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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Non Sequitur


The Daily Drift

Hey wingnuts - What he said ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Hey wingnuts, we're coming for you ... !
Today is  - Get Ready Day
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Today in History

1620 The Pilgrims sail from England on the Mayflower.
1668 King John Casimer V of Poland abdicates the throne.
1747 The French capture Bergen-op-Zoom, consolidating their occupation of Austrian Flanders in the Netherlands.
1789 Jean-Paul Marat sets up a new newspaper in France, L'Ami du Peuple.
1810 A revolution for independence breaks out in Mexico.
1864 Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest leads 4,500 men out of Verona, Miss. to harass Union outposts in northern Alabama and Tennessee.
1889 Robert Younger, in Minnesota's Stillwater Penitentiary for life, dies of tuberculosis. Brothers Cole and Bob remain in the prison.
1893 Some 50,000 "Sooners" claim land in the Cherokee Strip during the first day of the Oklahoma land rush.
1908 General Motors files papers of incorporation.
1920 Thirty people are killed in a terrorist bombing in New York's Wall Street financial district.
1934 Anti-Nazi Lutherans stage protest in Munich.
1940 Congress passes the Selective Service Act, which calls for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.
1942 The Japanese base at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands is raided by American bombers.
1945 Japan surrenders Hong Kong to Britain.
1950 The U.S. 8th Army breaks out of the Pusan Perimeter in South Korea and begins heading north to meet MacArthur's troops heading south from Inchon.
1972 South Vietnamese troops recapture Quang Tri province in South Vietnam from the North Vietnamese Army.
1974 Limited amnesty is offered to Vietnam-era draft resisters who would now swear allegiance to the United States and perform two years of public service.
1975 Administrators for Rhodes Scholarships announce the decision to begin offering fellowships to women.
1978 An earthquake estimated to be as strong as 7.9 on the Richter scale kills 25,000 people in Iran.
1991 The trial of Manuel Noriega, deposed dictator of Panama, begins in the United States.
1994 Britain's government lifts the 1988 broadcasting ban against member of Ireland's Sinn Fein and Irish paramilitary groups.
2007 Military contractors in the employ of Blackwater Worldwide allegedly kill 17 Iraqis in Baghdad's Nisour Square, further straining relations between the US and the people of Iraq.

"Scottish Colloquialisms"

Dunnae wurae thaur bea English wareds fer thoos a'yea th'cannae keen th'lass 

Sentences That Prove English is the Craziest Language Ever

Read rhymes with lead, and read rhymes with lead, but read and lead don’t rhyme, and neither do read and lead.

'Snow! Snow! Get Moving!'

The Lethal Lure of Mont Blanc 
by Lukas Eberle and Victoria Weidemann
'Snow! Snow! Get Moving!': The Lethal Lure of Mont Blanc
Every year, some 30,000 people attempt to climb Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and a shocking number die on the mountain. The reason, say locals, is overcrowding, foolhardiness and a lack of respect for the White Lady. More

The Truth Be Told


Did you know ...

That the initiative to break California into 6 states failed to get enough signatures to get on the November ballot
Does your police department have a tank?
Maybe they got it at urban shield, the convention for warrior cops
Meanwhile, aggressive policing has seized millions of dollars from motorists not charged with a crime
That right-to-work states spend more on the social safety net
That every 40 seconds another person commits suicide worldwide
Why the repugican cabal fears higher voter turn out
It turns out we live in the laniakea galactic cluster
About America's messed up priorities
Here's the constitutional amendment that would overturn citizens united, explained
That even red states can't ignore the rising green economy
That a giant panda faked her pregnancy for more treats
That the state of the internet is awful and everyone knows it
That law enforcement source says NFL had ray rice video 3 months ago
That one repugican realizes how racist voter ID laws are

Bill Maher Storms Into Washington D.C. and Calls Out Faux News For Polarizing America

bill maher fox news polarized america
Bill Maher made media folks in D.C. uncomfortable by speaking the truth about how Faux News has polarized America.
Maher said, “I wonder, people always talking about Washington, and politicians can’t get along. I think maybe that it’s the people who are polarized, and the politicians just reflect that, and I feel like the reason the people are so polarized is Faux News. I think of all the things that changed in America, Faux News changed the most. Used to be the John Birch Society came to your door once a year, now they’re in your TV, in your living room everyday, and we don’t even know how to talk to each other. It’s like we have a language barrier, because what they are hearing on Faux News. To sane people, it’s like what? Saul Alinsky, we don’t know who that is.”
Panelist Andrea Mitchell pointed out that the members of Congress are not reflecting the American people. repugican Haley Barbour brought up the wingnut’s favorite media boogeyman, Bill Maher. Jerry Seinfeld said that Maher’s argument would be better if he said that he each side only listens to their own side, and to blame it all on Faux News didn’t seem completely fair.
Maher knocked down the idea that he is opposite of Faux News, “With all due respect, the opposite of Faux News is not really me. It’s MSNBC, which does not get near the ratings of Faux News, because I think there is something in the wingnut brain that wants to hear the same thing over and over, and doing the same thing over and over.”
It is a debatable whether or not Faux News is solely responsible for the polarization in the country. In my view, the country was already polarizing during Bill Clinton’s first term before Faux News was on the air. What is undeniable is that Faux News has moved the media to the lunatic fringe. Faux has injected repugican shrieking points and wingnut conspiracy theories into mainstream political media coverage. Faux News has destroyed the media’s objectivity. Because of Faux, journalists don’t view it as part of their jobs to challenge repugican lies anymore.
Faux News has been able to reinforce and exploit the political polarization in the United States. It is impossible to say with certainty that Faux News started the polarization, but they have definitely reinforced and expanded it. Bill Maher went to D.C., and he discussed something that the mainstream corporate media doesn’t want to hear. The media, led by Faux News, has fed and worsened the political polarization in this country.

In His First Appearance On Meet The Press Bernie Sanders Terrifies The Koch Brothers

bernie sanders on meet the press
A sign of change on Meet The Press as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made his first appearance on the show. Sanders used the national platform to tell the truth about Citizens United and the Koch brothers.
Chuck Todd asked Sanders if he was okay with left supporting billionaires participating in the process or if his issue was with the entire process.
Sen. Sanders said, “Chuck, I think Citizens United will go down in history as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever. I think it is opening up the road to oligarchy in the United States of America, where the billionaires like the Koch brothers….left or right, but it’s mostly right let’s be clear.”
Sanders continued, “The Koch brothers are going to spend $400 million. Do you know what their agenda is? Do you know what they believe in? Let me tell you what they believe in. This is what they told us. They want to end Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. More tax breaks for the rich and large corporations. Nobody in America wants that except the billionaire class, and yet they are now able to put hundreds of billions of dollars into the political process. This is a real danger to American democracy.”
Sen. Sanders talked about the profound anger in the country among Democrats and repugicans, and the fact that the candidate who can talk about middle-class issues will do pretty well.
Having Bernie Sanders on the program is a gesture that suggests that Chuck Todd is serious about changing Meet The Press. There is no doubt that if David Gregory were still moderating the show, Sen. Sanders would not be on. The talk about the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign was justified because Sanders has been open about potentially running for president.
Bernie Sanders was first elected to the House in 1990. It took 24 years for him to be invited on Meet The Press, and Sanders didn’t disappoint. Viewers often don’t hear the Koch brothers and their agenda exposed on a Sunday morning show. It was impressive that Todd let Sanders discuss Citizens United and the billionaires without trying to redirect him back to horse race 2016 politics.
The Koch agenda getting called out on the most mainstream of corporate media institutions was a big deal. It was also a sign the Citizens United is becoming a bigger issue. Sen. Sanders and others on the left have been good at connecting the dots. If voters want to know why their members of Congress aren’t listening to them and doing things that they oppose, the answer is Citizens United.
The mainstream media are beginning to give airtime to those who want to overturn Citizens United. The Koch brothers want to operate in secret. They don’t want the American people to understand their agenda. It has to be a terrifying sight for the billionaires to see Bernie Sanders on Meet The Press explaining what they stand for.
The Koch brothers should be worried, because the American people are starting to find out what they are all about.

ISIL and the Limits of the repugican Alternate Reality Bubble

The U.S. must tread carefully in Iraq. The repugican cabal's alternate reality bubble will not protect them - or the rest of us - from real world …
There are many questions being raised by the wingnuts and in the feckless mainstream media about President Obama’s foreign policy. Many repugicans seem to speak as though the United States has free reign to respond to ISIL (whatever actual threat it poses to U.S. interests) in any way it likes, as though it might be responding to an armed insurrection on U.S. territory.
Never mind that in the right wing mind, as the Bundy episode proves, the U.S. is NOT free to respond to armed insurrections on U.S. territory. In fact, where the right wing is concerned, best to suspend reality altogether.
The problem is that ISIL is not somewhere in the American Southwest, but in Iraq and Syria. There are not only practical considerations of logistics, but the war-weariness of the American people, a fragile economy still recovering from the shrub’s two unfunded decade-long wars, and, not least, a court of world opinion to be considered. Even had it the logistical capability to do anything it wishes, the United States would still be limited by what the world allowed it to do, our 21st century brand of rampant 19th nationalism called “American Exceptionalism” aside.
The shrub wastefully expended virtually all of any cachet held by America in the Middle East outside of Israel, which was in limited supply in any case because of America’s ties to the jewish state. This shrub's disaster that was the Iraq War leaves President Obama with far more limited options, if he is to not simply run roughshod over any and all who oppose him.
In many ways, this is a no-win scenario for Obama, because if he tries to do more, he will be accused (as he has already been) of exceeding his constitutional authority, and if he is content with less, he will be accused (as he has already been) of being weak on foreign policy and soft on the perceived enemy, Islam.
Obama’s attempt to demonstrate, rationally, that ISIL does not represent Islam, has fallen on deaf repugican ears, who seem determined to make shrub’s war in Iraq only the first of many “christian” crusades there, logistics and world opinion be damned. What is the opinion of the world compared to the opinion of the god they claim to follow? Especially when they have a Blue Light rapture at stake at 3 a.m. on the Seventeenth of Never?
More nuanced critiques are certainly possible. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who watched a small number of American advisors in Vietnam mushroom into a full-scale war almost overnight, worries that the U.S. has been in five wars since 1945 and that in only one (WWII) – and in a more limited way in Korea – have we achieved the objectives laid out.
You have to admit, that’s not a very good track record. Like Kissinger or not, the man has a point. And there is good reason, as he says, to worry about the potential of an open-ended mission to mushroom out of all proportion. One minute advisors, the next bombers, and presto, tens of thousands of boots on the ground fighting a war that cannot be won (never mind the implications of America’s continued dependence on Middle Eastern oil).
The repugicans seem to want more than a few airstrikes. It is obvious to any student of history that air strikes alone (like naval blockades alone) will not get the job done any more than the Allies could bomb Germany into submission in the Second World War.
But it isn’t air strikes alone, is it? Kurds are fighting ISIL. Iraqis are fighting ISIL. Iranians are fighting ISIL on the ground. American boots are not required. ISIL has shown it can harm individual Americans at this point, Americans who have put themselves within arm’s reach of the terrorists. We have two notable beheadings of Americans. We do not have 3,000 dead Americans on American soil as we did when the shrub was pretending.
Looked at that way, the Obama foreign policy looks pretty damned spiffy, doesn’t it? ISIL cannot harm Americans here, in America. The threat is purely regional. There is no reason the response cannot also be primarily regional. Given that the U.S. is no longer in control of Iraq, this is perfectly reasonable.
Before the SOFA accord, of course, an entirely different response would have been reasonable. And under the shrub junta, both practical and other concerns would be washed away in a profit-lust response. People would die, cash would flow into repugican coffers - god’s self-appointed legal representatives would be happy that the infidel was getting his. A big win all around for modern American totalitarianism.
The repugican dream scenario takes us back some 1900+ years, also to the Middle East, but to Palestine this time, southern Syria, as the romans saw it, rather than the northern border with what is now Iraq.
When the jews rebelled against Rome in 66 CE, Rome moved immediately to crush the revolt. Imagine for a moment that ISIL arose while American troops were still in Iraq, and while Iraq was still governed by the United States. In that case, the U.S. would have had far more freedom of action. The U.S. too could have moved immediately to crush the revolt, the local forces of the client king (Iraq in this case) would not have been defeated and the revolt would not now be spreading out of control.
And you can bet your last petro-dollar that the shrub junta would have felt free to indulge its manly insecurities and the military industrial complex’s thirst for profits to respond all out of proportion to the threat. At this moment, a new surge would be pummeling ISIL into the stone age (though maybe not even then). Munitions and dollars would be flowing like nobody’s business and Muslims would be dying to praise songs in megacults across the country.
This revolt of the jews back in 66 CE was, on the surface, also an isolated rebellion, and concerned only the jews and Rome. But Rome had other provinces prone to revolt, and other provinces with large jewish populations. Similarly, Iraq isn’t the only islamic nation with people sympathetic to ISIL or to chaos whatever its ideological underpinnings.
Localized as the rebellion currently is, it has the potential to spread not only to other parts of Iraq, but to neighboring states, which is, of course, ISIL’s ultimate goal of a new caliphate encompassing the entire Islamic world, and perhaps more.
This makes ISIL, like the jewish rebels, a regional concern, as the rebels also were intent on pressing their war outside of Judaea, outside Greater Israel, to the extent, according to the jewish historian of the war, Josephus, of building ships to raid the sea lanes. Roman marker stones also show the rebels tore up Roman roads through the region, which was a critical link between Syria and Egypt, and we can’t forget yesteryear’s Iranians, the neighboring Parthian Empire (of modern Iraq and Iran), who had no reason to love Rome just as Iran has no reason to love the U.S., and who, like Iran, had previously intervened in the area. It was deemed critical by Rome to wipe out this revolt as quickly as possible. Nero may not have been Rome’s best emperor, but he was not an idiot.
Their immediate attempt with a single legion marching from Syria, failed (Judaea was considered to be part of “Greater” Syria and therefore the governor of Syria’s ultimate responsibility). So the Emperor Nero sent in his best man, Vespasian, and his son Titus (both destined to be emperors themselves) from what is now Lebanon, with three legions and plentiful auxiliaries from various Roman clients (you can think of them as regional allies, if America had any regional allies outside of Israel, which it does not).
Rome did not have to contend with a court of world opinion. Rome could do pretty much whatever it wanted without worrying about what anyone outside the empire thought, which is what makes the Roman response interesting. The size of the force ultimately used was about equal to that which had conquered Britain a generation earlier, and the Roman response was clearly a message to those contemplating rebellion in other provinces, that it would “wipe out” what it saw as any troublemakers anywhere it found them, and with overwhelming force. This was not just an attempt to put down the local rebellion, but an attempt to discourage further rebellions in other provinces.
It is noteworthy that with less than a thousand jewish rebels remaining on Masada (according to Josephus) after the rest of the country had been pacified, the Romans sent an entire legion plus auxiliaries (some 10,000 men total), to lay siege to the fortress. Nor were the Romans content to starve out the defenders. A legion was like a modern division, and it was valuable.
Think about it: Rome had 28 legions to control an empire that spanned from Britain in the north to Morocco in the South, and from Spain in the West to Syria in the East. It committed one of these valuable legions to put down a few straggling survivors at Masada to make a point to the entire Roman world that it meant business, like Obama says America means business. “Fuck with us and we will bury you” was the message then as now.
So the Romans proceeded to built a huge ramp, the remains of which still exist, up the 400-foot side of the plateau upon which the fortress stood. It took 3 months to complete this ramp. When it was finished, says Josephus, Roman soldiers stormed into Masada to find the defenders had killed each other rather than be taken.
This might seem like yet another Alamo-type ending, but there are problems with it. Archaeologists found just 28 bodies, and there is no evidence that they committed suicide. What has resulted instead, like the myth of the Alamo, is the Myth of Masada.
We don’t know what myths may or may not have grown up in the first century. We do know that the Jews lost and would not try to revolt again for several generations, and we know that the sizable jewish population of Egypt did not revolt until that second attempt in 132-136 CE (the so-called Bar Kokhba revolt).
Rome could have made do with much less and still won. The defenders were trapped, and if the Romans knew that there were fewer than a thousand defenders in the fortress their response is the more astounding. The Romans had already built a a circumvallation (a fortified wall) all around the foot of the plateau. The jewish rebels were going nowhere, whatever their numbers. The revolt itself was crushed. Whatever remained on Masada had no practical bearing on future affairs outside of Rome’s need for a grand gesture.
The repugicans see the need for a grand gesture as well. But America is facing its own myth, the myth constructed by the war criminals responsible for the Iraq War, the myth that America went into Iraq in revenge for 9/11 (Sadam Hussein was innocent of that, at least), to destroy weapons of mass destruction (those weapons never existed) and that we kicked ass and took names. We did kick ass but we didn’t take names, and the postwar mess the shrub’s maladministration created is what has given rise to ISIL today.
The myth is that it is Obama’s foreign policy, not prior repugican mistakes, that is to blame. The mainstream media feeds the myth by giving air time to the same people who created the mess, now eager to offer alternatives to fix the mess they refuse to take responsibility for, alternatives that sound a lot like the schemes that got us (and Iraq) into this mess in the first place. But we are not Rome, Iran is not Parthia, and the rebels are not our rebels but Iraq’s. And we DO have a court of world opinion and it would not be thrilled by yet another unilateral military invention of the type our war criminals embrace.
The world is awake and watching, if the repugican cabal is not, and their little alternate reality bubble does not extend its coverage to any but repugicans. So to the extent the repugican cabal is able to act on ISIL (and hope they are not), their reality bubble will not protect them – or the rest of us – from real world, as opposed to fantasy, consequences.

Stephen Harper sells Canada

China can secretly sue to repeal Canadian laws
Under the terms of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, approved by PM Harper on Friday, China can sue Canada in secret tribunals to repeal national and provincial laws that interfere with Chinese investments, including laws limiting construction of the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.
The treaty allows the government to engage in secret negotiations to vary its rules and laws to avoid harm to Chinese assets, or to pay public money to Chinese companies, and only publish notice once the matter is final and settled. The way the deal is structured, it can't be undone, even if the Canadian courts find it to be unconstitutional, without consent from China. More significantly, it overrides existing treaty obligations to Canada's First Nations, allowing Chinese investors to force the Canadian government to grant access to aboriginal lands that are technically not Canadian territory.
Canadians can (and should) sign this online petition to stop FIPA.
First Nations argued that the deal was not valid, as it would violate section 35 of the Constitution requiring consultation over projects that could affect traditional territory. The Hupacasath First Nation in B.C. took the federal government to court last year over the FIPA deal, while citizen advocacy groups Leadnow and SumOfUs delivered 60,000 signatures from across Canada in opposition to the agreement. The court decision on the Hupacasath First Nation's legal appeal is still pending, despite the ratification.
“This is a truly sad day for Canada,” said Brenda Sayers, representative of the Hupacasath First Nation. “The people of Canada should be alarmed that our constitutional rights have been stolen from our hands.”
"A massive citizen response and the Hupacasath First Nation's legal challenge has delayed ratification of this secretive and extreme investor deal for two years longer than anyone thought possible," said Leadnow executive director Jamie Biggar.
"Today, Prime Minister Harper is showing his disrespect for the legal process by ratifying this agreement before the courts have finished reviewing the case."



Catalans Want Independence Too

by Helene Zuber
V for Victoria: Catalans Want Independence Too
Catalonia wants to join Scotland in holding an independence referendum. But the Spanish constitution doesn't allow for secession. Nationalists in Barcelona are prepared to push the vote through anyway. More

How Two Guys, A Lobster Boat, And A District Attorney Just Made Climate History

On Monday, outside of the Fall River Justice Center near the border of Rhode Island, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter addressed a gaggle of eager reporters gathered for what they thought would be a multi-day hearing for two men who blocked a 40,000-ton shipment of coal from reaching New England's largest power station last May. However, Sutter shocked everyone by dropping the charges in under an hour, leaving the group anxious to understand what led to his decision to reduce the conspiracy, disturbing the peace, and two other civil disobedience charges against the climate activists. Having anchored a lobster boat in the freighter's shipping channel, the climate activists delayed the delivery of coal for a day in an effort to delay the impacts of climate change by raising awareness. Facing up to nine months in jail, they were suddenly off the hook.
"Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter said after explaining that the decision was made with the interests of the people of Bristol County in mind. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking."
The defendants, Jay O'Hara, 32, and Ken Ward, 57, who accepted all charges for blocking the tons of Appalachian coal that the "Energy Enterprise" was bringing to port, had submitted an uncommon and unused defense for their actions: the necessity defense. They argued that they had no choice but to act because the consequences of climate change are so dire. It just so happened that Sutter agreed with them.

We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers

We defer to cops even when they kill, and scapegoat schools for the ills America has given up on. This must change
The killing of Michael Brown brought a great many things into focus - so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all. One important point was the dramatic contrast between elite treatment of police - routinely deferred to, even when they kill - and the routine scapegoating of teachers, who are demonized for all the ills that America's elites have given up on.  Of course, this has nothing to do with police officers and teachers themselves. It has everything to do with the roles they play - or can play - in either strengthening and defending the status quo, or in empowering possibilities of change.
Darren Wilson not only typifies how dangerous bad police can be in America, but also how heavily protected they are.  Shortly after he was publicly identified, the Washington Post revealed that his first police job had been in Jennings, Missouri, a rare example of a police department shut down because it was so broken (primarily with regards to race relations) that the city council thought it was impossible to fix.  But Wilson carried no stain of that with him.
Teachers, in contrast, have grown all too familiar with mass firings in recent years, as schools are routinely closed with little or no relationship to actual teacher competency or conduct. Indeed, President Obama and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, have been enthusiastic supporters of this trend. In Chicago, where Duncan ran the school system before his Cabinet appointment, successive rounds of "school reform" firings have reduced the percentage of black teachers from about 40 percent to just under 30 percent, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed in late 2012. In New Orleans, more than 7,000 teachers were fired without due process after Hurricane Katrina, and won a civil lawsuit providing back pay earlier this year. Yet, in 2010, Duncan said, "The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." Both Duncan and President Obama strongly supported the Central Falls, Rhode Island, school board when it fired all its high school teachers without due process in February 2010. These are but the most high-profile examples of how mass-firing purportedly "bad teachers" without cause has become a routine part of "school reform."  In light of such examples, Chicago educator Paul Horton has argued that "The Attack on Teacher Tenure Is an Attack on the Black Middle Class," despite the fact that the corporate-driven "education reform" movement has branded itself as "the civil rights struggle of our time."

Accurate Predictions

Scientific 'Facts' that aren't

You've probably heard that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space. That actually is not true, as the rocks of the Great Wall won't look any different from other rocks big enough to see from space.
Though that depends on what you define "space" as. Lots of things are visible from the International Space Station, including the Great Wall.

More than half of adults in the U.S. are unmarried

This is the first time the percentage has exceeded 50% since record-keeping began in 1976.
Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report...
Some of the financial implications are discussed at Bloomberg.

Random Photos

Pikachu Clad Moron Wandered On To White House Lawn On 9/11

September Eleventh is a day of remembrance, and for many a day of mourning, but thankfully it hasn’t yet become a day of acting the fool just to get some media attention.However, this year one unfortunate fellow made the news for doing something really strange on 9/11- he hopped the fence at the White House and found himself on the wrong side of the law(n).
So what’s the strange part of the story?

The guy was wearing a Pikachu hat and t-shirt
, and clutching a plush Pikachu, as he wandered on to the White House lawn looking almost as bewildered as the security personnel who arrested him.

Is he a trainer who saw a Grass type Pokemon wandering around the grounds of the White House that he wanted to add to his collection? The world may never know…

Floating cannabis plantation found on lake

Hungarian police have arrested a 35-year-old amateur gardener who was growing a floating cannabis plantation on Lake Neusiedl, on the Austrian border.
Police found a total of 42 potted cannabis plants that were well hidden in a patch of dense reeds. The owner was due to harvest the buds in a few weeks.
The police stumbled upon the plants by accident, which were growing on the border of Burgenland and Hungary.
The gardener, who is also a keen angler and spends a lot of time at the lake, said that he bought the seeds in Austria and was growing the plants for his own use. If police can prove that he was selling the drug he could face up to eight years in a Hungarian prison.

Weird Ways People Have Tried To Stop Lava

When a volcano erupts, the conventional wisdom is that you evacuate, because there’s nothing you can do to stop the destructive power of the heat, ash, and lava that comes from it. But conditions vary. If a lava flow is some distance away, you might have quite a bit of time before it arrives. And in the past, some have even tried to stop or divert it. 
Before he was a general in World War Two, George S Patton designed a different kind of military campaign - a bombing run on Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the largest volcano on Earth, as it erupted in 1935.
As the lava began flowing at a rate of one mile (1.6km) a day towards the city of Hilo, then-director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Thomas Jaggar suggested bombing lava tubes.
Lava tubes are cooled and hardened outer crusts of lava which provide insulation for the faster-flowing, molten rock inside. Such a conduit enables lava to move farther and faster.
In theory, bombs would destroy the lava tubes, robbing lava of an easy transport channel and exposing more of the lava to the air, slowing and cooling it further.
But in practice, while bombs created craters in parts of the tubes, they were soon filled again by the lava. Hilo was instead saved when Mauna Loa stopped erupting.
I dunno, stopping lava with bombs seems like trading a hot frying pan for fire. Other methods have been tried, with similar results. When the lava stops, it might have been because of human effort, or it might have been because they all stop sooner or later. Read about some of the schemes used to deal with lava at BBC Magazine. -via Smithsonian

Daily Comic Relief


Woman unhappy at 11-year-old boy practicing clarinet allegedly pointed rifle at children

Incensed that an 11-year-old boy was practicing the clarinet in a neighboring backyard, a Colorado woman allegedly pointed a rifle at the child and yelled, “Fire in the hole!,” police allege. Cheryl Ann Pifer, 60, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon at her Grand Junction home and charged with menacing, child abuse, and prohibited use of a weapon.
The boy told officers that he was “outback doing his homework playing the clarinet” when Pifer came outside and screamed at him to “Get your ass back inside,” according to an arrest affidavit. The child told investigators that he told Pifer “it was his homework and he couldn’t [go] inside because the baby was sleeping.”
In addition to pointing the 7mm Mauser at the young musician, Pifer allegedly pointed the weapon at other children in the backyard, prompting police to file multiple felony menacing and child abuse counts against her. The boy told deputies that Pifer “yelled ‘Fire in the hole’” while aiming the gun at him and the other children from her front door. Deputies located a rifle just inside Pifer’s front door. “The gun was unloaded but had two rounds in the magazine,” according to the affidavit.
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported that Pifer, who appeared intoxicated, referred to the young clarinetist as a “nuisance” who “wouldn’t stop so she just wanted him to stop.” When cops first approached Pifer, she said, “Oh, you’re here to arrest me.” Asked by a deputy why she would say that, Pifer replied, “Well, because I pointed a gun case at that little neighbor boy.” After being booked into the county jail, Pifer was released on a $5000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to appear for a September 19 court appearance.

Man accused of cooking estranged girlfriend's dog before feeding it to her

A Californian man is behind bars after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend's dog - then cooking the poor Pomeranian and feeding it to her without her knowledge.

Ancient flying reptile named after 'Avatar' creature

The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration.The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. …
By Will Dunham
Some of the most visually stunning sequences from director James Cameron's blockbuster movie "Avatar" involved graceful flying creatures that were ridden by blue human-like beings facing ecological destruction on a moon called Pandora.
It turns out that an animal very similar to those "Avatar" creatures, called Ikran, actually did exist here on Earth long ago.
Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of fossils in China of a new species of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled the creatures from the 2009 film that they named it after them.
It is called Ikrandraco avatar, meaning "Ikran dragon" from "Avatar." And this pterosaur is noteworthy for more than just its resemblance to a movie creature.
The head reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown …
The scientists said it appears that Ikrandraco avatar had a throat pouch similar to that of a pelican. It probably fed on small fish from freshwater lakes, flying low over the water and catching prey by skimming its lower jaw into the water, they said. It may have stored the fish in the pouch, they added.
This Cretaceous Period pterosaur boasted an unusual blade-like crest on its lower jaw like the one on the movie creatures.
"The head structure is similar in this pterosaur to the Ikran in 'Avatar,'" said one of the researchers, paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
"Of course, nobody and nothing can ride this pterosaur," Wang added.
Another of the researchers, paleontologist Alexander Kellner of Brazil's National Museum at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, joked: "Please, (there were) no blue hominids during the Cretaceous."
Ikrandraco avatar, whose fossils were unearthed in China's Liaoning province, boasted a wingspan of about 8 feet (2.5 meters), Kellner said.
It did not have a crest on the top of its elongated head as many pterosaurs did. Behind the lower jaw crest was a hook-like structure that appears to have been the anchor point for the throat pouch, Kellner said. It had relatively small teeth good for snaring small fish.
It lived in a warm region teeming with life, with feathered dinosaurs, birds, mammals, frogs, turtles and other animals along with a variety of trees and other plants, Wang said.
The researchers studied fossils of two specimens of Ikrandraco avatar.
Pterosaurs were Earth's first flying vertebrates, with birds and bats making their appearances later. They thrived from about 220 million years ago to 65 million years ago, when they were wiped out by the asteroid that also doomed the dinosaurs.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Giant Swimming Dinosaur Unearthed

A giant fossil, unearthed in the Sahara desert, has given scientists an unprecedented look at the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur: Spinosaurus. The 95-million-year-old remains confirm a long-held theory: that this is the first-known swimming dinosaur.
Scientists say the beast had flat, paddle-like feet and nostrils on top of its crocodilian head that would allow it to submerge with ease. While other ancient creatures, such as the plesiosaur and mosasaur, lived in the water, they are marine reptiles rather than dinosaurs, making Spinosaurus the only-known semi-aquatic dinosaur.

Rabid bat bit man jamming on guitar

Derrick Skou, from Gresham, Oregon, was bitten by a rabid bat while camping in Clackamas County. “This thing came out of nowhere,” he said. “I was thinking it was a good day until then.” Skou was playing guitar, and jamming with friends at a campsite when it happened.

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