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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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Daily Drift

At that age again ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1652 The Dutch establish a settlement at Cape Town, South Africa.
1712 A slave revolt breaks out in New York City.
1798 The territory of Mississippi is organized.
1862 General Ulysses S. Grant defeats Confederates at Battle of Shiloh, Tenn.
1914 The British House of Commons passes the Irish Home Rule Bill.
1922 U.S. Secretary of Interior leases the Teapot Dome naval oil reserves in Wyoming.
1933 President Franklin Roosevelt signs legislation ending Prohibition in the United States.
1943 British and American armies link up between Wadi Akarit and El Guettar in North Africa, forming a solid line against the German army.
1945 The Japanese battleship Yamato, the world's largest battleship, is sunk during the battle for Okinawa.
1963 Yugoslavia proclaims itself a Socialist republic.
1971 President Nixon pledges a withdrawal of 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.
1980 The United States breaks relations with Iran.
1983 Specialist Story Musgrave and Don Peterson make first Space Shuttle spacewalk.
1990 John Poindexter is found guilty in the Iran-Contra scandal.

A Real Paleo Diet

Analysis of a man who lived in Washington state some 9,000 years ago reveal he didn't eat game meat, but stuck mostly to seafood. Why?

Natural prairies replaced ...

Natural prairies replaced with corn and soy following biofuel law
New research suggests that grasslands are losing out to biofuel crops.

Proxy War in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and Iran Vie for Regional Supremacy
by Dieter Bednarz, Christoph Reuter and Bernhard Zand
Proxy War in Yemen: Saudi Arabia and Iran Vie for Regional Supremacy
A Saudi Arabia-led coalition continues to bombard Yemen in an effort to stop the advance of an Iran-backed Shiite militia there. The conflict is becoming a proxy war for regional supremacy. The risks to the House of Saud are great.  More

Interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi 'The Liberation of Tikrit Is Very Encouraging'

Interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi: 'The Liberation of Tikrit Is Very Encouraging'
In a SPIEGEL interview, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi discusses his disappointment over delayed American support in Baghdad's battle against the Islamic State and why it remains so difficult to prevail over the terrorist organization. More

Tashkent's Shakespearean Drama Scandal Shakes Uzbekistan's Ruling Family

by Erich Follath 
Tashkent's Shakespearean Drama: Scandal Shakes Uzbekistan's Ruling Family
Germany's closest ally in Central Asia is a brutal dictator. Islam Karimov has ruled Uzbekistan with an iron fist for a quarter-century. Now, Shakespearean plotting within his own family is raising questions about who will succeed the 77-year-old leader.  More

The Persian Paradox

Iran Is Much More Modern Than You Think
An Essay by Erich Follath
The Persian Paradox: Iran Is Much More Modern Than You Think
People in the West tend to have a monolithic view of Iran. But there's a lot more to the country than the mullah-led theocracy, and it often gets ignored. And national pride is alive and well.  More.

The looting of Romania's Dacian gold

Sarmizegetusa, high in the central mountains, was once the capital and sacred center of the Dacians, a civilization crushed by the Roman Emperor Trajan in two bloody wars more than 1,900 years ago. The victory, Roman chroniclers boasted, yielded one of the largest treasures the ancient world had ever known: half a million pounds of gold and a million pounds of silver...
Sarmizegetusa was leveled and forgotten for centuries. But stories of Dacia's gold lived on, inspiring generations of peasants who lived nearby to dig in the steep valleys...
The full extent of the looting became clear years later, when some of the illegal excavators were arrested and confessed to police. The Lot 26 bracelet, they told police, was found in 1998, on top of a hoard of a thousand gold coins. To celebrate, the looters carved "Eureka" in the bark of a nearby tree—and kept digging. They showed no concern that they'd be caught: Another tree trunk bore an arrow and helpful directions: "Pits, 40 meters."
A small team of treasure hunters hit the mother lode in May 2000, according to Romanian police. Their metal detector pinged over a stone slab about two feet wide, embedded in a steep hillside. Underneath, in a small chamber made of flat stones propped against each other, they found ten spiraling, elaborately decorated Dacian bracelets—all solid gold. One weighed a hefty two and a half pounds (1.2 kilograms). You can read more of this interesting story at National Geographic.

Texas trooper ordered to undergo counseling after posing for photo with Snoop Dogg

A state trooper has been reprimanded, and will be required to undergo counseling, after posing for a photo with Snoop Dogg at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, because the rapper has several convictions for drug possession.
Billy Spears was working security at the event in March when Snoop Dogg asked to take a picture with him. The artist posted the image to Instagram with the comment, “Me n my deputy dogg”.
Department of Public Safety and Transportation officials saw the posting and cited Spears for deficiencies that require counselling by a supervisor. Spears’s attorney says his client didn’t know about the rapper’s criminal record.
Spears cannot appeal the citation because it isn’t a formal disciplinary action. A department spokesman said the agency did not discuss or release specifics of personnel issues unless they result in disciplinary action.

Woman charged with murder after saying dog shot her boyfriend

The girlfriend of an off-duty police officer has been charged with murder after claiming he had been shot when the gun accidentally discharged as she tried to remove it from his dog's mouth. Tyaina Finch was charged with murder and aggravated assault in the death of Mark Hudson in Darby Township, near Philadelphia, last weekend. Finch initially told investigators that the officer's yellow Labrador had his service revolver in its mouth, and as she attempted to pull it out, it fired, killing the officer.
But Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said the statements by the 27-year-old Glenolden woman were "inconsistent." She has now been charged with first-degree murder and related crimes and ordered held without bail in the death of Mark Hudson, 26, also of Glenolden. Whelan described the couple's relationship as "tumultuous" and said officers had been called to the home numerous times for domestic disturbances. "We believe she acted on this particular day with specific intent to kill [Hudson]," said Whelan. Finch already was being held in jail for allegedly making terroristic threats and other charges.
Hudson had filed a protection-from-abuse order on Jan. 30, saying Finch "came at me with a knife and threatened to kill me." She also allegedly struck him in the face and said she would burn down his house. The order was dismissed on Feb. 19 when Hudson failed to appear in court for the hearing. Last Saturday at about 4pm, Whelan said, Finch told detectives the two were "playing around" in the master bedroom of Hudson's house. According to court records, the two were "smacking" each other when Hudson "grabbed her from the back and pushed her down on the ground." Finch yelled at Hudson to stop.
The dog, named Simba, was getting in the middle of the two of them. As Hudson went to close the window blinds Finch said she saw the dog carrying his service weapon in its mouth. She grabbed the gun and it discharged. She called 911. On Monday, Whelan said Finch changed her story, telling detectives she wanted to tell the truth. Her statement was taken at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, where she was being treated for diabetes, he said. "This time she tells us a completely different version," said Whelan. She changed her version to say she had fired the gun in self-defense after Mr Hudson attacked her. But Whelan said her story became inconsistent again. Hudson died at Presbyterian Hospital of his injuries. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

The Brief, Enduring Life Of The Pony Express

The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, mail, and small packages from St. Joseph, Missouri, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, California, by horseback, using a series of relay stations.
During its 18 months (from April 3, 1860, to October 1861) of operation, it reduced the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about 10 days. Financial struggles ended the storied service's operations after just 18 months, but even though it failed as a business, the Pony Express became one of the great legends of the Wild West.

The Disgusting Creatures Inhabiting Your Body

Sorry, but you're not totally human. It's nothing about you personally. It's just that more than 90% of the cells in the human body are actually parasites. You might feel like a single being, but you're really more of a bug city, teeming with different species. Like tiny spiders, lice and microbial colonies. Far from being a hazard, however, they are the making of you.

Some people use fake service dogs

California-based Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities, says "service dog fraud" is making it more and more difficult for genuine owners to be taken seriously...
It is easy to buy a service dog vest on the internet. Numerous websites offer products such as official harnesses and tags. In some cases they are sold with a note stating that it is the owner's responsibility to ensure their animal is properly trained, but there is no system of enforcement.
Erin, who preferred not to give her full name, lives with her boyfriend and their dog, Bo, in Los Angeles.
She went online to buy a service vest for her pooch, because she wanted to avoid the fees charged by airlines for non-service animals - in the region of $90-$150 (£60-£100) to fly, one-way. Unlike working animals, they must be restrained in a container for the entire flight.
Erin, who is not disabled, travels everywhere with Bo because she says she can not bear to leave him home alone....
Many travelers are accompanied by their pets because they have special permission, based on a doctors' letter and an official certificate. Unlike service dogs, emotional support animals (ESAs) are not required to have any formal training, but are allowed on board without an additional fee...
Still, she says, "I know more faux emotional support dogs than real ones."

Dog laid down alongside suspected drug dealers being searched by police

During a joint operation on Thursday by the civil police and military in Florianópolis, Brazil, a dog lay down next to suspected drug dealers and "imitated" the men who were being searched.
According to officers, when the suspects lay down to be searched, the dog voluntarily joined the detainees.
The operation resulted in the arrest of two people, including a man quoted by police as a leader of a criminal gang that operates both within and outside the prisons of Santa Catarina.
He had been on the run for almost two years, according to the Military Police. According to officers about 1.5 pounds of marijuana, and a precision scale, cocaine, a restricted-caliber pistol and ammunition were seized

Huge menagerie including a leopard, lemurs and monkeys found in suitcase at Russian airport

Customs officers at Domodedovo Airport near Moscow, Russia, intercepted a huge array of rare animals stuffed inside a suitcase on Wednesday. A Russian woman was returning from Indonesia via Qatar.

When the suitcase was put through an X-ray machine it become clear that it was a non-standard cargo. Inside were 55 different kinds of snake, 35 lizards, turtles, six lemurs, two monkeys, two baby crocodiles and a baby leopard. The animals were stuffed inside tiny boxes and plastic containers, and the snakes in cloth bags.
The owner of the frightened, dejected cargo calmly explained that she had bought the animals at an Indonesian market, paying a total of about $200. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, most of the animals are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Ministry officials also said that they will press for criminal proceedings to be instigated against the woman if the information about the smuggling of wild animals is confirmed. If convicted she faces up to seven years in jail. All of the animals, apart for two baby crocodiles that were dead, were taken to a nearby animal shelter.
There's a large photo gallery here.

Mother and daughter elephants are reunited

This is the moment MeBai and her mother Mae Yui are reunited after a separation of over three years. MeBai had been sold to a trekking business in Thailand when she was aged 3½, but was too young and began to lose weight, so could no longer work.
She was then taken to the Elephant Nature Park. Her mother Mae Yui, worked for a different trekking business. Lek Chailert from the Elephant Nature Park discovered this and contacted Mae Yui's owner who agreed to retire her so that she and her daughter could be reunited and live free together at the park.

There's more information about the story behind the reunion here and here.

Singing Mice

When females are smelled but not seen, the mouse sings a complex song. But once his intended is in sight, he becomes more subdued.

'Alien' Camel

The skeleton of a camel that lived in the 17th century during the second Ottoman-Habsburg war has been discovered in a refuse pit in Austria.

Animal Pictures