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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Daily Drift

True, oh, so true ...!
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Today in History

1264 King Henry III is captured by his brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort, at the Battle of Lewes.
1509 At the Battle of Agnadello, the French defeat the Venitians in Northern Italy.
1610 French King Henri IV (Henri de Navarre) is assassinated by François Ravillac, a fanatical monk.
1796 English physician Edward Jenner gives the first successful smallpox vaccination.
1804 Explorer William Clark sets off from St. Louis, Missouri.
1853 Gail Borden applies for a patent for condensed milk.
1863 Union General Nathanial Banks heads towards Port Hudson along the Mississippi River.
1897 Guglielmo Marconi sends first communication by wireless telegraph.
1897 "Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Phillip Sousa is performed for the first time in Philadelphia.
1935 A plebiscite in the Philippines ratifies an independence agreement.
1940 Holland surrenders to Germany.
1942 The British Army, in retreat from Burma, reach India.
1948 Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion establishes the State of Israel.
1961 A bus carrying black and white civil rights activists is bombed and burned in Alabama.
1969 Three companies of the 101st Airborne Division fail to push North Vietnamese forces off Hill 937 in South Vietnam.
1973 The U.S. space station Skylab is launched.
1991 In South Africa, Winnie Mandela is sentenced to six years in prison for her part in the kidnapping and beating of three black youths and the death of a fourth.

92-Year Old World War II Fighter Pilot Flies a Spitfire Again

Joy Lofthouse, 92, was a pilot with Britain's Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II. She flew the UK's legendary Spitfire fighter plane. A 2009 article in the Daily Mail describes her experiences. Women who flew for the ATA were known as the Attagirls. They transported aircraft and supplies throughout the UK during the war.
Lofthouse and her colleagues, which included her sister, flew many different types of aircraft, including the Spitfire. Recently, she got the chance to fly in one again (auto-start video) during ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

Fire And Ice: Norse Mythology Explained

The Norse religion was based on a set of beliefs common to northern Europe at the time. The Germanic tribes that made up the Anglo-Saxons shared many of the same beliefs that the Scandinavian Vikings held; their creation story was similar and their gods were the same in all but name.
The attributes of these deities reflect the important parts of contemporary life in the Dark Ages, consequently the study of Norse myths and stories has yielded a wealth of information about the time.

Iowa Store Clerk Refused To Sell A Woman Tampons Because They’re ‘Gross’

Iowa Store Clerk Refused To Sell A Woman Tampons Because They’re ‘Gross’
This store clerk should probably run for Congress as a Republican.

The Secret Attack on Gallipoli in 1473

During the Venetian-Ottoman wars, a group of seven men attempted a secret attack on the Ottoman base at Gallipoli. The attack did not go completely as planned…Ottoman Gallipoli - painting by Antoine-Laurent Castellan (1772–1838)
The newly published book The Deeds of Commander Pietro Mocenigo offers an eyewitness account of warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean during the years 1470 to 1474. It was written by Coriolano Cippicio, a Dalmatian nobleman who served as a galley captain in the Venetian fleet, which was commanded by the admiral Pietro Mocenigo. The work offers a vivid account of the naval activities of the fleet, including raids along the Anatolian coastline and taking control of the island of Cyprus. It was also written in a classical style and is considered “one of the finest pieces of Renaissance history writing.”
While tensions between the Venetian and Ottoman empires remained high during the fifteenth-century, their lucrative trade connections prevented any outbreak of war until the year 1463. In that year an Albanian slave of the Ottoman commander of Athens fled to Venetian territory, taking with him 100,000 silver coins. When the slave converted to Christianity, the Venetian authorities refused to extradite him, the Ottoman commander attacked one of their fortresses, and within months Venice had declared war.
Cippicio’s account begins in 1470, when the Venetian senate choosing Pietro to be the new commander of their fleet, as he “was highly esteemed for his godly life and the integrity of his faith as he was for for his indomitable spirit and experience in warfare. He had always enjoyed the reputation of a valorous commander, a distinguished senator and a great citizen.”
The episode that took place at Gallipoli is at the start of Book Two of the Deeds, when Pietro and his fleet were at Nauplion (now known as the Greek city of Nafplio):
While the commander attended to the work on the fortifications a certain Antonio came to see him, a Sicilian youth of great audacity, virtuous and courageous, determined to accomplish a memorable feat. He told the commander that he had been captured at Chalcis by the Turks and then spent a long time as a slave in Gallipoli. There he noticed that the naval arsenal of the Ottoman in Gallipoli was not guarded at night. Also, there was a large warehouse in the arsenal, stockpiled with all kinds of of naval equipment such as sails, hemp ropes and other necessities for rigging vessels, sufficient to outfit superbly over a hundred galleys. He told the commander that he was ready to burn down the warehouse together with the fleet, provided he was given what he needed to accomplish this. He requested a fishing boat manned by six companions with whom he would pass through the straights of the Hellespont called the Dardanelles pretending to be a merchant.
Commander Mocenigo agreed to the plan and gave Antonio a boat. Once he was ready, Antonio and six companions sailed through the Hellespont carrying a cargo of apples, and arrived at Gallipoli. Cippicio continues:
After nightfall, during the second watch, he sneaked to the warehouse, which he was familiar with and knew well, broke the lock chains with a set of pliers, went inside, and set fire to several corners of the place. And because among other things there were large quantities of pitch and tallow, the fire surged at once, engulfed everything in no time, and its flames burst outside of the building. While Antonio sped to the arsenal to set fire to the boats the locals, awoken by the roar of the conflagration, gathered from all sides. Alarmed by the multitude and by the shouts of the people who rushed to the blaze, Antonio gave up on the arsenal, hurried to his boat and attempted to sail out of the Hellespont. But as he set out for the opposite shore, the torch that he had hastily tossed in the boat ignited some sulfuric powder laying there and the vessel was engulfed in flames. The boat sank and Antonio and his comrades got to the shore and hid themselves in a nearby forest. Meanwhile the warehouse and everything inside it burned to the ground.
The next day the local Ottoman commander ordered a search for the arsonists, and his men, after seeing the many apples floating around in the waters, discovered the sunken ship. Concluding that they were responsible for the attack, the Ottomans followed their tracks into forest.
As they neared the place where Antonio hid, one of his comrades, a courageous young man by the name of Rado, a Dalmatian from the district of Budua, desiring to die valiantly, leaped out and hurled himself on the enemy with a sword in hand and cut down two of them; then arrows and stones from all sides felled him.
Antonio and the other five men were then captured, and according to Cippicio were sent to the Ottoman Sultan. In a conversation modelled on a popular story from ancient Rome, he has the young Antonio bravely denounce the Sultan to his face, telling him that he was “the common pest of all peoples” and that “I wish that I could to do the same to you!” The amazed Sultan then ordered him and his companions to all be executed. Cippicio concludes:
This is how the valiant young man perished, eager to accomplish a feat beyond his powers. The Venetian senate, unable to reward Antonio according to his merits, compensated his younger brother and his virgin sister. His brother received a yearly stipend and his sister was a granted a dowry from the public funds.
The Deeds of Commander Pietro Mocenigo, by Coriolano Cippicio, is edited and translated by Kiril Petkov and is published by Italica Press – Click here to learn more about the book.

'Roswell Alien' Picture

Photos of a supposed alien body recovered from the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, N.M., are going viral.

School band teacher put on administrative leave for having facial hair he says he can't shave

A small school band teacher in Texas is fighting for his job after being placed on administrative leave for having facial hair. The school district says it goes against their policy, the teacher, Darrington White, says he has a medical condition that doesn't allow him to shave. The Christoval ISD band may only have a couple dozen members, but it's one that parents and residents say has excelled and has turned award winning. "I'd have to say Mr. White has been the most experienced and has made the band progress very much while he has been here, and I couldn't have asked for a better band director in my Junior and Senior year," said Christoval band student Dusty Strickland.
But for the past month, the band has been without a director. "I was recently, on April 15th placed on administrative leave," said Christoval Band Director Darrington White. The reason the school district states is facial hair. "I've never been through this in my entire 31 years of teaching," said White. The school district does have a grooming police that says all staff members involved with student instructions must be clean shaven. However, although White says he would be more than happy to follow the school's dress code, a medical condition called Tinea Barbae does not allow him to shave. "It kind of itches and hurts after shaving and it stays with me, then it gets worse and worse, then I have scars on my face," said White.
The doctor’s note clearly states Mr. White needs to have a beard, or else all the symptoms he just described would become extremely painful and disfiguring. According the school district the doctor's note isn't enough because they say the impairment “doesn't limit a major life activity or operation of a major bodily system.” "It's a situation that is just plain ridiculous because a teacher has a medical condition that prevents him from shaving a very well manicured goatee,” said Christoval Band Supporter Gina Hielckert. Mr. White says teaching music is his passion and has taught at Christoval ISD on and off the field for two years. In that time he has earned three sweepstakes in a row, he says he built the band program and his students say he's played an even bigger role in their life.

"Even though we might have had our differences, I love him to death," said Christoval Band Student Jonathan Hopper. Since Mr. White was placed on administrative leave, his class has been manned by a substitute; students say the change has been frustrating for the band, and a lot less productive. "We have held our own but it sure would have been a lot easier with a teacher," said Dusty Strickland. "My main thing is, I just want to be left alone and allowed to teach. I'm here to teach and be a music teacher; I’m not here for facial hair issues," said White. It has been revealed that two other male employees who work with students have beards as well and have not been placed on administrative leave. School officials would also not comment about that situation.

Indian Agriculture Minister suggests collecting urine from multiplex cinemas to help farmers

The government in Maharashtra, western India, is hoping city dwellers can help farmers in rural areas. The state government is working on preparing a new policy on organic farming, which will include the usage of human urine along with cow dung and urine to prepare fertilizers to be used in rural farms. The human urine, according to Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse, could be sourced from multiplex cinemas in Mumbai, where it is found in abundance at intervals of film screenings. Khadse says human urine could be used to make land more fertile in rural areas and villages.
Only recently, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari revealed that he urinated on the plants in the garden of his home to make them grow bigger and that he stored his urine in a 50-litre can for the purpose. Khadse added that human urine needed for implementation of this massive project could be collected from cinemas in Mumbai, where people, in large numbers, relieve themselves during the interval. “We can collect this urine in bulk and then transport it for use for the purpose of farming in rural areas,” the minister said. Khadse claimed an experiment on the same lines had been carried out at Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, an agricultural university in Rahuri town of Ahmednagar district, at the government’s behest.
“They have been successful in it. It works,” he added. The state policy, which is in the pipeline, will declare a 35 per cent subsidy to farmers who will opt for this method of organic farming over the use of conventional fertilizers. The policy will also give subsidies to farmers for building cowsheds and collecting human urine, cow urine, dung and converting them into fertilizers. The farmers will be encouraged to reuse waste from farms, wasted and destroyed crops, and everything else that would help in composting. The government plans to encourage community farming, in which a few villages can come together to take up a composting project that will include the use of human urine.
The resultant fertilizer can then be shared among the stakeholders. Khadse said the government’s endorsement of organic farming and use of human urine as part of this policy is not new, but repeated experiments by state universities have confirmed that the use of traditional fertilizers is making land in rural area less fertile day by day, but that cow urine and human urine have helped keep land fertile for a longer period. “There was nothing wrong in what Gadkari had said, and neither was it a revelation. The use of human urine has benefited farming, since it (urine) has more nutrients. Even our own experiments in the universities have proved the same,” he said. Khadse said the policy would subsequently be implemented across the state. It has to be introduced in the state Cabinet first, from where it will go to the two houses for approval and only later be deemed official.

Police forced to pay man compensation after recovering his stolen motorbike then selling it

A man has been given compensation after botched police paperwork led to his stolen motorbike being sold to a new owner. Niall McLeod’s neon green Kawasaki trail bike was stolen from the Caledonian Village, Dalry, Ayrshire, in September 2013. Police took details of the vehicle and pledged to keep in touch if they tracked it down, but the 21-year-old student lost hope as the months went on. It since emerged that the bike turned up in West Pilton two weeks after the theft, but due to an administration error, Mr McLeod was not notified. The motorcycle ended up being sold at an auction of unclaimed stolen vehicles  and it is now with a new owner in Galashiels.
Officers admitted the bike’s VIN number had been taken down wrong, which meant that when the vehicle was found, it did not tally with his details. As it was a trail bike, there was no registration number for police to record. Mr McLeod has now accepted a £4,000 compensation offer from Police Scotland, after refusing to accept an 
initial offer of £1,000. Mr McLeod, who has just completed his final year of marine biology at Heriot Watt University, said the debacle had been frustrating. He said: “When I got a phone call at the end of July last year, saying ‘we might have found your motorbike’, I said, it’s been a fairly long time.
“I had expected by that point that I would never see it again. Apparently they’d written down a number wrong. It’s obviously a case of doing a computer search rather than doing any police work.” Mr McLeod, who now lives in Tollcross, said Police Scotland “finally admitted” they were in error at the end of January, offering him £1,000. He disputed this after seeking legal advice and just this week accepted a £4,000 offer of compensation. A replacement bike will cost between £2,800 and £3,200, while the remainder of the sum has been given to Mr McLeod 'for the inconvenience.' “It’s coming up for two years ago. It’s been months of me being out of pocket and at a disadvantage,” said Mr McLeod.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm an offer was made to resolve the claim in January 2015 which was repeated in April 2015. This was accepted in an email dated April 30, 2015. Police have a specialist department tasked with reuniting people with stolen property. When stolen vehicles are recovered, they are handed over to a contracted garage which stores them until they are reunited with their owners. The investigating officer and the garage attempt to notify the rightful owner, and the owner is traced they are given 21 days to collect the vehicle. If the vehicles still go unclaimed, they are sold at auction, and the money is held for a year before it is put into public funds.”

Would-be Superman fined for not wearing a seat-belt

A man who pulled out his best Superman moves on a motorway in Spain, by hanging half his body out of a car window, has been fined for not wearing his seat-belt, as has the driver of the car used in the stunt.
The driver, from Cantabria, was also fined for dangerous driving, as well as endangering the lives of himself and other road users and not properly taking care of the passengers in his car.
The stunt took place near the town of Los Corales in northern Spain. In the video, the backseat passenger leans his upper body out of the window, his arm outstretched. He knocks on the driver’s window and asks for directions to Corales, which the driver tells him is "over there".

After the video came to the attention of local police they opened an investigation to find the stuntman who were finally tracked down on Thursday morning. The passengers are firemen from Corales and although they were not on duty at the time, Cantabria’s emergency services are thinking about taking disciplinary action against the men.

Woman accused of putting skin from her feet in family’s milk

A woman from Mechanicsville. Maryland, was arrested last week for allegedly contaminating milk served to family members at her home with shavings of dead skin from her feet.
Sarah P. Schrock, 56, was jailed on Wednesday in lieu of 10 percent of $10,000 bond on the food contamination charge, and committing a second-degree assault on Jessica Whitney Hurry and Allison Depriest during the incident on Monday at the residence off Golden Beach Road.
Schrock was alone at the home that day until Hurry and Depriest arrived at dinner time, and they were drinking the milk when Depriest began choking and coughed up what looked like dead human skin, according to court papers filed by St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy Jaime Davis. Hurry also gagged, court papers state, and a witness found dead skin shavings in the milk after pouring it into a strainer.
Hurry told police that the suspect has dry feet because of diabetes, and that she “has trays in her room with the same kind of dead skin shavings that had come off of her feet,” according to a statement of probable cause filed by the deputy. Schrock, found at a motel room in Charlotte Hall, “denied having any involvement” in putting anything in the family’s milk, court papers state. She also was charged with violating a protective order issued last week requiring that she have no contact with Hurry.

Man accused of peeping through windows while naked

A man from Zephyrhills, Florida, was arrested after he was found lurking around an apartment complex peeping into windows while naked.
At about 2am on Wednesday, police went to Oak Run Apartments, after receiving a report about a naked man peering into windows. Officers found Jesus Ruiz-Aguirre, 21, of Tampa, who was naked.
Ruiz-Aguirre was arrested for loitering and prowling. Other charges are pending. Police said Aguirre could not provide a reason for being in the area naked.
Police said drugs and/or alcohol appeared to be a factor in Ruiz-Aguirre’s behavior. He is listed in the arrest affidavit as a groundskeeper at Wild Things Zoo in Dade City.



Lost Lake is Lost Again Every Year

Lost Lake, near Bend, Oregon, is really only a part-time lake. In the summer, it’s a meadow! Lost Lake is connected to a lava tube that drains the lake annually, but not the same time every year, and not at the same rate. This year, the drainage happened in April and went pretty fast, as you can see in this video from The Bulletin.
The drainage stops when the lake is iced up, and the rest of the year, the state of the lake depends on the rate of inflow vs. the rate of drainage. You can read a more comprehensive explanation at mental_floss.

North Sentinel Island

The Island That Rejected Civilization
Tourists have long traveled to many of India's over-1200 islands of scenic beaches, coral reefs, and volcanic diving. And while many of the islands can be traveled to thanks to an agreement with the Indian government, at least one island remains untouched: North Sentinel Island.
It is currently not possible to visit. North Sentinel Island is the home of the Sentinelese, the last small group of surviving indigenous people who have largely rejected contact with modern civilization. Because the Sentinelese people have a history of hostility to outsiders, much is not known about the island beyond a few accounts.

The Pliocene called ...

It wants its CO2 levels back.
Earth just averaged 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide for a full month. Our atmosphere hasn't had this much CO2 in human history, and possibly not since the Pliocene Epoch about 3 million years ago.
saber tooth smilodon from the pliocene epoch
Saber-toothed cats like Smilodon thrived during the Pliocene. 
Earth's atmosphere is changing faster than ever before in human history, and it's no secret why. Humans are releasing a flood of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide, into the air by burning fossil fuels. CO2 lingers in the sky for centuries, so once we reach a certain level, we're stuck for a while.
Until recently, our air hadn't contained 400 parts per million of CO2 since long before the dawn of Homo sapiens. It briefly broke 400 ppm in the Arctic in June 2012, but CO2 levels fluctuate with the seasons (due to plant growth), so they soon dipped back into the 390s. Hawaii then saw 400 ppm in May 2013, and again in March 2014. The Mauna Loa Observatory also averaged 400 ppm for all of April 2014.
And now, in yet another miserable milestone, the entire planet has averaged above 400 ppm for a full month. That's according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which reported this week that Earth's average CO2 level was 400.83 ppm during March 2015.
"Reaching 400 parts per million as a global average is a significant milestone," says Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. "This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times. Half of that rise has occurred since 1980."
To put this in perspective, we know (thanks to ice-core samples) that CO2 levels hadn't even flirted with 400 ppm for at least 800,000 years before this century. The history is hazier beyond that, but research suggests CO2 levels haven't been this high since the Pliocene Epoch, which ended about 3 million years ago. Our own species, by comparison, only evolved about 200,000 years ago.
CO2 levels
The peaks and valleys in this graph show seasonal variability, but the long-term trend is clear.
"Scientists have come to regard [the Pliocene] as the most recent period in history when the atmosphere's heat-trapping ability was as it is now," explains the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, "and thus as our guide for things to come." (For anyone who isn't aware, CO2 traps solar heat on Earth. There's a long historical link between CO2 and temperature; see more about that here.)
So what was the Pliocene like? Here are some key features, according to NASA and Scripps:
  • Sea level was about 5 to 40 meters (16 to 131 feet) higher than today.
  • Temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer.
  • The poles were even hotter — as much as 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) more than today.
CO2 is a key part of life on Earth, of course, and lots of wildlife flourished during the Pliocene. Fossils suggest forests grew on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, and savannas spread across what is now North African desert. The problem is that we've built up swaths of fragile human infrastructure in just a few generations, and the abrupt return of a warmer, wetter Pliocene-esque atmosphere is already starting to wreak havoc with civilization.
Extreme weather swings can lead to crop failures and famines, for example, and rising sea levels endanger about 200 million people who live along the planet's coastlines. The Pliocene was prone to "frequent, intense El Niño cycles," according to Scripps, and lacked the significant ocean upwelling that currently supports fisheries along the west coasts of the Americas. Corals also suffered a major extinction at the Pliocene's peak, and an encore of that could threaten an estimated 30 million people worldwide who now rely on coral ecosystems for food and income.
While the Pliocene might be a useful guide, there is a key difference: The Pliocene climate developed slowly over time, and we're reviving it at an unprecedented pace. Species can usually adapt to slow environmental changes, but even we might have trouble keeping up with our own upheaval.
"I think it is likely that all these ecosystem changes could recur, even though the time scales for the Pliocene warmth are different than the present," Scripps geologist Richard Norris said in 2013. "The main lagging indicator is likely to be sea level just because it takes a long time to heat the ocean and a long time to melt ice. But our dumping of heat and CO2 into the ocean is like making investments in a pollution 'bank,' since we can put heat and CO2 in the ocean, but we will only extract the results over the next several thousand years. And we cannot easily withdraw either the heat or the CO2 from the ocean if we actually get our act together and try to limit industrial pollution — the ocean keeps what we put in it."
Pliocene Epoch
An artist's rendering of Pliocene wildlife, including a brave beaver standing up to a saber-toothed cat.
There's nothing magical about 400 molecules of CO2 in every 1 million molecules of air — their greenhouse effect is about the same as 399 or 401 ppm. But 400 is a round number, and round numbers are natural milestones, whether it's a 50th birthday, a 500th home run or the 100,000th mile on an odometer. And when it comes to CO2, even a symbolic milestone is important if it can draw more attention to how quickly and dramatically we're changing our planet.
"This milestone is a wake-up call that our actions in response to climate change need to match the persistent rise in CO2," says Erika Podest, a carbon and water-cycle expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Climate change is a threat to life on Earth and we can no longer afford to be spectators."

Newly Discovered 17th Century Document Described Now-Extinct Mauritian Wildlife

by Justine Alford
When the Dutch colonized the island of Mauritius back in the 17th century, sailors brought with them a variety of pets and animals as carry-ons, like cats, rats and monkeys. Unadapted to these new predators, local animals would have been profoundly affected by their introduction. Dodos, for example, were wiped out within just 90 years of the arrival of the Dutch. Unfortunately, there exist few detailed descriptions of the Mauritian ecosystem prior to Dutch occupation, except of settlers jotting down which animals were easiest to catch.
The native wildlife of Mauritius has therefore been somewhat of a mystery to biologists. But thanks to a newly discovered report, scientists have now been able to gain an intriguing insight into past life on the island, which has revealed that it was once home to some truly bizarre, now extinct creatures.
The recently translated and transcribed document was written between the years of 1666-1669 by soldier Johannes Pretorius, who was assigned the role of ziekentrooster, or comforter of the sick. According to the document’s analysis, which has been published in Historical Biology, what he produced is by far the most detailed record of the native animal life on the island discovered to date. Not only that, but he also described the effects of introduced animals, and how they kept now-extinct bird species in captivity.
Although the authors aren’t sure why he ended up creating this wildlife account, lead author Julian Hume told Live Science that his writing style suggests he may have been assigned the job of reporting whether the island would be suitable for permanent colonization, such as describing what animals they could potentially eat.
Alongside spending some time discussing the less exciting animals, such as cattle, deer, goats and pigs, Pretorius provided some fascinating descriptions of the native fauna. For example, he said that the now extinct Broad-billed, or raven, Parrot couldn’t fly, but we know that they were physiologically capable of flying, albeit poorly. It’s likely that this would have ultimately led to their downfall. He also commented on their aggressive nature, describing them as “very bad tempered.” These birds were so feisty, Hume told Live Science, that they would put up a good fight against introduced predators such as macaques and black rats. But their stubborn attitude didn’t end there, as Pretorius wrote that they would also refuse to eat meals when captive, and would rather die than live in captivity.
He also described the Mauritius blue pigeon, which he repeatedly attempted to rear but failed, as having a warty face. That’s interesting, says Hume, because all other closely related species also have warts on the face, yet contemporary illustrations and accounts depict or describe them as smooth-faced.
Another eloquent portrayal was of the Mauritius Red Rail, an also now-extinct flightless bird, which was apparently “unbelievably stupid.” According to Pretorius, it was so stupid that it would actually run towards people if they waved objects at them and made loud noises, and made no attempt to escape the wrath of their sticks. Easy dinner, then, but perhaps not the tastiest; “fatty and greasy,” he notes.
While we’ve showcased some of his amusing writings, this document is actually of great interest because it not only provides the first ecological details of some of the island’s now-extinct birds, it also describes the woes of attempting to survive and grow crops during the time of colonization.

Bear Walks Like A Human

This Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) at the Laos Wildlife Rescue Center likes to walk on his hind legs.

Animal Pictures