Friday, February 22, 2008

Gray Wolves No Longer Endangered*

*At Least, Not According to the Law
Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains have been removed from the nation's list of endangered species, signaling a conservation success story. Or the premature end to needed protections. Or both, maybe.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett called it a proud day.

“The wolf population in the Northern Rockies has far exceeded its recovery goal and continues to expand its size and range. States, tribes, conservation groups, federal agencies and citizens of both regions can be proud of their roles in this remarkable conservation success story,” Scarlett said.

But while the Sierra Club heralded the growing strength of the wolf population as an Endangered Species Act success, it called the de-listing premature. It plans to sue the USFWS, along with other conservation groups, to reverse the decision.

There are currently more than 1,500 wolves and at least 100 breeding pairs in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, and federally approved state-level management plans will continue to offer the species a level of protection. The Sierra Club said those plans include eradication efforts, though. Wolves in the southwestern U.S. (and other areas where their population might expand in the future) remain on the federal endangered species list.

Wolves once filled the continent, from Mexico to the Arctic. But hunting led to their eradication by the 1930s, and they only exist today in the Rockies because the government backed a program to release wolves. Because there is little inter-breeding between subpopulations of wolves, the Sierra Club contends, the genetic diversity of the wild population is not strong enough to ensure the species could withstand the outbreak of a new disease, or another threat that could prey upon a common genetic condition.

“The decision to remove protections for wolves is premature. We still have a long way to go before wolf populations are sustainable over the long term. This is like declaring victory at mile eighteen in a marathon,” said Sierra Club representative Melanie Stein.

Behind the fight is a long history of Endangered Species Act politics. A controversial law, the ESA has come under repeated pressure from conservative lawmakers, who see it as an assault on free enterprise and private property rights, with little evidence of success. For that reason, environmental groups are eager to trumpet success stories, but reluctant to see wildlife lose protected status. The Bush Administration, further, has been roundly and convincingly criticized for politicizing scientific decisions at the Fish and Wildlife Service, leaving a residue of mistrust even though the main political appointee responsible for those controversial decisions has resigned.

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Job: Teenage Pregnancy Implementation Manager, MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL

Teenage Pregnancy Implementation Manager

Grade 8 £29,728 to £33,291 (bar at £32,436)

Ref: NB50418967/11

The grade awarded for this post is part of the transition arrangements for implementing revised pay and grading arrangements utilising the national job evaluation scheme. The grade will be subject to review within 12 months.

Location: Joint Health Unit, Town Hall Extension, Manchester, M60 2LA

Hours: 35 per week

Fixed-term contract until March 2011

Manchester Teenage Pregnancy Partnership is working to reduce the number of teenage conceptions and to improve support for teenage parents. We are now looking for an experienced and enthusiastic individual to support the management of the local teenage pregnancy programme. The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker with strong project management skills and a proven track record of partnership working. Reporting to the Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator, the postholder will contribute to the development, implementation and monitoring of the prevention and support strategies and action plans. Excellent communication and negotiation skills are required to lead service development and redesign across different sectors.

If you want to develop your skills and experience in an exciting and supportive environment, we want to hear from you. Further information can be found at

We welcome applications from people wishing to job share.

All disabled applicants who meet the short-listing criteria are guaranteed an interview.

Closing date: 10 March 2008.

Apply online at

Application forms and further details are available from: Recruitment Services, Corporate Personnel, Level 2, Belle Vue Leisure Centre, Pink Bank Lane, Manchester M12 5GL. Answerphone: 0161 234 3077. If you are deaf or hard of hearing a textphone service is available on: 0161 953 2785.

Manchester City Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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10 Things Every Adult Should Know

Sometimes it's hard to come up with a full-length, balls-to-the-wall rant, but a lot of "too long for Twitter, too short for a whole post" ideas float in and out of my head all the time. Here's 10 things every adult really ought to know, but a lot of people are apparently just too fucking stupid to figure out:

  1. Having sex can cause pregnancy. This one seems too obvious to mention, but judging from the number of accidental children in the world, I thought it bore repeating. Nothing is 100% effective against pregnancy except abstinence, or the removal of your ovaries or testicles. (Incidentally, abortion is still legal in the US and most of Europe, just in case.)
  2. If you cover your face with piercing jewelry, you may not be able to find a job. This also goes for doing weird things to your hair, and getting tattoos in conspicuous places. And for fuck's sake, don't give me any bullshit about "freedom of expression", you little dumbass. You go right ahead and express yourself all you want, but body modification is not a constitutionally protected belief system. They can't not hire you for being a Jew, but they certainly can not hire you for looking like a fucking freak. (caveat: I have both piercings and tattoos … nothing against tattoos, piercings or fucking freaks. Just don't whine about it when you're treated like one.)
  3. It's 2008. Racism is seriously outdated. That means, yes Virginia, it is TOTALLY FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE to refer to that black guy on TV as a "junglebunny." Also, don't use the word "they" as though black folks are some separate species who all think and act the same way. They're "They" are humans, not dogs. And do I really need to remind you that "nigger" is a bad word?! Here's a nice rule of thumb for you, dearie: If you wouldn't say it to a black person's face, you probably shouldn't be saying it at all. (For those of you who really don't get it, this also applies to spics, pakis, chinks, gooks, jews kikes, towelheads, and anyone else you care to slander.)
  4. Spontaneous anal sex often involves small amounts of feces. Yes, yes it does. This point is mainly aimed at straight guys, who seem to have a frighteningly widespread lack of understanding on this issue. If you want your backdoor action all nice and sanitary, you need to plan ahead. Buy a little something called an anal douche, and find a way to gracefully suggest she use it before bed if you want a little booty nookie. If you just swap holes in the middle of the action, without such careful forethought, things often get messy … because guys, it's a butt, and [big secret]there's poop in there[/big secret]. And as long as we're on the subject of anal …
  5. Anal sex does not make you gay. Again, for the benefit of you straight boys. Even if you secretly want your girlfriend to bend you over with a strap on, it's OK. You're not gay. You know why? Because you want to be assfucked by a girl, not a boy. That's what the whole "gay" thing is about: Liking boys instead of girls. Anal sex is irrelevant.
  6. Marijuana is not a "gateway drug". Oh sure, maybe 99% of "hard" drug users also smoke pot. And maybe a lot of them smoked pot before they got into crack or heroin or whatever. But that's not because the pot made them do it, it's because damn near fucking everyone has smoked pot at some point.
  7. Creationism is bullshit. Seriously. A big magic guy in the clouds did not wiggle his fingers and create the earth in 6 days. Didn't fucking happen. And I think anyone who professes to believe such a thing ought to be barred from political office. What if there was a religion claiming the world was flat, and the whole "round" thing was just an optical illusion created by God to test our faith? Would ANYONE be suggesting we teach it in schools? Would anyone vote for a politician who claimed to believe it? For fuck's sake, people. It's 2008. We have fossils. We have carbon dating. Get a clue!
  8. You have no right to be proud, unless you did it yourself. That goes for anything from racial pride to patriotism. Your race, gender and nationality are fucking accidents of birth. Being proud of something you got stuck with when mamma squeezed you out is stupid. You have a right to be proud of your own personal accomplishments, and perhaps those of your children (if you were actually a good parent, and your kids didn't succeed by sheer bloody-mindedness alone). That's it. Your parents fucked, Mom got knocked up, and ~9 months later, there you were. Race, gender and nationality handed to you out of some cosmic lottery machine. Fuck your white pride, black pride, national pride, and all the horseshit that goes along with it.
  9. Police and Politicians have a lot in common. Maybe half of them go into their chosen careers wanting to genuinely do good. Save people, and make the world a better place and all that. The other half are greedy, power-hungry fucks. And the good half? After a few years on the job, most of them have become so corrupted and/or insulated from the real world, they become vicious, rotten twats too. You can't trust 90% of either of 'em.
  10. America is not #1. Well, not unless you count military spending and handgun related deaths. We're shit at public education. Our health care system is both the most expensive and the least effective in the developed world. Literacy, infant mortality, per capita living below the poverty line and/or without any health insurance … etc., etc. We're kind of horrible at a whole lot of things, if you want to be honest about it. We're also, on average, fat as fuck.
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Do NOT Turn Jesus On.

Not sure who designed this, but I'm pretty confident they didn't mean to make it look as if Jesus was showing his manhood to two children!

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VIDEO: Nerf Gun Turned Gears of War Lancer

For those looking to liven up their "Gears of War" costume, then check out this Nerf Gun turned Lancer, complete with LEDs. Video after the break. Click here for first picture in gallery.

These guys got an assault rifle, a mechanic chainsaw and a bunch of LEDs to create a Gears of War Lancer gun. But even while they used a toy chainsaw and a Nerf N-Strike Longshot CS-6, the final result looks great in motion
[via Gizmodo - Hacknmod]

Photo Photo

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Most Haunted Places In World

1. Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle is reputed to be one of the most haunted spots in Scotland. And Edinburgh itself has been called the most haunted city in all of Europe. On various occasions, visitors to the castle have reported a phantom piper, a headless drummer, the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War - even the ghost of a dog wandering in the grounds’ dog cemetery.

edinburgh castle picture

As with all castles, Edinburgh’s fortress has been a centre of military activity. As an ancient fortress Edinburgh Castle is one of the few that still has a military garrison, albeit for largely ceremonial and administrative purposes. The New Barrack Block is now home to the official headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and 52 Infantry Brigade, as well as home to the regimental museum of the Royal Scots and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The Governor of Edinburgh Castle is Major General David McDowall, GOC of the British Army’s 2nd Division. The Governor of the Castle has always been the head of the Army in Scotland. Direct administration of the castle by the War Office only came to an end in 1923 when the army formally moved to the city’s new Redford Barracks. Nevertheless, the Castle continues to have a strong connection with the Army. Sentries still stand watch at the castle gatehouse after opening hours, with responsibility for guarding the Honours of Scotland.

2. The Whaley House - San Diego, California,US

Located in San Diego, California, the Whaley House has earned the title of “the most haunted house in the U.S.” Built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley on land that was partially once a cemetery, the house has since been the locus of dozens of ghost sightings.

whaley house picture

Author deTraci Regula relates her experiences with the house: “Over the years, while dining across the street at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, I became accustomed to noticing that the shutters of the second-story windows [of the Whaley House] would sometimes open while we ate dinner, long after the house was closed for the day. On a recent visit, I could feel the energy in several spots in the house, particularly in the courtroom, where I also smelled the faint scent of a cigar, supposedly Whaley’s calling-card. In the hallway, I smelled perfume, initially attributing that to the young woman acting as docent, but some later surreptitious sniffing in her direction as I talked to her about the house revealed her to be scent-free.”

3. The Borley Rectory - Borley, England

Borley Rectory was constructed near Borley Church by the Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull in 1862, and he moved in a year after being named rector of the parish. The large brick building was built in a style influenced by Pugin, that replaced the rather earlier Georgian house built for a Reverend Herringham, which Henry Bull demolished. The rectory would eventually be enlarged to house a family of 14 children.
The church dates from the 12th century and serves a rather scattered rural community making up the parish. There are several substantial farmhouses, and the fragmentary remains of Borley Hall, once the seat of the Waldegrave family. Ghost-hunters like to quote the legend of a Benedictine monastery supposedly built in this area about 1362, according to which a monk from the monastery carried on a relationship with a nun from a nearby convent. After their affair was discovered, the monk was executed and the nun bricked up alive in the convent walls. It was confirmed in 1938[citation needed] that this legend had no historical basis and seems to have been invented by the rector’s children to romanticise their red-brick rectory. The story of the walling up of the nun was probably taken from a novel by Rider Haggard.

4. The Bell Farm - Adams, Tennessee, US

The Bell Farm has been made notorious through books, TV specials and movies. Most recently the events at this small Tennessee farm were dramatized in the 2005 movie An American Haunting. The story behind the Bell Farm haunting is so notable and recognized because it is said to be the only documented account in paranormal history when a ghost caused the death of a living person. Between the years of 1817 and 1821, the Bell Family was terrorized by some sort of entity, mostly said to be a woman, who became known as the Bell Witch or, more personally, “Kate.” She is said to have perturbed and tortured John Bell (the father of the family and victim of a nervous system disorder) so much that it lead to his inevitable death.

bell farm picture

He was unable to sleep or recuperate and the ghost’s antics worsened his condition. It is also said that a vile with a strange black liquid was found at John Bell’s deathbed and that Kate herself claimed she gave it to him. Supposedly, in order to test the liquids validity, a drop was placed on the family cat’s tongue and it immediately killed the animal. Though the haunting of the Bell Farm has been sensationalized many times over, it is still inarguable that something happened there during those three years. A family and a community were terrorized by an entity of some kind, and residents still believe Kate is up to no good. For an extensive history of everything that went on at the Bell Farm, click here.

5. Raynham Hall - Norfolk, England

Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, is most famous for the ghost of “the Brown Lady,” which was captured on film in 1936 in what is considered one of the most authentic ghost pictures ever taken.

raynham hall picture

The Unexplained Site describes one of the first encounters with the spirit: “The first known sighting happened during the 1835 Christmas season. Colonel Loftus, who happened to be visiting for the holidays, was walking to his room late one night when he saw a strange figure ahead of him. As he tried to gain a better look, the figure promptly disappeared. The next week, the Colonel was again came upon the woman. He described her as a noble womanwho wore a brown satin dress. Her face seemed to glow, which highlighted her empty eye sockets.”

6. The Queen Mary - Long Beach, California, US

This grand old ship is quite haunted, according to the many people who have worked on and visited the craft. Once a celebrated luxury ocean liner, when it ended its sailing days the Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach, California in 1967 and transformed into a hotel.The most haunted area of the ship is the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death trying to escape a fire. Knocking and banging on the pipes around the door has been heard and recorded by numerous people. In what is now the front desk area of the hotel, visitors have seen the ghost of a “lady in white.”

queen mary picture

Ghosts of children are said to haunt the ship’s pool. The spirit of a young girl, who allegedly broke her neck in an accident at the pool, has been heard asking for her mother or her doll. In the hallway of the pool’s changing rooms is an area of unexplained activity. Furniture moves about by itself, people feel the touch of unseen hands and unknown spirits appear. In the front hull of the ship, a specter can sometimes be heard screaming - the pained voice, some believe, of a sailor who was killed when the Queen Mary collided with a smaller ship.

7. The White House - Washington D.C., US

That’s right, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is not only home to the current President of the United States, it also is home of several former presidents who occasionally decide to make their presences known there, despite the fact that they are dead.President Harrison is said to be heard rummaging around in the attic of the White House, looking for who knows what. President Andrew Jackson is thought to haunt his White House bedroom. And the ghost of First Lady Abigail Adams was seen floating through one of the White House hallways, as if carrying something.

white house picture

The most frequently sighted presidential ghost has been that of Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt once stated she believed she felt the presence of Lincoln watching her as she worked in the Lincoln bedroom. Also during the Roosevelt administration, a young clerk claimed to have actually seen the ghost of Lincoln sitting on a bed pulling off his boots. On another occasion, while spending a night at the White House during the Roosevelt presidency, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was awakened by a knock on the bedroom door. Answering it, she was confronted with the ghost of Abe Lincoln staring at her from the hallway. Calvin Coolidge’s wife reported seeing on several occasions the ghost of Lincoln standing with his hands clasped behind his back, at a window in the Oval Office, staring out in deep contemplation toward the bloody battlefields across the Potomac.

8. The Tower of London - London, England

The Tower of London, one of the most famous and well-preserved historical buildings in the world, may also be one of the most haunted. This is due, no doubt, to the scores of executions, murders and tortures that have taken place within its walls over the last 1,000 years. Dozens upon dozens of ghost sightings have been reported in and around the Tower. On one winter day in 1957 at 3 a.m., a guard was disturbed by something striking the top of his guardhouse. When he stepped outside to investigate, he saw a shapeless white figure on top of the tower. It was then realized that on that very same date, February 12, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded in 1554.

tower london picture

Perhaps the most well-known ghostly resident of the Tower is the spirit of Ann Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII, who was also beheaded in the Tower in 1536. Her ghost has been spotted on many occasions, sometimes carrying her head, on Tower Green and in the Tower Chapel Royal.
Other ghosts of the Tower include those of Henry VI, Thomas a Becket and Sir Walter Raleigh. One of the most gruesome ghost stories connected with the Tower of London describes death of the Countess of Salisbury. According to one account, “the Countess was sentenced to death in 1541 following her alleged involvement in criminal activities (although it is nowwidely believed that she was probably innocent). After being sent struggling to the scaffold, she ran from the block and was pursued until she was hacked to death by the axe man.” Her execution ceremony has been seen re-enacted by spirits on Tower Green.

9. Ballygally Castle - Ballygally Bay, Ireland

Ballygally Castle is a castle in the village of Ballygally, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located approximately three miles north of Larne. The castle overlooks the sea at the head of Ballygally Bay. The castle is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland, and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the province.The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw, of Scotland, who had come to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim for £24 a year. It was built in the style of a French chateau with high walls, steep roof, dormer windows and corner turrets. The walls are five feet thick with loopholes for muskets. An open stream ran through the outer hall to provide water in case of siege. The castle did come under attack, from the Irish garrison at Glenarm, several times during the rebellion of 1641 but each assault was unsuccessful. The castle was owned by the Shaw family until it passed into the hands of William Shaw in 1799.

He sold the estate for £15,400. In the 1950s the castle was bought by the carpet tycoon Cyril Lord and was extended and renovated. It is now owned and run by the Hastings Hotels Group.The castle is reputed to host a number of ghosts, the most active of which is the former resident, Lady Isobel Shaw, who amuses herself by knocking at the doors of different rooms and then suddenly disappearing. When she was alive, Isobel was locked in her room and starved by her husband. She leapt to her death from a window. Madame Nixon is another ghost who lived in the hotel in the 19th century. She can be heard walking around the hotel in her silk dress.

10.The Rose Hall Great House - Montego Bay, Jamaica

Rose Hall great house, the most famous in Jamaica. It is a Georgian Mansion with a stone base and a plastered upper storey, high on the hillside, with a fantastic panorama over the coast. Built in the 1770s, Rose Hall was restored in the 1960s to its former splendour, with mahogany floors, interior windows and doorways, panelling and wooden ceilings. It is decorated with silk wallpaper printed with palms and birds, ornamented with chandeliers and furnished with mostly European antiques. There’s a bar downstairs and a restaurant.

rose hall picture

Rose Hall is most famous for the story of its mistress Annie Palmer, who came here in 1820, and the fanciful legends of underground tunnels, bloodstains and hauntings. A renowned beauty, Annie Palmer was widely feared as a black magician, and she is also supposed to have dispatched three husbands (by poison, by stabbing and then pouring boiling oil into his ears, and by strangling) and innumerable lovers, including slaves, whom she simply killed when she was bored of them. She was 4ft 11ins high and was murdered in her bed. There is little evidence to support the legend, an amusing version of which was written up by H. G. de Lisser in his “White Witch of Rose Hall”, though maybe you’ll be convinced by the ghostly faces that appear in photographs taken by tourists.

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Is this the scariest picture EVER of the Bride of Wildenstein?

If proof were needed that money can't buy everything, look no further.

Rich divorcee Jocelyn Wildenstein spent a rumoured £2million on cosmetic surgery to keep her husband, but succeeded only in ruining the good looks she was born with.

Clearly her strange looks have not completely scared off all male attention, as the scary-looking 62-year-old was out with a male companion enjoying an intimate dinner on last night.

Scary socialite: Jocelyn Wildenstein looks scarier than ever as she leaves a Hollywood restaurant last night after dining with a male companion

The American socialite has been nicknamed the Bride of Wildenstein and dubbed the world's scariest celebrity by a plastic surgery website.

Ms Wildenstein famously embarked on a radical amount of cosmetic procedures after fearing her millionaire art dealer husband would leave her.

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Changing faces: Jocelyn today and at various stages of surgery going back to the 70s when she first went under the knife fearing her husband would leave her

Bizarrely she based her remodelled look on exotic wild cats, which he loved, as she decided that he might find her more attractive if she became "more feline".

The first time Wildenstein saw his newly-sculpted wife, he was said to have screamed in horror, unable to recognise her.

According to the Daily Telegraph, he said: "She seems to think that you fix a face the same way you fix a house."

After finding her husband in the marital bed with a 19-year-old Russian model, she divorced him and was awarded millions of dollars.

Ex-husband Alec Wildenstein, died on Monday aged 67.

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