Welcome to ...

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, May 7, 2015

The Daily Drift

Shredding Liberty - The Good Way ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Give up false religion - use reason  ... !
Today is - National Day Of Reason

You want the unvarnished truth?
Don't forget to visit: The Truth Be Told

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Buenos Aires and La Plata, Argentina
Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Chelsea, Henry Farm and Ottawa, Canada
Lo Prado and Santiago, Chile
Bogota, Colombia
Tijuana, Mexico
Boaco, Nicaragua
Pajaros and San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Bottom, Sint Eustatius-Saba
Alafaya, Alameda, Anaheim, Auburn, Boise, Bothell, Burley, Chattanooga, Crestone, Dayton, Fresno, Omaha, Racine,  Raleigh, Reno, Umatilla, Vidalia and Weston, United States
Minsk, Belarus
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Glavinitsa and Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Zagreb, Croatia
Brno, Horni Pocernice, Karlin, Prague and Stare Mesto, Czech Republic
Bromley and London, England
Calais, Nice, Paris, Roubaix, Rouen and Toulouse, France
Berlin and Hamburg, Germany
Marousi, Greece
Kópavogur and Reykjavik, Iceland
Dublin, Waterford, Ireland
Naples, Rome, Sala Bolognese and Savona, Italy
Riga, Latvia
Vilnius, Lithuania
Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Netherlands
Oslo, Norway
Gliwice, Krakow, Lodz and Warsaw, Poland
Bucharest, Romania
Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod and Ryazan, Russia
Glasgow and Inverness, Scotland
Belgrade, Serbia
Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia
Madrid, Valencia and Venta del Moro, Spain
Akersberga, Kista and Linkoping, Sweden
Istanbul, Turkey
Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev and Lenina, Ukraine
Wrexham, Wales
Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China
Bangalore, Delhi, Gubbi, Gurgaon, Kolkata, New Delhi, Ranchi and Shillong, India
Jakarta, Kebon and Pangaregan, Indonesia
Orumiyeh, Iran
Baghdad, Iraq
Tokyo, Japan
Seoul, Korea
Johor Bahru, Kampung Pangkai Kalong, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and Sibu, Malaysia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Colombo and Gampaha, Sri Lanka
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Bangkok, Thailand
Athi River, Kenya
Rabat, Morocco
Lagos, Nigeria
Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The Pacific
Brisbane, Surrey Hills and Sydney, Australia
Makati and Sampaloc, Philippines
Don't forget to visit our sister blogs Here and Here.

Today in History

558 The dome of the cult of St. Sophia in Constantinople collapses. Its immediate rebuilding is ordered by Justinian.
1274 The Second Council of Lyons opens in France to regulate the election of the pope.
1429 Joan of Arc breaks the English siege of Orleans.
1525 The German peasants' revolt is crushed by the ruling class and church.
1763 Indian chief Pontiac begins his attack on a British fort in present-day Detroit, Michigan.
1800 Congress divides the Northwest Territory into two parts. The western part will becomes the Indiana Territory and the eastern section remains the Northwest Territory.
1824 Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" premiers in Vienna.
1847 The American Medical Association is formed in Philadelphia.
1862 Confederate troops strike Union troops at the Battle of Eltham's Landing in Virginia.
1864 The Battle of Wilderness ends with heavy losses to both sides.
1877 Indian chief Sitting Bull enters Canada with a trail of Indians after the Battle of Little Big Horn.
1915 The German submarine U-20 torpedoes the passenger ship Lusitiania, sinking her in 21 minutes with 1,978 people on board.
1937 The German Condor Legion arrives in Spain to assist Fransico Franco's forces.
1942 In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attack each other with carrier-launched warplanes. It is the first time in the history of naval warfare where two fleets fought without seeing each other.Two crucial battles in 1942 marked the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
1943 The last major German strongholds in North Africa–Tunis and Bizerte–fall to Allied forces.
1945 Germany signs an unconditional surrender, effectively ending World War II in Europe.
1952 In Korea, Communist POWs at Koje-do riot against their American captors.
1954 French troops surrender to the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu.
1958 Howard Johnson sets an aircraft altitude record in F-104.
1960 Leonid Brezhnev becomes president of the Soviet Union.

I Asked 6 Guys To Dinner and They All Said No

by Joelle Pittman
When I started my blog, I saw myself as Carrie Bradshaw. Reality check: I'm Bridget Jones.
If a semi-attractive girl with a fun job, sparkling personality, and killer (or so I’m told) smile, asked you to be her date for a 5-course wine pairing dinner at a “fancy” restaurant, what would you say?
The answer wasn’t what I hoped…to say the least.
I was rejected by six guys for this thing. There I was, all excited to date like a man, be assertive, embrace my womanhood, thinking “what’s the worst that could happen?” Ha. Well, they could all say no. Didn’t think that one through, did ya, Joelle?
The first one (and preferred – I even had butterflies, y’all) originally said yes, and then backed out due to “work.” When I said OK, how about a rain check…he never responded. Ouch. Guess who got defriended on Facebook? Immature on my part? Perhaps – but warranted. AND I have to seem him this weekend…eek!
The second, and to be fair, I’d only met him once (he wandered into my office one random day looking like a total hottie), has a girlfriend…yikes. Embarrassing. Although I must mention he was very lovely about the whole thing.
After two ouchies, I turned to good ole Match.com. I’d been chatting with a very attractive doctor and invited him over text. He said yes, but for four days later. By then, I was already over it. I don’t play the three day rule, let alone four.
Speaking of four, I had a lovely first date that I thought went well and was excited about the possibility. He was cute, funny, attractive… but then, I never heard from him again. So while I didn’t technically ask him to the dinner, he definitely counts because he was supposed to text me about meeting up Saturday at the Food Truck Festival… and just never did. He did accept my Facebook request two weeks later, though. Awkward.
By this time, my ego was bruised and my self-confidence was shattered, so I turned to my best guy friend in the whole wide world. We dated years ago, and from time-to-time have discussed getting back together. I brought that up, about how I’d be open to a reconciliation…and lo and behold, he said no. Can’t catch a break, y’all!
And the sixth? Well, I just have to throw the sixth in, because I got dumped at the beginning of this month and it just counts. It does. Don’t argue with me. He went to this monthly dinner with me in March, so I get to be bitter about his absence in April.
People told me that when I turned thirty that my dating world would change, but I didn’t think that it would literally change the minute I turned thirty. I was quite the player in my twenties, but since I’ve turned thirty (a MONTH ago, I might add), I’ve been dumped and rejected FIVE more times in THIRTY DAYS! Thirty ain’t looking pretty, y’all.
P.S. I just tagged this post with “spinster.”

People Who Say ‘Fuck’ A Lot Are Hotter And Healthier

avatarby Beth Buczynski
For years we've been shamed into thinking that cursing is bad, something reserved for low-lifes and sailors. But new research suggests the exact opposite is true.
Several studies have found that swearing is a healthy practice that encourages emotional strength. Which pretty much debunks the theory that cursing is the language of the ignorant.
In one British study, researchers found that we swear to cope with situations that make us feel strong emotions, and that a good string of expletives can actually help us endure pain.
"We want to use more taboo words when we are emotional. We grow up learning what these words are and using these words while we are emotional can help us to feel stronger," Dr. Richard Stephens said in a presentation to the British Psychological Society. "Some words are more taboo than others - but the effects can be greater, the stronger the word."
Not only do we feel more confident when we curse, but apparently it makes us a whole lot more attractive, too.
In a radio and online survey conducted by The Frisky, both men and women agreed that swearing can be a turn-on, but only when done in appropriate contexts (i.e. Mama Bear moments or talking dirty in the sack)
The moral of the story is that bottling emotions is bad for your health. If dropping an F-bomb helps you blow off steam or express your true feelings, let it fly. Just don't get excessive.
However, just like too much salt in your food, overdoing it can delete all the benefits--especially when it comes to how you're perceived by peers and those in authority.
Think of swear words as a spice rather than the main ingredient and you'll be golden. And anyone who disagrees can fuck right off.

The hidden power of graffiti

by Rosanna Ring
The hidden power of graffiti: unofficial language is an important resource for archaeologists and social historians alike.
From ancient texts and tomb reliefs, the Latin we’re most familiar with today is largely based on very formal, or even ‘official’, representations of the language, but the reality would have been much more vernacular. For archaeologists and social historians, linguistic samples taken from ancient graffiti provide valuable insights into the colloquialisms people used in everyday life.
Now, to grips with the way people spoke on the streets of Roman Spain, the University of Valencia is about to start a study of the graffiti found on a type of moulded pottery known as ‘terra sigillata’, which were made in Roman Italy, Gaul and Spain between 100 BC – 300 AD.
The Sigillata study
Sigillata pottery
The study focuses on the words written on these ceramics, but will also look at the imagery and decorative elements stamped on them, many of which depict the popular beliefs and habits of the time.
The graffiti not only provides important linguistic data, such as popular colloquial phrases, but also valuable ethnological information and an insight into any variations in language and customs of the different people producing the ceramics.
A window into the past…
Without these very personal glimpses into ancient life, it is often hard for us to remember that these were real people, using the language to chat, swear, and joke with friends. Imagining that they all spoke to each other like the great orators, is just the same as the false generalization believed by some that all English people speak the Queen’s English (or that peculiar cockney accent performed by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins).
Elsewhere, a huge amount of graffiti from ancient Rome and Pompeii still survives today. Subject matter ranges from swear words, rude messages (written on the wall in the basilica at Pompeii is the line “Lucilla ex corpore lucrum faciebat/Lucilla made money from her body”), and rude drawings (the Romans’ preoccupation with drawing penises is well renowned), to the mundane (a weekly shopping list has been found scratched on the wall of a house in Pompeii).
[Read more: Top 5 ancient graffiti sites]
Another of the most common forms of graffiti is simply the name of the artist. This is still a tradition that continues today, the majority of graffiti we see tends to be the ‘tag’ of each individual.
Political sloganeering
Children using an Israeli army watch tower as a swing ride, said to have been painted by Banksy.
But graffiti can also carry a political message. In these instances the graffiti can help give a valuable insight into the wider scale political, social, and economic issues affecting any one particular group of people at a certain time.
In Pompeii there are many examples of political graffiti, including comments on elections to seats of office: “All the late-night drinkers are canvassing for Marcus Cerrinius Vatia to be aedile”
Graffiti is still used as a way to comment on both local and global politics today, just look at artists like Banksy whose recent work focuses on the current conflict in Gaza.
The findings of the Sigillata study will undoubtedly add to our understanding of the lives of ordinary people within the study period. Graffiti is not just the vandalism it is often made out to be. It’s about freedom of expression and opinion, outside of any social or political controls, and can give a more accurate portrayal of each society; the important issues that the people face, along with a taste of their daily life, language, personal thoughts, and beliefs.

Study Finds Which NFL Fan-bases Have the Worst Grammar

Grammarly, a grammar and spellchecking program, can search through text to find more than 400 different types of errors. Recently, to demonstrate the capabilities of Grammarly, the company that makes it examined 150 reader comments that were at least 50 words long in the discussion boards of each official NFL team website.  It then ranked which teams had the most philologically-challenged fans.
Fans of the Washington Redskins won the contest with approximately 16.5 mistakes for every 100 words. Go Redskins!

Millions of dollars in fraud, waste found in charter school sector

by Valerie Strauss A new report released on Tuesday details fraud and waste totaling more than $200 million of uncovered fraud and waste of taxpayer funds in the charter school sector, but says the total is  impossible to know because there is not sufficient oversight over these schools. It calls on Congress to include safeguards in legislation being considered to succeed the federal No Child Left Behind law.
[Did No Child Left Behind's test-based reforms fail? Or not?]
The report, titled "The Tip of the Iceberg: Charter School Vulnerabilities To Waste, Fraud, And Abuse," was released jointly by the nonprofit organizations  Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and the Center for Popular Democracy. It follows a similar report released a year ago by the same groups that detailed $136 million in fraud and waste and mismanagement in 15 of the 42 states that operate charter schools. The 2015 report cites $203 million, including the 2014 total plus $23 million in new cases, and $44 million in earlier cases not included in last year's report.
It notes that these figures only represent fraud and waste in the charter sector uncovered so far, and that the total that federal, state and local governments "stand to lose" in 2015 is probably more than $1.4 billion. It says, "The vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud."
[New York City charters leave thousands of seats unfilled despite exploding demand, study finds]
The report makes these policy recommendations:
    ¦ Mandate audits that are specifically designed to detect and prevent fraud, and increase the transparency and accountability of charter school operators and managers.
    ¦ Clear planning-based public investments to ensure that any expansions of charter school investments ensure equity, transparency, and accountability.
    ¦ Increase transparency and accountability to ensure that charter schools provide the information necessary for state agencies to detect and prevent fraud.
It also says:
    State and federal lawmakers should act now to put systems in place to prevent fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. While the majority of state legislative sessions are coming to an end, there is an opportunity to address the charter school fraud problem on a federal level by including strong oversight requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is currently being debated in Congress. Unfortunately, some ESEA proposals do very little [to] reduce the vulnerabilities that exist in the current law. If the Act is passed without the inclusion of the reforms outlined in this report, taxpayers stand to lose millions more dollars to charter school fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
The charter school sector has expanded significantly in the last decade and now educates about 5 percent of the students enrolled in public schools.  The Obama administration has supported the spread of charter schools; President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 includes $375 million specifically for charters, a 48 percent increase over last year's actual budget.
Proponents say charters offer choices for parents and competition for traditional public schools. Critics say that most charters don't perform any better - and some of them worse - than traditional public schools, take resources away from school districts, and are part of an effort to privatize public education.

Meet The Lunatic Fringe Wingnut Extremist Behind The Texas 'Draw Muhammad' Event

Meet The Right-Wing Extremist Behind The Texas 'Draw Muhammad' Event
If there's no reason to talk about Pamela Geller, she'll create one.

After Texas Shooting, American Muslims Defend Anti-Islam Group’s Right To Free Speech

Why Americans Don't Treat Fatal Gun Negligence as a Crime

by Amanda Gailey
Kasey Wilson lives in rural Missouri. He is in his mid-twenties, married with children, and runs his own lawn care business. On October 28, 2013, as his kids played in the front yard with four-year-old Zoie Dougan, the daughter of a visiting friend, Wilson borrowed a rifle from next door, went into his backyard, closed one eye, and shot across the lawn toward a pile of trash. He didn't realize he had shot Zoie in the head until he heard screaming. By the time she arrived at the hospital by airlift she was dead, and her mother had already asked the police to go easy on her friend. "It was an accident," deputies report her saying.
Police who interrogated Wilson noted the recklessness that led to Dougan's death. Even if children had not been playing outside, Wilson had fired his gun toward a highway. "If a vehicle or pedestrian were to walk or drive up [redacted road name] they could be seriously injured or killed by his carelessness," wrote one officer in his report. Yet Wilson was never prosecuted for the shooting. Christian County prosecutor Amy Fite went so far as to redact his name from documents. Because he faced no charges, nothing prevents Wilson from owning guns. The legal system, treating Dougan's death as a pure accident, holds no further consequences for Wilson.
Every year many gun owners, like Wilson, unintentionally cause death and injury yet face no legal consequences. In criminal and civil courts, the legal system often fails to hold negligent gun owners accountable for such harm. Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit effort that combs through more than a thousand media sources to collect information about gun violence, has verified more than 1,500 accidental shooting incidents in 2014. Data on the legal outcomes of these shootings is sketchy, but many cases of unprosecuted unintentional shootings are available-dozens from the first two months of 2014 alone remain unprosecuted.
The past decade has seen legal measures to prevent gun negligence systematically dismantled. The 2005 Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act statutorily inoculated gun manufacturers and dealers from most claims of negligence in gun deaths. This is even more dangerous than it may first sound. Many people unfamiliar with guns assume that they are designed with simple safeguards against unintentional shootings, but this is not always the case. Glock handguns, for example, have no external safety: If a round is chambered and the trigger is squeezed, the gun fires. As Aaron Walsh, a criminal defense attorney in Augusta, Georgia, put it, "With any other product in the world there would be no Glock company because they would be sued out of existence. You don't have a safety? That can't be right."
Because the firearms industry enjoys exceptions from normal liability, more of the burden for preventing negligence falls to gun owners. Until recently, responsible gun ownership has to some extent been enforced through gatekeeping: State laws limit who can own guns and carry them in public. But advocates for expanded gun rights have been shifting away from an older gun lobby talking point-that we should stop passing new gun control laws and simply enforce the laws we already have-and toward a strategy of dismantling existing legal safeguards. The push for "constitutional carry"-gun carrying by anyone, anywhere, with no licensing required under the pretense that this is a right granted by the Constitution-has radically loosened restrictions on who can own guns and where they may carry them. In several states people may now carry guns on college campuses. In Michigan, guns may be carried openly at K-12 schools. In Iowa, a resident may not be denied a permit to carry a gun in public based on the fact that he or she is blind. In Georgia and other states, guns may be carried in churches and bars. In six states, resident adults may carry concealed handguns with no licensing or training required. Pediatricians in Florida are legally prohibited from asking new parents if they have guns in the home.
With preventative measures falling apart, punishment seems the only remaining legal recourse for enforcing responsibility with guns. But we are not responding to negligence, even egregious negligence, as one might expect. Unintentional shootings frequently go unprosecuted because they don't always clearly rise to the level of crimes, explained Pete Theodocion, a criminal defense attorney in Augusta, Georgia. "If we are going to take away a person's liberty and put a person in a cage, we typically require that person to have the mindset of 'I'm going to do harm now' as opposed to just acting like a dumbass," he said.

Italian army growing cannabis to slash end user prices

The Italian army has unveiled its first cannabis farm, set up to try to lower the cost of medical marijuana in the country. The army's foray into cannabis production was first announced by the government in September, and its first crop is said to be "coming along nicely," according to officials.
The plants are being grown in a secure room at a military-run pharmaceutical plant just outside Florence, and the army expects to produce 100kg (220lb) of the drug annually. The site also houses drying and packing facilities. "The aim of this operation is to make available to a growing number of patients a medical product which isn't always readily available on the market, at a much better price for the user," Col Antonio Medica says.
Medical marijuana is considered beneficial to treat a variety of conditions, particularly for managing chronic pain. While Italian doctors can legally prescribe the drug, the cost isn't covered by the state. It is often prohibitively expensive for patients to buy it legally at pharmacies, something ministers want to change. At the moment medical marijuana is imported from abroad - primarily from the Netherlands - and costs up to 35 euros per gram.
"We're aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros, maybe even around 5 euros per gram," says Col Medica. Private cannabis cultivation remains illegal in Italy, and selling the drug is also against the law. The army laboratory was chosen for the project because it already had the necessary facilities and could guarantee security thanks to its surveillance system,

Judge shuts down placenta smoothie business over health fears

A woman has been banned from providing prepared placentas for new mothers to eat after a judge deemed the health risks are too great. Swindon Council applied for the second time for a hygiene emergency prohibition order on Thursday which was granted until 41-year-old Kathryn Beale can prove the safety of her business, Optimum Doula. Ms Beale produces smoothies from human placenta, blended with berries and banana, for new mothers, who supply her with their own placenta. She insists the smoothies are safe and argues that eating placentas has many health benefits. Ms Beale said she makes each smoothie by blending an 8cm-long piece of placenta with some sliced banana, a punnet of organic berries and 150ml of water.
The remaining placenta is dehydrated, ground into powder and turned into pills. Ms Beale has been running her placenta business for two years and typically has two customers a month. Environmental health officers are concerned about the presence of staphylococcus aureus in human placenta, a pathogen considered to be the most critical because it can’t be destroyed by heat. When swallowed it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. While not all placentas carry the bug, those that do have a particularly high level. The case against Kathryn has so far cost Swindon Council in the region of £2,000. Phil Wirth, prosecuting at Swindon Magistrates Court, said: “Evidence comes from Professor Pennington. He is considered one of the leading experts.
“The order will remain in place until Ms Beale can satisfy us she can provide this food in a safe manner, because she is a food business operator. She does have other products which are not placenta-based. The difficulty is the issue that staphylococcus aureus is resistant to heat, which is the way the placenta is produced.” District Judge Simon Cooper, presiding, said: “I have never quite appreciated the range and ingenuity of the human mind which will place cases such as this before me. Having held a food hygiene certificate myself in the past, I am well aware of the risk of staphylococcus, and it is exceptionally high. It isn’t going to be dealt with by heat, and there could be an epidemic if the stuff is passed around or sold on the internet. It is the contamination issue which seems to me to be particularly serious. She doesn’t want a full examination of the evidence, so on that basis, the order is made.”

Ms Beale said she was unable to contest the application due to the costs involved. After the hearing, she said: “Growth of staphylococcus aureus on the placental surface is unlikely. The organisms transferred to the surface of the placenta are protective, not hazardous, and will prevent the growth of staphylococcus aureus because of competition, the low pH due to lactic acid and to other antibacterial compounds produced. It is not passed around or sold on the internet. I meet with each mum in person when she books my services and she receives only her own placenta. Her placenta will not be given to anyone else and she will not be given anyone else’s placenta. I did want a full examination of the evidence, but due to the risk of losing being financially crippling, - having to pay not only any court costs incurred, but also all of Swindon Council’s costs, in relation to the case - I felt I had no choice but to accept the order.”

Woman crashed stolen school bus into police car before trying to swim to Canada

A woman drove a school bus stolen in Stanwood, Washington, 70 miles to Blaine, where she rammed the bus into a police car and crashed again in a marina park on Friday. She then tried to swim to Canada while screaming, “God will save me!” according to police and witnesses. The short yellow school bus, with no students aboard, had been taken from the Stanwood-Camano Island School District’s bus barn at around 1:45p., according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Snohomish County had asked the public to be on the lookout for a bus with Washington license plate 86934C.
A short yellow bus was reported weaving north on Interstate 5 at around 3:45 p.m. in Ferndale, and within about a quarter-hour, a police officer spotted it in Blaine. The bus rammed the officer’s patrol car and went speeding down Marine Drive, a dead-end harbor road, said Blaine Police Chief Mike Haslip. Another driver, Katherine McCall, 72, of Blaine, said the bus passed her at 60 mph. “Boy, that school bus sure is driving fast,” McCall recalled thinking. “I hope there aren’t any kids aboard.” The bus crashed into a log parking-lot barrier, dragged the log, and came to a stop, high-centered, a few feet short of a tall solitary tree in the middle of the park, about 100 feet short of Boundary Bay.

The bus theft suspect, a middle-aged woman, ran from the bus and shouted, “God will save me! God will save me!” as she waded into the shallow water on the north end of the park. Police jumped aboard the Blaine harbormaster’s powerboat and tried to convince the woman, who swam about 150 yards out, to surrender, Haslip said. She would not. After about 20 minutes, officers pulled the woman, showing signs of hypothermia, into the boat. She swam about half the distance from the park to the 49th parallel that marks Canadian waters, Haslip said. The water there is shallow: 3 to 6 feet deep in parts. North Whatcom firefighters took her by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital to treat her for hypothermia.

“She’s wet and very cold,” Haslip said. She’s expected to be evaluated for mental health issues, too. The woman gave officers a name, but police didn’t feel confident enough that she was telling the truth to release it, Haslip said. She's accused of vehicle theft, felony assault on an officer and felony eluding of law enforcement. By Friday night a woman facing those charges had been booked into Whatcom County Jail under the name Elizabeth Winter. She’s believed to be about 54 years old. No details have been released about a possible motive. Keys to the bus, No. 71, were still in the ignition while police examined the scene. All of the Stanwood-Camano school district’s drivers and personnel were accounted for, and officers were trying to figure out how the woman got the keys.

Man who fled after car crash found hiding 50 feet up tree

A police K-9 team tracked a man from Gray in Cumberland County, Maine, who had fled from police, to his hiding spot 50 feet up in a tree early on Wednesday morning.
Police charged Weston Wing, 30, of Gray with eluding an officer, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license for being a habitual offender.
Police officer Jim Cook spotted a car going 65 mph in a 50 mph zone toward Gray on Route 202 at 12:11am. The driver refused to pull over, turned onto Route 115, then crashed near an intersection. The driver ran a short distance into the woods but Cook got a description of his clothing.
A police dog with Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was used to track the driver and he was found hiding high up in the branches of a tree. Wing has an extensive history of driving violations including about 20 license suspensions over the past 10 years, said Windham Lt. Jim Boudreau.

Cow issued with admit card for professional entrance examination

Red-faced officials of a panel in Jammu and Kashmir, northern India, that issued an admit card to a cow for an entrance test to a professional course said on Sunday they would file a formal complaint to the police to trace the prankster behind the incident. The Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examinations became the butt of jokes when it emerged that it had issued an admit card to “Kachir Gaw” (brown cow in the Kashmiri language) for a test on May 10 to select candidates for a polytechnic diploma course.
The card said the applicant was the daughter of Gur Dand (bull). By Sunday afternoon, embarrassed officials of the board had traced the internet protocol (IP) address of the person who submitted the application on behalf of the cow. "This person has the turned the respectable institution of Board of Professional Entrance Examinations into a laughing stock. We have traced the IP address, which apparently is from south Kashmir's Anantnag district,” Farooq Ahmad Mir, the controller of examinations of the board, said.
“It will be followed up by a formal First Information Report in the next two days since Monday is a holiday," Mir said. The lapse became public when Junaid Azeem Mattu, a spokesman for the opposition National Conference, tweeted images of the admit card, complete with a photo of a brown cow. Mir said that the admit cards were issued through an automated process. Though the process included image recognition software, it could not differentiate between a human’s face and an animal’s picture, he said.
"We want strict action against the person. Tomorrow, someone can play bigger mischief and hack our website. We have to create an example. We cannot afford to let him go without punishment. We are receiving mails and SMSs from people asking for action. We want people's faith in the institution to remain intact," Mir said. Mir, the board’s chairman and the law secretary worked through Sunday to address the issue. Education minister Nayeem Akhtar sought an explanation from the board. "Tomorrow we will conduct examinations for medical and other professional courses. We will be lynched if we don't establish our credentials as competent gatekeepers to hold such examinations," said Mir.
There's a news video in Hindi here.

Fire starting tortoises rescued from blazing house

Two tortoises had a lucky escape when they were rescued from a house fire, which one of them in believed to have started, in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
A crew from Fordingbridge Fire Station were called to the scene last Sunday at about 12.50pm after a fire broke out in a room, which had to be extinguished by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus due to the smoke. The tortoises Toby and Dinky are said to be recovering well.
Their owners who wish not to be named, were unhurt in the fire, and said Toby has been in the family since the 1950's and they have had Dinky for more than 25 years. Fordingbridge Fire Station manager Pete White said: “The whole house was full of smoke and there was a reasonable fire going in the room.”
Speaking about the rescue he added: "It is a first for the crew. We have never had to deal with tortoises before. I popped back round to see them and the owners have taken them to the vets and say they are all fine." It is believed the fire broke out after one of the tortoises knocked over a heating lamp.

'Puppy room' set up for stressed out students

Exam and deadline season may be looming large, but the lucky students at the University of Central Lancashire will have the perfect way of de-stressing with their very own puppy room. Organized by the students' union as part of the 'SOS (Stressed Out Students) campaign', stressed students will get to cuddle puppies in a dedicated room.
Coordinated in partnership with the Guide Dogs charity (who will be providing the puppies), the event will be held for one day on 7 May. Places have to be booked in advance, in order to limit the number of people in the room at any one time so that the puppies don't get stressed out.
Unsurprisingly the puppy room is already fully-booked, and the reservation list is also at maximum capacity. The Union is keen to stress that the welfare of the puppies will be a top priority. According to the event page on Facebook, "the puppies will have regular breaks throughout the 3 hours and be with their handlers at all times."
A separate 'chill out' room will also be set up for the puppies "if they need it". Attendees will be asked to pay a donation of £1.50, which will go towards the Guide Dogs charity. The occasion will apparently also be a great opportunity for the guide dogs-in-training to get used to being around people.

Hunt on for police search dog that has gone missing

The hunt is on for missing three-year-old police search dog Thames, who is lost in the Tararua Ranges in Wairarapa, New Zealand.
Police are urging ramblers, outdoor enthusiasts and local farmers to keep their eyes open for Thames who was separated from his handler in the Mt Holdsworth area near Carterton on Sunday afternoon. Thames is a sable colored German Shepherd who went missing in the Totara Creek-Red Creek area.
He was walking out with his handler and other Wairarapa Search and Rescue squad members and civilian volunteers at the end of an annual day-long training exercise. After failing to find the dog using voice calls and searching the main tracks, squad members have decided to stay in the bush overnight.
Police hope Thames, who is more used to tracking and finding people rather than being the subject of a search, is making his way down the mountain and is following stream beds to safety. Local farmers and others living near the Mt Holdsworth access roads have also been asked to keep an eye out for him.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Fears As Predator Returns To Europe
Interview Conducted by Julia Koch
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Fears As Predator Returns To Europe
The wolf has returned to Germany and along with it, ages old fears. But these worries are unfounded, argues Italian biologist Luigi Boitani, who has studied the creature's return across Europe. More

Animal Pictures