been posting each day ... those time constraints of being a 'working man' and all.
We have decided to keep the 30 item format for the weekends though (the time constraints are a bit looser then as you know).
Weekend publishing time is more fluid as well, although we will try to keep it as close to 5-ish as possible.
Thank you for reading Carolina Naturally. Enjoy.

Our Neighbor, Mr. Rogers

Frederick Rogers (1928-2003) was an American educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, author, and television host. Rogers was most famous for creating and hosting Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality and directness to his audiences.
You may like it when clowns throw pies and slap each other in the face, but Fred Rogers was appalled. He thought TV could have a lot more to offer than pie fights and other silliness. So he moved to New York and got a job at NBC, working first as an associate producer and later as a director.

Random Photos

Hobby Lobby Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy

Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law.When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant.
Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits.
“They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” she says.
Her allegations—as well as those brought by other former Hobby Lobby employees—call into question the company’s public claims when it comes to protecting life and operating its business with Christian values. Additionally, they highlight a practice by which Hobby Lobby prevents its employees from seeking justice through the courts.
In a phone interview, Allen, now 32, said she was stunned when her supervisor at the Hobby Lobby store in Flowood, Mississippi, told her she would be terminated for taking unpaid time off to have her baby.
Felicia AllenAllen had been hired as a part-time cashier in late July 2010. Shortly after starting the job, she learned she was four months’ pregnant with her third child. Because she had not been working for very long, Allen did not qualify for leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which is what she said the Oklahoma City-based chain offers for maternity leave. Nervous, Allen went to her supervisor.
“I asked her would I lose my job due to me being four months and only having five months before I have my child. She told me ‘no,’” Allen said. “I felt like everything was OK. I had talked to my boss, and she let me know that everything would be OK. I would still have my job.”
But five months later, when the time came to take her leave of absence, Allen says her supervisor told her she would be terminated but could reapply later on. She says she tried to come back to work three weeks after her child was born, to no avail.
“I was like, I can’t get fired,” Allen recalls. “She can’t terminate me because I have to go have my child. I started asking everybody on the job, ‘Can they do this?’ And even the assistant manager who had just got hired [said,] ‘No, that’s not right.’”
Hobby Lobby did not respond to multiple requests to tell its side of the story or to answer questions about its maternity leave and other company policies.
When Allen applied for unemployment benefits, she says Hobby Lobby’s corporate office gave the unemployment agency a false version of events, claiming she could have taken off personal leave but chose not to. In the end, Allen says she won her claim for unemployment benefits, but she felt she had been wrongly discriminated based on the fact that she was pregnant. In February 2012 she sued Hobby Lobby, but her lawsuit was swiftly dropped because, like most—if not all—Hobby Lobby employees, Allen had signed away her rights to sue the company.
Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law.
Allen had signed a binding arbitration agreement upon taking the job, though she says she doesn’t remember doing so. The agreement, which all Hobby Lobby employees are required to sign, forces employees to resolve legal disputes outside of court through a process known as arbitration.
Arbitration has many benefits: It is usually vastly cheaper than litigation, and often allows parties to stave off potential reputational damage by settling disputes in private.
Hobby Lobby is in the minority (albeit a growing minority) of corporations that require employees to sign binding arbitration agreements. These agreements are more commonly used by corporations in consumer product agreements.
In recent years, as more companies have favored employment arbitration over litigation, the practice has garnered widespread criticism as being less fair for employees. Companies like Hobby Lobby claim that arbitration is better for both parties because it tends to take less time and money, and usually employers are required to cover employees’ legal fees.
Alex Colvin, a professor of conflict resolution at Cornell University and an expert on employment arbitration, agrees that arbitration tends to be much shorter than litigation, which can drag out for years, but he says the system is unequal and disproportionately favors corporations. In a phone interview, he told RH Reality Check that corporations generally institute an arbitration-only policy out of fear of widespread lawsuits and to keep information on disputes out of the public eye.
“I think it’s an interesting confluence here with Hobby Lobby being in the news with that big case, but if that were an employment case where an employee wanted to make a claim, we would never see that case at the Supreme Court because it would be stayed in arbitration,” Colvin said. “So, ironically, Hobby Lobby gets to go to the Supreme Court because they want to challenge this, but their own employees don’t get to go to court.”
He estimates that approximately 25 percent of corporations have mandatory employment arbitration policies. His 2011 empirical study on employment arbitration outcomes in the United States, published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, found that the employee win rate (approximately 21 percent) and award amounts (median $36,500; mean $109,858) among more than 1,200 arbitration cases decided between 2003 and 2007 were significantly lower than the employee win rate and award amount among employment litigation trials.
Colvin says it’s common for lawyers that generally represent plaintiffs’ claims not to take arbitration cases because they’re harder to win and the awards tend to be smaller than in lawsuits. This rang true for Allen; her lawyers at Watson & Norris PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi, declined to pursue her arbitration case.
To be sure, Felicia Allen is only one among the thousands of employees who have worked for Hobby Lobby since the early 1970s, many of whom have likely worked for the company without issue. And, to be clear, it’s only her side of the story.
According to federal court records, over the years, several employees have filed job discrimination lawsuits against Hobby Lobby claiming age, disability, race, and sex discrimination—which is common for many corporations. But due to the fact that Hobby Lobby avoids lawsuits and the fact that little information about arbitration cases is made public, it’s difficult to evaluate the company’s treatment of its employees beyond its assurances that they are paid above minimum wage and well taken care of.
“christians Are Not Free to Sue Other christians”
One thing that sets apart Hobby Lobby’s arbitration policy from most corporations is its allowance for christian-influenced arbitration. The mutual arbitration agreement Allen signed gives employees the option of choosing to find an arbitrator either through the nonprofit American Arbitration Association (AAA)—the largest dispute-resolution service provider in the United States—or the Institute for christian conciliation (ICC).
The latter is run by a Billings, Montana-based 'nonprofit' cabal called peacemaker ministries and administers “christian conciliation,” which is a form of religious arbitration described on its website as “a process for reconciling people and resolving disputes out of court in a biblical manner.” It’s a type of conflict resolution geared toward cults and christian cabals. (jewish and muslim cabals use similar types of religious arbitration to handle disputes.)
Among the principles that drive the cabal peacemaker ministries is the idea that:
Generally, christians are not free to sue other christians, at least not until they have exhausted the process that jesus sets forth in matthew 18:15-20 and 1 corinthians 6:1-8. god instructs christians to resolve their disputes within the cult itself, with the assistance of other christians if necessary.
Allen, who now has four children and works at Xerox while pursuing an associate’s degree in accounting, says she was never aware that she could pursue arbitration—neither the secular nor the christian kind.
And despite the outwardly christian appearance of the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby and is currently attempting to build a bible museum in the nation’s capital, Allen says she did not witness many acts of christianity at her store or from her corporate managers.
“How can you be christian and lie about something to hinder your employee or don’t want them to come back after they’ve had their baby?” Allen said. “Or you’re taking up for your manager knowing that they had done the wrong thing. I feel like that’s not being christian at all. That’s why I don’t even shop there anymore. I used to shop at that store all the time.”

Louisiana repugican Flees Interview When Asked About Obama's Birthplace

lenar whitney
A repugican congressional candidate fled her interview with a major election-forecasting group after being asked why she believed global warming was a hoax and whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States, according to a new report in The Washington Post.
In the Post, David Wasserman, the House editor at the Cook Political Report, detailed his strange encounter with the "frightening" and "fact-averse" Louisiana State Rep. Lenar Whitney.
Whitney, who is running for Louisiana's open sixth district, gained some prominence in June when she released a campaign video blasting global warming as a "hoax" and the press as "lamestream media." Wasserman said he pressed Whitney on the issue of climate change only to find her unable to answer his questions.
"But it’s not unreasonable to expect candidates to explain how they arrived at their positions, and when I pressed Whitney repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder, she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal, or news source to back up her beliefs," he wrote.
Wasserman said he attempted to "change the subject" and ask whether she believed Obama was born in the United States. Her aides then ended the interview.
"When she replied that it was a matter of some controversy, her two campaign consultants quickly whisked her out of the room, accusing me of conducting a 'Palin-style interview,'" he continued. "It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room."
Whitney could not immediately be reached for comment.
But in typical repugican denial and lying mode she posted this on facebook  last week, after the interview was conducted, in it Whitney slammed the Cook Political Report. "It was obvious, from the onset of the interview, that Wasserman had planned to jump me simply because I am a wingnut Woman and liberal reporters like Dave Wasserman want to destroy us," she wrote.

A wingnut court Upholds Florida Law That Punishes Doctors For Talking About Guns

shutterstock_doctor doc worried Several years ago, the American Medical Association advised doctors to ask their patients about firearms and “educate patients to the dangers of firearms to children” in the name of public health. But doctors in Florida may be suppressed from giving this medical advice, now that a federal appeals court upheld a Florida law that became known as the “physician gag rule” because it punishes doctors for talking about guns.

The ruling could have major implications as policymakers examine gun violence as a public health issue. The National Rifle Association-backed law it upheld imposes severe limits on when doctors can ask their patients about guns or keep records in their patients’ charts about firearm safety. Doctors who are found to have violated the provision risk sanctions or loss of their license.
At least ten medical associations and the American Bar Association argued that the law should be struck down because doctors must be able to discuss safety topics freely in engaging in preventive care.

In an American Bar Association resolution opposing Florida’s law, the organization reasons, “Preventive care through safety counseling is a pillar of modern medicine, and is vitally important to the health and welfare of patients.” Among other public health topics doctors may discuss with adult patients are alcohol and drug use, wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts, and storage of household toxins. Discussions of gun violence, also, may come into play, both for doctors advising parents on keeping their children safe, and psychiatrists concerned about the psychological well-being of their patients. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended that “health professionals and health systems should ask about firearm ownership whenever clinically appropriate in the judgment of the physician.”

The doctor plaintiffs in this case had argued that they have a First Amendment right to discuss these issues with their patients, and a federal trial court agreed, reasoning that the Firearm Owners Privacy Act “chills practitioners’ speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient.”

But a two-judge majority on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed that ruling and upheld the law, concluding that this speech is “professional in nature” and only has an “incidental” impact on free speech. The majority judges — appointees of Nixon and Bush — reason that the law is limited to “harassing” or “unnecessary” speech, so the law shouldn’t limit doctor remarks that are directly related to patients’ health. ...

Suing Obama: repugican cabal-led House gives the go-ahead

Obama Chides House repugican cabal for Pursuing Lawsuit
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit
A sharply divided House approved a repugican scheme Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided the effort as a stunt aimed at tossing political red meat to wingnut voters.
Just a day before lawmakers were to began a five-week summer recess, debate over the proposed lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.
The vote to sue Obama was 225 to 201. Five repugicans voted with Democrats in opposing the lawsuit. No Democrats voted for it.
The repugicans said the legal action, focusing on Obama's implementation of his prized health care overhaul, was designed to prevent a further presidential power grab and his deciding unilaterally how to enforce laws.
"Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?" asked House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
The repugicans also scoffed at Democratic claims that the lawsuit would be a waste of taxpayers' money.
"What price do you place on the continuation of our system of checks and balances? What price do you put on the Constitution of the United States?" said Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan. "My answer to each is 'priceless.'"
However, Democrats said the lawsuit would go nowhere and was designed only to encourage wingnuts to vote in this November's congressional elections. They also warned repeatedly that it could be a precursor of a more drastic repugican cabal effort. Said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.: "The lawsuit is a drumbeat pushing members of the repugican cabal to impeachment."
Congressional lawsuits against presidents are rare. In 2008, a federal judge backed a suit by Democrats who then controlled the House and were trying to force the shrub junta to honor House subpoenas of senior White House officials. Though the House won the first round in court, that decision was under appeal when a settlement was reached and the lawsuit was dropped.
On Wednesday, neither side wasted time in using the fight to mine campaign contributions and line up support for their candidates.
President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, …House Democrats emailed one fundraising solicitation as debate was underway and another moments after the vote, with one saying, "The repugican cabal is chomping at the bit to impeach the president." And White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer emailed supporters, saying, 'This is the least productive Congress in decades. And instead of doing their job, they are suing the president for doing his."
The repugican cabal also went to work. An email called the House vote a "huge step" in curbing Obama and added, "Contribute right now to end Obama's executive overreach by expanding our repugican majority in the House and gaining a majority in the Senate."
Though the vote was almost entirely along party lines, five repugican cabal lawmakers opposed the lawsuit: Reps. Paul Broun of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Steve Stockman of Texas.
Some prominent wingnuts including former repugican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have called for Obama's impeachment, and some House repugican cabal lawmakers have not ruled it out. Boehner has said he has no such plans and has called Democratic impeachment talk a "scam" to raise money.
On the road in Kansas City, Missouri, Obama cast the lawsuit as a "political stunt" and a distraction from the public's priorities.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the incoming House GOP whip, …"Every vote they're taking like that means a vote they're not taking to actually help you," he told his audience. He urged repugicans to "stop just hating all the time."
By suing Obama to demand that he carry out specific provisions of the 2010 health care overhaul, House repugicans would be asking the courts to hold him to the letter of a law that they all opposed and that the House has voted over 50 times to dismantle.
The repugicans have accused Obama of exceeding his powers in a range of areas, saying he has enforced provisions he likes and ignored others.
These include not notifying Congress before releasing five Taliban members from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for captive Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, blocking the deportation of some children who are in the U.S. illegally and waiving some provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., listens to comments by …Democrats say Obama has acted legally and has simply used the authority he has as chief executive.
repugicans have not laid out a timetable for actually filing the suit.
As for its chances of legal success, federal courts are often reluctant to intervene in disputes between the executive and legislative branches. For the suit to survive, the repugican cabal would first have to prove that the House had been injured by Obama's actions. And even if the lawsuit was heard, it is unclear whether it could be decided while Obama was still in office.
Timothy K. Lewis, a former judge in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who was nominated by the shrub's daddy, said that with appeals, it would take at least one-and-a-half to two years for the suit to wind through the federal judicial system.
Obama leaves office in January 2017.
The repugicans have particularly objected that Obama has twice delayed the law's so-called employer mandate. The provision requires companies with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours weekly to offer health care coverage or pay fines, while businesses with fewer than 50 workers are exempt.
The requirement was initially to take effect this year. Now, companies with 50 to 99 employees have until 2016 to comply while bigger companies have until next year.
Democrats warned that the lawsuit could cost taxpayers millions of dollars. The repugicans provided no specifics about the potential price tag, but the measure would allow House attorneys to hire outside lawyers and require quarterly public reports on expenditures.

Damn, it must be nice ...

Congress is going on a 5-week vacation from doing nothing

Man accused of assault with a banana crashed his car into casino

A man was arrested in Carson City, Nevada, early Sunday on morning after hitting a convenience store clerk with a banana and later crashing his vehicle into a nearby casino. Osvaldo Ruiz was arrested at 1:41am after a vehicle and foot chase. He faces felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving willful conduct and eluding with endangerment as well as misdemeanor charges of DUI, obstructing and hit and run. According to the arrest report, officers were called to a convenience store. Police learned two men walked into the store and one man began using the bathroom with the door opened. The clerk told the man to close the door and the man became upset, walking out of the restroom and demanding the clerk to sell them alcohol. One of the men threw a banana at the clerk, hitting them with it before leaving.
Deputies were able to identify the banana thrower, and knew of him being associated with a gang. Deputies arrived at the complex and learned the two men had drove up in a Lexus and parked it in the complex and went to an apartment. Officers attempted to make contact at the apartment but there wasn’t an answer. Officers left the area but maintained surveillance of the Lexus in which several people were standing around. The Lexus then backed up rapidly. Not knowing if the Lexus had the banana-throwing suspect inside, or not, the officer followed the car and then attempted to make a traffic stop. The Lexus ignored the lights and sirens, and accelerated rapidly. The officer lost sight of the Lexus. Another officer located it. A patrol officer attempted to catch up with the car while two other patrol vehicles were in the path of the Lexus.
The vehicle headed straight for the patrol vehicle, swerving at the last second, missing it and then moving toward another patrol vehicle, swerving at the last second. Both Sgt. Humphrey and Deputy Jones stated the Lexus intentionally swerved at them, missing them at the last possible moment. The Lexus, occupied by Osvaldo Ruiz, then drove off at a high rate of speed. The Lexus drove over a raised concrete control device. A deputy then stated the Lexus went airborne after it hit a kerb and sidewalk, coming to rest between the east wall of Dotty's casino and large green electrical control boxes. The Lexus severed the meter off the natural gas line that supplies the casino. The casino was subsequently evacuated and utility companies were called to shut down both gas and electric.
There was damage to shrubbery, an electrical box, and the exterior wall of the casino. Meanwhile officers moved toward the car and saw Osvaldo Ruiz jump into the back seat and then kicked open the rear passenger door and ran away. He continued running where he went into an apartment complex, jumped the fence into a senior citizens apartment complex, then ran towards another senior complex. Officers found Osvaldo Ruiz hiding in a dumpster on the complex and he was arrested. Officers smelled alcoholic beverage as he spoke and Osvaldo was slurring his words as he spoke and stumbled as he walked. When he was asked he if had been drinking alcohol he replied he was “fucked up,” the arrest report states. It was learned Osvaldo had a prior DUI conviction in 2013. He was later taken to jail. He faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving willful conduct, destruction of property eluding with endangerment, DUI second, obstructing and hit and run. His bail is set at $68,300.

Woman Finds IKEA Bags Stuffed with 80 Skeletons

Kicki Karlén was shocked when she checked inside an IKEA bag among a large number of bags in the basement of her cult in Kläckeberga parish, Sweden, and saw a human skeleton. She counted 80 bags of bones, and became angry. Folks from the parish told her the bones had been there since 2009. They were the remains of parishioners who had been buried under the floorboards of the cult. They were disinterred when the cult renovated to add a wheelchair ramp.
"I was on the team called in to dig out the bones five years ago," archaeologist Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay said.

"Our mission was to document and rebury the bones, which may be as much as 500 years old. But the reburial was delayed and I have no idea why. The plan was to rebury them as soon as possible, but that's up to the cult. The county board said they couldn't leave cult ground, and it became complicated."
Papmehl-Dufay said it wasn’t he who put the bones in IKEA bags, but from a preservationist’s standpoint, it wasn’t a bad idea. Karlén calls the bags disrespectful. 

Suspicions of shenanigans after 532-year-old woman was recipient of free sewing machine

According to information provided by the Chhattisgarh Labour Department in central India about the beneficiaries of free sewing machines and bicycles using the state’s welfare schemes for women, Mukhyamantri Silai (sewing) Machine and Cycle Sahayata Yojanas, many centenarian women aged 100, 200 and even 500 years are sewing and riding bicycles in the region. The eldest is aged 532.
This has raised doubts about the real beneficiaries of the scheme that has cost the state over Rs 40 crore (£3.9m, $6.6m). The two schemes for distribution of free sewing machines and cycles were launched on the eve of assembly polls last year to help women labourers working in the unorganized sector. About 115,000 women across the state reportedly benefited from the scheme. While the cycle scheme was aimed to benefit women in the age group of 18-35, free sewing machines were for women in the age group of 35 to 60.
However, the data shows that the age group criteria weren't followed at all. As per information obtained by activist Sanjeev Aggarwal, about 19,399 sewing machines were distributed to women in unorganized sector under Chief Minister Silai Sahayta Yojana in Raipur. The list of beneficiaries includes 6,189 women who were shown aged 114 years. Besides these, the list has six women aged 202, three aged 212 and two aged 282. There were at least 14 women aged above 300 years and seven in their 400s. One woman's age was given as 532.
Aggarwal said this misinformation could be just a tip of the iceberg, as the data obtained by him pertained only to Raipur. "If the information provided is correct, then beneficiaries' list has been fudged," he said. When contacted, deputy labor commissioner Savita Mishra said this mistake could have happened because of a software malfunction. However, she expressed surprise as to how incorrect information could be given. "I am writing to the concerned officers for conducting an inquiry to ascertain the facts," she said adding that whosoever is found guilty would not be spared.

How Many Greek Legends Were Really True?

The culture and legends of ancient Greece have a remarkably long legacy in the modern language of education, politics, philosophy, art and science. Classical references from thousands of years ago continue to appear. But what was the origin of some of these ideas?
Was there ever really a Trojan Horse? Did Homer actually exist? Did Pythagoras invent Pythagoras' theorem? Or did he copy his homework from someone else? Was Alexander the Great really that great?



25 Creative Buildings Around The World

Architects in cities around the world are working hard to create unique designs to bring in tourism revenues to their city and attract attention to their work. Many people are taking notice of this trend, and looking to support it by taking trips to see such buildings in person.
Here is a list of 25 creative buildings from all over the world that quickly caught our attention with their interesting designs and just might be worth visiting.

Mysterious holes in Siberia may be craters of climate change explosions

Holes like this one have been appearing in Siberia — at least three are known so far. There are a couple of theories for what's causing them and both are linked to climate change.
First, there's the idea that the holes are created when mounds of ice, covered with earth, melt. Called pingos, the loss of the ice would leave behind a big hole that collapses in on itself. Given the rising temperatures and melting of permafrost in Siberia, it wouldn't be surprising to find that pingos are melting. But, other scientists argue, these holes don't really fit the look of a pingo collapse.
But [geophysicist Vladimir] Romanovsky said the hole doesn't look like a typical collapsed pingo; such features usually form from larger mounds that slowly cave in over a period of decades, with all the material falling inside.
From the photo of the Yamal crater, "it's obvious that some material was ejected from the hole," Romanovsky said. His Russian colleagues who visited the site told him the dirt was piled more than 3 feet (1 m) high around the hole's edges.
Which brings us to the other, fairly awesome, possible explanation. Some observers have noted the presence of smoke and flashes of light in the places where the holes appeared. There's also been some weirdness in the atmospheric science world with spikes of methane turning up in air over Siberia.
That's leading some scientists to speculate that the holes could be forming when methane from melted permafrost builds up in a space left by a melting pingo — eventually leading to an explosion.

Arctic Ocean Waves

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North […]

Weighing the Milky Way

Weighing the Milky Way

International team devises precise method for calculating the mass of […]

Space Molecules

Mysterious molecules in space
Over the vast, empty reaches of interstellar space, countless small […]

Daily Comic Relief


Jail for man who threw spider at police officer

A man from Pittston, Pennsylvania, accused of throwing a spider at a police officer has been sentenced in Luzerne County Court.
Judge Fred Pierantoni III sentenced Joseph R. Thomas, 52, to 30 months to five years in state prison on charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and resisting arrest.
Thomas was also ordered to serve 12 months probation and was given credit for 390 days time served in jail. Pittston police investigated a disturbance on Oct. 25, 2012, and encountered Thomas on a front porch.
Thomas told the officer, 'Look at my bug,' and threw a spider at the officer, according to the criminal complaint. Police said Thomas fought with officers when he was arrested.

Men disguised as languors employed to scare away monkeys in central Delhi

About 40 trained youths have been pressed into service, disguised as languors and screeching and grunting loudly, to scare away monkeys from Delhi’s corridors of power. The men are summoned by the New Delhi Municipal Council to spots, including the Parliament House, that come under siege from monkeys. The 'languors' suddenly appear from behind bushes and trees to drive away the simians through sounds and gestures.
On Thursday, urban development minister M Venkiah Naidu acknowledged through a written reply in Rajya Sabha that men have been posing as languors to keep the monkey menace in check. According to NDMC sources, the practice started after real languors were barred from being kept in captivity. By all accounts, the human 'languors' have proved to be effective in their new role. NDMC sources said the men are paid Rs 700-800 (£7-£8, $11.50-$13) per 'visit' and have not been hired permanently. They get work for around 10-15 days a month, earning anywhere between Rs 7000 to 10,000.
NDMC sources said while it would take time, the 'languor men' would continue to do their job until all the monkeys left the area. The men disguised as languors are also armed with rubber bullets to drive away the simians. Until last year, Delhi's streets were patrolled by actual languors. But because of change in law in November 2012 this practice ended. "These young men have trained themselves to pose as languors. We have no option but to hire them because, as per law, even an officer who calls for languor and its master to drive away monkeys can be booked and jailed," said a senior official.
Monkeys, often moving in large groups foraging for food, pose a threat to people in the high security zone housing central government ministries. "We are no more using air guns to scare away monkeys. Only rubber bullets are used. We also use electric strips which give out a minor shock to animals when they touch them. The monkeys are only stunned, not harmed in any other way. We are taking all possible steps to address the concerns of all parties and trying to ensure that monkeys stay away," NDMC chairman Jalaj Srivastava said. He added that NDMC was also considering issuing extra taxes to those who keep bananas and other fruits on the roadside for monkeys to feed on.

Indian family surprised to find five-foot crocodile in their bathroom

A family in Sojitra village, Gujarat, were surprised to find a five-foot crocodile in their bathroom on July 21.
Bharat Patel was entering the bathroom when he saw the crocodile in the corner.
He immediately locked the bathroom from the outside and informed his neighbours about the presence of the wild animal in his house.
Forestry officials were called to cage the animal, which was released in a lake in a nearby village.

Man found lost watch when its alarm went off inside his dog

A dog owner discovered his pet Newfoundland had swallowed a £500 watch when the alarm went off inside the animal. Terry Morgan, a recently retired publican from Cockwood in Devon, set his alarm to drinking up time, 10:55pm. He said he scoured his home before realizing the timepiece had been swallowed by Charlie the dog. Charlie was taken to the vet but "coughed" the watch up before an operation became necessary. "At first I thought he was lying on it," said Mr Morgan. "Only when I rolled him over did I realize it was inside him.
"The watch was always set to go off at ten-fifty-five to remind me to call last orders. Luckily, I'd never bothered to change it." Mr Morgan said a surgical operation to retrieve the timepiece would have cost £1,000.
The episode still cost Mr Morgan £200 because vets had to X-ray Charlie to make sure the animal had not swallowed anything else. A spokesman for the St David's Veterinary Group in Exeter said: "It was the talk of the surgery. We had a real laugh about it."

Mexican police officers taught dog whispering in bid to reduce attacks

Mexican police officers are being offered special seminars where they learn to talk to dogs in a bid to cut down on the spiraling number of canine attacks in the capital Mexico City. Trained animal psychiatrists have been enlisted to offer the officers insight into the way a dog’s mind works and - if all else fails - they are also being given self defense tips on putting pets in their place.
The animal psychology lessons include theory and practical elements, with demonstrations on why it is not possible to run faster than a dog when it is chasing you, and how to hand a fine to a person with a dog in their car without being bitten. Police chiefs view the problem as a serious matter, and the Head of Crime Prevention of the city, Leticia Varela, said the course, named "Canine Communication: Learning a Dog's Language", is aimed at cutting down on the number of officers injured by stray and pet dogs.
She said: "We not only have to deal with dogs during our everyday police activities, but we also have to deal with dogs when they are victims of crime themselves, for example rescuing them from abusive owners or from a situation where they become trapped or lost. With 996,791 reports involving dogs each year, it means that we want our officers to have a basic understanding of how to communicate with dogs."
Every year thousands of police officers are bitten, uniforms ripped and time is lost as a result of dog attacks and the force now wants to cut down on the cost. Dog trainer Claudia Edwards said: "We have about 20 officers in each class, which last about two hours, and we have dogs with us so that there is a practical element as well. We try to get them to understand the dog's facial expressions and what that means, and what the danger signs are when a dog is saying keep away." Officers coming into contact with aggressive dogs have got the option of using pepper sprays, but the experts believe avoiding the aggression in the first place is much better for both sides.

Kenyan Wildlife Service warns locals and travelers against giving booze to baboons

The Kenya Wildlife Service has warned travelers on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway not to give baboons alcohol. “Doing so is irresponsible and careless, as it poses a huge risk to motorists,” said KWS director William Kibet Kiprono.
“Liquor has the same effect in animals as on human beings. They might become violent, or distract road users, causing accidents. They might also start fighting people and cause death if unchecked.” Mr Kiprono added that the law stipulates that people should not feed wild animals, explaining that this was meant to protect the wildlife as they might be adversely affected by eating human food.
Maai Mahiu residents have been complaining of a baboon menace. “They eat our goats, and we have been unable to plant food for the last three years,” said a local farmer, Mr Kabiu Kabiru. Another villager, Mr John Mwangi added: “We chase 20 monkeys every night. They enter our kitchens and steal food.”

Mr Kiprono admitted that the animals living outside the reserve were many, citing that close to 7000 animals were living outside protected areas. “We are trying to stem out human – wildlife conflict and this can only be done through ensuring that both the rights of the animals and the people are well respected,” he added.

Octopus Protects Eggs for 4.5 Years

A female octopus lays eggs once in her lifetime and dies soon after. But until the eggs hatch, she guards them fiercely, to the point of not eating. For one octopus in the Monterey Canyon of the Pacific Ocean, that meant a record-breaking four and half years of diligence! Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute first observed this octopus in 2007, traveling to a brooding site. She was seen again 18 times over the next 53 months, always guarding her eggs. Bruce Robison of the institute said that they recognized it was the same octopus by her distinctive scars. In 2011, divers finally found the egg cases empty and the octopus mother gone.
The mother's devotion to her eggs may have been the final act of her life, Robison said, noting that the egg brooding period can occupy as much as the last quarter in the life of a female octopus.

She was never observed away from her egg clutch, he said, and probable never ate during her 53-month vigil.

"Everything we know suggests she probably didn't eat," Robison said.

Octopuses typically experience a single reproductive period after which they die.
The low temperature at the depth of the nest is suspected to be the reason the eggs took so long to hatch, and would also explain how the mother lived so long without food. The 53 months is now a world record for egg brooding, not just for octopuses, but for all animals. The previous record was 20 months for a red shrimp.

Animal Pictures