Friday, October 9, 2015

Pigs In Scotland Dig Up Ancient Tools

From Discovery News:
Pigs foraging along a Scottish coastline have unwittingly uprooted the earliest evidence for a remote population of hunter-gatherers.
The uprooted items, stone tools that have been dated to around 12,000 years ago, are described in the latest issue of British Archaeology. The tools were discovered on the east coast of the Isle of Islay, Scotland, and include sharp points -- likely used for hunting big game -- scrapers and more.
The pigs had been released so that they could eat bracken, a type of fern, but in their search for food, found something more.  Read the full story.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Skinny Dipper Nabbed In Congressional Fountain

Someone in Washington D.C. apparently decided to take a bath in the Library of Congress’ Court of Neptune fountain, dressing down for the occasion.  The perp turned out to be neither a congresscritter nor a certain former president.  From Heard On The Hill:
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 1, cops responded to 10 First St. SE, following a report of a nude male bathing in the fountain. Police say they discovered Wodaji Getawa Mekonnen “matching that description, with his genitalia exposed.”
Read the full story, and if you wish to bathe while visiting our nation's capitol, please do so in private.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cool Springs Park

Besides Lonaconing, Maryland, another interesting place that I've run across while driving in the mountainous areas in western Maryland and beyond is Cool Springs Park, in Rowlesburg, West Virginia.  I first happened upon this place 12 years ago while driving eastward on U.S. Highway 50 on my way back from a wedding in Indiana.  Just after passing a gas station, I noticed a bunch of unusual-looking contraptions and old railroad cars in an adjacent wooded area, so I decided to have a look.  As it turned out, the gas station was part of a building that also included a convenience store, a gift shop and a restaurant.  The building and the wooded area with all its old stuff were and are parts of Cool Springs Park.  As I wandered around to get a good look at the old machinery and railcars, realized that I was being followed - by a friendly donkey.

As with Lonaconing, I knew that sooner or later, I had to return and get some pictures with my digital camera.  As I had first done years ago, I again wandered around the wooded area, but this time was not followed by any four-legged critters.  The park now has two donkeys and a South American camel, of which species I don't know, but they all left me alone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Lonaconing Iron Furnace

About 20 years ago, while exploring the western part of my then-recently adopted home state, I passed through a small town named Lonaconing and stopped to see its iron furnace.  Although located in Maryland, the town somehow reminded me of places I'd seen in rural Pennsylvania.  Even the name, by ending in "-ing", seemed reminiscent of the Keystone State, in which there are towns or counties named Wyoming, Lycoming and Wyalusing.  (The name "Wyoming", although given to a western state, actually originates in Pennsylvania.)  The pictures in this post, as you might expect, are from a much more recent visit.

The Lonaconing furnace was the first in America to produce iron by burning coke, and was used from 1839 to 1856.  Long after it was closed, a high school was built in the area in front of the furnace, but today the area is a park.  Several lampposts stand in front of the furnace, which may be reached by walking up a few stairs.  Behind and above the furnace is a residential street.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chinese Billionaire Loses Over 80% Of Net Worth

Last year, I learned about a planned canal that would cross Nicaragua.  A few days ago, Bloomberg Business published a report on a Chinese billionaire, one of the canal's backers, losing a large portion of his net worth due to the collapse of China's equity markets.  It looks like there might be a dent in those canal-building plans.  From Bloomberg:
Telecommunications entrepreneur Wang Jing, 42, was one of the world’s 200 richest people with $10.2 billion at the peak of the Chinese markets in June, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth has since fallen to $1.1 billion.
His 84 percent drop so far in 2015 is the worst recorded by the index, which provides a daily ranking of the world’s 400 richest people. Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive officer of Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore Plc, had the second-biggest percentage decline, falling 66 percent to $1.8 billion.
$1.1 billion is nothing to sneeze at, but losing over $9 billion is truly staggering.  Read the full story.

Music Break - Duets

Some bands have had more than one lead singer, or at least someone other than the regular lead singer who can also on occasion sing a lead vocal.  As a result, such groups can produce songs in which the lead vocal bounces between two or more voices.  The plural vocal lines can also occur simultaneously in a harmony arrangement.

When I first heard You Got That Right, I did not recognize that it was by Lynyrd Skynyrd, because it begins with a vocal line from guitarist Steve Gaines, who sings the first line of each verse, with regular singer Ronnie Van Zant answering.  The two then sing most of the song in harmony.  Gary Rossington plays slide guitar, including a solo.  Gaines later finishes the song with a guitar solo.  The rest of the band were Billy Powell (keyboards), Alan Collins (guitar), Leon Wilkerson (bass) and Artimus Pyle (drums).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Links

Here are some things going on out there:

From Canada Free Press, the United Nations announces the Strong Cities Network.

From ABC News, Vice President Biden endorses transgenders serving in the military.

From The Daily Star, Russian planes hit targets in Talbiseh, north of Homs, Syria.

From Russia Today, no one can clearly identify the Syrian moderate opposition.

From the Chicago Tribune, flash flooding hits the French Riviera.  (In my high school French class, we learned that the area is actually called the Côte d'Azure.)

From NewsBusters, while being interviewed after his team defeats Notre Dame, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney (whose first name is misspelled as "Gabo") is cut off by ESPN just after mentioning God.

From Fox News, American wingsuit jumper Johnny Strange dies from crashing in the Swiss Alps.

In National Review, Kevin Williamson advises, "Don't play the shooter's game."

From the Malaysia Chronicle, a British family are harassed after converting from Islam.

From ARA News, ISIS militants force dozens of underage girls into marriage.

From the South China Morning Post, two Indonesian women suspected of being lesbians will be spared a 100-lash punishment because a law criminalizing homosexuality hasn't yet taken effect.  Instead, they will be given "rehabilitation".

From AOL, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will run for House Speaker.

From the Sunday Express, after largely missing the U.S., Hurricane Joaquin heads across the Atlantic and could threaten the U.K.

From The Sydney Morning Herald, a teenage Muslim who killed a police employee in Parramatta, Australia may have had links to Hizb ut-Tahrir.  (via Breitbart London)

From NPR Illinois, corruption could be problem for establishing peace in Colombia.

From The Washington Free Beacon, a CNN panelist pronounces Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) presidential campaign "officially on death watch".

From The Washington Post, according to an Afghan official, the hospital in Kunduz that was used by Doctors Without Border and recently hit by a U.S. airstrike, was "a Taliban base".

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, parents seek help understanding Common Core math.

And from the New York Post, a bride's mother rummages through a dumpster to retrieve her daughter's Oscar de la Renta wedding dress, after it had been mistakenly thrown into the trash.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Umpqua Student Hailed As A Hero

From yesterday's tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, there has emerged the story of Chris Mintz, 30, who confronted the shooter while trying to protect his fellow students.  After being shot, Mintz pointed out that it was his son's birthday, only to be shot again.  Although reportedly shot seven times, he survived and is now recovering in a hospital.  Mintz served in the U.S. Army for ten years and is originally from North Carolina.  His actions yesterday are being called "heroic".

Read more at ABC News, NBC News, CNN, Business Insider and the Daily Mail.

Because Chris Mintz faces "a ton of physical therapy" and the loss of work and the resulting pay, a cousin of his has set up a Go Fund Me page.

In another update from yesterday's story, the shooter is now reported to have killed nine people other than himself and injured seven others.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shooter Kills Ten People At Oregon Community College [UPDATE: 13 Killed]

In a shooting incident at Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon, 10 people have been killed and 20 others wounded.  The shooting reportedly started around 10:40 a.m. PDT.  The shooter, described so far only as being a man, has been taken into custody.

Read more at Q13 Fox, NBC News, KATU, CNN and Oregon Live.

UPDATE:  NBC, KATU and OL are now reporting that up to 13 people were killed.  CNN now indicates that the shooter is dead, and was 20 years old.

UPDATE 2:  The News Review, which serves Roseburg and Douglas County, reports what happened from the perspective of a student.
Kortney Moore, 18, from Rogue River, was in her Writing 115 class in Snyder Hall when one shot came through a window. She saw her teacher get shot in the head. The shooter was inside at that point, and he told people to get on the ground. The shooter was asking people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing away, Moore said. Moore was lying there with people who had been shot.
This link comes via Gateway Pundit, who gets kudos for finding a local source.

UPDATE 3:  According to the NBC and OL links above, the shooter has been identified as Chris Harper Mercer, who was 26.  The International Business Times likewise reports the shooter's identity, and also reports that the shootings occurred in at least two buildings on campus and that four guns were recovered at the scene.

Eight Men Found On Iranian Women's Football Team

It looks like Bruce Caitlyn Jenner is not the only athlete who wants to be a woman.  From the Daily Mail:
Eight of Iran's women's football team are men who are awaiting sex swap operations, it has been claimed.
The country's football bosses have been branded 'unethical' for fielding the genetically more powerful players.
Officials have now reportedly ordered the gender testing of the entire national team and the top players in their country's competitive league.
The game known as "football" (under various spellings) to most of the world is what we bloody Yanks call "soccer".   Read the full story.