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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Daily Drift

Breaking News: The first arrests of the terrorists in Oregon have been made.Two of the idiots are behind bars where they belong.
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Today in History

Ivan IV crowns himself the new Czar of Russia in Assumption Cathedral in Moscow.
The Council of Virginia guarantees religious freedom.
John C. Fremont, the famed “Pathfinder” of Western exploration, is appointed governor of California.
General William T. Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas.
The U.S. Senate recognizes the Anglo-German Treaty of 1899 by which the UK renounced its rights to the Samoan Islands.
One of Ernest Shackleton‘s polar exploration teams reaches the Magnetic South Pole.
Maxim Gorky is authorized to return to Russia after an eight year exile for political dissidence.
The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Paris.
Allies lift the blockade on trade with Russia.
Franklin D. Roosevelt asks for an extension of the Social Security Act to include more women and children.
Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German attack plans in Belgium.
Japan’s advance into Burma begins.
Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.
The U.S. First and Third armies link up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle of the Bulge.
The Egyptian government makes islam the state religion.
Eighteen are arrested in Mississippi for the murder of three civil rights workers.
The Irish Republican Army calls an end to a 25-day cease fire in Belfast.
The Shah leaves Iran.
The Persian Gulf War begins. The massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq — Operation Desert Storm — ends on February 28, 1991, when the shrub's daddy declares a cease-fire, and Iraq pledges to honor future coalition and U.N. peace terms.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Explained

A detailed, line-by-line explication of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Five Strangely Specific Things We All Try To Do When We're Sick

Being sick totally sucks, and yet we know winter is coming each and every year, bringing a new batch of sickness with it.
Get sick enough times in your life and you know exactly what to expect- fever, chills, tons of snot, coughing fits, some body aches, maybe even a little vomiting...or a lot of vomiting.
We also know all the normal human things we suck at when we're sick, like watching TV when we can't follow the storyline, going to the store to get medicine we could've ordered online, and drinking a little booze to "burn the cold out of our heads".
That one feels like it really works while we're buzzed, then we wake up sicker than before.

8 Crazy Trains in History

From the beginning of railway travel, people have tried to make trains bigger, better, faster, more efficient, or just plain different. Here are some of the strange ideas they came up with along the way.
German engineer Franz Kruckenberg had an idea: why not build a train that worked like a blimp? It was the late 1920s and he was a zeppelin designer by training, but he’d recently turned his attention to the rails. He’d tried his hand at creating a hanging monorail, but when that failed he decided to try something new—a streamlined, aluminum bullet train powered by a giant propeller. This time, it worked! Built in 1930, the Propellertriebwagen Schienenzeppelin was as fast and smooth as its name was long. Zooming at an unprecedented 140 mph, the engine set a speed record that would stand for another 23 years.
So why aren’t today’s Amtraks propeller-powered? The (extremely noisy paddles) that made the train run also prevented cars from coupling to each other, so the Schienenzeppelin wasn’t actually much of a train.

Sail-powered trolleys were used in the UK from the 1850s onward, especially in coastal areas that had a reliable gust. One in Cliffe, England, used abandoned cement mine tracks to transport people wanting, as the book The Cement Railways of Kent describes, to “dig worms and inspect the sea defences.”

Not to be confused with a deluxe barbecue smoker, Richard Trevithick’s 1804 locomotive was the first steam engine to successfully run on rails. On its first run, the 7-ton train maxed out at 5 mph. The train was so heavy that it made only three journeys, breaking the cast-iron rails every time.
Built in 1887 to swindle gullible investors, the Holman had wheels on wheels on wheels. Impressive, but they did nothing to make the train run better. Locomotive authority Angus Sinclair said it had the same value as “throwing gold coin over Niagara Falls.” Nonetheless, a test run helped sell a few phony stocks.
Suspended by steel trestles, the train-plane hybrid hung from an overhead rail and was pushed along by two airplane propellers. Projected to cruise at 120 to 150 mph, a prototype ran in Milngavie, Scotland in 1930, but a lack of funding left the idea literally hanging.
New York City’s first subway was a pneumatic tube. Built under Broadway in 1869, a giant rotary blower nicknamed the “Western Tornado” pushed a single car down the track. The system was slow and loud, and it was shut down after a stock market crash in Europe caused investors to lose interest.

Louis Brennan’s 1903 “gyro-car locomotive” teetered on one rail and leaned at corners like a motorcycle. Two gyroscopic stabilizers helped the car lean around bends, standing erect even when stopped. In 1910, the train debuted in London, carrying 50 passengers, including Winston Churchill. But it still flopped: One was scrapped and another was made into a park shelter.
Magnetically levitating trains—called maglevs—literally float on a cushion of air. Recently tested in Japan and Germany, the rails are lined with strong electromagnets. The repellent force makes the train float up to four inches above the track; since there’s no friction with the rails, the trains can reach 311 mph!

The Witches of Stalingrad

Young women terrified German units during World War II.

Imagine you’re a German soldier, fighting your way deep into the Soviet Union during the summer of 1942. During the time you’re not actually on the front lines, you feel pretty safe and get a chance to rest, let down your guard, even sleep a full night without constant vigilance. After all, the Soviet army is retreating fast, and you’re just 19 miles from Moscow.
Still, you can’t relax completely. There have been whispered rumors of nachthexen, “night witches” who fly silently after dark and drop bombs into previously safe areas, destroying military targets and fraying nerves. You don’t completely believe it, but like a lot of rumors, you wonder if there’s likely some grain of a truth.
Then, while on guard duty one night, you hear a rustling sound above, almost like wind through a broomstick. Before you can investigate, the darkness lights up with a blinding flash and a deafening explosion. The Night Witches have struck again!
By 1942, the Soviet armed forces were reeling. Millions of men had been killed defending their homeland, often with antique rifles and inadequate defenses. Three million more had been taken prisoner. What to do? Well, there were always the women. Already working in fields and factories, some Soviet women were recruited as pilots, mechanics, navigators, and officers of a new all-female unit, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. They were assigned to hit specific German military targets and to scare its forces with unpredictable, random attacks.
Some in the Soviet air force was resistant to the idea. The “bomber” planes that the women were given to do the job seemed absurdly inadequate: obsolete biplanes made in 1928 of wood and canvas and designed for crop dusting and training. Each plane could carry only two 220-pound bombs. And they were slow— with a top speed of 97 mph— and so flammable that they could ignite if hit by flares or tracer bullets. The planes’ tiny engines were also noisy and tended to stall easily, requiring the pilot to climb out and turn the propeller by hand to get it started again. And because they flew so low, the women weren’t issued parachutes, which just added weight and wouldn’t open in time anyway. And radios? Forget about it. The women navigated in the dark using a map, penlight, compass, and stopwatch to figure out where they were.
The female flyers, all between the ages of 17 and 26, turned most of these serious drawbacks into virtues. Their top speed was slower than the stall speed of German fighters, so if the female pilots maneuvered into sudden dives or tight turns, the little planes were hard to shoot down. Their low-altitude and wood-and-canvas construction also didn’t normally make a blip on radar. And the women’s skill at restarting their planes’ noisy little engines inspired the best tactic they could use against German antiaircraft defenses: The women would increase altitude until they came close to their well-defended targets, and then cut their engines and glide, making little noise beyond a light rustling until they released their payload. As the bombs exploded, the pilot would restart the engine and hightail it out of there, just barely above the Germans on the ground. And so the “Night Witches” became a nickname that the 588th borrowed proudly from their enemy.
German fighter pilots mostly gave up trying to catch the Night Witches, but ground troops redoubled their efforts. The flimsy Russian planes often came back riddled with bullets from ground fire. (After a particularly harrowing raid, one pilot counted 42 new bullet holes in her plane.) The Germans also developed a new tactic, setting up a circle of hidden antiaircraft guns and spotlights around likely targets. Knowing that the Witches flew in two-plane formations, the spotlight operators tracked them across the sky while the antiaircraft guns ripped the flimsy aircraft into pieces.
In response, the 588th added a third plane behind the other two. As soon as the spotlights hit the first planes, they’d pretend to give up on bombing the target, splitting off in opposite directions while the spotlight operators scrambled to follow them. Meanwhile, the third plane glided in to deliver its load. At the next two targets, they’d switch places until all three planes had dropped their bombs.

From 1942 until the war’s end in 1945, the 40 two-person crews flew more than 30,000 missions, sometimes as many as 18 in a single night. By the end of the war, they’d dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. Twenty-three of the Witches earned the Hero of the Soviet Union medal (the highest honor available), and about 30 died in combat.

How Women Are Treated in Saudi Arabia

The predominantly Muslim country just elected women in its municipal government for the first time. Is life changing for women in this very traditional society?

19 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of IKEA Employees

You might find this hard to believe, but I’ve never been to an IKEA store. However, having been on the internet, I am at least somewhat familiar with the concept. And after reading this list, I might even be able to find my way around in one. There’s a method to the madness.

It’s no secret IKEA’s maze-like showrooms are designed to take shoppers through every department, from the kitchen to the textiles, making sure they lay eyes on as many goods as possible. "One could describe it as if IKEA grabs you by the hand and consciously guides you through the store in order to make you buy as much as possible," Johan Stenebo, an IKEA veteran, wrote in his book, The Truth About Ikea.
The winding walkway is known lovingly among employees as the “Long Natural Path” or the “Long Natural Way.” According to a 2011 New Yorker article by Lauren Collins, the pathway is supposed to curve every 50 feet to prevent shoppers from getting bored.


Need to get to bedding but don’t want to walk through textiles, bathroom, and living room first? Stuck on the top floor but need a quick way to ground level? Take a shortcut.
There are multiple quick routes through the store, both for safety reasons and stocking reasons, and they’re open to the public. But they’re not advertised, so you’ll need a keen eye for secret passageways. Often they take the form of unmarked service doors.
“If you know where to look, you’ll find them,” says Paula, who worked at an IKEA store in Houston for a year. At her store, there was a shortcut route that started with an unmarked door near the escalators. “Nobody’s going to stop you unless it explicitly says ‘employees only,’ but other than that you can open doors and you’d be amazed,” she says.
“I love IKEA, but sometimes you just need to get in and out in like 20 minutes,” says Marie, who worked at IKEA for 11 years. If that’s the case, just ask an employee to give you the quickest route to your destination and they’ll point you to the nearest shortcut.
Oh, but that’s just one and two… you’ll need to read all 19 behind-the-scenes secrets of IKEA at mental_floss.

Man jailed for stabbing neighbor with pitchfork over piece of chicken missing from his grill

53-year-old Tyrone Gardner, was sentenced to jail for a year on Tuesday for stabbing a neighbor he believed had stolen a piece of his chicken with a pitchfork. Gardner, from Michigan, pleaded guilty on Nov. 4 to attempted assault with a dangerous weapon as a fourth-time habitual offender.
The sentence by Mason County Circuit Judge Susan Sniegowski was in accord with Gardner's November plea and sentencing agreement with the prosecutor. In exchange for the guilty plea, Spaniola agreed to accept a year's sentence to county jail and dismissed the original charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, firearm possession by a felon and felon firearm.
The prosecutor's office charged that Gardner committed the attempted assault in March 2014 while he was living in Ludington. Charges were issued a few days after the alleged incident, but Gardner left Michigan before he could be located and arrested. He was arrested in October 2015 in Ludington.
According to Ludington police, Gardner was grilling chicken and stepped away. When he returned, he saw a piece was missing from the grill. Police said Gardner went to the home of the neighbor whom he believed had taken the chicken and stabbed the neighbor in the leg with a four-pronged pitchfork, injuring him

Dispute over preference of pancakes or waffles for breakfast led to man's arrest

A man from Muncie, Indiana, was arrested on several charges after a woman claimed he beat her up due to her preference for waffles over pancakes for breakfast. Breion Donte Thomas, 25, was preliminarily charged with strangulation, criminal confinement, battery with injury and interference with reporting a crime. Officers responded to a home in reference to a possible domestic dispute.
When they arrived, the victim said Thomas became angry with her because she told him she wanted waffles after he made her pancakes for breakfast. The victim told police Thomas pushed her around, punched her several times in the back with a closed fist and threw her onto a bed.
The woman also told officers Thomas strangled her with her shirt so that she couldn’t breathe. The woman said she attempted to call 911, but Thomas reportedly took her phone and shut it off. Thomas had fled the residence by the time officers arrived at the scene.

Shoplifter stopped with five bags of frozen shrimp in his pants

Police in Georgia are searching for a man who was caught on surveillance video trying to steal frozen shrimp by hiding them in his pants. It happened at around noon on Friday at a Dollar General store in Albany.
According to a report, a store employee saw a man putting bags of shrimp inside his waistband. The manager confronted the man, and said she heard a "crunch" from his waistband when stopped.
The suspect eventually gave up five bags of Sea Best frozen shrimp that were tucked inside his pants. The manager went to call 911, and that's when the suspect ran away from the store.
Police are searching for a black man, described as 5'9" tall and about 150 pounds, wearing a yellow, white, and blue plaid shirt with a white undershirt. Anyone with information is asked to call Albany Police.

Woman rescued by delivery man while trying to save alpacas from icy pond

A woman is thanking a propane delivery man for helping save her life, after she ended up in an icy pond while trying to rescue alpacas. He saved her life on Tuesday after she fell into a pond while attempting to rescue three of her alpacas who had wandered onto the ice at a farm where she is living in Bellevue, Richland County, South Carolina. The rescuer, Ray Kochheiser, crawled on his stomach onto the ice and pulled Abrahamsen to safety using a rope she had with her to attempt to rescue the drowning animals. Abrahamsen said he managed to crawl backwards on the ice and pulled her out.
She estimated she was 30 feet out onto the pond and the water was over her head. She said it was cold but she didn't feel it since she was in shock. "He told me he saw me go down with the Gator and some ropes and he saw me go (fall) in," she said. "How do you say thank you to somebody who risked his own life?" asked Abrahamsen, who now has 66 alpacas at Alpaca Galazy Suri Ranch. The three alpacas, Lolita, Morningstar and Kharites, did not survive, but she said that their bodies had been recovered. And while it was sad to lose her animals, she said her brother was able to harvest the meat and hides.
Since her husband passed away, she's been in the process of trying to sell 90 percent of her herd. She currently raises the animals for their fiber and also shows them. Abrahamsen said she was evicted from her farm in March 2015. "So here I am homeless with 70 alpacas, three dogs and two horses," she said. Among the kind strangers Abrahamsen met after her husband's death was a woman Sandra Whatman who she quickly connected with because her husband also died. The woman began helping at the farm and took in Abrahamsen and all her animals.
Abrahamsen said she also wished to thank three emergency rescue personnel from Bellville-Jefferson Fire Department who arrived in time to assist her at the house. She said alpacas have never been known to wander onto icy ponds but for some reason they did. She did not know how deep the water was when she went out to attempt to rescue her animals. "I wasn't thinking and I thought one of them was standing in the water but it turned out she was treading water," she said. Kochhesier later told Abrahamsen that when he climbed the fence at the property to get to her quickly, he got quite the shock, because it's electrified to keep the animals in. He also admitted to her afterwards that he doesn't swim.

Fugitive caught trying to blend in with herd of alpacas after losing control of stolen car

A fugitive burglar who crashed his getaway car during a police chase has been jailed after he was caught in a field, trying to blend in with a herd of alpacas. Christopher Dixon lost control of the stolen car on road outside Darts Farm at Clyst St George, east Devon, and was followed by police through marshland onto the shopping complex's animal corner. Dixon had stolen the Rover in a burglary in Cheltenham and driven it at full speed down the M5, only stopping to fill up with petrol and leaving without paying. He was spotted by police leaving the motorway at Exeter Services and heading towards Exmouth on the A 376. He tried to shake them off by doing a U-turn and doubled back on himself twice during the chase. He forced one driver to veer off the road to avoid him as he overtook on a stretch of road which reduced from two to one lane and others to take evasive action as he drove down the middle of the highway. Dixon, aged 38, of Cheltenham, admitted burglary, theft, driving while disqualified and dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and six months and banned from driving for three years by Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, at Exeter Crown Court. He told him: "When you were followed by the police, you tried to avoid them. You did so at increasing speeds and increasing risk to other road users, a number of whom had to go onto the nearside verge to avoid collisions.
"It was undoubtedly and obviously dangerous driving and you eventually failed to take a corner and hit the curb and stopped. You ran away across marshland but were arrested." Mr Robert Morgan-Jones, prosecuting, said Dixon broke into a house in Cheltenham in the early hours of July 2 and a family with two children slept upstairs. He stole a purse and the keys to a Rover 25 car and raided the fridge, which he left open. He then tried and failed to use a bank card before driving to Exeter via Weston-Super-Mare, where he bilked at a filling station. Police were watching the M5 because Dixon was thought to be heading for Exmouth and he was seen at about 7.25am and followed onto the A 376.
Mr Morgan-Jones said he used a path between the carriageways to turn round to try to avoid police and almost forced another driver off the road. He eventually headed onto the road to Topsham where he drove in the middle of the carriageway, forcing other drivers to take evasive action. Dixon lost control on the bend after Darts Farm and fled on foot over marshland into the Animal Corner, where police arrested him among a herd of alpacas which were kept as an attraction for young visitors. Miss Ros Collins, defending, said Dixon's life has been blighted by drugs since he was abused while in care as a teenager and he had spent half his adult life in jail. She said he was a victim of a revolving door syndrome and would continue to offend until he received help to overcome his anger problems and addictions.

Woman briefly jailed for battery for 'intentionally sneezing' in courtroom bailiff's face

A woman from Channahon, Illinois, “intentionally sneezed” in a bailiff’s face in a Will County courtroom. Mellissa Estelle, 24, was jailed on a battery charge in connection with the alleged aggravated sneezery.
Estelle was in court on Wednesday morning for a traffic case when a bailiff repeatedly reprimanded her for putting her feet on the seats and speaking loudly while the judge was on the bench.
Estelle then “got up from her seat, approached the bailiff face to face, within three to four inches, and ‘intentionally sneezed’ into the bailiff’s face,” police said.
The bailiff reportedly told county deputies “that ‘a mucous-type substance’ was on her face after the incident.” The bailiff also accused Estelle of pushing her in the chest. Estelle spent more than six hours in jail before she was released on $1,000 bond.

Police hope that robber's distinctive underpants will help identify him

Police hope a distinctive pair of underpants will help them identify men they wish to trace following a robbery.
Breadsall Priory Country Club, near Derby, was targeted in the early hours of Sunday. Officers said two masked men, one armed with a hammer, entered the venue and threatened a member of staff before taking cash from the safe.
CCTV images show a suspect wearing what police describe as "distinctive underwear". One of the suspects is said to be white, about six feet tall and of medium build.

The second is described as black and about the same height and build. Anyone with information is asked to contact Derbyshire Police.

Man assaulted for second time after refusing attacker's apology for initial assault

A 21-year-old man is facing charges of aggravated assault after allegedly giving another man a concussion and cracked nose during a live show at Cafe Coco in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to the police affidavit, Austin Tice allegedly punched another man in the eye during the show. The victim then went to an adjacent hallway where Tice followed in an "attempt to apologize."
The victim told Tice he didn't want to be near him, given he had just been assaulted. The man says Tice then "became upset that his apology was refused" and punched the man in the eye again. The man told police he received medical attention the next day and had suffered a concussion and cracked nose from the assault.
Following the altercation, the man claims Tice posted "several messages on his Facebook wall and tagged" him. The affidavit states the messages were intimidating or threatening and the victim felt threatened by the messages. Tice, of Nashville, is facing charges of harassment and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.

Man arrested after broken Hello Kitty toothbrush led to luggage held hostage and brawl at hotel

A luggage mix-up at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas in Orlando, Florida, led to a couple locking themselves in their room and refusing to come out without compensation for a broken Hello Kitty toothbrush. Hotel staff called deputies early on Monday morning after unsuccessfully trying for more than two hours to get 14 bags of luggage that had mistakenly been delivered to the couple's room, according to an Orange County arrest report.
The couple, Setia Kurniawan, 49, of Australia, and his wife, Vonni Gustimego, 44, were staying in room 7845. The bags were supposed to be delivered to room 7854. When the hotel realized the mix-up, a manager went to the couple's room and tried to get the bags. The couple were upset, though, about a Hello Kitty toothbrush that broke while at the hotel. It is unclear how the toothbrush was broken. They demanded compensation, and when the hotel manager refused to immediately help, they escorted her out of the room and held the luggage hostage.
The manager told deputies the couple were "aggressive" and "confrontational when she contacted them about the mishap," the report states. When deputies arrived shortly after midnight, they announced themselves as law enforcement and knocked on the couple's door for more than 10 minutes. Deputies said the couple refused to open it, though, despite being threatened with arrest if they didn't give up the bags. Deputies said Gustimego eventually opened the door "abruptly," letting them inside to see the mixed-up luggage sitting in the foyer area. As they walked in, she stuck her finger in one of their faces and started yelling.
The deputy said he pushed Gustimego's hand down and then saw Kurniawan lunge toward him. He got Kurniawan on the ground, as Gustimego grabbed the hotel manager and pulled her into the room by her jacket. Deputies said she then hit a hotel security officer's ear. The deputies eventually secured the couple and arrested Kurniawan on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, grand theft and resisting and officer without violence. He was taken to the Orange County Jail and released a short while later on bail. Deputies released Gustimego at the hotel to care for the couple's children. It is unclear if they were compensated for the toothbrush.

"Red Lady of Paviland"

In January 1823, William Buckland discovered in Goat's Hole, one of the Paviland Caves on the Gower, one side of a human adult skeleton, stained with red ochre and accompanied by seashell necklaces which he incorrectly assumed was a female and became known as the"Red Lady of Paviland".
Buckland who was Professor of Geology at Oxford Univerity and a christian also underestimated the dating of the find as he believed that no human remains could be dated earlier than the bible's great flood. However, further examinations have shown that the "Red Lady" was in fact a male and at 24,000, the oldest known ceremonial burial in Western Europe.

Why Aren't Humans Cannibals?

Cannibalism is one of our biggest taboos, with good reason. For starters, it's gross, and for other starters, it's a fast track to some gnarly diseases. However, that's not to say early man didn't eat, er, other early men.

Tweak in gene expression may have helped humans walk upright

Tweak in gene expression may have helped humans walk uprightTweak in gene expression may have helped humans walk upright
Consider the engineering marvel that is your foot. Be it hairy or homely, without its solid support you’d be hard-pressed to walk or jump normally. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in...

Scuba Diver Hangs out Between 2 Continents

Iceland lies at the border between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, which are moving away from each other at the rate of 2 centimeters per year.
In the late 18th Century, one spot in the gap known as the Silfra fissure formed. It gradually filled with water from a nearby glacier. The resulting lake, which is called ├×ingvallavatn, is world-renowned by scuba divers for its crystal clear waters.
Not only is the scenery beautiful, but ├×ingvallavatn also gives divers the chance to be right between the two tectonic plates. Discovery reports:
According to Padi 5 Star Dive Center, which operates tours of the park, the lake's crystal clear water comes from a nearby glacier. As it travels to the lake, the water must pass through porous volcanic rock, which effectively filters out impurities. Padi claims that divers can drink the clean water, saying that it is "as pristine as water can get."
You can see visually stunning videos of the Silfra fissure at Vimeo.

This Lake Fell off a Cliff

This is what Peel Plateau Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada looks like now.
It used to look like this. But now much of the lake has fallen off a cliff. That's because the natural wall that separated the lake from the cliff was made of permafrost. When the permafrost recently melted, the lake spilled over, as you can see in this time-lapse video:

Discovery quotes the Northwest Territories Geological Survey about the event:
"When the slump eroded to the edge of the lake, about half of the lake volume estimated to be about 30,000 m3 drained in about 2 hours by pouring over the slump headwall and forming a temporary waterfall 10 to 15 m high," the agency explains in a news release. "Peak flows lasted less than 30 minutes and flow rates reached at least 10 m3/second."

Hunting Uranus, Naked Black Holes and Space Fungus

Often overlooked, Uranus, one of the solar system's 'ice giants,' can prove a challenging, but worthwhile target for amateur astronomers this month.
Astronomers have discovered a rather odd discrepancy in the heart of a distant galaxy -- it contains two supermassive black holes, but one of those black holes is 'naked', with few stars surrounding it.
Four zinnia plants on the International Space Station are sickly or dead after mold was discovered in the Veggie experiment facility in late December, according to NASA.

Scientists try to stay grounded amid rumors that gravitational waves were discovered

Scientists try to stay grounded amid rumors that gravitational waves were discovered

X Marks The Spot

NASA intrigued by 'X' seen on surface of Pluto

Peru Moves to Protect Giant Manta Rays

Peru protects the world's largest population of manta rays from fishing

Top 2015 Underwater Marine Life Photography

Winning images capture rarely seen marine life behavior, close-ups of shy creatures and dreamy ocean scenes.

Officials searching for coyote with jar on its head

State officials are asking for the public’s help tracking down a coyote that was spotted in Pembroke, New Hampshire, with a jar on its head.
Multiple residents have reported seeing the coyote walking around at the weekend. A resident was able to snap a photo of the animal. No one has reported a sighting since.
A spokesperson for the New Hampshire Fish and Game said it’s not known whether the the coyote managed to get the jar off its head or if it wandered deeper into the woods.

A Conservation Officer who spotted the coyote attempted to catch to remove the jar, but the animal ran off when he approached. Anyone who sees the animal is asked to keep distant and contact New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Snowy owl captured in flight by traffic camera

Spectacular images of a snowy owl in flight in Canada have been captured by Transport Quebec's traffic camera along Montreal's Highway 40.
The images were captured on Jan. 3 by a traffic camera at Highway 40 and Sources Boulevard. According to Barbara Frei, the director of the McGill Bird Observatory, this young female was probably looking for a place to perch.
"I think they are attracted specifically to the highway because it has open, grassy fields nearby which is perfect for hunting their favorite prey, which is small rodents," she said.

"They like to get a good lay of the land and the high lamp posts or other posts that they can perch on while hunting just suits them perfectly." Snowy owls breed north of the Arctic Circle, where they hunt in the summer.

Animal Pictures