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

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

Herb Garden ..!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Oh, Yeah, Herbs  ... !
Today is  - More Herbs, Less Salt Day
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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Syracuse, Sparta, Spartanburg, Suger Land, Saint Cloud, San Diego, Santa Clara, Springfield, Saint Paul,
San Francisco, Swansea, Statesville, Statesboro, Seattle and Somerset, United States
Montreal, Toronto, Burlington, L'ancienne-Lorette and Saint John's, Canada
Mar Del Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tipitapa and Managua, Nicaragua
Guaynabo and Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico
Caracas, Venezuela
Sao Paulo and Feira De Satana, Brazil
Lima, Peru
Milan, Terlizzi, Ravenna, Naples, Bari and Treviso, Italy
Tallaght and Dublin, Ireland
Rothe Erde, Eschborn, Nuremberg and Altstadt, Germany
Getafe and Madrid, Spain
Bucharest and Timisoara, Romania
Ryazan, Moscow, Vladivostok and Novgorod, Russia
Prague, Czech Republic
Belgrade, Serbia
Stockholm and Kista, Sweden
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London, Slough, Woking and Worcester, England
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Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
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The Pacific
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Cebu City, Philippines
Christchurch and Auckland, New Zealand

Today in History

70 The Temple of Jerusalem burns after a nine-month Roman siege.
1526 Ottoman Suleiman the Magnificent crushes a Hungarian army under Lewis II at the Battle of Mohacs.
1533 In Peru, the Inca chief Atahualpa is executed by orders of Francisco Pizarro, although the chief had already paid his ransom.
1776 General George Washington retreats during the night from Long Island to New York City.
1793 Slavery is abolished in Santo Domingo.
1862 Union General John Pope's army is defeated by a smaller Confederate force at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
1882 Australia defeats England in cricket for the first time. The following day a obituary appears in the Sporting Times addressed to the British team.
1942 The American Red Cross announces that Japan has refused to allow safe conduct for the passage of ships with supplies for American prisoners of war.
1945 U.S. airborne troops are landed in transport planes at Atsugi airfield, southwest of Tokyo, beginning the occupation of Japan.
1949 USSR explodes its first atomic bomb, "First Lightning."
1950 International Olympic Committee votes to allow West Germany and Japan to compete in 1952 games.
1952 In the largest bombing raid of the Korean War, 1,403 planes of the Far East Air Force bomb Pyongyang, North Korea.
1957 US Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1957 after Strom Thurmond (Sen-D-SC) ends 24-hour filibuster, the longest in Senate history, against the bill.
1960 US U-2 spy plane spots SAM (surface-to-air) missile launch pads in Cuba.
1964 Mickey Mantle ties Babe Ruth's career strikeout record (1,330).
1965 Astronauts L. Gordon Cooper Jr. and Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr complete 120 Earth orbits in Gemini 5, marking the first time the US set an international duration record for a manned space mission.
1966 The Beatles give their last public concert (Candlestick Park, San Francisco).
1968 Democrats nominate Hubert H Humphrey for president at their Chicago convention.
1977 Lou Brock (St Louis Cardinals) breaks Ty Cobb's 49-year-old career stolen bases record at 893.
1986 Morocco's King Hassan II signs unity treaty with Libya's Muammar Gadhafi, strengthening political and economic ties and creating a mutual defense pact.
1991 USSR's parliament suspends Communist Party activities in the wake of a failed coup.
1992 Thousands of Germans demonstrate against a wave of racist attacks aimed at immigrants.
1995 NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.
2003 A terrorist bomb kills Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers as they leave a mosque in Najaf where the ayatollah had called for Iraqi unity.
2005 Rains from Hurricane Katrina cause a levee breech at the Industrial Canal in New Orleans, causing severe flooding.
2012 The Egyptian Army's Operation Eagle results in the deaths of 11 suspected terrorists and the arrest of another 23.

Non Sequitur


80 Mountain Dew Flavors From Around The World

Last week we posted a link from Now That's Nifty about 63 Pepsi flavors from around the world. This time Nifty has a list of 80 Mountain Dew flavors. Mountain Dew is a carbonated soft drink brand produced and owned by PepsiCo.
The original formula was invented in 1940 by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman and was first marketed with the slogan 'Ya-Hoo! Mountain Dew. It'll tickle yore innards.' Here are 80 Mountain Dew flavors from around the world.

Back to School: The 70s vs. Today

I loved back-to-school time when I was a kid. I got new penny loafers, a plaid skirt, and knee socks. We never started school before September. But I didn’t look forward to the beans and cornbread the cafeteria served at least twice a week. Things have changed quite a bit since then. A post at Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds contrasts the process of sending kids to school when the author was a kid with the process today. For example, packing lunches.
5. Spread yellow mustard on bread. Slap baloney on bread. Unwrap American cheese slices and put on top of baloney. Put top on the sandwich and wrap sandwich in tin foil or wax paper. Put it in the lunchbox. Every kid gets the same exact lunch. Period.

6. Alternate sandwich choices could include: peanut butter and grape jelly, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, the end of last night's leftover roast beef or the ever popular with children tuna fish with large chunks of onions and celery and Miracle Whip.

7. Put some Planter's Cheese Balls into a baggie and close with a twist tie.

8. Take Twinkies out of the box. Put one in each child's lunch box.

9. Fill Thermoses with either Kool-Aid or whole milk.

10. Include a red delicious apple even though you know that damned apple is just going to come home uneaten again, which is fine because you can keep adding the same one until it practically rots.
That was the ‘70s version. The new millennial lunches much more involved, but will give you a laugh as you fill out all that paperwork and buy all those supplies for school this year.

Bad News for the repugican cabal: Data Links High Congressional Disapproval With High Voter Turnout

election 2014
Gallup has super bad news for repugicans. There is a link between high disapproval of congress and high voter turnout. the repugicans have done a great job not only creating record high disapproval levels, their obstructionism combined with wasting money and alienating rhetoric sustained those high levels of disapproval. If you’re a repugican, you may be tempted to believe your mission was accomplished. The only problem is high levels of congressional disapproval also means high voter turnout at election time. We all know what that means in repugican land.
Ever since they took control of the House, repugicans made their priorities clear and none of them involves representing the will of the people.  The repugican cabal is beholden to the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Walmart and other corporate interests that pull repugican lawmaker’s strings with money that is both big and dark.
The repugicans were on one huge reverse Robin Hood mission, determined to find new ways and means to satisfy the insatiable greed of the Kochs, the Waltons and anyone else you would find at an ALEC get together. In the name of pandering to their most extreme elements, repugicans obstructed and destroyed their way to the highest disapproval of congress ever some time ago.  They have managed to sustain that level of contempt for a congress that takes food out of the mouths of children to give bigger handouts to the Koch brothers.  Americans see through repugican denials of global warming in the name of giving the Koch brothers the freedom to poison our planet for profit.
The Supreme Court’s ideologically based rulings without doubt, contributed to the disapproval.  Since Citizens United, repugican pandering hit new heights to the point that they don’t even pretend to care what we want. The Court’s decisions reflected a belief that human beings merely have privileges conferred on them in a manner that reflects the civil rights of corporations i.e. a corporation’s religious freedom.
They said no to previously bipartisan laws and programs literally taking the food out of children’s mouths in the name of giving even more handouts to their corporate donors.
Only 13% of America approves of the Kindergarten congress that says no to everything President Obama says or does simply because he had the gall to get elected President of the United States while Black and while Democrat. While insisting that corporations are people and human beings are not, repugican’s peddle fiction about a belief in individual freedom. This is probably considered good news in the up is down and down is up logic of tea party enthusiasts like Louis Golmert, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.  After all these are the same people who believe that welshing on our debts is the best way to fix the economy and starving children will make them better citizens.
According to Gallup, the repugicans success in establishing record level disapproval of congress will backfire on them at election time because of the link between high disapproval ratings and high voter turnout.
According to Gallup‘s data, voter turnout exceed 40% during the last five midterm elections when Congress’s approval rating was low.  Turnout was below 40% when Americans were more satisfied with Congress.
Table by Gallup.
Gallup nexus between oongressional disapproval and high voter turnout

Another disturbing number lies in the near record low of 19% of registered voters who believe that most members of Congress deserve re-election.  That also suggests a high voter turnout at election time.  In other words, repugicans achieved the last thing they wanted when they obstructed popular policies, and thumbed their noses at everyone in America except those who lined repugican cabal pockets.  They angered voters enough for them to want change from an anti-American and anti-America congress to one that governs for the people.

SCOTUS Prayer Ruling Silences New York Town’s Non-Christians

The catholics on the High Court made a seriously egregious error in ruling that any government prayers were constitutional. …
Of all the revolutionary ideas put forth by America’s Founders, prohibiting the establishment of religion was likely the greatest gift the Constitution’s framers bestowed on the young nation and subsequent generations of Americans. In fact, freedom of, and more importantly freedom from, religion was so important that the first line of the First Amendment prohibited the establishment of religion. It is a certainty that the Founders were well aware of the abuses on the people that establishing a religion would result in, and it is just as certain that “churches” took it as a personal affront they were forbidden from demanding adherence to their religion by the Constitution.
Despite the 1st Amendment, different christian groups have made every effort to impose their religion on the people throughout the nation’s history, and after two-hundred-thirty-eight years, they were granted the authority to begin establishing christianity by Supreme Court fiat. Besides the catholic Court’s ruling that the “free exercise” clause trumps the Establishment Clause in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, the catholic ruling that government prayers were the purview of christians was the final insult to the rotting corpse of the prohibition on establishing religion.
After the catholics gave permission to christians to invoke jesus and god prior to government meetings in the Greece v. Galloway ruling, one knew it was just a short matter of time before christianity would be officially established as the New York town’s religion. As expected, the town of Greece quickly adopted an invocation policy excluding non-religious citizens and shutting out other religions reflecting a new (unholy)Alliance (not)Defending Freedom (ADF) model prayer policy devised in the wake of the court abolishing the Establishment Clause.
ADF is a hard-line wingnut christian law group pushing the new dictate in towns and cities across America. The new christian rule “avails itself of the Supreme Court’s recognition” that government prayers are constitutional and restricts opening prayers to “assemblies with an established presence [in the Town of Greece] that regularly meet for the primary purpose of sharing a religious perspective.” It is beyond refute that the religion most steeped in “sharing” a religious perspective is christianity; over the past few years Americans have learned firsthand that “sharing the christian perspective” entails imposing its edicts on the people by government. In the town of Greece, the board clerk determines which faith has an “established presence” and which faith’s “primary purpose is sharing a religious perspective.”
The ‘town’ attorney defended the new christian edict and said, “I don’t feel that the policy in any way singles out or discriminates against any form of belief.” No, they just forbid citizens of other forms of belief, or of no belief, from offering invocations before government meetings, and in a predominately christian community, only christians can invoke their deity. It is noteworthy that the lawsuit against the town of Greece was brought by jews and Atheists who are now prohibited from offering opening remarks according to the (unholy)Alliance (not)Defending Freedom policy. The plaintiffs were weary of sitting through years of christian prayers praising jesus christ, and sought redress from the Court they assumed would uphold the United States Constitution.
In her dissent in Greece v. Galloway, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan warned the catholic Court’s decision would lead to discrimination against non-christian faiths, and accused the catholics of being blind to the “essential meaning of the religious worship in Greece’s town hall, along with its capacity to exclude and divide.” It took less than four month’s for Justice Kagan’s warning to become reality.
The executive director of Americans United For the Separation of Cult and State, Barry Lynn, represented the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, and assailed the (unholy)Alliance (not)Defending Freedom policy as unconstitutional and “a warning sign for cities and towns all across the United States” that will adopt the ADF policy. Lynn said town leaders “said they’re (prayers) open to anybody. Now they’re not open to anybody. It’s really a scam. This is a way to go back to business as we had sadly always expected it. They only want christians to participate. This is a step backward.”
It is also constitutional regardless what Lynn thinks because the catholic Court described “public prayer as a larger exercise in civic recognition” that Justice Anthony Kennedy ‘implied’ was designed to “represent, rather than exclude or coerce nonbelievers.” Two of the catholic Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said if non-believers do not want to hear christian prayers, they know where the doors are because the ruling did mean they were being “coerced” to stay and pray with christians.
During arguments before the catholic Court, the town board of Greece stressed that it was really fighting not just for christian prayers, but for the right of all people to express their religious views regardless of their faith. But they were violating number 9 of the first iteration of the ten commandments (there were two) that forbids lying. There is a reason the plaintiffs in the case, jewish and non-believers, brought the lawsuit against the town in the first place and argued that the predominately christian prayers were violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The catholic Court disabused the plaintiffs of their false belief that the Establishment Clause was valid when it ruled against the jewish and Atheist plaintiffs. Now, it is constitutional for the establishment of government prayers that the town of Greece can reserve for purveyors the one faith that exists with the “primary purpose of sharing a religious perspective;” the christian perspective.
It was certain the High Court’s Greece v. Galloway ruling was going to result in establishing the predominate faith in the town (christianity) as the sole government meeting prayer offerings. Prior to the Court’s ruling, only four non-traditional christian prayers were offered over the course of several years, and the (unholy)Alliance (not)Defending Freedom’s new template policy is specific that only faiths with an “established presence for the primary purpose of sharing a religious perspective” and was tailor-made for a city clerk to select christian-only prayer offerings.
The catholics on the High Court made a serious error in ruling that any government prayers were constitutional. Wingnut christians are notorious for taking liberties to impose their religion on the entire population, and regardless the catholic Court’s pathetic reasoning that tradition dictated government prayers were Constitutional, they knew the ruling would result in establishing christian-only prayers at government meetings because Justice Elena Kagan warned them. The tragedy is that now that the ADF has a religious edict in place in the form of a fill-in template, it is just a matter of time before cities across America will mandate christian-only prayers and deny other faiths and non-believers their free exercise of religion. Atheists and agnostics were denied their freedom of speech because they do not pray, have no well-established assembly, and have no religious perspective to share.

Why the Super-Rich Aren't Leaving Their Fortunes to Their Kids

Genius investor Warren Buffett (right) is worth $62.7 billion. But his children will see only a small fraction of it when he dies. He's leaving them some money, but only what he describes as "enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."
He's one of many self-made millionaires and billionaires who is intentionally leaving only small portions of their fortunes to their children. They're not doing it out of spite, but out of love. The famous and wealthy chef Nigella Lawson put it like this:
I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money.
Roxanne Roberts investigated this trend for the Washington Post. She describes how one multimillionaire arranged his estate:
‘We probably struggled over this more than any other issue,” says a local self-made multimillionaire. The businessman and his wife, worth hundreds of millions, grew up modestly in middle-class families and wanted to create a financial plan that would take care of their children — but not spoil them — if the couple died suddenly.
“We were horrified by what might happen if they had control of a large amount of money at a young age,” he says. “The more we stared at that, the more we became uncomfortable.”
Inspired by Buffett’s example, they created trusts for each of their now college-age children. Each kid has $2.5 million controlled by trustees, who can release money only for education, health care, a home purchase or a business start-up. Any unspent money in the trust will continue to be invested and grow.
Those restrictions remain in place until each child reaches age 40; after that, the money is all theirs to do as they please. In their 20s and 30s, the funds are there to get them launched; by 40, their parents assume they will be mature enough to use the money wisely or save it as a safety net.

Dog Walkers and Other Surprisingly High-Paying Jobs

Do you like dogs? Would you like to earn money working with them? If you're a great dog walker, you can earn $96,000 a year. It's one of many jobs that pay really well, even though you might not have heard of them. BBC Capital reports:
A good dog walker, for instance, can make a mint, according to Aaron Boodman. “Our dog walker charges $25/session,” Boodman wrote. “He takes up to eight dogs walking at a time (soon to be the legal limit in my city), twice a day. That's $96k per year, much of it in cash. Once he's picked up and dropped off all the dogs, each run to the dog park takes about three hours round trip. So his workday is about six hours.”
One anonymous pool boy said he made more than $60,000, plus tips, for just six months of work. “I would charge a customer $40 a week to keep their pools clean and all the chemicals balanced. This usually took me about 45 minutes a trip,” he wrote.
 “I would typically only have to visit the pool once a week so I could do many pools in a week. For about five years I maintained roughly 10 pools a day, six days a week for six months out of the year…I was making good money for an 18 year old with no college education.”
Other jobs require mastering unusual skills. A theatrical carpenter, for example, can earn $400,000 a year. A a construction crane operator may be one of the highest paid employees on a site, earning $500,000 a year.

Ex-Con Wanted by Police Caught after Posting Ice Bucket Challenge Video

Well, his heart was in the right place. Jesean Morris wanted to help ALS fund research to cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. So he took the ice bucket challenge and posted the video on Facebook to spread awareness about the cause.
He also spread awareness about his whereabouts, which was of interest to police in Omaha, Nebraska. That's because Morris is a convicted felon. He violated his parole. So when someone else saw his post on Facebook, s/he recognized the house in the background of the video and alerted police.
NBC News reports that Morris was displeased by this turn of events:
The suspect allegedly gave the cops a false name and birth date, knocked out a safety partition in the police cruiser, and spit in the one of the officer's face, according to an incident report. Morris was booked into jail on the warrant and on suspicion of criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

Wiggly white lines left drivers confused

Crooked and curving lines on a major road in Fairfax County, Virginia, caused confusion for drivers on Sunday and Monday.
The problem occurred on Interstate 66 between Centreville and Gainesville. Drivers who experienced the wiggly lines described the traffic as "horrific" and said they took alternate roads to avoid accidents

The Virginia Department of Transportation said temporary lane striping that crews put down peeled up and moved, and they were working to fix the problem.
The agency also said it was looking into what caused the striping to come unstuck.

Traffic disrupted by errant plastic ducks

Traffic on the A4042 at Llanellen, near Abergavenny, Wales, had to slow down to avoid around a hundred rubber ducks at 10:10am on Monday after the boat trailer which was carrying them opened.
The ducks were on their way to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust' annual duck race in Llangynidr when they fell across the road. Tony Pugh, 69, a volunteer for the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust, who was transporting the ducks, said: "The ducks were in the boat trailer attached to the Land Rover.
"The back somehow got open and 100 of them scattered half a mile down the road. I had to collect them in the pouring rain as they needed to be released for the duck race in Llangynidr for 2pm that day. Two police officers came to help - to be fair they didn't laugh. I can laugh now but earlier I had to run down the road kicking the ducks to the side and then collecting them.”
"It took about an hour to clear all the ducks, a few went over the fence into the field. A car pulled up and a child nicked a few so we've lost some ducks." A Gwent Police Spokesman said: "There were 100 ducks on the carriageway. Highways have been made aware and the ducks were cleared at 10.40am. There was minor disruption with traffic slowing down."

Thieves took a nap and a couple of bear heads

A family cabin in northern Franklin County, Maine, is short of two taxidermy bear heads, two lawn chairs and three flashlights following an apparent break in over the summer.
The North Waterboro family reported on Friday that someone had apparently broken in and left the back door unlocked between their last visit in April and return in August, said Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols.
Nichols said the key to the off-the-grid cabin had been kept in the same location for decades and seems to have been used to open the front door because there was no sign of forced entry.
The futons in the cabin appeared to have been slept in, said Nichols. There were two stuffed bear heads that had been in the family for 40 years that were reported stolen. Nichols said it was not known whether the thieves were people familiar with the family or strangers.

Random Celebrity Photos



In 1815, The US Tried to Build the Largest Warship in the World on Lake Ontario

USS New Orleans
We are now in the midst of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  I find this war fascinating and my interest has led me to write numerous posts on the subject for Neatorama. For example, last Sunday, I published a lengthy piece to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the burning of Washington--an event the British Embassy in Washington humorously observed with a White House-shaped cake surrounded by sparklers:
One of our more popular War of 1812 posts is this one about HMS St. Lawrence, a massive, 112-gun warship that the Royal Navy built on Lake Ontario. At the time, ships could not readily enter or exit that lake, so this huge expenditure of British treasure was trapped there.
HMS St. Lawrence
When the St. Lawrence sailed out of Kingston harbor on Sept. 10, 1814, the Americans were properly fearful of the consequences. The US Navy on the lake had no force capable of defeating it in battle.
But that did not stop the Americans from trying. President Madison hoped to build two battleships equal to the St. Lawrence. How the nearly bankrupt United States hoped to pay for this goal is a mystery to me. But, to their credit, the American shipbuliders at Sackett’s Harbor, New York made serious progress toward that goal with minimal financial backing.
The result of their efforts is pictured above: the USS New Orleans. Shipwrights laid it down in January of 1815. As the war ended in February, they never finished it. But if they had, the New Orleans would have been the largest warship in the world. It was being planned as it was being built, so we cannot be sure of its specifications. But it might have carried as many as 130 guns and been crewed by 900 men.
Thankfully, peace intervened. The treaty signed at Ghent ended the war on the basis of status quo ante bellum. This was the end to the second and final war between the United States and Britain. But the popular view on both sides at the time was that Ghent established a temporary armistice. War would likely return soon.
So the USS New Orleans remained incomplete, in its stocks, while Americans and Britons looked at each other suspiciously across Lake Ontario. Even after the demilitarization of the Great Lakes with the 1817 Rush-Bagot Agreement, the New Orleans sat not in a state of readiness, but at least hypothetically useful. It remained in place until 1883. It was then that the US Navy sold the rotting remains of the obsolete hulk to a merchant in Syracuse, New York. By that time, US-British relations had greatly improved and the possibility of war between the two nations seemed unlikely. The mightiest warship that never was would never be.

New Dates for Prehistoric Paintings in Utah’s Great Gallery

A team led by Utah State University geologist Joel Pederson has used luminescence dating techniques to document the timing of geologic events in southern Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, and thus “draw a box” around a probable window of time for the creation of the paintings in Horseshoe Canyon’s Great Gallery. “The most accepted hypotheses pointed to the age of these paintings as 2,000 to 4,000 years old or perhaps even 7,000 to 8,000 years old. Our findings reveal these paintings were likely made between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago,” Pederson told Phys.org. The new dates suggest that the artists may have co-existed with the Fremont people, who are known for their carved pictographs. “Previous ideas suggested a people different from the Fremont created the paintings because the medium and images are so different. This raises a lot of archaeological questions,” Pederson explained.

“Great Warrior” Burial Unearthed in Siberia

The grave of an eleventh-century warrior of the Ust-Ishim culture who had been killed in battle has been unearthed in southwestern Siberia. Nicknamed “Bogatyr,” or “Great Warrior,” the man’s severed left arm had been placed near his body, and a death mask made of fabric had been put on his face. Caskets made of birch bark covered his eyes and mouth. Inside the caskets were metal fish figurines with their heads broken off. “It is interesting that the fish figures were cast as one, and then broken in two," archaeologist Mikhail Korusenko of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences told The Siberian Times. "It was an intentional action, definitely. Perhaps, it had some religious importance. Then, next to his nose was the fang of a big predator, a bear, this beast being traditionally associated with strength, power and warriors,” A mirror made of a metal plate was found on the warrior’s chest, and 25 arrowheads made of metal and bone were found in the grave. “Some of them were clearly of military purpose. Behind his skull we found a ringed bridle—a sign that the warrior was an accomplished horseman,” Korusenko said.

The Striking Cliffside Town Of Tropea, Italy

Southern Italy is known for its gorgeous coastlines and the quaint cliffside towns that inhabit them. One such town is Tropea, located on the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods) in the region of Calabria.
The Coast of the Gods received its name from the Ancient Greeks and is full of Greek mythology. Tropea itself also has Greek origins in its name and history. The Ancient Greeks called the city Tropheum, which means 'trophy' in Greek, because they believed it to be founded by Hercules as a trophy for completing one of his twelve labors.

Iceland prepares for "volcano from hell"

Iceland prepares for another possible volcanic eruption Bardarbunga volcano, buried under one of Europe's largest glaciers, is rumbling to life. Tuesday morning, it was hit by a 5.7-magnitude quake.
"This could be the volcano from hell," said CBS News contributor and City University of New York physics professor Michio Kaku. "To quote Yogi Berra, 'It's deja vu all over again.' Remember the paralysis from four years ago? Millions of passengers being stranded with the threat of airplanes falling from the sky?"
In 2010, a volcanic eruption in Iceland created an ash cloud nine miles high. The plume spread across Europe, grounding 100,000 flights, affecting 8 million travelers and costing airlines $1.7 billion.
Kaku says this eruption could happen within the next few days, especially considering the latest earthquake.
"We have a new threat, and just this morning, a 5.7 earthquake rumbled across the glacier, so scientists are very concerned that a volcanic eruption could soon be happening. Maybe in the next few days, they're not sure."
Because the volcano is located under a glacier, Kaku says the resulting ash would be more hazardous to air travelers.
"This is not an ordinary volcanic eruption," he said. "You have fine magmatic dust in the air. It could potentially cut through a glacier--freezing--causing a gasifie,d rocky, pebbly cloud to arise, and that gets in to an engine and chews up the gears, chews up the blades. So this ash coming out is not typical ash. That's why ice volcanoes are more dangerous than typical volcanoes."
While the aviation alert issued for the eruption was downgraded from red to orange, Kaku says the threat is still prominent.
"Over the weekend they had 3,000 small earthquakes, tremors all the time. So it went to red alert; eruption is eminent," Kaku said. "But scientists finally tracked the motion of magma. Magma is building up under the ice, but it hasn't reached the surface yet. That's why we're back down from a red to an orange. But remember, sometimes it can be a dud. Sometimes the magma never does reach the surface, but were not taking that chance this time."

Mysterious Kennewick Man looked Polynesian and came from far away

This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man was carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull, and lends a deeper understanding of what he may have looked like nearly 9,000 years ago 
The mysterious Kennewick Man, who died 9,000 years ago in the Columbia River Valley, was a seal hunter who rambled far and wide with a projectile point lodged in his hip, five broken ribs that never healed properly, two small dents in his skull and a bum shoulder from the repetitive stress of throwing spears.
He came from somewhere far away, far up the Pacific Northwest coast, possibly Alaska or the Aleutian Islands. He might even have come to North America all the way from Asia.
That’s the argument of the editors of a new, 688-page, peer-reviewed book, “Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton,” that will be published this fall by Texas A&M University Press.
Scientists have told their story of Kennewick Man before in lectures and interviews, but the new book represents the most detailed account of research that came about only after scientists sued for access to the bones. The Army of Corps of Engineers, which has custody of the bones, had pressed the scientists to publish their research. Now it has finally arrived, in a volume as thick and heavy as a textbook.
“Kennewick Man could not have been a longtime resident of the area where he was found, but instead lived most of his adult life somewhere along the Northwest and North Pacific coast where marine mammals were readily available,” the concluding chapter of the book states.
“He could have been an Asian,” said co-editor Richard Jantz, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Tennessee. “One of the things we always tend to do is underestimate the mobility of early people.”
His co-editor, Douglas Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, agrees with that assessment of Kennewick Man: “He was a long-distance traveler.”
The book, which includes contributions from more than five dozen authors, researchers and photographers, describes many kinds of research on the skeleton, which was discovered in 1996. The chemical analysis of the molecular isotopes in the bones and the clues they provide to Kennewick Man’s origin are likely to be among the most heavily debated findings.
The analysis suggests that Kennewick Man lived off a diet of seals and other large marine mammals and drank glacier-melt water. His wide-set body is akin to what is generally seen in cold-adapted human populations. The book includes a vintage photograph of an Inuit seal hunter on an ice floe in Alaska — a suggested analog to Kennewick Man’s lifestyle.
The origin of Kennewick Man is relevant to the future disposition of his bones. Native American tribes have claimed him as one of their ancestors and have sought to rebury the remains in keeping with their customs. The scientists argued that there is no evidence linking any of today’s tribes to the skeleton.
They say that Kennewick Man’s skull, which is large and narrow with a projecting face, doesn’t look like the skulls of later Native Americans. This has been noted in other skulls from that era, including that of a teenage girl found in a submerged cave in Mexico, and the skull of a man found in the Channel Islands off the coast of California.
The dimensions of Kennewick Man’s skull most closely match those of Polynesians, specifically the inhabitants of the Chatham Islands, near New Zealand, the scientists say.
He wasn’t himself a Polynesian, however. Rather, according to the scientists, Kennewick Man and today’s Polynesians, as well as the prehistoric Jomon people and contemporary Ainu people of northern Japan, have a common ancestry among a coastal Asian population.
These were hunters of marine creatures and could have followed the edge of the ice around the northern rim of the Pacific Ocean, harvesting seals and using primitive watercraft to travel long distances, Owsley said.
“This is like a highway,” Owsley said of the coastal route of migration. “People are going from the Old World to the New World and back and forth.”
He said of Kennewick Man, “His morphology is what people look like in the Upper Paleolithic period along that whole circum-Pacific expanse.”
The heft of the volume and the confidence of Owsley and his co-authors in their interpretation of Kennewick Man is unlikely to end debate over who this ancient person was and how he was related to other Paleoamericans and Native Americans alive today.
The Corps of Engineers has legal custody of the skeleton because it was found on federal land. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires that unearthed bones be returned to tribes for reburial. But scientists sued to gain access to the bones, and a federal court in 2004 ruled in their favor, saying NAGPRA did not apply to Kennewick Man. Owsley said the scientists were allowed to study the bones for 16 days in 2005 and 2006.
Gail Celmer, a regional archeologist with the northwest division of the Corps of Engineers, said the corps will review the book and “see if there’s anything in there that changes how we’re curating the remains.”
She said she doubted it would end the debate over the bones.
“I don’t think it will ever settle the debate. People have different views about what NAGPRA actually is and how it’s defined.”
Two teenagers sneaking into a boat race originally saw the bones and notified authorities. The local coroner asked for assistance from a forensic anthropologist, James Chatters, who at first thought, based on the shape of the skull, that he was looking at the remains of an early pioneer. But tests on the spear point indicated that these were prehistoric remains.
Chatters excavated more than 300 bones, making Kennewick Man one of the most complete skeletons from that era.
In the legal fight, the scientists won the right to do a limited amount of research, starting in 2005, but until now they have not presented their full findings.
Three of the papers list Chatters as an author, but he does not sign on to the view that Kennewick Man came from somewhere far away.
“If he’s an eater of seals, he’s in the wrong position,” Chatters said. He said Kennewick Man is more than 100 miles from the nearest seal.
He also believes the spear point in his hip comes from somewhere not too far away.
“It’s a serrated edge, leaf-shaped point, of a style known as a Cascade point,” Chatters said.
Owsley said he and Chatters have agreed to disagree on some of these issues.
The ramblin’ man hypothesis will be viewed as a boost for the controversial idea that the Americas were peopled in multiple migrations by disparate populations — some moving on foot, some rowing or paddling along the coast.
The more orthodox view is that people from northeast Asia walked to the Americas during the Ice Age when sea levels were so low that the Bering Strait was dry land. Genetic evidence points to a common ancestry among Native Americans to a population that remained isolated for a long period of time in the now-drowned land known as Beringia, and that then migrated, possibly in several pulses, after the ice sheets covering much of North America began to recede and an ice-free corridor opened in the center of the continent.
Deborah A. Bolnick, an anthropological geneticist at the University of Texas, said that all Native Americans studied so far show markers, in their mitochondrial DNA, of a common ancestry with people who lived in Beringia. She said it is therefore reasonable to suppose that Kennewick Man is also descended from that population.
Genetic testing on Kennewick Man is being conducted in Denmark, and those results are eagerly awaited and could alter the scientific narrative yet again.
One issue that remains fuzzy is Kennewick Man’s age at his death. Owsley said he appeared to be about 40, but further testing, if permitted, would help pin that down. He argues that scientists should have further access to the skeleton, which for now is held in the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.
“I’m trying to honestly ensure that another generation of scientists has the opportunity to study this skeleton. They’re going to have technology that we don’t have,” Owsley said in an interview.
And there will always be additional questions. Did he have a mate? Children? A clan?
Chatters said he probably lived in a band of 20 to 40 people.
And he surely was a strong man, able to endure pain from myriad injuries and the challenges of life as a hunter, Chatters said. His survival from a serious injury — the embedded spear point in hip — seems to suggest something.
“He was injured severely enough when he was young that somebody took very good care of him,” Chatters said.



Massive Supercell Swells High Over Carolinas

Massive Supercell Swells High Over Carolinas (Photo)
ER-2 aircraft pilot Stu Broce snapped this photo of a supercell that formed over North Carolina
Swirling supercell thunderstorms brewed over the border between North and South Carolina in May, showering the area with chunks of hail as big as baseballs.
The huge storm column stretched 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) tall. NASA's Earth Observatory recently released a photo that a pilot took as he flew an ER-2 aircraft over the storms on May 23. Normal commercial airplanes fly at around 30,000 feet (9,000 m), but the ER-2 soared around 65,000 feet (20,000 m).
An anvil-shaped cloud typically forms in a thunderstorm when cooler winds push warm air up into the atmosphere, and a particularly powerful updraft can produce a huge dome-shaped cap called an "overshooting top." Severe storms, like the supercell in the photo, tend to have large and long-lasting overshooting tops.
A spinning vortex of air called a mesocyclone lies at the heart of a supercell. When the mesocyclone interacts with strong updrafts, the storms can churn out tornadoes and produce destructive hailstorms. Most of the supercells over the Carolinas in May produced quarter-size hail, but some of the strongest storms rained down baseball-size pieces.
The ER-2 flight was part of a mission called the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) led by NASA, Duke University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that ran from May 1 to June 15. IPHEx was designed to evaluate the accuracy of satellite precipitation estimates compared to ground measurements. Researchers set up ground rain gauges and radar to measure true rainfall amounts. The team then compares the true precipitation measurements to about 95 hours' worth of precipitation data collected by satellites and two aircraft.
NASA hopes to use the data to create models to predict storm activity over the Appalachian Mountains and measure how much water remains in rivers and aquifers. The models could help direct water conservation efforts and help predict floods and landslides around the area's rivers.    
IPHEx is part of a larger mission called Global Precipitation Project, a joint effort between NASA and Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency to monitor global rainfall and snowfall. The mission uses a constellation of satellites that work together to record worldwide precipitation data every 2 to 3 hours. Scientists hope the data will reveal more about water cycle patterns around the world.

Daily Comic Relief


Texas family to part ways with skeleton of mammoth found on its farm

by Lisa Maria Garza
A nearly complete skeleton of a mammoth that died 20,000 to 40,000 years ago is pictured near Dallas,Texas in this undated handout photoA North Texas family, who discovered the skeleton of a 20,000- to 40,000-year-old mammoth while mining through sediment on their farm, is preparing to turn over the remains to a local museum.
In May, Wayne McEwen and his family were gathering material from a gravel pit on their property, south of Dallas, when his son struck a 6-foot (1.8 meter) tusk while operating an excavator.
The rest of the near-complete skeleton was unearthed by a team from a nearby community college, who determined it was a Columbian mammoth - a slightly larger, less hairy version of the more famous woolly mammoth.
The family decided to donate the remains to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.
Ron Tykoski, a paleontologist with the museum who is working with a team to prepare the specimen for transport, said the remains are missing a few leg bones but are mostly intact.
"We get a lot of mammoth fossils in Texas but it's usually a tooth here, a tusk there or a piece of jaw," Tykoski said on Tuesday.
"This is unusual. It looks like it just laid down and died."
There is no sign the carcass was disturbed by scavengers, likely because flood waters covered it with silt shortly after its death, he said.
The mammoth is believed to be a female because of its small size, the length of the tusks and the flare of the pelvic bones.
The animal was approximately 8-9 feet (2.4-2.7 meters) tall at the shoulder, or similar in size to a modern-day female Asian elephant.
"It needed to stay in North Texas where the local communities can enjoy it for a long time to come," McEwen said in a news release.

Insects and Big Brains

Insect diet helped early humans build bigger brains, study suggests

Quest for elusive bugs spurred primate tool use, problem-solving skills […]

It Runs In The Family

Chimp Intelligence ‘Runs In Families,’ Environment Less Important

A chimpanzee’s intelligence is largely determined by its genes, while […]

Bull rescued after getting stuck in phone booth

A bull became trapped in a phone box during a bull run in Spain. The steer, taking part in a traditional stampede through the streets of Santacara, a town in northern Spain, ran straight into the call box where it became trapped by its long horns.
"It gradually demolished the phone box and pulled it to the ground but it is still caught up in the frame. As it struggled to get out it got angrier and angrier," said one spectator. "Most people were fleeing the scene and trying to scramble to safety."

YouTube link. Alternative video filmed from different angle.
However, some brave spectators then grabbed the bull by its tail and help pull the by now furious beast from the box. Officials say the bull completed the run and was treated for cuts caused by the broken glass.
"He was not seriously injured and finished the run where he received veterinary treatment," said a spokesman. "Nobody else was injured in the incident. It was great people helped free the bull but I would warn against people getting too close to the bulls as they are very aggressive and injure scores of people every year."

Elk freed after wandering into office building

A young bull elk spent five hours in an office building in Dresden, Germany, on Monday, breaking through a glass door to ending up in the canteen.
The elk, which had been spotted several times in the area during the weekend, had been grazing nearby when he was startled by a group of onlookers and police and fled. “This was a sign of panic,” said a spokesman for forest management company Sachsenforst. “He didn't know where to go any more.” After five hours in the office block the animal was anesthetized, loaded into a container and taken away on Monday afternoon.
He was released in eastern Saxony. Trapped between the glass panes of the building and an interior wall, the unusual sight had drawn crowds to the building, although the grounds around it were blocked off by police. Others watched from the upper floors of the office block. Young elks occasionally wander from Poland along old animal tracks towards Dresden, with the last one being spotted several years ago.

They are driven to leave their homes when the older generation have new children and reorganize their family groups. Sightings have increased across Germany since the fall of the Iron Curtain, particularly in Brandenburg, Saxony and Bavaria. Experts believe that more than ten elk live permanently in Germany and hope that the species will re-establish itself in the country's forests.

Sheep found wandering in Tasmania could be the world's woolliest

Two Australian farmers have found what they hope to prove is the world's woolliest sheep. Peter Hazell said he had no trouble capturing the animal, which was wandering with its vision obscured by wool in scrubland on his property in Tasmania's Midlands on Sunday. "He couldn't see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him," he said.
"Then Netty and I went and got the ute and put him in the back and brought him into the yard." The six-year-old merino ram was immediately dubbed Shaun the Sheep. Netty Hazell said the sheep's avoidance of the shearing shed had been weighing it down, with Shaun carrying an estimated 20 kilograms of fleece. "It is the heaviest sheep I've ever lifted," she professed. "I just couldn't believe it, I just could not believe a sheep could have so much wool."
Shaun's tag suggested he was from a farm on Tasmania's east coast, meaning he had spent the past six years wandering across the state. Mr Hazell said it was amazing the sheep survived for so long in the wild. "Because usually they get cast and can't get up, or they get fly-struck or the hot weather gets to them," he said. The world record for fleece-yield is held by a New Zealand sheep named Shrek.

The Hazells plan to take the clippers to Shaun in the next few days and see if he can take the title. But despite the wool's length Ray Peters, who is a sheep judge, said it had held up surprisingly well. "I thought it would be almost impossible for a sheep to go that long and have such good wool on him," he said. Mrs Hazell said she would enter the fleece in country shows. "There's three or four good jumpers in there," she said. And although matted, "it's surprisingly good-quality wool", Mr Hazell added.

Animal Pictures