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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.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Today it might seem that there can be no wrong decision and that everything is a 'win-win.'
But this is not necessarily true -- and you cannot afford to get too cocky or be too complacent when the stakes are this high.
So keep your calm, think everything through, and do what is best for the largest group of people.
You may have to put your own needs behind those of a person (or group of people) who has a measure of power over you.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Weert, Limburg, Netherlands
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Nancy, Lorraine, France
Amstrdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Tambov, Tambovskaya Oblast, Russia

as well as Slovakia, Malta, 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, Maldives, 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, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland

and in cities across the United States such as Greenville, Brownsville, Goldsboro, Red Springs and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, June 24, the 175th day of 2011.
There are 190 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Take Your Dog To Work Day
Ugliest Dog Day
International Fairy Day.

It is also the Celebration Of The Senses!

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!



Comments about Carolina Naturally

Some of the more recent comments we have received here at Carolina Naturally

Always a pleasure to read
William in Norfolk

A daily must in our house
John and Melissa in Birmingham

'repugicans', you got that one correct, sir
 Mary in El Paso

Thanks for all the science links
Uwe in Berlin

A great mix of news, interesting stories, humor and fun
Marie in Paris

Nice blog, keep it up
Susan in Portland

Wingnut shenanigans

The national repugican senate cabal caught red-handed making up false tweets from Democrats.

Things this repugican congress has done instead of creating jobs.

And in case you forgot that wingnuts are a world-wide scourge ...
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has been eavesdropping on nearly everybody in England.



Lower gas prices are likely

President Obama’s decision to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could offer a jolt to the economy.



Scary near miss at airport

Two planes are on a collision course until a frantic air traffic controller averts disaster.  

Apparent twister hits racetrack

A strong storm forces officials to halt races at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  

Supreme Court takes second look at “indecency” on television

The Supreme Court is expected to announce within days whether it will revisit a case that touches on government efforts to regulate profanity and nudity on television.

The court met in conference Thursday to decide which cases would be granted hearings and which would be resolved through lower court rulings.

The Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court in April because of ongoing confusion over the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to enforce moral standards in broadcasting.

A lower court has ruled that the FCC’s definition of “indecency” is too vague.

Not only did the ruling dismiss fines against television networks, it also gave them broad discretion in choosing the portions of people’s anatomies they show and the foulness of language that can be used.

The ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox networks are parties in the case.

The appeal centers on a 2003 episode of “NYPD Blue” on ABC that showed part of one breast and the full buttocks of a nude woman.

The episode brought to a head growing displeasure by the FCC about how explicit television had become, both scripted and unscripted.

Other incidents that prompted the FCC to issue new obscenity rules included singer Bono’s 2003 acceptance speech on NBC’s live awards show, when he said, “really, really, f---ing brilliant.”

In another incident cited by the FCC, singer Nicole Richie said during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards, “Have you ever tried to get cow s--t out of a Prada purse? It’s not so f---ing simple.”

The FCC responded in 2004 with new rules, including one that prohibited “single uses of vulgar words” under any circumstances on television. The FCC also fined television networks that aired the shows.

The networks sued to overturn the fines, saying their First Amendment right of free expression was infringed by vague and inconsistently applied FCC obscenity rules.

The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court two years ago.

The Supreme Court ruled the FCC did have authority to enforce the rules against broadcasters.

However, the high court also said the FCC must come out with better definitions of the nudity and language that can be banned without trampling the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the New York-based Second Circuit federal appeals court to determine whether the FCC met its obligation of better definitions.

Last July, the appeals court said the FCC still was too arbitrary in fining broadcasters for brief scenes of exposed human bodies and “fleeting expletives.”

“By prohibiting all ‘patently offensive’ references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what ‘patently offensive’ means, the FCC effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive,” the Second Circuit’s ruling said. “To place any discussion of these vast topics at the broadcaster’s peril has the effect of promoting wide self-censorship of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment.”

The first time before the Supreme Court, the Justice Department’s primary argument was that the obscenity ban was a legal authority of the FCC.

This time, the Justice Department’s petition of appeal emphasizes what would happen without rules against nudity and explicit language.

The petition says the courts have made it nearly impossible for the FCC to enforce any rules against “indecency” when children are watching.

The appeals court’s decision to overturn the FCC’s indecency rules creates an “extraordinary hobbling of the [Federal Communication] Commission’s enforcement efforts,” the Justice Department petition says.

The FCC’s authority includes considering the context of programming to determine whether it is indecent, even if the specific words or scenes are not listed in the rules, the petition says.

The case is FCC v. Fox Television Stations, No. 10-1293.

Curved Yellow Fruit

Culinary DeLites

Worst foods for long-term weight gain

A huge study finds that people who ate potato chips daily gained 1.69 pounds every four years. 

Arizona death may be linked to European E. coli

Health officials say the death of an Arizona resident who recently traveled to Germany may be linked to the food-poisoning outbreak in Europe.

Speaking of which
Europe's E. coli death toll increases
Germany's national disease control center says the death toll from Europe's E. coli outbreak has risen to 43.

Germany's E. coli outbreak caused by mix of 2 deadly strains
A mix of two dangerous E. coli strains caused the recent deadly food poisoning outbreak in Germany, according to a new study of the bacteria's DNA.

Diabetes 'reversed by strict diet'

People with Type 2 diabetes could reverse their condition by following a very low calorie diet, according to new research.

Scarlet fever: What to know

Scientists identify a new drug-resistant strain of the disease that's spreading rapidly overseas. 

Healthy Living

The 'other' midlife crisis

Salaries often plateau when people hit their 40s, which can lead to major money anxiety.  

Careers for a fresh start

The right education program can help prepare you for a new field in one to two years.  

Firms run like old boys' clubs

The parent company of Oprah’s cable network has no female board members or top-paid execs. 

The World's Scariest Job

While some people would find it unbearable to go anywhere near the edge of a cliff, these Chinese workers are building a 3ft-wide road made of wooden planks on the face of a mountain that's thousands of feet high. Once finished, it is hoped sightseers will flock to here to edge along and admire the views.

The 'road' - the width of a dinner table - they're assembling is on Shifou Mountain in Hunan Province and stands vertical at 90 degrees without any slopes or alcoves. What's more, these workers from China's eastern Jiangxi Province toil away on it with what appear to be few if any safety measures.

The best and worst cities for renters

The real estate bust has produced bargain rents of around $600 a month in some spots.  

Another Use For Psychics

In New York: Landlords Rely on Psychic to Vet Tenants.
Psychic-articleLarge Baruch Herzfeld, a landlord in Brooklyn, sometimes finds himself unsure about a potential tenant. Because his buildings are in neighborhoods like Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which are frequented by artistic and creative workers, a number of his applicants have questionable credit or spotty incomes.
But rather than reject them out of hand, Mr. Herzfeld sometimes refers them to Joan Baker, a freelance property manager and superintendent who conducts as part of her services what she calls “psychic credit checks” — interviews in which she tries to intuit whether a tenant will be reliable.
Does it work?
“I’ve never had a problem with anyone she’s checked into,” Mr. Herzfeld said. “I don’t know what part is psychic, what part is luck and what part is interpersonal skill. But I know she’s effective.”
A tenant, Bob Hain, cites even more evidence:
“She’s always predicting when things go wrong in our apartment.” For example? “Well, last year, when our sink busted, we didn’t tell anybody — but within a week she’d installed a brand-new sink,” he said. “It was weird.”
Joan Baker is shown here with one of her biggest fans.

Lost $30 mil Farrah pic found

A $30 million Andy Warhol painting of the late actress pops up in a strange place.  

Whimsical tree houses

Roderick Romero's second career began with a chance connection and off-the-cuff remark.

White Rabbit

Alice and the White Rabbit

Phone clues to bin Laden

Contacts in his courier's phone include a militant group with ties to Pakistan, a report says.

A Guide to Soviet Russia's Torture Centers

The Soviet Union had a terrifying system for handling both criminals and political dissidents we know by one word: Gulag.
From 1930 until 1960, Russian authorities ran a tightly-controlled network of forced labor camps, known as Gulags. Gulag was actually a Russian acronym for Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies, and these camps were often freezing, and forced prisoners to work and live in harsh conditions with very little food. Thriving under both Stalin and in the aftermath of WWII, Gulags housing petty criminals and political prisoners alike. The Gulag network was officially dismantled in 1960, destroying (almost) all of the prison camps, but their legacy lives on today – in memory and in the formation of many towns in the Russian Arctic.
Today most of those sites are totally gone, with little evidence remaining. However, there is a Gulag museum in Perm, and a KGB museum in the legendary Lubyanka building in Moscow that once housed the city’s political detainees.

Read more about them at Atlas Obscura.

The Ethics Of Collecting Nazi Memorabilia


Why would anyone collect Nazi memorabilia? The problem with anything bearing a Nazi swastika, regardless of its historical value, is that most people find the symbol offensive. It was the banner of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, which was responsible for the slaughter of millions of people.

But for collectors like Kevin Mackey, Nazi memorabilia, particularly those bearing the swastika, are unambiguous reminders of this suffering. Though upsetting to many, Mackey believes these pieces have a place in any discussion of World War II. To obliterate the symbols of Nazi Germany, he says, would be to obliterate that period from our knowledge, and to forget what took place. We need to be aware of what caused Nazi Germany, what happened, and how much horror came to this world because of it.

Fugitive mobster arrested

Legendary crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger is captured after disappearing in 1995.  

Man went to court wearing jacket he was accused of stealing

A hapless thief turned up for a court case wearing a £125 jacket he was accused of stealing. Stephen Kirkbride was ordered to surrender the coat after witnesses recognized it as the one he had stolen from Kendal’s Sports Direct shop. Store staff, who had been called to give evidence for the prosecution, said they could not believe their eyes when they saw the designer Craghopper waterproof the 46-year-old had left on a chair at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court, Kendal.

Kirkbride’s defense solicitor Judith Birkett argued her client ‘wouldn’t be so stupid’ as to turn up in stolen goods, but Kendal magistrate Jenny Farmer found him guilty of shoplifting, dismissing his excuses as ‘completely implausible’. Store manager Deborah Robson said: “I pointed the jacket out to the police officer and he seized it straight away.”

Kirkbride, of no fixed address, told the court that he had picked up the expensive coat – which had large tear marks where security tags had been cut out – from a charity shop. “It was damaged but I thought it was a bargain,” he said. Kendal police constable Jose da Silve Neto had already confiscated the two-part coat’s inner fleece from Kirkbride’s previous address, after CCTV footage showed the defendant taking the jacket from Sports Direct on February 3.

However, police had not been able to find the gortex outer layer until the defendant wore it to court. Magistrates found Kirkbride guilty of theft. The hearing was adjourned until July 11 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Kirkbride was remanded on unconditional bail.

Daily Comic Relief


Deceptive optical illusions

You'll insist that the full-size version of this static image is actually in motion.

New Alloy Can Convert Heat Directly Into Electricity

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a metal alloy composed of nickel, cobalt, manganese and tin. This “multiferroic composite” can convert heat into electricity!
In this case, the new alloy — Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 — undergoes a reversible phase transformation, in which one type of solid turns into another type of solid when the temperature changes, according to a news release from the University of Minnesota. Specifically, the alloy goes from being non-magnetic to highly magnetized. The temperature only needs to be raised a small amount for this to happen.
When the warmed alloy is placed near a permanent magnet, like a rare-earth magnet, the alloy’s magnetic force increases suddenly and dramatically. This produces a current in a surrounding coil, according to the researchers, led by aerospace engineering professor Richard James.
One possible application for this alloy is in automobile exhaust pipes, which vent a lot of heat that could be recycled into electric power for the battery.

Read more at Popsci.

Celestial "water sprinkler" discovered

It's amazing how one's perceptions change over time.  It was only about two years ago that water was being discovered on Mars.  Now I find a report in National Geographic of a star that is shooting water into space:
Seven hundred and fifty light-years from Earth, a young, sunlike star has been found with jets that blast epic quantities of water into interstellar space, shooting out droplets that move faster than a speeding bullet.

The discovery suggests that protostars may be seeding the universe with water. These stellar embryos shoot jets of material from their north and south poles as their growth is fed by infalling dust that circles the bodies in vast disks.

"If we picture these jets as giant hoses and the water droplets as bullets, the amount shooting out equals a hundred million times the water flowing through the Amazon River every second," said Lars Kristensen, a postdoctoral astronomer at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

"We are talking about velocities reaching 200,000 kilometers [124,000 miles] per hour, which is about 80 times faster than bullets flying out of a machine gun," said Kristensen, lead author of the new study detailing the discovery, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Awesome Pictures


Seven Deadliest Arrow Poisons on Earth

Nature has a frightening variety of toxins that humans have adapted for their own purposes: first to hunt prey for food, and also to kill their human enemies.

For example, take the strychnos tree, from which we get strychnine.
Most of us have heard of strychnos owing to its use in rat poison – as well as the occasional murder! – but it has been used for centuries as an arrow poison in the jungles of Assam, Burma, Malaysia and Java. A chieftain of the Limba people of Sierra Leone is holding iron-tipped arrows dipped in strychnos poison in the image above. The seeds contain 1.5% strychnine, but the flowers and bark contain the poison too. People and animals exposed to the substance will suffer paralysis, severe convulsions and, finally, death. On the plus side, medical science has used it in minute doses to help people as well.
Read about seven of these traditional poisons at Environmental Graffiti.

The Last Incan Handwoven Rope Bridge

There’s not a force in this universe that could get me to cross a bridge made of dead grass, suspended hundreds of feet over a river, swaying gently in the breeze between a couple of rock faces.  That said, it’s still kind of sad that the hundreds of handwoven bridges that existed in Peru for centuries are gone, leaving only a single example of Incan bridge technology.
Known as keshwa chaca, this is the only remaining example of the Incan handwoven bridges once common in the Incan road system. Made of woven grass, the bridge spans 118 feet and hangs 220 feet above the canyon’s rushing river.
The Incan women braided small, thin ropes, which were then braided again by the men into large support cables, much like a modern steel suspension bridge. Handwoven bridges lasted as long as 500 years and were held in very high regard by the Inca. The punishment for tampering with such a bridge was death.
Over time, however, the bridges decayed, or were removed, leaving this single testament to Incan engineering. This previously sagging bridge was repaired in 2003, christened with a traditional Incan ceremonial bridge blessing, and is now in extremely good condition.

Archaeologists lower camera into early Mayan tomb

A small, remote-controlled camera lowered into an early Mayan tomb in southern Mexico has revealed an apparently intact funeral chamber with offerings and red-painted wall murals, researchers said Thursday.

Underground Crusader city revealed under streets of Acre in northern Israel

Archeologists prepare to uncover entire compound built in medieval times and hidden for centuries under the rubble.



Body temperatures of dinosaurs measured for the first time

"The consensus was that no one would ever measure dinosaur body temperatures, that it's impossible to do," says John Eiler, a coauthor and the Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and professor of geochemistry.

Bear cub put down for being 'too friendly'.

A black bear cub in Canada who was pictured approaching a police officer has been put down for being 'too friendly'. The young bear,who was known for approaching visitors to the Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland.

Constable Suzanne Bourque was investigating reports of a bear sighting in the area when the cub brushed against her leg while she was interviewing witnesses.

Wildlife officials caught the bear before moving it to a more isolated area, but the animal still returned to a restaurant on the Trans Canada Highway.

Kirby Tulk, acting director of conservation with Terra Nova National Park, said he had no choice but to euthanise the cub, after the warnings about not feeding it were ignored.

Upping the cute factor

Dancing Chihuahua

Animal Pictures