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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.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Daily Drift

The Twelfth of our trees of December ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
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Today is  - National Ugly Xmas Sweater Day

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Today in History

1753   George Washington, the adjutant of Virginia, delivers an ultimatum to the French forces at Fort Le Boeuf, south of Lake Erie, reiterating Britain's claim to the entire Ohio River valley.  
1770   The British soldiers responsible for the "Boston Massacre" are acquitted on murder charges.  
1862   The Union loses its first ship to a torpedo, USS Cairo, in the Yazoo River.  
1863   Orders are given in Richmond, Virginia, that no more supplies from the Union should be received by Federal prisoners.  
1901   Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio transmission in St. John's Newfoundland.  
1927   Communists forces seize Canton, China.  
1930   The Spanish Civil War begins as rebels take a border town.  
1930   The last Allied troops withdraw from the Saar region in Germany.  
1931   Under pressure from the Communists in Canton, Chiang Kai-shek resigns as president of the Nanking Government but remains the head of the Nationalist government that holds nominal rule over most of China.
 1943   The German Army launches Operation Winter Tempest, the relief of the Sixth Army trapped in Stalingrad.  
1943   The exiled Czech government signs a treaty with the Soviet Union for postwar cooperation.  
1956   The United Nations calls for immediate Soviet withdrawal from Hungary.  
1964   Kenya becomes a republic.  
1964   Three Buddhist leaders begin a hunger strike to protest the government in Saigon.  
1967   The United States ends the airlift of 6,500 men in Vietnam.
1979   South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan, acting without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa, alleging that the chief of staff was involved in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee.
1985   Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes after takeoff at Gander, Newfoundland; among the 256 dead are 236 members of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division.  
1991   The Russian Federation becomes independent from the USSR.
1995   Willie Brown beats incumbent mayor Frank Jordon to become the first African-American mayor of San Francisco.
 2000   The US Supreme Court announces its decision in the shrub v. Gore, effectively ending legal changes to the results of that year's Presidential election.

10 Reasons Our Universe Might Actually Be Virtual Reality

Physical realism is the view that the physical world we see is real and exists by itself, alone. Most people think this is self-evident, but physical realism has been struggling with the facts of physics for some time now. The paradoxes that baffled physics last century still baffle it today, and its great hopes of string theory and supersymmetry aren't leading anywhere.
In contrast, quantum theory works, but quantum waves that entangle, superpose, then collapse to a point are physically impossible - they must be 'imaginary.' So for the first time in history, a theory of what doesn't exist is successfully predicting what does - but how can the unreal predict the real?

The Radio Hat

The Radio Hat was a portable radio built into a pith helmet that would bring in stations within a 20 mile (32 km) radius. It was invented by American Victor T. Hoeflich and introduced in early 1949 for $7.95 as the 'Man-from-Mars Radio Hat.'

Although the Radio Hat was well received at the outset, the reception did not last, and advertisements ceased to run in the 1950s. Its failure was primarily due to technical limitations. It had only two valves, while household radios featured five or six, and thus, performed better.

President Obama Takes Over Stephen Colbert’s Job With Ease During Appearance On Show

obama the decreeedited
With The Colbert Report wrapping up it nine-year run this month as host Stephen Colbert moves to CBS to take over David Letterman’s spot, the show was able to pull off a bit of a coup by booking President Obama as a guest Monday. POTUS had been a guest before on The Daily Show but had not stepped foot on Colbert’s set before Monday. Much of this may have been due to Colbert playing a character on his show. As anyone who has watched the program knows, Colbert’s character is a thinly-veiled caricature of Bill O’Reilly. (Hilariously, during the interview segment of the show, Obama referred to Colbert as Bill.)
Before a live audience at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the president unexpectedly walked on the stage while Colbert was going to do one of his most beloved segments, ‘The Word.’ The audience roared with delight as Obama strolled over to the desk as they weren’t expecting him until later when he would be interviewed by Colbert. Obama confronted Colbert and told him that he’s “been taking a lot of shots at my job, I’ve decided to take a shot at yours.” At that point, the president sat down at the desk and commenced with the segment, which he changed to ‘The Decree.’
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Comedy Central:
The biggest takeaway from Obama’s turn in the hosting chair is that he showed, once again, that he is willing to poke fun at himself and not be overly sensitive about his image. The Colbert Show writers provided a number of zingers during the piece and Obama was able to deliver them with ease and relish. As anyone who has seen ‘The Word’ before, while the host is delivering his commentary, the television displays satirical messages related to the topic. This was no different.
As the president delivered a line about healthcare.gov signing up nearly a million new customers through the Affordable Care Act, a television graphic appeared stating, “So, half as popular as Grumpy Cat video.” Prior to that, when the president said that there were things both parties like about Obamacare, the on-screen display read, “Everything but the ‘Obama’.” Later on, when talking about a potential Mitch McConnell plan, the screen showed “Walk-It-Off.gov.” Overall, it was impressive that POTUS was able to both poke fun at himself and deliver a satirical commentary with excellent timing and the proper tone.
As for the interview, President Obama was able to roll with the sarcastic jabs and deliver an entertaining, yet still informative, discussion with the in-character Colbert. Below is video of the interview:

The repugicans Are Proven Wrong Yet Again As Report Finds Torture Jeopardized National Security

Dick Cheney and his fellow repugicans have spent more than a decade claiming that torture both generated intelligence and was vital national security. The Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture proved both of these claims wrong.
Here is Dick Cheney on CNN last year claiming that what the CIA did wasn’t torture and that the “enhanced interrogation tactics” provided information:
Every claim that Cheney made in the video above was a lie.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program found that torture jeopardized national security, “The CIA, in the conduct of its Detention and Interrogation Program, complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the State Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The CIA withheld or restricted information relevant to these agencies’ missions and responsibilities, denied access to detainees, and provided inaccurate information on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program to these agencies.”
The report also concluded that torture did not provide good information, “The Committee finds, based on a review of CIA interrogation records, that the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation….While being subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and afterwards, multiple CIA detainees fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence. Detainees provided fabricated information on critical intelligence issues, including the terrorist threats which the CIA identified as its highest priorities.”
The significance of this report goes beyond looking at the past. Torture remains a part of the Republican national security platform. Mitt Romney supported “enhanced interrogation tactics” in 2012, and there are several candidates lining up to run for the repugican nomination in 2016 who support torture.
Supporting torture has become a qualification for repugican presidential candidates. It isn’t surprising that Cheney lied about the effectiveness of torture. An junta that lied to invade Iraq would not have qualms when it came to lying about torture.
Everything that repugicans have been selling the country for more than a decade was not true. Torture did not provide actionable intelligence. Torture did not keep the country more secure and safe.
Torture jeopardizes national security. The American people can add national security to the list of issues where repugicans have been completely wrong.

Faux News Freaks Out And Claims Torture Report Is A Conspiracy To Distract From Obamacare

Like clockwork, Faux News and Lush Dimbulb are in full paranoid conspiracy mode and claiming that the release of the Senate’s report on torture is a conspiracy to distract from Obamacare.
Faux’s Jesse Watters went right into the conspiracy, “I don’t want to know about it. I think people do nasty things in the dark, especially after a terrorist attack. I find it ironic that they’re dropping this report on the same day Gruber’s testifying to know that out of the front pages. But I mean the Senate Democrats, they’re just trying to get one last shot at the shrub before they go into the minority. And they didn’t even interview any of the CIA interrogators for their report. It’s kind of like how Rolling Stone does their reporting. They only get one side.”
Watters completed the paranoid trifecta by working the debunked IRS scandal into his rant.
Lush Dimbulb also pushed the conspiracy on his radio show, “The Democrats, the main story, the lead story today, by design, is the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, dumping on the shrub junta on “Jonathan Gruber Day.” Gruber, what’s happening out there is being dwarfed by what is happening with the release of how rotten and horrible this stinking country was when the shrub was pretending. And it still is, because Obama still hasn’t been able to close Club Gitmo where all the torture went on, and may still be going on, even though Obama may not know about it and thinks he’s tried to stop it.”
The fact that the Gruber hearing was going to be a circus and a farce was visible from miles away. The hearing was the repugicans last chance to push their Obamacare lies and conspiracies. Wingnut media like Faux News and Dimbulb can’t handle reality that the majority of Americans aren’t buying what they are trying to sell on the ACA.
The Affordable Care Act is in the midst of a very successful second signup period. The repugicans were trying to derail the law with a sideshow hearing on Jonathan Gruber’s comments about the intelligence of voters. Gruber’s comments didn’t deserve a committee hearing, but Darrell Issa couldn’t resist gaveling in the Obama conspiracy circus one last time.
When the American people show no interest in their Bull Shit, repugicans cry conspiracy. The Faux News/Dimbulb freakout was more evidence that the non-reality based wingnut media can’t handle any kind of truth.

Taxpayers pick up the tab for violent, abusive, murdering cops 99.8% of the time

99.8% of the $735 million paid out by in 9,225 large-city police misconduct settlements came from tax revenues; 0.2% was paid by the officers who committed the infractions. In more than 80 small/mid-sized cities studied, police officers contributed nothing to settlements for their misconduct. This comes from Police Indemnification, a paper in NYU Law Review by Joanna C. Schwartz, an assistant professor at the UCLA Law School.
This Article empirically examines an issue central to judicial and scholarly debate about civil rights damages actions: whether law enforcement officials are financially responsible for settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases. The Supreme Court has long assumed that law enforcement officers must personally satisfy settlements and judgments, and has limited individual and government liability in civil rights damages actions—through qualified immunity doctrine, municipal liability standards, and limitations on punitive damages—based in part on this assumption. Scholars disagree about the prevalence of indemnification: Some believe officers almost always satisfy settlements and judgments against them, and others contend indemnification is not a certainty. In this Article, I report the findings of a national study of police indemnification. Through public records requests, interviews, and other sources, I have collected information about indemnification practices in forty-four of the largest law enforcement agencies across the country, and in thirty-seven small and mid-sized agencies. My study reveals that police officers are virtually always indemnified: During the study period, governments paid approximately 99.98% of the dollars that plaintiffs recovered in lawsuits alleging civil rights violations by law enforcement. Law enforcement officers in my study never satisfied a punitive damages award entered against them and almost never contributed anything to settlements or judgments—even when indemnification was prohibited by law or policy, and even when officers were disciplined, terminated, or prosecuted for their conduct. After describing my findings, this Article considers the implications of widespread indemnification for qualified immunity, municipal liability, and punitive damages doctrines; civil rights litigation practice; and the deterrence and compensation goals of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

'Corporate sovereignty' is already costing the EU billions

"Corporate sovereignty" -- in which foreign companies get to sue the government to penalize it for passing environmental and labor laws that undercut profits -- is the one of the most controversial elements of the TAFTA/TTIP trade agreement the EU is negotiating with the US.
EU establishment figures who defend corporate sovereignty point out that many EU states already have corporate sovereignty clauses in their trade pacts (mostly former Soviet states whom the US arm-twisted into the deal as a condition of helping them escape Russia's orbit). What they don't mention is how much claims under these treaties cost the EU: at least €30 billion is sought in the 127 known corporate sovereignty cases the EU has seen (exact figures are impossible to get, because corporate sovereignty settlements are usually arrived at in secret, ensuring that citizens don't know how much their governments are paying for foreign companies).
If there is a corporate sovereignty chapter in TAFTA/TTIP, more than 14,000 American firms that own more than 50,000 subsidiaries in EU countries will have the ability to sue the EU (pdf) -- 95% of them for the first time. Moreover, they will be able to do that for all their existing investments in Europe, not just new ones, as the following section in the EU negotiating mandate makes clear (pdf):
the investment protection chapter of the Agreement should cover a broad range of investors and their investments, intellectual property rights included, whether the investment is made before or after the entry into force of the Agreement.
That clearly exposes EU member states -- and their citizens -- to the threat of an even greater level of claims than the €30 billion currently in play. Indeed, it is not fanciful to expect that figure at least to quadruple if ISDS is included in TTIP. That would mean claims -- not necessarily successful, of course -- of around €120 billion.

Modern Slavery ...

The Mexican megafarms that supply America's top grocers

A four-part series in the LA Times explores the corrupt labor conditions in Mexico's biggest farms, where the produce, destined for American grocers like Walmart and Whole Foods, is treated with infinitely more care than the workers, who are subject to illegal, inhumane treatment, including indentured servitude.
The workers routinely have their meager wages withheld, are housed in barbed-wired compounds without adequate water, food, or sanitation, and have to buy overpriced food from a high-priced company store, ensuring that they are in a permanent state of indebtedness to their employers, who won't let them leave until they pay off their debts, which can't be done.
The Times's coverage is available in Spanish and English, and includes videos and photos that hammer home the point.
Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It's common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.

Federal Judge Rejects Anti-Evolution Lawsuit Concocted By Kansas Creationists

by Stephen D Foster Jr.
Wingnut “christians” must be fuming in Kansas after a federal judge nixed their latest effort to ban evolution in schools.
In response to all Kansas school districts adopting a standardized science curriculum known as Next Generation Science Standards that includes the teaching of evolution, creationists across the state threw a collective temper tantrum, with one wingnut cabal even going so far as to file a lawsuit to ban evolution based on the claim that it promotes atheism.
Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) actually had the nerve to argue that teaching evolution amounts to teaching atheism, and therefore should be banned as a religious point of view in the classroom. But as Americans United For Cult And State explained, the argument is complete bullshit.
Everything about that argument is flawed. Contemplating the origin of life on this planet is not an inherently religious question that is unfit for children to ponder. And science has done a fine job of unlocking the mysteries of the universe – despite COPE’s claim to the contrary. Evolution may be a theory, but no legitimate scientists question its validity. Thus learning the facts of that theory is not “indoctrination.” It’s called education.
US District Judge Daniel Crabtree agreed, because he threw out the case.
The question of whether creationism should be taught in school has been long settled for 30 years, since the Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aguillard that religious doctrine does not belong in science class. The reason for the new standards in the first place is because educators are making a push to improve the math and science scores of American students so that they can compete with the rest of the developed world. Evolution is not a religion, it’s a fact that is backed by mountains of evidence. To view some of that evidence, just watch this video explaining how multiple fields of scientific study agree that evolution is real.
That ought to enrage wingnuts just as much as this court decision.

Airline executive under investigation over claims she delayed plane due to way nuts were served

A Korean Air executive is under investigation over claims she delayed a plane due to the way she was served nuts. Heather Cho demanded the removal of a crew member from a flight last Friday for failing to serve nuts on a plate. Ms Cho, a vice-president of the firm, forced the Incheon-bound flight to taxi back to the terminal in New York.
The airline said checking service standards was part of her job, and she had the pilot's backing. But officials said she was a passenger at the time. A junior attendant had offered Ms Cho macadamia nuts in a bag, instead of serving the nuts on a plate. Ms Cho, daughter of company boss Cho Yang-ho, then questioned the chief flight attendant over in-flight service standards and ordered him off the plane.
Korean Air said the plane arrived 11 minutes late, and that the decision to expel the senior flight attendant had been made in consultation with the pilot. The airline said that checking of quality of service was one of Ms Cho's jobs, as she is in charge of in-flight service for the carrier.
The transport authorities are investigating whether Ms Cho's actions infringed aviation law. "Even though she is senior vice president at the company, she was a passenger at that time, so she had to behave and be treated as a passenger," a South Korea transport ministry official said.
Since this post was written she has resigned.

The Doughnut Shop Inside a Car Wash

Scott Levine, the owner of Underwest Donuts, calls his business a bit of "quintessential Americana." I agree! If you find a problem, such as getting space for your cafe, you come up a solution, even if it's unorthodox. Levine's quest for a location ended in the car wash owned by his father-in-law. Levine built a donut shop right next to the washing chamber.
When you hear the term "car wash donuts," you may not expect high quality or variety. But Levine's menu includes fancy donuts, such as coconut lime, as well as 6 different types of espresso. Now, when you're on a date, you can say, "Let's go to the car wash" and it won't sound weird.

Disabled man scared off would-be burglars with walking frame-mounted gun

Sixty-eight-year-old Joseph Sapienza suspects the men who attempted to break into his home in Gastonia, North Carolina, on Thursday night thought he would be an easy target because he’s disabled and uses a walking frame. But after scaring away the would-be thieves, Sapienza taped a note to his door, in which he attempted to make it clear that his trigger finger works just fine.
“(If) you try to break in my house again, I will be waiting on you,” reads the note. “Enter at your own risk.” Sapienza was watching television in his bed at 7:42pm. He heard someone prying off the lock and pulling the nails to the latch out of his front door. He grabbed his .45-calibre handgun, put it in a holster on his walker and began shuffling toward the sound.
He flipped a hallway light on, yelled out to announce he was armed, and yanked open the door to see two men wearing ski masks. They jumped off his porch and practically tripped over one another trying to flee, Sapienza said. “It was like a Keystone Cops scene,” he said. “When they saw the .45, one ran one way up the street, and the other went the other way.”
Sapienza has been disabled since 1980, when he was riding his bicycle to work and was hit by a truck, breaking his pelvis. He now uses a motorized scooter to get around outside, and thinks the suspects saw him as an easy target. “People see me as an easy mark,” he said. “They probably thought ‘we’re going to get this man’s money.’” He hopes the suspects don’t come back, for their own sakes. “I’m pretty proficient with it,” he said of his .45. Police are investigating, but have so far made no arrests.

Cooking eggs over a burning tire on driveway of home frowned upon by police

A new cooking innovation has been described as “bizarre” and “dangerous” by police in Australia after a group of residents in Moulden, Northern Territory, were caught cooking eggs over a burning tire on their driveway. Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen said police and firefighters were called to the residence after neighbors reported a “burning smell” and “heavy smoke” coming from the property in Bonson Tce at around 3pm on Sunday.
“(The) Fire Brigade attended and determined that there was a burning tire in the driveway and the residents were trying to cook eggs over it,” Supt Jorgensen said. “The firies went there and bizarrely people were trying to barbecue over a burning tire. If you’ve ever seen a tire on fire you’d know it’s quite a blaze.
“It was bizarre behavior.” Supt Jorgensen said the group were not charged with any offenses. “Apart from the fact that it is unlawful to light fires in urban areas it surely must be recognized that burning rubber is not an appropriate heat source for cooking,” she said. “Or for positive neighborly relations. And it’s dangerous.”

Disgruntled Customer Throws Snake at Restaurant Employee Who Refuses to Dice His Onions

)Meanwhile, in Canada, a Tim Hortons customer in Sasktatoon has trying to address a serious defect in his breakfast order. He wanted the onions on his sandwich diced. No, sliced or chopped was not enough. They must be diced. When the restaurant employee refused to comply, the customer quite rightly responded by throwing a snake at him. The National Post reports:
Staff told police that two male customers were arguing with an employee about their breakfast order – specifically that they wanted their onions diced. When the argument escalated, one of the men reached into the pocket of the other man, pulled out a garter snake and threw it behind the counter.
And for this fairly bland response to outrageously bad customer service, local police arrested the men!
The two men, both 20, are facing charges of mischief and causing a disturbance.
That’s a Tim Hortons that I definitely won’t visit in the future.

Beginnings of Life

Scientists simulated the chemical reactions that may have led to the formation of building blocks of the genetic code, and the beginning of life. 

Can Fear Be Erased?

According to some medical researchers, there's good reason to think so. Hypothetically, gene therapy could reduce or limit fear and subsequent trauma from terrifying situations. Geneticists have found that a particular mutation in the BDNF gene results in timidity. Certain drugs can reduce a fearful response to trauma. In the future, if such drugs are given immediately after a traumatic event, they may prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. Bret Stetka writes in Scientific American:
Raül Andero Galí, a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, thinks BDNF-based approaches hold promise in understanding and treating anxiety. Only small amounts of BDNF make it across the blood-brain barrier, so at the moment there is no therapeutic role for the compound itself. Yet Galí’s work has shown that a compound that mimics the effects of BDNF in the brain successfully helped mice get over fearful associations—specifically a sound paired with a foot shock. The prospect of BDNF gene therapy is also being investigated. […]
Galí has also shown that a drug that blocks the activity of the Tac2 gene pathway, which is also thought to play a role in fear extinction, reduces the consolidation and storage of traumatic memories in mice, suggesting a possible therapeutic role in post-traumatic stress disorder. “PTSD it is a unique psychiatric disease because we usually know when it begins,” Galí says. “We could potentially give drugs shortly after trauma to prevent it.”

Superior Reasoning

BoyChimp300Scientists detect brain network that gives humans superior reasoning skills

When it comes to getting out of a tricky situation, we humans have an evolutionary edge over other primates. Take, as a dramatic example, the Apollo 13 voyage in which […]

Can't Sleep?

Night owls could use a week in the woods, reports a new study, which can fix what ails your circadian rhythms.

The Mummy Revealed

A 2,500-year-old mummy is revealed for the first time. Here's what scientists learned.

The Windcatchers Of Persia

They appear throughout the Middle East: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have these antique Persian designs dotted around their towns and cities. They are windcatchers, known in the area as Bâdgir.
Serving as ventilation systems they have given the people of the Middle East air conditioning for thousands of years. Yet despite their antediluvian origin, windcatchers may even provide a solution for some very modern architectural problems.

Warmer Pacific & Methane

Plume2_nolabels-300x200Warmer Pacific Ocean could release millions of tons of seafloor methane

Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research from the University of Washington shows that water at intermediate […]

The Rains Over Africa

rain and clouds Africa NASA_fIncreasing greenhouse gases linked to rains over Africa thousands of years ago

An increase in greenhouse gas concentrations thousands of years ago was a key factor in higher amounts of rainfall in two major regions of Africa, scientists have discovered. The finding […]

California Drought & Climate Change

A new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study shows that the 3-year California drought may have been caused by natural variability and not climate change.

Anthropomorphic Taxidermy

How Dead Rodents Became the Darlings of the Victorian Elite
Long before LOLcats and even before Harry Whittier Frees’ animal photographs, people enjoyed looking at animals placed in amusing human situations. Special-effects photography wasn’t yet widely available, so the next best thing was taxidermy. The craze for amusingly-posed animals began with German taxidermist Hermann Ploucquet, who exhibited his advanced taxidermy techniques at the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London.
Ploucquet’s work dazzled Victoria and Albert, as well as Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, Charlotte Bronte, and six million other attendees. Though some of his gory displays incurred critics’ contempt, Ploucquet had his finger on the pulse of the art crowd, creating dioramas that mimicked the style of the fashionable paintings and sculptures of the day. The Victorians found the tableaux unequivocally beguiling, and Queen Victoria described them in her diary as “really marvelous.”
The fantastical allegorical scenes served to humanize the animals and animalize the human spectators in a delicious hybrid of delight and shame. The little landscapes of critters frozen in the midst of human activities were originally known as grotesques. Ploucquet took the art form to the next level with his dramatic tableaux, including scenes of kittens serenading a piglet, a weasel disciplining a classroom of rabbits, dueling dormice, ice skating hedgehogs, and action scenes portraying Reineke, or Reynard the Fox, a medieval European folk tale made famous by Goethe.
Ploucquet’s works were followed by those of Walter Potter, an even more prolific taxidermist, who created huge dioramas of animals doing human things, and left behind 10,000 specimens. Read about Victorian anthropomorphic taxidermy at Atlas Obscura.

Hamperd Hovering

Visual stimuli can cause the light-fliers to falter when they're feeding

North Pole's Declining Population

Inbreeding, poaching, a lack of herders and climate change are contributing to the iconic animal's decline.

Dogs On Ice

Dogs like nothing better than when something a little out of the ordinary happens. So, when the world has turned white one morning and the water has gone hard and slippery, you can't blame a dog for getting a little excited, can you?

Animal Pictures