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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, March 23, 2013

The Daily Drift

Those were the days, my friend  ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 191 countries around the world daily.

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Today in History

1657   France and England form an alliance against Spain.
1743   Handel's Messiah is performed for the first time in London.
1775   American revolutionary hero Patrick Henry, while addressing the House of Burgesses, declares "give me liberty, or give me death!"
1791   Etta Palm, a Dutch champion of woman's rights, sets up a group of women's clubs called the Confederation of the Friends of Truth.
1848   Hungary proclaims its independence of Austria.
1857   Elisha Otis installs the first modern passenger elevator in a public building, at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City.
1858   Eleazer A. Gardner of Philadelphia patents the cable street car, which runs on overhead cables.
1862   Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson faces his only defeat at the Battle of Kernstown, Va
1880   John Stevens of Neenah, Wis., patents the grain crushing mill. This mill allows flour production to increase by 70 percent.
1901   A group of U.S. Army soldier led by Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Insurrection of 1899.
1903   The Wright brothers obtain an airplane patent.
1909   British Lt. Ernest Shackleton finds the magnetic South Pole.
1909   Theodore Roosevelt begins an African safari sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.
1917   Austrian Emperor Charles I makes a peace proposal to French President Poincare.
1920   Great Britain denounces the United States because of its delay in joining the League of Nations.
1921   Arthur G. Hamilton sets a new parachute record, safely jumping 24,400 feet.
1927   Captain Hawthorne Gray sets a new balloon record soaring to 28,510 feet.
1933   The Reichstag gives Adolf Hitler the power to rule by decree.
1942   The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
1951   U.S. paratroopers descend from flying boxcars in a surprise attack in Korea.
1956   Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic, although it is still within the British Commonwealth.
1967   Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. calls the Vietnam War the biggest obstacle to the civil rights movement.
1970   Mafia boss Carlo Gambino is arrested for plotting to steal $3 million.
1972   The United States calls a halt to the peace talks on Vietnam being held in Paris.
1981   U.S. Supreme Court upholds a law making statutory rape a crime for men but not women.

Non Sequitur


The tweet heard round the world.

Yoko Ono         @yokoono
31,537 people are killed by guns in the USA every year. We are turning this beautiful country into war zone. pic.twitter.com/vT2gLjwUZV
View image on Twitter

Just Sayin' ...

Did you know ...

About the Iraq war: who got it right

That Iowa and South Dakota got 25% of their electricity from wind power in 2012

That handicapped workers often face abuse

Here's a dictionary for deciphering the news

Bill Would Slash Congressional Pay by 8.2 Percent

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., is a cosponsor of the legislation.  
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., is a cosponsor of the legislation. Charles Dharapak
House lawmakers have introduced legislation to cut congressional pay by 8.2 percent beginning with the next Congress.
The bipartisan bill, dubbed the Sequestration of Pay for Members of Congress Act, would reduce lawmakers’ salaries, starting with the 114th Congress, which convenes in January 2015. The legislation docks members’ pay beginning in November 2014, when the 114th Congress is elected.
Non-exempt, non-defense discretionary spending under sequestration has to be cut by 8.2 percent during fiscal 2013, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Ron DeSantis, r-Fla., and Ami Bera, D-Calif., would comply with the U.S. Constitution by applying the pay cut to the next Congress. The 27th Amendment prohibits a sitting Congress from increasing or decreasing its own pay, but it can change the pay of future legislative bodies.
“Much has been said about sequestration, but few have mentioned that the pay of members of Congress is exempted,” DeSantis said. “When members exempt themselves from the operation of the law, it's not only unfair, but it also violates a core principle of republican government.” DeSantis successfully shepherded a bill through the House earlier this year that extends the pay freeze for federal employees and lawmakers through the end of 2013.
Since sequestration took effect on March 1, the notion of cutting congressional pay has become popular with some lawmakers. In the Senate, Democrats Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida have introduced legislation that calls for a reduction in congressional salaries once furloughs begin across government. A provision in the McCaskill-Nelson bill says if the pay cut is deemed unconstitutional, then the legislation would take effect in the next Congress. Several lawmakers and some Obama administration political appointees have said they would donate portions of their pay to show solidarity with federal workers facing furloughs and, as a result, smaller paychecks this year.
“It’s completely hypocritical for members of Congress to exempt themselves from across-the-board spending cuts, while the American people are bearing the burden of those cuts,” Bera said. “Real leadership begins with accountability.”
Lawmakers already are facing a looming deadline related to their salaries. In February, Obama signed into law the No Budget, No Pay Act which withholds lawmakers’ pay if Congress cannot agree on a fiscal 2014 budget by April 15. Under the law, congressional salaries would be held in escrow until lawmakers pass a budget; if Congress fails to do that, then salaries would resume in January 2015.
Rep. Larry Bucshon, r-Ind., this week introduced a bill that would withhold the president’s salary if he again fails to submit a budget by the statutory annual deadline -- the first Monday in February. That bill is essentially No Budget, No Pay aimed at the president.

Fed’s Bernanke agrees “100%” with Elizabeth Warren, too-big-to-fail banks are a problem

There continues to be a groundswell of support among the political class that too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks are in fact a problem.Elizabeth Warren has been talking about it a lot lately, including her comment in February that “too big to fail has become too big for trial.”
Two weeks later, Warren asked why the banks were receiving $83 billion each year in subsidies. (We now know that that the subsidy might be ten times that amount.) At the time, Fed chair Ben Bernanke agreed with Warren that the subsidies were a problem and should be ended.
Video:  Elizabeth Warren at the DNC – “The system is rigged”Elizabeth Warren: So I understand that we’re all trying to get to the end of “too big to fail.” But my question, Mr. Chairman, is until we do, should those biggest financial institutions be repaying the American taxpayer that $83 billion subsidy that they are getting?…It is working like an insurance policy. Ordinary folks pay for homeowners insurance. Ordinary folks pay for car insurance. And these big financial institutions are getting cheaper borrowing to the tune of $83 billion in a single year simply because people believe that the government would step in and bail them out. And I’m just saying, if they are getting it, why shouldn’t they pay for it?
Chairman Bernanke: I think we should get rid of it.
And Bernanke continues to talk about the problems of too-big-to-fail banks, see video below.
Fed Chair Ben Bernanke via Bloomberg

Bernanke has been the driving force behind the free money being thrown at Wall Street the last few years (via the quantitative easing policy), which has helped prop up Wall Street artifically. To thank the American public for this free money, Wall Street has fought bitterly against reform while continuing to hand out high paychecks and bonuses, despite not really making money on their own (even the smaller subside estimate of $83bn/year is equal to the banks’ annual profit), and their ongoing efforts to avoid paying their fair share of the very tax money that simply gets recycled to them as bailouts and subsidies.
Will this change now that Ben Bernanke is coming on board with criticism of too-big-to-fail? I’m still not convinced, Washington has the ability to put Wall Street in its place, and these words from the Federal Reserve chief certainly help the forces of reform.

Why Women hate the repugican cabal

 As if you have no clue...

On Monday, the repugican cabal released a report detailing the reasons for the party’s 2012 defeat and posits strategies for winning future elections. It is clear that the repugican cabal attributes its loss to a failure in style, not substance. The report details the party’s inability to reach women, immigrants, young people, and people of color.

In other words, everyone but wealthy white straight men.

It largely ignores the possibility that what motivated voters to give Obama a second term was an aversion to the repugican cabal’s outdated vision for the nation.

They ignored this, too.

For non-mothers, the biggest thing to enter their uterus is a probe forced in there by an overbearing repugican cabal - but they want your vote.

Acknowledging that Obama won the single women’s vote by a “whopping 36 percent,” the report suggest ways the party can be more inclusive of this critical voting bloc:
Making a better effort to listen to female voters before telling them to shut the fuck up: fighting against the Democratic rhetoric against the “so-called War on Women”;  stopping the War on Women would help to accomplish that;  doing a better job communicating the repugican cabal’s policies and employing female spokespeople to do it; and using Women’s History Month to “remind voters of the repugican cabal's historical role in advancing the women’s rights movement.”

That reminds me of the vulgar Pigboy - Lush Dimbulb.
Whenever today's repugican cabal takes steps that hurt Black voters, Lush says, "But remember, Lincoln the repugican freed the slaves 150 years ago."

But all Lush was doing was remind Blacks that it's been 150 years since the repugican cabal did anything to help the Blacks, but he still considers that a smart move.

They hate women, they hate Blacks, they hate the poor and they hate Latinos and they can't figure out why the people they rail against won't vote for them


The Song Remains the Same

McDonalds Sausage Double Beef Burger

This is what happens when you can't decide whether to have a hamburger or a hot dog. The Sausage Double Beef Burger gives you two hamburger patties topped with two sausages on one bun! The kicker is: it's only available at McDonalds in China. For now. More

Air Force Colonel Goes to Work at McDonalds

...as a regular fast food chain worker. He cleans tables and serves customers and generally is fond of his job. "I like my job, it's much better than to work in security or some other dull business. Here I can see different people, talk to youngsters and teach them life". His ex colleagues find his choice pretty decent and don't condemn him for working in the fast food chain, as they say "the real Soviet or Russian officer should be able to do any job without a regret or despair, this what we've been told". More

Just a thought ...

Couple mistakenly boarded up in home

A couple and their baby, who were mistakenly boarded up in their Dublin home by council workmen, have settled a claim for damages totaling 76,000 euros. Tristan Ua Ceithearnaigh, 46, and Elisa Udtohan, 25, were at home in Eugene Street when corrugated iron sheets were attached to the door and window. The couple ignored the doorbell as they were not expecting visitors.
But they thought they were under siege by criminals when they heard hammering. In a civil bills issued against Dublin City Council the couple alleged they had been resting on the day in question after having done some shopping with their four-month-old baby, Mia. Mr Ua Ceithearnaigh dialled 999 after shouting to the people outside that they were in the house and demanded to know what was happening as they saw six-inch nails come through the door frame.

Photo from here.

The men hammering asked if he was a squatter and the tenant told them it was a privately rented house. He heard someone say: 'hold on a minute', and they then started pulling nails out of the door frame, removing the corrugated iron. Through a spy-hole, he saw two Dublin City Council vans outside. He opened the front door and saw workmen, who were with the vans, begin fixing corrugated iron sheets they had removed from his home to a vacant house next door.

Both Mr Ua Ceithearnaigh and Ms Udtohan claimed they had been medically treated for emotional distress and had left the house shortly afterwards. Dublin City Council denied the couple's allegations of falsely imprisoning them while they were in their home or defaming them by creating the impression they were squatters, undesirables or were being evicted. Barrister Bernard McCabe told Judge Gerard Griffin in the Circuit Civil Court that the pair, who now live at The Mews, Collegeland, Saggart, had reached settlements in their damages claims for €38,000 each. Judge Griffin struck out both actions on foot of undisclosed settlements.

Police search for boy suspects in Georgia baby killing

Authorities investigate the scene of shooting in Brunswick, Ga. on Thursday, March 21, 2013. A young boy opened fire on a woman pushing her baby in a stroller in a Georgia neighborhood, killing the 1-year-old boy and wounding the mother, police said. The woman, Sherry West, told WAWS-TV that two boys approached her and demanded money Thursday morning. Brunswick Police Chief Tobe Green said the boys are thought to be between 10 and 15 years old.(AP Photo/The Morning News, Terry Dickson) 
A Georgia woman says a teenager trying to rob her at gunpoint asked "Do you want me to kill your baby?" before he fatally shot her 13-month-old son in the head.
Sherry West wept Friday as she told The Associated Press she pleaded with the gunman that she had no money to give him.
West was walking with her baby, Antonio Santiago, in his stroller near their home in coastal Brunswick. The mother was shot in the leg and says another bullet grazed her ear.
Police are combing school records and canvassing neighborhoods as they search for the gunman and a young accomplice a day after the slaying Thursday.
Despite West's account of the shooting, Brunswick police spokesman Todd Rhodes says there is "no clear motive."

Man arrested after falling through ceiling of store

Police in Lexington, Kentucky, routinely arrest burglary suspects who break into businesses through the ceiling. Usually a would-be burglar waits until the store is closed. Police said that wasn't the case at the Eastland Shopping Center, where employees at Roses department store heard someone shuffling around above the drop-tile ceiling just after lunchtime on Wednesday.
After officers searched for about a half-hour, Paul Masters, 47, fell through the ceiling and wrestled with officers waiting in the store below, police said. After a brief hospital visit, Masters was charged with first-degree burglary and fleeing or evading police. "This is very uncommon for something like this to occur at 1 o'clock in the afternoon," Lexington police Lt. Sam Murdock said.

"This is typically the type of crime we would see usually in the early-morning hours when businesses are closed and there are not a lot of pedestrians or patrons present." Police aren't sure why Masters was in the ceiling. He told police "he was retrieving money for a friend," Murdock said. However, police did not find any money in the attic where Masters was accused of milling around. They did find a hat, gloves and a pry bar, Murdock said.

Police say Masters then fell several feet through the ceiling and into the store. He was injured, but still tried to get away forcing officers to use their tasers. One officer was injured, but police say it was minor. Masters was taken to the hospital after injuring his face, but now he's in jail on burglary and fleeing and evading charges. They believe he got into the attic space after climbing through an access point in the bathroom.

Brazil's music collecting societies convicted of forming an illegal cartel

The Competition Authority in Brazil (CADE) convicted om March 20th the country's six major collecting societies and their central office (ECAD) - responsible for the collection of music royalties for public performance in Brazil - of formation of cartel and abuse of dominant position in fixing prices. According CADE, the Ecad and its associations not only organized to abusively fix prices, but also created barriers of entry for new associations to join the entity.
All entities will have to pay a fine of R$38 million (approximately US$ 20 million) and will have to reorganize the whole collection system, both by offering arrangements beyond the "blanket license" model, the only license ECAD and their associations made available for the performance of music, and by allowing each association to compete for different prices.
The rapporteur of the Case, Elvino Mendonça, said after the conviction: "The behavior of cartel is visible. The current collection system prevents all forms of competition. ECAD and its associations abused their market power and fixed prices. The evidence is abundant."

The truth be told

Health and Science News

At the dawn of third millennium medical researchers still know very little about gender-specific differences in illness, particularly when it comes to disease symptoms, influencing social and psychological factors, and the ramifications of these differences [...]
When I was in my mid-twenties, my brother had a crazy idea to ditch out on work for a month to walk the Camino de Santiago. For those not familiar, the Camino is an ancient [...]
Chimpanzees watch what they eat and when, which may show that these primates are giving some thought to the quality of their food, according to Purdue University research. “There is an association between the time [...]
In new research published in the April 4, 2013 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) demonstrate that some variants in our genes that could put a [...]
Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth’s species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic [...]

The Tremendously Explosive Power of Flour

Discover the truth about this seemingly innocuous kitchen ingredient. Flour isn't just about baking cakes; it packs serious explosive power and can wreak havoc in mills. More

The Ancient Rock-Cut Tombs of Myra’s Lycian Necropolis

The ancient town of Myra in Turkey may sound familiar to you, because St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra. Another claim to fame for the region is the many ancient ruins one can see there.
Perhaps most striking of all the ancient ruins in Myra are the rock-cut tombs of the ancient Lycian necropolis. Two burial sites, the river necropolis and ocean necropolis, with frontages resembling classical temples, are hewn from the cliffs towering above the town.
You can imagine the years of work that went into carving these tombs out of the cliff faces. See plenty of pictures of them at Urban Ghosts.

Random Photo

Voskhod 2's Perilous Landing

vLife as a cosmonaut in the early days of the Soviet space program was difficult. The crew of the Voskhod 2 mission in 1965 had to not only perform a difficult space mission (featuring the world's first EVA), but then landed off course and had to survive subzero temperatures and wild animals in the Siberian wilderness!
According to the spacecraft’s orientation system they landed deep in the Siberian forest almost 1,250 miles from their target. The crew needed to assess their situation to figure out how long it might take recovery crews to find them. The full seriousness of the situation hit them when they wrestled the hatch opened to find themselves nearly chin deep in snow.

Snowbanks six and a half feet tall surrounded them as did thick birch trees. The sun was hidden behind the clouds. It started to snow, forcing the men back into their spacecraft.

Neither man was too concerned. Belyayev’s childhood dream had been to become a hunter while Leonov had sought the beautiful isolation of the forest as an artistic outlet. It was the wildlife that worried them. The forest, they knew, was home to bears and wolves, unusually aggressive in the spring mating season. Between themselves the cosmonauts had one pistol but ample ammunition.
Rescue crews found them relatively quickly, but getting to the cosmonauts and getting them out was a time-consuming task, made more difficult by the space suits they were wearing.
Read the rest of the story at Discovery News.

Dinosaur-killing rock 'was a comet'

Dinosaur-killing rock 'was a comet'Chicxulub impact

The space rock that hit Earth 65 million years ago, widely implicated in killing off the dinosaurs, was probably a fast-moving comet, researchers say.

The Classics


Olds 442

The glowing millipedes of Alcatraz Island

Millipedes, that glow. Just one of the critters that lives on the famous Alcatraz Island that we had no idea about until recently. They were discovered last year during a survey of the island's rat population. While most people are interested in the prison buildings and the history of the inescapable island, other visitors have their eyes on the animal life, including the seabirds like pelicans, cormorants and egrets, and you know, glowing bugs.
The millipedes were discovered last February as researchers used black lights in their work identifying the scale of rat populations. KQED writes, "To identify rats, National Park Service staff routinely place bait in feeding stations. The bait is laced with a non-toxic fluorescent dye that ends up in urine stains and feces. Surveyors later scan the grounds at nighttime with black light. The more glowing they observe, the larger they extrapolate the rat population to be. A recent February search turned up no evidence of rats. Instead, surveyors were surprised to discover millipedes glowing intensely white."
The millipedes were not just glowing because they'd munched on rat bait. Researchers checked samples of millipedes from the same scientific family, and sure enough, they glowed too.
As it turns out, while these are the first recorded millipedes that glow found on Alcatraz, there are other millipede species that have similar sci-fi abilities. Seven species of millipede can emit light from their bodies like fireflies to warn predators away. All of these species are only found in California, and no where else in the world.
Yet, the millipede species discovered on Alcatraz is unlike these others. Rather than emitting a glow like a firefly, it has a fluorescence like that found in scorpions, that only shows up (to our eyes, anyway) with a tool like a black light. This is the only species of millipede ever known to glow in this sort of way, which makes it fascinating to researchers. Researchers at UC Davis are working on figuring out just what makes this millipede glow, and hope to have publishable answers by this summer.
Meanwhile, even the species of millipedes that emit their own glow remain a bit of a mystery. Scientists don't quite know how they manage such a trick. Live Science reports, "The reason why these millipedes glow is a mystery. They are blind, adapted to a lifestyle primarily spent underground, so they cannot use their glow to send messages to other members of their species. Also, while deep-sea angler fish dangle glowing lures in front of their mouths to attract prey, Motyxia are vegetarians just like all other millipedes, feeding mostly on decaying plant material. so they have no need to pull in victims. Still, a number of poisonous millipede species active during the day are thought to display bright colors to warn predators that they possess toxins and to steer clear. Since Motyxia are instead out in the dark, [researcher Paul Marek, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona] and his colleagues reasoned 'they use their greenish glow in place of a warning coloration,' he said."

Hay and Carrot Thefts Point to Horse

vA series of thefts in the rural area around Penryn in England have authorities concerned. At one farm, seven bales of hay and straw, a sack of carrots, and a wheelbarrow were taken. In the second theft at a different farm, 14 bales of hay, a pressure washer, and various power tools were stolen.
“I think we are looking for a horse,” said Detective Constable Rick Milburn from Falmouth Police Station.

“Anyone with any knowledge of anyone who has recently acquired a horse or is trying to establish a living space for a horse, we are asking them to contact us with any information.”
Now, what would a horse want power tools for? More

Huge Crocodile Shot in Australia

I prefer to live in a place where humans are the apex predators. Australians, however, are more adventurous. Jacob Brant sent this picture to Northern Territory News:
"4.8m croc caught at Palumpa yesterday," he wrote.
Senior Parks And Wildlife Ranger Tommy Nichols says police and council officers trapped and shot the croc in a billabong on the outskirts of Palumpa, about 240km south-west of Darwin.
"We had a report the other day that there was a large crocodile there that was menacing the kids," the ABC reported Mr Nichols as saying.
The croc catchers needed a backhoe to load the beast into the back of a ute.

Missing Link in Worm Evolution Found

What does the image above remind you of? I know! Acorns, right? That's how researchers found the evolutionary missing link of the modern-day acorn worm, a wee invertebrate that live on the seabed.
Because they lack hard bones, soft-bodied marine animals aren't typically well preserved in fossils, but a specimen was found in the early 1900s in the fossil-rich area of Burgess Shale, Canada. While past researchers in the Smithsonian staff missed the connection, evolutionary biologist Jean-Bernard Caron didn't dick around when it comes to realizing that this was the missing evolutionary link:
... [Caron] “stumbled on drawers full of these worms” at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I noticed a lot of these worms in bizarre-shaped rings, like mini Michelin tires in the rock,” said Caron, a co-author of the study.
After Caron and colleagues looked more closely at the fossils, they realized the newfound worm “really connects a lot of dots” in the evolution of hemichordates.
Get loads more info over at this piece by Christine Dell'Amore over at National Geographic's Weird & Wild blog.

Animal Pictures


Steven Ward