The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth. Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

The truth be told ...!
 
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Today in History

1588 The Spanish Armada is sighted off the coast of England.
1602 The Duke of Biron is executed in Paris for conspiring with Spain and Savoy against King Henry IV of France.
1603 Bartholomew Gilbert is killed in Virginia by Indians, during a search for the missing Roanoke colonists.
1693 The Army of the Grand Alliance is destroyed by the French at the Battle of Neerwinden.
1830 Liberals led by the Marquis of Lafayette seize Paris in opposition to the king's restrictions on citizens' rights.
1848 A rebellion against British rule is put down in Tipperary, Ireland.
1858 Japan signs a treaty of commerce and friendship with the United States.
1862 Confederates are routed by Union guerrillas at Moore's Mill, Missouri.
1875 Peasants in Bosnia and Herzegovina rebel against the Ottoman army.
1915 U.S. Marines land at Port-au-Prince to protect American interests in Haiti.
1921 Adolf Hitler becomes the president of the Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis).
1945 After delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine. The survivors are adrift for two days before help arrives.
1981 Prince Charles marries Lady Diana.
1990 Boston Red Sox hit 12 doubles in a game, setting major league record.
1996 A US federal court strikes down the child protection portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, calling it too broad.
2005 Astronomers announce discovery of dwarf planet Eris, leading the International Astronomic Union to clarify the definition of a planet.

Non Sequitur

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Dewi The Dragon: Guardian Of Castle Harlech

Harlech Castle was constructed atop a spur of rock next to the Irish Sea by Edward I of England to seal his victory over Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last sovereign Prince of Wales. Although the sea has retreated and no longer protects the castle a new guardian has recently arrived.
Where water once protected Harlech, now it is fire. Dewi the Dragon, resplendent in his scaly coat of steel, is the new sentinel of the still magnificent medieval castle and guards the town's inhabitants from harm.

Lesser Known, Active Terrorist Groups

We've all heard about the atrocities committed by groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, but other terror groups are in operation that may not be so well known to the general public.

Your Bathroom is NOT the Germiest Place in the House

It's tempting to think that anything in or near your toilet and shower has to be the most bacteria-friendly place in the house. Not so! It turns out bacteria is pretty much everywhere: No matter where you go, there it is. Trace has the details.

Send them to us says Masschusetts Governor

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced a proposal on Friday for two military facilities to serve as host sites for some of the thousands of undocumented Central American immigrants who have come into the U.S. in recent months, saying the move falls in line with the country's tradition of helping children in need.
"We have rescued Irish children from famine, Russian and Ukrainian children from religious persecution, Cambodian children from genocide, Haitian children from earthquakes, Sudanese children from civil war, and New Orleans children from Hurricane Katrina," Patrick said. "Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation. The point is that this good Nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don't."
Patrick's remark alluded to the refusal on the part of U.S. in 1939 to allow a ship carrying more than 900 jewish refugees escaping the emerging Nazi regime in Germany to land on American shores. Belgium, France, Britain and the Netherlands subsequently took the refugees in.
CBS News reported in May that the U.S. also denied London stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winston's request that same year to provide asylum for 669 Czechoslovakian children - many of them Jewish - who were also fleeing from the Nazis. A memo from the State Department to the American embassy in London instructed embassy staff to tell him that the U.S. "unable, in the absence of specific legislation, to permit immigration in excess of that provided for by existing immigration laws." Those children were also taken in by Britain.
In his speech on Friday, Patrick said that the current wave of "unaccompanied minors," who hail primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, presented a humanitarian crisis for federal officials searching for adequate facilities in which to put them. He proposed using Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne and Westover Air Base in Chicopee, with the operation supervised and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and children staying there an average of 35 days while they are processed to determine whether they will join family members in this country or be deported.

David Vitter's Deportation Proposal Could Require More Planes Than There Are On Earth

Tell me, just when did dumb become a political position in America?
David Vitter has had it with undocumented immigrants. "Enough is enough," the repugican  Louisiana gubernatorial candidate tweeted on Friday. "I introduced a bill to require mandatory detention for anyone here illegally & get illegal aliens on the next plane home."
The legislation Vitter introduced Friday doesn't actually require all immigrants to be detained and deported. It mostly applies to child migrants, 70,000 of whom will make their way to the United States from Central America this year. Specifically, unaccompanied minors without asylum claims would be put "on the next available flight to their home countries within 72 hours of an initial screening."
But if we really tried to do what Vitter's tweet suggests-and why not? He's a senator!-it would entail increasing the nation's immigration detention capacity by a factor of 365. And flying all those immigrants home would require more planes than currently exist.
Gretchen Carlson preaches persecution for Faux News and pretends to be persecuted in a new film, but she feels it is unfair to persecute her for selling persecution…
Gretchen_Carlson
Merriam-Webster defines “persecute” as follows:
per•se•cute
verb \ˈpər-si-ˌkyüt\
: to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs
: to constantly annoy or bother (someone)
Persecution then, of course, is
: the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook
: the condition of being persecuted, harassed, or annoyed
It is clear from this that the Faux News business model is based on persecution – persecution of gays, Latinos, atheists, women, liberals – basically everyone who fails to toe the wingnut line.
So it is amusing to read that Faux News’ Gretchen Carlson, who makes her living as a persecution peddler, complains that she is being persecuted for her role in the film “Persecuted,” which opens last weekend, because of her employment byauox News.
The film itself is a religio-wingnut self-persecution fantasy. As Wikipedia explains of the plot, “Reformed drug addict and America’s leading evangelist John Luther (James Remar) opposes Senator Donald Harrison’s (Bruce Davison) Faith and Fairness Act which Luther believes compromises christianity. To destroy Luther’s credibility and ensure passage of the bill Luther is framed for the rape and murder of a teenage girl.”
Gretchen Carlson isn’t the film’s only – or largest – problem. The insistence that, as they persecute everyone around them, wingnut christians are themselves somehow persecuted, is a fantasy most Americans don’t find compelling.
And it doesn’t even pull this off. Kyle Smith at the New York Post opined, “The lord works in mysterious ways but ‘Persecuted’ works in blundering, obvious ways, straining a christianity-under-attack theme through a dopey thriller.”
And The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger felt the same:
This terrible attempt at a political thriller for the religious right is aimed not at christians in general but at a certain breed of them, the kind who feel as if the rest of the world were engaged in a giant conspiracy against their interpretation of good and truth.
Oh dear. Imagine Gretchen Carlson, who is employed by blunderingly obvious Faux News, appearing in such a film. It could not have been much of a challenge.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 0%.
Drew Zahn at Wing Nut Daily relates Carlson’s tale of hypocritical woe:
“Persecuted,” the new movie thriller about a preacher turned fugitive and framed for murder, is getting anything but a “fair and balanced” reception from prominent critics, thanks to its inclusion of Faux News star Gretchen Carlson in the cast.
Despite the film’s strong numbers in several Midwestern markets, news outlets on the coasts have been quick to condemn it, zeroing in on the Faux News star’s acting debut.
Carlson says,
I’m used to being attacked simply because of where I work,” added Carlson. “But I am shocked to see so many criticizing the movie because of my association with Faux News of which I am very proud.
And that should tell you something right there. She is proud of being a persecutor, and doesn’t think she should be “persecuted” for it though we would be right to question whether criticism of dishonesty could reasonably be called persecution. Of course, Carlson works for Faux News, where reason of any type is not welcome, and it shows in her parsing of the situation:
‘Persecuted‘ is about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and if anyone has watched me on Faux News over the last nine years, they will know that those are issues I speak about and am very open about,” Carlson told WND. “This film is really emblematic of these issues that are being discussed in many circles across the country right now. One of the draws of this film is it’s supposed to be thought-provoking in the sense that when you leave the theater you say to yourself, ‘Maybe I should be thinking more about these rights that were given to me centuries ago by the people who fought so hard for these freedoms.’
Freedoms Carlson is now happy to help limit to a few wealthy, mostly white elites and their white-skinned, pseudo-religious and catastrophically under-educated dupes, while the rest are cast out of the “Promised Land” that is America like Canaanites out of Israel because that’s what the Almighty, cast as the Big Rich White Guy in the Sky, wants.
The film should be a great fit for Carlson, one aimed at a familiar audience of white folks who feel a loss of privilege in that they can no longer freely persecute all those who are different from them, because, as it turns out, people actually don’t like being persecuted.
The religio-wingnuts' equation of “they reject our message=they are persecuting us” doesn’t sell in the larger market, though it may titillate bigoted and myopic white folks. Carlson best get used to being on the outs with America. When all the angry old white folks die off, she’ll find the Faux News’ bubble almighty constricting.

Losing Your Job Could Kill You, But Recessions Could Be Good For Your Health


Being unemployed increases your risk of death, but recessions decrease […]

Artificial intelligence identifies the musical progression of the Beatles

Artificial intelligence identifies the musical progression of the Beatles

Music fans and critics know that the music of the […]

Nerds and Glasses

You know the stereotype; people wearing glasses just HAVE to be smart, right? Tara Long examines what connections might exist between intelligence and corrective eye-wear. 

Brainpower

We use nearly all of our brains -- every day -- but understand very little of how our minds work. 

Fasting?

People in a number of religious faiths practice fasting at points throughout the year, and people find secular reasons to curb their food intake too. Besides the hunger a fasting person feels, what's going on inside the body when the food stops?

Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link

Many of us have long been told that saturated fat, the type found in meat, butter and cheese, causes heart disease. But a large and exhaustive new analysis by a team of international scientists found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart attacks and other cardiac events.The new findings are part of a growing body of research that has challenged the accepted wisdom that saturated fat is inherently bad for you and will continue the debate about what foods are best to eat.
For decades, health officials have urged the public to avoid saturated fat as much as possible, saying it should be replaced with the unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, seeds and vegetable oils.
But the new research, published on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less. Nor did it find less disease in those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including monounsaturated fat like olive oil or polyunsaturated fat like corn oil.
"My take on this would be that it's not saturated fat that we should worry about" in our diets, said Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, the lead author of the new study and a cardiovascular epidemiologist in the department of public health and primary care at Cambridge University.
But Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the findings should not be taken as "a green light" to eat more steak, butter and other foods rich in saturated fat. He said that looking at individual fats and other nutrient groups in isolation could be misleading, because when people cut down on fats they tend to eat more bread, cold cereal and other refined carbohydrates that can also be bad for cardiovascular health.

Ziggy

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Gas leak ruled out as the cause of manhole explosion in Dublin

A natural gas leak has been ruled as the cause of a manhole explosion in Dublin city center on Friday morning. No one was hurt in the explosion, which occurred at the corner of Merrion and Baggot Streets, near Government buildings.
John Morrin, who was working at nearby café Lolly and Cooks, said before the explosion the manhole cover emitted thick green smoke that was “toxic-smelling”. The café windows had to be closed because of the fumes. He said the smoke thickened and turned black before the manhole cover flew off.
Crews from the ESB, Bord Gais, Eircom and Dublin Fire Brigade worked all day to determine the cause of the blast. A section of road was closed to facilitate the investigation. A spokeswoman for Bord Gais Networks confirmed the incident was not gas related.

She said: “Our crew is no longer present at the incident site. However, a fitter remains at the location assisting the ESB with their ongoing work.” Dublin Fire Brigade district officer David Kavanagh said the explosion was not believed to be heat related.

Man stole 30,000 bottles of iced tea and emptied them all down drain to claim £11 for recycling

A Chinese man is facing jail after he stole 30,000 bottles of iced tea worth the equivalent of £20,000 - and emptied all of them down the drain so he could claim £11 for recycling the plastic bottles. Police were alerted to the fact that the iced tea stored in a warehouse in the city of Wenzhou in China's Zhejiang Province had been stolen when Liang Feng, 38, who owns a drinks wholesale firm arrived to collect a palette of iced tea that he wanted to take to a customer.
Realizing that the entire warehouse had been emptied, he called police, who were initially baffled at finding no trace of the stolen drinks on the local black market. But scene of the crime officers noticed a very strong and sweet smell outside the door of the warehouse, and on closer investigation found several bottle tops. Police spokesman Lin Jianxue said: "After making further inquiries we discovered that a large number of iced tea bottles had been recycled with a local collector – and from there they were able to track down the man that it sold them.
"The collector remembered because usually the bottles are mixed when they come from private people, and these were all of the same type and not dirty as if they had never been in the bin." When they arrested Zhang Hao, 43, he confirmed that he had discovered the warehouse was unlocked when looking in the area for recyclable bottles. He had then called three friends, and together they had spent 12 hours unscrewing the bottles, and tipping the iced tea down a drain outside the warehouse.
They had then called a local plastic bottle collection firm to take the bottles away, for which they were paid the equivalent of £11. The firm that collected the bottles then sold them on for £90 to a recycling plant. Police said no action would be taken against the recycling firms or the man's three friends who had no idea that what they were doing was illegal. Zhang on the other hand faces up to 10 years in jail for the theft.

Man who smashed window to break into shop had trouble breaking out

A man who broke into a shop in Canada ran head first into a glass door on his way out.
The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday morning at Al Points Electric store in Brandon, Manitoba. The culprit smashed his way in to the business just before 3am using a metal hoop from a barrel to stave in a glass door.

But he was left briefly stunned when he tried to flee — through a still-solid pane of glass that completely resisted his head-butting.

The shop's security cameras captured the break-in on tape, and owner Darren Wright says anyone who recognizes the crook should call police. Although nothing was taken, three truck windows and two garage windows were also smashed, along with the door.

Police seek store thief who wore clear plastic bag on his head as a disguise

Police in Belleville, Illinois, are asking the public to help them catch a man who robbed a convenience store on Friday morning.
The man, wearing a clear plastic bag on his head and blue plastic wrapped around his right hand took an undisclosed amount of money.
He pointed his covered hand at the clerk in Circle-K and demanded money. It's not clear whether he had a weapon.
Anyone with information is asked to call Belleville Police.

Gas Station Clerk with MMA Skills Surprises Robbers

For today's feel good news story, we journey to the south side of Houston, Texas, where Mayura Dissanyake works as a clerk at a gas station and convenience store. He's also been a mixed martial arts fighter for a decade. In his native Sri Lanka, he was the national champion for five years. He still trains and competes in the United States.
On July 10, he saw one of his co-workers returning to the store after visiting a bank. Two men jumped out of an SUV and attacked him. Dissanyake sprang into action and expressed his displeasure at their behavior:
"The first guy I saw, I just kicked him in the face," he said. "Then I punched the other guy."
They were moves he learned from cage matches. Dissanyake has been involved with mixed martial arts for more than a decade. He says he was the national champion for five consecutive years in his native Sri Lanka.
"We learn how to punch, how to kick and all that stuff you can use in the streets," Dissanayake said.
In the video, you see the accused crooks begin their retreat and the get-away car getting further away. As they ran, Dissanayake threw a punch that knocked one of the guys to the ground. His friends and accomplices left him there.
"I just kicked him until he lays down on the floor," he said. "Until he stopped moving cause I wasn't sure if he had a knife or a gun so I wanted him to stop moving."
One of the two would-be robbers escaped. Police arrested the other one.

Daily Comic Relief

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As Climate Change Worsens Many Americans Refuse To Accept Reality

Of course, there is a reason so many Americans do not accept the reality of global anthropogenic (man-made) climate change, but the fact is that it is here…

The Republic of Kruševo

Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell have moved on from Tokyo and set up housekeeping in Skopje, Macedonia. If you received your geography education before 1991, Macedonia is just north of Greece and just south of Serbia. But back in 1903, a small Macedonian town on a mountain declared its own independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Kruševo lasted ten days.
The brave and hopelessly out-gunned army of Kruševo met the advancing Turks in the Battle of Mečkin Kamen, a couple kilometers outside the town. Led by Pitu Guli, the rebels fought bravely, but were simply no match for the Ottoman force. In the end, Kruševo’s defenders were annihilated, and the Ottomans marched into town where they inflicted a bloody retribution on the townspeople.

Today, Kruševo has recovered and become one of the jewels of Macedonia, the highest mountain town in the Balkans. We visited for a couple days. With just 5000 inhabitants, it’s the kind of place with which you can become familiar within no time. Kruševo feels like a mountain retreat, so small and peaceful that it’s hard to imagine it as the scene of such vicious fighting.
The rebellion is memorialized with a monument called the Makedonium, this artfully-shaped building with a museum inside. Read more about Kruševo and the Makedonium, and see plenty of pictures, at For 91 Days.

Tonga's Empire

The seafaring empire of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean once spanned more than a thousand miles, serving as the hub through which distant settlements exchanged artifacts and ideas, researchers say.
 

Hundreds of human skeletons found in Bolivian mining city

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee recently added the colonial city of Potosi to the List of World Heritage in Danger, on June 24, 2014
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee recently added the colonial city of Potosi to the List of World Heritage in Danger, on June 24, 2014 Construction workers in Bolivia have stumbled upon a mass grave with the remains of hundreds of likely indigenous miners during the Spanish colonial era, a researcher said Saturday.
The workers found the remains this week as they started construction on a new building in the "El Minero" district of Potosi, located high up in the Andes.
"We are talking about a common grave found at about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet), and the human remains are scattered over an area of four by four meters," said Sergio Fidel, a researcher at a museum belonging to Tomas Frias University.
In the Spanish colonial era, Potosi became famous for its massive silver and tin reserves, which started to be mined in the 16th century.
Local indigenous people, mainly ethnic Aymara, were commonly put to work as both slaves and indentured servants, especially at the famed Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) mountain.
The construction workers, who have had no specialized excavation training, say they found the remains of 400 to 500 people and that there may be many more.
The university got involved when its staff learned the workers were piling the bones in a massive heap, fully exposed as construction continued.
One hypothesis is that they happened on an indigenous burial ground of slaves and indentured servants who would have worked at the mine in precarious conditions, said Jose Antonio Fuertes, a historian at the national mint.
Another possibility is the remains could be linked to the collapse of a reservoir in Potosi during the 1600s, which killed some 2,000 people.
The Andean city, once among the world's biggest cities, now has a population of 200,000.
Last month, UNESCO placed the city and the increasingly unstable Cerro Rico on its World Heritage in Danger list due to "uncontrolled mining operations."

The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko

The lizard named Uroplatus phantasticus is more commonly known as the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko. You can see why in this photograph, only because the background is gone. There’s a picture at Wired that challenges you to figure out what is gecko and what is real leaf. It’s an amazing camouflage adaptation for these creatures found only in Madagascar. Good luck finding one.
Reinforcing this camouflage for the satanic leaf-tailed geckos is their behavior: They’ll spend the day hanging motionless off of branches or snuggling among dead leaves, often twisting their leafy tails around their bodies. Other larger species in the satanic’s genus have still another strategy for sleeping safely during the day, flattening their bodies against tree trunks and limbs, making good use of those famously grippy feet (a magic power derived, by the way, from countless hair-like structures that allow some geckos to even stick to inverted glass panes, not that nature would ever ask them to). Fringes and flaps along the edges of their bodies help erase their outlines and shadows, dissolving the geckos into the bark.
We can see why they are called leafy-tailed, but what’s satanic about them? If you confront one, they’ll stare and scream at you, and local folks are afraid of them. They come in all colors, too, just as the leaves they hide among vary. You’ll see quite a few more pictures of this gecko and his camouflaged relatives at Wired.

Piglet Plays with Patient Pitbull

This three-week-old, precious piglet named Pigalina was rejected by her litter. Melissa Susko at Piedmont Farm Animal Rescue's PIGS Animal Sanctuary came to Pigalina's rescue. There she became fast friends with Levi the Pitbull Terrier. Pigalina now has a permanent home on Melissa's farm in West Virginia; a perfect ending to this piglet tale.

Animal Pictures