Biggish animal story: the Eastern hellbender

Taking a short break from the Mueller Report, here’s a pretty big animal story from 538 Significant Digits:

191 to 6

Pennsylvania, at long last, has an official state amphibian. It is the … drum roll … Eastern hellbender, a two-foot long salamander, aka the snot otter, aka the lasagna lizard aka the mud devil. The state’s House voted in a landslide, 191-6, to honor the snot otter. [Associated Press]

Okay, now back to see whether the snot otter appears in the Mueller Report.

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The Mueller report in two sentences

Does this report exonerate Trump from the charge that he obstructed justice?

The report is divided into two volumes. Volume one concerns the Russian interference in our election. Volume two concerns obstruction of justice.

I haven’t finished reading it yet — it’s meaty and fascinating — but for me the sentences that send big bells ringing out are in Volume Two, page 2:

Fourth, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.

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How is our species evolving? Weirdly

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

President Donald Trump removed top Department of Homeland Security officials amid their move to a new headquarters (in a building formerly called the Government Hospital for the Insane)…

[Julian] Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship had been suspended several months after he had threatened to sue Ecuador for “violating his fundamental rights” following the embassy staff’s request that, among other things, he clean his bathroom and properly care for his pet cat.

A father and son in Michigan were charged with selling infected body parts for as much as $100,000 each.

The pope emeritus blamed sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on the sexual revolution of the Sixties…

The United States struck Somalia with an air strike the day before its prime minister visited Washington.

“The evolution of our evolutionary group, Homo,” a scientist said after hearing that had someone discovered a new species of upright ape in a cave in the Philippines, “is getting weirder and weirder.”



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