A UK woman has sent the internet wild with footage of what appears to be an alien-like worm rat invading her home. Filmed in Portsmouth, the bizarre creature has been compared to a monster from hit sci-fi show ‘Stranger Things’.
In the Netflix drama, residents of a fictional US town are spooked by a number of bizarre anomalies, including the discovery of gruesome alien life teeming below ground and under their homes. Rebecca Deen has now recounted her own ‘alien’ experience in the UK, which occurred in a porch at her house in Portsmouth.
According to Deen, the brown and limbless animal with a long spindly tail was spotted sliding near a skirting board on the floor of her home.
“Found this slithering in my porch… any ideas… feel like I’m in an episode of Stranger Things,” Deen said in a Facebook post, which has since been viewed more than 28,000 times.
In Deen’s footage, the bizarre oblong shape creature can been seen moving using it’s stomach, with a girl in the background heard to worryingly ask: “What is it?”
The clip has since garnered massive interest online and scores of internet denizens have proffered up opinion and some ideas what it could be.
“That is possibly the most disgusting things I have ever seen,” said one commenter. A second person added that the creature looked like an extraterrestrial. “I would check your garden for any signs of a spacecraft landing,” they said.
“100% something from the other side,” Shanna Watson claimed. Another Facebook user advised Deen to get a blowtorch to destroy the animal.
But as is normally the case with peculiar sightings, there may be a more reasonable explanation. It’s been suggested that what Rebecca Deen actually saw was a larvae species like a rat-tailed maggot, which can grow more than 4 inches in length.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Thursday that prevents cities and counties in the state from levying sales taxes on groceries, including soda and other sugary beverages, through 2030.
Sounds great, right? On the surface, yes, but Brown and other Democratic lawmakers in the state weren’t motivated by a desire to protect citizens from excess taxation. Rather, Brown signed Assembly Bill 1838 in an effort to ensure that California localities can keep on increasing other types of taxes.
The bill, which passed with overwhelming support in both houses of California’s legislature, is the result of a compromise between lawmakers and the beverage industry, which was supporting a statewide ballot measure that would have made it difficult for cities and counties to raise all local taxes. Had the ballot measure passed, local tax increases would have needed the approval of two-thirds of voters rather than just a simple majority.
In a signing statement addressed to the California State Legislature, Brown assured lawmakers he understands that soda taxes “combat the dangerous and ill effects in the diets of children,” but indicated he had no choice in the matter. Just four cities in the state are currently passing soda taxes, he wrote, while indicating that the tax initiative had the potential to affect all 482 cities in California.
He also noted that the ballot measure would have restricted “the normal regulatory capacity of the state by imposing a two-thirds legislative vote on what is now solely within the competency of state agencies.” Such a restriction, Brown believes, “would be an abomination.”
The ballot initiative, which was formally withdrawn within minutes of Brown signing AB-138 into law, would have had a significant impact on local tax increases. According to California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), about half of local tax measures approved by voters since 2012 did not receive two-thirds support. Those measures have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, the LAO said.
The initiative did have some support in the state legislature, particularly among several Republicans who weren’t happy it was withdrawn and didn’t think AB-1838 was a particularly good compromise.
“This bill tells one million people that signed this petition to make it harder to raise their taxes that their voices don’t matter,” said state Sen. Jeff Stone (R–Temecula), according to the Los Angeles Times.
Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R–Huntington Beach), blasted Democrats who voted in favor of AB-1838 even though they support soda taxes. “Don’t cry your crocodile tears at me,” Harper said.
Indeed, there were many Democrats who said publicly they didn’t like AB-1838 but ultimately voted yes on the measure.
“I think this is a terrible decision that we’re making,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D–Sacramento), who still supported the bill.
“What on Earth has happened here?” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D–Santa Monica), who also voted yes.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), couldn’t bring himself to support AB-1838, but said he understood many of his colleagues felt like they had to do so. He claimed the beverage “industry is aiming basically a nuclear weapon at governing in California and saying if you don’t do what we want, we’re going to pull the trigger and you are not going to be able to fund basic government services.”
“This is a pick-your-poison kind of situation, a Sophie’s choice. What the legislature is doing is perfectly reasonable,” Wiener added, according to The Sacramento Bee.
In essence, Brown and other lawmakers supported AB-1838 because they didn’t want to give taxpayers a bigger say in government. The result is passage of a bill that no one seems to actually like.
The environment and high finance are strange bedfellows – but a new movement is raising billions to fight climate change. A breakthrough – or green hogwash?
By Fred Pearce
A MID-LIFE crisis brought Sean Kidney his epiphany. “My father died and I had a stroke,” he says. “It was a wake-up call about what I was doing to create a world my kids could survive in.” Kidney had been a consultant on top Australian pension funds, but now he vowed to put his skills to use in a new way: combatting climate change.
Finance and the environment are traditionally uneasy bedfellows, but they have been getting cosier of late. Buoyant returns from green investments, plus the ever clearer financial repercussions of climate inaction, have drawn vast flows of money into projects to combat and mitigate global warming. It’s also spawning alternative types of investment designed to help save the planet. Could capitalism succeed where governments have largely failed – or is this all green hogwash?
The fixation on fast returns makes finance seemingly ill-equipped to cope with a long-term problem like climate change. Traders’ algorithms make money over timespans of milliseconds; CEOs can be hired and fired based on quarterly returns; even central banks tend to work on two or three-year cycles when setting monetary policy. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, acknowledged as much in a speech in 2015. Climate change is a “tragedy of the horizon”, he said at Lloyd’s, the London-based insurer. “Once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”
Since then, however, a new wind has begun blowing. Low-carbon technologies have continued to mature, with solar energy in particular graduating from high-cost niche to financial superstardom, thanks …
London: An Indian-origin UK man on trial for killing his ex-wife and then stuffing her body into a suitcase was today sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in jail for murder.
Ashwin Daudia had denied the murder charge, claiming he lost his temper during an argument with Kiran Daudia at their home in Leicester last January and did not attack her deliberately. But the jury did not accept his version of events and found him guilty of killing the 46-year-old call centre worker.
The 51-year-old accused was caught on CCTV dragging his ex-wife’s body in a suitcase before dumping it in an alleyway. “I was angry, I lost control,” he told the Leicester Crown Court, adding that Kiran Daudia had initially assaulted him and to silence her he put his hand over her mouth and then forcefully squeezed her neck.
He admitted he then lied to his two sons, relatives, and the police by falsely claiming his ex-wife did not return home from a morning shift at a call centre and hid the body in the suitcase to prevent his younger son from seeing it.
The couple, who had an arranged marriage in India in 1988, were divorced in 2014 but had continued living separate lives under the same roof.
The factory worker husband was to move out of the family home on January 16, 2017, when the attack occurred, the Leicester Mercury reported.
Kiran’s body was discovered in the suitcase by police the next day.
Her sister had bought the couple’s family home in Leicester to enable the victim to continue living there without her ex-husband after the divorce.
Their two sons chose to “side” with their mother and had relatively little to do with their father.
During the two-week murder trial which concluded on Friday, Ashwin Daudia claimed he lost his temper when his ex-wife shouted at him because he had not packed his bags or moved out.
He claimed she swore at him and told him to go and die in India.
He denied the prosecution’s suggestion that he had waited for his ex-wife to return home from work to deliberately kill her.
“I didn’t do it deliberately, at that time my mind wasn’t working,” he told the court.
The prosecution claimed that Daudia, who followed the court proceedings through a Gujarati interpreter, had continued to lie about the circumstances surrounding the killing and had committed the murder after growing increasingly resentful of his ex-wife, who had joined a dating agency to meet other men.
In the six weeks since the passage of the tax law, dozens of companies have announced bonuses and wage hikes, some of them just hours after the bill was passed.
Although the bill has not yet gone into effect, there been other tangible benefits to a lower tax burden—some gas and electric companies, for example, have decided to pass on their tax savings via lower rates for customers.
None of this should’ve been unexpected. Nearly 140 economists, urging Congress in November to pass the tax reform bill, predicted more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for Americans, largely because of a lower corporate tax rate, which they explained would spur investment, business formation, and productivity.
Shikha Dalmia wrote positively about the tax bill back in April. She predicted it would spur the kind of growth we’re starting to see signs of, and also noted that that growth could have the effect of undercutting Trump’s ethno-nationalist agenda.
There’s also evidence that historically lower tax rates in the U.S. overall lead to higher economic growth.
Perhaps Peter Suderman put it best: the tax bill was in no way perfect, but not the end of the world its critics predicted. Instead, it was a “predictable, conventional piece of Republican tax legislation,” with predictable drawbacks (primarily a deficit increase) and benefits, some of which are starting to be seen.
Before the new law, the U.S. had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, leading many companies to move some operations overseas to lower their burden. Studies suggested the rate was so high it was actually reducing productivity so much as to lead to decreased revenue.
In the run-up to last month’s vote on the Republican tax bill, critics poo-pooed the intuitive idea that if companies pay less in taxes, some of that will make its way back to workers. Democrats in Congress were even worse, deploying apocalyptic rhetoric about the bill.
The Center for American Progress’ Igor Volsky, meanwhile, sounded downright ecstatic that Walmart announced layoffs.
Paul Ryan in December:
“majority of businesses are going to do just what we say, reinvest in their workers, reinvest in their factories, pay people more money, higher wages.”
TODAY, WALMART –THE LARGEST PRIVATE EMPLOYER — ANNOUNCED IT WAS LAYING OFF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS.
Volsky’s characterization of what happened is misleading. Walmart is reportedly closing dozens of its underperforming Sam’s Club locations after years of expansions. Walmart, meanwhile, announced it was raising its starting wage to $ 11 an hour, handing out bonuses to eligible employees, and looking for other ways to re-invest their tax savings.
For his part, Ryan’s prediction was about what a “majority of companies” would do, as Volsky himself described it, not every single one. A lower tax burden makes it easier to do business but it’s hardly a cure-all. Most advocates avoided that kind of exaggeration.
Companies’ decisions to give employees bonuses or raise wages are headline-grabbers, and in the coming months and years there ought to be evidence other good things happening, too. And all because individuals the companies who employs them can keep more of their own money.
“A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation—and may finally raise wages significantly,” opens a recent New York Times article surveying the state of the American economy.
One imagines that readers of the esteemed paper were surprised to run across such a rosy assessment after having been bombarded with news of a homicidal Republican tax plan for so many weeks. But not to worry! Over the next few thousand words, the authors do their best to assure readers that neither deregulation nor tax cuts are really behind this new economic activity—even if business leaders keep telling them otherwise.
For example, they claim that “There is little historical evidence tying regulation levels to growth.” A few paragraphs later, we again learn that “The evidence is weak that regulation actually reduces economic activity or that deregulation stimulates it.”
A reporter without an agenda might have written that evidence was “arguable,” because I bet I could corral a bunch of economists to tell you that lowering the cost of doing business spurs economic activity quite often. And though the Trump administration somewhat overstates its regulatory cutbacks, it has stopped hundreds of Obama-era regulations from being enacted. Even better, it has stopped thousands of yet-to-be-invented regulations from ever being considered. There’s plenty of evidence, in the article and elsewhere, that this kind of deregulation has plenty to do with investment and job growth.
There is also plenty of evidence that econ reporters at major publications have spent the past decade propping up economists who tell them what they want to hear. That is to say, they prop up economists who obsess over “inequality” rather than economic growth, who worry about the future of labor unions or climate change or whatever policy liberals happen to be plying at the moment. There are plenty of economists out there making good arguments for the free market who will never be member of the “economists say” clique.
For eight years, we consistently heard about how “economists say” everything Democrats were doing was great (even when hundreds disagreed). Unsurprisingly, “economists” were wrong about a lot. The rosy predictions set by President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers regarding the “stimulus,” the administration’s prediction of 4.6 percent growth by 2012 and the Congressional Budget Office predictions about Obamacare were all way off base.
There are thousands of unknowns that can’t be quantified or computed, including human nature. But after decades of using data to help us think about goods, services, jobs, consumption and our choices, “economists say” is now used to coat liberal policy positions with a veneer of scientific certitude. And since Democrats began successfully aligning economics with social engineering, we’ve stopped seriously talking about the tradeoffs of regulations.
A good example of this trend is the push for a $ 15 minimum wage—an emotionally satisfying, popular and destructive policy idea. Most cities that have passed the hike have experienced job losses. When researchers at the University of Washington studied Seattle’s $ 15 minimum-wage hike, one of the largest in the nation, they found that thousands of fewer jobs were created and thousands of people lost hours of work, making them poorer.
No doubt a lot of people were surprised. Vox, a leading light in the liberalism-masquerading-as-science genre, ran an article headlined “The Controversial Study Showing High Minimum Wages Kill Jobs, Explained.” You might wonder why incessantly quoted studies from liberal “nonpartisan” groups that falsely predicted minimum wages wouldn’t hurt cities aren’t “controversial.” Because if you want to raise the minimum wage, you will raise the price of labor and often reduce the amount of labor that’s going to be hired. That’s the trade-off. For decades, most economists agreed.
While most economists I’ve known are relatively humble about forecasting, the ones who aren’t get most of the press. “Out of 42 Top Economists, Only 1 Believes the GOP Tax Bills Would Help the Economy,” a November Vox headline read. (Indeed, 36 percent of those polled gave the wholly rational answer of “uncertain.”) “We’ll be lucky to have 2 percent” growth, “economists say” regular Mark Zandi told CNN in May.
Certainly, the economy doesn’t have the room to grow that it had in 2007 or 2012, but so far, Zandi is wrong. Neither deregulation nor tax cuts are a panacea. But businesses have already acted on deregulation and corporate tax cuts. Dozens of companies announced they would hand out bonus checks to hundreds of thousands of workers before the corporate tax cut was even signed into law. Perhaps these corporations only did it all to gain favor with the administration. Hey, some people suck up to government by cutting bonus checks for their workers, and some people make electric cars no one wants. The fact is that deregulation and tax cuts matter. We already have evidence. We just don’t give voice to the economists who would tell us so.
Happy 350th birthday, Jonathan Swift. Widely recognised as the leading satirist in the history of the English language, Swift found his way into the world 350 years ago on November 30, 1667. Celebrations of his life and legacy have been underway across the globe – not only in his home city of Dublin but also Philadelphia, Münster, Yokosuka City, Dundee and beyond.
Gulliver’s Travels is Swift’s most famous work. Since it first appeared in 1726, it has captivated readers, authors and artists alike. But many people’s engagement with this astonishing book tends to get lost in fantastical images of scampish little people and baffled giants. So here is your cut-out-and-keep guide to all things Gulliver.
1. Not really a children’s book
Most readers will fondly remember Gulliver as a children’s book, but the unexpurgated version is full of brutality. The ruthlessly logical Houyhnhnms – highly intelligent horse-like creatures – plan to wipe out the bestial humanoid Yahoos by castrating them all. This plan is inadvertently inspired by Gulliver’s description of how horses are treated in England.
There is a particularly unsavoury scene in the Lilliput voyage where Gulliver urinates on the queen’s home to quench a devastating fire. This is routinely included in the children’s edition, albeit in sanitized form. And then there’s the scene in one of Gulliver’s final adventures where our hero has to fend off a highly libidinous female Yahoo who appears intent on raping him.
2. Coining new words
Gulliver’s Travels has given the English language a number of notable words, not least Houyhnhnm (move your lips like a horse when saying it). There’s also Yahoo, an uneducated ruffian; brobdingnagian, meaning huge, after the giants in the second voyage; and lilliputian, meaning small, after the miniature humans of the first voyage.
Swift also loved puns. Lindalino, a most unusual place, is another name for Dublin (double “lin”). The flying city of Laputa is a harsh allegory of England and its colonial dominion over Ireland – the name means “the whore” in Spanish (la puta). As for the kingdom of Tribnia, it is an anagram of Britain. Its residents call it Langden, an anagram of England.
3. Roman à clef
Like any successful satirist, Swift had many enemies. Britain’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole, is recreated as Flimnap, who as the pompous Lord High Treasurer of Lilliput has an equivalent role in their society. Either the Duke of Marlborough or Earl of Nottingham is the inspiration for his war-hungry governmental counterpart Skyresh Bolgolam, the Lord High Admiral of Lilliput.
Other authority figures are roundly mocked throughout the book. The pettiness of politicians – Whigs and Tories alike – is compellingly conveyed by rendering them small. That moment where Gulliver urinates on the palace is sometimes interpreted as a reference to the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, which ceded Gibraltar to the UK – and by which the Tories put out the fire of the War of Spanish Succession with some very ungentlemanly conduct.
4. Big in Japan
Konnonzaki in Japan, just south of Tokyo, is a tourist delight. In addition to stunning mountains and beautiful beaches, it is thought to be where Gulliver first set foot in Japan – represented as the port of Xamoschi.
Local tourist associations in neighbouring Yokosuka City hold a Gulliver-Kannonzaki Festival every November. American sailors from the Yokosuka Naval Base dress up as Gulliver and parade around the district. In the first Godzilla movie, the monster also lands at Kannonzaki, then heads toward Tokyo – just like Gulliver.
5. Gulliver goes Martian
The book jokingly mentions the presence of moons around Mars. After Phobos and Deimos were discovered by astronomers in 1872, Swift crater on Deimos was named in the Irishman’s honor.
6. Swifter things
Before the advent of film, Gulliver appeared in stage adaptations, musical rearrangements, visual caricatures – and on fans, pots and various other knick-knacks. Pioneering French illusionist Georges Méliès directed and starred in the first cinematic adaptation in 1902, the spectacular Le Voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et Chez les Géants.
Writers expressly influenced by Gulliver’s Travels include HG Wells (most obviously in The Island of Dr Moreau and The First Men in the Moon) and George Orwell (Animal Farm). Margaret Atwood’s adventure romance Oryx and Crake takes a quotation from Swift for an epigraph. Atwood has also written an important essay on the mad scientists depicted in Gulliver’s third voyage.
In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the main character, Guy Montag, alludes to the Big Endian-Little Endian controversy about the proper way to break a boiled egg (“It is computed that 11,000 persons have at several times suffered death rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end”).
8. Gulliver’s encores
Our national hero’s life ends unhappily – by his own account – when he returns home to a wife and children he has come to loathe. Nevertheless, scores of secondary authors keep taking Gulliver on yet more journeys, typically beyond the world Swift created for him, but sometimes back to where it all began.
The earliest of these was the anonymously authored Memoirs of the Court of Lilliput, published less than a year after Gulliver took his first bow. More recently, a 1965 Japanese animated film took an elderly Gulliver to the moon – along with a new crew comprising a boy, a crow, a dog and a talking toy soldier. New countries, new planets, new companions, new adventures: Gulliver has had a busy afterlife.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A year has passed since a supernatural demon terrorized the town of Hawkins, Indiana, but as Netflix’s hit 1980s science fiction series “Stranger Things” returns for a second season on Friday, life has not returned to normal for the unlikely heroes.
The adults and teenagers of “Stranger Things 2” wrestle emotionally with the events of the first season: a town boy’s disappearance, a death, a mysterious girl with superpowers and a decaying parallel universe called the Upside Down.
“We wanted that trauma to really run through the entire season so it’s about these characters confronting the horrors,” said Matt Duffer, one half of the Duffer Brothers, the twins who created the show.
All nine episodes of “Stranger Things 2” will be released on Friday.
At the center of the show are its young teenage breakout stars. Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) suffers worsening visions of the Upside Down after being rescued, forcing his friends to try to find a way to defeat the demon known as Demogorgon.
Eleven, the innocent, tormented young girl with superpowers played by Emmy-nominated 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, is believed dead and is in hiding, staying with the town’s police chief, Jim Hopper. Frustrated at being kept away from her friends, Eleven clashes with Hopper (David Harbour) and embarks on a mission to find her mother and finally find a home.
Cast members (L-R) Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo pose at the premiere for the second season of the television series “Stranger Things” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
“We wanted (Eleven) to go through her own journey in a way that was much more personal to her and wasn’t tied to the boys,” Matt Duffer said. “We wanted her to go through a journey of self-discovery without the help of anyone else.”
“Stranger Things” has become a phenomenon for Netflix Inc, landing Emmy wins and drawing a cadre of obsessed fans who launched a viral online campaign, #JusticeForBarb, sparked by the gruesome demise of supporting character Barb Holland.
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The second season ramps up the quest to bring closure to her death while introducing new characters and expanding the story geographically.
The Duffers said they anticipate five seasons to bring “Stranger Things” to a conclusion.
“It was important to us this season to start to move out of Hawkins and to introduce this world,” said Ross Duffer.
“It’s such a fine line and it’s difficult and obviously sequels always feel this way because people want some of the same – that’s why they liked it in the first place – but you don’t want to just go in circles,” he added.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jonathan Oatis