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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.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Daily Drift


“It is everything I thought it would be; being the Olympic champion, it definitely is an amazing feeling. And I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me.“ -Gabby Douglas, after winning gold for the Gymnastics All-Around

 you go girl.
If you have a problem with her hair - tough!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Belgrade, Serbia
Bandar Labuan, Malaysia
Islamabad, Pakistan
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Saipan, Northern Mariana, Islands
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Moscow, Russia
Cape Town, South Africa
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kuantan, Malaysia
Cairo, Egypt
Hamburg, Germany
Klang, Malaysia
Muscat, Oman
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kinshasa, Congo
Manila, Philippines
Kiev, Ukraine
Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia
Lviv, Ukraine
Khulna, Bangladesh

And it's the "A's" today in the USA:
Aiken, Albany, Albuquerque, Ann Arbor, Apalachicola, Athens and Auburn

 Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1391 Castilian sailors in Barcelona, Spain set fire to a Jewish ghetto, killing 100 people and setting off four days of violence against Jews.
1763 Colonel Henry Bouquet decisively defeats the Indians at the Battle of Bushy Run in Pennsylvania during Pontiac's rebellion.
1762 Russia, Prussia and Austria sign a treaty agreeing on the partition of Poland.
1815 A peace treaty with Tripoli–which follows treaties with Algeria and Tunis–brings an end to the Barbary Wars.
1858 The first transatlantic cable is completed.
1861 Congress adopts the nation's first income tax to finance the Civil War.
1864 The Union Navy captures Mobile Bay in Alabama.
1892 Harriet Tubman receives a pension from Congress for her work as a nurse, spy and scout during the Civil War.
1914 The British Expeditionary Force mobilizes for World War I.
1914 The first electric traffic signal lights are installed in Cleveland, Ohio.
1915 The Austro-German Army takes Warsaw, in present-day Poland, on the Eastern Front.
1916 The British navy defeats the Ottomans at the naval battle off Port Said, Egypt.
1921 Mustapha Kemal is appointed virtual ruler of the Ottoman Empire.
1941 The German army completes taking 410,000 Russian prisoners in Uman and Smolensk pockets in the Soviet Union.
1951 The United Nations Command suspends armistice talks with the North Koreans when armed troops are spotted in neutral areas.
1962 Actress Marilyn Monroe dies under mysterious circumstances.
1974 President Richard Nixon admits he ordered a cover-up for political as well as national security reasons.

Non Sequitur


Marilyn Monroe: 50 years gone

Marilyn loved to be nude

Strange Olympic rituals, from butt-slapping to medal-biting

Why do athletes bite their medals? Why do gymnasts still wear scrunchies? And what kind of witchcraft are we seeing in a table tennis match? For most of us, many things about being an Olympian will forever remain mysterious.

The truth be told

Public Responds To HOT Lanes

The North Carolina Department of Transportation hosted a public workshop in Cornelius Wednesday to field questions about its proposed plan to reduce congestion on I-77 with toll lanes.

Could tougher voting laws squelch the youth vote?

Gone are the days when young voters weren't taken seriously. In 2008, they helped propel Barack Obama into the Oval Office, supporting him by a 2-1 margin.

The 100 of the Dumbest Wingnut Quotes of all Time

100 Stupid Conservative quotes

 50. “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” ~ The shrub AKA George W. Bush

Did Romney hide money from the Mormon church?

From Democratic strategist Bill Buck writing at CBS:
But the source coming to Harry Reid for these revelations adds a level of intrigue. Reid just happens to be the highest-ranking member of the Mormon Church in the history of this nation.

It is likely that Senator Reid’s source shares the Mormon religion with Reid and Romney.

That message will not be lost on Romney. If the Bain fortress is not a fortress; if people are talking, Romney knows that trouble lies ahead.

And the motivation for this leak may not be political. It is likely personal and tied to the Mormon Church.

Specifically, if Romney was hiding money from the IRS he may have hidden money from his church.

It is expected that members of the Mormon Church tithe a minimum of ten percent of their incomes. But if Romney was not paying taxes and hiding money, then his disclosure – which itemizes deductions, including to the church – would tip off his actual income to the IRS.

The truth hurts

Marker honoring black Confederate Army veterans coming to Union County

Aaron Perry a former Union County slave served in the Confederate Army 37th NC Regiment has gotten a gravestone. The marker mentions his service in the Army.

By Adam Bell
Union County officials finalized plans Thursday for a granite marker that will commemorate local slaves who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
The new marker is believed to be one of the only ones of its kind in the country. It honors 10 black men, nine of whom were slaves, who received small state pensions for their Civil War service near the end of their lives.
The controversial marker will go in the brick walkway at the Old County Courthouse in Monroe in front of the century-old Civil War monument.
The Union County Historic Preservation Commission had approved a “certificate of appropriateness” for the marker in June, subject to review of the final proposed wording and size of the marker. The board unanimously approved the plan Thursday, after opting for wording that noted that pensioner Jeff Sanders was a “free person of color.”
Because the county owns the courthouse site, it had formally sought approval of the certificate. But plans on how to honor the men were driven for several years by area residents led by Tony Way, an amateur historian and Sons of Confederate Veterans member.
Some in the community objected to the plan, saying it was inconsistent with other monuments at the 1886 courthouse honoring people who died during various conflicts. The 1910 Civil War monument just lists soldiers’ regiments.
But Way and others, including some descendants of the 10 men, said the marker was a rare chance to honor men whose service had been all but ignored over the centuries. The timing coincides with national commemorations of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.
The 48-inch by 29-inch marker reads: “In Memory of Union County’s Confederate Pensioners of Color,” then lists their names: Wilson Ashcraft; Ned Byrd; Wary Clyburn; Wyatt Cunningham; George Cureton; Hamp Cuthbertson; Mose Fraser; Lewis McGill; Aaron Perry; and Jeff Sanders.
And it includes this wording: “In Honor Of Courage & Service By All African Americans During The War Between The States (1861-65).”
Virtually no black men fought in battle for the Confederacy, historians maintain. It’s also impossible to tell how many slaves were forced into service or agreed to follow their owners into battle.
During the Civil War, slaves provided logistics and support, including cooking, digging ditches, building latrines and working in armories.
In their pension applications, all 10 men were described as “body servants” or bodyguards. They received small pensions about half a century after their white counterparts.
No taxpayer funds will be used for the marker, although the county will oversee its installation. Proponents of the marker recently created a committee to support the project.
The Union County Pensioners Monument Fund Committee hopes to raise a couple thousand dollars for the marker, and another couple thousand dollars for a dedication ceremony, said Way, its president. The group already has raised about $835.
The ceremony is tentatively set for Dec. 8, Way said, and he is checking whether he can arrange for cannons to be part of the event.

Ten diet foods that make you feel full

One of the biggest challenges when you are trying to diet is to avoid feeling hungry.

Awesome Pictures


Every year for a few days in the month of February, the sun’s angle is such, that it lights up Horsetail Falls in Yosemite, as if it were on fire.

Ousted CEO sues Tuesday Morning for discrimination

The ousted CEO of retailer Tuesday Morning Corp. has filed discrimination charges against the company, saying she was sent packing after the board learned she had breast cancer.

Komen accused of using misleading mammogram statistics

The breast cancer charity group Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been accused of using misleading statistics to convince women to have mammograms.

Random Picture



Bulimic woman got butter knife stuck in throat while proving she has no gag reflex

A bulimic woman who inserted a butter knife down her throat to prove she has no gag reflex landed in an Atlanta emergency room instead.
The 30-year-old woman was attempting to show her friends the trick when the knife slid down and lodged itself inside of her throat. The New England Journal of Medicine published X-ray images showing the knife lodged in the 30-year-old's esophagus.

She rushed to the emergency department at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, vomiting blood and complaining of chest pain. Doctors used a camera to delicately extract the knife.

Surprisingly, it's not the first time she has attempted this trick. Four years ago, she tried the same stunt and needed surgery to remove the knife. The woman was transferred to a psychiatric unit after the knife was removed.

Female inmate accused of regurgitating pill bottle

A Kentucky jail inmate has been criminally charged for swallowing a prescription bottle and later regurgitating it to take some of the pills.
A Letcher County grand jury indicted 42-year-old Joni Rachelle Miracle on a charge of complicity to promote contraband in the jail. Her cellmates, 24-year-old Brittany Looney and 34-year-old Erica Blair, were also indicted.

Letcher County jailer Don McCall said a jail employee overheard the women talking about drugs and what sounded like someone snorting.

Miracle had earlier taken to hospital where an initial X-ray showed the pill bottle in her stomach. In a follow-up X-Ray, the bottle was no longer visible. It is alleged that Miracle apparently regurgitated the pill bottle and consumed some of the pills.

Bizarre Murder Plot Uncovered

3 deaf women suspected in plan to butcher eldery Hustonville lady
Lois "Minnie" Goode was not home on the afternoon of July 3 when two deaf women from Ohio, armed with butcher knives, were discovered inside her residence on Danville Pike.


The Mysteries and Wonders of REM Sleep

Some of the greatest mysteries in life are found not in the exploration of ocean depths or ventures into outer space, but in something much more daily and routine: sleep. More

Z Machine

Meet the X-Ray Generator That Can Melt Diamonds

Photo: Randy Montoya/Sandia National Laboratories/SPL
Diamond is one of the hardest material in nature, but it's no match for the Z Machine at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It can create electromagnetic pulse that is strong enough to light 100 million light bulbs and melt diamonds:
First the current is fired at hundreds of tiny tungsten wires, vaporising them to form a cloud of charged particles, or plasma. The plasma produces a magnetic field that forces the particles to line up at the centre of the machine, so that they point out of the horizontal plane of its surface, along the vertical or z-axis - hence the machine's name. This arrangement causes the particles to collide, producing exceptionally powerful X-rays.
Z's magnetic field can also be harnessed to accelerate metal plates and squish materials. In fact, Sandia researcher Marcus Knudson was able to apply over 5 million times atmospheric pressure to squeeze diamond, turning the precious stone into a puddle.

Bokor Hill Station

Cambodia's Abandoned Town
The history of Cambodia in the twentieth century is one of almost continual struggle and conflict. One place which encapsulates the traumatic events which the country persevered is the Bokor Hill Station. This eerie ghost town has been abandoned not once, but twice in its history.

Even its birth was savage. Designed as a resort for the French colonists of the early twentieth century, the construction of Bokor Hill Station was complete by 1925. Built by indentured Cambodian laborers it took nine months to build. Almost a thousand men perished during that time.

Retro Photo

Cathedral Rock, Yosemite. by New York Public Library on Flickr.

How Green Homes Can Benefit You and the Environment

Green homes benefit both the homeowner and the environment. They don't have to cost much more, and any additional costs have been proven to get paid back tenfold. More

More of America Is A Disaster Than Not

The total number of American counties designated as disaster areas (mainly due to drought) is more than 50 percent.  
Read more

'Fire Rainbow' Over South Florida

Fire clouds were captured on film over South Florida.
But what are they?
Read more
Fire clouds were captured on film over South Florida. But what are they?

The Sun's Twisted, Violent Landscape

Armed with an "off the shelf" solar telescope and CCD, Kevin LeGore captured this dramatic view of the sun from a Los Angeles sidewalk.
Read more
The Sun's Twisted, Violent Landscape: Big Pic

Asian Dust May Impact North American Weather

The transport of dust particles around the world may be having an unexpectedly large impact on global weather.  
Read more
Asian Dust May Impact North American Weather

Climate Change: Yes we are all doomed, but not why you think

Writing a blog on the unusual and unexpected effects of climate change on natural systems gets you an array of ...
Continue Reading

Green Light to Mine Greenland?

Environmental groups worry that Greenland’s tiny population of Europeans and Inuits may end up on the losing side of that raw material diplomacy.  
Read more
Green Light to Mine Greenland?

Yosemite's lost valley will be subject of vote

This fall San Franciscans will vote on a local measure that could return to the American people a flooded gorge described as the twin of Yosemite Valley.

Drilling Discovers Ancient Antarctic Rainforest

Drilling the seabed off Antarctica has revealed that rainforest grew on the frozen continent 52 million years ago.
  Read more

Geography helps solve dinosaur evolution puzzle

Rockies The birth of mountain ranges, like the Rockies, substantially changed the rate of dinosaur speciation

The number of dinosaur species in the Americas increased following tectonic activity that led to the creation of a mountain range, a study has suggested.
Fifteen million years before the mass extinction that wiped out the giant reptiles, the number of species increased in what is now North America.
Researchers said that the birth of the mountains probably sped up diversification.
The findings have been published in the journal PLoS One.
In their research, Terry Gates from Ohio University and colleagues showed that as the "Sevier" mountain range grew on the west of what is now America, which caused the east of the continent to "flex" downwards creating a shallow sea as water from the ocean flooded the land.
This new ocean resulted in America being split into three islands, of which the western one, known as Laramidia, was densely populated by ornithischian dinosaurs (bird-hipped dinosaurs).
Many of these species were adorned with ornaments for sexual displays, such as horns and crests.
"We know from lots of evidence that animals that have these types of features speciate at a faster rate than other animals," explained Dr Gates.
"If you combine that with the fact that they are isolated within their ecosystems, what you have is a great recipe for lots of new dinosaur species."
The isolation of the dinosaurs and their subsequent diversification makes sense in light of knowledge about how island isolation in modern animals leads to high levels of speciation.
Birth of the Rockies This period of rapid diversification ended as the Rocky Mountains began to form towards the end of the Cretaceous Period (145.5-65.5 million years ago).
"When these started to form, you no longer had this beautiful paradise... Instead what happened was that the slow rising hills altered the weather patterns," Dr Gates observed.
This ecological change that accompanied the geological upheaval, and the increase in land area due to the vast seaway receding, led to a slowdown in the number of species evolving.
The reasons why dinosaur species had been so numerous, and then became less so before the Cretaceous mass extinction, had previously remained elusive.
It was only through talking to structural geologists rather than palaeontologists that Dr Gates began to develop ideas.
"I was working on a different project and I realized 'there's a lot of useful information over here' and the pieces started falling together," he told BBC News.
"The people that studied the structural geology side of the story never talked to the palaeontologists and the palaeontologists never thought to talk to them. I see this paper as an excellent example of multidisciplinary research," he said.
This research has implications for understanding Earth's history in addition to explaining the evolution of dinosaurs.
"The radiation of these dinosaurs begins slightly before the geologic record indicates the beginning of mountain building in the area," Dr Laura Porro of the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the study, told BBC News.
"We expect animals to respond to environmental changes before these events leave a geological trace," she said.
"So not only are these long ago mountain-building events impacting the animals, but changes in the animals can also help us pinpoint the timing of the tectonic events."

What Happens When You Electrify Plants?

If you’re photographer Robert Buelteman, you get absolutely gorgeous works of art. Of course, it’s not just a matter of hooking a plant up to a battery. Buelteman shocks the plants with 80,000 volts of electricity and then uses a fiber optic wire to light paint the image, making it look even more shockingly beautiful.

Male gorilla born at N.C. Zoo

By T. Keung Hui
A baby gorilla, born Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, at the N.C. Zoo, takes its first look at the world. The birth is just the second gorilla ever born at the zoo and the first since 1989.
Visitors will soon line up to see a new baby gorilla that became the latest addition Saturday to the North Carolina Zoo.
The healthy male gorilla, just the second gorilla birth at the zoo, was born around 8 a.m. in front of some very excited zookeepers. Zoo officials say the still-unnamed baby and his 12-year-old mother, Jamani, will be accepting visitors at the ever-popular gorilla exhibit.
Just be prepared for a wait.
“We’re expecting a lot of people to want to see the baby,” said Tom Gillespie, a zoo spokesman.
The zoo is working from experience. Attendance increased by 80,000 visitors in the first year after the birth in March 1989 of Kwanza, a male gorilla.
The additional visitors would provide a welcome financial infusion to the zoo, which has dealt with budget challenges in recent years.
“People like to see baby animals,” Gillespie said. “The more high-profile it is, the more people want to come.”
Kwanza was transferred in 1998 to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago as part of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Rare successful birth
Over the years, the zoo has tried for another gorilla birth. Jamani came to the zoo in January 2010 from the San Diego Zoo. In June 2011, Jamani’s first pregnancy ended with a stillborn.
The zoo could get a double helping of baby gorilla fans later in the year. Another gorilla at the zoo, 16-year-old Olympia, is pregnant and expected to give birth in November.
It would be highly unusual to have so many births at the same zoo in a year. Gorilla births in captivity are rare.
Currently, there are only about 350 gorillas in 52 accredited zoos, with just four successful births out of eight pregnancies recorded during 2011 and early 2012.
Saturday’s birth and the one in November both were recommended by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan.

Birds that live with varying weather sing more versatile songs

A new study of North American songbirds reveals that birds that live with fluctuating weather are more flexible singers.
Continue Reading

The Flying Dragon Lizards of Southeast Asia

If you usually turn to fiction for your dragons, you'll love this incredible lizard. The flying dragon lizard, Draco volans, has ‘wings’ it uses glide through the air! More

Animal Pictures