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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, this means you ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Tuckahoe, Silsbee, Tigard and Deeth, United States
Ottawa, Quebec, Longueuil and Toronto, Canada
Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Osasco, Brazil
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Mexico City, Mexico
Bogota, Colombia
Quito, Ecuador
Managua, Nicaragua
Nicosia, Cyprus
Sarajevo and Hadzici, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Athens, Greece
Boulogne-Billancourt, Rouen, Cherbourg-Octeville and Paris, France
Trinec and Prague, Czech Republic
Karlskrona, Kista and Stockholm, Sweden
Moscow, Ryazan, Saratov and Nakhodka, Russia
London and Lancaster, England
Madrid, Elche and Moraira, Spain
Sofia, Bulgaria
Dublin, Ireland
Ivrea, Naples, Genoa, Rome, Cagliari, Acona and Ravenna,  Italy
Sisli, Turkey
Warsaw and Bujakow, Poland
Alcabideche and Covilha, Portugal
Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Mechelen, Belgium
Patna, Cuttack, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Warangal, Gaya, Udaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jahanabad and Mumbai, India
Kuala Lumpur and Mulyorejo, Malaysia
Mashhad, Iran
Warin Chamrap and Phan Thong, Thailand
Peshawar, Pakistan
Guengzhou and Zhengzhou, China
Jakarta, Indonesia
Ratnapura and Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tel Aviv, Israel
Lusaka, Zambia
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Pacific
Makati, Philippines
Homebush and Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1760   Major Roger Rogers takes possession of Detroit on behalf of Britain.  
1787   Louis XVI promulgates an edict of tolerance, granting civil status to Protestants.  
1812   The last elements of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armee retreats across the Beresina River in Russia.  
1863   The Battle of Fort Sanders, Knoxville, Tenn., ends with a Confederate withdrawal.
1864   Colonel John M. Chivington's 3rd Colorado Volunteers massacre Black Kettles' camp of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians at Sand Creek, Colo.
1903   An Inquiry into the U.S. Postal Service demonstrates the government has lost millions in fraud.  
1923   An international commission headed by American banker Charles Dawes is set up to investigate the German economy.  
1929   Commander Richard Byrd makes the first flight over the South Pole.  
1931   The Spanish government seizes large estates for land redistribution.
1939   Soviet planes bomb an airfield at Helsinki, Finland.  
1948   The Metropolitan Opera is televised for the first time as the season opens with "Othello."
1948   The popular children's television show, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, premieres.  
1949   The United States announces it will conduct atomic tests at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.  
1961   NASA launches a chimpanzee named Enos into Earth orbit.  
1962   Algeria bans the Communist Party.
1963   President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints Chief Justice Earl Warren head of a commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  
1967   US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announces his resignation.  
1972   Atari announces the release of Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
2007   Armed forces of the Philippines besiege The Peninsula Manila in response to a mutiny led by Senator Antonio Trillanes.

Photos of colorful Tokyo

Kevin Kelly searches for maximum vibrancy in Tokyo
The Nakasendo is an old road in Japan that connects Kyoto to Tokyo. It was once a major foot highway, but today small sections retain some of its historical feel. In October I walked along 5 short sections of it, staying at traditional inns along the way. The Nakasendo is full of history and many artists and poets over the centuries have travelled along it, including Basho, the haiku genius. We met a lot of characters, too, and thoroughly enjoyed the exquisite details that make up this country. [See Kevin's photos of the Nakasendo here]
The other side of Japan is full-tilt modern, and at times, overloaded with color. The Japanese also love uniforms; every role has a uniform. I tried to capture some of the uniforms on the streets and trains, especially the cosplay uniforms in Harajuku, Tokyo. I found maximum color in Japanese shows on TV, in their vending machines, and at a crazy, bonkers, over-the-top show in Tokyo called the Robot Restaurant. Turn up that color dial to 11!
BoingBoing has a host of colorful photos: here.

With One Move Obama Has Completely Shattered The repugican Agenda

The consequence of President Obama turning the tables and using the repugican just say no strategy against them is that the president has completely shattered Boehner and McConnell’s agenda.
Jonathan Chait explained how the repugican model of obstruct and blame worked for repugicans,
obamamcconnellboehnerThe repugican cabal has withheld cooperation from every major element of President Obama’s agenda, beginning with the stimulus, through health-care reform, financial regulation, the environment, long-term debt reduction, and so on. That stance has worked extremely well as a political strategy. Most people pay little attention to politics and tend to hold the president responsible for outcomes. If repugicans turn every issue into an intractable partisan scrum, people get frustrated with the status quo and take out their frustration on the president’s party. It’s a formula, but it works.

The formula only fails to work if the president happens to have an easy and legal way to act on the issue in question without Congress. Obama can’t do that on infrastructure, or the grand bargain, and he couldn’t do it on health care. But he could do it on immigration. So repugicans were stuck carrying out a strategy whose endgame would normally be “bill fails, public blames Obama” that instead wound up “Obama acts unilaterally, claims credit, forces repugicans to take poisonous stance in opposition.” They had grown so accustomed to holding all the legislative leverage, they couldn’t adapt to a circumstance where they had none.
Obama knew that repugicans wouldn’t act on immigration no matter what he said, so the president used this knowledge against them. The problem with only having one strategy is that eventually opponents figure out how to defeat it. President Obama took one step beyond defeating it, and used the only game that repugicans know how to play to his advantage.
The simple fact is that repugicans don’t act on anything the president proposes. Having seen this behavior for years, the White House knew that they could threaten immigration action for months and repugicans would respond by doing nothing. After the president had acted, repugicans were placed in a new dynamic that they weren’t built for.
The repugicans have no counter immigration bill to offer. They have no legal leg to stand on to oppose the president’s action. Their position on the issue is unpopular and costing them support with Latinos. They have so conditioned themselves to view inaction as action that when they are forced to act, they can’t.
The new dynamic that Obama forced on Boehner and McConnell has devastated the repugican agenda, and it signals the beginning of a new era in congressional/presidential relations. Repugicans aren’t going to be able to leverage Obama vetoes to their advantage, and they are going to be faced with the fact their agenda will never see daylight.

Another Epic repugican cabal Fail: Almost Half a Million People Sign Up for Obamacare in First Week

Almost half a million people signed up in a week. It’s the close of week one of the open enrollment period for Obamacare, aka, “the glitch” that killed American’s desire for affordable health insurance, according to your media and repugicans last year.
In week one (November 15 -November 21) of open enrollment on year two, 462,125 people selected plans for Marketplace coverage and 1 million plus people spoke with call center representatives, according to numbers released by Health and Human Services on Wednesday. The Obama administration says that of those who selected plans, 48% were new.
Wingnuts will point and gloat because the administration released inaccurate information earlier this fall, but that is also why they are doing a weekly release. Neither the website glitch nor the enrollment number inaccuracy invalidate the need for affordable healthcare. And yet still, for all of the trolling, repugicans have yet to offer a viable, specific alternative.
The report also showed over 1.6 million reviewed prices for coverage, 1 million people surfed the site shopping for coverage with wait times of over three minutes to speak to someone on the phone.
Things are going so well for Obamacare that the countdown clock to repugicans taking credit for it and renaming it has begun. Soon, they’ll try to disappear “Obamacare”, and they’ll issue stern looks to anyone who uses the term, as if it is shameful to credit the President for his legacy policy.
The thing is, President Obama and the Democrats passed Obamacare because they knew people were dying from lack of access to affordable healthcare. They did something about it. Yeah, there were some glitches when it rolled out, and they were exacerbated by the repugican refusal to play along with how the law was written, forcing extra burden onto the system, but just like Social Security, people love their Obamacare.

The Truth Be Told


Wingnut 'News'papers; Their Version And The True Version

Most of what passes for newspapers these days are embarrassingly partisan rags and feature, above all else, totally irresponsible wingnut opinion detritus hardly worth a second glance.
In many ways today’s newspaper industry is like some Rube Goldberg contraption gone terribly awry. A collection of pay websites, digital and, oh yes, the actual print product. Newspapers change hands more often than Larry King exchanges wedding vows and, just like a King marriage, many are teetering on the edge of extinction.
Most of what passes for newspapers these days are embarrassingly partisan rags and feature, above all else, totally irresponsible wingnut opinion detritus hardly worth a second glance. U.S. dailies are little more than repugican propaganda sheets.
My local offering, the Spartanburg Herald Journal, is buried in yet another hot-potato exchange of ownership. It seems to be an every couple of years or so occurrence, locally and around the country. One Worcester, Massachusetts paper changed ownership 3 times in 16 months.
No matter the owner, the content stays true to the extremist line. Let me give you a flavor of what I’m stuck with as my primary local reading matter. Let’s start with three recent representative editorial page cartoons. We begin with a Dana Summers by-lined insult showing the president inking in the word “stupid” between the ‘the’ and ‘People’ in the “We the People…” preamble of the Constitution. The next cartoon acquired from the Sacramento Bee depicts a tree trunk (representing tree-hugging environmentalists) stuffed into the end of a pipe. The word “extremism” is etched into the tree trunk, and “jobs” printed on the pipe.
The last cartoon is the second Dana Summers contribution via the Tribune Content Agency. It’s titled “Porous Borders.” A bulldozer driven by the president has crashed through two fences. One marked “Separation of”, the other “Powers.” Summers conveniently ignores the fact that five days before the appearance of his partisan inking, the Senate failed to end the Democrats blockage of the repugican lawmakers favorite project, the Keystone XL pipeline. Included in that bill, Congress would usurp White House (executive) authority over the project. So, what Summers has misleadingly done is lay the onus of a proposed Legislative branch interference on the Executive branch.
Wingnut propagandists, George Will, Walter Williams, Michelle Malkin, Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer and Paul Greenberg (he describes the Affordable Care Act as an “elaborate gizmo”) show up all the time. Occasionally the paper will feature an obscure partisan from a distant land like Texas, as was the case with Cynthia Allen, a columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The only criteria for such an appearance is a column ripping Obama or any other high-profile Democrat. Her contribution was the familiar renouncing of the Affordable Care Act. To wit, in her words: “In fact, the opacity employed in drafting, passing and then marketing the law is one of the reasons why cynicism about Obamacare remains so high.” Propaganda catnip to the huge litter of Southern racists, Obama-baiting pussycats.
Clarence Page, a reasonable and objective progressive moderate will sneak in from time to time just to balance out the boatload of his opposite number.
As for Letters to the Editor, I have managed to get a few of my contributions printed in that space. Congressional Representative golden boy, Trey Gowdy, is off-limits however. Criticisms of Gowdy of even the most minor stripe rarely make it into Letters to the Editor.
The real censor is a local column by a guy who will allow awesomely misleading and deceptive wingnut contributions and refuse to print rebuttals of same. I should know; it’s happened to me over and over.
One of my rebuttals that was deep-sixed addressed a November 11th column by a writer who informed readers that according to a study by an academic, Dr. Martin Fiebert, from Southern California University, “men are victims of domestic violence at greater rates than women.” The good PhD surveyed more than 300 studies on domestic violence and found that women were more aggressive than men, especially within lesbian relationships.
Supposedly women’s physical viciousness is hidden by supporters of the Violence Against Women Act so VAWA programs can continue to be funded.
Knowing my chances for publication of a refutation were near zero, I nonetheless sent in hundreds of words in opposition after researching this obviously bogus take on what the studies and numbers were really about. Here is my response in one block as the column is not written in paragraphs:
“To read a November 11th column from a fellow from Gaffney, that suggests that women are like a pack of wild dogs just waiting to commit “violence” on their unsuspecting male prey (WAP! POW!) was eye-opening to say the least. Of course these women were characterized as feminists, apparently a goodly number mired in the “violence” of female/female relationships. Darn those liberal lesbians! The core premise was that contrary to women being the victims of violence, “The truth is that men are victims of domestic violence at greater rates than women.” The writer attributed his “facts” to an assessment by a Dr. Martin Fiebert at Southern California University of more than 300 studies of domestic violence. The PhD supposedly concluded that women were more aggressive (violent) than men. Erroneous fact number 1: Fiebert was a faculty member of Cal State Long Beach at the time of the study. Erroneous-fact number 2: There were not 300 studies on domestic violence. The breakdown included, 117 scholarly investigations, 94 empirical studies and 23 reviews and/or analysis. There are also a couple critical caveats here that change the whole tenor of the story. The academic inquiries were conducted 15 years ago. Many references date back to the mid-1980’s. The basic group that was studied might be of interest as well; college kids, even high school students. There were exceptions, but a number of those cases examined involved dating and/or boyfriend/girlfriend experiences. Yes, the male was occasionally smacked on the kisser, and likely for the same reason, but rarely was there physical injury. When struck by a man, there was the strong likelihood of injury to the female victim. Fiebert admitted that most of the female “violence” was, by definition, of the emotional kind; yelling, screaming and demeaning words. My challenge to our Gaffney friend; give us the latest domestic physical violence facts from last year, or even the last decade. And for your next piece, please include the salient facts of the dates of the studies and the primary subjects. Otherwise, it would be wise to update your research. If it’s objective, the conclusions will be the reverse of what you would have us believe. All domestic violence is concerning, but to deal with the problem, objectivity is a must.”
This response failed to pass the muster for publication. This is outright censorship, obviously blessed by the high-ups at the paper. Whenever I send something in, I’m told to source everything, right down to the last comma. And yet, if it’s misleading, deceptive wingnut pap, it goes sailing through, usually as the lead contribution.
Now you know what it’s like to live in a land of repugican make believe. You also know why people vote as foolishly as they do since the media makes damn sure that only extremists are given opinion columns. Real facts are rarely in evidence.
Hate speech  radio is even worse!

Texas chemical leak kills four, seven years after plant's last workplace safety inspection

A reminder Rick Perry wants companies to know that Texas is open for business.
Four DuPont workers died and a fifth was hospitalized because of a leak at a Texas chemical plant over the weekend. The event was called unusual for being so deadly without involving a fire or explosion. Instead, a valve leak released methyl mercaptan, killing the workers.
It's a sad fact that when workers die on the job in a Texas chemical plant, one of the key questions is when the site was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. And in this case, the answer is that OSHA has not inspected the plant since 2007, a visit that resulted in fines for two serious violations. Additionally:
EPA records show that it is out of compliance with hazardous-waste-management and air-emissions standards. The agency brought formal enforcement actions for violations at the site in 2012 and 2014, resulting in penalties totaling $117,375.
DuPont last month disclosed that it was continuing discussions with the EPA and the Justice Department related to waste-water treatment, hazardous-waste management and air emissions at the La Porte site.
Making and storing dangerous chemicals is always going to be dangerous. But that's why it's so important to have strong regulations, regular inspections, and companies that treat their responsibility to their workers and their neighbors with the utmost seriousness.

Driver who smashed into restaurant apologized before buying everyone chicken wings

A Dodge Ram pick-up truck smashed into the Wing'N It restaurant in Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada, on Saturday afternoon, disrupting diners, all of whom escaped injury.
None of the customers at the Shoal Harbour Drive restaurant were seated at the center tables when the truck crashed through the front window into the dining area.
The apologetic driver then bought chicken wings for the startled customers who were in the restaurant at the time.
A spokesperson with the company said there was no structural damage to the building, just broken windows and damaged furniture. The restaurant was open for business again by Saturday evening.
You can see CCTV footage of the incident here.

Lady arrested after game of Monopoly turned violent

A game of Monopoly ended with a young woman under arrest in New Hampshire.
Police say they were called to a home in Hooksett late on Sunday night to a report of a domestic disturbance.
Alyssa Ferraro, 21, told officers “she got into an argument with her boyfriend over a game of Monopoly and open hand slapped him in the face,” according to a police statement.
The boyfriend was not seriously hurt. But Ferraro was arrested and charged with domestic violence related simple assault. She was released on $2,000 bail and ordered to appear in court on December 31.

Random Photos

Doctor Fatigue

Testing doctor fatigue by measuring eye movements

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Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia

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Human Memory

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The human brain continuously collects information. However, we have only basic knowledge of how new experiences are converted into lasting memories. Now, an international team led by researchers of the […]

A Good One

House Sitting
So my friend went on a vacation for a week and asked me to take care of his place for him. Everything was going fine, for the most part.
On the third morning he gave me a call and asked: “So how is everything going?”
“The house is fine,” I said, “but your cat died.”
“Wha . . .” click. He hung up on me.
Later that day my friend called back and said, “Sorry I hung up on you. I was just so distraught. It really ruined my day. I wish you had given me the news a little more slowly.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“Well, maybe you could have told me that my cat had climbed on the roof and wouldn’t come down. Then tomorrow you could have told me you were trying to get him down, but he wouldn’t budge. The next day you could have said he’s not eating, then the following that he had died. At least it wouldn’t be so shocking.”
“Ok, sorry. Next time I’ll know better.”
He said, “it’s ok, I know you didn’t mean it. So how’s my mom?”
“She’s climbed on the roof and I can’t get her down.”

Earth Magic

Photography of witches at play and at ritual

There has long been a tension between the witch of legend and the modern day practitioner. The former has its origins mainly in polemical christian ideas and folktales, where the witch is a consort of the devil, brewing wicked and foul smelling potions in a cast-iron pot, and eating children.
This image of the witch -- crooked nosed hag she is -- has not been completely wiped from the popular imagination, but certainly the modern day witch movement has gone a long way to challenge these often sexist views. The rise of the Wiccan movement in the 1960s took its lessons not from the Malleus Maleficarum, but from the writings of people like Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders. Their vision of the witch is rooted in tales of cunning folk and (sometimes) faulty anthropology regarding the existence of pre-christian horned deity cults whose practices remained hidden, but very much alive, through the centuries. It is, of course, important that the modern Wiccan movement has elevated the image of the witch, but unfortunately a New Age character has settled in, and in so doing removed some of the mystery from a form of worship that was once practiced in quiet groves and amongst ancient megaliths. The two surviving pictures -- the storybook crone and the nature-worshiping hippie -- are both unsatisfying.
Like most things, it takes an artful eye to realize an idea that has weight, that can evoke a sense of other-worldliness, of magic. Of witchcraft. Fulgur Press, one of the most important publishers of limited edition occult and related volumes, has recently released Earth Magic by Rik Garrett, a collection of photographs of, well, witches. These are neither claw-fingered nor filk-playing neo-pagans. Garrett’s photos are studies of private moments of worship. They are erotic, but not pornographic, mysterious but not contrived, haunting but not exploitive. These are photographs of witches at play and at ritual. The photos themselves have no explanation. There are no captions or any other corresponding material (except for an illuminating introduction by Pam Grossman). The only other element is a sigil on the facing page of each image, a kind of seal or brand that only heighten the sense of strangeness. There is no denying it. Garrett’s photos are spooky. My only hesitation is that maybe these photos reveal what should have remained hidden. Thankfully Garrett’s eye is that of someone who knows they don’t belong. The photos appear to be taken furtively, shakily, with a sense of trepidation and humble awe.

Choleric Vampires

Polish 'vampires' weren't targeted for their status as immigrants, as previously thought, but instead probably had contracted cholera.

Norsemen And Vikings: The Culture That Inspired Decades Of Fear

by Alexandra McKenna and John Broom
Viking Axe - photo by Vladimir V. Burov / Flickr
Introduction: When one thinks of Vikings the mind’s eye often envisions muscular men covered in furs with large horned helmets. Thoughts of these monstrous men link themselves with words such as bloodlust, raids, and conqueror. Which leaves one to ponder why these men have come to be forever linked with such carnage, surely they must have had some redeeming qualities? Viking studies have increased in popularity during modern times. This has led many historians to pick up the sagas left behind by the Norse people, so that they may better understand the driving forces behind the decades of fear these Viking raiders inspired. What these historians have uncovered sheds new light on the Vikings, showcasing not only men of destruction, but also of enlightenment.
It is widely believed that at the opening of the Viking age, Scandinavia housed a mere two million people. This time also saw an age of rapid population growth, which many historians and geologist alike, attribute to climate change. The warmer climate brought on during the early eighth century allowed for milder winters in the Norsemen’s cold climate. The warmer climate inspired the typical response of lower infant mortality rates, and a more protein rich diet that allowed for overall better health. It is thus feasible to believe that the overall population boom supplied the necessary push factor that inspired the Vikings to take to the sea in search of new lands.
Iceland remains one of the lands most linked with the Vikings. The land was first colonized in 874 AD, under Ingolf Arnarson and Leif Hrodmarson. This country has seen some of the most far-reaching land degradation in northern Europe. Many historians attributed this erosion as a consequence of Viking occupation, which would supply another push factor for Viking exploration and raiding. However, Rannveig Olafsdottir, launched a study that proved the shift in landscape actually began in 2500 BP. The study suggest that the Norse settled on land that had already experienced severe degradation, and that their settlement just contributed to an overall downward spiral. Given this evidence, one could still argue that the poor land of one of the major Norse territories helped to reinforces the need to explore and conquer.
To understand the warriors that took the world by storm, one must realize that not all Norsemen were Vikings. Viking, as a word, during the period meant raider, or better yet “warfare at sea,” therefore Viking was an occupation within the Norse community. Vikings as explorers expanded their reach across the globe. They are noted by many historians to be the earliest point that American’s can trace their history. Thor Heyerdahl, who spent time in Peru studying the Incan culture, discovered light-skinned inhabitants that trace their ancestry to, “Mythical white forbears.” While the possibility exists that Vikings did not father any children in Peru One thing is certain, Viking explorers explored and colonized many lands leaving behind lasting impressions.

Army Assists With Study of Anglo-Saxon Sword

Archaeologists have enlisted the help of the army to X-ray a sword unearthed at the cemetery at Barrow Clump. “The sword was too large for our in-house X-ray facilities,” Laura Joyner of Wessex Archaeology told Culture 24. The X-ray showed that the corroded sixth-century sword, hidden by its wood and leather scabbard, had been made by a process called pattern welding, where several bands of metal are beaten together to create a single, strengthened blade. “In this case, three twisted rods of wrought iron with steel surfaces were used, showing as a distinctive pattern on the X-ray image. The blade itself was also edged in steel. This is probably because steel can be sharpened to a much finer edge than iron. It is possible to tell the difference between metals on an X-ray image as they corrode in different ways,” Joyner explained. Other grave goods recovered from the cemetery were also X-rayed. They included a spearhead that had been produced from a single piece of iron, and a shield boss with decorative studs to attach it to a wooden shield. To read more about Anglo-Saxons, see "The Kings of Kent."

Historical Photos


Nikola Tesla in his laboratory in 1899
Nikola Tesla in his laboratory in 1899

Take A Trip To Iran's Dasht-e Lut Desert

Wanna take a trip to the hottest place on Earth? No, you don't need to dig down to the core to reach it. Just go to Iran and head to the spectacular Dasht-e Lut desert. Dasht-e Lut (which means Emptiness Desert) is a sandy and muddy salt desert plain north-east of Kerman, Iran.
The surface of the sand there has been measured at temperatures as high as 70.7°C (159°F), and it is one of the world's driest and hottest places. You will find a series of eroded towers and walls standing high on the desert, making every traveler definitely notice the amazing land formations.

Shit Fuel

450px-Dnepr_rocket_lift-off_1Explosive! Process converts human waste into rocket fuel

Buck Rogers surely couldn’t have seen this one coming, but at NASA’s request, University of Florida researchers have figured out how to turn human waste — yes, that kind — […]

Neutrino Beacon

Identifying the sources of high-energy neutrinos — ghostly but potentially information-rich particles believed to be generated by some of the most violent objects in the sky — is near the […]

Fossil hunters unearth galloping, dinosaur-eating crocodiles in Sahara

The primitive crocodiles, which lived 100m years ago, were good swimmers but were also capable of galloping

Ancient crocodiles: DogCroc

Artist's conception of one of the crocodiles, which had a soft, dog-like nose and was an agile galloper.

Fossil hunters have uncovered the remains of primitive crocodiles that "galloped" on land and patrolled the broad rivers that coursed through north Africa one hundred million years ago.
The skeletons of five creatures that walked with dinosaurs – and ate them – were unearthed in remote and rocky regions of what are now Morocco and Niger during a series of expeditions in the Sahara desert.
Three of the crocodiles are new species and include Kaprosuchus saharicus, a 6.5m-long beast with three sets of dagger-like tusks and an armoured snout for ramming its prey.
Another species, Laganosuchus thaumastos, was of similar length but had a pancake-flat head and is thought to have lurked in rivers with its jaws open, waiting for unsuspecting fish to pass.
The most striking feature the beasts have in common was revealed by their bone structure, which suggests they were efficient swimmers but that when they clambered ashore they were also capable of galloping across the plains. Modern crocodiles crawl on their bellies because their legs sprawl out to the side.
"My African crocs appeared to have had both upright, agile legs for bounding overland and a versatile tail for paddling in water," writes Paul Sereno, a palaeontologist at the University of Chicago, in National Geographic Magazine. "These species open a window on a croc world completely foreign to what was living on northern continents."
The third new species, Araripesuchus rattoides, was only a meter long and probably used a pair of buckteeth in its lower jaw to dig for grubs.
The other two crocodiles unearthed during the expedition are known species. One had a wide, overhanging snout containing sensory areas that it used to sniff out prey in shallow waters. The other had a soft, dog-like nose and is thought to have been extremely agile.
Most of the fossils were found near the site where, in 2001, Sereno uncovered a 12m-long crocodile that lived 110m years ago. The beast, nicknamed SuperCroc, weighed around eight tonnes. The latest fossils are described in the journal ZooKeys.
"We were surprised to find so many species from the same time in the same place," said Hans Larsson, a palaeontologist at the University of Montreal, who took part in the expedition. "Each of the crocs apparently had different diets, different behaviors. It appears they had divided up the ecosystem, each species taking advantage of it in its own way."
The expedition was sponsored by National Geographic, which airs a documentary about the discoveries, When Crocs Ate Dinosaurs, at 5pm on Sunday 20 December on the Nat Geo Wild channel.

Joggers saved stranded dolphin

A morning training session turned into a rescue mission to save a beached dolphin in Sydney, Australia. A jogger found the Risso's dolphin with a gash to its head lying on its side in the shallows of North Curl Curl Beach. Five men helped slowly right it and got it back into deeper water. They then spent half an hour nursing the animal so it could regain its strength, before it eventually swam back out to sea. One rescuer Richard Smith said: "We went out there and just held it for a while and it regained its composure I guess and off it went. It was pretty amazing."

"Dolphins are surprisingly heavy," said another rescuer Pierce Howell. Libby Eyre from Sydney Sea Life Aquarium said it was unusual to see this type of dolphin in the shallow water as they're usually a deep water species. "We don't know why it's come ashore, it could be sick or injured," she said.
The dolphin had some scratches around its face which could have been from colliding with something or maybe an injury from even before it was stranded. Unfortunately there is a strong chance that it will come back, but according to Ms Eyre, "if it swam off strongly which I'm led to believe it did than that's a good sign."

Turkey Bacteria

'Good' bacteria inside the holiday food favorite produces medicine that can kill roughly half of all infectious bacteria.

Amazonian shrimp

Amazonian shrimps- An underwater world still unknown
Amazonian shrimps: An underwater world still unknown

A study reveals how little we know about the Amazonian diversity. Aiming to resolve a scientific debate about the validity of two species of freshwater shrimp described in the first […]

Brutal Cuddly Killer

More than 1,000 mutilated marine mammals thought to have been victimized by humans were attacked by another marine mammal with a cuddly reputation.

Hanging on every word ...

Dogs might not understand everything we say, but new research shows that they are doing their best to figure us out. 

Animal Pictures