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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.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Daily Drift

Come on in.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Johannesburg, South Africa
Krakow, Poland
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Istanbul, Turkey
Cape Town, South Africa
Kuantan, Malaysia
Warsaw, Poland
Moscow, Russia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Manila, Philippines
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Sampaloc, Philippines
Denpasar, Indonesia
Cebu City, Philippines
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Gdansk, Poland
Panama City Panama

 Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1775   George Washington takes command of the Continental Army.
1790   In Paris, the Marquis of Condorcet proposes granting civil rights to women.
1844   American ambassador Caleb Cushing successfully negotiates a commercial treaty with China.
1863   Confederate forces attack the center of the Union line at Gettysburg, but fail to break it.
1878   John Wise flies the first dirigible in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1901   The Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy, commits its last American robbery near Wagner, Montana, taking $65,000 from a Great Northern train.
1903   The first cable across the Pacific Ocean is spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila.
1916   The Battle of the Somme begins. More than 100,000 men are killed in the first day.
1944   The U.S. First Army opens a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.
1945   U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and take Sepinggan airfield on Borneo in the Pacific.
1950   U.S. carrier-based planes attack airfields in the Pyongyang-Chinnampo area of North Korea in the first air-strike of the Korean War.
1954   Food rationing ends in Great Britain almost nine years after the end of World War II.
1962   Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
1967   North Vietnamese soldiers attack South Vietnam's only producing coal mine at Nong Son.

The Beauty of Summer Boredom

Recapturing the Golden Days of Childhood

Remember those endless hours of imaginative play during your youth—tree climbing, making mud pies, flying kites, fishing, building forts/tree houses/lemonade stands, swimming, watching clouds, playground swinging, tea parties, making and then launching sailboats in the creek, catching fireflies/butterflies/frogs, playing jacks and pickup sticks, jumping rope, hopscotch, rolling down hills, daisy chains, skipping rocks, backyard camping, neighborhood baseball games (with self-made rules), twilight games of hide ‘n’ seek and flashlight tag?

The summers of childhood are potent, enabling children to find their personal bliss and cultivate interests and memories that can last a lifetime. The gifts of less-structured summer days are precious, allowing time and space for the possibility of magical activities. Both children and parents benefit from unscheduled breathing room to revisit the forces of creativity and restore resiliency.
Yet, according to a University of Michigan study, today’s children have as much as 12 hours less free time per week than 30 years ago. Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting – Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, urges parents to simplify their children’s schedules, to establish for children, “... islands of being, in the torrent of constant doing.” We all require downtime to function well. Payne maintains that, “Rest nurtures creativity, which nurtures activity. Activity nurtures rest, which sustains creativity. Each draws from and contributes to the other.”
More, boredom is a gift for children, “... a rare fuel to propel them forward,” writes Nancy Blakey, a columnist for Seattle’s Child magazine.
Bonnie Harris, author of Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids, cites alack of boredom in children today as the reason that many graduates flounder in the “real” world. Boredom works to spark the discovery of one’s own passions, inner resources, ingenuity and ability to be self-directed—all critical lifetime skills.
Overscheduling often substitutes stimulation for experiencing self-discoveries that unlock the tremendous stored-potential of a child’s inner resources and imagination. Remarks Payne, “A child who doesn’t experience leisure—or better yet, boredom—will always be looking for external stimulation, activity or entertainment… [and] a culture of compulsion and instant gratification. What also grows in such a culture? Addictive behaviors.”
So, how do we find our way back to those simpler days? Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, likes, “The dugout in the weeds or leaves beneath a backyard willow, the rivulet of a seasonal creek, even the ditch between a front yard and the road—all of these places are entire universes to a young child. Expeditions to the mountains or national parks often pale, in a child’s eyes, in comparison with the mysteries of the ravine at the end of the cul-de-sac.” He recommends allowing children the time to be in nature to take walks, listen, play and learn. Time in nature allows the senses to become enlivened again.
Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood and 21st Century Boys, observes, “The loss of outdoor play and everyday adventures is particularly significant for children who have a tendency to be easily distracted or impulsive.”
One of the biggest benefits of a slow summer, for everyone, is ‘play’ itself. There is compelling evidence of the essential need for this age-old, childhood past-time. So, encourage your children to engage in the simple pleasures that will potentially create and strengthen the most glorious, blissful and ‘boring’ memories of their childhood summers—and rekindle yours.

From the "Oh Joy!" Department:


tree 316Record heat helped trigger several rounds of powerful thunderstorms that knocked down trees and left tens of thousands of customers without power late Sunday and early Monday across the local region.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/#storylink=cpy

C-130 Firefighter crashes

Western Wildfires
A C-130 Hercules plane, reportedly from a Charlotte-based Air National Guard unit, crashed late Sunday night while helping battle a wildfire in southwest South Dakota, according to U.S. military officials.

Perdue vetoes fracking bill

bev perdue 76 Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed legislation Sunday that would have paved the way for North Carolina to drill for natural gas through a water and chemical process known as fracking.

Ninety-Nine Things You Don't Know About Mitt Romney



1. As head of the investment company Bain Capital, Mitt Romney laid off thousands of workers.

Here are 98 more things you don't know about Mitt Romney


School House Crock

In other news, The New York Times is reporting that House Republicans have virtually no plans to take up any further major legislation in 2012.
Of course we already kind of assumed that. It’s been lame-duck since the Tea Party took over in 2010. The only bills that have passed since then have been the result of hostage scenarios and austerity trolling.
The Violence Against Women Act and the Transportation omnibus spending bill still haven’t been passed. And the media will kindly ignore this.

NATO urges enforcing Syria peace plan


NATO is urging the United Nations to enforce the peace plan for Syria endorsed by an international conference in Geneva.
 More

Mexico's former ruling party voted back to office

The party that ruled Mexico with an iron grip for most of the last century has sailed back into power, promising a government that will be modern, responsible and open to criticism.

Barclays scandal takes down Chairman, CEO remains for now

The latest banking scandal (manipulating Libor rates by Barclays) has now claimed its first senior director, though most want more. Compared to previous banking scandals, the call for those at the top to go has been swift and strong. (Let's remember that Jamie Dimon is not only still running JPMorgan, but he still remains on the board of the New York Federal Reserve.)
At Barclays, the CEO Bob Diamond is still holding on by a thread though his days may also be numbered running the bank. The Tory government is struggling themselves to hold onto legitimacy, changing positions and trying anything they can do turn back the inevitable decline due to austerity. This is not a climate that gives them much room for normal Conservative apologist behavior for the banks. On the other side, Labour can sense that this is a key moment and they're jumping all over this latest banking ripoff.

Bob Diamond may still tough it out and hang on but at this point, his chances look increasingly slim. Talk of criminal prosecutions for market manipulation is heating up and unless something even bigger pops up soon to distract the media and public opinion, Diamond is probably going to be gone soon.

More on the ongoing scandal at Barclays via The Guardian.
But Monday's resignation did not puncture the political pressure on the bank with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, calling on the bank's chief executive, Bob Diamond, to quit and stepped up his efforts to force the government to set up a Leveson-style inquiry into banks by bringing forward an amendment in parliament.

"I think there needs to be more a more general change of leadership including the chief executive, Bob Diamond," Miliband told ITV Daybreak.

The bank put board director Sir Michael Rake, the former top accountant and serial company director, in the new key role of deputy chairman to oversee an audit of the bank's business practices, the findings of which will be published.
For those of you with a spare 25 minutes, check out Max Keiser's report on this problem. He does a great job putting it into perspective. If Barclays and other banks can get away with this behavior, there is no rule of law left for the well connected.

I wonder how everyone now feels about the "Barclays bikes" of London now? It would be nice if governments could regain some self respect and scrap these disgusting deals where they give away the marketing rights to corporate interests. New York is doing something similar with Citibank for their new bike system but many other cities are falling victim to begging for money this way. Even my original home town, Charm City, is now eyeing such offensive programs. This is what happens when the corporate world dominates and it's not pretty.

Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology

By Ryan Singel
 wikipedia-logo-en-bigWikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing any articles. It’s a punishment for repeated and deceptive editing of articles related to the controversial religion. The landmark ruling comes from the inner circle of a site that prides itself on being open and inclusive.
In a 10-1 ruling Thursday, the site’s arbitration council voted to ban users coming from all IP addresses owned by the Church of Scientology and its associates, and further banned a number of editors by name. The story was first reported by The Register.
Self-serving Wikipedia edits are hardly new. Wired.com readers pulled in an award for discovering the most egregious Wikipedia whitewashes by corporation and government agencies, but this is the first time the site has taken such drastic actions to block those edits.
And the edits are unlikely to stop, now that the user-created encyclopedia has become one of the net’s most popular sites and is often the top result for searches on a subject. Being able to massage an entry about oneself or one’s company has proven difficult to resist, even for founder Jimmy Wales — despite Wikipedia’s official warnings to the contrary.
The Church of Scientology, founded by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1953, has had a long and bloody history on the net — dating back to Usenet groups, where critics maintain that the organization is a cult that brainwashes its members and sucks them dry financially. The Church, which teaches that humans are reincarnated and lived on other planets, says it is a legitimate religion.
The case, which began in December, centers on more than 400 articles about the ultra-secretive Church and its members. Those pages have hosted long-running, fierce edit wars that pitted organized Church of Scientology editors — using multiple accounts — against critics of Scientology who fought those changes by citing their own or one another’s self-published material. In fact, this is the fourth Wikipedia arbitration case concerning Scientology in as many years.
The committee also banned a number of editors individually, prohibiting them from editing any Scientology-related articles for at least six months. Those privileges can be reinstated afterward if they show they can play nicely by Wikipedia’s rules.
While most disputes involving the Web and Scientology in the past year have involved anti-Scientology activists who bind together under the name Anonymous, that group is largely not involved in this argument, because only registered accounts are able to edit the articles under dispute.

Last push to kill ACTA

This Wednesday is the make-or-break moment for ACTA, the corrupt, secretly negotiated Internet copyright treaty. Wednesday is when the European Parliament will vote on ACTA, and it's a close thing. We need Europeans to write and call their MEPs and tell them that ACTA is not fit for purpose, nor will any Internet treaty negotiated in secrecy ever be. The Open Rights Group has information on contacting your MEP if you live in the UK; and Pirate Party founder Rick Falkingve has a way of contacting all MEPs at once.
We believe that ACTA is such an imbalanced treaty that it disproportionately and unnecessarily puts innovation and freedom of expression at risk. By attempting to deal with two hugely different issues – the counterfeiting of physical goods and digital copyright infringement – the treaty lacks the kind of surgical precision necessary to ensure that fundamental rights are not sacrificed in pursuit of its goals.
Furthermore, ACTA promotes and incentivises the private 'policing' of online content through, for example, its broad thresholds for its criminal measures. It exacerbates such problems by failing to provide adequate and robust safeguards for fundamental freedoms. We set out some key points in our briefing paper.
From the moment it was sprung upon Europe, following a drafting process held in secret, the passage of ACTA has been lubricated by a total disregard for democratic principles. The European Commission has effectively sought to move decisions about ACTA further away from the people and their elected representatives.
There has been a positive consequence of all this: we have seen a renewal of interest in the workings of European democratic institutions, as large numbers of people engage with difficult debates and complex institutional processes in an attempt to understand and influence the passage of ACTA through Europe. People like you have helped to make sure that the democratic process is respected and obeyed.
ACTA: We’re almost there!

Boehner ready to eliminate popular aspects of Healthcare Reform

The repugicans are fired up and ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's unclear why it makes sense to eliminate the entire program if they're primarily against the unpopular individual mandate. Since the repugicans have made it clear that they have no plan to do anything about healthcare, anything Boehner says about keeping the popular parts of the plan can't be taken seriously.
The repugicans owned Washington during most of the shrub years when the problem of healthcare was exploding yet they chose to ignore the issue. Why is anything Boehner says taken seriously, since he's not a serious person?

Bloomberg:
Boehner said he supported letting people under 26 stay on their parents’ insurance when out of a job, one of the measures included in the law. He said many of the provisions can be replaced.

“All of those provisions, popular provisions, many of them very sound provisions, can in fact be done in a common sense way,” he said. “But not in 2,700 pages that no one read.”

The nation’s spending programs will need to be adjusted to reduce the federal debt, Boehner said. How it will be done is “going to be the subject of a great debate as we get into this election cycle and as we get into the post-election cycle,” he said.
Boehner now sounds like Romney, saying whatever he thinks people want to say at that moment. If he wanted these provisions, why couldn't he have offered constructive input during the debate rather than focus on changing the system? There's absolutely no reason to believe Boehner or any repugican that they will be honest negotiators with healthcare reform. They've been all about obstructionism and have shown no interest in negotiating anything, so what's different now?

Covering 30 million Americans isn't the issue?!

Ugh, what? That is exactly the issue. The repugicans just don't want to talk about that because they have no plan. no plan at all.

Well, I take that back. they do have a plan for healthcare for Americans. "Don't get sick and if you do get sick, die quickly."
... asked a third time how republicans would insure those 30 million people, McConnell said: “that is not the issue. the question is how you can go step by step to improve the American health care system.”- More

The Lowdown on Low Iron

Problems More Serious Than Fatigue
  Low levels of iron in the blood not only cause fatigue, but also may be linked to more serious health risks, including dangerous blood clots. Iron deficiency is widespread, and thought to affect at least 1 billion people worldwide, mostly women. Alleviating such deficiencies is a preventive measure.

Not So Useless After All

The Appendix’s Function is to “Re-Boot” the Digestive System
Appendix, the "useless" organ that has been the butt (heh) of jokes for ages (like the function of the appendix is to rupture, thus ensuring your doctor would be able to pay for his summer vacation - bursting with laughter yet?), turns out not to be so useless after all:
The US scientists found that the appendix acted as a "good safe house" for bacteria essential for healthy digestion, in effect re-booting the digestive system after the host has contracted diseases such as amoebic dysentery or cholera, which kill off helpful germs and purge the gut.
This function has been made obsolete by modern, industrialised society; populations are now so dense that people pick up essential bacteria from each other, allowing gut organisms to regrow without help from the appendix, the researchers said.
But in earlier centuries, when vast tracts of land were more sparsely populated and whole regions could be wiped out by an epidemic of cholera, the appendix provided survivors with a vital individual stockpile of suitable bacteria.

Random Photo

R.I.P., Count de Badass

Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld passed away at the age of 88. He was a man of many talents, particularly (1) escaping captivity and (2) killing Nazis. During World War II, while in the French Resistance, he did a lot of both. Here’s just one of the many episodes featured in his obituary:
Instead he faked an epileptic fit and, when the guard opened the door to his cell, hit him over the head with a table leg before breaking his neck. (“Thank Goodness for that pitilessly efficient training,” he noted). After putting on the German’s uniform, La Rochefoucauld walked into the guardroom and shot the two other German jailers. He then simply walked out of the fort, through the deserted town, and to the address of an underground contact.
Once there, however, he found that joining the rest of his escape line was impossible, as checks and patrols had been stepped up. Then the man harbouring him, whose sister was a nun, suggested that La Rochefoucauld slip into her habit. Thus dressed, he slowly walked through the city, eventually knocking on the door of Roger Landes, code-named Aristide, a bilingual Briton whom he hoped would take care of his return to England. In fact, Aristide’s orders were to hide La Rochefoucauld. D-Day was days away, and he was, by his own admission, “the last of their worries in London”

Japanese guide ‎warns of Scotland's 'weird' sausages

Japanese tourists visiting Scotland have been warned to avoid people wearing football shirts and not to eat “weird” Lorne sausages. The first official Japanese tour guide to Scotland also suggests visitors avoid council estates, drink Irn-Bru, and never call kilts “skirts”. Written in Japanese and published by Edinburgh-based Luath Press, The Insider’s Guide to Scotland is the only Scottish guidebook in Japanese compiled official guides.

In the book, potential visitors are told never to approach men wearing green or blue football tops, but to make sure to go on a pub crawl and get “merrily drunk” on Scottish whisky. The book also recommends tourists try Mackie’s honeycomb ice-cream and ginger marmalade, but give Lorne sausages a miss.

The book slates the Scottish service industry, stating: “Please do not expect to have the same quick, polite and accurate service here to compare with Japanese service at shops, restaurants and hotels. Be patient anywhere in Scotland, it is not Japan.” Potential tourists to Scotland are warned to mind their table manners by the tourist guide. “If you make noise having a bowl of soup at a restaurant, please do not have it,” the book reads. The guide also warns Japanese visitors “never” to call a Scottish person English.


One section of the book is dedicated to explaining why many Scottish people do not carry umbrellas with them at all times – something that puzzles the Japanese. The book explains: “When it rains, it seems only a handful of people use umbrellas in Scotland. That puzzles Japanese quite a lot because in Japan people would carry umbrellas all the time or leave the spare ones at the office for sudden showers.” Visitors to Scotland are encouraged to get “merrily drink,” to visit whiskey distilleries, sample Scottish-staple Irn-Bru and use the word “aye” – which translates as “love” in Japanese.

Different Underground Basements of Moscow


The Neglinka is the river in the centre of Moscow, the left tributary of the Moskva river. Its length is 7,5 km and nearly along the whole distance it flows inside the pipe.
More

Four Decades In, the Failed US Drug War has cost $1,000,000,000,000

While billions of dollars have been spent on our country's war on drugs, the number of those incarcerated for drug related charges continues to rise in both state and federal prisons.
 More

The Cop Who Can’t Be Fired

Cracking the head of handcuffed suspect, beating juveniles, hiding cocaine in his police car, calling in sick to go on vacation, and even arrested and jailed over and over again? Not enough to get this Florida cop stay fired.
Meet Sgt. German Bosque, the cop who can't be fired:
Opa-locka has the dubious distinction of employing the cop who can’t be fired. Though the city keeps on trying.
Sgt. German Bosque of the Opa-locka Police Department has been disciplined, suspended, fined and sent home with pay more than any officer in the state.
He has been accused of cracking the head of a handcuffed suspect, beating juveniles, hiding drugs in his police car, stealing from suspects, defying direct orders and lying and falsifying police reports. He once called in sick to take a vacation to CancĂșn and has engaged in a rash of unauthorized police chases, including one in which four people were killed.
Arrested and jailed three times, Bosque, 48, has been fired at least six times. Now under suspension pending yet another investigation into misconduct, Bosque stays home and collects his $60,000-a-year paycheck for doing nothing.
Before he was ever hired in Opa-locka 19 years ago, Bosque, whose nickname is GB, was tossed out of the police academy twice and fired from two police departments. Each time he has faced trouble he has been reinstated with back pay. He boldly brags about his ability to work a law enforcement system that allows bad cops to keep their certification even in the face of criminal charges.
Julie K. Brown of Miami Herald has the story: here

Buxom blonde bungles service station robbery

A woman who held up a service station on the Gold Coast of Australia with a knife made a number of big errors along the way that will help police identify her.
Not only did she forget to hide her face, she also wore a revealing top and a glove to conceal her fingerprints on the wrong hand. She entered the Arundel store on Brisbane Road at about 12.30am and demanded cash from the attendant.


“There were a number of serious threats to harm the attendant and she fled with a small amount of money,” a police spokesman said. She was wearing a glove on her knife-wielding hand in an attempt to hide her finger prints.

The store employee fought back by hurling things at the woman as she fled outside, where police say a man was waiting for her in a 4WD. Investigations are continuing.

Three-year-old boy in back seat of stolen car had words of wisdom for the driver

A three-year-old boy in the back seat of a stolen car swore at the driver as he sped through Dunedin in New Zealand.

Jake Bryant and his sleeping brother, 18-month-old Cooper, were unexpected kidnap victims when a man stole their father's car from a petrol station.

Video. Skip forward to just before the one minute mark.

The Golden Age of Quackery

Go ahead and scoff at the cure-alls and tonics concocted in the 1800s, but know this: taken in large enough quantities, they’d make people forget what ailed them.
THE WAY WE WERE
In the 19th century, doctors were few and far between: which may have been a good thing, since medical practices weren’t anywhere near an exact science. Patients took their chances: bloodletting, purging, sweating, and freezing were standard operating procedures. Blistering was also in vogue, based on the notion that the body could harbor only one ailment at a time. The theory was that the pain of raw blisters would drive out the pain of just about anything else. Many doctors carried a supply of acid and other skin scorchers. If they ran short, a hot poker from the hearth worked just as well.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE
Amputations were also popular; hence the nickname “sawbones” for doctors. There also was something called “trepanning” that involved drilling holes in the patient’s skull to relieve pressure on the brain.

When electricity came into everyday use in the late 1800s, doctors quickly discovered the healthy jolt it could provide to their incomes. One doctor advertised a range of electric brushes, corsets, hats, and belts to cure everything from constipation to malaria.
 
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
Calling a doctor was a last resort. In some communities, the doctor moonlighted as the local undertaker. Mothers, who made their own home remedies, did most of the doctoring. Sometimes an apothecary, who could grind together a more exotic medication, was consulted. But in the 19th-century spirit of unbridled and unregulated American capitalism, it wasn’t long before Mom got a little mass-produced help from the medicine men.

Doctor Chilton offered a guaranteed “Fever and Ague Cure,” Doctor Rowell sold an “Invigorating Tonic… unrivaled as a cathartic” -a fancy name for bowel loosener. One of the most successful medicine men was Doctor Ayer, who used saturation newspaper ads to create product demand, and mail order to meet it. No prescriptions were needed to buy Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral for coughs, colds, asthma, consumption; Ayer’s Cathartic Pills for constipation, dyspepsia, biliousness; Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, a surefire blood purifier; or Ayer’s Hair Vigor to put an end to gray hair.
OPIATE OF THE PEOPLE
Ayer and company had plenty of competition: Parker’s Tonic was among the toughest, a cure for just about any internal ailment. The tonic definitely provided a quick fix -it contained 40 percent alcohol. For children’s coughs, colds, and runny noses, Allen’s Lung Balsam was a staple; for adult ailments there was Perry Davis’s All-Purpose Pain-Killer. Doctor Thomas’ Electric Oil was guaranteed to cure everything from a toothache (five minutes) to a backache (two hours) to lameness (two days) and deafness (two days). All of these tonics shared one characteristic: they contained opium. The Electric Oil was also laced with alcohol and chloroform.
 
SLIME FEVER SYNDROME
This army of humanitarians busily relieving the suffering of the masses contained a few charlatans and swindlers. Take the Killmer brothers, Andral and Joseph, for example. Doctor Killmer’s U & O Meadow Plant Ointment allegedly eased suffering from more than 45 ailments -some of which he invented himself. Doctor Killmer’s Swamp Root Kidney, Liver, and Bladder Cure worked its magic on pimples, diabetes, syphilis, and something called “internal slime fever.” But best of all was Doctor Killmer’s Ocean-Weed Heart Remedy, which was advertised to cure “sudden death.” Maybe it worked. There’s no record of anyone every demanding a refund on the money-back guarantee.
MARKETING MAGIC
The Killmer brothers became millionaires, as did several other patent medicine moguls. These “wholesale druggists” refined print media advertising, product packaging, and direct mail sales -all hallmarks of American mass-market retailing. Their free samples and revolutionary one-time-only introductory offers were very popular. They also came up with the discreet “plain brown wrapper” for milady’s feminine products, many of which contained alcohol, opium, morphine, cocaine, and even arsenic (in some beauty aids).
But the newly minted millionaires couldn’t have had as much fun as the hucksters who operated the traveling medicine shows that went from town to town like a small carnival, complete with bands, dancers, jugglers, musicians, and skit actors. The entertainment was free, but the inevitable hard sells of exclusive elixirs -a specially blended sarsaparilla, a balsam brew, or a genuine kickapoo cure-all- paid the bills.
SNAKE OIL IN YOUR FACE
Snake oil cures were very popular on the medicine show circuit until exposés by muckraking reporters decreed them to be not only useless but also lacking in authentic snake oil -about the time time that the term snake oil salesman took on its shift connotation.
But that did not stop the self-styled Rattlesnake King, Clark Stanley, from selling his snake oil at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His routine was to kill and process the rattlesnakes right in front of his potential customers.

THE GOVERNMENT GETS IN THE ACT
By the turn of the century, the great cure-all period was drawing to a close. Germs and bacteria had been discovered; bona fide medical doctoring was on the rise. There were pill-making machines that could turn out millions of pills daily, and some large wholesale drug companies were evolving into pharmaceutical giants and retail chains. In 1906 the federal Pure Food and Drug Act was passed; advertising codes of ethics and ingredient labeling weren’t far behind.
Now the ailing public had to go to a drugstore to get their cure. The soda fountain -a fixture in most drugstores- served mineral water (which was thought to be curative) from carbonation machines. Though the medical connection withered away, when Prohibition was enacted, the soda fountain’s success was assured -at least for a little while. Root beer and ice cream sodas were the order of the day.
Unfortunately, in the long run, soda fountains couldn’t compete with the money brought in by the shelves and shelves of mass-produced cold, headache, and heartburn relievers -to say nothing of the beauty aids, school supplies, and canned goods, and batteries. Welcome to the drugstore of today.

Search for Amelia Earhart's Plane Begins

On the 75th anniversary of her disappearance, an expedition heads out to prove once and for all that Earhart landed and perished on a remote island. Read more
On the 75th anniversary of her disappearance, an expedition heads out to prove once and for all that Amelia Earhart landed and perished on a remote island.

Awesome Pictures

jarrodis:

Smashing Magazine

Midwest ranchers, congressmen protest EPA flyovers that look for livestock waste problems

Midwest ranchers have never been enamored with environmental regulators, but they really began to complain after learning federal inspectors were flying over their land to look for problems.

The Higgs boson

US sees stronger hints of HiggsTevatron accelerator aerial view (Fermilab)

Hints of the Higgs boson detected last year by a US "atom smasher" have become even stronger after further analysis, scientists say.

DC Derecho Disaster Explained

As the millions of people still without power today will attest, that was no ordinary wind storm on Friday. Read more
DC Derecho Disaster Explained
* It should be noted that Derecho is Spanish for 'right' (as in the direction) so this proves even in nature 'the right' is wrong and destructive.

The Rise in Sea Level Cannot be Stopped Over the Next Several Hundred Years

Say goodbye to Tuvalu, because, according to climate scientists, the raising sea levels cannot be stopped over the next several hundred years, even if we made drastic cuts to emissions today:
... even if the most ambitious emissions cuts are made, it might not be enough to stop sea levels rising due to the thermal expansion of sea water, said scientists at the United States' National Centre for Atmospheric Research, U.S. research organisation Climate Central and Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research in Melbourne.
"Even with aggressive mitigation measures that limit global warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial values by 2100, and with decreases of global temperature in the 22nd and 23rd centuries ... sea level continues to rise after 2100," they said in the journal Nature Climate Change.
This is because as warmer temperatures penetrate deep into the sea, the water warms and expands as the heat mixes through different ocean regions.
Even if global average temperatures fall and the surface layer of the sea cools, heat would still be mixed down into the deeper layers of the ocean, causing continued rises in sea levels.

Funny Pictures

Licked or not licked

Man says black bear rang his doorbell


An Ohio homeowner says he was doing yard work when a black bear rang his doorbell.
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Human Yawns Unleash Dog Yawns

Dogs catch yawns from their sound alone, scientist from the Universidade do Porto in Portugal have found. They also catch their owner's yawns easier than those from others, supporting the theory that contagious yawns are empathy-based and emotional in nature, the researchers say.

Previous research has linked contagious yawning to empathy (the ability to understand and interpret another's emotions) in humans. They've shown that people who perform better on empathy-related tasks also contagiously yawned more.

Giant frogfish and its egg raft, and other strange reef fishes

 Wpf Media-Live Photos 000 557 Overrides New-Species-Reef-Fish-East-Indies-Frogfish-Spawning 55793 600X450
This is a giant frogfish with its floating egg raft, a mass of mucus laden with eggs. The rare photo appears in "Reef Fishes of the East Indies," a huge new book set detailing 2,500 fishes of the area based on more than 60 years of research. The collection also describes 25 newly-described species. See many of them at National Geographic.

Loose snake prompts post office closure


The U.S. post office may be able to handle hail, rain, sleet or snow, but a snake?

Not so much.

World’s Smallest Fly


Photo: Inna-Marie Strazhnik; (inset) S.D. Porter/ARS/USDA
Scientists have discovered a new fly so small that it's tinier than a grain of salt. But small size ain't the only weird thing about the tiny phorid fly Euryplatea nanaknihali: it lives inside the decapitated head of ants.
The flies lay their eggs in the body of the ant; the eggs develop and migrate to the ant's head where they feed on the huge muscles used to open and close the ant's mouthparts. They eventually devour the ant's brain as well, causing it to wander aimlessly for two weeks. The head then falls off after the fly larva dissolve the membrane that keeps it attached.
The fly then takes up residence in the decapitated ant head for another two weeks, before hatching out as a full-grown adult. In this case, researchers think the fly parasitizes tiny acrobat ants, whose heads are about as large as the fly itself and grow to about 0.16 inches (4 millimeters) long.

Tiger Tug

Tug of War with a Tiger

Photo: Busch Gardens Zoo
Think you're stronger than a tiger? Test your strength by playing a tug of war with a full-grown tiger at the Busch Gardens:

Animal Pictures