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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, May 19, 2015

The Daily Drift

Cuteness Overload ...!
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Today in History

1535   French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail for North America.  
1536   Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, is beheaded on Tower Green.  
1568   Defeated by the Protestants, Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England where Queen Elizabeth imprisons her.  
1588   The Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon, Spain.  
1608   The Protestant states form the Evangelical Union of Lutherans and Calvinists.  
1635   Cardinal Richelieu of France intervenes in the great conflict in Europe by declaring war on the Hapsburgs in Spain.  
1643   The French army defeats a Spanish army at Rocroi, France.  
1780   Near total darkness descends on New England at noon. No explanation is found.  
1856   Senator Charles Sumner speaks out against slavery.  
1858   A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hameton executes unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border.  
1863   Union General Ulysses S. Grant's first attack on Vicksburg is repulsed.  
1864   The Union and Confederate armies launch their last attacks against each other at Spotsylvania, Virginia.  
1921   Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system.  
1935   The National Football League adopts an annual college draft to begin in 1936.  
1964   U.S. diplomats find at least 40 microphones planted in the American embassy in Moscow.  
1967   U.S. planes bomb Hanoi for the first time.

New Japan volcano island 'natural lab' for life

By Kyoko Hasegawa
The newly-created Nishinoshima island at the Ogasawara island chain, 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo, pictured on March 25, 2015
A brand new island emerging off the coast of Japan offers scientists a rare opportunity to study how life begins to colonize barren land -- helped by rotting bird poo and hatchling vomit.
Researchers say bird waste will be the secret ingredient to kickstart Mother Nature's grand experiment on what is a still active volcano that only poked its head above the waves in November 2013.
That speck of land, some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Tokyo, has grown to engulf its once larger neighbor, Nishinoshima, a part of Japan's Ogasawara island chain known for the wealth and variety of its ecosystem.
The new Nishinoshima, a respectable 2.46 square kilometers (0.95 square miles), the Japan Coast Guard said in February -- roughly the size of 345 football pitches -- is currently almost all bare rock, formed from cooling lava.
But scientists say it will one day be humming with plant -- and possibly animal -- life, as nature moves in to what is being called a "natural laboratory" on one of the latest bits of real estate in the Pacific Ocean.
"We biologists are very much focusing on the new island because we'll be able to observe the starting point of evolutionary processes," said Naoki Kachi, professor and leader of Tokyo Metropolitan University's Ogasawara Research Committee.
After the volcanic activity calms down, "what will probably happen first will be the arrival of plants brought by ocean currents and attached to birds' feet," he said.
Those seabirds, who could use the remote rock as a temporary resting place, could eventually set up home there.
Their excreta -- along with their dropped feathers, regurgitated bits of food and rotting corpses -- will eventually form a nutrient-rich soil that offers fertile ground for seeds carried by the wind, or brought in the digestive systems of overflying birds.
"I am most interested in the effects of birds on the plants' ecosystem -- how their bodily wastes-turned-organic fertilizers enrich the vegetation and how their activities disturb it," Kachi said.
The old Nishinoshima, measuring just 0.22 square kilometers, was home to bird colonies until the eruptions scared the creatures away.
A small number have clung on to the only patch of the old island that is still visible, making their nests among ash-covered plants.
- Pristine -
Japan, which sits at the junction of several tectonic plates, is home to more than 100 active volcanoes.
Scientists have no idea when Nishinoshima will stop spewing lava, but its expansion is being offset by erosion around the edges.
The island is expected to follow a route laid out by Surtsey, an island that emerged from the sea in 1963, around 30 kilometers from the coast of Iceland.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage spot is known globally as an outstanding example of a pristine natural laboratory where researchers have been able to trace the evolution of a habitat.
"Since they began studying the island in 1964, scientists have observed the arrival of seeds carried by ocean currents, the appearance of molds, bacteria and fungi, followed in 1965 by the first vascular plant," UNESCO says on its website.
"By 2004, (vascular plants) numbered 60, together with 75 bryophytes, 71 lichens and 24 fungi. Eighty-nine species of birds have been recorded on Surtsey, 57 of which breed elsewhere in Iceland. The 141 hectare island is also home to 335 species of invertebrates."
Not bad for somewhere that has only existed for half a century.
Nishinoshima might not be quite as quick as Surtsey to establish itself as a teeming wildlife haven -- it is a long way from mainland Japan and not too close to its neighbors in the Ogasawara island chain, which limits the number of species of birds and seeds that will make it that far.
Nonetheless, it is an exciting blank canvas, said Kachi, and needs to be treated with respect -- which means keeping out foreign invaders that would not naturally drift or fly in.
"I'd like to call on anyone who lands on the island to pay special attention to keeping it the way it is -- not to take external species there," he warned.
He said when he conducted a field study on another island in the chain in 2007, his team prepared a fumigated clean room where they packed all research equipment, after making sure everything they had was either brand new or scrupulously clean.
While Nishinoshima is currently only being monitored from the air, the first field researchers will need to take similar precautions.
"Biologists know the business, but probably the first batch of scientists who will land on the island will be geologists and vulcanologists -- who may not be familiar with the problems," he said.
"I'd be pleased to offer advice on this to scientists in other fields."

It Only Took Four Months For China To Achieve A Jaw-Dropping Reduction In Carbon Emissions

Court rules that delusional jealousy is a crime

Partners who manifest extreme jealous behavior towards their other half are guilty of mistreatment, Italy’s highest court of appeal has said. Italy’s Court of Cassation has overturned the acquittal of a Sicilian man for mistreating his wife.
The husband, who is from Sicily, allegedly suffered from “morbid jealousy”, also known as "delusional jealousy", a psychological disorder in which a person wrongly believes their spouse or sexual partner is being unfaithful without having any real proof to back up their claim.
His jealous behavior included constantly accusing his wife of being unfaithful, reading her text messages and even demanding that their daughter get a DNA test. His behavior was so extreme that his wife even quit her job as a flight attendant because he said the job was “not suited to a respectable woman”. In May 2014 an appeal’s court in Palermo, Sicily, acquitted the man of mistreating his wife.
But on Thursday Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittal, stating that such behavior amounted to “psychological harassment”, a crime punishable by law. “Constantly hassling the spouse with continuous manic and obsessive behavior inspired by morbid jealousy constitutes mistreatment,” the court said. His behavior caused “significant imitations and constraints in her daily life and choices, as well as an intolerable state of anxiety.” The case has now been reopened and the woman’s claims will be evaluated in another hearing.

Shopkeeper fought off stun gun-wielding robber using lollipops

When a 15-year-old tried to rob a kiosk in Dortmund, Germany, on Thursday evening things went badly wrong, despite the fact he had a stun gun and the shopkeeper was only armed with confectionery.
It was shortly after ten o'clock at night when the young man entered the kiosk in north-east Dortmund. He was wearing a balaclava and had a stun gun in his hand. The robber immediately demanded that the shopkeeper give him all the money in the till, report the local police.
But instead of obeying, the shopkeeper, who does not wish to be identified, went on the counter-attack, using the only weapon he had to hand – lollipops. The surprise attack had the desired effect. The young man ran from the shop and up the street in the company of an accomplice. But he made a mistake.
In front of the shop he pulled the balaclava up and looked back at the kiosk, giving the shopkeeper a clear sight of his face. Thanks to the shopkeeper's detailed description, the police were able to detain two 15-year-olds on whom they found a balaclava and the stun gun. The pair were subsequently arrested.

Man fined after being found guilty of calling policeman a frying pan

A 37-year-old man from St. Paul’s Bay in Malta has been fined €850 (£615, $970) and conditionally discharged for a year after being found guilty of offending a police officer when he called him “a frying pan”.
Patrick Sciberras was arraigned before Magistrate Charmaine Galea on Friday afternoon on charges of insulting a police officer, offending public morals, giving false details to the police, breaching the peace and relapsing.
Prosecuting Inspector Godwin Scerri told the court that Mr Sciberras had told a traffic policeman “hawn ja frying pan” (“Hey you frying pan”) as he drove past him on his motorcycle. However, Mr Sciberras denied calling him that, admitting that he had consumed “a couple of drinks”. He said he remembered the traffic policeman radioing for assistance and there was “a commotion” when Rapid Intervention Police arrived on the scene.
Defense lawyer Franco Debono said the entire issue was over an “exaggerated reaction to a perceived insult”, saying that there was no need to involve the RIU or the district police. The accused apologized and said he retracted anything which could have been perceived as an insult. The court, however, found him guilty of the charges, conditionally discharging him for a year and fining him €850.

Traffic police officer masquerading as 'Dog of death' patrolled streets to prevent accidents

With a number of people losing their lives in road accidents every day, a traffic police constable in Jharkhand, north India, donned the look of 'dog of death' to create awareness about road safety.
Dressed as 'Yamraj', the 'dog of death', constable Rajesh Kumar walked on the streets of Ranchi to make people aware of traffic rules. The awareness initiative aims to educate people about the importance of helmets and seat belts, the need to possess a driving license and about dangerous practices like triple riding.
While many have benefited from the initiative, says Kumar, several others choose to remain indifferent. Kumar, along with his colleagues, caught traffic violators and created awareness about traffic rules.

They also distributed pamphlets on road safety. A student, Sanjay Kumar Pandey, who was caught for traffic violation said that he was made aware of the need to obey traffic rules by the 'Yamraj'.

Pedophile's Star Trek flat being sold by ex-wife as she doesn't want to be reminded of the past

A flat that looks like the inside of the Star Trek Voyager is up for sale in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
The unusual property used to be occupied by Anthony Alleyne, who was jailed in 2013 for downloading thousands of images of child abuse.

His ex-wife is now selling the flat, because she doesn't want to be reminded of the past. Allenye, who was an interior designer, spent 10 years and thousands of pounds converting his home. It is on the market for £70,000.

However, because there is no cooker in the kitchen and the windows are obstructed, you can't get a mortgage on this property - so any buyers need to have the money. According to the estate agent any potential buyers would also need to be vetted as they do not want the flat "to turn into a tourist attraction".

Mother shocked to find penguin bondage book on shelves at pre-school

A picture book which depicts penguins in bondage gear has prompted the Ministry of Education in New Zealand to contact a pre-school after the book was discovered on its shelves. Mother of three Lana McLean found the book last month when she visited Sovereign Star Preschool and Nursery in Kaiapoi with her 3-year-old daughter. She had been the previous day with her husband to look at the pre-school. "I was there looking at it as a prospective preschool for my child, when other kids there brought the book over to me from the shelf and asked me to read it. I looked at it and said, 'go choose another one'."
The book, Gus and Waldo's Book of Love, is written by Massimo Fenati and is intended as an adult picture book, according to its reviews on Amazon. McLean said she was shocked by the book and took photographs of some pages to show her husband. After talking it over with him that night she returned to the pre-school the next day and laid a complaint with the manager, Brooke Philpott. "I said to her, ' I think you have some inappropriate reading material on your shelf. It's not suitable for toddlers - in fact I don't even think it's suitable for my 15-year-old'." McLean said she left the pre-school feeling as if the complaint wasn't being dealt with which prompted her to speak out about it. Pre-school manager Brooke Philpott on Thursday issued a statement through her lawyer, David Beck.
"The woman in question came to look at our pre-school and took offense to the book in question, Gus & Waldo's Book of Love. She left without talking the issue over and took photos in the pre-school without permission," the statement said. McLean is adamant she raised her concerns with the preschool management on her third visit. "I went back specifically to say I did not think it should be on the shelves." When this was put to Philipott's lawyer, he said: "I understand she is not a client of the pre-school." The pre-school's statement continues: "It is a humorous book depicting cartoon penguins that we had ordered wrongly thinking it was suitable for children given its use of brightly cartooned penguins. The offending bit that we did not spot until a much closer reading is that it depicts the two penguins in bondage gear.
"We now appreciate that it contains some adult themes that parents would naturally object to and have decided to immediately withdraw it but stress that young children reading it would be completely unaware of the significance of the clothing worn by the penguins. The book is otherwise bright and funny." Philpott said she unreservedly apologized for any offense. In the statement, she stressed that if any parent had concerns they should approach her directly to discuss them. Rawiri Brell , deputy secretary, early learning, parents and whanau, from the Ministry of Education, said early childhood centers (ECEs) buy their own resources, including books. Brell said the ECE regulations required centers to make sure that books and other resources for children were age appropriate. "This includes stories about families and relationships. Picture books for adults may not be appropriate ECE resources, while ECEs are responsible for buying their own resources, we will be contacting the ECE center to remind them of their obligations," Brell said.

The Dadbod

By now, most people who spend any time on the internet have read about this "dad bod" business. Or... whatever you'd like to label it. What say you, readers? Do you have a dad bod that you'd like to share with the class? Or are you looking to cut short the fifteen minutes of fame the person who coined the phrase is now enjoying? At least it appears as if Dicky (above) of Fowl Language is a fan. Fat fowl for the win! 

House from "Groundhog Day" Up for Sale

Don't tell me you don't remember it. Because it sure as heckfire remembers you. The B and B? From Groundhog Day? Bing. The house that weatherman Phil Connors keeps waking up in without hot water, to his consternation? Bing again. The house is on the market. Yes, you too can sleep in the master suite and set your clock radio to déjà vu for the price of $785,000.
The house, located in the northwest Chicago suburb of Woodstock, is a 5,815-square-foot Victorian with seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Currently, the property is an actual bed and breakfast called the Royal Victorian Manor. See a gallery of photos and a detailed description of the house at its Berkshire Hathaway real estate listing.



Woman claims that neighbor's parrot is teaching her grandchildren to curse in Spanish

A parrot named Rula is at the heart of a dispute in Tracy, California, where one neighbor claims that the bird curses in Spanish.
Animal Control Services say they responded to the home more than a dozen times due to complaints over noise from the parrot and barking from the owner's dogs. However, Animal Services supervisor Ben Miller said officers have not personally heard profanity from Rula.
Rula's owner says that he does not curse, or speak Spanish, although he can imitate a variety of other noises. "He barks like a dog and meows like a cat," said Rita Canisales. "He can sound like a drill or sound like a waterfall." However, neighbor Jessica Baca said the bird has repeated a word meaning "prostitute" in Spanish multiple times,

This has allegedly caused her grandchildren to repeat the word. Canisales says that Baca is not hearing Rula correctly, that the bird is actually uttering its own name, which rhymes with the term Baca is referring to. She said she has never taught the bird any Spanish.

Bird Yanks out Boy's Loose Tooth

Meg Favreau predicts "CBS will buy the rights to this video and have a show called 'Bird Dentist' on air within six months." Bird Dentist sounds like the great premise for a failed pilot episode. David Boreanaz should play the parrot and Andy Dick should play his sassy dental hygienist who has pyrokinesis.
Aston Androshchuk, the boy in this video, should have at least a cameo in the pilot.

Horse Tucks Himself into Bed for a Nap

It’s nap-time for Rumba. So he lies down on his pillow and pulls his blanket over himself. Now he’s all snuggly and warm and ready for a restful afternoon. He can do all of this thanks to horse trainer Georgia Bruce.

Bobcat vs. Coyote on the Bike Trail

We’ve seen lots of videos of confrontations between cats and dogs. This is one of those videos on steroids. It turns out pretty much as you'd expect. Juan Cholo was riding his bike through River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas, and encountered a bobcat and a coyote, who were busy encountering each other. Neither animal cared a bit that humans were watching. People must be just part of the background to them, not a bit helpful, dangerous, or tasty.
Commenters on YouTube talk about seeing such critters as they jog through the park. The joke is that it’s an encouragement to run faster and further. 

Bear and Man Terrify Each Other

This viral video of mysterious origin shows a man frightening a bear and vice versa. I don't blame the bear one bit. If I suddenly saw a human approaching me as I was going about my daily life, I'd startle, too.
Thankfully, unlike the Governor of Vermont, this man was not naked.

After 13 Years in a Cage, Lion Relishes the Feel of Grass

It’s a bittersweet story. This lion spent 13 years in a circus, confined to a cage too small for an animal this size. He was confiscated and taken to Rancho dos Gnomos sanctuary in Brazil, where he has a much larger enclosure.
It’s not the savannah, but it has room to run, grass to roll in, dirt to dig in, and trees to rub against. You can almost feel the joy when he realizes what a great place this is -compared to what he had.

Animal Pictures