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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Daily Drift

1958 GMC Pickup truck  by coconv on Flickr.
Can't beat the Classics

Some of our readers today have been in:
Vancouver, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
T, Philippines
Jakarta, Indonesia
Al Jizah, Egypt
Amman, Jordan
Nicosia, Cyprus
Butterworth, Malaysia
Makati, Philippines
Cape Town, South Africa
Albertslund, Denmark
Ankara, Turkey
Tunis, Tunisia
Minsk, Belarus
Kaunas, Lithuania
Novi Sad, Serbia
Haifa, Israel
Manila, Philippines
Islamabad, Pakistan
Kiev, Ukraine
Bogota, Colombia
Sialkot, Pakistan
Kingston, Jamaica
Belgrade, Serbia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Kuwait, Kuwait
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Algiers, Algeria
Taytay, Philippines
Slavutich, Ukraine
Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
Sofia, Bulgaria
San Pedro, Philippines
Tirana, Albania
Seremban, Malaysia
Jawa, Indonesia
London, England
Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Today is Tin Can Day 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1523 In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles, the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation which attacks the authority of the Pope.
1783 William Pitt becomes the youngest Prime Minister of England at age 24.
1847 New Mexico Governor Charles Bent is slain by Pueblo Indians in Taos.
1861 Georgia secedes from the Union.
1902 The magazine "L'Auto" announces the new Tour de France.
1915 The first German air raids on Great Britain inflict minor casualties.
1923 The French announce the invention of a new gun that has a firing range of 56 miles.
1931 The Wickersham Committee issues a report asking for revisions in the dry law, but no repeal.
1937 Howard Hughes flies from Los Angeles to New York in seven hours and 22 minutes.
1937 In the Soviet Union, the People's Commissars Council is formed under Molotov.
1945 The Red Army captures Lodz, Krakow, and Tarnow.
1947 The French open a drive on Hue, Indochina.
1949 The Chiang Government moves the capital of China to Canton.
1950 Communist Chinese leader Mao recognizes the Republic of Vietnam.
1968 Cambodia charges that the United States and South Vietnam have crossed the border and killed three Cambodians.
1981 The United States and Iran sign an accord on a hostage release in Algiers.
1983 The New Catholic code expands women's rights in the Church.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That if you aren't alarmed about the climate, you aren't paying attention

That a man upset about his kid's school pledge of allegiance, threatens "I have spilled blood before"

About the hoax about 'entitlement reform'

And why not go to a national park on Martin Luther King Day? it's free!

That the anti-gay activist lawyer was convicted of child pornography

That American Express is cutting 5,400 jobs

That an artist takes every drug known to man, draws self-portrait while on each one

Yes to Katrina, No to Sandy

Teabaggers want The Un-United States

The hypocrisy of House repugicans was on full display Tuesday, when Congress finally
passed $51 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief that they should have passed months agos.
But instead, 179 repugicans decided that emergency disaster relief must be offset by spending cuts.
Funny how tax cuts for the rich never needed any "offsets."

But many of the repugicans who fucked New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Sandy
voted for disaster relief when Katrina hit. Mother Nature doesn’t choose between blue states
and red states, but teabaggers do.

The worst offender was Rep. Mick Mulvaney (r-bagger), whose proposal to cut $20.4 billion
to offset Sandy relief was rejected. Mulvaney wasn’t in office for Katrina, but he did accept
a federal disaster relief loan 15 years ago.

We should win every national election by 30 points.
The fact that sometimes it's close (or they actually win) should be shaming moments for all Democrats if they can't even beat the most vile and despicable people in the country.

It's like barely beating Jerry Sandusky for a job with the Boy Scouts.

The truth hurts

TSA to remove controversial X-ray scanners

FILE - In this Monday, March 10, 2010 file photo, volunteers pass through the first full body scanner, which uses backscatter technology, installed at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images will soon be going away. The Transportation Security Administration says the X-ray scanners will be gone by June 2013 because the company that makes them can't fix the privacy issues. The other airport body scanners, which produce a generic outline instead of a naked image, are staying. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)  
Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images will soon be going away.
The Transportation Security Administration says the scanners that used a low-dose X-ray will be gone by June because the company that makes them can't fix the privacy issues. The other airport body scanners, which produce a generic outline instead of a naked image, are staying.
The government rapidly stepped up its use of body scanners after a man snuck explosives onto a flight bound for Detroit on Christmas day in 2009.
At first, both types of scanners showed travelers naked. The idea was that security workers could spot both metallic objects like guns as well as non-metallic items such as plastic explosives. The scanners also showed every other detail of the passenger's body, too.
The TSA defended the scanners, saying the images couldn't be stored and were seen only by a security worker who didn't interact with the passenger. But the scans still raised privacy concerns. Congress ordered that the scanners either produce a more generic image or be removed by June.
On Thursday Rapiscan, the maker of the X-ray, or backscatter, scanner, acknowledged that it wouldn't be able to meet the June deadline. The TSA said Friday that it ended its contract for the software with Rapiscan.
The agency's statement also said the remaining scanners will move travelers through more quickly, meaning faster lanes at the airport. Those scanners, made by L-3 Communications, used millimeter waves to make an image. The company was able to come up with software that no longer produced a naked image of a traveler's body.
The TSA will remove all 174 backscatter scanners from the 30 airports they're used in now. Another 76 are in storage. It has 669 of the millimeter wave machines it is keeping, plus options for 60 more, TSA spokesman David Castelveter said.
Not all of the machines will be replaced. Castelveter said that some airports that now have backscatter scanners will go back to having metal detectors. That's what most airports used before scanners were introduced.
The Rapiscan scanners have been on their way out for months, in slow motion.
The government hadn't bought any since 2011. It quietly removed them from seven major airports in October, including New York's LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, Chicago's O'Hare, and Los Angeles International. The TSA moved a handful of the X-ray scanners to very small airports. At the time, the agency said the switch was being made because millimeter-wave scanners moved passengers through faster.
Rapiscan parent company OSI Systems Inc. said it will help the TSA move the scanners to other government agencies. It hasn't yet been decided where they will go, said Alan Edrick, OSI's chief financial officer, in an interview.
Scanners are often used in prisons or on military bases where privacy is not a concern.
"There's quite a few agencies which will have a great deal of interest" in the scanners, Edrick said.
OSI is taking a one-time charge of $2.7 million to cover the money spent trying to develop software to blur the image, and to move the machines out of airports, Edrick said.
The contract to change the software on the scanners came under scrutiny in November when the TSA delivered a "show cause" letter to the company looking into allegations that it falsified test data, which the company denied. On Thursday it said final resolution of that issue needs approval by the Department of Homeland Security.
The agreement with the TSA is an indication that OSI Systems will be cleared of the issues raised by the agency, Roth Capital Partners analyst Jeff Martin wrote on Friday. OSI shares soared $2.37, or 3.5 percent, to close at $70.02.
Besides the scanners being dropped by TSA, Hawthorne, Calif.-based OSI Systems makes other passenger scanners used in other countries, as well as luggage scanners and medical scanners.

If You Believe These Wingnut Lies, You Shouldn’t Own a Gun

It’s America’s first ever “Gun Appreciation Day” brought to you by the gun lobby, so all you parents out there need to run out and get your 4 year old the NRA’s new “game” and hope your kids don’t succumb to the evils of violent videos that are to blame for gun violence in this country (according to same NRA). The NRA doesn’t do irony.In the meantime, I’ve gotten orders from Czar Obama to round up wingnuts who post false gun memes on the Interwebs, and since I don’t want to end up in one of Bachmann’s FEMA camps, I’m complying.

1) No, baseball bats don’t kill more people than guns. No, the FBI did not say that. Yes, if it sounds too wacky to be true and it’s being sent to you via email in all caps by someone who never responds when you fact check them, you would be wise to report them to Central for proper processing in the “Should not be allowed to have a gun” category. Too dumb to fact-check? Too dumb to own a gun.

2) Adolf Hilter came after guns! Hilter (just equating the name Hitler with something you do not like does not automatically win the argument) said “To conquer a nation, you must first disarm its citizens.” NO, he did not say this. Hitler loosened gun ownership laws for non Jewish Germans.
Hitler is not at issue here. Obama is nothing like Hitler and Obama has not presented one single idea that has not been done BEFORE in this country by repugicans and Democrats. Failure to comprehend this renders you automatically downgraded from the “Can handle a weapon” category that the Czar and Soros are going to impose on the nation one of these days.

3) You are not the President. Your children are not being threatened like the President’s children are. Every President’s family requires Secret Service protection as a part of NATIONAL SECURITY (you loved the Homeland when it was ruled by a Republican, what gives, precious patriots?). “After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress directed the Secret Service to protect the President of the United States. Protection remains a key mission of the United States Secret Service.”

Please note that the President’s daughters’ school does not have armed guards, no matter what the NRA tells you. “While some news organizations reported that the ad was referencing the Secret Service protection provided to the Obama family — as required by federal law — the longer ad makes it clear that the NRA is specifically referring to the security force at Sidwell Friends.” Also, the President never said he was against armed guards in schools. He said, “I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools.” ONLY. See qualifier. (Do you ever wonder why they lie to you and make you look like a fool for repeating lies?)

However, if this really bothers you, and you think that you, living in your mom’s basement and trolling the Internet with your “I am the military” fictional persona, are just as important to national security and thus you need the same protection as the President, I say to you YES YOU CAN.
Here’s how you do it: Gather up ye’ fellow patriots and pledge to stop threatening the President and his family (for that matter, stop threatening Congresspeople — just STOP, you look insane and it’s not working). Then, pledge to stop believing every lie you hear about the Black Czar. Turn off Fox News and stop reading Breitbart.com. Avoid Beck and Rush. Give it a few months to cleanse your brain of residual insanity.
Now that you have achieved a somewhat normal state of mind, go train on these weapons. Get back to us when you’ve passed all of the tests and classes the Secret Service has. Bonus: You have now done something with your life other than fall victim to every conspiracy hoax your right wing leaders generate in order to make money off of you. You are no longer a victim and your brain is working again. You no longer need to pretend to be a dangerous nut job on the Internet. Now you know how silly you sounded to the people who know better. YOU may just qualify to own a gun!
This is what you look like to the rest of us, “19 Second Amendment Fails” via cizgifilmizzle on Youtube:

In summation, if you believe easily debunked hysteria offered up by right wing cons and grifters (aka, “pundits”, “politicians” and “entertainers”), you are a victim of your own failure to think and hence should not be allowed to own a dangerous weapon. If you are threatening to murder people (including Democratic Congersspeople – new low, “patriots” don’t threaten to murder people over legislation. Really.) who disagree with your version of reality, you are only bringing attention to the fact that you should not own a gun because you are a threat to other citizens.
Remember, patriots, your second amendment does not trump others’ first amendment rights. When you show respect for all of the amendments and the rights of other human beings, you will be making a much better argument for paying attention to what you have to say.
No, I’m not an elist, but if you think I am, you’re just demonstrating how low you set the bar for yourself. Man up, patriots. It costs nothing to educate yourselves and yes, we expect a modicum of sanity and working brain cells before we hand you weapons of mass destruction because guess what, our right to live trumps your right to be an idiot. Cry us a river.
Psst: Real, lasting liberty is won through ideas, not guns. “Loving your country” for real implies that you be educated about basic history and civics (immigrants have to know these things when they become citizens, why not you American exceptionalists?). Ponder that the next time you refer to yourself as a patriot.
Prove your worthiness by sounding somewhat reasonable, and then you won’t frighten the nation so much and they won’t awaken to the threat you pose in your primitive state. You’d better pray that nothing happens to any of the people you’re threatening right now, because if it does, it’s all over for your rights to own a weapon of mass destruction (Reagan/Brady ringing a bell?). It’s called losing big time. Go with sanity — it’s better for everyone.

Happy Gun Appreciation day, patriots.

Notice for Patriots: The Dixie Gun and Knife Show has been closed today due to an accidental shooting.

Rinse, repeat.

Wingnuts Obama a Dictator, but Sarah Palin Disarmed the Alaska Civil Militia

sarah palin guns
In 2008, the Anchorage Daily News ran this deck bellow the headline: “NO MORE GUNS: Alaska State Defense Force stripped of many powers.”
Irony knows no bounds when it comes to the tea party.
In 2008, tea party queen and Shoot ‘Em Up and Hang ‘Em Governor Sarah Palin (r-AK) disarmed brigade members of the Alaska State Defense Force (think volunteer militia) at the recommendation of the state military officials, based on a report by an investigator with the Washington National Guard.
(I)n a major decision proving unpopular with at least some of the force’s roughly 280 members, the state is taking away the brigade’s guns.
Yes, Sarah Palin, as executive of the state, took away their guns. And no, wingnuts, you can’t have it both ways. Clearly they gave Sarah Palin the report and she took executive action on it (also known as “tyranny” when a Democrat does it).
“The report does not say Westall was a bad commander,” Campbell said. “The report says the state defense force, it’s a voluntary organization, it’s part time, it’s dedicated volunteers serving their state, but they don’t have the intensity of training, the skill sets the National Guard has.”
As a result, Campbell recommended to Gov. Sarah Palin that brigade members should no longer be armed.
The state also read a report on said militia, and yet the state was not accused of hating repugicans. Do not try this on a national level.
A report ordered by the shrub’s Department of Homeland Security warned of right wing domestic terrorism, writing that “the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” This caused massive right wing hysteria by the usual suspects. Michelle Malkin quickly donned her repugican Poutrage, and the Drudge and Breitbart followed with their angry misunderstandings of reality.
The report was unveiled in April of 2009, during the beginning of the Obama administration, and so naturally repugicans screamed and hollered about how it hurt their feelings to have a federal agency report the facts until the agency decided not to distribute the report to law enforcement. (No such whining when the same agency released a report on left wing terrorism.) This was before the Obama administration figured out that catering to crazy only enables it.
Sarah Palin has a reputation as a great gun freedom fighter of the lunatic fringe (in spite of her struggles with actually shooting a gun on her reality TV show). The fact that she directed her administration to disarm the militia in 2008 and yet we heard nothing of this during the 2008 election suggests that disarming the militia is equated with “liberty” and “loving the second amendment” when a repugican does it.
When a repugican is in charge, the cult salivates at the use of dictatorial power. It’s a form of security for them, resulting in what psychologists describe as an urge to be dominated and controlled, stemming from their deeply shameful suspicion that they can’t control themselves.1
We must remember Sarah Palin’s affectionate relationship with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is sending out his civilian armed posse to patrol for “illegal immigrants” and to “protect” the schools. It’s a wonder Palin didn’t explain to him that in her own state, they found that “administering a part-time civilian force brings a high liability risk to the state.” Yes, really.
Why is that? Because they are not trained as well as the professionals. Go figure. This conclusion comes dangerously close to suggesting that education matters, gravity exists, there is such a thing as expertise and that not everyone should be armed with a gun. But outside of their own actual records, repugican exceptionalism demands that we attribute equal weight to non-exerts and arm chair wannabes, lest we be called “elitists”.
All you need to do in order to represent second amendment “freedom” is pose with guns and put cross hairs on your opponents. You can disarm the militia in your state without DESTROYING THE CONSTITUTION so long as you have an “r” after your name. Also, posing while leaning on the flag in short shorts helps (warning: do not try this as a Democrat or you will be branded a hater of the troops and an enemy of freedom).
If you have a “D” after your name, don’t you dare even mention enforcing the existing gun safety laws, or else the tea party will denounce you as a “dictator” and threaten to throw you in jail for violating their imaginary Constitution.
Remember patriots, image is everything. Substance zero.

Update: This is for the Palin fans. The question is, what would the right’s reaction have been if this same scenario had happened under President Obama. With a title reading “NO MORE GUNS” they would have gone insane. They’ve already jumped the “tyrant Hitler” shark over 23 executive actions that do little more than direct gun safety commissions and enforce existing laws. Only two address limiting the availability of a category of gun or a magazine capacity. If Obama ordered Arpaio’s posse to be disarmed because they were a “liability”, would the wingnuts be defending that as they are Palin’s actions?

1. Note: These are real psychological theories on authoritarianism that are worth a look if you want to understand the consistent hypocrisy of the right. The conservative base can be seen as suffering from a desire to submit to an authoritarian who represents “traditional values”. The underlying theory is that the authoritarian personality has a weak ego unable to manage their id impulses.
Alfred Adler proposed an alternative theory that power-over seekers are compensating for a feeling of inferiority, which might explain why repugican leaders are able to manipulate their base by stoking resentment of “liberal elitists”. Professor Bob Altemeyer expands on this theory in his book “The Authoritarians”. John W. Dean’s book, “Conservatives Without a Conscience” discusses the psychology of obedience to authority. For more on how the repugican fear that they can’t control themselves causes them to seek policies that impose rigid moral control, read “Red State Blue State”.

The truth be told

Why the FDA Banned Sneezing Powder in 1919

Inventor S. S. Adams liked to test his sneezing powder on rooms full of executives.

Body Language Reveals How We Really Feel

To figure out how someone is really feeling, don't just read their lips, watch their body language. In a recent study, researchers from Princeton University asked participants to determine from photographs if people were experiencing feelings such as loss, victory, or pain from facial expressions or body language alone, or from both.

In four separate experiments, participants more accurately guessed the pictured emotion based on body language - alone or combined with facial expressions - than on facial context alone.

In Cancer Quackery News

Stanislaw Burzynski threatens one of his own patients over website

 Anti-cancer-quackery blogger Robert Blaskiewicz has a blog post up that details how Houston-based "alternative cancer treatment" practitioner Stanislaw Burzynski (photo at left) whom many reasoned minds in the oncology field would describe as a quack, has crossed a new line in his ongoing awfulness.
The latest: Burzynski's rep threatened one of his own patients, Wayne Merritt who had advanced pancreatic cancer, after Wayne (right) and his wife Lisa published a website detailing how they'd been duped.
That site, burzynskiscam.com, is still up, despite the nastygram threatening "to file a legal lawsuit" for its purportedly "defamatory" contents.
Threatening bloggers is nothing new for Burzynski, but threatening cancer patients is, as far as I can tell.
Blaskiewicz adds,

The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is looking to put an actual dent into Burzynski's wallet while shaming him publicly for what he's done by raising money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. We're trying to raise $30,000, the cost of starting his bogus trials according to a patient who was dead just days after starting his treatment. We're donating all of it in his name on his birthday, Jan 23rd. That same day, we're issuing a challenge to the Clinic to MATCH THE TOTAL that skeptics raise. That's the big thing. Regardless of whether or not he participates (and I suspect that it's hard to shame the shameless), we plan to say that it's probably the greatest contribution to cancer research ever made in his name. :) The fundraiser is here. For bloggers who want to help drive his google search results into the toilet (by putting reliable info in its place), a guide can be found at thehoustoncancerquack.com. Feel free to use the birthday ducky graphic I have there. :)
Below, two excerpts from the nastygrams sent by Burzynski's rep to Wayne Merritt’s wife. They're pretty wacky. And it takes a special kind of asshole to bully a cancer patient and his wife in this manner.
And Dr. Harriet Hall, aka "The SkepDoc," sent around this email backgrounder to Skeptics and pro-science types. It's a good place to start, if you're not familiar yet with Burzynski.
I'll paste it here, below:

Stanislaw Burzynski is a doctor who has lured patients to his Houston clinic with two promises: to try to cure their incurable cancers with his antineoplaston treatments, and to enroll them in a clinical trial. Patients in clinical trials are usually reimbursed for all expenses and paid for participating. Instead, Burzynski makes them pay for everything, typically $30,000. And, he is only claiming to do clinical trials because the FDA has investigated him and has prohibited him from treating patients outside of trials. So he pretends to be doing clinical trials, but he never publishes any results. Instead of a research protocol with IRB oversight and informed consent, he offers "individualized" experimental treatments to patients without any randomization or controls. He produces his own drugs and charges more than they would cost elsewhere. He claims to have many miraculous successes, but a website is accumulating the case histories of his far more numerous failures. Read some of the stories here and weep. Just one example: He told a patient his cancer had shrunk by 84% on the latest MRI, so the patient assumed he was improving and wrote a check for another course of treatment. Then the neurosurgeon who had originally operated on him got a hold of the MRI and saw that the tumor was actually unchanged; the Burzynski Clinic had misinterpreted the healing of the hole where part of the tumor had been removed. Over a hundred of these cases have been collected and are gradually going up on the website to counter the testimonials on the misleading Burzynski Patient Group website. [The most recent entry demonstrates that threats have been issued against cancer patients.]
A website entitled "The Houston Cancer Quack" has been established to carry out a fund raising drive. The plan is to raise $30,000, the typical cost of treatment for a Burzynski patient, and to notify Burzynski on his birthday as a sort of birthday present. The money will go to support legitimate cancer research at the St. Jude Children's Hospital, and Burzynski will be challenged to match the donation. He can afford it. He lives in a $6 million, 14,495 square foot mansion.
He continues to offer unethical treatments to these desperate patients, who are being financially ruined in the pursuit of false hope and have been robbed of the opportunity for conventional palliative care and precious time with their families.
For more information see the article Dr. Gorski wrote on the "Science-Based Medicine" website today.
Also see the numerous articles he has written on the Respectful Insolence website.
What Burzynski is doing is evil. The FDA tried to stop him and failed. The Texas Medical Board tried to stop him, but lost on a technicality. We are hoping this fund raising drive will bring his misdeeds to the attention of the public. We hope the media will pick it up and spread the word to a wide audience.
This is a win/win proposition: You can support cancer research for children and simultaneously embarrass a doctor who is getting rich preying on vulnerable cancer patients. I can't think of a worthier cause. Please, PLEASE go to this webpage.
Click on the donate button. It's secure and simple to make a donation with your credit card online.
Skeptics, Unite! Here's a chance for skeptics to really make a difference.

Bolshoi Ballet director attacked with acid

Bolshoi Ballet chief Sergei Filin, 43, was about to arrive at his home around midnight Thursday when an unidentified attacker tossed acid in his face, causing severe burns to his eyes. State-run news agency RIA Novosti reports that he may lose his sight. He had been threatened repeatedly, prior to the attack.

Half-naked man ran after train for 7 kilometers in in sub-zero temperatures

A 42-year-old Russian man literally ran for his life for seven kilometers in the freezing cold after he accidentally fell off a train in the country’s Far East, wearing only a T-shirt, sweatpants and slippers. ­The man said that he had gone to the train’s vestibule for a smoke.
As he was coming back to his carriage, he missed his door and opened another one to a non-functioning vestibule. He stepped into the dark and then found himself in taiga forest, on the railroad, all alone. The passenger ran after the train for seven kilometers, but couldn’t catch up with it. At the next station the man was given help.

“The 42-year-old man survived by sheer luck,” the Interior Ministry’s local transport department reported on Friday. An investigation into the matter has been launched, and police are trying to ascertain whether what happened was an accident, or whether a train attendant forgot to close the door out of neglect.

The man turned out to be a driver working under a rotation system. “He is feeling fine, has already started working, and has suffered no bodily harm. Certainly, he had been very scared, but got over the shock,” the man’s employer said. The train was traveling from Moscow to Nerungri. The average winter temperatures in the area measure around -30°C.

William Cody


William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody

A portrait of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody who was born in Iowa but grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas. During the Civil War, William served in the 7th Kansas Cavalry Regiment. Later, he was chief of scouts for the Third Cavalry during the Indian Wars. He claimed to have worked many jobs, but he became world famous for his Wild West show. He got his nickname for supplying Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with bison meat.
Date: Between 1880 and 1889 Item Number: 225855 Call Number: B Cody, William F. *3 Source Kansas MemoryKSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 225855  Photo Lightened @CivilWarParlor 

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody

A portrait of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody who was born in Iowa but grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas. During the Civil War, William served in the 7th Kansas Cavalry Regiment. Later, he was chief of scouts for the Third Cavalry during the Indian Wars. He claimed to have worked many jobs, but he became world famous for his Wild West show. He got his nickname for supplying Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with bison meat.

Magnificent Ceilings From Around The World

40 in fact

There are beautiful buildings in the world that have beautiful ceilings. It is up there where we also find authentic jewels of design such as domes, vaults, stars and other geometric shapes, even holes. Have a look at this set of photographs taken from below straight up, with minimal perspective if possible, through very famous buildings to less well known, spanning three continents and over two thousand years of history.

Stairways That Lead Nowhere

22 of them in Fact

There is something weird and mysterious about stairways that don't go anywhere, and yet they're surprisingly common: inside and outside old buildings, among demolished walls, in big cities and small villages, or in artists' imaginations.

They get your mind going, spurring you to imagine secret places and invisible doors. Try climbing the next one you encounter. Or just imagine climbing these.

The Mick Jagger Flower

Now this is a plant that blooms like Jagger! You're looking at Psychotria elata or "hot lips," though there's definitely an uncanny resemblance to Mick Jagger's kisser.
Affectionately known as Hot lips, Psychotria elata with it’s colorful red flowers attracts many pollinators including butterflies and hummingbirds. One of the host plants for the golden silkmoth (Xlophanes adalia). Also known in some circles as Mick Jagger’s lips. Native to Tropical America, this specimen was found at the Butterfly Gardens in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

What REAL Snowflakes in Nature Look Like

Remember those gorgeous microscope images of symmetrical snow flakes that you see in science textbooks? The real thing is a bit different.
Researchers at the University of Utah utilized high speed cameras to shoot 3D images of snowflakes as they float to the ground. The camera, dubbed the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera, can take exposures as quick as 1/25,000th of a second. They discovered that most snowflakes in nature are complex clumps of many smaller flakes that stuck to each other.
The findings could be useful, too:
The images could be used to better understand snowfall and create a more accurate model of winter storms. One of the things weather simulations are not currently good at is predicting snowfall accurately. "The reason they do so badly is because they don't represent snowflakes very well, because they are based on measurements of snowflakes that were done, painstakingly, by hand in the 1970s,” Garrett explained. “They were able to collect maybe a few thousand snowflakes. I knew the guy who did it and he felt he needed to get glasses because of this project."
Read more about it over at Tech News Daily.

Incredible Frozen Waterfalls Around The World

Believe it or not, running waterfalls can actually freeze and when they do they form weird and wonderful shapes.

Random Photo

The Evolutionary Biology Of Star Trek

One of the big mysteries of human evolution is what happened to all the humans who shared the planet with Homo sapiens for hundreds of thousands of years. While Homo sapiens was evolving in Africa, there were also tool-making hominins in Europe and Asia, known as Homo erectus, the Denisovans, and the Neanderthals.

Did all those human groups meet at some point? Did they interbreed or kill each other? Is it even appropriate to call them all human, or were some human and some animals?
Star Trek has the answers to these questions. And they are just as tangled and frustrating in science fiction as they are in real evolutionary science.

Beaming Mona Lisa to the Moon

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling? You would too if your image is beamed to the moon with laser!
NASA scientists digitized the famous painting and sent it almost 240,000 miles away to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter using laser pulses from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland:
For last March's Mona Lisa maneuver, researchers encoded a black-and-white version of Leonardo da Vinci's enigmatic masterpiece as a series of values in a 152-by-200-pixel grid. Each value represented a shade of black to gray to white, ranging from zero to 4,095. The signal for each pixel was then piggybacked on the ranging station's laser-tracking pulses: Each pulse was fired during one of 4,096 super-short designated time slots, at a rate of about 300 bits per second.
As the pulses were received in lunar orbit, LOLA's software used the precise timing of each pulse to figure out the grayscale value for a given pixel — and reassembled the black-and-white image. The process wasn't perfect: Atmospheric turbulence introduced laser transmission errors, even when the sky was clear. To accommodate the 15 percent error rate, the researchers used Reed-Solomon data coding, which is the same method used to smooth out the bumps in the playback of CDs and DVDs.
300 bits per second? That's a 300 baud modem! Definitely not broadband.
Alan Boyle of NBC's Cosmic Log blog explains: Here. | SPACE.com has the video clip explaining how they did it: Here.

Manatee Nebula

Sea Cow in Space!

Holy (Space) Cow! Forget the Space Whale, astronomers have spotted something way cooler: the Manatee nebula!
When scientists took a new image of the W50 nebula in the constellation Aquila, a remnant of a supernova 10,000 years ago, someone at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory remarked that it looks like a manatee floating on its back.
The name stuck, and the W50 nebula is being renamed during a ceremony today at the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Fla.: More

Animals Caught Doping Show No Remorse

All levels of the animal kingdom from flies to top predators indulge in drugs and alcohol. Sometimes humans even push intoxicants on the creatures.

Hundreds Of Sheep Branded With Smiley Face

A mysterious smiley face has appeared stamped on the side of hundreds of sheep across the UK. The odd image was first spotted on 20 animals grazing in a field in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. There have since been sightings in a further five fields, from Perthshire in Scotland to Exeter, 500 miles away in Devon.

Pranksters are being blamed for the bizarre branding - but some internet users are convinced aliens are responsible. Farmers, meanwhile, are scratching their heads - wondering why their flocks have been targeted.

Young red deer finds new home among flock of sheep

A young red deer has joined a flock of sheep on the Suffolk coast and seems to have been adopted. The deer appears to have lost his herd and joined 100 sheep which graze on National Trust land at Dunwich Heath and Orford Ness in Suffolk.

Andrew Capell, the flock's shepherd, said: "I've been involved with sheep all my life but I've never seen deer interact with them. They seem to have accepted him as one of their own."

The buck joined the sheep after the flock was moved from the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve in early December. "He seems to be happy living with the sheep and has made a few friends, but he comes and goes and hops over the fence to visit them when he likes," said Mr Capell.

"He's found some animals which are his own size and there is a bit of a pecking order within the flock and he'll be bottom rung at the moment." The National Trust said it hoped the deer would re-join its herd if it roamed past the flock of sheep.

Animal Pictures