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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Carolina Naturally is read in 190 countries around the world daily.

Long time readers of this blog know about the format changes it has evolved through to its present state.

Also the 5plus month hiatus forced upon it by technical issues (along with staff issues) we experienced the first half of the year last year(2012), from which we emerged even stronger than before with our readership actually going way up following the hiatus.

We ended the year with nearly 1 million readers which is great for an unadvertised blog only up and running for 7 months out of the year. (The numbers this year through two months show that the readership is still growing and growing rapidly.)

We had intended to revamp the format a bit in January of 2012 but that did not work out so we maintained the current format through the remainder of the year and into the first two months of this year.

However, the tweaks to the format that were in place yet not implemented are effective as is this day's postings. Most readers will not notice the changes - they are mainly in the production process.

Today is World Compliment Day 

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Today in History

1642   York, Maine becomes the first incorporated American city.  
1692   Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass.  
1776   French minister Charles Gravier advises his Spanish counterpart to support the American rebels against the English.  
1780   Pennsylvania becomes the first U.S. state to abolish slavery.  
1803   Ohio becomes the 17th state to join the Union.  
1808   In France, Napoleon creates an imperial nobility.  
1815   Napoleon lands at Cannes, France, returning from exile on Elba, with a force of 1,500 men and marches on Paris.  
1871   German troops enter Paris, France, during the Franco-Prussian War.  
1875   Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, which is invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1883.  
1912   Albert Berry completes the first in-flight parachute jump, from a Benoist plane over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, Missouri.  
1915   The Allies announce their aim to cut off all German supplies and assure the safety of the neutrals.  
1919   The Korean coalition proclaims their independence from Japan.  
1921   The Allies reject a $7.5 billion reparations offer in London. German delegations decides to quit all talks.  
1932   The Lindbergh baby is kidnapped from the Lindbergh home near Princeton, New Jersey.  
1935   Germany officially establishes the Luftwaffe.  
1941   Bulgaria joins the Axis as the Nazis occupy Sofia.  
1942   Japanese troops land on Java in the Pacific.  
1943   The British RAF conducts strategic bombing raids on all European railway lines.  
1960   1,000 Black students pray and sing the national anthem on the steps of the old Confederate Capitol in Montgomery, Ala.  
1968   Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is replaced by Clark Clifford.  
1969   Mickey Mantle announces his retirement from baseball.  
1974   A grand jury indicts seven of President Nixon's aides for the conspiracy on Watergate.  
1985   The Pentagon accepts the theory that an atomic war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter."  
1992  Bosnian Serbs begin sniping in Sarajevo, after Croats and Moslems vote for Bosnian independence.

Non Sequitur


And I Quote

Tell ISPs: No "Six Strikes" Plan -- Or We'll Take Our Business Elsewhere

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.demandprogress.org/images/images.jpgHere it comes: After over a year of secret negotiations with the players who pushed SOPA, the major Internet Service Providers on the verge of implementing their "Six Strikes" plan to fight "online infringement".  With essentially no due process, AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will get on your case if you're accused of violating intellectual property rights -- and eventually even interfere with your ability to access the Internet.  (You can contest accusations -- if you fork over $35.)

After the first few supposed violations, they'll alert you that your connection was engaging in behavior that they -- the giant corporations that provide your Internet service -- deem inappropriate.
And then it gets really dicey: They can make it difficult for you to access the web, or start throttling down your connection.  From Wired:
After four alerts, according to the program, “mitigation measures” may commence. They include “temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter.”
That's right: These mega-corporations now claim the authority to undermine your Internet access -- and want to serve as judge, jury, and executioner.  Tell them to back off -- or that you'll start looking for other places to bring your business.

Teenager's 10-Mile Walk in the Snow to a Job Interview Lands Him a Job

ReaganJhaqueil Reagan, 18, has grit.
Last week, he was walking to a job interview in Indianapolis--ten miles, through the snow. A local restraurant owner met him on the journey, learned what he was doing, and saw the potential for a great employee. He promptly offered Reagan a job:
Reagan was spotted by a local restaurant owner last Friday walking 10 miles to a job interview for a cashier position at a local thrift store.  When the restaurant owner, Art Bouvier, realized the trek Reagan was willing to make, he hired him on the spot for an entry-level position at his Papa Roux restaurant.
“I have employees who can’t get here to work on time even though they have cars and very comfortable houses,” Bouvier said.  “Here’s a kid who planned his morning to walk three hours and 10 miles in the snow just for an interview.”
“If you’ll do that, you’ll definitely show up for work on time so I thought, ‘Yeah, I want you,’” he said.
One of Bouvier's customers heard Reagan's story and gave him thirteen one-month bus passes so that Reagan won't have to walk to work.
More (warning: auto-sound)

The truth be told

Vigilante Walmart shopper shoots at shoplifter, hits 3 cars, almost hits innocent

I see the future. A future in which the NRA and the repugican party, along with blue dogs like John Dingell, get their way, and America is armed to the teeth. Then we all get shot shopping at Walmart.The Boy Scouts should have a merit badge for shopping at Walmart and surviving, considering the number of gun incidents in or near Walmart stores, or the murderers who do their gun & ammo shopping at Walmart, in the past few years.
This latest incident is classic.  And it proves why arming the world does not the road to safety make.
A responsible gun owner was in the parking lot of a Walmart when he says a shoplifter tried to “run him over,” putting him and other shoppers in danger.
So, responsible gun owner opened fire on the guy.
The Batman managed to hit the alleged shoplifter’s car, but also managed to fire bullets into two other cars.  Fortunately no small children were shot in the head.
The cops do say that one innocent bystander was “basically in front of the muzzle of the gun as Mr. Martinez was shooting.”
And what do you know, once the police reviewed the store camera footage, they said the responsible gun owner’s story doesn’t add up.  The video does, however, show the perp shoving a woman into the side of a door, she then falls to the ground motionless.  We’re clearly not dealing with a nice guy.
And isn’t that the problem with arming people to the teeth.  Not only are they more likely to intervene, when sometimes perhaps they shouldn’t, but they more likely to do it in a much more violent manner, which risks hurting innocent bystanders (assuming the target is guilty, which also isn’t always clear).
I know that right after I was violently mugged a little over ten years ago – the two kids tried to strangle me, and did a pretty good job of it – I got a call from someone at the Gun Owners of America, a group to the right of the NRA.  They were writing a story, and wanted to include my mugging, and the guy asked me “don’t you wish you had a gun?”  And I told him, yes, because I would have gladly shot the kids who tried to kill me, but then I’d probably have been so upset by the attack that I’d have missed the shot and instead hit the young couple standing right behind the kids as they were trying to get away.
And that’s the problem with the “we arm the world” crowd.  Even if you’re sympathetic to the basic argument that when someone tries to kill you, you’d really like a weapon to defend yourself, a lot of times things aren’t that clear cut.  A lot of times you’re in public, and by playing all Rambo you risk killing innocent people all because some guy stole a t-shirt (or whatever) from the local Walmart.
Here’s a pretty good news report on the story, with the surveillance video and the cop talking about where the innocent guy was standing in relation to the shooter.

Mother, stepfather of starved Georgia teen get 15-year prison terms

The mother and stepfather of a Georgia teenager who ended up at a Los Angeles bus terminal last September and told police he had suffered from long-term abuse and starvation were each sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to cruelty charges.
Mitch Comer, 18, was so pale and gaunt when he turned up in Los Angeles that police thought he was only 12 or 13. A grand jury in Paulding County, Georgia, later charged that his mother and stepfather had endangered his health by confining him to a room within their home and denying him medical care.
The mother, Sheila Marie Comer, 40, and stepfather, Paul Matthew Comer, 48, both pleaded guilty on Thursday to child cruelty and false imprisonment charges, said Renee Rockwell, attorney for Sheila Comer.
They had faced more than 100 years in prison each if they had been convicted at trial, Rockwell said.
Comer told police that after removing him from school in the eighth grade, his stepfather shut him in a room and fed him only small amounts of food. When he turned 18, his stepfather gave him $200 and put him on a bus with a list of homeless shelters he had located on the Internet.
Rockwell described the family as deeply religious and said when she visited the couple's home shortly after their arrest in September, "there was plenty of food in the house."
Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan said little of that food was given to Mitch Comer. "He lived on cereal," Donovan said.
The Los Angeles police who encountered Mitch Comer said he was just over 5 feet tall and weighed only 87 pounds (39 kg).
Avoiding a trial will allow Mitch Comer and his two sisters to be spared from having to "relive the horrors that they went through," Donovan said.
Donovan told Reuters he had no explanation for the way the couple treated Mitch Comer.
"I don't know what makes people mean like that," he said. "I just know that they are."
As part of the plea agreement, the Comers' assets will be sold and the money placed in a trust, with half going to Mitch Comer and the remaining half to his two younger sisters when they turn 25, Rockwell said.
She described the couple's assets as "substantial." Paul Comer had a ninth-grade education but was a successful appliance repairman, the attorney for his wife said.

Beijing Bemoans Smog and Sandstorms

Beijing residents were urged to stay indoors on Thursday as pollution levels soared before a sandstorm brought further misery to China’s capital.

Did you know ...

About false equivalence: it's worse than you think

Why medical bills are killing us

That President Obama is a better president for business than Reagan ever dreamed of being

That the rising tide of income equality sinks all boats

Corporate executives indicted for willfully endangering public health

Officials from the Peanut Corporation of America are being indicted for their roles in a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed at least nine people. It's rare for this kind of prosecution to actually happen, writes Maryn McKenna at her Superbug blog. But, in this case, there's mounds of evidence that executives circumvented safety testing, ignored positive salmonella results, and pressured their employees to send out product even though it might be tainted. Here's the money quote, from PCA's former president, revealed in an email recovered by the prosecution: "Shit, just ship it."

Banks withhold checks from Sandy victims

Why aren't these #banksters in jail? Why do they hate Americans? Why do they enjoy inflicting pain? Oh, yeah...that's right. profit. Sorry, my bad.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a department of financial services investigation uncovered $200 million in insurance funds from super-storm Sandy that are being held by banks and have not yet been sent to homeowners who need the money to pay for necessary repairs.

The Cuomo administration has sent letters to banks and mortgage servicers asking that they use maximum discretion and effort to speed the release of funds. the department has also sent letters to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seeking emergency reforms of their rules and policies relating to the release of insurance funds by banks and servicers. - Governor Cuomo's office

How will the Sequester affect science

Basic science — the kind of research done for curiosity's sake, in order to better understand how parts of our world work — is the foundation of applied science — research that's aimed at developing a product, or tool, or achieving a goal. In the United States, the federal government is, by far, the number one funding source for basic research. So what happens to that investment in our future when things like the Sequester come along? Obviously, funding goes down. But the details are what's important here. Tom Levenson explains the short-term and long-term impacts.

Man Commits a Crime to Get Healthcare

Sometimes, logic dictates that the best course of action to treat a serious illness is to go to prison. Here's an amazing story of how one man committed a crime in order to get the medical care he desperately needed:
A 41-year-old man who had been incarcerated came to see me recently. While in prison he got in a fight, which led to a CT scan. He hadn't broken anything, but the scan did surreptitiously show two aneurysms. Both were in his hepatic artery (the artery that feeds his liver).
They were small, so the doctors kept an eye on the aneurysms without doing surgery. But the next time they checked, they had nearly doubled in size.
He was referred to a surgeon at a different hospital than the one I work at, and underwent an angiogram, to see the aneurysms better. The surgeons there said that he was sure to die if they did not intervene, and that they should schedule a surgery within the coming weeks.
Fortunately for him (or so he thought) he was released from prison one week later. When he returned for his pre-op visit, though, he was told that since he'd been released from prison, he no longer had insurance to cover the operation. [...]
... not knowing what else to to, it occurred to him that the easiest way to get the care he needed would be to get back in prison.
The next week, he went to a department store and, making sure a security guard saw him, pocketed some moisturizing cream. He looked up at the guard, smiled, and walked out.
After he was arrested, he wrote a note to the judge saying that he needed to get back into prison for a year, to get an operation. He told me the judge said "I'll give you 14 months, go get your surgery."
Doctor Joshua Mezrich told the story over at The Atlantic.

The Worst Lies That Mainstream Nutrition Has Told You

When it comes to our food choices, many of us do the best we can to ensure that what we're putting on our plates are the healthiest and most nutritious foods possible. But given so many choices, it's not easy to know exactly what we should be eating - so we put our trust in conventional wisdom, common sense, and what the experts have to say.

But what if the experts are wrong? A lot of the science is now showing that many commonly held beliefs about what a healthy diet should look like are utterly wrong. Here are the top 11 biggest lies, myths, and misconceptions told to us by mainstream nutrition.

How gold particles, DNA and water will shape future of medicine

A diagnostic “cocktail” containing a single drop of blood, a dribble of water, and a dose of DNA powder with gold particles could mean rapid diagnosis and treatment of the world’s leading diseases in the ...

Brain can’t cope with making a left-hand turn and talking on hands-free cell phone

Most serious traffic accidents occur when drivers are making a left-hand turn at a busy intersection. When those drivers are also talking on a hands-free cell phone, “that could be the most dangerous thing they ...

Mystery of alien from outer space appearing on photo

An employee of the Bacolod City Treasurer’s Office in the Philippines was surprised to see a 2-foot tall figure that looks like an extra terrestrial creature standing beside her in her photo taken by a fellow city employee in front of the Bacolod City Government Centre at about 4pm on Tuesday.

The employee, identified as  Emily Santodelsis, had requested her co-worker, Arian Ponce, to take a solo picture of her using her cellphone. When she looked at the photo later she saw a strange looking creature that looked like an alien from outer space standing beside her.

In another photo of Santodelsis taken on the same day there appeared a streak that looked as if she was being hit by lightning in the head. One of her co-workers prayed over her after the experience because she was scared and shaken by what she saw on her cellphone.

Several personnel of the Public Order and Safety Office, who were on duty to secure the vicinity of the government center for the arrival of the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, as well as other city employees who were preparing to go home, saw Emily while her picture was being taken but did not see any creature beside her. Some employees have claimed that they had seen about four of these “extra terrestrial beings” in the area.

Astronomical News

For more than four weeks last year, a previously unknown third radiation belt circled Earth before it was annihilated -- along with the entire outer belt -- by a shock wave from the sun.

After most NASA science spacecraft launches, researchers wait patiently for months as instruments on board are turned on one at a time, slowly ramped up to full power, and tested to make sure they work ...

Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a computer algorithm the detects movements that are so small or subtle as to be imperceptible to human eyes. The program then amplifies these movements kinetically or by color changes to the point that we can see them in video recordings. The program is called  Eulerian Video Magnification.
The team originally developed the program to monitor neonatal babies without making physical contact. But they quickly learned that the algorithm can be applied to other videos to reveal changes imperceptible to the naked eye. Prof. William T. Freeman, a leader on the team, imagines its use in search and rescue, so that rescuers could tell from a distance if someone trapped on a ledge, say, is still breathing.

“Once we amplify these small motions, there’s like a whole new world you can look at,” he said.
Some of the applications suggested for this new technology include medical diagnosis, finding oil, seeing how much a building sways, detecting lies, assessing manufacturing processes, and even determining whether a poker player is bluffing. See a video with more examples at the New York Times technology blog, Bits.

The birth of a volcano

On February 20th, 1943, Dionisio Pulido watched as a crack in his farm field collapsed in on itself and began to vomit out ash, rock, and fire. The birth of Mexico's ParĂ­cutin volcano is a story I've heard before. Dana Hunter's two-part series on the occasion of its 70th volcanaversary. Her posts really get into the perspective of Pulido and other local residents in a way I haven't seen in other accounts, and she does an amazing job of giving you a sense of just how well-documented the birth of this volcano was and why that fact matters so much. 


Here's Part 1 and Part 2.

NOAA and NASA’s next generation weather satellite may provide earlier warnings

A new satellite that will detect the lightning inside storm clouds may lead to valuable improvements in tornado detection. The GOES-R satellite is currently being built with new technology that may help provide earlier warnings ...

Is This a Baby Picture of a Giant Planet?

The ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured an infrared picture of the star HD100546 -- is that clump of gas a "baby bump"? 

Awesome Pictures

Almost down

Rat brains linked in first ever brain-to-brain interface

"Scientists have connected the brains of lab rats, allowing one to communicate directly to another via cables. The wired brain implants allowed sensory and motor signals to be sent from one rat to another, creating the first ever brain-to-brain interface."

Animal News

When Jim Thomas and his global team of researchers returned to the Madang Lagoon in Papua New Guinea, they discovered a treasure trove of new species unknown to science. This is especially relevant as the ...
Elephants are vanishing from DRC’s best-run reserve
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) largest remaining forest elephant population, located in the Okapi Faunal Reserve (OFR), has declined by 37 percent in the last five years, with only 1,700 elephants now remaining, according ...
Ecologists have evidence that some endangered primates and large cats faced with relentless human encroachment will seek sanctuary in the sultry thickets of mangrove and peat swamp forests. These harsh coastal biomes are characterized by ...

Nut-Cracking Monkeys Show Human-Like Skills

Monkeys are able to not only use tools, but to use them with finesse.

Life in the Deepest Ocean Vents Ever Discovered

Deep sea hydrothermal vents provide geothermal warmth to ocean water that doesn't get much warmth from the sun. These mineral-rich vents are like "the oases of the deepest ocean," and are thought to be places where many life forms -and maybe life itself- got its start.
A few weeks ago, a group of scientists on a National Oceanography Centre expedition in the Caribbean stumbled across this vent, the deepest ever found at 5,000 meters below the ocean's surface. Since then, the group has been plumbing the depths of the Beebe Vent Field with remotely-operated submersibles, taking pictures, discovering new species, and finding some unexpected surprises.
That's over three miles down! See plenty of pictures from the expedition at io9.

Animal Pictures