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

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Daily Drift

 Another repugican epic failure ...!
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Today in History

54 Nero succeeds his great uncle Claudius, who was murdered by his wife, as the new emperor of Rome.
1307 Members of the Knights of Templar are arrested throughout France, imprisoned and tortured by the order of King Philip the Fair of France.
1399 Henry IV of England is crowned.
1670 Virginia passes a law that blacks arriving in the colonies as Christians cannot be used as slaves.
1775 The Continental Congress authorizes construction of two warships, thus instituting an American naval force.
1776 Benedict Arnold is defeated at Lake Champlain.
1792 President George Washington lays the cornerstone for the White House.
1812 At the Battle of Queenston Heights, a Canadian and British army defeats the American who have tried to invade Canada.
1849 The California state constitution, which prohibits slavery, is signed in Monterey.
1903 Boston defeats Pittsburgh in baseball's first World Series.
1904 Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams is published.
1942 In the first of four attacks, two Japanese battleships sail down the slot and shell Henderson field on Guadalcanal, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy the American Cactus Air Force.
1943 Italy declares war on Germany.
1944 Troops of the advancing Soviet Army occupy Riga, capital of Latvia.
1946 The Fourth Republic begins in France; will continue to 1958.
1958 First appearance of Paddington Bear, now a beloved icon of children's literature.
1967 First game of the fledgling American Basketball Association; Oakland Oaks beat Anaheim Amigos 134-129 in Oakland, Cal.
1972 Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes in the Andes Mountains, near the Argentina-Chile border; only 16 survivors (out of 45 people aboard) are rescued on Dec. 23.
1976 Dr. F.A. Murphy at Center for Disease Control obtains the first electron micrograph of an Ebola viral particle.
1983 The Space Shuttle Challenger, carrying seven, the largest crew to date, lands safely at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
1990 The Lebanese Civil War ends when a Syrian attack removes Gen. Michel Aoun from power.
2010 After being underground for a record 69 days, all 33 miners trapped in a Copiapo, Chile, mine are rescued.

Writer Creates 'Color Thesaurus' To Help You Correctly Name Any Color Imaginable

Writer and children's book illustrator Ingrid Sundberg created a very useful infographic chart for anyone struggling with color names. The writer says that she loves to collect words that can help give her stories variety and depth. Sundberg's guide will help expand your descriptive vocabulary beyond green, red and blue.

Report Confirms Fracking is Poisoning California’s Dwindling Aquifers

Yet another report reveals that fracking in California has contaminated aquifers during a historical drought.…
Don't Poison My Water
One of America’s greatest assets are the abundant natural resources that helped elevate a new country into a world-class nation, and over the past century a world leader.  Of all this nation’s resources, fossil fuels are far and away the single-most valuable in driving the industrial revolution and enriching one industry above all others except maybe banking and agriculture. Obviously, America’s abundant water supply should be considered as precious a natural resource as petroleum, but that is not a consideration the fossil fuel industry shares regardless that not only is water crucial to agriculture, it is a fundamental necessity of human life. Water is also a fundamental necessity for the oil industry that could not care less how their extraction processes contaminate water used for agriculture, or human consumption. This week, yet another report reveals that fracking in California has contaminated aquifers during a historical drought.
In July, California state regulators, Department of Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR),  shut down eleven fracking wastewater injection wells over concerns that what precious water the severely drought-stricken state has left is being contaminated with toxins and carcinogens; particularly in highly productive agricultural areas. According to its due diligence, the agency the oil industry and repugicans hate above all others, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), promptly ordered a report within 60 days to determine if the oil industry did indeed poison what little water California has left and what extent, if any, the damage might have on the agriculture industry and drinking water supply.
This past week, with little to no mention in the conservative media, the California State water Resources Board issued a report to the EPA confirming that yes, at least nine of the eleven fracking sites were deliberately dumping poisoned waste water directly into central California aquifers. The waste water is laden with extremely hazardous toxins and carcinogenic chemicals used in fracking and the aquifers the industry destroyed are protected by both state laws as well as the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Of course, both repugicans and the oil industry (read Koch brothers) can not countenance either California’s environmental protections or the Safe Drinking Water Act as evidenced by a campaign pledge by repugican Jeff Denham, promising an all-out federal drive to abolish California’s water regulations permanently.
According to the damning report, over 3 billion gallons of poisoned waste-water was illegally injected directly into central California aquifers, and that water samples collected at water supply wells tested in the proximity of the fracking injection sites all had extremely high levels of known carcinogenic chemicals such as arsenic. Arsenic, besides being a cancer-causing agent, also weakens the human immune system. The arsenic is combined with a toxin used in rat poison, thallium, that was found in water supplies in and around the fracking injection sites. The water wells are useless as a safe drinking-water resource as well as worthless for the state’s very substantial agricultural industry.
A professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands, Timothy Krantz,  warned that these toxic chemicals and carcinogens pose a very serious threat to public health. He said, “The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to waste-water injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents.” Unfortunately, it is likely that the full extent of poisoned water is still not, and may not, be known for some time because the Central Valley Water Board has only tested 8 out of 100 nearby water wells. The State Water Resources Board is concerned that at least 19 other fracking injection sites are still currently contaminating protected aquifers in the agriculture-rich Central Valley region which already has some of the state’s worst air and water pollution. Pollution directly attributable to the highly dangerous impact of oil companies’ increasing and careless use of the controversial oil extraction technique; that does not include dumping the poisoned water into the aquifer after the extraction process is finished.
Besides poisoning water needed by the agriculture industry and California citizens, the oil industry’s wanton fracking is, without question, exacerbating the historically severe drought throughout the state and not just the agriculture-rich Central Valley. In fact, over 80% of California is experiencing the beginning of a decade-long (at least) “extreme” drought conditions a handy little map gives a clue to how devastating the drought is for the state. For any intelligent human being, reports that billions upon billions of toxic fracking waste water is being pumped directly into “protected aquifers” Central Valley residents rely on for basic survival just does not make sense; except to repugicans dependent on oil industry donations.
While the citizens of California are conserving every drop of water, the oil industry is using at least 140,000 to 150,000 gallons “per fracking site” every day of the year; permanently deleting it from the water cycle, mixing in poison and cancer-causing chemicals, and putting it into whatever water their fracking process has not yet robbed and poisoned. Still, Central Valley repugican Jeff Denham is openly campaigning on permanently eliminating water regulations and lying that the EPA’s American Waters Act will seize Californians’ property if they have a man-made pond in their backyard.
An attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, Hollin Kretzmann, said these new revelations prove state regulators have failed to protect Californians’ health, dwindling water supply, as well as the environment from fracking. He, and many Californians are demanding that Governor Jerry Brown take immediate action to prevent an even bigger water emergency in drought-stricken California. He said, “Much more testing is needed to gauge the full extent of water pollution and the threat to public health, but Governor Brown should move quickly to halt fracking to ward off a surge in oil industry wastewater that California simply isn’t prepared to dispose of safely.” It is not just that California is ill-prepared to safely get rid of the poisoned water, the state can  hardly afford to lose even one more gallon of the precious necessity, and not just for agriculture use either.
One of the biggest misconceptions driven by corporate agriculture regarding preserving what little water is left is that it is crucial to save California billions of dollars in lost profits. A great deal of the water shortage is due to the past few years of irresponsible over-planting by huge corporate farms, up and down the state, of water intensive crops; particularly almonds. Almonds, like most nut crops, are a luxury commodity for export that not only fail to generate many jobs other than low-wage farm labor, exports are not taxed. The state, counties, and local communities are not profiting from corporate agriculture that is draining wells the oil industry has  poisoned and permanently collapsed aquifers that will never, never ever, be replenished.
The real travesty, and it is a travesty, is that both California and the federal government have adequate regulations in place to protect the state’s water supply for human and agricultural use. However, like every regulation affecting the fossil fuel industry, they do not apply according to the persistent industry practice of disregarding both the law and health of Americans. That the industry is wasting what precious little water resources Californian’s depend on for survival is, although beyond the pale, a typical oil industry practice with typical repugican support.

President Obama Obliterates the repugicans With An Obstruction Annihilating Truth Bomb

President Obama called out the current Congress for being unwilling to move forward legislation that would help average Americans. …
We can’t have nice things because repugicans in Congress refuse to move on things that used to be nonpartisan. And by nice things, I mean a decent wage, infrastructure, a measure of equality, and affordable education. Since Democrats historically don’t vote in midterms, repugicans get to obstruct laws that would help everyone.
Speaking to a crowd of an estimated 200 supporters at a sold out DNC event held at the San Francisco W Hotel Friday night, President Obama called out the current Congress for being unwilling to move forward legislation that would help average Americans.
The President reminded the audience that their vision was shared by the majority of Americans, but “we don’t have a Congress right now that is willing to move to them forward.”
President Obama explained that while “there’s almost no economic measure by which we’re not doing better than we were six years ago… People are still worried … because for about 20, 30 years now, the trend has been that gains in the economy go to folks at the very top, and ordinary folks — the middle class, people working to get into the middle class — their income and wages have not gone up.”
The President acknowledged that some of this pain is from globalization and trends that we can’t control with policy, but “some of it is that we’re not taking the steps that would grow the economy even faster and give workers a stronger position to be able to get wages that are higher, and incomes that are higher, and more stability and security in their lives.”
Guess why we’re not doing this? It’s not because the majority of Americans don’t agree. They do. It’s “not because I haven’t proposed them. It’s not because I haven’t fought for them.”
“It’s because we don’t have a Congress right now that is willing to move to them forward,” the President told the crowd.
Obama laid down some more facts about the minimum wage, equal pay for women, infrastructure and making education affordable and accessible. He pointed out that these ideas used to be nonpartisan, “And all these ideas historically have not been partisan ideas. And yet, we’ve got a House of Representatives in particular, and a small faction within the other party, that simply says no to every single step that could be taken to help working families.”
Someone yelled, “Yes sir!” at this point, clearly feeling impatient with Republican obstruction.
The President challenged the crowd, “(T)he question now is, what are we going to do about it? I heard, when I mentioned the other party, I heard a few “boos.”
“And I always say, don’t boo, vote. Vote.”
These specific Democratic policies are supported by the majority of Americans. Obama said, “The fact is that our vision is shared by the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans believe in raising the minimum wage. A majority of Americans believe in investing in early childhood education. A majority of Americans think we should rebuild our infrastructure. A majority of Americans think we should be investing in the research and technology and innovation that’s always been the hallmark of the American economy. A majority of Americans believe in equal pay for equal work. So on the issues, the public is on our side.”
So why can’t we have nice things?
Because Democrats don’t vote in midterms.
“But there’s a congenital problem that we have as Democrats, and that is, in non-presidential elections, in midterm elections, we don’t vote. We don’t vote,” The President charged. “So my main argument today is that it’s nice that you all came here to hear Maxwell – or look at Maxwell. It’s nice that some of you took a picture with me. I’m glad to do it. But the main thing that I need right now is votes.”
The President tasked his supporters, “We’ve got to mobilize, we’ve got to organize. We’ve got to knock on doors. We’ve got to make phone calls. If our people vote, if our — if young people vote, if women vote, if people of color vote, if people who care about the environment vote, if people who care about LGBT rights vote — that’s a majority. That’s a majority.”
President Obama is fighting hard for policies to help the working class of America. But many of his policies are gathering dust because of the deliberate choice of repugicans to obstruct everything Obama is for. The problem with this is not that Obama is a good person who doesn’t deserve this; the problem is that President Obama’s policies would have helped and could help millions of Americans. They are suffering because of repugican obstruction.

Wingnut Legal Agitator Files Paperwork to Deport President Obama

After reading this story, I really tried to avoid the urge to vent out against this stupidity. But then I made the mistake of reading it twice - and I just had to say a few words.
While I know "birthers" still exist, and always will (after all, there are still people who think we faked the mood landing), it really does amaze me how many of them there still are. While this ridiculous movement has clearly died down from its peak around 2009/2010, there still remain a decent chunk of conservative Americans who don't believe President Obama is actually an American.
Well, right-wing legal activist Larry Klayman has taken this nonsense a step further by filing paperwork with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get President Obama deported.
Klayman said:
    "No, Obama is not incompetent or ill prepared, as politically correct commentators shade it. The African-American "Muslim in Chief" knows exactly what he is doing, and it is done at the expense of the rest of us. As set forth in a deportation petition I filed just today, it's time that he be deported back to his native country and for him to leave us alone. He has no legitimacy to be president, and he must be tried, convicted and removed from our shores before he destroys everything the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us."

This repugican Says He’s Losing Because Lazy Single Women Are Dependent On Government

jeff bellNew Jersey repugican Jeff Bell, who is running against incumbent Democrat Cory Booker in New Jersey’s US Senate race, told a New Jersey newspaper Thursday that he is behind Booker because single women are “wed” to the Democratic Party due to their reliance on government benefits. In a conversation with the Asbury Park Press, Bell lamented about his double-digit deficit in the polls to Booker, the former Newark mayor who was elected to the Senate last year via special election.
In Bell’s mind, the huge gender gap he is dealing with in the polls is solely based on single women feeling that they have to vote Democratic if they want to keep the benefits they need to survive.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and looked at a lot of different polls, I think it has more to do with the rise in single women. Single mothers particularly are automatically Democratic because of the benefits. They need benefits to survive, and so that kind of weds them to the Democratic Party. But single women who have never married and don’t have children are also that way. If you take married women, they aren’t that different from married men. So it’s really a problem with the decline in marriage rates. The Democrats do benefit from that.”
With his foot placed firmly in his mouth, Bell decided to keep spouting out the broad stereotypes.
“Even before the gender gap appeared, men were more willing to vote for change. They’re more bomb-throwers. Women are more cautious. If you’re doing well among men, that is something that an insurgent candidate needs.”
Currently, Bell is well behind Booker in the polls with less than a month to go before the election. Bell hasn’t been considered a serious threat to Booker this entire time, and these latest tone-deaf comments aren’t going to help his cause. While a recent Stockton poll has Booker ‘only’ up by nine points and 11 points with women, that appears to be an outlier. A survey by Monmouth University shows Bell down 15 points with women favoring Booker by 23 points. Quinnipiac’s most recent poll shows Booker with an 11-point advantage and a 20-point lead with women.
These comments will make Bell more widely known among New Jersey voters. Even in the most recent polls, most New Jersey voters either have not heard of Bell of have no opinion of him. While this will increase Bell’s notoriety, it won’t help him at all. Oddly enough, when you say offensive things about women, or any specific group or class of people, they tend to not like you afterwards. Then again, we can’t go a week without some member the repugican cabal saying something awful about women and minorities. Sometimes, they’ll just go out and make pandering sexist ads with the idea that women only care about wedding dresses and getting married, like the college repugicans did less than two weeks ago.

Texas Voter Suppression Law Blocked By Judge

The repugicans are already shopping around for a friendly wingnut judge to uphold their blatant voter suppression laws.
On Thursday, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Texas blocked that state’s attempt to block as many people as possible from voting:
Just weeks before the mid-term elections a federal judge in Corpus Christi struck down on Thursday Texas’ contentious voter ID law, describing it as a “poll tax” and finding that it discriminated against minority voters.
Federal District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the law violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act and barred the state from enforcing it in the coming November election.
“There has been a clear and disturbing pattern of discrimination in the name of combating voter fraud in Texas,” Ramos wrote in her opinion issued late Thursday.
This is the same pattern that the five wingnut Justices on the Supreme Court denied the existence of when they gutted the Voting Rights Act. Because even when repugicans have been caught repeatedly saying that Voter ID laws exist explicitly to keep people from voting, some people *coughSCALIAcough* will simply pretend the repugican cabal is just trying to protect the integrity of elections.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (currently running for governor against Wendy Davis) has vowed to appeal the decision, no doubt hoping to find a friendlier (read as: wingnut ideologue) judge that will happily rubber stamp the so-blatant-it’s-comical attempt to keep minorities, students and the poor away from the voting booth.
This is why it’s so important to have a Democrat in the White House. Contrary to what the lazy and misinformed claim, both parties are not “the same.” There is no conceivable circumstance in which a liberal dominated Supreme Court would have gutted the Voting Rights Act to clear the way for repglican controlled states to undo half a century’s worth of civil rights gains. For frak’s sake, repugicans are even using the same arguments as last time!:
During closing arguments, the state countered that the law is constitutional, popular and essential to combat voter fraud.
However, Ramos found in her ruling that many other voting laws that were found to discriminate against minorities – like the poll tax and literacy tests – were also justified on those grounds.
“There has been a clear and disturbing pattern of discrimination in the name of combating voter fraud in Texas,” she wrote. “The only voter fraud addressed by (voter ID) is voter impersonation fraud, which the evidence demonstrates is very rare.”
The only reason repugicans are being so transparent in their push to suppress voting rights is because they know that as long as there are five right wing ideologues on the Supreme Court and hundreds of conservative extremists (many with lifetime appointments) infesting the Judicial Branch, they’ll have a free hand to do whatever they want. There’s a reason repugicans are blocking Obama’s appointments: They’re hoping that a repugican will take the White House in the next presidential election so they can pack the courts with more pro-business, anti-democracy judges.
If this story does not convince you of how critical it is to keep repugicans away from the judiciary, you’re not part of the solution; you’re a very large part of the problem.

Pants on Fire: Duncan Hunter makes unconfirmed claim Border Patrol caught at least 10 ISIS fighters

Pants on Fire!
Hunter"At least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas" and there are "dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."
Duncan Hunter on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 in an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Faux News

Duncan Hunter, r-California, made his comment about the Border Patrol capturing ISIS fighters on Faux News Oct. 7, 2014.
Duncan Hunter this week declared terrorists have been crossing the Rio Grande.The California repugican, speaking to Greta Van Susteren on Faux News Oct. 7, 2014, said he’d learned from the U.S. Border Patrol that Islamic State fighters had been nabbed trying to enter the country from Mexico. "ISIS is coming across the southern border," Hunter said, adding a moment later: "I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas."
Border Patrol agents "caught them," Hunter also said, but "you know there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."
Our eyebrows were raised. We sought detail.
No federal or state confirmation
No state or federal law enforcement agency confirmed Hunter’s account when we inquired, and Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper declined to reveal the congressman’s sources.
Faux News, in its original Oct. 8, 2014, online news report on Hunter’s declaration, quoted the Department of Homeland Security disputing his account.
Homeland Security told PolitiFact Texas that no such apprehensions have occurred. An agency spokeswoman, Marsha Catron, emailed: "The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground. DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border."
And after Hunter spoke, the Texas Department of Public Safety wrote state legislators, saying in an Oct. 8, 2014, email it "does not have any information to confirm" statements about Islamic terrorists or ISIS fighters entering the country. A DPS spokesman, Tom Vinger, confirmed the message’s authenticity.
In the message, a DPS deputy director, Robert Bodisch, mentioned the Hunter interview and an Oct. 8, 2014, news report by Judicial Watch, a conservative news website, stating Islamic terrorists had entered the country from Mexico. According to unidentified Homeland Security sources, Judicial Watch said four terrorists had been apprehended in the previous 36 hours by federal authorities and the DPS in McAllen and Pharr.
In the message to legislators, Bodisch further wrote: "An unsecure border is certainly a vulnerability that can be exploited by criminals of all kinds, and it would be naïve to rule out the possibility that any criminal organization would not look for opportunities to take advantage of security gaps along our international border. That said, DPS does not have any information to confirm the specific statements recently reported in the press."
On Sept. 17, 2014, PolitiFact in Washington analyzed an August 2014 Judicial Watch story, finding Mostly False another congressman’s claim that "we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez," which neighbors El Paso. Research did not turn up any law enforcement official or news outlet that independently verified or corroborated the claim, making the declaration that "we know" with certainty ISIS is in Juarez a big stretch.
For this fact check, a terrorism expert said Hunter’s claim doesn’t make much sense.
"It’s implausible given the way the criminal-justice system works to have 10 ISIS fighters arrested at the border and never charged," said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
Gartenstein-Ross said by phone he knows of "no reporting coming through DHS suggesting that a large number of ISIS fighters have been intercepted at the border. I’ve talked to a large number of people within the department, and the department has unequivocally denied it. There’s not one shred of evidence this is the case."
Kasper, informed we'd not confirmed Hunter's statement, said Hunter stands by what he said.
Kasper also expressed doubt federal agencies are revealing the facts about fighters getting caught.
"Problem here is that this is always a zero-sum game," Kasper wrote. "We make the point. Official channels deny. Then, maybe in a few years from now the information will pop up on the front page of the Washington Post,"  much like that newspaper this week reported new details about the Secret Service prostitution scandal, Kasper said.
Our ruling
Hunter said "at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas" and there are "dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."
No government agency confirms anything remotely close to the idea that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border. Notably, too, the lead Texas agency entrusted with public safety alerted legislators of its own lack of confirmation. Similarly, the idea there are "dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol" is missing a factual basis.
All told, this statement strikes us as incorrect and ridiculous. Pants on Fire!

The Truth Hurts


This Giant Macaron Is a Sumo Wrestling Prize

Can you drive your opponent to the ground? Then, obviously, you should bear this giant green macaron as a trophy. Rocket News 24 reports that this giant cookie was a prize at the Sumo Senshuraku championship. The famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé made it for the tournament.

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Dwarf given children's coloring book by waitress as he ate dinner with his fiancée

A dwarf took his fiancée to a restaurant for a romantic meal and was handed a children's coloring book and crayons by a waitress. James Lusted, 26, who is just 3ft 7in, was on a date with his 5ft 7in fiancee when the waitress picked up two menus and some crayons and a coloring book. It was only when the waitress heard James's deep voice that she realized her embarrassing blunder.
But it was the highlight of the night for James and his bride-to-be Chloe Roberts, 20, who have been laughing about it ever since. James said: "As I said thank you to the waitress she heard my voice and knew I wasn't a child. She immediately put the coloring book behind her back in shock. But I am man enough to see the funny side - I would never take offense."
James and Chloe said they realize they look different when they are out together in Cardiff where she is a third-year education student. But the pair say their miss-matched heights make no difference to them and they are getting married in the summer of 2016. James, of Colwyn Bay, said: “Life has not been easy - when I was young I had a lot of surgery and went through a time of being bullied in school.
“I have often thought from an early age ‘Who would want to marry me, a dwarf from Wales?’ But then I met Chloe and everything just fell into place.” Chloe, also from Colwyn Bay, said: “All little girls dream about having their tall, dark and handsome prince charming. Never in my life did I think I’d date someone like James. People sometimes get a bit confused when they see us for the first time but we always laugh it off. I felt a bit sorry for the waitress - she looked very uncomfortable.”

The Truth Be Told


Man told crumbling concrete beams on his home held together with sticky tape are safety hazard

A DIY enthusiast whose house was in urgent need of repair is facing a fine from local officials after he stuck crumbling concrete beams back together with Sellotape. Home-owner Kang Hsiao, 36, was told he needed to repair the outside of his apartment in Lishan East Road in eastern China’s Jinan City after housing officials noticed the supporting beams were a health and safety hazard.
But instead of buying new ones or getting professionals in to help, nifty Kang decided to stick them together with sticky tape. Kang said: "I’ve used the tape before for many things and it’s always proved to be durable, strong and effective. So when they told me I needed to repair the beams it was the obvious choice and a lot cheaper than new beams. "
But now Kang is facing a hefty fine from city officials who have slammed the shoddy DIY after receiving complaints from worried neighbors. One local said: "I like Kang and I like his attitude, he takes a hands-on approach to problems and has always been keen to do things himself rather than get others to help him. But this is just insane.
"How he seriously thinks tape will hold that lot together beggars belief. We feel unsafe and can’t help covering our heads with our hands when we are coming and going," he added. A spokesman for the city said: "We have told him that he needs to improve the safety of his building or be fined for endangering people’s lives."

Woman who hit own car while driving employer's van seeks payment from them for damage done

By her own recollection, Megan Campbell, an employee of St. Paul Parks and Recreation in Minnesota was driving a supply van back from a city storage building when she turned a corner, causing serious front-bumper damage to a parked car.
The damaged 2001 Nissan Pathfinder in question wasn't just anybody's vehicle. It was her own. Now, Campbell has filed a claim against the city seeking $1,600 to $1,900 from public coffers for damage caused to her personal vehicle by a city worker - herself.
"Because I was working for the city and driving the city vehicle, I feel they are responsible for paying for the damage done to my car," Campbell wrote in a "notice of claim" form received this week by the city clerk's office. Campbell, a 2014 college grad, has worked for the Parks and Recreation Department since May.
"I think I can safely say this is a very unusual claim," said City Clerk Shari Moore. Parks department spokesman Brad Meyer said the incident will be reviewed by the city's accident review board, as is customary for any accident involving city employees driving city vehicles. "The outcome of that will determine next steps with the employee ... and help inform the claim proceedings," he said.

Tar-covered man on store roof said he was visiting family

Police in Florida did not buy a tar-smeared man’s story that he was visiting family on the roof of a convenience store at 3am on Tuesday.
Joshue Holoman, 30, covered in roofing tar from trying to break into the Sunoco in Daytona Beach through an air conditioning shaft, was charged with two counts of attempted burglary of an unoccupied structure, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief. Holoman of Orlando was also seen earlier on the roof of another business, the comedy club Grandview Live, police said.
Officers were called to the closed business by a witness who heard a strange noises like whistling, snorting, a torch sound and rattling fence coming from the back of the business, police said. When police arrived, they saw Holoman on the roof, covered in tar. He first said he was visiting family and then changed his story, saying he was an air conditioning technician trying to fix the units because he could hear them making noise from the ground.
Holoman then said he was on the roof sleeping and rubbed roofing tar on his body so he could not be seen from the ground. Police found Holoman with a makeshift prying tool used on the Sunoco’s air conditioning shaft. While being taken to jail, Holoman became violent and broke a $500 metal panel inside the prisoner transport vehicle, police said. He remains jailed on $4,000 bail.

Crematorium fire caused by 500-pound body

A fire that damaged the roof at Southside Cremation Services Henrico, Virginia, was likely caused by a “rather large body,” according to fire investigators. The fire started when the furnace used to cremate the 500-pound body got too hot, Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum said.

Burning Witches

Seven people in East Africa were killed earlier this week after being accused of witchcraft.

9 Female Warriors Who Made Their Mark On History

They were mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. But above all these women were warriors. All across time, and all around the globe, they brandished swords and guns, fought battles, and faced off with royalty.

Though outnumbered by their bands of brothers in battle, these fearsome female fighters have each made an indelible mark on history.

'Titanic of the Ancient World'

An international expedition recovers antiquities from one of the richest shipwrecks of antiquity, with more to come.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus deglupta, commonly known as the rainbow eucalyptus, is the only Eucalyptus species found naturally in the Northern Hemisphere. Its natural distribution spans New Britain, New Guinea, Seram, Sulawesi and Mindanao.
The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.

Los Angeles-Area Wilderness is now a National Monument

About 350,000 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles will become the next national monument, the White House said.

Our Oceans and Global Warming

A new NASA study has revealed that the ocean abyss has not warmed in the past few years. What does this mean for global warming? Crystal Dilworth is here to explain.

Samhain Sun

Our sun gives us a perfect Samhain Jack-o-Lantern

Pakistan's scorpion hunters

In Pakistan, a black scorpion weighing 60 grams sells for around $50,000 to medical researchers. Al Jazeera's Maham Javaid investigates the country's scorpion trade and its possible harm to the country's ecosystem.
From Al Jazeera:
2014108101943226734_20 Shahid and Sohail, two friends who grew up together in a housing colony in Sindh province's Thatta district, have never been scared of the scorpion's venomous sting.
"As teenagers, we caught and killed scorpions as a game," Sohail told Al Jazeera. "Last year we found out that if we caught a live one, we could be instant millionaires."
On the hottest nights of the year, these hunters search for the nocturnal creatures in the 200-hectare dry forest behind their colony. Scorpions hibernate in cold weather, so Sohail says it is easier to catch them when it's hot.
Their broker, Faraz, is constantly in contact with other brokers who can sell the scorpion to foreign companies for thousands of dollars.
"I spend all my spare time connecting scorpion buyers with sellers," Faraz, who also works at Karachi Port Trust, told Al Jazeera. "When a big deal goes through, it will be like winning the lottery."

Nature's Vampires

Lampreys are eel-like water creatures that can grow up to 40 inches in length. While only 18 out of the 38 lamprey species actually suck blood, both the non-blood sucker and vampire lampreys (scientific name: vamp lamps) have a menacing appearance, with tooth-lined, suction cup mouths.
Lampreys inhabit both fresh and salt waters and are considered invasive. In fact, a number of bodies of water in the U.S. are strictly controlled with regard to the lamprey populations, using barriers and a chemical solution called "lampricide."
When the Great Lakes were first connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Erie Canal, lampreys invaded and rendered several native species of lake fish extinct. In rare cases, lampreys have been known to attack humans as well.
Read about other blood-sucking animals here.

City Raccoons Are Smarter Than Their Country Cousins

Toronto has a problem with raccoons. For years, the critters have been overturning garbage cans and entering people’s homes to find food, and they are good at it. Design a new garbage can lit, and the raccoons will figure out a way to get in. In fact, research shows that raccoons that live in a city are smarter than their woodland counterparts.
Suzanne MacDonald, a comparative psychologist who studies raccoon behavior at York University in Toronto, has compared the problem-solving skills of rural and city raccoons. The result? Urbanites trump their country cousins in both intelligence and ability. For the past few summers, she videotaped rural and urban racoons toying with containers baited with cat food. While both rural and city racoons readily approached familiar containers, they dealt differently with unfamiliar ones. Where rural raccoons took a long time to approach novel containers, city raccoons would attack them the moment she turned her back.

One particularly persistent urban raccoon even learned to open doors leading into MacDonald’s garage, where she keeps her garbage bins. It stood up on an overturned flowerpot, and kept pulling and pushing on the round knob of the door handle with its five-digit paws until it turned. “Normally, they can’t do that, they can’t grasp and turn things very easily,” MacDonald says. “Raccoons in the city are extraordinary, not only in their ability to approach things, but they have no fear, and they stick with it, they will spend hours trying to get food out of something.”
I dunno, is that intelligence or desperation? It’s possible that rural raccoons may be less interested in solving a difficult problem because they have other food sources that are easier to deal with and they aren’t as hungry as a city raccoon anyway. Nevertheless, the urban raccoon’s persistence results in learning. And Toronto is having a hard time staying ahead of them. Read about the city’s effort to outsmart the urban raccoon at Nautilus.

Animal Pictures