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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.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Planning is not always glamorous or exciting, but it's necessary for just about everything you want to do in life.
There will be a bit of a schedule crunch, so putting some time into planning your day will pay off.
You'll experience less stress and more joy if you know where you need to be and when you need to be there.
Be sure to double-check details like addresses, times and confirmation numbers.
If you do any traveling today you might be in for a nice surprise.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Prescott, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Edinburgh, Scotland, United kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Paris, Ile-De-France, France

as well as Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Los Angeles, La Crosse, Chattanooga, Los Gatos and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, January 6, the 6th day of 2011.
There are 359 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Comments about Carolina Naturally

Due to last night's 'editor meltdown at blogger' I was able to find time to go through the comments (which as long time readers know happens only on the 15th blue moon of the month around here).

Here are a few:

Very Interesting!

Thank You

Your blog keeps getting better and better!

Splendidly done

Just wanted to say hello

I want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

I really think this site carolinanaturally.blogspot.com was great and nice to be here.

Hi your website is cute

Great Site. Was added to mybookmarks. Greetings From USA.

I like your blog, especially your National debt counter.

I see you put a lot of work into this one. I respect it!! Good luck and keep up the good work.

Your blog looks cool and it is appreciated.

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more

keep rocking

Thanks for the science links. Keep up the good work.

Rennie Adoption Manual

First posted way back on 4-28-08
Rennie Adoption: A manual

Congratulations on your decision to adopt a Rennie! Many of these fascinating creatures are in need of good homes where they will be loved and cared for. While keeping a Rennie can be expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, the results can be well worth all the effort. A well turned out Rennie who is happy and healthy is amazing to watch in action. The guidelines below will help you care for your new charge, but they are only guidelines. Every Rennie is quite unique and you should get to know your Rennie's personal quirks, preferences and skills.

The most important step in caring for your Rennie is selecting the right one. Rennies come in many varieties. You will find them of both sexes, and in every imaginable size, color, age, health and plumage. But, far more important than their physical differences are the differences in their personalities. Every Rennie has a very unique set of skills, preferences and attitudes, and you need to take these into consideration as you make your choice.

If you have a nervous condition, a Daredevil Rennie is not for you. Likewise, do not adopt a Fighter Rennie unless you have a large yard in which he or she can chase around other Rennies with a sword. If you have small children in the house, you might prefer to adopt a Rennie other than the Arms Collector, and if you like your nights silent, keep in mind that Stitching Rennies are known to stay up quite late, whirring away at their machines, punctuated by occasional loud bouts of cursing.

Food & Drink
Once you have selected a Rennie and brought him or her home, your first concern may be, "What do I feed this strange creature?" Luckily, most Rennies are not picky about what they eat, and indeed, will consume with relish most anything you offer them. Do not be afraid to offer your Rennie exotic or strange foods. They have a highly devolved sense of adventure and will likely at least try whatever it is. Keep in mind, that through some strange quirk, your Rennie will enjoy almost any food more if it is presented on a stick.

Your Rennie requires large quantities of water. Your Rennie will want large quantities of liquor. There is a very fine balance between the two that you must find to keep your Rennie (and in cases of more belligerent Rennies, yourself) happy and healthy.

Rennies are very affectionate creatures, and will often cuddle and love on you for treats. Favorite treats tend towards chocolate or nice liquor, though your Rennie may have different favorites. Recently, several varieties of Rennie have devolved a taste for Sushi, so you may wish to try that as well.

While your Rennie may seem to have inexhaustible supplies of energy, they need a good nights sleep like any other creature. When they are having fun, but are exhausted, usually at the end of a faire day, they may behave much like a 4-year-old, insisting on staying up and playing, "just a few more minutes." It is advised that you be firm with your Rennie and insist that they come home and go to bed. It is also advised that this will almost never work, and when it does, Rennie goodbyes have been know to take upwards to two hours at a large gathering. Sit down near the door and have another drink.

Rennies take great joy in grooming both themselves and others and can take hours to prepare in the morning. Rennie females, in particular will often need the help of others in preparing for the day. While they may seem inconsequential or frivolous to you, each pin, knot, and accessory is very important to your Rennie. When your Rennie is being slow in the morning, exhortations of "Hurry up!" will not speed matters along. "What can I hold/tie/pin/pull/lace?" will work much more efficiently.

That being said, by the end of that self-same day, your Rennie may be unrecognizably dirty, disheveled and grungy, though likely quite happy. While Rennies appreciate and enjoy a shower or bath every day, like sleep, this is not always something they feel is required. If your Rennie shows no inclination to bathe after a long day, helping them undress and drawing a bath or starting the shower for them may encourage them to get clean.

Please note that your Rennie will take great joy in all their clothing and accessories, and will constantly want to be adding to the horde. Every once in a while, please go through all your Rennies "garb" with them and help them to let go of pieces they no longer wear. Promising to donate the pieces to another Rennie will help ease the pain of separation, as will offering to replace it with something the Rennie likes better. New garb can work as a treat even better than chocolate or liquor.

Under no circumstances get rid of anything from a Rennies garb without their knowledge and permission unless you want your sweet happy Rennie to instantly transform into Furious Rabid Fighter Rennie and attempt to take of your head.

Communicating with Your Rennie
Rennies are extremely intelligent, and will likely understand everything you say, possibly in several languages. It is far more likely that you will not understand your Rennie when they are speaking in BFA, Gaelic, Romany or some other obscure or not so obscure language. Also, they can get quite animated when speaking about their favorite hobbies or most history. The correct response to almost anything from, "I can't do French seams in the gussets in that camica because the twill is too thick to turn twice," to "Henry VIII and Cardinal Richelieu weren't even alive at the same time, and France and England were at war in 1620! They can't put the Musketeers in England!!!!" is a nodding of the head and saying, "Yes, yes, of course.

There are two terms your Rennie may use frequently that you will need to be familiar with right off. The first is a loud exclamation of "HUZZAH!" This is a Rennie sound of joy and excitement, something you wish to hear often. The second is "privy." Your Rennie is asking where the bathroom is, and you'd best show them quickly unless you want to be cleaning up Rennie messes. Eliminating in garb can be a difficult and time consuming process.

All other terms can usually be picked up with familiarity.

Your Rennie and Play
Rennies have a highly devoloped sense of play and will often play any opportunity they get. The idea of what is play varies greatly from one Rennie to the next, though they will almost always be happier to play in groups. Some may enjoy contact juggling, some fencing, some equestrian pursuits, some computer games. However nearly all Rennies, whether or not they are skilled, thoroughly enjoy the arts of Music and Flirting. Given a good tune and the opportunity to sing, stomp or clap along, most Rennies will be quite happy. Likewise, what may seem to the untrained observer as heavy duty sexual harassment is usually two Rennies who have missed each other's company greeting one another. Unless your Rennie looks truly upset, it is better to leave him or her alone in these situations. See more under the Breeding section.

Your Rennie also loves toys. Amongst Rennies, favored toys may be sharp, shiny, pointy, sparkly, made of wood, leather, metal, pottery or fur. Get to know your Rennie to discover his or her particular preferences.

Illness, Injury, and Keeping Your Rennie Healthy
For some reason not yet determined by modern science, Rennies seem to have a slightly greater concentration of diseases, which range from irritating to debilitating, than those not of the breed. Common ailments can include hypoglycemia, fibromyalgia, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis and a range of bum knees, trick elbows and the like. These will likely only slow your Rennie down, not stop them completely. Your Rennie and others around him or her are usually well advised on the maladies in the group and will band together to take care of one of their number that is ill or injured, so that they can all return to the fun as soon as possible.

An injured Rennie is for some reason fairly happy. They do like to show off gruesome scars and talk about their gory wounds. Should your Rennie become injured, your best course of action is to simply dress the wound, give them a drink of water and then your Rennie will go back to whatever it was doing. Except in the cases of extreme injury, they tend to be a hardy breed.

To keep your Rennie as healthy as possible, make sure that he or she drinks plenty of water, gets lots of rest and exercise and limit their consumption of fried food on a stick. Keep the supplies for dealing with heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration and hypothermia on hand, as these are the most frequent complaints. Make your Rennie wear sunscreen. He or she will protest this. Make them do it anyway. Make them reapply frequently and when they get burned anyway, make them put on Aloe gel. They will protest this as well. Insist. While Rennies are extremely intelligent, sometimes they're not very smart.

Breeding your Rennie
Nearly all Rennies love children, whether or not they have one of their own. They like to play with children, talk to children and show children things that interest them as adults. The adult Rennies overdeveloped sense of play makes them perfect companions for children, barring a tendency amongst the entire breed to curse. A Rennie child very nearly is raised by a village and may have dozens of Aunties and Uncles not related to them by blood scattered all over the continent.

Despite decades of observation by many interested parties, no one has yet determined a successful program for breeding Rennies. Their sense of high drama, passionate natures, and overly affectionate friendships have clouded the issue so deeply that it is still a mystery how they manage to breed at all. So, should you wish to breed your Rennie, it is suggested that you adopt an already mated pair. Even that is no guarantee of success.

You Rennie may have its own ideas about breeding. The best course of action to take should this happen is to stand back and observe your Rennie closely. In the event of a heartbreak step in and feed your Rennie his or her favorite treats. While this will probably not heal your Rennie, it will make them more pleasant to be around until they find another potential mate.

While the above may make adopting a Rennie seem daunting, it is an enterprise with great rewards. They are attractive, affectionate creatures, who will brighten your life for many years to come. Thank you for your interest.

Non Sequitur


Man exonerated after 30 years

Just a week after he made parole, Cornelius Dupree Jr. got a bittersweet piece of news. 

And I Quote

"2010 was the year of arsonists posing as firemen, of people railing against deficits while doing
  everything they could to make those deficits bigger. And I don’t just mean politicians. Did you
  notice the U-turn many political commentators and others made when the tax-cut was announced?
  One day deficits were the great evil and the next day $800 billion in debt-financed tax cuts, with the
  prospect of more to come, was the great(est) thing since sliced bread, a triumph of bipartisanship. “

    -- Paul Krugman,    Link

Real Americans want you ...


Lunatic Fringe

The Big Lie and the Big Lying Liars that tell it

... and Robert Reich who reminds us not to forget that it is, in fact, a lie.
Repugicans are telling Americans a big lie. 
The big lie is our economic problems are due to a government that’s too large, and therefore the solution is to shrink it.

The truth is our economic problems stem from the biggest concentration of income and wealth at the top since 1928, combined with stagnant incomes for most of the rest of us. the result: Americans no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full capacity. since the debt bubble burst, most Americans have had to reduce their spending; they need to repay their debts, can’t borrow as before, and must save for retirement. - Full Story

Glenn Beck's radio show dropped in NYC
Why, who would have every guessed that!

"Fox News is 100% bullshit."
-- Keith Olbermann, Tweeting    Link

"Surely not 100%. Surely it is a rich blend of
  manure from a wide variety of farm animals."
-- Twitter user William Dickson, Tweeting back at Keith    Link

Whichever - they're pure shit anyway you look at it.

The Portrait of a speaker
Speaker Boehner
House repugicans to cut education, law enforcement by 20%

Good luck with that. Not only are they sabotaging our limping economic recovery, but they're seriously going to cut the education budget and cops by 20%, and they think they'll survive the next election?
The incoming repugican junta in the House is moving to make good on its promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending this year, a goal eagerly backed by wingnuts but one carrying substantial political and economic risks.

House repugicans are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans.

The reductions that would be required in the remaining federal programs, including education and transportation, would be so deep — roughly 20 percent on average — that Senate Repugicans have not joined the $100 billion pledge that House repugicans, led by the incoming speaker, John A. Boehner, made to voters before November’s midterm elections.

The truth be told

Thank the repugicans for it.



On The Job

Top 25 Oddball Job Interview Questions of 2010
Looking for a new job can be stressful enough without the interviewer throwing a curveball that has nothing to do with the position you are seeking. Many job interviews feature questions that are designed to see how fast you think, or how well you cope under pressure, but some of these questions are mind blowing!
2. “How many ridges [are there] around a quarter?”
6. “How many basketball[s] can you fit in this room”
12. “An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents, how much is a pear?”
20. “You are in charge of 20 people, organize them to figure out how many bicycles were sold in your area last year.”
The list at Glassdoor has links to possible answers from readers. I think the correct answer to many of these might be, “I don’t know, but I know how to find the answer.”

Annual raises are well above the 1.7% increase most hourly workers saw last year.  
Employers are eager to find workers in health care and five other fields.  
'Actually, the retirement age is too high'
It's about time someone made the common sense argument, that if you want more jobs for the young, you want increased retirement of older workers. James K. Galbraith makes just that point in an interesting article, collectively written, called "Unconventional Wisdom" in the magazine Foreign Policy (h/t digby):
The most dangerous conventional wisdom in the world today is the idea that with an older population, people must work longer and retire with less.

This idea is being used to rationalize cuts in old-age benefits in numerous advanced countries -- most recently in France, and soon in the United States. The cuts are disguised as increases in the minimum retirement age or as increases in the age at which full pensions will be paid.

Such cuts have a perversely powerful logic: "We" are living longer. There are fewer workers to support each elderly person. Therefore "we" should work longer. ...

In the United States, the financial crisis has left the country with 11 million fewer jobs than Americans need now. No matter how aggressive the policy, we are not going to find 11 million new jobs soon. So common sense suggests we should make some decisions about who should have the first crack: older people, who have already worked three or four decades at hard jobs? Or younger people ... The answer is obvious.
Galbraith also addresses the false argument of the the aging populaton:
"[W]e" are not living longer. Wealthier elderly are; the non-wealthy not so much. Raising the retirement age cuts benefits for those who can't wait to retire and who often won't live long. Meanwhile, richer people with soft jobs work on: For them, it's an easy call.
It's all very sensible — unless your goal is to punish the under-privileged elderly. But that would only be true in a society that rewards the over-privileged elderly; oops.
A revised formula suggests tough times have taken a worse toll in the U.S. than previously thought.

It's The Economy Stupid

Many people who have failed at starting up a dream business don't even know why.  
Higher pump prices pinch, but there are a few reasons why they won't wreck the economy.  
Try using your computer or phone to avoid late fees and penalties in 2011.
Exercising more and cutting some bad habits can put hundreds in your pocket.  
A little-known holiday will give you some extra days to send in your 2010 return.



Things they will never know

Watches and paper maps are among the items that will seem obsolete.

Calling Home

Five small homes with plenty of charm
A 900-square-foot cottage features mostly white decor with pops of color. » A remodeled 1959 Airstream trailer
Living in an Abandoned Men's Club

When David Hurlbut saw the 20,000-square-foot Harmony Club, it had been empty for nearly 40 years. But he didn’t see what it was, a dirty pigeon and rat motel – he saw what it could be: a one of a kind home, carved out of an abandoned men’s club.
“The building’s sole inhabitants were a flock of pigeons that left behind what he estimates to be about 140 cubic yards of guano. There was no plumbing, and the electrical wiring was in shambles,” he said. Still, he knew he’d found his home. “I thought it would be a perfect clubhouse for me,” he said. “It’s probably a guy thing.” After a small number of visits he purchased the property for a little less than $100,000 and moved in the turn of the new millennium – January 1, 2000!
Yatzer has a fantastic gallery of the home, which Hurlbut renovated into a liveable space a mere two years later ...

Home destroyed by mistake

A Pittsburgh man returns from the holidays to a vacant lot where his house used to be.

Other Worlds

Many subterranean passageways were designed with more than transit in mind.  

In Theorem

Is the future leaking?
Later today you are going to do something, something you don't know about yet.
Yet somehow, it's already happened. Somehow, it's already affected you. Huh?

One of the most respected, senior and widely published professors of psychology, Daryl Bem of Cornell, has just published an article that suggests that people — ordinary people — can be altered by experiences they haven't had yet. Time, he suggests, is leaking. The Future has slipped, unannounced, into the Present. And he thinks he can prove it.


Just the News

A plan to replace two racially charged terms sends shock waves through the Web.
The 70-foot-tall Nevada cottonwood was a popular stop for tourists on "the loneliest road in America."  
Raw milk sold as 'body lotion'
A Canadian raw-milk dairy ordered to stop selling unpasteurized milk for human consumption is rebranding the product as a "body lotion."

Criminal Intent

Man Captured Killer in His Last Photo
This one is gruesome – a man in the Philippines taking a picture of his family ended up taking one of his killer as well. Here’s what the man’s last photo showed:
The picture, taken outside the man’s house in Manila, shows a man aiming his gun from behind the victim’s smiling three-member family, seconds before he was shot.
The relatives – Reynaldo Dagsa’s wife, daughter and mother-in-law – are seen standing beside the family car, which has its lights on, and the gunman, wearing a baseball cap, is bracing himself against the vehicle, pointing his gun at Dagsa. His face is slightly obscured by the gun. In the right-hand corner of the photograph is a man police identified as the assassin’s lookout.

A local councilman shot to death on New Year's Eve in the Philippines accidentally photographed his killer pointing a gun at him just before pulling the trigger. In the photo above, victim Reynaldo Dagsa's smiling family members are posed against a car; the alleged killer is at left, and an alleged lookout is at right. The photo led to the arrest of two suspects, one of whom was a car thief out on bail, presumed to be looking for revenge against Dagsa.

Man jailed for 99th time in 30 years

William Bradley Bankston has an unwanted record. The 47-year-old has been to the Mobile County Metro Jail in Alabama at least 99 times in the last 30 years - more than anyone else in the modern era of record-keeping.

At least three-quarters of those bookings followed drinking bouts and public displays of drunkenness, records show.

Bankston’s most recent charges, according to online court records, included third-degree domestic violence and resisting arrest.

The Press-Register interviewed Bankston in early February last year, following his 97th visit to the jail. When the reporter inquired whether he had, in fact, been jailed that many times, Bankston replied, “Oh, probably more than that, ma’am.” Just two weeks after the Press-Register article on Bankston, he was arrested and booked into the jail yet again.

Aviation Hijinks

A large man on a Turkish Airlines flight foils the suspect, who claimed to have a bomb.  
A pilot's spilled coffee accidentally triggered a hijacking alert and caused a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, to make an unscheduled stop in Canada.

Helpful Hints

Phony job placement companies will steal not only your money, but also your identity.
Although they appear to be random, those nine digits reveal more than you might think. 
One expert uses shades of daylight to determine which hues enhance natural beauty.  

Computer and Electronics News

Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe

Why would anyone want to use IE if they didn't have to?

Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox topped Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer in Europe for the first time last month to become the region’s most-used web browser, according to StatCounter, a market-research firm.

In December, Firefox’s share of the European market was 38.1 percent, with Internet Explorer at 37.5 percent and Google Inc.’s Chrome at 14.6 percent, according to StatCounter, which is based in Dublin and Boston.

It’s the first time Internet Explorer has been “dethroned from the number-one spot in a major territory,” Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This appears to be happening because Google’s Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer.” Firefox is maintaining its existing share, he said.
The internet is quickly becoming Americans' main source of national and international news, according to a new Pew Research Center study published Tuesday.

How to toss electronics
If you got a new TV for Christmas, check your state's books before trashing your old set.

Interesting Stuff

6-Chamber Revolver Can Fire 12 Rounds

This unique revolver invented by John Walch in 1859. It has two triggers and two hammers to fire two rounds that were loaded into each chamber. James R. Rummel explains how it works:
The secret to the extra firepower is what is known as “superimposed loads”. Basically, the chambers are loaded with a powder charge with a bullet sitting on top, as is normal. Then another powder charge and bullet is loaded on top of the first.
The reason this doesn’t lead to an exploded gun and missing fingers is due to the unique ignition system. There are two percussion caps for every cylinder.
The gun is equipped with two hammers, and two triggers. Both hammers are cocked at the same time, but only the right-handed trigger is squeezed to set off the first shot. Then the left-hand trigger is squeezed, the left-hand hammer drops, and the second bullet goes flying. Cocking the hammers again will cause the cylinder to revolve as per normal.
Percussion caps are supposed to create a spark to set off the powder. Notice the ring of nipples to the outside of the cylinder? Those are the caps that are set off by the right-hand hammer, the hammer you are supposed to squeeze first. They don’t have a hole which goes directly into the back of the chamber, but instead channels the spark down a little tunnel. After about an inch, the tunnel makes a left hand turn and finally emerges into the chamber.
The hope is that the extra inch traveled will mean that the spark from the right-hand trigger will set off the powder charge in front, which will send the first bullet flying down the barrel while leaving the second bullet and powder charge untouched. The left-hand trigger will cause the left-hand hammer to drop, which will impact on the inner percussion cap, and hopefully cause the second charge to ignite.

The Battery That's Been Operating Continuously for the Past 60 Years
It keeps going…and going…and going. Karpen’s Pile, a battery built in Romania, has been providing power since the 1950s:
The prototype has been assembled in 1950 and consists of two series-connected electric piles moving a small galvanometric motor. The motor moves a blade that is connected to a switch. With every half rotation, the blade opens the circuit and closes it at the the start of the second half. The blade’s rotation time had been calculated so that the piles have time to recharge and that they can rebuild their polarity during the time that the circuit is open.
The purpose of the motor and the blades was to show that the piles actually generate electricity, but they’re not needed anymore, since current technology allows us to measure all the parameters and outline all of them in a more proper way.
The science behind it (assuming that it’s not an elaborate hoax) challenges conventional physics:
According to some who studied Karpen’s theoretical work, the pile he invented defies the second principle of thermodynamics (referring to the transformation of thermal energy into mechanical work), and this makes it a second-degree perpetual motion machine. Others say it doesn’t, being merely a generalization to the law, and an application of zero point energy.
If Karpen was right, and the principle is 100% correct, it would revolutionize all of the physics theories from the bottom up, with hard to imagine consequences. Though I guess this isn’t going to happen very soon, the museum still needs proper private funding to acquire the necessary security equipment required by the police to exhibit the device.