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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1315 Swiss soldiers ambush and slaughter invading Austrians in the battle of Morgarten.
1533 The explorer Francisco Pizarro enters Cuzco, Peru.
1626 The Pilgrim Fathers, who have settled in New Plymouth, buy out their London investors.
1777 The Articles of Confederation, instituting perpetual union of the United States of America, are adopted by Congress.
1805 Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their party reach the mouth of the Columbia River, completing their trek to the Pacific.
1806 Explorer Zebulon Pike discovers the Colorado Peak that bears his name, despite the fact that he didn't climb it.
1864 Union Major General William T. Sherman's troops set fires that destroy much of Atlanta's industrial district prior to beginning Sherman's March to the Sea.
1881 The American Federation of Labor is founded.
1909 M. Metrot takes off in a Voisin biplane from Algiers, making the first manned flight in Africa.
1917 Kerensky flees and Bolsheviks take command in Moscow.
1920 Forty-one nations open the first League of Nations session in Geneva..
1922 It is announced that Dr. Alexis Carrel has discovered white corpuscles.
1930 General strikes and riots paralyze Madrid, Spain.
1937 Eighteen lawsuits are brought against the Tennessee Valley Authority, calling for its dissolution.
1942 An American fleet defeats a Japanese naval force in a clash off Guadalcanal.
1946 The 17th Paris Air Show opens at the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysees. It is the first show of this kind since World War II.
1952 Newark Airport in New Jersey reopens after closing earlier in the year because of an increase in accidents.
1957 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev asserts Soviet superiority in missiles, challenging the United States to a rocket-range shooting match.
1960 The first submarine with nuclear missiles, USS George Washington, takes to sea from Charleston, South Carolina.
1962 Cuba threatens to down U.S. planes on reconnaissance flights over its territory.
1963 Argentina voids all foreign oil contracts.
1965 In the second day of combat, regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division battle on Landing Zones X-Ray against North Vietnamese forces in the Ia Drang Valley.
1969 A quarter of a million anti-Vietnam War demonstrators march in Washington, D.C.
1976 A Syrian peace force takes control of Beirut, Lebanon.
1984 Baby Fae dies 20 days after receiving a baboon heart transplant in Loma Linda, California.
1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald.
1988 Palestinian National Council proclaims an independent State of Palestine.
1990 People's Republic of Bulgaria replaced by a new republican government.
2007 Cyclone Sidr strikes Bangladesh, killing an estimated 5,000 people.

Actually, Reproductive Health Care Access IS About The Economy

by Atima Omara

Congrats, repugicans: You just stole control of Congress with a Democratic president

by Jed Lewison
An open letter to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their crew, from yours truly:
Dear repugicans:
Congratulations. You just stole control of Congress for the next two years. It must feel great. You should celebrate now, because pretty soon you're going to realize it's going to be an agonizingly long two years-as long as Democrats follow these three simple pieces of advice:
Now that repugicans control the Senate and the House, they need to supply the votes for everything-no more bailouts from the Democratic caucus, bailouts that made sense when Democrats controlled one of the chambers.
The president should wield the veto liberally, vetoing every measure to come from Congress that would undermine things like Obamacare or damage the government's ability to deliver the services the country expects from it-and congressional Democrats should support his vetoes.
The president should take executive action wherever he can, within the constraints of the law, to accomplish goals like creating a humane immigration policy and dealing with climate change. If the repugicans don't like it, they can impeach him.
Again, congratulations guys. You've achieved the goal that Mitch McConnell set out for you, and you did it by systematically trying to prevent Democrats from implementing progressive policies. Just keep in mind that turnabout is fair play, and if Democrats are smart, that's exactly what's going to happen.
Best regards,
I'm not trying to sugarcoat the repugican's theft. It does suck, especially for nominations. And it sucks that we're not going to get any new progressive laws passed, though it's not like we would have gotten any with a repugican House. But-at the risk of repeating myself-the president is still the president is still the president is still the president. Obamacare isn't going anywhere. He can still take executive action to get a limited amount of things done. And just about the only two things repugicans can do without the president's signature is shutting down the government and impeaching him. And unless the repugican cabal magically reinvents itself into a rational governing party, that's exactly what Democrats should let them do. 2016 will be here soon enough.

Texas Legislator’s delusional biblical Proposal Abolishes Constitutional Equal Rights

The reugicans and religio-wingnut detest the 14th Amendment for myriad reasons, but chief among them is the guarantee of equal rights for Americans not in their deluded  biblical mold …
Descrimination License
The repugicans, and all manner of wingnuts, are fond of touting their uncontested love, devotion, and strict adherence to the United States Constitution even though they reject most of the document’s tenets out-of-hand. The religiou-wingnuts, or neo-christians (N.C.), are likely most opposed to the Constitution save a distorted biblical reading of the 1st Amendment and the Amendment they claim their avatar of light jesus christ authored, the 2nd Amendment. The N.C.s love for the 2nd Amendment pales in comparison to their hatred of the amendment they despise above all others combined; the 14th Amendment. The repugicans and religio-wingnuts detest the 14th Amendment for myriad reasons, but chief among them is the guarantee of equal rights for Americans not in the deluded biblical mold championed by neo christians; single mothers, atheists, muslims, non-compliant christians, and particularly gays.
Over the past few years the religio-wingnuts have made major progress using their new found “religious freedom” to restrict other Americans’ constitutional freedoms with major assistance from repugicans and 5 bishops on the Supreme Court. Now that neo-christians have religious superiority to impose their religious liberty on women, religious repugicans are flexing their new found power to abolish the 14th Amendment and deny other Americans equal rights; likely due to their devotion to the Constitution their “deeply-held religious beliefs” inform them is the christian bible.
It has been less than six months since the bishops on the Supreme Court eviscerated the “free exercise and establishment” clauses of the First Amendment with the Hobby Lobby ruling elevating christian’s religious rights over women’s right to medical care. Even before the ruling came down, many pundits and commentators warned it would only a be a matter of time before the high holy N.C.s turned their religious attention to the gay community. In Texas this week, another neo-christian state legislator introduced a constitutional amendment overriding the 14th Amendment giving evangelical christians the legal and constitutional right to discriminate against gays.
The evangelical state senator’s constitutional amendment empowers christian business owners to exercise their religious liberty to summarily fire LGBT employees for being gay, and throw LGBT customers and same-sex couples out of their establishments for violating their “deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs.” The follower of a loving and tolerant christ, Donna Campbell’s proposal strengthens existing biblical protections in Texas and gives the religious immutable “rights to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief.” It is religious legal parlance for a biblical “license to discriminate.”
This is the second attempt by Campbell to eviscerate civil rights due to “deeply and sincerely-held religious beliefs” of the anti-equality crowd. Her first attempt at a “legalizing discrimination” ran into opposition from N.C.s and particularly an evangelical commentator who cheered her proposal, but warned that as written, some evil person might claim their sincere religious belief included the right to an abortion or marry the person they love. The new proposal eliminated one key adverb that a lawmaker who helped pass the existing religious freedom law said made the discrimination law far too expansive; the new proposal only protects sincerely held religious beliefs, and religious liberty, of evangelical christians
Since the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling gave religious superiority to evangelical christians over the civil rights of American citizens, many religious repugican state legislatures considered enacting their own “legalized discrimination” laws. Similar proposals to the Texas biblical amendment ultimately failed in righteous states such as Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Arizona, and Oregon,  but a majority of states already have laws that make it perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBT employees and customers. In 29 states it is legal, although inherently unconstitutional and a violation of the 14th Amendment, to fire a person based solely on their sexual orientation or even thinking it is within their civil rights to marry the person they love.
Despite the constitutional and civil rights violation prevalent in evangelical-controlled red states, many holy conservatives complain bitterly, and are convinced, that their religious liberty to discriminate against LGBT employees, coworkers, and customers is under a ferocious attack. In fact, in 32 states it is still perfectly legal, and still unconstitutional, to openly discrimination against transgendered people. Although the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that passed the Senate last year would have corrected that discriminatory abomination, it languished on “official”  John Boehner’s desk. Even if Boehner had allowed a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan bill, it never would have passed evangelical hero Texas Ted Cruz’s House of Representatives.
Many progressive LGBT groups withdrew their support for ENDA due to the “law’s carve-outs” for evangelicals to continue discriminating under their “righteous and sincerely-held” religious beliefs. With a new, more religious, batch of repugicans controlling the Senate, ENDA is effectively dead in the water. The LGBT community can at least take solace in the fact that a real follower of christ practicing tolerance for all Americans, President Obama, used his executive authority to provide workplace protections for LGBT federal employees as well as LGBT employees of a business under contract to work for the federal government. As a champion of civil rights over religion-based discrimination, the President did not provide even one religious exemption in his executive orders disallowing employers to exercise “legal discrimination” against LGBT Americans.
When the religio-wingnuts on the High Court empowered evangelicals with supremacy over the Constitution’s 14th Amendment with their repulsive Hobby Lobby decision, they opened the floodgates for legal discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty.” Now that repugicans control both houses of Congress beginning in January, there will be a rash of biblical laws passed such as criminalizing all forms of contraception with the annual spate of personhood, “life begins at zygote, laws that passed in the House and failed in the Democratically-controlled Senate. The repugicans and their religio-wingnut brethren are wont to boast they are the ultimate champions of the U.S. Constitution, but with their new found power to “freely exercise” religious tyranny and legal discrimination, they have revealed that they hate the document with religious passion and are replacing it with their bible and blessings of the 5 bishops on the Supreme Court.

Teabagger Steve Stockman Subpoenaed By Grand Jury In Criminal Investigation

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Tex. AP
Teabagger Steve Stockman and three of his aides have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury as part of a criminal investigation. It appears that the investigation into Stockman relates to campaign contributions that came from staff members, which is a clear Federal Election Commission violation. The House Ethics Commission has looked into Stockman’s activities already and released a report in June recommending that Stockman and a number of staffers be subpoenaed by a grand jury for not cooperating with the House investigation.
As of now, it is not entirely clear if Stockman will cooperate with the federal grand jury. When the House reconvened after a lengthy recess for the lame-duck session, Stockman sent a notice to  John Boehner (r-OH) stating that he is seeking advice from counsel on whether or not he needs to comply with the subpoena due to his Congressional privilege. However, per National Journal,  the three other aides who have been subpoenaed have already consulted with the House General Counsel and have been told that Congressional privilege does not prevent them from complying.
While the full scope of the grand jury investigation hasn’t been made clear, it very likely relates to the ethics report on Stockman and his office in relation to inappropriate campaign donations. In 2013, Stockman reported that $15,000 in contributions came from family members of two of his staffers. In reality, the money came directly from the Congressional employees. Also, the report shows that he was paying them for full-time work when they were only part-time employees.
This indicates one of two things, neither good for Stockman. He was either doing a quid pro quo and rewarding them for their donations by paying them for work they weren’t doing. The other option is that he was actually using money designated for his Congressional staff and funneling it into his campaign coffers. He would have done this by paying the two aides extra and then directed them to contribute the additional money to his campaign funds.
Stockman is in his last weeks as a United States Representative. He did not seek reelection for his seat as he had the harebrained notion to take on John Cornyn (r-TX) in the repugican cabal Senate primary this year. Of course, Stockman was trounced as he seemingly didn’t take his primary campaign seriously and even disappeared for a few days. In his single term in the House (he also served a term in the ’90s), the Texas teabagger has already made a name for himself as one of the nuttiest in a chamber stock full of wingnuts. One of his first actions this term was to invite wingnut pedophile Ted Nugent to the State of the Union.
Stockman appears to be the latest in a long line of teabagger grifters who look at elected positions as nothing more than a way to make a name for themselves in the lucrative world of wingnut entertainment. Sarah Palin, Allen West, Joe Walsh and others all served two years or less in office but now can refer to themselves as a former elected official when spewing out whatever opinions they have on hate speech radio, the darknet or Faux News. West and Palin have set up PACs ostensibly to ‘help’ other repugican candidates and causes. However, especially in Palin’s case, it seems that the PACs are nothing more than personal slush funds.
Stockman never took governing seriously. Of course, that is what actually got him elected in the first place. In the end, it was nothing more than a narcissistic endeavor to gain some fame. Unfortunately for him, this little endeavor may lead to a federal conviction and jail time.

Investigation after bridge opened with man clinging on

An investigation is to be launched after the Hoornbrug road bridge over the Rhine-Schie canal in Rijswijk in the western Netherlands opened on Monday, leaving a man clinging on.

Authorities say that the bridge should be clear and gates locked before the bridge is opened.
It is believed that the man and a friend had evaded the barriers and tried to cross as the bridge was opening.
The man's friend successfully crossed, but he was too slow and was forced to hang on as the bridge fully opened then closed again. In light of the incident, bridge guards have been told to be extra alert.

Man rescued from store's walls after being trapped for three days

A man trapped for three days between two walls of a business in Longmont, Colorado, unsuccessfully attempted to pass distress notes outside. One of them was written on his probation officer's business card. "You can't make this stuff up," Longmont police Sgt. Cage said.
The Longmont Fire Department spent about a half hour on Tuesday morning freeing Paul Felyk from a vacant space between interior and exterior walls at the Marshalls Store, eventually employing a K-12 saw and cutting a large hole in the side of the building. Marshalls employees told police that they had heard a man yelling on Monday but didn't know where he was. On Tuesday, they again heard the man yelling and determined he was yelling through a hole in a back wall.

He sounded like he was in pain, and a manager called police. Cage said Felyk was unable to push the notes under the interior wall, and they were later found by first responders. "They were hard to read, but they definitely said 'help,'" Cage said, adding that Felyk, 35, had ineffectively attempted to describe his position inside the building in one of the notes. "I'm not sure he knew where he was," Cage said. Felyk dated one of the notes Nov. 8, leading police to believe that he had been stuck in between the walls since Saturday.

After firefighters opened the hold in the exterior wall, Felyk crawled out, lay down on a gurney and was whisked away to Longmont United Hospital. Cage said the incident is being investigated as a possible burglary or trespassing and that charges are pending. Felyk, who has so far not been charged with any crime in relation to the incident, has prior convictions for robbery, trespassing, assault, driving while ability impaired, theft and criminal mischief.

Man accused of pointing rifle at female teenage relative during argument over game of Battleship

A man was arrested after deputies tracked several 911 calls using GPS and found him fighting with a teenage relative on Saturday evening, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. The incident occurred at around 8pm near West Mountain at Utah Lake. Dispatch received several 911 calls, but the caller didn’t respond to dispatchers and the call was dropped several times, the sheriff’s department said. Dispatchers said they heard a possible fight between a male and female and deputies traced the call to a campsite with a truck and trailer.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they heard yelling and a pounding noise from inside the trailer. Deputies found John Valenzuela, 68, and a 17-year-old female inside the trailer. During the investigation, deputies learned that Valenzuela and the teenage girl “were playing a game of Battleship when she accused him of cheating and the two engaged in a verbal argument.” During the argument, Valenzuela allegedly prevented the teen from leaving the trailer several times.
The 17-year-old told police she hit her head on the wall when he stopped her from leaving and that he threw her on the couch. The teen also attempted to call 911 several times, but Valenzuela “grabbed her wrist and forcefully took the phone from her,” the statement said. The teen told police she eventually made it out of the trailer and began running, but Valenzuela “caught up to her and knocked her to the ground, pushing her face into the rocks before grabbing her by the hair and pulling her back into the trailer.”
Deputies located a loaded rifle inside the trailer and the teen told them Valenzuela had pointed it at her and threatened to shoot himself. The teen also told deputies Valenzuela allegedly told her he could “break her jaw and bruise her bad.” A preliminary breath test showed Valenzuela had a blood alcohol content level of .113 during the investigation, deputies said. Valenzuela was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault, criminal mischief, unlawful detention, damage and interruption of a communication device and intoxication. Although the teen didn't speak with dispatchers, the 911 calls activated GPS technology and deputies are crediting the technology for the rescue.

There is news video - you can watch it here.

Random Photos


Image via We Heart It https://weheartit.com/entry/122850593/via/4770925 #gorgeous

The Submarine That Sank a Train ...

The USS Barb was a Gato-class submarine operated by the United States in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Under the leadership of Commander Eugene B. Fluckey, who would be awarded a Medal of Honor and 4 Navy Crosses for his exploits, the crew of the Barb devastated Japanese shipping during its patrols. The book Medal of Honor describes one of those incredible feats:
Early in 1945, the Barb was moving along the China coast, looking for targets of opportunity. On January 8, it sank a large Japanese ammunition ship it had been stalking for hours. Believing a larger group of enemy ships was in the area, by January 25, Fluckey had located this “mother lode,” as he called it: a convoy of more than thirty Japanese ships anchored in Mamkwan Harbor. The harbor was shallow and heavily mined, with threatening rock formations. It was clear that if the Barb got close to attack, it would require a nearly impossible run at full speed through uncharted mine- and rock-obstructed waters to make a successful escape. Fluckey immediately ordered an attack anyway.
He managed to penetrate the perimeter of frigates designed to protect the anchored ships from submarines. In water of only thirty feet deep, he maneuvered to within range and launched four torpedoes from the forward tubes, then fired four more from the rear tubes. After watching eight direct hits on six main targets—including another ammunition ship whose explosion damaged craft all around it—he turned the Barb around and headed for open sea. With Japanese shells hitting all around it, the Barb had to stay on the surface for almost an hour before reaching waters deep enough to dive.
But the crew of the Barb wasn’t done being spectacular. That summer, the Navy modified the Barb so that it could launch rockets—the first such American submarine. The Barb used these to attack an air station and factories in Japan.
Perhaps their most daring attack at the Japanese Empire came toward the end of the war when the crew of this submarine attacked a train in Karafuto Prefecture—what we now call the southern end of the Russian island of Sakhalin.
On July 23, 1945, the Barb approached the coast, sank a frigate, then surfaced about 950 yards offshore. 8 volunteers paddled ashore in rubber boats and walked 400 yards to a set of railroad tracks. They rigged explosives to the tracks, then returned to the Barb. As they paddled back, a 16-car military train passed by, activated the explosives, and blew up.
The Barb was mothballed in 1947, reactivated in 1951, then loaned to the Italian Navy in 1954, before finally being scrapped in 1975. Commander Fluckey stayed in the Navy after the war, eventually reaching the rank of Rear Admiral. But by his own account, his greatest accomplishment was keeping everyone on his ship safe:
No one who ever served under my command was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded or killed, and all of us brought our Barb back safe and sound.

Marijiuana and the Brain

Flickr_-_cyclonebill_-_SpejlægWhat long term marijuana smoking does to the brain

Researchers document physical changes in brain size, structure and connectivity A new paper released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examines long term effects of marijuana […]

Brain 'Bodybuilders'

People who speak two languages may have brains that are more efficient at language processing and other tasks, new research suggests.

Here's What A Record's Groove Looks Like At 1000X Magnification

Have you ever wondered how that needle in that vinyl groove plays all those sweet sounds? Maybe you understand the process but haven’t seen the whole thing up close, like really close, to see what the needle or stylus is actually running up against in those mysterious grooves.
Well, here’s the view from inside a record’s groove at 1000X magnification, as shared by Microscopic Images on their Twitter page:
The smooth, shiny black landscape of vinyl is actually a jagged terrain that looks like it's being carved out by the stylus, with each side of the groove creating sound waves for the left and right channel.
Here's the whole thing zoomed in even more, complete with a description of what's going on-
And, last but certainly not least, here's a video showing a vinyl record being played under a microscope:

Chernobyl Tourism

The Chernobyl power plant in the former Soviet Union was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986. Almost three decades later, the abandoned town of Pripyat in Ukraine is a mecca for urban explorers, despite the fact that it’s still contaminated by radioactivity. We seen plenty of haunting images of the empty buildings, as if they were a time capsule that haven’t changed in 28 years except for the inevitable decay. But those silent pictures don’t tell the entire story.  
In the case of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, this “Soviet time capsule” is observed and interacted with by a growing number of tourists every year. Up until 2011, numerous tour companies were running illicit trips into the wasteland — a study cited by that same Telegraph article suggested that as many as 10,000 tourists were visiting the site each year. Since then, Chernobyl tourism has been met with official government approval. Even previously restricted areas of the Zone are now open to paying guests, including the unfinished Reactors Five and Six. More tourists than ever are visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, either as a day trip from Kiev, or for longer, overnight stays. This many visitors cannot help but have an impact on their surroundings.
Darmon Richter took one of those tours last year, and stayed overnight with thirty people all looking for photographic souvenirs. He observed how the tourists took objects, left trash, damaged buildings, and staged photographs. So even though no one lives there, the Exclusion Zone is far from empty or unchanged. Read more about Chernobyl Tourism and the effect it has at Atlas Obscura.

10 Things About Japan That Shock First-time Visitors

Japan always gets the look when it comes to weird stuff, from clothing to food. But if you want to get past all those material strangeness and see the culture itself, here are some of the things the Japanese do that can be different from what you are used to.

Some Of The World's Most Iconic Landmarks ... Under Construction

Icons like the Gateway Arch and Sydney Opera House have been around so long and are so ingrained in our collective psyche that it's easy to forget how new they are to our cultural landscape.

These photos remind us that it wasn't so long ago that these iconic structures were only dreams that were still in the process of being realized.

Magical Towns That Look Too Perfect to be Real

San Marino, Italy
If you're looking for picturesque towns to add to your list of travel destinations, check out this collection of thirty-eight incredible photos. While there are a number of countries represented, Italy features prominently, which is no surprise. It's certainly a country in which one steps from one beautiful setting into another.
Have you been to any of these places? If so, did the beauty of the town as a whole live up to that of these photographs?
See all 38 scenic towns here.

An old set of tracks

The Stone Age prints were found alongside a system of fishing weirs.

China’s vanishing forests

China's old-growth forests vanishingChina’s old-growth forests vanishing

China’s anti-logging, conservation and ecotourism policies are accelerating the loss of old-growth forests in one of the world’s most ecologically fragile places, according to studies led by a Dartmouth College […]

Rosetta's Philae Probe Lands On Comet

Yesterday, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.
After a tense wait during the seven-hour descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth.

Update: Rosetta probe has bounced away from landing site and lost contact.

Dinosaur News

The artifact belongs to a new species within the 'bird-hipped' Ornithischian order, researchers said. 

Legalizing The Rhino Horn Trade

As the country faces a seventh straight yearly increase in rhino poaching, a panel of experts is studying an unusual proposal to battle the problem. 

Imitating A Laser Gun

Sex and the science of sounds help to explain how a songbird can imitate a laser gun with astonishing precision.

Tiger libre en dehors de Paris

Police and fire officials are searching the area and an area of woodland had been roped off, local authorities say. 

Indian farmers use cuddly stuffed toy tigers to save crops from elephants

Frustrated by marauding herds of elephants plundering their crops and worried for their safety, farmers on the border of the Sanamavu reserve forest in Tamil Nadu have struck upon a singular solution to their problem. They've decided to use an old foe of the Indian elephant, the tiger, or replicas of them, anyway, to frighten the jumbos away. Around 50 farmers in the area placed in their fields, at vantage positions where elephants can't miss them, large stuffed tigers that they purchased in Bangalore. They've also set up speakers on which they will play recorded growls and roars of the big cat.
Tigers usually do not mess with elephants and it's unlikely that canny wild elephants will be taken in by the trick, given that some of the stuffed tigers have been placed in ridiculously impossible positions, including one reclining on the stump of a coconut tree, its hind legs floating in mid-air, but the farmers have run out of options. "Jumbos last year destroyed ragi, paddy and vegetable crops in many fields," said M R Sivasami, president of farmers' association Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam. More than 100 elephants from Bannerghatta Reserve Forest in Karnataka make the journey every year to Sanamavu Reserve Forest, around 10km west of Hosur town.
Foresters say as many as 88 elephants have entered the forest this year, including a large herd that came on the night of October 27. Foresters in February had to drive a herd of 45 wild jumbos from Sanamavu Reserve Forest back to Denkanikottai Reserve Forest, 8km away. The rampaging animals caused so much damage that the government gave each farmer a compensation of Rs10 lakh (£10,250, $16,200). More than 300 people from villages in the area blocked the highway between Hosur and Royakottai nonetheless, demanding that the authorities find a permanent solution to the elephant problem. Some farmers gave up on foresters and decided to find a fix themselves.

"We usually burst fireworks and light fireballs when jumbos enter our fields," K Munirajappa, a farmer from Beerjeppalli village, said. "A spark flashed in my mind when I overheard a forester tell a farmer that tigers would scare away elephants." He said he went to Bengaluru the next day and bought four cuddly toys for Rs 3,000 (£30, $50). "When they saw the stuffed tigers I bought, many other farmers went and got themselves the same kind of dolls." The farmers have set up 'machaans' from where they plan to monitor elephant herds that stray into their fields so they can play the tiger growls when they are within earshot. "If it works, I'll purchase more dolls to save my crops," PS Dhimmarayappa, another farmer, said.

Heroic cow swam three miles through choppy waters looking for her lost calf

A heroic cow swam three miles through choppy and dangerous water searching for its calf on one of the worst nights of the year. The 615kg blonde Charolais, who has been nicknamed Sirenia – meaning sea cow – crossed Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, Ireland, in a daring freezing water swim. David Baker, 59, was out walking his dog with his nurse wife Brigid, 41, when they spotted the animal. The couple stopped to rest on a bench when Brigid saw something in the water at around 8.30am.
They thought it might be an otter or a seal but as they got closer they saw it was the white cow stranded on Lackeen Blackwater, afraid to climb the rocks. David contacted local farmer Geoff Mahoney, who knew straight away the animal was not his. Local people started to gather, amazed the cow had managed to swim in such weather. Geoff said: “There was a high spring tide, there were big waves in the water, unsuitable for fishing at that time.”
Along with a crowd of others they cut back the undergrowth and attempted to pull Sirenia out but the cow seemed to be scared of the rocks. Instead they gave her some food and left her alone. They returned at around 4pm to find her up on the bank and eating ivy in the woods. David said: “She came out in her own time. She’s a beautiful animal.” Thanks to records it was found she belonged to farmer Timmy O’Sullivan, who lived across the bay in Tuosist.

David said: “Timmy just couldn’t account for her, he thought maybe she was taken.” The farmer, who had been frantically searching his side of the bay, was shaken when he realized how far his prize cow had traveled in the freezing water. But David said Sirenia, who is worth between €1,200 and €5,700, was calm despite her ordeal and was in good health. He added: “I think it’s a great story of survival. I think she’s a great hero.” Geoff explained: “When cows are weaned they quite often go looking for their calves – she might have heard my cows.”
There's a radio interview with David and Geoff here.

How Animals Hacked The Rainbow And Got Stumped On Blue

Until about 600 million years ago, seeing colors didn't matter so much to Earth's inhabitants - nobody had eyes. Simple animals back then just floated around. They were aware of sunlight, but didn't have any of the biological bits and pieces needed to perceive color. Then, something really big happened.
A predator that could swim quickly evolved vision. That predator probably looked something like a big shrimp, and now it had eyeballs. That's when color kicked off.

Diving With Giant Manta Rays

Chris Cilfone dives in the waters off Maui, Hawaii with his GoPro camera and encounters a school of Giant Oceanic Manta Rays.

Animal Pictures