Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Release -- The Libran Exchange

The Libran Exchange (a full length novel) is the latest offering from Thomas Stone, the madman of sci-fi.

The Libran Exchange details what happens when the first extraterrestrial visitor comes to Earth. An exchange is quickly negotiated and two astronauts are chosen to return to the alien's home world. The story follows the adventures of the two astronauts, a male/female team at odds with one another, and stays with the ambassador on Earth as he interacts with Earth society. Typical of Stone's work, there is intrigue, romance, humor, and adventure as well as occasionally something to think about.

Currently, The Libran Exchange can only be purchased in ebook format at either or Advice to readers: get a Kindle. Quick!. The good news is that ebooks never sell out. When the distribution process is complete, you will also be able to purchase TLE via Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Diesel, and probably your favorite online retailer. The Libran Exchange is offered by Cooper's Press, home of such notable authors as Pat Whitaker, and, er, Thomas Stone.

One more thing. You're going to love The Libran Exchange.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Stealing of America

The Stealing of America by the Cops, the Courts, the Corporations and Congress

We’re operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where you’ve got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich...

by John W. Whitehead | Rutherford | July 26, 2014

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” — Author Tom Clancy

Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.

We’re operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you’ve got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.

What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.

In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—is little more than a front for a high-dollar covert operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.

The rationalizations for the American police state are many. There’s the so-called threat of terrorism, the ongoing Drug War, the influx of illegal immigrants, the threat of civil unrest in the face of economic collapse, etc. However, these rationalizations are merely excuses for the growth of a government behemoth, one which works hand in hand with corporations to profit from a society kept under lockdown and in fear at all times.

Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the real motivating factor behind erecting a police state is not to protect the people, but to further enrich the powerful. Consider the following costly line items, all part of the government’s so-called quest to keep us safe and fight terrorism while entrenching the police state, enriching the elite, and further shredding our constitutional rights:

$4.2 billion for militarized police. Almost 13,000 agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participate in a military “recycling” program which allows the Defense Department to transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. In 2012 alone, $546 million worth of military equipment was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

$34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment. Since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” While police departments like to frame the acquisition of military surplus as a money-saving method, in a twisted sort of double jeopardy, the taxpayer ends up footing a bigger bill. First, taxpayers are forced to pay millions of dollars for equipment which the Defense Department purchases from megacorporations only to abandon after a few years. Then taxpayers find themselves footing the bill to maintain the costly equipment once it has been acquired by the local police.

$6 billion in assets seized by the federal government in one year alone. Relying on the topsy-turvy legal theory that one’s property can not only be guilty of a crime but is also guilty until proven innocent, government agencies have eagerly cashed in on the civil asset forfeiture revenue scheme, which allows police to seize private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the cops keeps the citizen’s property. Eighty percent of these asset forfeiture cases result in no charge against the property owner. Some states are actually considering expanding the use of asset forfeiture laws to include petty misdemeanors. This would mean that property could be seized in cases of minor crimes such as harassment, possession of small amounts of marijuana, and trespassing in a public park after dark.

$11,000 per hour for a SWAT team raid on a government dissident. The raid was carried out against Terry Porter, a Maryland resident who runs a welding business, is married with three kids, is outspoken about his views of the government, and has been labeled a prepper because he has an underground bunker and food supplies in case things turn apocalyptic. The raiding team included “150 Maryland State Police, FBI, State Fire Marshal’s bomb squad and County SWAT teams, complete with two police helicopters, two Bearcat ‘special response’ vehicles, mobile command posts, snipers, police dogs, bomb disposal truck, bomb sniffing robots and a huge excavator. They even brought in food trucks.”

$3.8 billion requested by the Obama administration to send more immigration judges to the southern border, build additional detention camps and add border patrol agents. Border Patrol agents are already allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. As one journalist put it, “The surveillance apparatus is in your face. The high-powered cameras are pointed at you; the drones are above you; you’re stopped regularly at checkpoints and interrogated.” For example, an American citizen entering the U.S. from Mexico was subjected to a full-body cavity search in which she was subjected to a variety of invasive procedures, including an observed bowel movement and a CT scan, all because a drug dog jumped on her when she was going through border security. Physicians found no drugs hidden in her body.

$61 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, one of the most notoriously bloated government agencies ever created. The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers and sub-agencies—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”

$80 billion spent on incarceration by the states and the federal government in 2010. While providing security, housing, food, medical care, etc., for six million Americans is a hardship for cash-strapped states, it’s a gold mine to profit-hungry corporations such as Corrections Corp of America and GEO Group, the leaders in the partnership corrections industry. Thus, with an eye toward increasing its bottom line, CCA has floated a proposal to prison officials in 48 states offering to buy and manage public prisons at a substantial cost savings to the states. In exchange, the prisons would have to contain at least 1,000 beds and states would have to maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. This has led to the phenomenon of overcriminalization of everyday activities, in which mundane activities such as growing vegetables in your yard or collecting rainwater on your property are criminalized, resulting in jail sentences for individuals who might otherwise have never seen the inside of a jail cell.

$6.4 billion a year for the Bureau of Prisons and $30,000 a year to house an inmate. There are over 3,000 people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes. These include theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check. Most of the non-violent offenses which triggered life sentences were drug crimes involving trace amounts of heroin and cocaine. One person imprisoned for life was merely a go-between for an undercover officer buying ten dollars’ worth of marijuana. California has more money devoted to its prison system than its system of education. State spending on incarceration is the fastest growing budget item besides Medicaid.

93 cents an hour for forced, prison labor in service to for-profit corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret. What this forced labor scheme has created, indirectly or not, is a financial incentive for both the corporations and government agencies to keep the prisons full to capacity. A good portion of the 2 million prisoners in public facilities are forced to work for corporations, making products on the cheap, undermining free laborers, and increasing the bottom line for many of America’s most popular brands. “Prison labor reportedly produces 100 percent of military helmets, shirts, pants, tents, bags, canteens, and a variety of other equipment. Prison labor makes circuit boards for IBM, Texas Instruments, and Dell. Many McDonald’s uniforms are sewn by inmates. Other corporations—Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Boeing, Motorola, Compaq, Revlon, and Kmart—also benefit from prison labor.”

$2.6 million pocketed by Pennsylvania judges who were paid to jail youths and send them to private prison facilities. The judges, paid off by the Mid Atlantic Youth Service Corporation, which specializes in private prisons for juvenile offenders, had more than 5,000 kids come through their courtrooms and sent many of them to prison for petty crimes such as stealing DVDs from Wal-Mart and trespassing in vacant buildings.

$1.4 billion per year reportedly lost to truancy by California school districts, which receive government funding based on student attendance. The so-called “solution” to student absences from school has proven to be a financial windfall for cash-strapped schools, enabling them to rake in millions, fine parents up to $500 for each unexcused absence, with the potential for jail time, and has given rise to a whole new track in the criminal justice system devoted to creating new revenue streams for communities. For example, Eileen DiNino, a woman serving a two-day jail sentence for her children’s truancy violations, died while in custody. She is one of hundreds of people jailed in Pennsylvania over their inability to pay fines related to truancy, which include a variety of arbitrary fees meant to rack up money for the courts. For example, “[DiNino’s] bill included a laundry list of routine fees: $8 for a “judicial computer project”; $60 for Berks constables; $40 for “summary costs” for several court offices; and $10 for postage.” So even if one is charged with a $20 fine, they may end up finding themselves on the hook for $150 in court fees.

$84.9 million collected in one year by the District of Columbia as a result of tickets issued by speeding and traffic light cameras stationed around the city. Multiply that income hundreds of times over to account for the growing number of localities latching onto these revenue-generating, photo-enforced camera schemes, and you’ll understand why community governments and police agencies are lining up in droves to install them, despite reports of wide scale corruption by the companies operating the cameras. Although nine states have banned the cameras, they’re in 24 states already and rising.

$1.4 billion for fusion centers. These fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance and intelligence efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, have proven to be exercises in incompetence, often producing irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence, while spending millions of dollars on “flat-screen televisions, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras and other gadgets.”

In sum, the American police state is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle, meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. For those with any accounting ability, it’s clear that the total sum of the expenses being charged to the American taxpayer’s account by the government add up to only one thing: the loss of our freedoms. It’s time to seriously consider a plan to begin de-funding this beast and keeping our resources where they belong: in our communities, working for us.

Republic of Turkey

So far today, I have 48 page hits from someone in Turkey. For the week, I have 60 page hits from Turkey. Now, I know next to nothing about Turkey and to my knowledge, I've never met anyone from Turkey. The only time I hear anything about Turkey is when the mainstream press says something and, of course, that can't be necessarily believed.

I'm not sure, but I think people in Turkey are generally muslims, so I hope whoever is checking me out is a science fiction fan rather than a fanatic. Well, I got curious and did a little research. What follows is more information about Turkey:

The Republic of Turkey is a contiguous transcontinental parliamentary republic with its smaller part in Southeastern Europe and its larger part in Western Asia (i.e. the Balkans and Anatolia, respectively). It is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey's location between Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.

Turkey has been inhabited since the paleolithic age, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations and Thracian peoples. After Alexander the Great's conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks.

Starting from the late 13th century, the Ottomans united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, becoming a major power in Eurasia and Africa during the early modern period. The weakening of the Ottoman Empire by the beginning of the 20th century led to the Armenian Genocide as well as major atrocities against Assyrians and Pontic Greeks. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in World War I, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. The Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.

Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The country's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population. More on the Turkish language here. Be forewarned: it looks complicated.

About three quarters of the population are ethnic Turks and about a fifth ethnic Kurds. The vast majority of the population is Muslim. Turkey is a member state of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey is also a member of the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organization. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power.

Welcome, Turkish readers! I hope you enjoy your visit to the North Texas Drifter! Be sure and check out my books at!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night

I dreamed last night that I was a reporter for a newspaper again and that I was assigned to interview Jodie Foster and Nicole Kidman. Apparently, they were doing a film project together and somehow my editor had finagled an inteview. Who cares? It was a dream, right? Grist for the blog is how I see it now. Anyway, I showed up for the interview with two other reporters who proceeded to ask typical lightweight questions which were received with haughty laughter and self-righteous answers. The really funny thing about it was that I wasn't wearing a shirt. Even funnier was that nobody asked me why.

When it came around to my turn to ask questions, I thought I would pose a question or two about their religious feelings and maybe link it up to Jodi's lesbian preferences. Nicole had sort of opened that door by talking about her favorite bible verses, which I can't remember now (darm it!). Wouldn't you know it, that was the moment I awoke.

I could make up something; after all, it's my blog, but I might get sued. On the other hand, presupposing Jodi or Nicole reads my blog is a leap. I normally get a handful of page hits a day and I'm pretty sure the only regualr readers are a couple of my Harry Irons fans, my girlfriend, and one or two people working for the government.

Unlike most other successful blogs, I never set out to make money by asking for donations, although sometimes I think I should. That would most likely end up in disappointment as well. I seek out other blogs to see what's on people's minds and to admire both good writing and poor. I come across a large number of folks who ask for donations in order to keep the web site going. The thing is, it doesn't cost very much to maintain a web site and register the domain.

It's time consuming, that's true, and one must actually come up with content on a regular basis, but I always considered that to be fun rather than a chore.

Nobody has ever paid me for blogging. Why would they? Have you read my posts? Ha! All the same, one of these days, I may ask for donations, especially if I need money to bail me out. I'll make it easy -- I'll use PayPal. Please contribute to the Save A Writer Fund. A writer is a terrible thing to waste.

Friday, July 25, 2014

“It’s Policy”

Have you ever stepped into one of those "policy traps" by a government or corporate official who, it seems, just doesn't want to give you what you want (or need)? Yes, I know, who hasn't?

In our country, children are taught in public school that they are to blindly follow orders. By the time they are adults, they simply accept the explanation that something is "just policy." Psychological conditioning trains us to do as we are told. However, what happens when “policy” asks us to do the unthinkable? The policy explanation has become an excuse for absolutely unspeakable acts.

Think I'm exaggerating? These days, fire crews stand by and watch homes burn to the ground. Rescue crews have been videoed watching people drown in the name of policy. Because of policy, TSA workers may touch and search Americans by the hundreds of thousands and Americans allow them to do it. Can you say "baa"? Sure you can.

Things are completely and totally out of control. Hitler and Stalin and Chairman Mao were able to do what they did because their populations blindly adhered to their “policies”. Likewise, is there anything the American people would not do if they were told it was “policy”?

In San Francisco recently, fire crews and police stood on the shore and watched as a 50 year old man drowned in the San Francisco Bay. An MSNBC report insisted that "they wanted to do something, but a policy tied to earlier budget cuts strictly forbade them from trying to save the 50-year-old." Approximately 75 people watched the man slowly drown.

Even more frightening was an incident in Tennessee. A team of firefighters stood by and watched a house burn to the ground because the homeowner had not paid his fees! It happened in Obion County, Tennessee. The homeowner, Gene Cranick, offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the fire, but he was told it was too late. The house took hours to burn to the ground. When the fire spread to a neighboring house, the fire department sprang into action. The policy was, if you didn't pay your property fees, you couldn't expect community services.

Policy wankers! They're everywhere. Schools, stores. local businesses, law enforcement and government.

These days, since the 9/11 incident, if you want to fly somewhere you must pass some of the most bizarre security measures imaginable. For instance, an “enhanced pat-down.” This involves highly personal touching that would be illegal if it was done on the street, but because it is “policy,” TSA officials do it with impunity and the American public lets them get away with it.

Back in June a 95 year old woman with cancer was forced to remove her adult diaper as part of the “enhanced pat-down” procedure. Does such an action make any kind of sense?

The truth is, we're losing all sense of what it means to be an American citizen.

If you object to having yourself or your children touched by TSA officials, then you will be arrested and hauled off by police. That is exactly what happened at Nashville International Airport when a 41 year old woman declared she did not want her young daughter touched inappropriately by TSA agents. They arrested her and not only did she miss her flight, but her life was massively re-arranged.

In these times we are all expected to go along with whatever the authorities want to do to us whether it is legal or not.

Do you have a smart meter for the electric hook-up to your home? These are highly invasive pieces of surveillance equipment, and utility companies in many areas of the country tell customers that if they don’t install them they will no longer receive electric service.

Bullying has become the standard operating procedure in the US.

There was a time when police and most public officials in the United States were actually friendly and helpful. There were consequences to actions and, as a result, officials controlled themselves -- they actually saw themselves as fellow citizens. But no longer. That was decades ago. Since then, there has been a cultural shift. Today those in authority are taught to act tough. They are told it is their job to give orders and to be authoritative and that they should expect immediate and total obedience

Policy is not law.
We have become the kind of totalitarian Big Brother (or, Big Sister, if you prefer) police state that we always accused communist countries of being. Every day, somewhere in America there are control freak bureaucrats and law enforcement officers and politicians who adopt yet more policies that take away even more of our freedoms.

It is my hope that at some point there will be a major shift back in the direction of liberty and freedom. Perhaps the American people will wake up and demand change. Until that time, however, welcome to the gulag.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American author and journalist. His style of writing had a strong influence on fiction and literature, while his life of adventure and his public image fascinated fans and critics alike. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature.

Hemingway was famous for a terse, minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives and got straight to the point. Perhaps his finest demonstration of short sentence prowess was when he was challenged to tell an entire story in only 6 words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Compelling, eh?

Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school he was a reporter for a few months for The Kansas City Star, prior to leaving for the Italian front to enlist with the World War I ambulance drivers. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. In 1921, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved to Paris, where he worked as a foreign correspondent and fell under the influence of the modernist writers and artists of the 1920s "Lost Generation" expatriate community. The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel, was published in 1926.

After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer; they divorced after he returned from the Spanish Civil War where he had been a journalist, and after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. Martha Gellhorn became his third wife in 1940; they separated when he met Mary Welsh in London during World War II. He was present at the Normandy Landings and the liberation of Paris.

Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was mearly killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain and ill health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway had permanent residences in Key West, Florida (1930s) and Cuba (1940s and 1950s), and in 1959, he bought a house in Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prometheus Fans

Click to enlarge. Right click to download desktop pic.

The Seeker

Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield was an American-Canadian rock band formed 1966 whose members included Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Jim Messina, Ken Koblun, and Jim Fielder which combined rock, folk, and country music. The band released the well known political anthem "For What It's Worth".

BS (ha ha) was plagued by infighting, drug-related arrests, and line-up changes that led to its break-up after two years. Three albums were released, but many demos, studio outtakes, and live recordings remained and were issued in the decades that followed.

Neil Young and Stephen Stills met in 1965 at the Fourth Dimension in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Young was playing with The Squires, a Winnipeg group he had led since February 1963, and Stills was on tour with The Company, a spin off from the Au Go Go Singers. Although the two did not see each other again for almost a year, the encounter left both with a strong desire to work together.

When The Company broke up at the end of their tour, Stills moved to the West Coast, where he worked as a studio musician and auditioned unsuccessfully for, among other things, The Monkees. He had been in a band called Buffalo Fish with fellow Greenwich Village transplant Peter Tork, who encouraged him to audition.

Told by record producer Barry Friedman that there would be work available if he could assemble a band, Stills invited fellow Au Go Go Singers alumnus Richie Furay and former Squires bass player Ken Koblun to come join him in California. Both responded, although Koblun chose to leave before very long and joined the group 3's a Crowd.

In early 1966 in Toronto, Neil Young met Bruce Palmer, a Canadian playing bass for a band called the Mynah Birds. In need of a lead guitarist, Palmer invited Young to join the group, and Young accepted. The Mynah Birds were set to record an album for Motown Records when their singer Ricky James Matthews (later known as Rick James) was tracked down and arrested by the U.S. Navy for being AWOL. With their record deal canceled, Young and Palmer decided to head for Los Angeles where they hoped to find Stephen Stills.

'53 Pontiac Hearse
Roughly a week later, discouraged at having been unable to locate Stills and ready to depart for San Francisco, they were stuck in traffic on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles when Stills, Furay and Friedman, sitting in their white van, recognized Young's black 1953 Pontiac hearse, which happened to be passing in the opposite direction. After an illegal u-turn by Furay, some shouting, hand-waving, and much excitement, the four musicians realized that they were united in their determination to put together a band. Drummer Dewey Martin, who had played with garage rock group the Standells and country artists such as Patsy Cline and The Dillards, was added to the roster less than a week later after contacting the group at the suggestion of the Byrds' manager, Jim Dickson.

Buffalo Springfield Steamroller
Taking their name from the side of a steamroller, made by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company, that had been parked on the street outside Friedman's house (where Stills and Furay were staying), the new group debuted on April 11, 1966, at The Troubadour in Hollywood. A few days later, they began a short tour of California as the opening act on a bill featuring The Dillards and The Byrds.

The final 20th century concert appearance was at the Long Beach Arena on May 5, 1968. After the band played many of its best-known tunes, an extended 20 plus-minute version of “Bluebird” became the group's swan song. Buffalo Springfield disbanded a little more than two years after it had begun.

Buffalo Springfield -- the Band.
Despite their popularity, Buffalo Springfield was never a major commercial success. "For What It’s Worth" was a significant hit and the group's legend grew stronger after the breakup, increasing with the later successes of its members. The longevity and impact on popular music several members would experience in the years to come solidified their early years of artistic creativity.

Stills went on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash with David Crosby of The Byrds and Graham Nash of The Hollies in 1968. Young launched a solo career, but in 1969 also reunited with Stills in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which saw the beginning of his sporadic relationship with that trio. Furay and Messina were founding members of Poco. Furay later joined J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman to form the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, and Messina teamed with Kenny Loggins in Loggins & Messina.

Palmer was CSNY's first choice to play bass, but due to various personal problems was replaced by Motown prodigy Greg Reeves. After recording a commercially unsuccessful jam-oriented solo album in 1970, Palmer faded into obscurity, although he did briefly play that same year with Toronto blues band Luke & The Apostles. In the early 1980s he appeared on Young's Trans album and then played with Martin in the "Buffalo Springfield Revisited" tribute band in the mid-1980s.

Band members include:

Richie Furay – guitar, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012) Stephen Stills – guitar, keyboards, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012) Neil Young – guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012) Dewey Martin – drums, vocals (1966–1968; died 2009) Bruce Palmer – bass guitar (1966–1968; died 2004) Jim Messina - bass guitar (1968) Ken Koblun - bass guitar (1966)

Additional musicians

Joe Vitale – drums, vocals (2010–2012) Rick Rosas – bass guitar (2010–2012)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When All Seems Lost

I recently completed William C. Dietz's book, When All Seems Lost (Ace Books, 2007). For those of you unfamiliar with Dietz, he writes science fiction, much of it military science fiction. His stories are full of action, intrigue, aliens, and space travel. His stuff is a lot of fun. The Legion of the Damned series is an extension of the French Foreign Legion into a distant high tech future. I could be wrong, but I think When All Seems Lost is the sixth book in the series.

Here is a quick rundown of the story:

The interstellar war with the ruthless Ramanthians continues as the sentient bugs fight to the death with no rules except to win. They overwhelm their opponents on the battlefield by sheer numbers and turn any survivors into slaves.

In When All Seems Lost, the Ramanthians unknowingly capture President Marcott Nankool, the head of the Confederacy of Sentient Beings. They send him to the forced labor camp on the planet Jericho. One of Nankool's aides, human diplomat Christine Vanderveen, accompanies him and protects his identity.

Meanwhile, ambitious Vice President Leo Jakov insists Nankool is dead and appoints himself interim president. However, Legion General William Booly (from earlier Legion of the Damned books) assigns Captain Antonio Santana to lead a suicidal rescue mission to Jericho. To thicken the plot, Christine Vanderveen is Santana's betrothed.

Rather than reveal the conclusion, I'll end this teaser review here. Although When All Seems Lost is part of a series, it stands well as a single read. Like the rest of Dietz's stuff, the story is fun, easy to read, and depicts an unlikely future that is easily overlooked. Dietz is an outstanding writer and story-teller.

Be What You Are

Guys being guys in New Delhi.
And so, after reading yet another article penned by a woman on how men should behave, I feel compelled to offer my two bits. In the first place, just as no man can understand what it is like to be a woman, neither can a woman know what it is like to be a man. Would it be proper for me to write an article describing how women should act, feel, and think? I think not. Although now that I noodle it, it might be fun.

The article I read, like so many others (I swear there must be a free template somewhere out on the internet), had numbered points to make, all predictable, all biased toward the feminine side, and all ludicrous. Let me explain why.

The first point was that men should be able to "feel". In the first place, we do feel. But, in the great big wide world of jockeying for position at work and competing with your fellow teammates and striving to be all you can be, it's best to not show your hand. That means most of the time repressing your emotions is a good thing. Men are stoic, or at least, should be. We should learn to repress both our pain and our desires so that we may perform better and not be punished or ridiculed for crying or whining or taking time out so that we may be melancholy for a day. Honey, I'm staying home from work today because I can't stand thinking about the Rangers losing that doubleheader.

The second point insisted that men should bare their souls, whatever that means, and then dropped this little gem: "Real euphoria goes deeper than sex." Really? Maybe she meant to say true love lasts longer than sex. I don't know but I'm not going to bare my soul without knowing what it means first.

We are then told that we should do things for women that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, like scraping ice from a car windshield in minus zero temperatures. Such deeds are not to be accomplished just for your wife either, they are to be done for all women. Again, I ask, why? To be nice in the hopes that we get to bare our soul later? Wait a minute. Are women weaker than men? Do they need help? For the last thirty years, I've been told we're equal in every way, so what's the deal?

No, we don't.
This next point is a mind blower. It says that we should think about our mate, our wife, our girlfriends, when we wake up from sleep. First thing. Numero uno. Huh? You know, I'm sorry, but once again, I've got to go to work. At least, let me use the bathroom.

Next, she says we should be on time. I'm always on time. Whether it's a date, a job, an interview, whatever. I'm always on time. On the other hand, most women I know would rather be dead than show up first at a party.

Then there's the admonition about a woman's time of the month. The author says, "A real man isn’t put off by talk of cramps, cravings or the occasional roller coaster of emotions that happen during shark week. Real men can buy tampons." Yes, I'll get in the car and go purchase tampons at Walmart if both your ankles are broken, but yes I will be put off by menses discussions because I was taught all my life to shut up whenever the subject came up. Everybody just pretended nothing was going on. It was the red elephant in the room but God help you if you wondered if her bad mood was due to her monthly cycle.

Ladies' cycle.
The seventh point was another one of those culture shifting, mind numbing assertions that we (men) must have an open mind. You know where I'm going with this, right? She says, "Real men aren’t racist, sexist or homophobic." Also, "They don’t believe they are stronger, more intelligent or superior because they are born with a penis." Sorry to tell you, but yes we do and yes we are, and no amount of you telling us how cavelike our behavior is, is going to change us. We'll just tell you what you want to hear while we continue to believe whatever the truth is.

We are told we must listen. Well, I do listen and I hear you. It's just that I don't necessarily agree with you, that's all. There was some other stuff, but I don't remember because I wasn't really paying attention.

The final point was designed to release all the tension that had built up during the course of the article. It said that we should drink bellinis. A bellini is apparently considered to be a ladies drink and I have no problem with downing a few. If you want to try one or a dozen for yourself, here's the recipe: The Bellini consists of puréed white peaches and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine. Marinating fresh peaches in wine is an Italian tradition. The original recipe was made with a bit of raspberry or cherry juice to give the drink a pink glow. Due, in part, to the limited availability of both white peaches and Prosecco, several variations exist.

Have a bellini.
California produces a white peach that works well, and yellow peaches or peach nectar can be substituted, especially if peaches are out of season and the flavor would be very bland. Other fruits or even flavoured liqueurs (peach schnapps, for example) are sometimes substituted for the peach puree.

The Cipriani family produces Bellini Base for the signature cocktail of the Harry's Bar restaurants. Other sparkling wines are commonly used in place of Prosecco, though richly flavored French champagne does not pair well with the light, fruity flavor of the Bellini. For a non-alcoholic version, sparkling juice or seltzer is used in place of the wine.

All you really need to know is that it's cool and refreshing and if you don't like it, you can always order a beer on the next round.

So, that's it. My view after reading dozens of these types of articles over the years, is that women think they want a boyfriend who can be their best girlfriend. I suspect, though, that if that arrangement is made, it won't be long before said girlfriend hooks up with a construction worker. Guys, be yourselves and don't worry about it.

By the way, my girlfriend will "get" this article because she is cool. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Code of Hammurabi

Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon (that is, of the First Babylonian Dynasty) from 1792 BC to 1750 BC. He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain its control. It has been said that Hammurabi was Amraphel, the King of Shinar in the Book of Genesis 14:1.

Hammurabi is widely known for the code of Babylonian law: the Code of Hammurabi. One of the first written laws in the world, the Code of Hammurabi was inscribed on a stele and placed in a public place so that all could see it, although it is thought that few were literate. The stele was later plundered by the Elamites and removed to their capital, Susa; it was rediscovered there in 1901 and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The code of Hammurabi contained 282 laws, written by scribes on 12 tablets. Unlike earlier laws, it was written in Akkadian, the daily language of Babylon, and could therefore be read by any literate person in the city.

The structure of the code is very specific, with each offense receiving a specified punishment. The punishments tended to be very harsh by modern standards, with many offenses resulting in death, disfigurement, or the use of the "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Lex Talionis "Law of Retaliation") philosophy. The code is also one of the earliest examples of the idea of presumption of innocence, and it also suggests that the accused and accuser have the opportunity to provide evidence. However, there is no provision for extenuating circumstances to alter the prescribed punishment.

A carving at the top of the stele portrays Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash or possibly Marduk, and the preface states that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods of his people to bring the laws to them. Parallels between this narrative and the giving of laws by God in Jewish tradition to Moses and similarities between the two legal codes suggest a common ancestor in the Semitic background of the two. Fragments of previous law codes have been found. David P. Wright argues that the Jewish law used Hammurabi's collection as a model, imitating both its structure and content.

Similar codes of law were created in several nearby civilizations, including the earlier Mesopotamian examples of Ur-Nammu's code, Laws of Eshnunna, and Code of Lipit-Ishtar, and the later Hittite code of laws.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No Fear

It's really not necessary.

The Engineering of Consent

"The Engineering of Consent" is an essay by Edward Bernays, first published in 1947, wherein "engineering consent" is defined as the art of manipulating people. Bernays maintains that entire populations, which are undisciplined or lacking in intellectual or definite moral principles, are vulnerable to unconscious influence and thus susceptible to want things that they do not need. This is achieved by linking products and ideas to unconscious desires. Ernest Dichter, widely considered to be the "father of motivational research," referred to this as "the secret-self of the American consumer."

In other words, consumer psychologists have already made the choice for people long before they buy a particular product by manipulating consumer desires on an unconscious level.

The central idea behind the engineering of consent is that people should not be aware of the manipulation taking place.

George Washington Hill, president of the American Tobacco Company, hired Edward Bernays in 1928 to lead a campaign to entice more women to smoke in public. The resulting marketing campaign is believed to have helped convert attitudes towards women’s smoking from a social taboo to a more socially acceptable act. Bernays accomplished the goal by associating women’s smoking with the ideas of “power” and “freedom” which he did by using the slogan “Torches of Freedom” during a famous parade in New York City.

The idea of “Engineering of Consent” was motivated by Freud’s idea that humans are irrational beings who are motivated by inner desires hidden in their unconscious. If one understood what those unconscious desires were, then one could use this to advantage in order to sell products and increase sales.

Furthermore, the same understanding can lead to techniques that politically influence and manipulate the public at the whim of powerful forces within society. That is, those wealthy enough to create ad campaigns.

Ernest Dichter
Ernest Dichter applied what he dubbed "the strategy of desire" for building a "stable society," by creating for the public a common identity through the products they consumed; again, much like with cultural commodification, where culture has no "identity," "meaning," or "history" inherited from previous generations, but rather, is created by the attitudes which are introduced by consumer behaviors and social patterns of the period. According to Dichter, "To understand a stable citizen, you have to know that modern man quite often tries to work off his frustrations by spending on self-sought gratification. Modern man is internally ready to fulfill his self-image, by purchasing products which compliment it."

If marketing can influence the public at such deep levels of the mind to purchase particular products, then it is not beyond belief to accept that similar techniques are employed to influence how citizens vote, what citizens believe is happening out in the world, and, well, just about everything in human experience. For instance, if our government wants us to believe something in order to further an agenda, they certainly have the resources to apply the same marketing techniques to a human awareness manipulation. Heroes and ideas are created and destroyed in the media. Without an honest media, there is no reliable source of news or information. This should go without saying, but the truth is, the majority of people are seduced by what they mentally ingest.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if you have any regard for the truth, turn off the television (oh, the radio too). Remember, newspapers are part of the mass hypnosis taking place. Be judicious in what you read and what you watch.

Propaganda (1928) by Edward Bernays
Edward Bernays

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.38 m (11.1 ft) and weighing up to 388.7 kg (857 lb) in the wild. Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. The species is classified in the genus Panthera along with the lion, leopard and jaguar. Tigers are apex predators, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovine. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.

Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast and Eastern Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps. The remaining six tiger subspecies have been classified as endangered. The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. The extent of area occupied by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911 km2 (457,497 sq mi), a 41% decline from the area estimated in the mid-1990s.

Click to enlarge.
The earliest fossils of true tigers are from Java, and are between 1.6 and 1.8 million years old. Distinct fossils are known from the early and middle Pleistocene deposits in China and Sumatra. A subspecies called the Trinil tiger (Panthera tigris trinilensis) lived about 1.2 million years ago and is known from fossils found at Trinil in Java.

Tigers first reached India and northern Asia in the late Pleistocene era, reaching eastern Beringia (but not the American Continent), Japan, and Sakhalin. Fossils found in Japan indicate the local tigers were, like the surviving island subspecies, smaller than the mainland forms, an example of insular dwarfism. Until the Holocene, tigers also lived in Borneo, as well as on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

The tiger's full genome sequence was published in 2013. It and other cat genomes were found to have similar repeat composition and an appreciably conserved synteny.

Lions have been known to breed with tigers (most often the Amur and Bengal subspecies) to create hybrids called ligers and tigons. Such hybrids were once commonly bred in zoos, but this is now discouraged due to the emphasis on conservation. Hybrids are still bred in private menageries and in zoos in China.

Male liger.
The liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress. Because the lion sire passes on a growth-promoting gene, but the corresponding growth-inhibiting gene from the female tiger is absent, ligers grow far larger than either parent. They share physical and behavioral qualities of both parent species (spots and stripes on a sandy background). Male ligers are sterile, but female ligers are often fertile. Males have about a 50% chance of having a mane, but, even if they do, their manes will be only around half the size of that of a pure lion. Ligers are typically between 10 and 12 feet in length, and can weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds or more.

The less common tigon is a cross between a lioness and a male tiger. Because the male tiger does not pass on a growth-promoting gene and the lioness passes on a growth inhibiting gene, tigons are often relatively small, only weighing up to 150 kg (350 lb), which is about 10–20% smaller than lions. Like ligers, they have physical and behavioural traits from both parental species, and males are sterile. Females are sometimes fertile and have occasionally given birth to litigons when mated to a lion.

Tigers have muscular bodies with powerful forelimbs, large heads and long tails. The pelage is dense and heavy; coloration varies between shades of orange and brown with white ventral areas and distinctive vertical black stripes, whose patterns are unique to each individual. Their function is likely for camouflage in vegetation such as long grass with strong vertical patterns of light and shade. The tiger is one of only a few striped cat species; it is not known why spots are the more common camouflage pattern among felids. The tiger's stripes are also found on the skin, so that if it were to be shaved, its distinctive coat pattern would still be visible. They have a mane-like heavy growth of fur around the neck and jaws and long whiskers, especially in males. The pupils are circular with yellow irises. The small, rounded ears have a prominent white spot on the back, surrounded by black. These false "eyespots", called ocelli, apparently play an important role in intraspecies communication.

The skull is similar to that of the lion, though the frontal region is usually not as depressed or flattened, with a slightly longer postorbital region. The skull of a lion has broader nasal openings. However, due to variation in skulls of the two species, the structure of the lower jaw is a more reliable indicator of species. The tiger also has fairly stout teeth; the somewhat curved canines are the longest among living felids with a crown height of up to 90 mm (3.5 in).

The oldest recorded captive tiger lived for 26 years. A wild specimen, having no natural predators, could in theory live to a comparable age.

They are a notably sexually dimorphic species, females being consistently smaller than males. The size difference between males and females is proportionally greater in the larger tiger subspecies, with males weighing up to 1.7 times more than females. Males also have wider forepaw pads than females, enabling gender to be told from tracks.

Tigers can occupy a wide range of habitat types, but will usually require sufficient cover, proximity to water, and an abundance of prey. Compared to the lion, the tiger prefers denser vegetation, for which its camouflage colouring is ideally suited, and where a single predator is not at a disadvantage compared with the multiple felines in a pride. A further habitat requirement is the placement of suitably secluded den locations, which may consist of caves, large hollow trees, or dense vegetation. Bengal tigers in particular live in many types of forests, including wet, evergreen, and the semievergreen of Assam and eastern Bengal; the swampy mangrove forest of the Ganges Delta; the deciduous forest of Nepal, and the thorn forests of the Western Ghats. In various parts of their range they inhabit or have inhabited additionally partially open grassland and savanna as well as taiga forests and rocky habitats.

Tiger punch!
Wild tigers that have had no prior contact with humans actively avoid interactions with humans. However, tigers cause more human deaths through direct attack than any other wild mammal. Attacks are occasionally provoked, as tigers lash out after being injured while they themselves are hunted. Attacks can be provoked accidentally, as when a human surprises a tiger or inadvertently comes between a mother and her young, or as in a case in rural India when a postman startled a tiger, used to seeing him on foot, by riding a bicycle. Occasionally tigers come to view people as prey. Such attacks are most common in areas where population growth, logging, and farming have put pressure on tiger habitats and reduced their wild prey. Most man-eating tigers are old, are missing teeth, and are unable to capture their preferred prey. For example, the Champawat Tiger, a tigress found in Nepal and then India, had two broken canines. She was responsible for an estimated 430 human deaths, the most attacks known to be perpetrated by a single wild animal, by the time she was shot in 1907 by Jim Corbett. According to Corbett, tiger attacks on humans are normally in daytime, when people are working outdoors and are not keeping watch. Early writings tend to describe man-eating tigers as cowardly because of their ambush tactics.

Man-eaters have been a particular problem in recent decades in India and Bangladesh, especially in Kumaon, Garhwal and the Sundarbans mangrove swamps of Bengal, where some healthy tigers have hunted humans. Because of rapid habitat loss, tiger attacks have increased in the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans area had 129 human deaths from tigers from 1969 to 1971. In the 10 years prior to that period, about 100 attacks per year in the Sundarbans, with a high of around 430 in some years of the 1960s. Unusually, in some years in the Sundarbans, more humans are killed by tigers than vice versa. In 1972, India's production of honey and beeswax dropped by 50% when at least 29 people who gathered these materials were devoured. In 1986 in the Sundarbans, since tigers almost always attack from the rear, masks with human faces were worn on the back of the head, on the theory that tigers usually do not attack if seen by their prey. This decreased the number of attacks only temporarily. All other means to prevent attacks, such as providing more prey or using electrified human dummies, worked less well.

At least 27 people were killed or seriously injured by captive tigers in the United States from 1998 to 2001.

Not recommended.
In some cases, rather than being predatory, tiger attacks on human seem to be territorial in nature. At least in one case, a tigress with cubs killed eight people entering her territory without consuming them at all.

Adult tigers lead largely solitary lives. They establish and maintain home ranges. Resident adults of either sex generally confine their movements to a territory, within which they satisfy their needs and those of their growing cubs. Individuals sharing the same area are aware of each other's movements and activities. The size of the home range mainly depends on prey abundance, and, in the case of males, on access to females. A tigress may have a territory of 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi), while the territories of males are much larger, covering 60 to 100 km2 (23 to 39 sq mi). The range of a male tends to overlap those of several females, providing him with a large field of prospective mating partners.

Unlike many felines, tigers are strong swimmers and often deliberately bathe in ponds, lakes and rivers as a means of keeping cool in the heat of the day. Among the big cats, only the jaguar shares a similar fondness for water. They may cross rivers up to 7 km (4.3 mi) across and can swim up to 29 km (18 mi) in a day. They are also able to carry prey as they swim or capture it in the water.

Young female tigers establish their first territories close to their mother's. The overlap between the female and her mother's territory reduces with time. Males, however, migrate further than their female counterparts and set out at a younger age to mark out their own area. A young male acquires territory either by seeking out an area devoid of other male tigers, or by living as a transient in another male's territory until he is older and strong enough to challenge the resident male. Young males seeking to establish themselves thereby comprise the highest mortality rate (30–35% per year) amongst adult tigers.

To identify his territory, the male marks trees by spraying urine and anal gland secretions, as well as marking trails with scat and marking trees or the ground with their claws. Females also use these "scrapes", as well as urine and scat markings. Scent markings of this type allow an individual to pick up information on another's identity, sex and reproductive status. Females in oestrus will signal their availability by scent marking more frequently and increasing their vocalizations.

Chillin' with the homies.
Although for the most part avoiding each other, tigers are not always territorial and relationships between individuals can be complex. An adult of either sex will sometimes share its kill with others, even those who may not be related to them. George Schaller observed a male share a kill with two females and four cubs. Unlike male lions, male tigers allow females and cubs to feed on the kill before the male is finished with it; all involved generally seem to behave amicably, in contrast to the competitive behaviour shown by a lion pride. This quotation is from Stephen Mills' book Tiger, describing an event witnessed by Valmik Thapar and Fateh Singh Rathore in Ranthambhore National Park:

"A dominant tigress they called Padmini killed a 250 kg (550 lb) male nilgai – a very large antelope. They found her at the kill just after dawn with her three 14-month-old cubs and they watched uninterrupted for the next ten hours. During this period the family was joined by two adult females and one adult male, all offspring from Padmini's previous litters, and by two unrelated tigers, one female the other unidentified. By three o'clock there were no fewer than nine tigers round the kill."

Male tigers are generally more intolerant of other males within their territories than females are of other females. Territory disputes are usually solved by displays of intimidation rather than outright aggression. Several such incidents have been observed in which the subordinate tiger yielded defeat by rolling onto its back and showing its belly in a submissive posture. Once dominance has been established, a male may tolerate a subordinate within his range, as long as they do not live in too close quarters. The most aggressive disputes tend to occur between two males when a female is in oestrus, and may rarely result in the death of one of the males.

Female liger.
Tigers generally do not prey on fully grown adult Asian elephants and Indian rhinoceros but incidents have been reported. More often, it is the more vulnerable small calves that are taken. Tigers have been reported attacking and killing elephants ridden by humans during tiger hunts in the nineteenth century. When in close proximity to humans, tigers will also sometimes prey on such domestic livestock as cattle, horses, and donkeys. As mentioned above, old or wounded tigers, unable to catch wild prey, can become man-eaters; this pattern has recurred frequently across India. An exception is in the Sundarbans, where healthy tigers prey upon fishermen and villagers in search of forest produce, humans thereby forming a minor part of the tiger's diet. Although almost exclusively carnivorous, tigers will occasionally eat vegetation for dietary fibre.

During the 1980s, a tiger named "Genghis" in Ranthambhore National Park was observed frequently hunting prey through deep lake water, a pattern of behaviour that had not previously been witnessed in over 200 years of observations. Moreover, he appeared to be unusually successful, with 20% of hunts ending in a kill.

After killing their prey, tigers sometimes drag it to conceal it in vegetative cover, usually pulling it by grasping with their mouths at the site of the killing bite. This, too, can require great physical strength. In one case, after it had killed an adult gaur, a tiger was observed to drag the massive carcass over a distance of 12 m (39 ft). When 13 men simultaneously tried to drag the same carcass later, they were unable to move it. An adult tiger can go for up to two weeks without eating, then gorge on 34 kg (75 lb) of flesh at one time. In captivity, adult tigers are fed 3 to 6 kg (6.6 to 13.2 lb) of meat a day.

Mating can occur all year round, but is more common between November and April. A female is only receptive for three to six days. Mating is frequent and noisy during that time. Gestation can range from 93 to 112 days, the average being 105 days. The litter is usually two or three cubs, occasionally as few as one or as many as six. Cubs weigh from 680 to 1,400 g (1.50 to 3.09 lb) each at birth, and are born blind and helpless. The females rear them alone, with the birth site and maternal den in a sheltered location such as a thicket, cave or rocky crevice. The father generally takes no part in rearing them. Unrelated wandering male tigers may kill cubs to make the female receptive, since the tigress may give birth to another litter within five months if the cubs of the previous litter are lost. The mortality rate of tiger cubs is about 50% in the first two years. Few other predators attack tiger cubs due to the diligence and ferocity of the mother tiger. Apart from humans and other tigers, common causes of cub mortality are starvation, freezing, and accidents.

A dominant cub emerges in most litters, usually a male. This cub is more active than its siblings and takes the lead in their play, eventually leaving its mother and becoming independent earlier. The cubs open their eyes at six to fourteen days old. By eight weeks, the cubs make short ventures outside the den with their mother, although they do not travel with her as she roams her territory until they are older. The cubs are nursed for three to six months. Around the time they are weaned, they start to accompany their mother on territorial walks and they are taught how to hunt. The cubs often become capable (and nearly adult size) hunters at eleven months old. The cubs become independent around eighteen months of age, but it is not until they are around two to two and a half years old that they fully separate from their mother. Females reach sexual maturity at three to four years, whereas males do so at four to five years.

Save Tigers Now