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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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Daily Drift

The Eighteenth of our trees of December ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1118   Afonso the Battler, the christian King of Aragon captures Saragossa, Spain, causing a major blow to muslim Spain.  
1812   Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris after his disastrous campaign in Russia.  
1862   Nathan Bedford Forrest engages and defeats a Federal cavalry force near Lexington in his continued effort to disrupt supply lines.  
1862   Union General Ulysses S. Grant announces the organization of his army in the West. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand are to be corps commanders.  
1865   Slavery is abolished in the United States. The 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."  
1915   In a single night, about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops withdraw from Gallipoli, Turkey, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1916   The Battle of Verdun ends with the French and Germans each having suffered more than 330,000 killed and wounded in 10 months. It was the longest engagement of World War I.
1925   Soviet leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev break with Joseph Stalin.  
1940   Adolf Hitler issues his secret plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union–Operation Barbarossa.  
1941   Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.  
1941   Japan invades Hong Kong.  
1942   Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.  
1944   Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.  
1951   North Koreans give the United Nations a list of 3,100 POWs.  
1956   Japan is admitted to the United Nations.  
1960   A rightist government is installed under Prince Boun Oum in Laos as the United States resumes arms shipments.  
1965   U.S. Marines attack VC units in the Que Son Valley during Operation Harvest Moon.  
1970   An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds of citizens to flee the test site.  
1972   President Richard M. Nixon declares that the bombing of North Vietnam will continue until an accord can be reached (Operation Linebacker II).  
1989   The European Economic Community and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on trade and economic communication.
2002   California Gov. Gray Davis announces the state faces a record budget deficit; the looming $35 billion shortfall is almost double the amount reported a month earlier during the state's gubernatorial campaign.  
2005   Civil war begins in Chad with an rebel assault on in Adre; the rebels are believed to be backed by Chad's neighbor, The Sudan.  
2008   United Arab Emirates holds it first-ever elections.
 2010   In an opening act of Arab Spring, anti-government protests erupt in Tunisia.

Random Photos

The repugicans Drive Congress’s Approval Rating Towards Record Lows

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell
The repugican midterm election theft has driven Congress’s approval ratings down even lower according to a new poll released by Gallup.
According to Gallup, “Gallup’s most current monthly rating of Congress, from a Dec. 8-11 poll, shows 16% of Americans approving of Congress. That is little changed from November, but remains down from a slightly higher 20% reading just before this year’s midterm elections. That is the only time Congress’ monthly approval rating has reached the 20% mark over the last two years. Approval fell to an all-time monthly low of 9% in November 2013 after the partial government shutdown.”
Gallup blamed the low approval ratings on the fact that control of Congress has been divided, but a better explanation is the lack of legislation passed by the repugican obstructed body combined with a Congress that since the repugican takeover of the House has not been responsive to the needs of the American people.
The Koch agenda that has been pushed by House repugicans, and will be taken up by the Senate in January is not popular. Over the last few years, Congress has failed to pass a popular background checks bill for gun owners, an increase in the minimum wage, improving veterans benefits, extending unemployment benefits, and increased infrastructure spending. All of this legislation was popular with the American people but was killed by Congressional repugicans.
The do-nothingness of the Congress is likely to continue after repugicans take control. The problem isn’t divided government. The big issue is that Congress is being controlled by repugicans who only care about their donors. This isn’t a Congress that is working for the American people. It is a body that is only interested in those who are writing the biggest campaign contribution checks.
Expecting repugicans to be the solution to the problem that they caused, is not only unrealistic, it’s foolish.

To Delete Obama’s Agenda From History repugicans Violated Their Pledge To America

There has been an ongoing repugican crusade to eradicate any legislative accomplish this President supported since the Koch brothers took control of the House after the 2010 midterms.…
Republican_Unhinged-elephant (1)In August 2012, teabagger Steve King (r-IA) told an audience he would “introduce one all-encompassing bill to repeal everything Obama has signed into law.” King was not just intent on deleting the Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) out of existence, but everything the President supported to erase the President’s agenda from the history books. The repugicans lust for a veritable reset to reassert what they perceive as legitimate and legal American governance (white repugican dominance). Although King never followed through on his threat, there has been an ongoing repugican crusade to eradicate any legislative accomplish this President supported since the Koch brothers took control of the House after the 2010 midterms.
By now, only comatose Americans are unaware that repugicans lied through their collective teeth throughout the 2010 campaign that their entire focus would be creating jobs or governing for the people. Instead they immediately voted to repeal the President’s health law, railed against the stimulus, decried financial reform, attacked women’s rights, became fervent job killers, and violated one of their most solemn pledges to the American people. In their phony “Pledge to America” of 2010, repugicans swore they would put an abrupt end to packing must-pass government funding legislation with esoteric provisions for special interests that had nothing whatsoever to do with funding the government.  That solemn oath, like their pledge to create jobs, has been regularly violated as long as they have controlled the House and at least  repugicans admitted that was the case in the so-called CRomnibus funding bill.
The repugican, Bill Flores (TX), said it is true that repugican leadership certainly broke their 2010 Pledge to America in the CRomnibus, but he justified violating the people’s trust because an African American man is President. The idiot repugican said, like mormon’s who justify lying if it is for dog, that it is worth breaking an oath to the American people if the ends justify the means.
According to Flores, deleting legislation the President signed justifies breaking the Pledge to America. Flores did not vote for the CRomnibus because “an unlawful (Black) President” issued the same executive orders as white repugican pretenders. In the “Pledge,” it says, “We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.” However, breaking the pledge is the price repugicans are more than willing to pay to undo President Obama’s agenda; starting with legislation that passed during the two years that Democrats controlled the White House and both branches of Congress after the 2008 election.
Of course it is a violation,” Flores said. “But it’s one of the byproducts of having to clean up really bad legislation (legislation Wall Street and the Kochs hate) and it’s really one of the few ways we can have to delete bad policy. The ends justified the means; I hate to say that, but yes.” Flores is still a liar; he does not hate to say it and he knows it. The only thing remarkable about anything Flores says is that he admitted repugicans are liars  in a public forum even though it is common knowledge the dirty lying liars only raison d’être is eradicating anything President Obama signed into law during his first two years in office, or has supported since then.
For example, repugicans began their votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately on taking control of the House in 2011 and have attempted to insert riders in other budgets and legislation to defund the health law. The rider to give Wall Street free reign to decimate the economy again with phony derivatives is a result of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that repugicans have tried to eliminate since taking control of the House. This time, they may have succeeded with the valuable assistance of 57 Democrats whose fealty is not to the people. One wonders how those Democrats, many who voted for Dodd-Frank, sleep at night knowing they are complicit in deleting a law they likely helped pass.
While most Democrats actually stood strong with President Obama’s efforts to address climate change by blocking a Koch rider restricting the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, 57 of them voted for the Koch brothers’ cuts to the EPA’s budget. Republicans have done their due diligence to block the President’s environmental efforts over the past six years and boasted they slashed the EPA budget by 21% since the brothers bought the House in 2010.  Apparently 57 Democrats want some of the Koch credit now and going forward. The Kochs have bigger aspirations in the next session of Congress as evidenced by the rider they attached prohibiting enforcement of the Clean Water Act; a bill 57 Democrats voted for.
The repugicans are still incensed at the President for pushing to end the shrub-era tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, and because they cannot reinstate the insane tax cuts unilaterally, the Kochs and Grover Norquist directed them to make more drastic cuts to the IRS enforcement budget. Because the President has criticized the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling, repugicans inserted a rider eliminating the IRS’s authority to investigate, enforce compliance, or reject applications of 501(c) social welfare campaign organizations with “wingnut” in their name.
Because President Obama has not allowed Israel set American Middle East policy, repugicans included a rider acknowledging Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu’s authority by cutting all assistance to the Palestinian Authority if members of United Nations, or any of its agencies, dared to make it a member. Netanyahu has already made it abundantly clear that President Obama is not acquiescing to Israel’s supremacy, or recognizing that Israel controls American Middle East assistance. The repugicans gave that authority to Israel based on its authority to decide which nation is allowed membership into the world organization. It is just another means to eliminate the President’s record on Middle East policy because he does not acknowledge that Israel controls who receives American assistance.
The repugicans even added a rider in the CRomnibus to keep the phony “Benghazi” scandal going throughout the rest of the President’s tenure in the White House. The rider prohibits any assistance to Libya until Republicans are satisfied that the country is cooperating with criminal Darrel Issa’s investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate.  This is despite the House already putting any scandalous machinations, cover ups, or wrongdoing by the Obama Administration or former Sec of State Hillary Clinton to rest.
To show how serious, and petty, the repugican effort to delete anything this President accomplished, they put a rider in an appropriations budget banning the President from transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States or elsewhere. They also prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to fund Obama Administration executive branch portraits. They even dealt a blow to First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch standards by giving red state school districts authority to allow students to eat unhealthy school lunches.
The CRomnibus, on its own, although not an ideal budget according to President Obama or any reasonable American, is likely as good as it can be considering repugicans control the House. However, those Koch brother and Wall Street riders, all esoteric to funding the government, are a direct assault on President Obama’s agenda and an attempt to eliminate anything he has signed, supported, or accomplished since he has been President.
Now that the Senate passed the CRomnibus, Americans can rest easy repugicans cannot shutter the government for a little over nine months, but they have taken a big step toward deleting this President’s accomplishments. It is a big step they could not have made without the valuable assistance of 57 Democrats who are obviously more terrified of crossing the Koch brothers than supporting their party’s President and for that they deserve the same outrage decent Americans have for dirty lying racist repugicans.

Scalia Is Wrong (as always): The Constitution Prohibits Torture and repugican cabal Civil Rights Violations

Wingnuts have proffered every possible scenario to justify torture, including Supreme Court Justice Scalia invoking a fictional television counter-terrorism agent, Jack Bauer, torturing alleged terror suspects …
supreme court scaliaSince it was first revealed that the shrub authorized and approved the use of torture, repugicans and so-called “patriots” condemned the criticism against the illegal acts as despicable, self-righteous whining from un-American traitors. Wingnuts have proffered every possible scenario to justify torture, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s invoking a fictional television counter-terrorism agent, Jack Bauer, torturing alleged terror suspects to stop a fictional attack on America.  In fact, the Supreme Court jurist asked, “Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don’t think so,” so obviously, in Scalia’s mind torture is not wrong because it is legal on television.
Last week, Scalia reiterated his support for torture in an interview with Radio Television Suisse in response to the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Bush-directed CIA torture of “suspected” Islamic terrorists. According to Scalia, although there are U.S. laws against torture, it is still perfectly legal and acceptable because there is nothing in the United States Constitution that prohibits torture of suspected terrorists. “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene, so I don’t think it’s so clear at all. Listen, I think it’s very facile for people to say, ‘Oh, torture is terrible.’ You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get information out of a suspected terrorist?”
The so-called Constitutional originalist, and alleged scholar, Scalia, has once again revealed he is as ignorant of the nation’s founding document as he is vacant of compassion for anyone but evangelical extremists and the Koch brothers. In an effort to protect convicted war criminals the shrub, Cheney, and the shrub’s national 'security' team, Scalia claimed because the words “do not torture” are not in the Constitution that Americans can torture captured enemy combatants, innocent Muslims, or American citizens with impunity. Any so-called American citizen that supports and defends torture is a humiliation to this country, but for a Supreme Court Justice to make such an absurd remark is an abomination. Worse, Antonin Scalia is patently incorrect.
It is too bad that Scalia’s reading of the Constitution is limited to serving the uber-rich, corporate fascists, and religious extremists, because if he actually read the document sans his Koch-vatican blinders on, he would know the Constitution does, in fact, prohibit torture; among a variety of human rights violations his wingnut cohorts on the High Court and repugicans fervently support.
In Article Six, Clause 2 of the Constitution, it clearly states that, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.”  Therefore, since the U.N. Convention on Torture, and the Geneva Conventions, expressly prohibits torture in any form and for any reason, and because those documents are valid treaties America signed after ratification in the U.S. Senate, Article Six makes “the prohibition on torture the Supreme Law of the Land.” Plus, there is also the Eighth Amendment that prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments;” particularly of “suspected criminal” activity or “alleged terror suspects.” One would think that Scalia has, at a minimum, read all Ten of the amendments in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights; he certainly read, and helped demolish the 1st Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.
As a matter of fact, there are myriadsupreme laws of the land” that repugicans violate with impunity ranging from discrimination against women, people of color, and particularly a plethora of Civil and Human Rights violations; many of which Scalia’s wingnut cohort on the Supreme Court are guilty of violating. Especially their defense of and re-establishment of Jim Crow laws giving red states the right restrict Constitutional voting rights of people of color.  The High Court’s racist wingnuts violated The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1994) when they eviscerated the Voting Rights Act giving repugicans free reign to restrict African Americans’ voting rights.  What is curious, is why the Department of Justice has not raised the specter of the High Court’s violations of many, many “supreme laws of the land,” or myriad repugican violations of treaties this nation signed prohibiting blatant discrimination; particularly against women.
Every time repugicans block passage of “equal pay for equal work” legislation, they are discriminating against women and violating “The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1980). The repugicans are also guilty of violating the International Covenant on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights (1992) because they have blocked passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). When the High Court’s Vatican-5 discriminated against women by giving religious employers the right to discriminate against women in the catholic Hobby Lobby ruling, they violated the Establishment Clause as well as the Convention against all forms of discrimination against women and no-one will do anything because christianity.
There are far too many instances of this country’s, primarily repugican-motivated, violations of supreme laws of the land to list in one article. But everything from Detroit claiming residents have no basic human right to clean water and sanitation to the criminalizing homelessness to withholding food and shelter from children to the racially motivated disparate stop and frisk, arrest, conviction, and incarceration of African Americans. And most recently the blatant racially-motivated murders of unarmed African American boys and young men by racist law enforcement are all violations of valid supreme laws of the land.
The prohibition of torture is no different and for Scalia to claim there is no prohibition in the Constitution is not only symptomatic of his ignorance of the Constitution, but his conservative mind’s  blatant disregard for federal law and obvious contempt for provisions in Article Six, Clause 2 that make international prohibitions against torture the Supreme Law of the Land. Article Six also demands that this country arrests the shrub, Cheney, and their co-conspirators from the top down and hand them over to the international court for authorizing and conducting torture that, regardless what Scalia or repugicans claim is a violation of American and International law according to the United States Constitution. And, because Scalia has made giving to war criminals legal cover for violating American and international law, he is complicit and gets a trip to The Hague with his “Jack Bauer” heroes.

Faux News Embarrasses Themselves With Fake Story Blaming Democrats For Canceling The Super Bowl

Faux News hit a brand new low in their quest to blame Democrats for everything. Fox imagined that the upcoming Super Bowl will be canceled, and then blamed Democrats for canceling the Super Bowl, which definitely is not going to happen.
Faux and Friends breathlessly reported this morning that the Super Bowl could be canceled,
fox-like-newsThere is a chance that Super Bowl 49 will not happen. It’s bad news for folks looking to watch it or better yet, head to Arizona to attend it. The reason is Congress, and a piece of legislation you might have never heard of The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. It was signed into law after 9/11, and established a risk sharing partnership between the government and the insurance industry that made terrorism insurance to businesses, including organizers of sporting events like the NFL.
See the most expensive disaster in the history of insurance was the 2001 terrorist attacks at $44 billion in claims. Under The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the government provides a financial backup for insurers by covering a portion of insured losses above $27.5 billion and up to $100 billion. So insurers have at least some certainty of their exposure, and in return they give terrorism coverage to their business clients.So unless this act is reauthorized by the end of the year, and the clock is ticking, insurers have the right to cancel terrorism coverage after January 1.
Faux News just demonstrated how they invent their “news.” Faux took one piece of factual information; terrorism insurance must be renewed and turned it into Democrats canceling the Super Bowl because Harry Reid’s Democratic majority in the Senate didn’t reauthorize funding for the insurance.
The version of funding for terrorism insurance is controversial with some Democrats and the White House because it contains provisions that weaken some financial regulations in Dodd-Frank. The White House wrote in a statement of policy, “The Administration strongly opposes the inclusion of modifications to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, specifically the end user provision, in this TRIA-related bill that has broad bipartisan support. Broadening Dodd-Frank’s statutory exemptions is a complicated issue with serious implications for the health and stability of the Nation’s financial markets. The main purpose of S. 2244 is to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program; this bill should not be used as a vehicle to add entirely unrelated financial regulatory provisions.”
There is no evidence that Democrats aren’t going to reauthorize the program, and even less evidence that the Super Bowl will be canceled if they don’t. When the NFL was asked about the Faux News report, the league offered a one sentence reply, “The Super Bowl will be played.”
Faux News tried to blame Democrats for canceling a Super Bowl that hasn’t been canceled, because they didn’t pass a bill that will probably be passed. Faux News viewers are some of the most misinformed people in the United States, because when all else fails, Faux makes up shit and calls it the 'news'.
Faux News has demonstrated once again why they are America’s home for fictionalized versions of current events.

In Wake Of Eric Garner Decision, NYPD Tweets Out “Motivational” Speech Justifying Murder

On Monday morning. the New York Police Department’s Midtown South precinct sent out a tweet showing Jack Nicholson’s character from the movie A Few Good Men giving a speech justifying an order he gave to give a Marine a ‘Code Red’ that ended up killing him. The tweet seems especially distasteful in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury decision surrounding Eric Garner’s death. NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted in the death of Garner despite video showing him using an illegal chokehold and a medical examiner ruling the death a homicide.
Below is an image of the tweet from NYPD Midtown South, courtesy of Slate. The department deleted the tweet early Monday afternoon.
a few good men tweet

In the movie, Nicholson’s character is a Marine colonel in charge of a base at Guantanamo Bay. Two enlisted men are charged with murdering another soldier. The two men insist the murder was an accident as the result of a ‘Code Red,’ a disciplinary tactic used by Marines but deemed illegal by the Armed Forces. In the end, Nicholson’s character admits to giving the ‘Code Red’ order as he was doing what was necessary for his men. In other words, Nicholson gave the order for his soldiers to gang up on and kill another man.
Now, perhaps the precinct commander, or whoever sent the tweet out, didn’t think of that angle of the speech when it was sent out. Maybe whoever sent it just wanted to utilize the famous “You can’t handle the truth!” line. Maybe it was all just a misunderstanding. However, immediately after the tweet began making the rounds, a lot of people pointed out that it appeared that the NYPD was bragging about beating a man to death and justifying it.
While the NYPD deleted the tweet after getting raked over the coals, it remains to be seen if they will actually address it or just pretend that it never happened and it was all just a little mistake. At best, it represented amazing tone-deafness. At worst, it was a police department telling people that they have no problem beating people to death in the name of doing one’s job.

Don't Text and Joust

He was preceded in death by Sir Read-A-Book-on-the-Steering-Wheel-While-Driving-down-the-Freeway. Dave Coverly of Speed Bump offers a warning that all jousters--especially teenage knights of dubious judgment--should heed.

Laughing At Depression

Depression is serious business, but could a gas that makes us giggle be an effective treatment for the clinically depressed? Crystal Dilworth reports on a study that put nitrous oxide to the test.

How sound affects taste

White wine goes with fish and red wine goes with meat. But some new research from the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford has apparently unearthed evidence of an implicit relationship between what we eat and what we hear -- between taste and pitch, as Scientific American reports.
The lab explores how the five senses–touch, taste, smell, vision, and hearing–interact with each other. Amongst the findings, their research on auditory and gustatory stimuli has suggested there may be implicit associations between taste and pitch. High pitched sounds are mainly associated with sweet and sour tasting foods while low pitched notes are more commonly paired with more bitter and umami tastes.
One of my favorite internet toys pairs any song you can think of with a cocktail. But the lab's findings also suggest that what you're listening to might change the way you taste:
Further, their research found that taste may be altered depending on the accompanying soundtrack. In one study, participants tasted pieces of cinder toffee while listening to different soundtracks–one with higher and one with lower pitched tones. The toffee was then rated on a scale that ranged from bitter to sweet. The result was a bittersweet symphony, showing that the participants found the toffee sweeter when paired with higher pitches and more bitter when accompanied by lower pitches. Unbeknownst to them, the toffee was identical–it was only the sound that had changed.
I won't link you the Verve song, in case you're eating. Apparently, the research was also used to develop a "sonic cake pop" at London's House of Wolf, where after buying it you'd dial a number on your mobile -- pressing "one" would produce a sound that made the dessert slightly sweeter, pressing "two" offers a tone geared toward a more bitter taste experience.

Her Majesty's Royal Shroom

Hallucinogenic fungi found at Buckingham Palace

That explains the hats.That explains the hats.
giphyDuring preparations for the filming of a television program at Buckingham Palace, someone found a mushroom with hallucinogenic properties growing in the sprawling Palace gardens.
“The mushroom’s hallucinogenic properties have long been known and it has commonly been used in rituals,” reports the AP, soberly.
“Palace officials said Friday there are several hundred species of mushrooms growing in the palace gardens, including a number of naturally occurring Amanita muscaria.”
Officials say garden shrooms are never used in the palace kitchens. But no word on whether the Queen uses them from time to time in her royal rituals of blood sacrifice, baby-dismemberment, and Satanic fornication.

Random Celebrity Photos


Sandra Dee
Sandra Dee

In The Dark

How Climate Change Could Leave Cities in the Dark

Cities like Miami are all too familiar with hurricane-related power outages. But a Johns Hopkins University analysis finds climate change will give other major metro areas a lot to worry […]

9 Surprising Facts About Flatulence

If you’ve been around a while, you’ve probably read an awful lot about farts here at Neatorama. Still, there’s always something new to learn. Flatulence is a natural process of a healthy functioning physical body, but that doesn’t make it a bouquet of roses. You’ll learn about that physical process in a list of fart facts at Vox, plus an occasional glimpse at how some of these scientific facts were discovered.
Hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane make up as much as 99 percent of the gas produced in our large intestines by volume. (They're supplemented by air you swallow — more on that below.) All of these gases are odorless, which is why much of the time, farts don't actually smell at all.

The potent stink, research has found, is largely due to the 1 percent or so of compounds with sulfur in them, such as hydrogen sulfide. (This sort of research itself is pretty amazing: one experiment involved two people judging the smelliness of farts of 16 participants who'd been fed pinto beans, collected with the aid of "gas-tight Mylar pantaloons.")
Now, that’s something to put on your CV! 

Ten Crazy Chinese Government Jobs

Chinese prisoners who are made to work for the government are hardly hammering out license plates or braille books. If you go to the pen in China, you may just find yourself forced to do menial work — in a video game environment.
Estimates say 100,000 Chinese prisoners work as video game farmers. They play games in 12-hour-long shifts in which they complete tasks that earn virtual currency. Once the virtual funds are turned over to the prison, they are sold to gamers for cash. It's even possible to be paid for this type of prison work, and paid well. Some are said to earn up to $700 dollars a day. But that's the good news. The bad news is that they can be beaten if they don't acquire enough virtual currency to meet their quotas.
Read about more people who do bizarre jobs for the Chinese government — including phantom work and porn judges — here.

San Francisco's Deadliest Shipwreck

In dark waters just outside the Golden Gate Bridge, archaeologists have pinpointed the final resting place of the worst shipwreck in San Francisco's history.

Things that make you say ... Huh?

The 40 million year war

map40 million year war between primates and pathogens

Examination of DNA from 21 primate species – from squirrel monkeys to humans – exposes an evolutionary war against infectious bacteria over iron that circulates in the bloodstream. Supported by […]
And as you can see it is NOT about a repugican's wet dream

Polar Land Grab

Denmark makes a claim to contested, energy-rich territory around the North Pole by submitting data to the UN which it says demonstrates the area is an extension of its continental shelf.

Polished Meteorite

Redditor Proteon posted this photo of a gorgeous polished meteorite sphere. Another user explained that it was a type of meteorite called pallasite, which is "a mixture of iron-nickel metal and olivine, a crystal that makes up the majority of Earth's mantle." Several posters estimated it to be worth #10,000 to $12,000 in value. Provided that information is correct, I need to add that to my Christmas gift wish list..

Stunning Photos of Animal Migration

These photographs of animals migrating are simply beautiful. Some of them, like the photo of white ibis migration shown above, look like abstract paintings, with the colors and shapes of the animals flowing together to form a pattern. There's something profound about the sight of so many animals instinctively and simultaneously driven to move en masse. See a great user-submitted collection of migration photographs here. 

Watch a Whale Feeding Frenzy

AkXpro used a drone to capture this awesome footage of a pod of humpback whales feeding on fish off the coast of Alaska. It gets really intense at the 0:49 mark. The whales form a circle, then lunge out of the water.
Ark in Space explains that the whales are engaging in bubble feeding. This means that they move into a circular formation, then breathe out bubbles while rising to the surface. The bubbles form a wall that the fish can't swim through, concentrating them into the center where the whales can swallow them en masse.

Kind Tortoise Flips Over His Buddy

Each of us, at some point in our lives, is a tortoise flipped over on his back, unable to right himself. We need some kind person to flip us back over. We need this tortoise, who helped a companion in need at a zoo in Taipei, Taiwan.

It's A Matter Of Timing

sober_lab520Birdsong study reveals how brain uses timing during motor activity

Timing is key for brain cells controlling a complex motor activity like the singing of a bird, finds a new study published by PLOS Biology. “You can learn much more […]

Do you speak cow?

item145030Do you speak cow? Researchers listen in on ‘conversations’ between calves, mothers

The team from The University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University of London, spent ten months studying to the ways cows communicate with their young, carefully examining acoustic indicators of […]

'Big Bang' Birds

The revised look at bird development shows some surprising relationships and also details how characteristics such as birdsong evolved. 

Animal Finds

From a puppy-sized spider to a bug bigger than your hand, 2014 was a good year for sightings of the merely big and the colossal in the animal kingdom.

White Rhino Dies

The species faces extinction, with only five of its kind left on Earth.

Animal Pictures