John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

This is why I only swim in pools

MYSTERY: Half-eaten shark on Florida beach raises speculation about what killed it
Published February 21, 2017

A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water

A Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue lifeguard snapped a photo of the shark on New Smyrna Beach. Beach Safety spokeswoman Tammy Morris told News 4 Jax that the shark was “definitely” eaten by a bigger fish. She added that the shark was either a blacktip or spinner shark.

A 14-foot great white shark named Katherine was spotted off the Florida coast in January. Another great white shark was spotted in the waters on Feb. 1, Florida wildlife officials said.
Morris said half-eaten sharks do not wash up on the beach often, but she has seen it before.
Officials said the shark might have been about 5-feet long, according to Fox 13 News.

Plane-sized flying reptile was a feared killer in Transylvania

By Walt Bonner

A giant flying reptile the size of a plane may have been the largest and most feared predator in ancient Transylvania. After examining the enormous neck vertebrae of a creature called Hatzegopteryx– a pterosaur with a 32–foot wingspan and giant beak– researchers now believe it was a fierce carnivore that preyed on dinosaurs and other animals in Romania during the Cretaceous period.“We've suspected that some giant pterosaurs were terrestrial foragers for a while now, but the idea that one could be a stocky, powerful apex predator is not something anyone would have predicted even a few years ago,” study author Dr. Mark Witton of the University of Portsmouth told Fox News. “Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that the idea of a pterosaur occupying a dominant ecological role would have been laughable!”
The toothless Haptzegopteryx belonged to a flying reptile group known as Azhdarchidae. Usually reptiles in this group have very long necks, some of which can measure over eight feet in length. The neck of Hatzegopteryx, however, is shorter and much stronger, with considerable muscle mass. This was one of the clues that helped Witton and co-author Dr. Darren Naish get a clearer understanding of the mysterious creature’s behavior.
“We compared the structural properties of its bones to those of other giant pterosaurs using the same principles that engineers use to design buildings and vehicles,” Witton explained. “Hatzegopteryx was consistently stronger in all our tests.”
The team also looked at the degree of scarring of muscle attachment on its bones and found they were very well developed— much bigger than previously realized— and deduced that this strong skeleton was under the control of extensive muscle power. It had reinforced limb bones and a foot and a half-wide skull. Combining these stats with what is known of Hatzegopteryx’s close relatives, it soon became clear the pterosaur was unlike any other in its group and was a serious force to be reckoned with.
It’s theorized that one reason Hatzegopteryx was able to become the dominant predator in ancient Romania is due to the dynamic of the area itself. At the time, it had a strange island ecosystem where few predators could compare in size to the winged reptile.
“The rocks yielding Hatzegopteryx fossils have been studied for hundreds of years and to date no evidence of a large predator (other than Hatzegopteryx) has been found,” Witton said. “There are no giant predatory dinosaurs, no enormous crocodylians… not even a single tooth from one of these guys.”
According to Witton, they have lots of other fossils from these sites— including small predators— so it stands to reason that, after generations of fieldwork, someone would have found some evidence of these animals if they were there. This led the team to conclude that, without any other large predators to compete with, Hatzegopteryx was Romania’s head honcho.
One thing is for sure: Cretaceous–age Transylvania was a scary place to be if you were a dinosaur or some other prehistoric critter who found itself in Hatzegopteryx’s crosshairs. With its huge beak, solid build and massive wingspan, this reptile was fast and lethal.
“These animals were huge, and their cruising speeds were impressive (40-60 mph depending on the model),” Witton said. “If in a rush, and they weren't concerned about energy consumption, they might have been pushing over 100 mph. Using a mix of powered and soaring flight, transcontinental travel would have been very easy for these giants.”



WOW! Good for her!

French presidential candidate Le Pen refuses headscarf to meet Lebanon's mufti
Published February 21, 2017 

BEIRUT –  France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused Tuesday to go into a meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti on Tuesday after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf.

Le Pen, who is on a three-day visit to Lebanon this week and has met senior officials, was scheduled to meet with Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim religious authority.

Shortly after she arrived at his office Tuesday morning, one of his aides handed her out a white headscarf to put on. Following a discussion that lasted a few minutes, she refused and walked toward her car and left.

Le Pen has tried to raise her international profile and press her pro-Christian stance with her visit to Lebanon, a former French protectorate.

On Monday, she met with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, declaring that Syrian President Bashar Assad was "the most reassuring solution for France." She also said the best way to protect minority Christians is to "eradicate" the Islamic State group preying on them — not turn them into refugees.

On Tuesday, after walking away from the meeting with Derian, she said that before it, she had told the cleric's office that she was not planning to don a veil during the encounter and was not told not to come.

"They didn't cancel the meeting so I thought they would accept the fact that I wouldn't wear one," she said. "They tried to impose it upon me, make it a matter of fact. You can't put me before a matter of fact."

She later met with the Maronite patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rai, and Christian rightwing leader Samir Geagea.

The office of Lebanon's mufti issued a statement saying that Le Pen was told in advance through one of her aides that she will have to put a headscarf during the meeting with the mufti.

"This is the protocol" at the mufti's office, the statement said. It detailed how the mufti's aides tried to give her the headscarf and that Le Pen refused to take it.

"The mufti's office regrets this inappropriate behavior in such meetings," the statement said.

Le Pen said she had met in the past with Egypt's Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, the head of the Sunni world's most prestigious learning institute, without wearing a veil. Photos of Le Pen with Ahmed al-Tayeb in 2015 in Cairo show her with the cleric without a veil.

Le Pen's refusal on Tuesday to don a headscarf would be in line with her strong support for French secularism, and a proposal in her presidential platform. French law bans headscarves in the public service and for high school pupils.

Le Pen's proposal aims to extend a 2004 law banning headscarves and other "ostentatious" religious symbols in classrooms to all public spaces. While the 2004 law covers all religions, it is aimed at Muslims.

Later, a group of Lebanese held a small protest in Beirut against Le Pen's visit. One protester raised a drawing of Le Pen's between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, with "Neo-fascists" emblazoned underneath.

Good words to have


1: of or resembling Proteus in having a varied nature or ability to assume different forms

2: displaying great diversity or variety: versatile

Proteus was the original master of disguise. According to Greek mythology, the grizzled old shepherd of Poseidon's sea creatures possessed the gift of prophecy but didn't like to share his knowledge. Proteus would escape those who wanted to question him by changing his shape. The only way to get a straight answer from him was to sneak up behind him during his midday nap and hold onto him (while he frantically changed from shape to shape) until he eventually revealed what he knew. The adjective protean describes anyone or anything that is as mutable and adaptable as the mythological sea-shepherd.

Forward is forward

Above all else