For many years until his death, Carl Kauffeld, the director of the Staten Island Zoo and at the American Museum of Natural History, insisted that he had discovered a new species of frog leaving in New York and New Jersey, but faced widespread dismissals from his colleagues. Kauffeld died in 1974, but this week he received not just vindication but a new species named after him: Rana kauffeldi. The frog was found living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina near I-95.
The Saudi morality police are back in the news with another attack on free speech and the free exercise of religion. The Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) police arrested a man who believed that he could see Muhammad and believed that he was walking among us. It is an expression of faith but in Saudi Arabia you must believe what the government believes or face arrest or even death.
There is a bizarre and disturbing case out of India where an Indian man has been criminally charged after his wife filmed homosexual liaisons in their home and took the evidence to the police. It is a crime punishable by life in prison to engage in homosexual relations in India. The case is an insight not only into the abusive Indian criminal code but the traditions of such arranged marriages. What is interesting is that the wife, a dentist, has also charged her in-laws with a crime after alleging that they had to know that their son was gay before the marriage.
There was much coverage recently about the claim of physicist Rongjia Tao (left) of Temple University that tornados could be curtailed dramatically in the Midwest by the construction of 1,000-foot walls across the middle of the country. Meteorologist Brice Coffer of North Carolina State University says that his research blows away that theory.
Bus driver Andrew Holland said last year has been a nightmare. He has spent six months on bail, hired an attorney, and stood accused of a heinous crime. People ridiculed him and shunned him for allegedly possessing a film that showed a woman having sex with a tiger. The police charged him with possession of an extreme pornographic image. No one however appeared to actually watch or analyze the film. The film turned out to be a man in a tiger costume who kept saying ‘That’s grrrrrreat’ – the catchphrase of Frosted Flakes cereal mascot Tony the Tiger. All charges have now been dropped, but one has to wonder how the police or prosecutor could have missed this small detail. Putting aside the fact that a man in a tiger outfit hardly looks like the real thing, a talking tiger might have been a clue.
Yesterday, I completed the long circuit hike at Old Rag in the Shenandoah National Park. It is one of the most challenging hikes in Virginia and takes much of the day but it is worth it. It remains one of my favorite hikes with truly breathtaking overlooks. In the Fall, Virginia is radiant with different colors and you get the “big picture” on Old Rag.
Despite claims from the government (outside of Saudi Arabia) that it is seeking to modernize its legal system, the Sharia-based Saudi system continues to churn out abuses that shock the conscience. The latest victims are three lawyers who have been jailed for Tweets denouncing the Saudi court system — widely ridiculed by lawyers around the world as a medieval anachronism.