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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you  ...!
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Today in History

1681   The Treaty of Radzin ends a five year war between the Turks and the allied countries of Russia and Poland.  
1745   England, Austria, Saxony and the Netherlands form an alliance against Russia.
1815   A rag-tag army under Andrew Jackson defeats the British on the fields of Chalmette in the Battle of New Orleans.  
1871   Prussian troops begin to bombard Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.
1892   A coal mine explosion kills 100 in McAlister, Oklahoma.  
1900   The Boers attack the British in Ladysmith, South Africa, but are turned back.  
1908   A subway line opens linking the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
1940   Great Britain begins rationing sugar, meat and butter.  
1946   President Harry S. Truman vows to stand by the Yalta accord on self-determination for the Balkans. 1954   President Dwight Eisenhower proposes stripping convicted Communists of their U.S. citizenship.  
1963   President John F. Kennedy attends the unveiling of the Mona Lisa.
1975   Ella T. Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first female governor in the US who did not come into office by succeeding her husband.  
1979   The United States advises the Shah to leave Iran.  
1982   AT&T agrees to divest 22 subdivisions as part of an antitrust agreement.  
1994   Valeri Polyakov, a Russian cosmonaut leaves earth, bound for the Mir space station; he will spend a record 437 days in space.  
2002   The shrub signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act, intended to improve America's educational system.  
2004   The largest passenger ship in history, the RMS Queen Mary 2, is christened by Queen Elizabeth II, granddaughter of Queen Mary.  
2011   An attempted assassination of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords is part of a shooting spree in which Jared Lee Loughner kills 6 and wounds 13.

Most current jobs won't exist in ten years

iStock Most people today use computers at least in part to perform tasks for their jobs, but a new report by the Department of Labor predicts that computers, robots, and other forms of artificial intelligence will completely take over many of our jobs in 10 years.
"65 percent of the jobs in 10 years have not been invented yet," the Washington Post boldly states. Included among the jobs that employment specialists predict will be in demand in the future are: IT specialists (web developers, database administrators, security analysts and the like), engineers, accountants, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and construction workers.
Agricultural workers, postal service workers, and data entry clerks make the list of workers who will likely be obsolete, since their duties are considered a "process" and could easily be performed by high-tech computers.
David Tuffley, a lecturer in applied ethics and socio-technical Studies at Griffith University who authored the Post piece, recommends that workers looking to be more employable in the robot age become essentially more human. Creative skills, curiosity, and the ability to look for solutions in an unorthodox way will make the human mind a prized commodity in the face of an automated future.

The Worst (And Most Important) Smuggling Job in the History of Literature

As a child, I was a Bennett Cerf fan because of the funny books he wrote. As an adult, I became vaguely aware that he was the publisher who founded Random House. But Cerf will be known to history as a man who battled for your right to read. In 1920, the James Joyce novel Ulysses was judged obscene and banned in the U.S. In 1932, Cerf was determined to reverse that decision, and crafted a scenario that would lead to a court ruling on the book. But first, a crime had to be committed, so it was arranged for a smuggled copy to be intercepted at an American port of entry. Things did not go quite as planned.
The smuggler was following very specific instructions. He’d obtained the text, just like he’d been told. He stuffed the book into his suitcase. Then he boarded the luxurious Aquitania in Europe, with orders to disembark at this very port. But as he waited in line eying the customs officials, things weren’t going to plan. In fact, it looked like the officer was just going to wave him through. This was not what the smuggler was being paid to do; he was under strict orders to get caught!

“Get out; get on out,” the customs agent yelled. Instead of checking bags for contraband, the officers were frantically stamping the suitcases in front of them. They didn’t bother to look inside, or halt passengers for random checks. As the official tried to push the smuggler forward, the traveler did something inane: he demanded to be inspected.

"I insist that you open the bag and search it."

"It's too hot," argued the inspector. Indeed, the temperature in the room was well over 100 degrees. The officials were rushing people through so they too could call it a day. But the passenger insisted. “I think there’s something in there that’s contraband, and I insist that it be searched.”
Despite such setbacks, the court case was established, and the story of how Cerf worked behind the scenes to bring the book’s censorship to an end can be found at mental_floss.

Bernie Sanders Blasts Paul Ryan and House repugicans For Trying To Cook The Books

Seator. Bernie Sanders blasted an idea from Paul Ryan and other House repugicans that would justify their tax cuts for the wealthy by cooking the books and rigging how costs are counted in legislation.
Paul Ryan (r-WI) has been working behind the scenes for months to try to change the way the Congressional Budget Office calculates the cost of legislation. Specifically, Ryan wants to force the CBO to use a discredited scoring method that will hide the real cost of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
Senator Sanders blasted the repugican plan to cook the books,
The repugicans have hatched a plan to force the CBO to cook the books and paint a rosy picture of the benefits of trickle-down economics. They call it ‘dynamic scoring.’ In fact, it’s a gimmick to help justify more tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations. It’s what the shrub's daddy called voodoo economics – and he was right.

The purpose of dynamic scoring is to conceal – not reveal – how repugican policies will affect the economy.
The basic problem with what the right-wing economists call “dynamic scoring” is that it requires the CBO to count hypothetical growth as additional revenue. “That means counting the chickens before they hatch.
The senator said the main reason repugicans want to change the budget rule is to disguise the impact of their plan to give more tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations. In fact, part of the reason the deficit is smaller today is that Congress in 2012 finally let tax cuts expire for the top 1 percent.
What history shows is that when you give tax breaks to the rich and large corporations, the rich get richer, corporate profits climb and the federal deficit soars. In these difficult times, we need realistic economic projections, not discredited theories, not voodoo economics.

The repugicans are politicizing the budget process in a way that will undermine the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, which have provided unbiased, nonpartisan analysis on the cost of tax and spending bills.
The repugicans are refusing to face the reality that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t grow the economy. Instead, they are trying to rewrite the rules in order to hide their policy failures. Sen. Sanders (I-VT) is not about to let repugicans cover up their gifts to corporations and the wealthy without a fight.
Voodoo economics is back, but this time Democrats and Bernie Sanders won’t let the American people get fooled again.

This repugican Moron Idiotically Tells Newspaper They Can’t Write About Him Without His Permission

kirby delauterA repugican in Maryland has threatened to sue his local newspaper for having the audacity to use his name in an article that involved the county council in which he is on. Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter posted a Facebook status Saturday directed at the writer of the original piece, Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post. In the post, he personally ripped Rodgers, claiming she does not have any values or ethics. He then said that he would not authorize the paper to use his name or likeness in the future.
Rodgers later commented on his post, as he had tagged her, pointing out to Delauter that since he is an elected official, the paper is under no obligation to seek out his permission to write about him or his actions. While Delauter can always decide not to comment on a story that involves him, the paper will continue to report on anything involving him as it is in the public’s interest. Rodgers also said that while Delauter has asked that he not be contacted by the paper or Rodgers in the future, she will continue to ask for his comment on any story that involves him and his office.
Of course, as one would guess by now, Delauter doubled down on his statement, claiming that he’d seek legal action if the paper wrote about him in the future. In Delauter’s mind, he is well within his rights.
Below is a screengrab of the Facebook post along with Rodgers’ and Delauter’s comments:
The Frederick News-Post ran a piece about Delauter’s tiff on Tuesday, perhaps as a way to thumb their nose at the idiotic councilman who somehow thinks he can stop the local press from writing about him. In the article, the paper’s managing editor commented about Delauter’s threat to sue the paper and reporter.
Terry Headlee, The News-Post’s managing editor, said the newspaper typically does not seek permission or authorization to publish a person’s name or reference, except in the case of children.
“Kirby Delauter can certainly decline to comment on any story,” Headlee said. “But to threaten to sue a reporter for publishing his name is so ridiculously stupid that I’m speechless. It’s just a pointless, misguided attempt to intimidate and bully the press and shows an astonishing lack of understanding of the role of a public servant.”
One has to agree with Headlee. Seriously, it is hard to imagine that there’s an elected official out there who thinks they can sue a publication for writing about their actions as a public servant. It is almost unfathomable. Even though Delauter’s threat to sue is unimaginably silly, the News-Post was able to find a defender of Delauter — fellow repugican Steve Shreve.
Shreve was the focal point of the original article that got under Delauter’s skin. The piece in question discussed arguments over parking spots and staffing at the county office. Shreve was upset that council members didn’t have designated parking spots and had to share secretaries. While Shreve commented for the article, Delauter, who supports Shreve on this issue, did not. The article didn’t have any quotes from Delauter and instead just mentioned his actions.
When the News-Post reached out to Shreve to ask him his opinion on Delauter’s threat to sue, the repugican responded by saying he thinks Delauter is right to sue the paper because it is unfair to wingnuts.
Shreve, r-at large, told The News-Post in a phone interview he supported Delauter taking legal actions.
“I did not see his post, but I think The News-Post is extremely biased and someone should sue them,” Shreve said.
When asked if news media outlets should obtain permission to publish an elected official’s name or reference, Shreve said, “I think media outlets are cowards and they hide behind the label of journalists and that’s a bully pulpit to expand their liberal (agenda).”
It is almost as if Shreve wanted to outdo Delauter in his stupidity. He admits he didn’t see the post, but still goes ahead and comments on it, and goes further by whining about the liberal media and how the paper should be sued due to its bias against local wingnuts.

The repugicans Begin New Congress By Standing With Racist Sympathizer Steve Scalise

steve scalise john boehnerThe repugicans are upset that Steve Scalise (r-LA) might have trouble raising money for the party, because some donors might not want to be seen giving cash to a racist, neo-Nazi sympathizer.
If ever you wondered just how far gone this repugican cabal is, their response to the scandal of Steve Scalise speaking at and supporting the ideas of a 2002 gathering of white supremacist, neo-Nazi enthusiasts says it all.
Because it isn’t just that Scalise spoke at the European-American Unity and Rights Organization meeting when founder David Duke was infamous nationally and certainly in Louisiana politics, or that Stormfront attendees came away calling Scalise a supporter, or that Scalise suggested that while former KKK leader and felon David Duke couldn’t get elected, Scalise “embraces many of the same ‘wingnut’ views as Duke, but is far more viable.” Duke is known for being a Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi racist.
It’s that throughout his life Scalise has supported racist policies and ideas. This is no one-off.
Does that bother the current repugican leadership? Meh. Not really. Scalise is still the number three leadership position in the House. repugicans are, however, worried that he might not be able to raise money, according to a Politico article written by John Bresnahan & Jake Sherman.
To wit, via Politico:
Scalise’s job remains safe – and  John Boehner has publicly backed him — but he may be too toxic for some repugican circles. Top repugican cabal aides and lawmakers question whether he’ll be able to raise funds, especially on trips to New York or Los Angeles. Senior figures within the cabal doubt that the corporate chieftains and rich donors who bankroll repugican candidates will give him money to keep campaign coffers filled. Others say it will be difficult for him to persuade lawmakers to support the House repugican agenda.
John Boehner protected Scalise’s new position, and it looks like repugicans don’t even have the moral integrity to distance themselves from Scalise, but instead Scalise is going to turtle until things blow over:
Scalise has gone into full defensive mode in recent days. Thanks to support from John Boehner (r-Ohio) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (r-Calif.), Scalise survived the initial media frenzy over his speech to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, an extremist group founded by Duke. There is no movement afoot to dump him, despite significant anger in the rank and file. Since then, Scalise has gone radio silent.
Not even a leadership position can be harmed by not just speaking to but selling matching ideas and policies to a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. This is awkward. Even Sarah Palin thinks Scalise is toxic and should step down. Sarah Palin is sort of the litmus test for extremist, racist teabaggers within the repugican cabal. If she thinks it stinks of racism, you can bet it jumped the shark.
Apparently some repugicans don’t like having to defend having their Number 3 hanging around with racist neo-Nazis:
Rank-and-file repugican lawmakers, meanwhile, found themselves defending Scalise back home, a potentially fatal flaw for someone who wants to serve in leadership. Many of these lawmakers are faced with blistering editorials from hometown newspapers calling for Scalise to step down. Wingnut agitatorss like Mark Levin, Erick Erickson and Sarah Palin have all said he should be booted out of repugican cabal leadership.
It comes down to this, value wise. Being a white supremacist neo-Nazi sympathizer makes it hard to raise money, and this is where the repugican cabal draws the line in the values sand.
The real trouble for repugicans will come when and if the public finally realizes that the very policies Steve Scalise pushed for a racist agenda are often the same policies the entire repugican cabal pushes, for the same reason; It’s a very effective way for them to sell policies that are bad for the majority of people.

According to repugicans The 114th Koch Congress Is Focused On Koch Priorities

The repugicans are beginning the 114th Congress with the mindset that "nothing is going to get in the way of our cabal's focus on the Koch brothers' priorities" …
koch-congress (1)After the 2010 midterm elections, repugicans promised to follow through on their pledge to the American electorate to immediately begin “focusing on the people’s priorities” when the new session of Congress was convened. However, within a couple of weeks of the new session of Congress with a repglican majority in the House, the repugican cabal revealed they had no intent to honor their solemn pledge and began a terror campaign against women’s reproductive rights and a serious job-killing crusade that revealed they never considered the people’s priorities.
Fast forward four years and repugicans again promise, according to John Boehner, that “nothing is going to get in the way of our team’s focus on the American people’s priorities.” But like January 2011, repugicans have already exposed their disinterest or lack of intent to even begin focusing on the people’s priorities. What Boehner, or any repugican, fails to admit is that in their minds the billionaire Koch brothers are the American people because they bought and paid for the repugican-controlled Congress.  Subsequently, repugicans are beginning the 114th Congress with the mindset that “nothing is going to get in the way of our cabal’s focus on the Koch brothers’ priorities” in quickly passing two bills the Koch brothers demand be acted on.
It is true that repugicans have claimed there is an opportunity for compromise, but unless Democrats are willing to bend to the will of the Koch brothers, there is going to be plenty of conflict and no repugican compromise. And, that does not include the repugican cabal’s focus on stripping the President’s executive power over his actions on immigration and restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. Those battles will begin soon enough and likely shortly after repugicans fulfill Mitch McConnell’s pledge to the religio-wingnuts to immediately assail women’s reproductive rights and pass a two pieces of legislation to satiate the Koch brothers lust for power for at least a couple of weeks.
For the past month repugicans boasted that they had plans to quickly advance energy and health care legislation that stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate to show the American people that they are serious about governing effectively; allegedly by focusing on the American people’s highest priorities. On the Koch-Senate side, according to South Dakota repugican John Thune, “We (repugicans) have sort of laid down the marker, and we need to follow through” as soon as the 114th Congress convenes.  However, it may be a contentious task to ‘follow through‘ because many hardline wingnuts are already complaining loudly that congressional repugicans intend on starting out too timidly and are demanding that if repugicans are “true and pure wingnuts,” they will really impose their will on the nation according to the authority bestowed on them by the Kochs.
The House has been planning, and is anxious, to pass legislation this week to expedite the Keystone XL pipeline permitting approval despite it is the purview of the executive branch, not the Congress. But for at least six years repugicans have shown no interest whatsoever in adhering to the U.S. Constitution as a matter of course; particularly with an African American man leading the Executive Branch. Now that the Koch brothers run the Senate, Mitch McConnell and repugicans will follow the House and disregard the Constitution as part of their pledge to enact healthcare and energy legislation to start creating jobs. The Koch Senate will do their due diligence to the Koch brothers who demand that the Canadian oil pipeline’s permit is immediately approved to further enrich the Koch brothers, John A. Boehner’s stock portfolio, and TransCanada, a foreign corporation.
It should be a wakeup call to Americans that the first order of business for repugicans is not governing according to the American people’s priorities, but governing according to whatever means will enrich the Kochs to the tune of a hundred billion dollars, increase Boehner’s stake in Canadian tar sand companies, and provide profits for a foreign entity Canada will not let build its rupture-prone pipeline on Canadian soil. Senate Democrats devised a really clever ploy to expose the repugicans’ true intent in subverting the Constitution and Executive Branch’s power, but repugicans will strip those amendments out of the legislation with extreme prejudice because the Kochs’ priorities are not about creating American jobs or promoting clean energy. If nothing else, the Democrats may succeed in exposing the true nature of Keystone, and finally inform an ignorant population that there is no benefit to America in building the pipeline; particularly with gas prices plummeting due to America and the world being flush with cheap oil. Possibly, Democrats can convince Americans that building a pipeline to enrich the Kochs, and make it easier for Canada to ship its oil to Europe, China, and Japan is folly, but one should never underestimate Americans’ stupidity.
The other ‘crucial’ legislation repugicans will push right away is a measure that would change the new health care law’s definition of full-time workers to deny millions of virtual part-time employees from receiving healthcare insurance. The Koch, ALEC, Heritage Foundation legislation changes the ACA’s definition of full-time employment from the current 30 hours to 40 hours to allow corporations to maintain a workforce with fewer hours and still deny them healthcare coverage. There is no benefit to the American people whatsoever in the so-called “job creating” healthcare legislation, but it does allow the largest corporate businesses like Walmart to deny affordable healthcare insurance for its employees.
According to repugicans, doing the will of the Koch brothers is very important to, and a high priority of, the American people by passing two so-called phony “jobs bills” that the Democratic Senate blocked. However, both the Keystone approval legislation and denying healthcare to workers are as much job-creation bills as the religio-wingnuts' impending personhood legislation to ban birth control once and for all. Both bills are also the opening salvo of a concerted repugican effort to compensate the Koch brothers for buying control of Congress that, according to repugicans, was obviously a very high priority of the American people who were either too lazy to go to the polls in November, or so incredibly stupid that they fell for the same lies repugicans told four years ago. Either way, it is another example of just how exceptional Americans really are and underserving they are of an African American President who will protect them from at least a two year Koch Congress.

The Truth Be Told


What Is A Hangover?

Yippee! Let's poison ourselves with beverages that will make us violently ill. It was your battle cry last night, and today you're paying the price. But what is that hangover you're experiencing, exactly?

2,000 Calories Worth of Food From Various Restaurants

Retaurant: Potbelly | Meal: Orange Mango juice (250), big Italian sandwich with mayonnaise (1,088), chips (220), cookie (420)
The New York Times recently had an article that featured photos of 2,000-calorie meals from various establishments. Some were fast food joints, some were fancier restaurant chains. To those who are newly conscious of nutrition, calorie content, and weight loss/maintenance, these photos may be a wake-up call. Certain restaurant meals contain the entire recommended caloric intake per day (though that varies by a person's weight and exercise level). Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that healthy choices made at home, shown in the photo at bottom, afford a person quite a lot of food per day. There's no need to feel hungry if one makes good food selections.
See more photographs of 2,000-calorie restaurant meals here.
Food from home: Yogurt with fruit and nuts (210), toast and jam (85), beef stir-fry and farro (400), diet soda (0), pretzels (220), pear (100), chicken and arugula (490), brussels sprouts and squash (55), water (0), wine (120), cookies (200) See additional images

Spas for 7-Year Olds

A mother of 2 daughters expressed the need like this:
“They do deserve something special,” said Ms. Ehresman, who paid about $400 for the party. Paige and her 8-year-old sister, Makayla, had begged for beauty treatments, but Ms. Ehresman had found her own adult spa to be inappropriate for them.
“I don’t want them to feel that my saying ‘no’ means that I don’t love them,” she said.
Adult women in the United States often enjoy a day at the spa. Increasingly, so do young girls. Sweet and Sassy, a national chain of spas catering to children, is the market response. Julie Turkewitz describes the trend in an article in the New York Times. She met Paige, a 7-year old client at a Sweet and Sassy spa. Paige had a great time:
After the beauty treatments, Paige and her guests walked down a red carpet and disappeared into a hot pink limousine, which took the squealing children on a spin around the parking lot. One 6-year-old guest documented the revelry in a series of selfies.
Sweet and Sassy isn't for everyone, though. Some young spa clients want more than it can offer. There are more upscale establishments available to cater to their needs:
At one New York-area chain, Seriously Spoiled Salon and Spa, parties cost $500 to $3,000, and options include a “bath-bakery” experience, with lotions that smell like edible treats. (Tag line: “Where the main ingredient is you.”)
Lisa Gadzinski, 48, and her sister opened Seriously Spoiled on Long Island in 2008. The business, based in Patchogue, N.Y., has not only weathered the recession, but thrived, expanding to two more locations. Several clients are single fathers, lost in the world of girl-care, who bring in their daughters, Ms. Gadzinski said.
“Don’t we all want to spoil our children?” she asked.

Ten Neighbors from Hell

Detroit strip club owner Alan Markovitz was married to Lea Tuohy when their marriage hit the rocks. Tuohy was unfaithful with a man for whom she left the marriage. She and her new man moved in together.
Markovitz's next move was a killer: he purchased the house next door to Tuohy and her boyfriend and erected an interesting piece of "artwork" on his back patio. At a cost of $7,000 to Markovitz, a 12-foot tall, bronze statue of a hand with its middle finger raised was installed, directly facing the back windows of Tuohy's house. Markovitz says that he's over Tuohy and the finger is aimed at the man she cheated with. Either way, the statue — which is fully lit at night— is an eyesore for both of them.
Read more stories about neighbors from hell here.

These Piles of Snow are People Waiting in Line at an Apple Store

Apple fans are hardcore. You see those lumps of snow next to the wall? Those are people, wrapped up to protect themselves during a hard quest: to be the first people inside an Apple store in Sapporo, Japan when it opens on New Year's Day. You can see more photos of these dedicated and insane people at Rocket News 24.

Christine McConnell Poses as Her Foremothers

Mildred, McConnell's grandmother, born 1928 (l), 
Christine is at right in every comparison shown 
Remember the lovely and talented Christine McConnell, who baked these superb scary sweets? Aside from crafting elaborately monstrous baked goods, back then I wrote that she also delivers them in a beautifully restored classic car, is an artist and photographer who does oil paintings, house painting and interior design, and makes most of her clothes by hand. What remains for superwomen such as McConnell to do? How about reflecting on their ancestors, from whom they may have inherited some of their talents? That's what Christine did here.
The Los Angeles-based creative decided to re-create old photos of her relatives in the family albums. The project resulted in a series that breathes new life into photos spanning from the 1800s to the 1980s. Her side-by-side comparisons  not only reveal the resemblance between McConnell and her foremothers but showcase her aptitude for sewing costumes. What will McConnell's next project be? I can't imagine, but I look forward to seeing it. See more of her series here, and follow McConnell's work at her Imgur albums and Instagram account.
Attie Mae, McConnell's great-grandmother, born 1898

Martha, McConnell's great-great-great-grandmother, born 1821

Scotsman Stopped by Police for Riding a Bouncy Ball Drunk

It was a fine Hogmanay--that's Scottish for New Year's Eve. In the town of Dundee, a Scotsman who had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol traveled down a street on a Space Hopper--that's Scottish for a bouncy ball. He attempted to escape from police on his vehicle, but they caught up with him. The Scotsman quotes Jamie Shankland, a witness:
“He was running out from inside the tunnel when police stopped him.
“He looked very drunk and police had blocked the left-hand lane because he was on the road.
“I had to pass slowly and, as I did, I saw another policeman walking up the tunnel to pick up a red space hopper.
“I wondered what it was at first but then I saw the two wee horns sticking out the top.”
He added: “The look on the guy’s face was priceless - you could just tell he was thinking ‘what have I done?’
What the gentleman did is create a fine story that his family will repeat for generations to come.

Suspected arsonist and frozen sausage and elk meat thief found fully clothed in hot tub

At his court appearance last Tuesday afternoon, William Alva Riley didn't explain exactly what he was doing the morning of his alleged crime spree. Whatever it was put him fully clothed and wearing a parka, sitting in someone's hot tub. The unusual case started when Marion County Sheriff’s investigators believe Riley crashed a U-Haul truck not far from the crime scenes in Salem, Oregon.

Hidden World War II Battlefields Reveal Germans' Secret Tactics

by Tanya Lewis
Hidden World War II Battlefields Reveal Germans' Secret Tactics Deep in the forests of northwestern Europe, the ghosts of battle from World War II remain. These landscapes preserve troves of bomb craters, trenches and even the remains of supply depots — all of which have not been well studied until now.
These battleground remnants may shed new light on logistical support of German field armies and the impact of Allied bombings, researchers said in a new study.
David Passmore, a geoarchaeologist and lecturer at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, led the study. Passmore specializes in conflict archaeology, the study of battlefields and conflict in human societies.
"Although the history of the Second World War is widely documented and intensely researched, the archaeology of WWII has only recently begun to be formally investigated," Passmore told Live Science.
Forest battle scars
There have been plenty of studies on coastal fortifications, large battlefields and the D-Day landings, but Passmore couldn't find any documentation of conflict in the forests of Europe.
"We realized quite soon there had been very little formal study of WWII landscapes in these forested terrains," he said.
So, Passmore and his colleagues conducted a formal archaeological survey of key WWII battlegrounds from June 1944 through February 1945. In particular, the archaeologists focused on parts of northwestern France; the Ardennes forests of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany; the Hürtgenwald and Reichswald forests of western Germany; and the woodlands around the Arnhem region of the Netherlands.
They conducted field walks of these areas based on information from academic studies, Internet searches and WWII heritage guidebooks. The researchers found evidence of bomb craters, foxholes and trenches, as well as German logistics depots.
These landscapes "can tell us a great deal," Passmore said. "These things [could] illuminate war diaries and accounts of battlefield history, and provide a far more accurate impression of where troops were fighting, how they were fighting" and so on, he said.
What the Allies knew
The logistics depots provide a picture of exactly where and how the Germans established their support network for armies before the Allied invasion of Normandy, how they developed this network during the invasion and how the depots were overrun, Passmore said.
"We are now interested in investigating what the Allies knew of these depots, and how they went about attacking them with bomber forces," he said. By comparing Allied intelligence records of the suspected locations of German depots to the archaeological evidence, researchers can determine how successful the Allied bombings were.
Working in these battle-scarred landscapes can be very moving, Passmore said. "You can stand next to bomb craters or in foxholes, where you know soldiers stood under the most extraordinarily stressful conditions."
Passmore emphasized the importance of documenting these forested WWII landscapes before they are destroyed.
The findings were detailed in the December 2014 issue of the journal Antiquity.

Welcome To The Coldest Village On Earth

If you thought it was cold where you are at the moment then a visit to the Russian village of Oymyakon might just change your mind.With the average temperature for January standing at -50C (-58F), it is no wonder the village is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world.
Known as the 'Pole of Cold', the coldest ever temperature recorded in Oymyakon was -71.2C (-96.2F). This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth. Ironically, Oymyakon actually means 'non-freezing water' due to a nearby hot spring.

Amazing Photos of Fire Rainbows

It's a rainbow-colored cloud! Or perhaps a fire rainbow. Or to put it more scientifically, it's a circumhorizontal arc. Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell of NASA describe the unusual conditions that are necessary for one of these natural wonders to appear in the sky:
For a circumhorizontal arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. Therefore, circumhorizontal arcs are quite unusual to see.

What the Nile Looks Like from Space

The Nile is a ribbon of water--of life--through the desert. You can see this especially clearly from orbit. At night, the lights of human settlements shine through the darkness, like a crack in the universe.

This Is What Caused The Biggest Extinction In Earth's History

by Chelsea Harvey
Trilobites Extinction is a scary word and a scary topic — but it's one that needs talking about.
Why? Because it seems to be happening now. Scientists believe Earth is on the verge of its sixth mass extinction, an event that could devastate ecosystems all over the globe.
Habitat destruction and overexploitation are some of the major reasons so many plants and animals are disappearing around the world, and most scientists agree that human-caused climate change is soon to be the number one threat.
The topic has inspired fascination and dismay from scientists and science communicators alike. Earlier this year, science writer Elizabeth Kolbert published her book "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History," and the Smithsonian Channel recently released a new documentary called "Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink." Both works describe some of Earth's previous mass extinctions and explore what they can teach us about the impending one.
The Great Dying
Out of the previous five extinctions, the most famous is the Permian extinction — the worst of them all. It happened about 250 million years ago, and scientists believe it killed off about 90 percent of all life on Earth, earning it the nickname "The Great Dying." Clues from the fossil record give us information about what species went extinct and when, but how the extinction happened in the first place has been a puzzling question for scientists.
One of the biggest theories involves a series of volcanic eruptions, which took place about 250 million years ago in Siberia. According to Smithsonian's "Mass Extinction," these eruptions spewed enough lava to bury the continental US under a layer 1,000 feet deep. In fact, there's an area of about 2 million square kilometers in Siberia that's still covered by volcanic rock today — scientists call it the "Siberian traps."

Siberian Traps  But it's not the lava that would have caused the extinction: The eruptions would have also released massive amounts of climate-changing carbon dioxide into the air — enough to cause the kind of disturbance that might kill off nearly every lifeform on Earth.
Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas. With trillions of tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere during the eruptions, the Earth would have grown warmer over time. Many land animals would have been unable to adapt to the rising temperatures.
In addition, the ocean would have absorbed much of the excess carbon dioxide in the air. When CO2 mixes with water, a chemical reaction occurs that causes the sea to become more acidic. This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, can be devastating for certain kinds of marine animals, like corals, because it prevents them from completing the chemical processes that allow them to build their protective shells. Many of these lifeforms would have gone extinct as a result.
What we don't know
There are still some mysteries to be solved. Research published last March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the Permian extinction took place over an extremely rapid timescale: only about 60 million years, or "a geological blink of an eye," according to The New York Times. The Times article also reports that most scientists believe the Siberian eruptions lasted 1–2 million years, so nobody is quite sure yet why the extinction itself happened so fast.
There are also other theories besides the Siberian eruptions, although they tend to circle back to the idea of massive amounts of greenhouse gases changing Earth's atmosphere. For instance, some researchers believe that a microbe called Methanosarcina belched tremendous quantities of methane into the atmosphere, changing the climate and causing many of the same issues the Siberian eruptions theory describes.
For now, it's impossible to know the truth for sure.
These are issues worth studying, though. With Earth at the cusp of yet another mass extinction, scientists are eager to understand the processes that led to such events in the past, especially if they're linked to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. With human-caused climate change at the forefront of scientific discussions these days, information on past carbon-related events could give scientists insight into how we can deal with, or even prevent, such catastrophes in the future.
It could also help us understand and deal with the impacts of human-caused climate change that are coming.

Fish Gets Prosthetic Eye

A yellowtail rockfish at the Vancouver Aquarium was being bullied by other fish because he has only one eye. What to do? You can't exactly sit the other fish down and castigate them over their behavior.
So head veterinarian, Martin Haulena, with the help of  Lesanna Lahner, staff veterinarian of Seattle Aquarium, sewed a lovely bright yellow prosthetic eye into its eyeless hole. “You probably don’t want one in the nose,” Haulena notes in the video above as they figure out where to position it. Classic Haulena.

“The reason we do this is because we do find that when fish are blind from one eye, and there’s no visible eye, other fish will recognise that and will actually attack them from that side,” Haulena says. “Cosmetic, for sure, but there’s definitely an animal welfare component to putting in the prosthetics.
The details of the procedure are at Scientific American, where you can also read about a penguin’s cancer treatment.

Does Your Dog Understand What You're Saying?

When you talk to a dog, he may gaze at you and appear to be paying attention. But does he comprehend what you're saying? Joe Hanson, a biologist, explains the science behind human-dog communication in this video.
There's reason to think that dogs can distinguish between the emotion and meaning of words. As an experiment, researchers placed a dog between two audio speakers. When the dogs heard commands with a flat tone, they turned their heads to the right, suggesting that they understood word meanings in the left hemispheres of their brains. When they heard emotionally vivid gibberish, they turned their heads to the right, indicating that they understood verbal emotion with the right hemispheres of their brains.

Farmer forced to cut his herd of Nazi cows due to their aggressive behavior

A farmer who owns Britain's only Nazi cows has been forced to cut the size of his herd because they are too aggressive. The once-extinct aurochs were brought back to life by Adolf Hitler's scientists in the 1930s after officially dying out 4,000 years ago. They arrived in Britain for the first time in 2009 when farmer Derek Gow imported 13 'Heck' cattle from Belgium to his Upcott Grange Farm at Lifton near Okehampton, Devon. It was the first time the creatures had set foot on British soil since the Bronze Age. But Mr Gow, 49, has now been forced to get rid of seven of the cows as he could not handle their "incredibly aggressive" nature. He said: "We have had to cut out herd down to six because some of them were incredibly aggressive and we just couldn't handle them. What the Germans did with their breeding program was create something truly primeval."
Hitler saw the 'super cows' as a symbol of German and Aryan might and tasked leading geneticists, brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck, to bring the aurochs ''back into existence''. The pair traced the species' descendants to domestic breeds and managed to ''pull the wild genes out'' in a Jurassic Park-style experiment. The Hecks' program at zoos in Berlin and Munich was so successful that the new aurochs flourished and were used in propaganda material during the Second World War. Derek says they were shorter than the aurochs, but retain their ancestors' muscular build, deep brown complexion, and shaggy, coffee-colored fringe. He added: "Importing the cattle has been an interesting project for us - they have such an unusual history. There was a thinking around that time that you could selectively breed animals for Aryan characteristics, which were rooted in runes, folklore and legend."
The cattle, which have lethal-looking horns and a muscular build, are unlike any modern commercial breed of cow. They were almost destroyed following the defeat of Nazism in 1945, but some survived after they were shipped to game parks in Western Europe. Mr Gow said: "As far as being a commercial breed is concerned, they have little value, but they are a significant animal from a conservation point of view. For instance, each cow can produce its own weight in dung every year, which is a great source of food for insects and bugs and nutrients for the environment." Mr Gow said he got rid of some of the cows because they tried to kill his staff. But because the reserve they came from didn't want them back they have been sent to an abattoir. He said: ''The ones we had to get rid of would just attack you any chance they could. They would try to kill anyone. Dealing with that was not a lot of fun at all.
"I have worked with a range of different animals from bison to deer and I have never come across anything like these. They are by far and away the most aggressive animals I have ever worked with. Some were perfectly calm and quiet and they are the ones we have kept. The others you could not go near. We made sure no one went near them so there were never any incidents. To get them into the trailer to get them off the farm we used a young and very athletic young man to stand on the ramp and they charged at him before he quickly jumped out the way. They were so aggressive that was the only way. But that was as near as they came. No one else went anywhere near them. The reason the Nazis were so supportive of the project is they wanted them to be fierce and aggressive Despite these problems, I have no regrets at all. It has been a good thing to do and the history of them is fascinating."

Emu spotted running through traffic in Israel

Residents of the coastal Israeli city of Herzliya saw an unusual sight on Sunday afternoon, as an emu ran down a road in the rain. One resident said he was concerned the bird, which was running at nearly 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) an hour, could cause an accident.
"I called the police and reported the emu sighting. They were stunned. As I drove, I noticed that a city vehicle had arrived to deal with the emu and was zigzagging between lanes, but I was the only one who managed to chase after it with my scooter," he said. He said he tried to stop the emu a number of times, but it tried to attack him.

After several minutes of chasing the bird, the resident managed to steer it towards a lawn. Two employees of Herzliya's City Hall Veterinarian Department arrived after a few minutes and joined the attempt to capture the emu; one of them managed to grab it by the neck, but the emu went wild and tried to kick and peck at him.
Herzliya City Hall confirmed the report and said they were holding the emu until the Nature and Parks Authority had looked into the incident. Sources said the emu probably escaped from an unregistered farm somewhere in Israel's center. City Hall has been attempting to find the owner.

Hunter attacked by deer he'd shot with arrow

A man was injured on Friday evening in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, when he was attacked by the deer that he had wounded with an arrow.
The 72-year-old man was transported by ambulance to St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, according to Fond du Lac Sheriff's Officer Jeff Bonack. The ambulance call came in at around 7:30pm.
The man was out bow hunting earlier with a crossbow on the Peebles Trail in the town of Taycheedah. He wounded the doe with an arrow and went back out later to track the animal, Bonack said.
"Apparently the man was going through some thick brush and the deer leaped out and went after him," Bonack said. "The doe struck him in the leg with her head." Bonack said the 72-year-old had been out hunting with other family members. "I'm guessing the deer got away," Bonack said. The man's condition is unknown.

Top 15 Beautiful And Unbelievable Animals

Top 15 of beautiful animals who have evolved beyond our imagination.

'Mysterious Beasts' Spotted by Arizona Highway Cameras

'Mysterious Beasts' Spotted by Arizona Highway Cameras
'Mysterious Beasts' Spotted by Arizona Highway CamerasA suspicious pack of what appeared to be a group of large animals has sparked a viral debate about a possible Sasquatch sighting in Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Transportation was behind the latest announcement -- and conspiracy theories began to grow after they posted a photo from a highway patrol camera.
It wasn't Big Foot enthusiasts reading too deeply into a suspicious photo; the government officials were the ones to suggest that something sinister -- and mysterious -- was going on.
"We might have spotted a family of Sasquatches on SR 260 near Heber this afternoon. What do you think?" the Department of Transportation wrote in the caption of the photo it posted to their official Facebook page on Jan. 1.
The post was shared nearly 3,000 times.
The more than 2,000 comments ranged from true believers to those concerned with the well-being and supposed mythological powers of the rarely spotted beings, but eventually the department put the speculation to an end, admitting it was just meant to be humorous.
"We always try to have a little fun with our Facebook and Twitter feeds," department spokesman Tim Tait told ABC News. "That way, we don’t just post news about crashes and road conditions, but a little something to engage our audience in different ways. This posting was one of those efforts – something that caught our attention, and we thought it might make some people chuckle."

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