Archive for November 2015

Areas of the World where there are no Snakes   Leave a comment


Growing up on a farm in rural Manitoba I encountered garter snakes many times. Even though the little varmints are harmless as a flea, I would almost jump out of my skin when I noticed the creepy crawly.  It was the slippery motion through the grass that was so bizarre and unsettling.  It would take 5 minutes before my nerves settled.  However I found out that there are places on the planet with no indigenous snakes. Snake-less nirvana.

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Top places with no snakes:

Newfoundland

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Newfoundland, the remote province on the Canadian east coast, is a great place to go because it’s blessed with no native snakes whatsoever. The island was completely frozen over during the last ice age and so had to go through a big phase of species recolonization in its aftermath. Many animals came to Newfoundland and prospered, snakes however did not. Several garter snakes have been spotted in recent times unfortunately but it is unclear whether they were introduced, maybe as an extravagant pet or snuck in in crates or imported hay bales.

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Hawaii

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Hawaii is a snake-haters paradise. Beautiful rainforests and warm climates are normally laden with snakes, but not in Hawaii. The islands may be a U.S. state but they’re very remote geographically, making it impossible for snakes to slither/swim there That was until a few decades ago anyway. Pre-1980s Hawaii was excellent for avoiding snakes, 1980s Hawaii onwards not so much. An increased number of imports at that time resulted in some unwelcome stowaways arriving in shipping containers and inadvertently Hawaii welcomed species like the poisonous brown tree snake to its shores. There’s actually also one native snake but it’s not on land, the yellow-bellied sea-snake is occasionally recorded off the Hawaiian coast although chances of seeing one is unlikely.

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Ireland

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The lack of snakes in Ireland isn’t just common knowledge, it’s legendary. According to folklore, St Patrick supposedly chased all the snakes out in around A.D. 400 and made quite a name for himself in the process. Scientists will tell a different story, something to do with an ice age, a vanishing land bridge and snakes being cut-off in Scotland by the sea. The 90’s messed that up however, snakes became popular as status symbols in the good times but when the economic downturn hit, many were simply released into the wild. Yet despite the odd news story surfacing about a rogue tame rattlesnake or viper slithering around, Ireland is a good place to be for snake-fearers. There’s actually only one reptile native to the entire Emerald Isle, the harmless viviparous lizard.

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Cape Verde and the Azores

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In the North Atlantic, there are two great candidates for snake-free paradises. Sovereign state Cape Verde and the Portuguese-governed Azores are blessed with no native snakes, despite their sunny climate and tropical vibes. This is entirely down to their distance from the mainland, Cape Verde is far enough west of Africa to not have any snake infestations while the Azores are far enough west of the European mainland. So what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. Not yet anyway. But stories from similar islands serve as a warning about what could happen if controls don’t hold firm, the Canary Islands for instance being blighted by a major influx of imported Californian king snakes.

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New Zealand

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Remarkably, despite its size and subtropical climate, New Zealand is completely absent of snakes on land. This is down to the islands’ very remote nature, continental drift pushed the country far out into the Pacific many millions of years ago, well out of the reach of the serpents lingering on big land masses like Australia. In order to preserve its fragile endemic wildlife, the New Zealand authorities make sure to keep it that way and take their no snakes policy very seriously. It’s strictly prohibited for anyone to keep a snake and a jail sentence may await for anyone looking to rebel. Regrettably, although the land laws are very much anti-snake, not much can be done about any sea snakes lurking around the coasts. Thankfully though sightings are rare and only two species have ever been recorded in New Zealand’s oceans, the yellow-bellied sea snake is seen infrequently and the other, the banded sea krait, is incredibly rare.

This is strange considering New Zealand’s neighbour to the northeast, Australia, is infested with every type of poisonous killer snake ever imagined. The poor Aussies also have to deal with big fat grumpy pythons that bite and try to strangle people to death.

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 Iceland

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A small, isolated, island nation in the Atlantic, Iceland is one of the very few places on Earth that never encounters a wild snake. That is unless you choose to believe in the mythical serpent-like Lagarfljótsormur creature of course, which has supposedly been spotted swimming around the country’s lakes since A.D. 1345. Tall tales aside, Iceland is probably never going to have any snakes and if any did somehow make it there, it’s not likely they’d survive long in the cool climate. Escaped pets aren’t even an issue here, exotic animals (and therefore reptiles) are banned and it’s a law that’s rarely broken.

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Antarctica

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Perhaps an obvious number one but for good reason. The only continent without reptiles, Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth and so not exactly the most welcoming of environments. There’s no way a snake could warm itself up there (even at the height of summer) and because there are no resident human populations on Antarctica, there are no homes from snakes to escape from. The difficult thing (aside form the cold) is finding a way of being able to stay there. The only people really able to enjoy the 365-day a year snake-free lifestyle are scientists so if you’re desperate enough to avoid snakes, a career in glaciology or polar biology is probably the best way to go.

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Check out any of these places if you want to avoid snakes.  No worries about dying a brutally painful death from toxic poison. Or meeting your maker in the manner below:

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Posted November 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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U.S. Army tests tiny Mini-Drone   Leave a comment


The US military is testing $40,000 surveillance drones that can fit in the palm of your hand

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US Special Forces are testing a tiny bug-like drone that could change the future of warfare.

The teeny flying robot, called the PD-100 Black Hornet 2, weighs 18 grams with cameras and fits in the palm of your hand. The device, which can fly for up to 25 minutes with a range of two miles, also features both regular and thermal cameras.

Designed by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics, the drone’s minuscule size and embedded technology make it an ideal tool for covert missions. The British military began implementing the device with soldiers in 2013, and now the US military is apparently showing interest.

According to a report by Defense One, US Special Forces have obtained a “handful” of the PD-100 Black Hornets.

The stealth device can be flown autonomously with its GPS autopilot feature or it can be manually controlled. The device is so small it can be stored in a small pack that can be worn on the body for easy access.

While the device may look like a toy, it’s certainly not priced like one. The PD-100 Black Hornet 2 prices at about $40,000 for larger orders of the device, said Ole Aguirre, VP of business development for Prox Dynamics. But considering that the Pentagon plans to spend approximately $2.9 billion on unmanned systems for the fiscal year of 2016, according to theDrone Center at Bard College, the $40,000 price tag doesn’t seem so significant.

The US military is showing an increasing interest in tiny drones these days.

Reports earlier this week revealed that the military is in the early stages of developing its own mini-drones. According to Military.com, these drones are built to swarm in a manner that would confuse enemy radar systems. In other words, the small devices could potentially overwhelm the enemy by providing so many targets that they find it hard to take them down.

The devices could also be used to cover an area with sensors so that they could survey an area and collect data.

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In July 2014, the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) selected the PD-100 Black Hornet after looking at commercially available small-scale UAVs as part of the Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (CP-ISR) program. It concluded that further refinements were needed for a U.S. Army role including reconfiguring the data-link, giving it night vision, and improving navigational capability. The Black Hornet was tested with U.S. troops at an event in early March 2015, and Prox Dynamics delivered a PD-100 with upgraded features for special forces testing in June 2015. By 2015, the Black Hornet had deployed with U.S. Marine Corps special operations teams.

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Posted November 30, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Nazis UFOs are coming!!   Leave a comment


In Ufology, conspiracy theory, science fiction, and comic book stories, claims or stories have circulated linking UFOs to Nazi Germany. The German UFO theories describe supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft prior to and during World War II, and further assert the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America, the United States or the Moon, along with their creators. According to these theories and fictional stories, various potential code-names or sub-classifications of Nazi UFO craft such as Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Gerät, V7, Vril, Kugelblitz (not related to the self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of the same name), Andromeda-Gerät, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffe, and Reichsflugscheibe have all been referenced.

Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were thought by the Allies to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon.

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Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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American fans P.O.’d as Grey Cup commercials are blocked in the States   Leave a comment


A few thousand American football fans PVR the Grey Cup championship game up in Canada so they can watch it on Tuesday night when there are no NFL, College or high school games.  However these die-hard football fanatics are complaining because the Canadian TV commercials are blocked by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC wants Americans to watch American commercials.  So the nifty Canadian commercials get bumped.

As Leerod Cowhoon said from his Birmingham, Alabama trailer park, “damn feds are taking away our human rights and freedom of choice. What’s next? A total ban on porn, greased hog wrestling and fully automatic machine guns?”

Leroy at his residence.

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Leroy wants to see the commercials, they make him laugh so hard he almost splits his gut. He isn’t crazy about the game itself. “With that three down bullshit and twelve players on that giant gulldarn field a guy could get confused.”  But I need my football fix, and it beats Japanese football.

Some samples of the Canadian commercials that were blocked by the FCC:

Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Hinterland Who’s Who: the Manitoba Riverine Amphibious Humanoid Beastie (more commonly known as the Green Gill-man)   Leave a comment


Today’s featured creature on Hinterland Who’s Who is the Manitoba Green Gill-man.  The creature is seen by many witnesses and has been observed by paranormal nature biologists working for Hinterland Who’s Who.  The biologists estimate the creature to stand at least 8 feet tall and weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 350- 500 pounds. The beasts’ diet seems to consist of tree leaves and other riverine plants, small mammals such as squirrels and cats, the odd dog and periodically a cow.  Farmers along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers have reported lost cows, only to find the skeleton of the cow a few days later.  The cows have been eaten completely, no flesh is found. Some think it could be space aliens, but Hinterland Who’s Who is sure the culprits are the Green Gill-man.

Main-stream science doesn’t touch the subject of the Green Gill-man, they want a body, as the main-streamers profess they need actual physical evidence.  The sightings, photos, video and webbed footprints just aren’t enough for these obstinate skeptics. Maybe a body will surface one of these days, but lets not hold our breath.

The sightings and reports go back hundreds of years to pre European contact in Manitoba.  The Cree Indian tribes had a name for the Gill-man, “Shushtanuckawucktoodeepwa,” which literally translates into “big green varmint that swims like fish but walks on the land and will attack our women.”  The Shushtanuckawucktoodeepwa is deeply ingrained in Native legend and stories.  One story is about the Gill-man having a major tussle with a Sasquatch.  The battle was observed near Pukatawagan in the 1920’s.  The beasts were laying heavy punches on each other until they all of a sudden stopped, shook hands and walked off in different directions.

Recent photos of the creature in the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg

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It appears obvious that this thing doesn’t hibernate. How it survives Manitoba’s winter is anybody’s guess.

Another brute enjoying a dip near the Midtown Bridge..

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Damn that must be cold!

The creature’s habitat seems to go beyond the river systems. Sightings have been reported on the big lakes north of Winnipeg.  Gill-man has also been sighted deep inland, miles from any water.  They are usually sighted near cow pastures.  And immediately after the pasture sightings, a farmer reports a missing cow.  Dinner time for the green water goblin?

Here is a sighting at Patricia Beach on the south end of Lake Winnipeg.

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The photo was taken very close to the section of the beach that is reserved for nude beachgoers. The Green gill-man seems to have an interest in female humans.  Not sure why.

The famous Grand Beach Photo.  Taken 2 years ago by ghost hunter Mel Ryan. Mel was quoted as saying: “No ghosts this time, but sovanabitch this big green thing was even better than a ghost.  I wonder, when the gill-man dies, does it manifest into a gill-man ghost? Now that would be 2 birds with one stone my man.”

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It appears to be stalking something.  Female human?

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If anybody out there has reports, photos or video of the Manitoba Riverine Amphibious Human Beastie please forward them to Hinterland Who’s Who, PO Box 2300, Ottawa, Ontario, Q4J 1X9. Email: HWW@JustinTrudeau.com.

For the record: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced that he will be increasing the HWW budget ten-fold over the next few months. Yaha!

Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Too Much Stuff   Leave a comment


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Peoples addiction to Stuff was very evident with the shopping insanity that happened on Black Friday.  Many people live to shop.  The instant self-gratification that arises from buying new stuff is palpable. 

It makes people feel good to have new stuff.  The new stuff happiness wears off in a few days, so new, new stuff has to be bought.  Even new old stuff will do.  Thrift stores are filled with Stuff happiness hunting people these days.  Anything, a $2 T-shirt, second-hand sandals, a radio that has to be cranked to work, or a pair of scratched up roller blades.  Whatever it takes to get the stuff happiness happening in our ventral tegmental area (pleasure part of the brain).  But new, new stuff is better, especially the discounts on Black Friday.

Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Calgary Stampeders Mascot Horse “Tuffy” gets into Grey Cup Spirit by getting Plastered in Downtown Winnipeg   Leave a comment


Game Day has arrived. The 103rd Grey Cup game will be played at IGF stadium in Winnipeg today to crown the new champion of the Canadian Football League.  The Ottawa Redblacks will take on the Edmonton Eskimos. Grey Cup weekend is always a ‘Party Hardy’ time.  Booze flows like a river and hang-overs are experienced by many participants.

Mascots are often part of the festivities.  The Calgary Stampeders brought their mascot “Tuffy” the horse to The Peg and the galloper plunged face first into the party action. Tuffy did a bar crawl, or should we say a bar trot, in the downtown area on Saturday.

Tuffy socializing in the lobby of a downtown hotel

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Everybody was buying beers for the brown horse.  Tuffy didn’t refuse any free drinks.  The horse can drink a pitcher of the golden ale in 20 seconds!

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Tuffy would drink 4-5 pitchers at each watering hole and then trot off to the next one.  After hitting 10 different drinking establishments, that’s about 45 pitchers, Tuffy met it’s match at the infamous Windsor Hotel.  Tuffy downed 10 shooters, then washed it down with 6 pitchers of high test Extra Old Stock.  As the local barflies were cheering Tuffy on, the extremely intoxicated pony keeled over and passed out in the middle of the bar. 

The paramedics were called in and Tuffy was wheeled over to the ambulance.  Tuffy was taken to the Winnipeg Humane Society where she will undergo 3 days of detox.  Tuffy will then be trucked back to Calgary to recuperate.

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Posted November 29, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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