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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.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Daily Drift

No, it is not photoshopped, it is the 'Kissing Islands'  in Greenland...!
 
Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

Swimming with the Shark! ...


Today is (nothing special)  Day  
 

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Today in History

1303 The War of Vespers in Sicily ends with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.
1756 The British at Fort William Henry, New York, surrender to Louis Montcalm of France.
1802 Captain Merriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh to meet up with Captain William Clark and begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean.
1864 At the Democratic convention in Chicago, General George B. McClellan is nominated for president.
1919 The Communist Labor Party is founded in Chicago, with the motto, "Workers of the world unite!"
1928 Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin.
1940 Joseph Avenol steps down as Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
1942 The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.
1944 The British Eighth Army penetrates the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1949 Six of the 16 surviving Union veterans of the Civil War attend the last-ever encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1951 The 1st Marine Division begins its attack on Bloody Ridge in Korea. The four-day battle results in 2,700 Marine casualties.
1961 A concrete wall replaces the barbed wire fence that separates East and West Germany, it will be called the Berlin wall.
1965 US Congress creates Department of Housing & Urban Development.
1968 The Dasht-e Bayaz 7.3 earthquake in NE Iran completely destroys five villages and severely damages six others.
1970 Lonnie McLucas convicted of torturing and murdering fellow Black Panther Party member Alex Rackley in the first of the New Haven Black Panther Trials.
1980 Polish government forced to sign Gdansk Agreement allowing creation of the trade union Solidarity.
1985 Police capture Richard Ramirez, dubbed the "Night Stalker" for a string of gruesome murders that stretched from Mission Viejo to San Francisco, Cal.
1986 A Russian cargo ship collides with cruise ship Admiral Nakhimov, killing 398.
1987 Longest mine strike in South Africa's history ends, after 11 people were killed, 500 injured and 400 arrested.
1990 East and West Germany sign the Treaty of Unification (Einigungsvertrag) to join their legal and political systems.
1990 Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. become first father and son to play on same team simultaneously in professional baseball (Seattle Mariners).
1994 Last Russian troops leave Estonia and Latvia.
1994 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a "complete cessation of military operations," opening the way to a political settlement in Ireland for the first time in a quarter of a century.
1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a Paris car crash along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul while fleeing paparazzi.
1997 New York Yankees retire Don Mattingly's #23 (first baseman, coach, manager).
2006 Edvard Munch's famed painting The Scream recovered by Norwegian police. The artwork had been stolen on Aug. 22, 2004.

Non Sequitur

http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ucomics.com/nq130830.gif

Meet the judge who suspended a child rapist's sentence because his victim was "older than her chronological age"

“I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape," said Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh. "It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape."
Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, will spend just 31 days in jail after almost all of his 15-year sentence was suspended.
The 14-year-old Rambold assaulted isn't around to be revictimized by this extraordinarily creepy smalltown judge: she committed suicide after her rape. [Billings Gazette and the LA Times. Photo: Bob Zellar]

Did you know ...

That white supremacists bought up a whole town in North Dakota

That validating haters is neither civil nor moderate

That 'medicare for all' would save billions

Seriously, Faux News?

Deadbeat repugicans Demand a Bribe Before They Will Agree to Pay Their Debts

Most Americans would love a situation where a financial institution paid them handsomely for repaying their debts, but that is precisely what repugicans expect from the American people.…
enough is enough
The notion of reaping a reward without making an investment is likely the dream of every entrepreneur on the face of the Earth, but there are hardly any situations in business, or in life, where people get anything without investing something. Two years ago repugicans reaped rewards that damaged the nation and the people in exchange for authorizing the government to pay the debt they racked up, but they can hardly consider paying their bills an investment in America; the rewards they took from the people were pure profit.  Most Americans would love a situation where a financial institution paid them handsomely for repaying their debts, and that is precisely what repugicans expect from the American people. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a message that repugicans will not be paid for repaying their debt. However, since repugicans reaped such obscene profits for paying their debt in 2011, they are bound to attempt their scheme again, but it is high time they start investing in America for the profits they already reaped during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis.
The last debt ceiling crisis cost the country, and the people, dearly and it is important to note raising the debt limit simply allowed the government to repay debts repugicans racked up during the shrub junta’s drunken spending spree.  In the 2011 credit debacle in exchange for raising the debt limit, repugicans were paid with a million jobs killed, a credit downgrade, $19 billion added to the deficit, and $1.2 trillion sequester cuts slated to kill between 750,000 and million jobs in the first year alone. Add to that ten years’ worth of cuts to Meals on Wheels, food and housing assistance for children and seniors, as well as indiscriminate domestic program cuts and it is little wonder John Boehner was “pretty happy he got 98% of what he wanted” because repugicans profited without making any investments. Doubtless repugicans regarded taking food out of the mouths of needy Americans and killing jobs as their greatest gain on no investment, and it was all for authorizing payment for their debts.
Americans paid a high price for repugicans to authorize the government to pay for their unnecessary wars, a pharmaceutical industry gift (Medicare prescription plan), and twelve years’ worth of tax cuts for the richest Americans. In fact, it was so profitable for repugicans that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to hold the debt ceiling hostage again because making outlandish profits without any investments is a dream come true, and if the people and nation’s credit were damaged, as John Boehner says “so be it.” Secretary Lew’s notice to repugicans that they are not going to profit for doing their job and authorizing the government to repay their debt was a good start, but it is not enough. Americans have invested and paid repugicans with their jobs, schools, and domestic programs and it is time to demand repayment; separate from the debt limit.
The repugicans have not invested anything for the profits they reaped from the last debt limit crisis and they are gearing up for “a whale of a battle” for more from the people according to John Boehner. The hypocrite repugicans never demanded payment from the shrub to pay the nation’s debts, and in fact they raised the debt limit seven times including once to cover new tax cuts for the rich in 2003. Raising the debt limit is non-negotiable for President Obama the same as it has been for every other president and why he let repugicans demand that Americans paid them with spending cuts and job losses in 2011 is a mystery. If the President assumed there would be a “grand bargain” by flirting with a credit default, he miscalculated because repugicans came away with a wealth of harsh and damaging gifts and the nation got a credit downgrade; repubgicans won the debt limit war and Americans paid them handsomely then and for the next ten years.
The American people have invested far too much in the phony debt ceiling crisis and it is time for repugicans to invest in America. They have not invested in roads, schools, healthcare, or jobs, and they have successfully avoided investing their time wisely over the past two years. What little time they have spent in Congress has been chasing phony and manufactured scandals, voting to defund the Affordable Care Act, and demanding Americans invest more by forfeiting more jobs, overtime pay, and for 30 million Americans, the first opportunity to have basic healthcare insurance. After their 5-week hiatus in August repugicans will only spend nine days in session in  September and likely waste time fighting amongst themselves over defunding the  Affordable Health Act instead of working on immigration, replacing indiscriminate sequester cuts, or passing anything resembling a real budget.
The repugicans and their wealthy supporters have profited off the American people to excess, and for the people’s trouble the repugican cabal invested absolutely nothing to strengthen the economy, create jobs, or provide a means of avoiding poverty. Secretary Lew made a good start telling repugicans they will get nothing more from the people in exchange for raising the debt limit, but it is not nearly enough. To the President’s credit, he has demanded repugicans invest in the people, but for his trouble the repugican cabal finds new ways to make the people pay. After sacrificing millions of jobs, $19 billion, a credit downgrade, and a ten year Draconian sequester just to prevent a credit default, the people have invested too much and repugicans have profited enough.

And I Quote

Lush Dimbulb Humiliates Himself Trying to Blame and Shame Striking Fast Food Workers

fast-food-workers 
Lush Dimbulb tried to shame the striking fast workers, but instead humiliated himself by revealing just how out of touch he is with real America.
Audio clip via Media Matters:
Transcript:
DIMBULB: If you want a “living wage,” if you don’t like what fast food restaurants pay, then do something else. It’s just that simple. Go to a trade school. Go to another business. Start your own business. Maybe the work that you are capable of isn’t yet worth $15 an hour at a fast-food restaurant. Maybe the consumer doesn’t want to pay $10 for a Big Mac so that people working at McDonald’s make $15 an hour. It’s not just a one-way strata.
You don’t just sit there and double what the employees at McDonald’s make and keep the prices the same. Now, you may think this is obvious, folks, and you may think, “Come on, Rush,” you’d be amazed at how many people do not understand the push-pull in economics. You’d be amazed at the number of people who have taken economics courses who think that the truth about headaches is that the boss is a cheap skinflint and wants his employees to starve and wants to screw his customers.
That’s the basis of their understanding, and they go from there, and they are applauded by left-wing Democrat politicians for holding that belief, and they’re encouraged to have it. Now, to those of you who, like Sean from San Diego, are sympathetic to this demand for the minimum wage at Mickey D’s to go from $7.15 or $7.25 an hour to $15, let me ask you this: When you buy a meal, do you make sure that you’re paying a fair price for it?
When you walk in there, do you ask the employee, “Look, am I paying enough here so that you can get a livable wage? When you go in and buy a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese or a double Quarter Pounder with cheese, do you look at the price is and say, “Are you sure that this costs enough that you can make a livable wage?” Or do you just get a little upset when you think it’s a little too expensive?
Dimbulb was lecturing fast workers on getting a better job as he sat in his mansion with no clue what it is like to work and survive on minimum wage. Dimbulb’s lecture was centered around a couple of the repugicans favorite falsehoods. Lush was pretending that there are better jobs out there for minimum wage workers.
The whole wingnut argument against the working poor is based on the fallacy that there are plenty of great jobs out there. In their view, the problem is that the working poor don’t want to work hard enough to get them. The reality is that Americans enjoy less economic mobility than ever before. In fact, Americans have less economic mobility than Canadians and Western Europeans. America is not only less equal. It is also less mobile.
The second fallacy that troglodytes like Dimbulb have embraced and perpetuated is that the working poor want to be poor. People who are working at Walmart and McDonalds want to be working there. They want to be making $7.25 an hour, because they lack the ambition required to be more successful.
This fairy tale was embraced by Mitt Romney in 2012. It is a repugican favorite, because it gives them the ability to blame the poor for their own plight.
The repugicans continue to use blaming and shaming of the working poor to justify their opposition to increasing the minimum wage, healthcare reform, tax cuts and credits that specifically go to the working class, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and any other program that benefits lower wage earners.
Dimbulb revived all of the old scare tactics about how raising the minimum wage would increase prices for consumers, but the American people are catching on. With repugican policies forcing more and more people to earn less and less, the receptive audience for the wingnut anti-minimum wage increase message is dwindling.
Lush Dimbulb didn’t succeed in blaming and shaming the striking fast food workers. He humiliated himself by demonstrating how out of touch he is with what is really happening in this country.
Dimbulb is Mitt Romney with a golden microphone.
He can’t talk about the real America, because he has no idea what is happening there. He is an alien from another universe who gets paid absurd sums of money to keep a small contingent of Americans blind to reality.
As struggling workers bravely strike in the name of the American Dream, Lush Dimbulb revealed that he is not one of us. He is a parasite sucking off the dark underbelly of America’s worst impulses.
He is a national shame.

Swill O’Really Forced to Apologize for His repugicans Not Invited to March on Washington Lie

Swill O’Really has finally told a lie that was so big and untrue that even he had to apologize for it on Faux News. Here is the video from Media Matters:
O’Really said, “Last night during my discussion with James Carville about the Martin Luther King commemoration, I said that there were no repugican speakers invited. Wrong, I was wrong. Some repugicans were asked to speak. They declined, and that was a mistake. They should have spoken. Now, the mistake, entirely on me. I simply assumed that since all the speakers were Democrats, repugicans were excluded. So here’s the tip of the day. Always check out the facts before you make a definitive statement. And when you make a mistake, admit it. By the way, I’m sorry that I made that mistake. It’s very annoying because I know you guys watch The Factor for accuracy.”
Anybody watching Faux News for accuracy has bigger problems than Swill O’Really lying to them. O’Really could have easily gotten the story correct if he would have looked at any other sources besides the network he works for and wingnut media. I suspect that Swill-O knew the truth before he ever went on the air last night, but the repugican talking point of the day was about how they were not invited to the event, so that is what he ran with.
By the morning virtually every media outlet was reporting that repugicans had been invited to the event, but refused to attend. O’Really apologized to his viewers because it helped him look like he has credibility, but his apology was half baked.
Swill-O never admitted that all repugicans had been invited to the event. The repugican decision to blow off the legacy of Martin Luther King was party wide, and a whole lot worse than O’Really let on. The entire congressional repugican caucus colluded to not show up. This wasn’t just a few leaders declining to speak. It was the whole party giving the King family and all Americans a big middle finger on the anniversary of an important date in U.S. history.
It is a piece of delicious irony that a serial misinformer like Swill O’Really is advising people to get their facts straight before they make a definitive statement. Swill O’Really wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him in the loofah.
At least now we know how big of a lie Swill O’Really has to tell before he will apologize.

In The News

Being ambidextrous could give you a cognitive advantage — In a review of scientific research on the subject of handedness and intelligence, researchers found that neither lefties nor righties came out ahead. Instead, the people with the biggest boost in cognitive performance were the folks who weren't heavily wedded to a single hand. The more ambidextrous subjects were, the better they performed on tests of cognitive skills.

The benefits of farming without irrigation — There's a trade-off being made by some people in the agricultural industry. Turns out, you can produce better-tasting produce by cutting off the massive supply of irrigation water that's typically used by vegetable and fruit farms. The downside: Way less yield.

The search for a greener rocket fuel — Hydrazine has powered rockets since WWII. Unfortunately, it's also highly toxic. Researchers in the U.S. and Sweden are working to create a better alternative, and may have a couple new fuels that could do the same job with less risk. 

Washington's $52.6 billion "black budget" exposed

 
The Washington Post's Barton Gellman and Greg Miller detail the vast sums of money America spends on intelligence operations, far from public scrutiny.
Among the notable revelations in the budget summary:
•Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013. The figure vastly exceeds outside estimates and is nearly 50 percent above that of the National Security Agency, which conducts eavesdropping operations and has long been considered the behemoth of the community.
•The CIA and NSA have launched aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems, embracing what the budget refers to as “offensive cyber operations.”
•The NSA planned to investigate at least 4,000 possible insider threats in 2013, cases in which the agency suspected sensitive information may have been compromised by one of its own. The budget documents show that the U.S. intelligence community has sought to strengthen its ability to detect what it calls “anomalous behavior” by personnel with access to highly classified material.
•U.S. intelligence officials take an active interest in foes as well as friends. Pakistan is described in detail as an “intractable target,” and counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel.”
Don't miss this incredible, clarifying interactive chart.

The truth be told

Area Man Realizes He's Been Reading Fake News For 25 Years

You might think this is a headline from the Onion, but it's from NPR. It's a headline about the Onion, which is 25 years old today! The satirical newspaper started out small, and now has the newspaper, a popular website, and the Onion News Network video series.
Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. "It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to ... sell pizza coupons," Editor-in-Chief Will Tracy tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne..

It still has that Midwestern touch, he says.

"We still have a lot of Midwesterners writing for us, and I do think that there is a distinctly Midwestern aesthetic and voice to the paper," Tracy says. "It's sort of an unflashy, flat, unpretentious sort of voice that we have."

Part of that regional bent comes through in The Onion's daily-life humor and its stories about "Area Man" (who Tracy says seems to be a Midwesterner).
Read more about growing the Onion at NPR.

Wheelchair-bound man bludgeoned with tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!

In an incident that contained all the illegality of regular assault but with 70 percent less saturated fat, a wheelchair-bound man was bludgeoned with a tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! last Wednesday in South Lake Union, Seattle.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the victim, who lives in a shelter, was confronted by another resident, who accused the victim of having his television turned up too loud.
The suspect repeatedly hit the victim over the head with a 16-ounce tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Officers arrived to find the victim covered in the imitation butter.

The suspect told officers he poured the fake butter on the victim but denied hitting him with the tub. The suspect was arrested and booked into King County Jail.

Police responded after teenage girl sensibly called 911 to report 'massive freaking' spider

The caller to 911 prefaced what she was about to ask with a simple statement. "I just kind of have a ridiculous question." A teenage girl in Forest Grove, Oregon, called 911 not for an emergency, but instead for a spider. Police said it happened during the night of August 16th.

Random Celebrity Photos

ARE1960020W00124-31 by hugodedomingo on Flickr.

Meet 115, the Newest Element on the Periodic Table

Just when you thought you'd memorized the periodic table of the elements, along comes a new one. The atomic weight is 115, and ununpentium is its temporary name (it just means 115).
The heaviest element in nature is uranium, which has 92 protons. But heavier elements-which have more protons in their nucleus-can be created through nuclear fusion. (Related: Learn how to make an element.)

The man-made 115 was first created by Russian scientists in Dubna about ten years ago. This week, chemists at Lund University in Sweden announced that they had replicated the Russian study at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Germany.

Element 115 will join its neighbors 114 and 116-flerovium and livermorium, respectively-on the periodic table just as soon as a committee from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) decides on an official name for 115.
Don't think for a minute they will name it by internet poll. Chemistry professor Paul Hooker talked to National Geographic News about the process for discovering and confirming this new element. More

The Magic Of MFCs

Generating Electricity From Mucky Wastewater

These days, renewable and alternative energy sources are in high demand, and when you think about 'green' electricity, solar power and wind farms probably spring to mind.

But have you heard about microbial fuel cells? MFCs contain bacteria that convert organic material, such as food and bodily waste, into electricity, leaving clean water behind. So in addition to being a potential source of renewable energy, MFCs can also provide people in rural areas with sanitary water.

Life on Earth, courtesy of Mars?

Apparently life on Earth may have started on Mars. The BBC reports new arguments for Mars as the cradle of our life, made at the Goldschmidt Meeting in Florence, Italy by Professor Steven Benner of the the US based Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology.
The idea that life originated on Mars and was then transported to our planet has been mooted before. But Prof Benner's ideas add another twist to the theory of a Martian origin for the terrestrial biosphere. Here in Florence, Prof Benner presented results that suggest minerals containing the elements boron and molybdenum are key in assembling atoms into life-forming molecules. The researcher points out that boron minerals help carbohydrate rings to form from pre-biotic chemicals, and then molybdenum takes that intermediate molecule and rearranges it to form ribose, and hence RNA.

Two redheads can have a brunette child

Turns out, whether or not you are a ginger is not determined by the simple genetics of a single gene. In fact, the pigment that causes red hair is likely present in many brunettes. What matters more seems to be how much of the ginger-hiding brunette pigment you have — and the genetics that determine that are a lot more complicated. Which, frankly, makes the brunette-guy-with-red-beard phenomenon make a whole lot more sense.
This is only one of the many human genetics myths that get debunked at the website of geneticist John McDonald. He's dedicated to tearing apart the simple lies-to-children that most of us picked up in grade school, junior high, and high school — oversimplifications of things like tongue rolling, dimples, and eye color that make it easier for kids to understand genetics, but end up leaving adults with a skewed understanding of how genetics actually work.

The Elephant Man's secrets

"The Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was an object of curiosity and ridicule throughout his life - studied, prodded and examined by the Victorian medical establishment. Now, 123 years after his death, scientists believe his bones contain secrets about his condition which could benefit medical science today."

Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia

The enigmatic ‘forest islands’ set amidst the grasslands of Bolivian Amazonia have yielded the earliest evidence of human habitation in the region. Previously thought to be relict landforms cut away by shifting rivers, or long-term bird rookeries or termite mounds, these piles of freshwater snails, animal bones and charcoal are now known to have been built up over millennia, starting from at least 10,400 years ago, by ancient hunter-gatherers.
Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia
Researchers say that Isla de Tesoro tells us that early South Americans moved across a wider variety of landscapes than previously thought, and adapted their ways of life to cope in these challenging environments [Credit: University of Wollongong]
Using novel approaches drawn from archaeology, geomorphology and geochemistry, an international team of researchers, led by Dr Umberto Lombardo of the University of Bern, has conducted detailed excavations of a large mound known locally as Isla del Tesoro (Treasure Island).

Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia
Isla del Tesoro tells us that from over 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers were moving across the grasslands hunting a variety of mammals, catching fish and birds, and gathering large quantities of freshwater snails [Credit: University of Wollongong]
Associate Professor Katherine Szabó from the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Archaeological Science and Dr Jan-Hendrik May from UOW’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences were among the international team members.

Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia
Cross-section transect of the shell midden SM1: Dashed lines and grey arrow highlight the onion-like growth of the midden reflected in the 14C dates. The black triangles above mark the coring locations and the white triangle the excavation site [Credit: Public Library of Science]
Distinctive chemical signatures of human presence were recorded at high levels throughout the mound sediments, and studies of the animal bones and shells indicate they are the remains of ancient human meals. Team members said that Isla del Tesoro tells us that from over 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers were moving across the grasslands hunting a variety of mammals, catching fish and birds, and gathering large quantities of freshwater snails.

Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia
Details of recovered burnt earth, shells and bone remains from excavations at SM1. A) Thin section from Unit VI; aragonitic and micritic shell fragments cemented together; a bone is visible in the upper left corner (cross polarized light, XPL); b) Pomacea shells found at a depth of 110 cm; c) Impact scar between refitted fragments of a Blastocerus dichotomus tibia found at 160 cm. Mineral dendrites covering the edges of bones and surface damage indicate a percussive blow; d) Mandibular fragment of Mazama sp. found at a depth of 70–75 cm; e) Fragment of burnt earth found at a depth of 140 cm with incised parallel lines, probably culturally-modified; f) Units IV and V as observed in the excavations; Unit V is a layer of well cemented shells surrounded by loose fragments that form Unit IV [Credit: Public Library of Science]
Over time, the refuse of these hunting and gathering forays built up forming mounds, which sat elevated above the floodplain. These refuse or ‘midden’ mounds in turn provided a habitat for local plants and animals, transforming them into the forest islands so recognisable in the landscape today. It is highly likely that many more midden mounds lie buried beneath the metres of silts under the current savannah, according to the researchers.

Scientists unearth secrets of Bolivian Amazonia
Material retrieved from the uppermost 30 cm of SM1 : Unit I, corresponding to the late-Holocene occupation. A) Fragmented pottery; b) Bone tools; c) Fragment of human skull; d) Biogenic burnt earth, probably a wasp chamber [Credit: Public Library of Science]
Regularly flooded savannah landscapes such as those surrounding Isla del Tesoro have long been thought to be an inhospitable environment for early hunter gatherers. The densities of animal prey are lower and less predictable than in coastal areas, near stable watercourses or in forested areas where early South American archaeological sites are typically found. Dr Lombardo and colleagues’ work at Isla de Tesoro tells us that early South Americans moved across a wider variety of landscapes than previously thought, and adapted their ways of life to cope in these challenging environments.

Neolithic female figurine found in Poland

Unique on the Polish scale clay figurine from the Neolithic period (fourth millennium BC) depicting a stylized woman figure has been found during the excavations in Racibórz.
Neolithic female figurine found in Poland
The clay figurine from the Neolithic period depicting a stylised female figure found
during the excavations in Racibórz [Credit: Piotr Szejnoga]
"This find is a sensation in the archaeological world, because so far only a few and small fragments of human figurines from this period have been discovered" - told PAP Jacek Pierzak from the Silesian Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments.

The object was discovered during the survey of the planned flood reservoir Dolna Odra, conducted by the Archaeological Rescue Research Team at the Centre for Prehistoric and Medieval Studies of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS in Poznań.

The figurine was dubbed "Venus of Racibórz" because it is similar to other finds of this type known from Paleolithic sites. It has clearly shown legs, wide hips, breasts, and three nodules at the top, the central of which is a schematic representation of the head, while the outer two are interpreted as hands raised in a gesture of oration. Figurine from Racibórz, however, is made of different material, than Venus - it is made of clay, while Venus was sculpted in stone. Discoverer of the "Venus of Racibórz" is Marek Anioła, archaeologist who conducts work at the site.

"Female figurines are associated with the worship of fertility and the mother goddess, they are also considered by some scientists to be evidence of the importance of women in the Neolithic period" - said the coordinator of the archaeological work Dr. Przemysław Bobrowski.

It's not only interesting archaeological discovery made during the work in the Racibórz area. The study includes 15 archaeological sites from different periods. They are part of a larger project conducted by the Consortium of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the University of Wroclaw and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, at the request of the Regional Water Management Authority in Gliwice.

Awesome Pictures

majestic-w0lf:

nature | vintage | tattoos & more

The best of the American Museum of Natural History's rare book collection

These coy hippos come from a 19th century illustration in The Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. They're now part of a new book, published by New York's American Museum of Natural History, that combines some of the best illustrations and artworks from the museum's rare book collection. Looks like a great read!

Medieval and Renaissance Sea Monsters


Early cartographers often included illustrations or descriptions of sea monsters on their maps, in order to warn explorers of their location. Sometimes the drawings were symbolic, such as a picture of a king riding a fish, to denote who ruled that part of the sea. Others were supposed to be literal monsters, but the pictures were created from descriptions by frightened seafarers, often years after the fact. The image shown here is from around 1230 AD, depicting a whale that sailors mistook for an island.
"In the Indian Ocean there are whales which are so large that they seem to be islands. And sometimes because of the soil they have on them plants grow on their backs. Men crossing the sea sometimes land on these whales, which, when they feel the movement of men on them, hurry down into the depths, and so the men are drowned."
The post at BibliOdyssey is a little different direction from usual in that it has illustrations from a new book, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. However, the many illustrations are hundreds of years old, which is right in line with the usual fare. More

Human heart disease found in chimps

While in the past century there have been several documented examples of young, healthy athletes who have died suddenly of heart disease during competitive sporting events, a new study finds

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society

British biologist/comedian Simon Watt is teaming up with the National Science + Engineering Competition to bring attention to endangered species that are not magnificent, cute, or even plain. In fact, they are downright ugly. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is a campaign to aid conservation efforts for these creatures. Watt has recruited other scientists, comedians, and science comedians for a series of live shows and videos to promote the conservation of the proboscis monkey, the blowfish, the Titicaca 'scrotum' water frog, the greater short-horned lizard, the dromedary jumping slug, the flightless dung beetle, and other ugly animals. Vote for your favorite ugly animal to become the campaign's mascot at the shows or at YouTube.
The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children.  The panda gets too much attention.

Our society needs a mascot, one to rival the cute and cuddly emblems of many charities and organisations. And so I have gathered a terrific line up of comedians who will each champion a different ugly endangered species and at the end of the evening the audience shall vote for what will become our society’s symbol.

Osprey and Spoonbill's "Near Miss"

Photographer David Rennie captured this fantastic photo of an encounter of an osprey and a spoonbill in mid-air. Rennie wrote that the young osprey was learning to fish. It was her sixth try one morning, when she came out of the water and looked at her talons to see why she missed her prey. At that exact time, a spoonbill was coming in to land and the two had a "near miss."
Rennie's photo won overall winner at the Australian Geographic's 2013 ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year contest. It beat more than 1,800 photographs submitted from around the world.
View the rest of the winners over at Australian Geographic's website.

Animal Pictures

living-planet:

Squirrel asleep on a bowl of ice on a hot day in Missouri.
http://living-planet.tumblr.com/

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Daily Drift

Sounds about right ...!
 
Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

Swimming with the Shark! ...


Today is International Whale Shark Day  
 

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Today in History

30 BC Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, commits suicide.
1617 Rosa de Lima of Peru becomes the first American saint to be canonized.
1721 The Peace of Nystad ends the Second Northern War between Sweden and Russia, giving Russia considerably more power in the Baltic region.
1781 The French fleet arrives in the Chesapeake Bay to aid the American Revolution.
1813 Creek Indians massacre over 500 whites at Fort Mims Alabama.
1860 The first British tramway is inaugurated at Birkenhead by an American, George Francis Train.
1861 Union General John Fremont declares martial law throughout Missouri and makes his own emancipation proclamation to free slaves in the state. President Lincoln overrules the general.
1892 The Moravia, a passenger ship arriving from Germany, brings cholera to the United States.
1932 Nazi leader Hermann Goering is elected president of the Reichstag.
1944 Ploesti, the center of the Rumanian oil industry, falls to Soviet troops.
1961 President John F. Kennedy appoints General Lucius D. Clay as his personal representative in Berlin.
1963 Hot Line communications link installed between Moscow and Washington, DC.
1967 US Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as first African-American Supreme Court justice.
1976 Tom Brokaw becomes news anchor of Today Show.
1979 First recorded instance of a comet (Howard-Koomur-Michels) hitting the sun; the energy released is equal to approximately 1 million hydrogen bombs.
1982 Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) forced out of Lebanon after 10 years in Beirut during Lebanese Civil War.
1983 Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford, Jr., becomes the first African-American astronaut to travel in space.
1986 KGB arrest journalist Nicholas Daniloff (US News World Report) on a charge of spying and hold him for 13 days.
1983 Eiffel Tower welcomes its 150 millionth visitor, 33-year-old Parisian Jacqueline Martinez.

Non Sequitur

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The Piper

The piper fits into the Scottish landscape like a glove on your hand. Pipers have served in Scottish regiments from the earliest times; the Royal Scots have records referring to pipers dating back to the early seventeenth century. Where pipers were employed as pipers (rather than just happening to be a soldier who also was able to play), they were employed by the officers of the regiments as private pipers. This situation continued until the 1840s, when Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for all things Highland was instrumental in the War Office's decision that each battalion of the Highland Regiments be allowed five pipers and a Pipe Major, which continues to be all that the British Army provides funds for to this day. Any additional pipers in the battalion pipe band were and are equipped today by funds from the Officers' Mess Fund of the battalion.

By this time, pipers were already playing together with drummers, probably modelling themselves on the fife and drum bands which had existed in Switzerland since the fifteenth century. Drumming is, of course, as ancient as the concept of formed military units, and their original purpose on the battlefield was to signal tactical movements and keep cadence on the march.

By the end of the Crimean War, pipe bands were established in most of the Scottish Regiments. The first civilian organizations to adopt pipe bands were police and fire brigade bands; even today, several forces maintain bands that play to a very high standard.

By the time World War I broke out, the pipe band represented a popular image of Scotland, both internally and externally.

Military pipers were killed and injured in significant numbers in the Great War, before the War Office banned the practice of playing in the trenches in 1915. The ban was often not observed; Canadian piper James Richardson was awarded the Victoria Cross for playing in action in 1916. Pipes have occasionally played into battle, notably at El Alamein, Dieppe, the Normandy beaches, and the crossing of the Rhine. The Calgary Highlanders went into action for the first time at Hill 67 in Normandy with company pipers playing; it was the only time the Regiment did so. Military pipers have also served in both Gulf Wars.

Did you know ...

That a father and 12-year-old son died when room full of ammunition explodes

That Obamacare is gaining traction among the American people

That even young repugicans want health insurance

That the military removed commander of nuclear weapons unit


Survey Says ...


What if the pie chart used vibrant, pastel colors and had a 3D effect? I read somewhere that doing so improves the quality of polling data. Doghouse Diaries is being too skeptical.

Data Proves NC’s Voter ID Law Declares War on Women’s Votes

Without question, the ALEC inspired "Voter ID" law in NC, and in other red states, target votes by blacks and Hispanics. Make no mistake about it, ALEC has…

Justice Ginsburg's Terrifying Assessment Of Her Own Court

From Think Progress
(Click HERE to read the entire article)

In an interview with the New York Times' Adam Liptak, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered a grim assessment of the Court where she so often finds herself leading a four justice dissent - the Roberts Court is "one of the most activist courts in history."

As an historic matter, this is a pretty staggering claim. The Supreme Court in 1905 handed down a decision called Lochner v. New York that is now widely taught in American law schools as an example of how judges should never, ever behave. Lochner treated any law improving workplace conditions or helping workers to obtain an adequate wage as constitutionally suspect. And Lochner was hardly an anomalous moment in the Court's history.

Thirteen years after Lochner the Supreme Court struck down federal child labor laws in a decision that is also widely taught as an example of inexcusable judicial activism. In 1895, the Supreme Court rendered the country virtually powerless against monopolies and other powerful combinations of corporate power, and then it held an income tax on the wealthiest Americans unconstitutional just a few months later. The Supreme Court has, with rare exception, been a largely malign force in American history.

There is, however, one important way in which the Roberts Court is distinguishable from the Courts that decided cases such as Lochner. Laws such as the Sherman Antitrust Act and the first federal ban on child labor arose as lawmakers with struggling with many of the negative side effects of the Industrial Revolution. The birth of the railroad and the dawn of mass production massively improved the American standard of living, but they also enabled monopolists to thrive and they resulted in mass exploitation of the working class. The Supreme Court in this era did not so much tear down established rights as it stood for a status quo that favored capital over labor and the rich over the rest of the nation.

The Roberts Court, by contrast, has actively rolled back existing laws protecting workers, women and people of color. The Nineteenth Century Supreme Court blocked America's first meaningful efforts at racial equality, but the Roberts Court stole from minority voters rights that they had enjoyed for decades. The Lochner Court strangled basic protections for workers in their crib, but the Roberts Court takes fully matured protections for workers and carves them up a piece at a time. And, while Lochner Era courts acted out in the open, undermining human rights in published opinions. the Roberts Court pushes an alternative, corporate-run arbitration system that operates largely in secret.

None of this is to say that the world we live in now is worse than the world our great-grandparents lived in under the Lochner Court - if the Roberts Court's goal is to bring us back to this era, they are currently shy at least one vote. Nevertheless, the Roberts Court is unusually willing to take from ordinary Americans rights they have enjoyed for a very long time. The Supreme Court has a long history of standing athwart history yelling stop. This Supreme Court, however, wants to shift history into reverse.

The truth be told

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Gawker reveals NYPD's "spy taxi"

This, writes Gawker's John Cook, is a taxi used in "NYPD's indiscriminate and probably illegal spying program." According to the two Pulitzer Prize–winning authors of the book, Enemies Within, it's a "real yellow cab, complete with an authentic taxi medallion registered under a fake name used by the department's intelligence division to conduct surveillance operations."
It's mainly used to keep tabs on activities around New York's mosques, say the book's authors, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman.
Cook's advice, "If you hail this cab, don't tip."

Russian police seize Putin, Medvedev painting

Picture the scene: a quiet moment between Russian president Vladimir Putin and his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev. A momentary intersection between two lives made busy–so busy–by the hard work of government. Medvedev has just put his bra back on. He is disheveled. Putin grabs a comb and runs it lazily through his deputy's hair. Medvedev's eyes firmly engage the viewer, but Putin looks oddly to one side. What is he looking at? Perhaps his eye falls upon the Romanov Tercentenary Egg on his desk, adorned with portrait miniatures of the dynasty.
They seem to gaze back at him, no longer lost within Fabergé's gilded relic. Putin once saw their deaths in his mind's eye, over and over, that invigorating minute in Yekaterinburg. Now he hears only their voices, the whispers that wake him. Though both men creep toward the threshold of the golden afternoon, the evening is yet young.
Alas, this delightful set-piece is no more: police raided the gallery and took it away without a word of explanation.

California school district hires firm to eavesdrop on students' social media activity

Matthew says, "The Glendale [California] Unified School District has hired Geo Listening ["Your students are crying for help. We have heard these cries of despair, and for help and attention, loud and clear from students themselves via their public postings on social networks"]to eavesdrop and monitor students’ public posts on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram."

The Birth of the Bleep

Curses!
The Verge has an extensive article on the rise of broadcast censorship. Despite the devotion to freedom of speech, broadcasters have always been terrified of audience response, and did what they could to avoid offending anyone. The first incidence of broadcast censorship occurred in 1921, when Vaudeville performer Olga Petrova visited one of the earliest radio stations. Petrova was known to be opinionated, and a friend of birth control advocate Margaret sanger.
One night in 1921, Petrova, then engaged at a Newark theater, went to the local radio station WJZ to perform. The Great War had just ended, during the course of which the government had forbidden the use of private radio equipment. After the armistice the Navy tried to retain monopoly control of radio, but Congress put a stop to their power grab. Wartime restrictions were lifted, but the pioneers of broadcasting such as those at WJZ were mindful of potential government interference, and Petrova had a reputation as a firebrand. She disarmed her hosts by announcing that she would be performing her own versions of Mother Goose rhymes, and then proceeded to read the following:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, She had so many children because she didn’t know what to do.
The 1873 Comstock laws, which banned the distribution of “obscene” materials, including information about contraception, were still in force; Petrova had, arguably, kind of broken the law.
"The means for censoring broadcast content came years before the emergence of the first national broadcast network"

“The staff was terrified,” Barnouw relates. “They were certain there would be trouble from Washington. Westinghouse [then owner of WJZ] executives were already nervous about possibilities of this sort, and had wondered what to do if a 'red' got on the air. An emergency switch was provided for the engineer in the shack.” Thus, he could switch to that “phonograph beside him — on his own judgment or on a signal from the studio.”
Petrova marveled at how broadcasters had to take control over the possibility of offending, as if listeners at home could not control their own radios. That was just the beginning of a system that evolved to protect the delicate sensibilities of the general public. More

Ziggy

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Can a Messy Desk Make You More Creative?


One of my favorite adages is "An uncluttered desk is the sign of an uncluttered mind." It appears to be true that a messy desk fosters creativity. Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota cites three experiments in which a neat or messy setting influenced a person's thinking process. In one experiment, 48 subjects were placed in either a neat or a messy room, and told to come up with creative uses for ping pong balls.
Two assistants rated each idea on a one-to-three scale (from not at all creative to very creative). After adding the scores, the researchers found that those who worked in the messy room were more creative overall, and came up with more highly creative ideas, than those who performed the same task in the neat room. On average, those working in the pristine environment came up with as many suggestions as those in the messy one; their ideas just weren’t as innovative.

“Being creative is aided by breaking away from tradition, order and convention,” Vohs and her colleagues conclude, “and a disorderly environment seems to help people do just that.”
An interesting observation here is that the subjects did not select whether their experimental environment was neat or messy, so a person's natural messiness or creativity did not come into play. And a neat desk has its advantages, too. Vohs tells us of other experiments in which people working in a neater environment tended to be more generous and to select more nutritious foods afterward. More

The US Built and Operated Aircraft Carriers on the Great Lakes during World War II


During World War II, the US converted two sidewheel steamships into aircraft carriers and operated them entirely on the Great Lakes. But their mission wasn't to guard America's freshwater border with Canada. The USS Sable and the USS Wolverine (pictured above) were training vessels for pilots.
I learned about these carriers through a post written by Glenn Reynolds. He comments:
You know, Nick McCall and I were going to write a novel about a U-boat in the Great Lakes, being chased by, among other things, these very carriers, but we couldn’t come up with a good way to get it there. 
That would be a fine alternate history challenge!

How to Treat College Freshmen in 1495

Ask the Past is a delightful blog that conveys medieval advice to modern readers. For example, would you like to haze college freshmen? According to a Leipzig University statute promulgated in 1495, it is forbidden:
Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.
Behave yourselves.

In Peru, drones help map archaeological treasures

Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima’s Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister, flies a drone over the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen in Trujillo August 3, 2013. Reuters / Mariana Bazo
In Peru, Archaeologists are using drones to "help set boundaries to protect sites, watch over them and monitor threats, and create a digital repository of ruins that can help build awareness and aid in the reconstruction of any damage done," according to this Reuters item. The Peruvian government "plans to buy several drones to use at different sites, and [says] the technology will help the ministry comply with a new, business-friendly law that has tightened the deadline for determining whether land slated for development might contain cultural artifacts."
"Commercial drones made by the Swiss company senseFly and the U.S. firms Aurora Flight Sciences and Helicopter World have all flown Peruvian skies." Read the full article over at Skift.

Awesome Pictures

Honey The Magical, Immortal Superfood

Honey is awesome, and we're not talkin' just the taste. It can do things no other food can do! Anthony dishes on this magical golden treat.

Mustard Spiced Ancient European Cuisine

Ancient northern Europeans spiced their venison, seafood and other dishes with tangy mustard seeds

Higher temperatures ...

Hgher food prices.
Higher the flares of tempers.
Oh, yeah. there are "good times" ahead.
The earth’s rising temperature also affects crop yields indirectly via the melting of mountain glaciers. As the larger glaciers shrink and the smaller ones disappear, the ice melt that sustains rivers, and the irrigation systems dependent on them, will diminish. the continuing loss of mountain glaciers and the resulting reduced meltwater runoff could create unprecedented water shortages and political instability in some of the world’s more densely populated countries. - More