Archive | June 21, 2013

Sheep Eating Plant Growing In England

Puya chilensis 02If I had a garden I think I might want to plant of few of these around the perimeter. BBC News reports on the rare Chilean sheep killer, Puya chilensis:

A South American plant with a 10ft (3m) tall flower spike is about to bloom in a Surrey glasshouse for the first time since it was planted 15 years ago.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at Wisley said the Puya chilensis, a native of Chile, would bloom in the next few days and last about a week.

In the Andes it uses its sharp spines to snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death.

The animals then decay at the base of the plant, acting as a fertiliser.

The RHS feeds its specimen on liquid fertiliser.

The gardening charity said very few specimens of Puya chilensis were known to have flowered in the UK.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales waited 11 years for its plant to bloom, though clumps bloom every April in the open on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly.

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The Mental Illness Taboo is a Problem for All of Us

via New Scientist brain23

As celebrities become more open about their mental health problems, stigma still ensures most people conceal such illnesses, say two researchers in the field

In recent weeks Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry have once again reminded us that the lives of the famous are not always as perfect as we might think. Not for the first time, these two stars of British TV have publicly discussed their mental health: Wax her depression and Fry his bipolar disorder. Their continued openness furthers a helpful trend among celebrities. But for the vast majority with such conditions, discussion is not the norm.

Stigma and discrimination have long been major barriers to people with mental illness. The same is not true for other conditions: it is inconceivable that a person with asthma or hypertension, for example, would have faeces posted through their letter box to scare them away from the neighbourhood.

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Is Naomi Wolf (or Edward Snowden) Working for the NSA?

abc_edward_snowden_2_jt_130609_msDave Lindorff writes at Counterpunch:

I hate to do this, but I feel obligated to share, as the story unfolds, my creeping concern that the writer Naomi Wolf is not whom she purports to be, and that her motive in writing an article on her public Facebook page speculating about whether National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden might actually be still working for the NSA, could be to support the government’s effort to destroy him.

After all, with Snowden under vicious attack by both the government and the corporate media, being wrongly accused of treason, or portrayed as a drop-out slacker, a narcissist, a loser hoping to gain fame and even a “cross-dressing” weirdo, what defender of liberty would pile on with publication of a work of absolutely fact-free speculation as to whether he might also be a kind of “double agent” put out there by the NSA in order to discourage real potential whistleblowers from even considering leaking information about government spying on Americans.

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The “New” TWA Flight 800 Conspiracy Theories

TWA800reconstructionA new documentary made for (unlikely choice) EPIX Network, has inspired calls for a reopening of the investigation of TWA Flight 800. This report from Salon:

Long before there were Ed Snowden Truthers, there were TWA Flight 800 theorists, way back in 1996. Now the group is having another moment in the sun thanks to breathless media coverage of a new documentary that posits that a missile strike – and not the fuel tank explosion that investigators claim — brought down the plane 17 years ago off Long Island in the deadliest airline crash before 9/11. But in treating the assertions as new evidence, the media coverage is overlooking the fact that these claims are at least 15 years old.

For instance, a particularly effusive “Good Morning America” report termed the news “stunning,” labeling the six former investigators featured in the documentary “whistle-blowers” and saying they are “breaking their silence” for the first time on the crash.

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British Politician Claims He’s Having Affair With An Alien

simon parkes

He says nonetheless he remains focused on fixing the potholes in Whitby. Via the Mirror:

A Labour politician has sensationally claimed that an extra terrestrial affair is ruining his marriage. Simon Parkes, town councillor for Stakesby in Whitby, says he has sex with the alien, who he refers to as the Cat Queen, around four times a year.

He even claims to have fathered an extraterrestrial lovechild called Zarka and says having sex with the alien has caused tension in his marriage: “My wife found out about it and was very unhappy, clearly. But it is not on a human level, so I don’t see it as wrong.”

“What will happen is that we will hold hands and I say ‘I’m ready’ and then the technology I don’t understand will take us up to a craft orbiting the earth.”

He says his work is unaffected: “It’s a personal matter. I’m more interested in fixing someone’s leaking roof or potholes.”

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Tracking the New York State Bigfoot

800px-MISTS_OF_THE_HIGH_PEAKS_REGION_-_NARA_-_554398

PIC: NARA (PD)

In early May of last year on a week day, I hiked out to a small pond in a remote corner of Adirondack State park. The snow had not been melted for very long at all and the trail was very wet. The last people to sign the log book at the trail head had been cross-country skiers. It was slow going on the soggy trail, mud coated my boots in thick clumps. There was apparently a detour on the last leg of the trail, but the marker appeared wrong. It said .8 miles to the lake, or something like that. I remember it taking forever. So when I finally got to the lake, in frustration I yelled out, “Point eight miles my ass!”

Just then I heard a huge noise, like a large rock being thrown against a boulder. It was unmistakable and made a loud reverberating bang. .… Read the rest

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Advice from NSA Whistleblower on Trusting Your Government

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Thomas Drake, former NSA senior executive and whistleblower, and Jesselyn Raddack, National Security Director for the Government Accountability Project, about whistleblower Edward Snowden about the dangerous climate surrounding classified information in the US, how the extent of the NSA spying program has yet to be revealed, and how the mantra ‘if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear’, is false.

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