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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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Daily Drift

Ever had one of those days ...

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

Looks like Spring will arrive this weekend (two weeks late) ...

Today is Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day
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Today in History

1350   While besieging Gibraltar, Alfonso XI of Castile dies of the black death.
1512   Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sights Florida.
1802   The Treaty of Amiens is signed, ending the French Revolutionary War.
1814   U.S. troops under Gen. Andrew Jackson inflict a crushing defeat on the Creek Indians at Horshoe Bend in Northern Alabama.
1836   The Mexican army massacres Texan rebels at Goliad.
1866   President Andrew Johnson vetoes the civil rights bill, which later becomes the 14th amendment.
1884   The first long-distance telephone call is made from Boston to New York.
1893   The American Bell Telephone Company makes the first long distance telephone call to its branch office in New York.
1899   The Italian inventor G. Marconi achieves the first international radio transmission between England and France.
1900   The London Parliament passes the War Loan Act, which gives 35 million pounds to the Boer War cause.
1912   The first cherry blossom trees, a gift from Japan, are planted in Washington, D.C.
1933   Some 55,000 people stage a protest against Hitler in New York.
1941   Tokeo Yoshikawa arrives in Oahu, Hawaii, to begin spying for Japan on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor.
1942   The British raid the Nazi submarine base at St. Nazaire, France.
1944   One thousand Jews leave Drancy, France for the Auschwitz concentration camp.
1944   Thousands of Jews are murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania. The Gestapo shoots forty Jewish policemen in the Riga, Latvia ghetto.
1945   General Dwight Eisenhower declares that the German defenses on the Western Front have been broken.
1952   Elements of the U.S. Eighth Army reach the 38th parallel in Korea, the original dividing line between the two Koreas.
1958   The United States announces a plan to explore space near the moon.
1976   Washington, D.C. opens its subway system.
1977   In aviation's worst disaster yet, 582 die when a KLM Pan Am 747 crashes.

Non Sequitur

Wednesday, March 27

Professor Or Hobo?

Do you know your hobos from your professors? There's a difference, you know. Although sometimes it's hard to see.

Gays and the Law

Gay people have been a part of America since this nation's founding -- and long before that.

Did you know ...

That kids aren't getting drivers' licenses as much as before

Faux adds no new viewers for the second year in a row

That NYC cops spent a million hours over 11 years on marijuana arrests

Daily Funny

Maybe not so much ... too many still do not have a job

If We Have a Debt Problem Why Aren’t repugicans Cutting the shrub's Spending?

The shrub spent $1.32 million last year, but if we have a debt problem, why aren’t repugicans cutting the pretender’s spending?
The United States government spent $3.7 million on living ex-presidents last year, and over one third of that total went to the pretender the shrub.
Here is a breakdown of what the shrub is still spending big on the taxpayer dime, even though he is no longer the pretender:
$1.32 million – Allowance paid tothe shrub
$85,000 – the shrub’s telephone bill
$46,000 – the shrub’s postage and printing tab
$395,000 – Rent for the shrub’s Dallas office
The shrub commands gigantic speaking fees. Being an pretender is a license to print money on the speaking circuit, so it seems a little odd that while repugicans are trying to cut every program that is used by the poor and seniors, they haven’t said a peep about the shrub’s big tab.
Where is the repugican outrage over shrub’s spending? The repugicans like Paul Ryan, who love to suggest that the country is heading for doom because of debt, are oddly silent when the discussion turns to debts that are being run up by former pretender the shrub.
The shrub makes enough money on his own. If there really is a looming debt crisis, shouldn’t repugicans be suggesting that the shrub has got to do his part by cutting his spending?

Petition: force Congress to display logos of their corporate backers on their clothes

The idea of forcing Congresscritters to wear NASCAR-style coveralls with the logos of their financial backers has been bandied about before, but here it is in official White House petition form.
Since most politicians' campaigns are largely funded by wealthy companies and individuals, it would give voters a better sense of who the candidate they are voting for is actually representing if the company's logo, or individual's name, was prominently displayed upon the candidate's clothing at all public appearances and campaign events. Once elected, the candidate would be required to continue to wear those "sponsor's" names during all official duties and visits to constituents. The size of a logo or name would vary with the size of a donation. For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4" by 8" on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button. Individual donations under $1000 are exempt.
As funny as this is, it would be easy-ish to turn this into a browser plugin that looked for politicians' names in the pages you looked at, and automatically surrounded them with a semi-opaque halo of corporate logos that you could click on to see more.


Monsanto teams up with Congress to shred the Constitution

Our founding fathers did get a few things right. one of them was the concept of “separation of powers,” to ensure a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. But a dangerous provision snuck into the budget bill passed last week in congress upends that system. without any hearings on the matter, the senate included language that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to essentially ignore any court ruling that would otherwise halt the planting of new genetically-engineered crops. - appetite for profit

...“these provisions are giveaways, pure and simple, and will be a boon worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country,” [sen. jon] tester said. “they deserve no place in this bill. we simply have got to do better on both policy and process.” - politico

Bobby Jindal’s Voucher Schools Teach That Slavery Was Good, and The KKK Are Great Guys

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher schools are teaching Louisiana kids that most slave owners were kind to their slaves, and that the KKK are civic reformers.
Bobby Jindal’s usage of Louisiana as a prop for his 2016 presidential campaign is doing a lot more damage to the state than the rest of the country can ever possibly imagine. However, Jindal’s isn’t just wrecking the state for today. His “school choice” plan is being used by the far right to teach rewritten history and whitewashed racism to the state’s children.
Jindal’s voucher schools will be free to teach lessons like slave owners were pretty good guys, “A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991.”
Louisiana’s kids will also be learning that the KKK is just misunderstood.
In Jindal Land’s classrooms, the KKK is really a reform organization that was concerned with morality, “[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001″
According to Crazy Crawfish’s Blog, “Louisiana’s state Superintendent of Schools, John White, is aware of these troubling texts being used, as is BESE president, Chas Roemer, but they believe a parent’s choice to send their kids to a school (that teaches slavery has gotten a bad rap) is not just ok, but should be defended at any cost. They feel it would be an injustice to interfere in the teachings of voucher schools. . . at least those that teach that ownership of other human beings was not something to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of.”
This is the kind of education that Bobby Jindal wants to give to all poor and middle class Louisiana kids, on the taxpayers’ dime.
Bobby Jindal is ruining Louisiana today, destroying the state for tomorrow, and he wants to be your next president.

Nebraska Cops Go Thug and Chase Down Man Filming Their Police Brutality

Omaha, NE police not only used excessive force while performing arrest, but they also entered a home without a warrant to confiscate video, and knocked over a woman in a wheelchair.
Here is the video:
A young man in black can be seen filming Omaha police officers using excessive force with his phone. The suspect’s brother was filming the abuse, and shouting at the officers, “That’s abuse. It’s abuse. It’s abuse,” and at one point telling an officer to, “get your knee off his neck.” As more officers arrive, police start chasing the brother in what appears to be an attempt to confiscate his phone.
According to PINAC, “Omaha police displayed an unbridled street gang brazenness when they chased a man who was video recording them abusing his brother into a private home, confiscating his phone and arresting him to ensure their actions would never see the light of day…Police also arrested a third brother inside the home they entered without a warrant, not to mention they knocked over a woman in a wheelchair.”
The Omaha police managed to use excessive force while arresting someone, then chased the person filming their conduct into a home, which they entered without a warrant, confiscated his video of the incident, charged him with disorderly conduct/obstructing police, and just for the sake of karma, knocked over a woman in a wheelchair.
Most law enforcement officers are decent people who perform dangerous jobs to the best of their ability, but it’s videos like this one that make all cops look bad. The Omaha police conspired with the local media to make sure that the video shot by the brother was not mentioned in any news reports, but their attempted cover up was thwarted by a neighbor who filmed the whole incident from a second story window.
Bad cops may be able to hide their brutality from the local press, but they can’t hide from YouTube.
Let this be a lesson to all who abuse their power. The cameras are everywhere, and we’re watching.

Neighborly dispute resulted in tit-for-tat windscreen smashing with bow and arrow and shotgun

A dispute between neighbors early on Sunday morning ended with one man shooting an arrow through the windows of a truck and the other man under arrest for blowing out the windshields of his neighbor car with a shotgun blast. Dwayne Peters, 31, of Marstons Mills, Massachusetts, went to the home of his next door neighbor, Nathan Hess, 30, between 1:30 and 2am, Barnstable police Detective Valerie Hemmila said.

While there, Peters brought up some racial “stuff” and the two men, who had both been drinking, argued and fought. After Hess managed to get Peters out of his house, Peters stayed on the property and threw things at the house. Hess got his bow and shot an arrow through the window of Peters’ truck, which was in the driveway. Peters was not near the truck at the time. The arrow shattered both windows of the truck and lodged in a trailer in the yard next door.

In retaliation, Peters went to his home and got a shotgun which he used to shoot out both the front and back windshields of Hess’ Volvo before returning to his home where he fired several more blasts into the air. Peters' mother called police, as did other neighbors. When police responded shortly after 3am, they found Peters walking with a shotgun. As Barnstable police officers arrived, Peters charged the officers’ cruiser, throwing himself across the hood of the car.

The officers arrested Peters without further incident. Officers recovered a 12-gauge shotgun and several spent shotgun shells at the scene, which were seized, along with the bow and arrow. Peters was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, injury to real or personal property, carrying a firearm without a license, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of ammunition and carrying a loaded shotgun on a public way. He was held on $5,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Barnstable District Court. Hess will be summonsed for malicious destruction of property over $250.

Drunk man who fell off wharf thought he had been wrestling crocodiles

A drunk man who fell off Darwin's Stokes Hill Wharf in Australia told police he had been fighting crocodiles.

The 42-year-old man plunged 12m into the sea below but managed to swim to a platform at the bottom of a stairwell.

He was found by Customs officers. Senior Sergeant Debbie Gabolinscy said: "He suffered a few scrapes, bumps and soreness.

"He was a bit confused and thought he had got his injuries wrestling crocodiles."

Australian police hunt for stolen dinosaur

Police in Canberra's north are appealing for help to find a giant fibreglass dinosaur that was stolen from outside the National Dinosaur Museum at Gold Creek. The Utahraptor statue stands 1.6 meters tall and three meters long and is valued at $2,400.

It was taken from the Nicholls site at some stage on Thursday night. The museum's Ben Wardle says the statue appears to have been targeted by thieves after being moved for landscaping renovations. "We've been adding some large granite boulders, just making the garden a bit more accessible and enjoyable," Mr Wardle said.

"We'd left a couple of the life-like fiberglass dinosaurs unsecured overnight, and in the morning we discovered that one was missing.It is quite heavy and awkward, it would require more than one person to carry it, and it wouldn't fit in an ordinary sedan." Mr Wardle says the museum would love the dinosaur statue to be returned. "Even if it was just returned anonymously," he said.

Superintendent Brett Kidner says anyone who spots the life-like dinosaur statue should call CrimeStoppers. "Its brown in color with dark stripes across the back," he said. "It would probably stick out fairly obviously on a trailer or possibly someone may have put it into the back of a truck."

He Bought a Firetruck

vGabriel always wanted a firetruck, since he was a little boy. He never grew out of that infatuation with firetrucks, so at age 32 (and a half), he bought one.
If we based decisions on practicality, we'd all drive Taurcedes until we had kids, then we'd get minivans and we'd all be miserable. At 65, we'd retire and finally get that entry-level Porsche Boxter that we'd been wanting for the past 40 years. That doesn't sound like a good plan to me.

The coolest toys in the world aren't practical. Koenigsegg certainly aren't. Jet fighters - nope. Army tanks - nope. Did you know that you can buy old aircraft carriers on eBay? Can you imagine wake boarding behind one of those things? "Cool" just isn't practical. I've come to terms with that.

So I went ahead and pulled the eBay trigger and was elated to get truck 1213 for just $100 more than the reserve price. A total of $3,600 which also happened to be the hard limit my wife had imposed on this particular invaluable transaction.
Read the rest of the story of how he got his firetruck from Ohio to his home in Montana: Here.

Making fuel from air pollution

Excess carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere created by the widespread burning of fossil fuels is the major driving force of global climate change, and researchers the world over are looking for new ways to [...]

The G-Cans

Tokyo's Vast Underground Temple-Drains
The G-Cans Underground Temple in Saitama is probably the most massive underground flood management system in the world, comprised of miles of tunnels connecting 5 vast silos and one immense water tank: The Temple. The complex spans between Showa in Tokyo Kasukabe in Saitama, with the power to pump 200 tons of water per second into the Edogawa river.

The Startling Rise of Disability in America

As the American economy has moved away from manufacturing to information services and the economy limps along, not keeping up with the number of people who need jobs, the U.S. Social Security Disability program has boomed. This boom covers up the real numbers of people who would otherwise be on welfare or counted among the unemployed. NPR looks at several factors that made this happen: for example, disability is for people who can no longer perform heavy labor, and don't have the education or skills for other jobs.
One woman I met, Ethel Thomas, is on disability for back pain after working many years at the fish plant, and then as a nurse's aide. When I asked her what job she would have in her dream world, she told me she would be the woman at the Social Security office who weeds through disability applications. I figured she said this because she thought she'd be good at weeding out the cheaters. But that wasn't it. She said she wanted this job because it is the only job she's seen where you get to sit all day.

At first, I found this hard to believe. But then I started looking around town. There's the McDonald's, the fish plant, the truck repair shop. I went down a list of job openings -- Occupational Therapist, McDonald's, McDonald's, Truck Driver (heavy lifting), KFC, Registered Nurse, McDonald's.
And disability payments shift the expense of maintaining people without jobs away from states and onto the federal government.
A person on welfare costs a state money. That same resident on disability doesn't cost the state a cent, because the federal government covers the entire bill for people on disability. So states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability. And the Public Consulting Group is glad to help.
PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability. "What we're offering is to work to identify those folks who have the highest likelihood of meeting disability criteria," Pat Coakley, who runs PCG's Social Security Advocacy Management team, told me.
Other factors come into play, but the result is that 14 million Americans receive a disability check every month -and health care through Medicare. Learn more about the trend at NPR.

Most Mothers Give Infants Solid Food Too Early

More than a third of U.S. mothers start feeding their infants solid food too soon, a new study finds.

How Toenail Clippings Could Solve a Toxic Mystery

Thirty years after a toxic chromium spill, New Jersey residents will find out if they have been exposed. 

Researchers form new nerve cells – directly in the brain

Researchers form new nerve cells – directly in the brain
The field of cell therapy, which aims to form new cells in the body in order to cure disease, has taken another important step in the development towards new treatments. A new report from researchers [...]

Researchers Figure out How to Get Rid of an Earworm

Lady GagaSometimes my wife complains of an earworm--a song that's stuck on a repeating loop in her head. I respond by loudly playing the Lexx theme song a lot. Later, she'll say that that song is stuck in her head. So I'll loudly play "Joxer the Mighty" a few dozen times.* Then, for reasons that are unclear, she stops telling me what she's thinking. Presumably the problem has gone away.
Why does my brilliant method work? Now researchers led by music psychologist Dr. Ira Hyman of Western Washington University have found out. If you want to get rid of an earworm, you need to use all of your working memory on another task, such as solving a puzzle:
Researchers claim the best way to stopping the phenomenon, sometimes known as earworms – where snippets of a catchy song inexplicably play like a broken record in your brain – is to solve some tricky anagrams.
This can force the intrusive music out of your working memory, they say, allowing it to be replaced with other more amenable thoughts. [...]
“The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge,” said Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University who conducted the research. “If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head.
“Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing. [...]
“Verbal tasks like solving anagrams or reading a good novel seem to be very good at keeping earworms out,” said Dr Hyman, who now hopes to examine whether similar techniques could be used to prevent other intrusive thoughts caused by anxiety or obsessiveness.

Sun Gods From Around The World

Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. Hence, many beliefs have formed around this worship. It is found in ancient Egypt, Africa, Aztec and Chinese mythology, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.

Here's a light-hearted look at solar deities - both male and female - from around the world.

Return to Antikythera

The Antikythera shipwreck — source of the famous ancient clockwork Antikythera Mechanism — has remained shockingly unexplored in the 100 years or so that we've known about it. In fact, other than a visit by Jacques Cousteau in 1970s, there hadn't been any official, scientific excavations until last year. Turns out, there's a lot of stuff left to find at the site, from a ship's anchor and storage jars to a collection of bronze fragments — which could either turn out to be something mundane, like nails from the boat, or more clues to the Mechanism. According to The Guardian's Jo Marchant, "little bronze fragments" describes what the gears of the Antikythera Mechanism looked like before they were detached from rock and cleaned of rust.

Earth News

A new theory could explain how colliding tectonic plates manage to burp up deep rocks at the same time they are swallowing others.

A new study may help explain some of the mysteries surrounding foreshock earthquakes.

Where's the Edge of the Solar System?

If you thought finding a definition for Pluto was contentious, try defining the edge of the solar system. 

The World's Most Amazing Waterfalls

The bigger they are, the harder they fall - feel the power of the planet's mightiest and most beautiful waterfalls.

Pig in a Blanket

Penguins once thrived in Africa

Africa isn’t the kind of place you might expect to find penguins. But one species lives along Africa’s southern coast today, and newly found fossils confirm that as many as four penguin species coexisted on [...]

Animal News

It's one of the rare examples of the phenomenon in sharks.
Moms of this worm-like creature grow an extra layer of fat-rich skin and their young scrape it off and eat it as they're growing.
If a seal crawls in a forest....a hunter finds him.

Dog found owner's wedding ring among acres of woodland

A mother who thought her beloved wedding ring was lost forever was shocked when her dog led her to its exact spot among acres of woodland. Jayne Brady, from Greasby, Wirral, Merseyside, was devastated when she realized her titanium and gold wedding band had slipped off her finger during her daily errands last month. The 43-year-old had searched everywhere for the piece of jewellery and put up signs appealing for people to look out for it in Arrowe Country Park but had no luck.
She had lost it at the beginning of February but it wasn’t until more than three weeks later that her boxer dog, Roxy, picked up a stick in the park to reveal the sparkling ring. Mother-of-two Jayne said: “I had taken the day off work and had a few things to do like take the children to nursery and go to the petrol station as well as walk the dogs. So when I noticed the ring was gone later that evening I knew it had to be in one of the three places.

“I contacted the park rangers who opened up the locked bin for me because we thought it could have slipped off as I put my dogs’ mess in there. I put up posters all over the place, hoping that by some sort of miracle I would get it back but nothing. So you can imagine my surprise when three weeks and one day exactly later, Roxy was rummaging around the fields at Arrowe Park and wanted me to pick up a stick for her to chase after. But as I picked up the stick, there was my ring just sitting on top of the grass. I was totally blown away and couldn’t believe it had been there the whole time.

”I was sure that I would never see it again because we had had really bad weather since I lost it so thought it would have been well trodden into the ground. I know I am very lucky to have found, especially as the rangers told the grass was about to be cut days later!” Now Jayne, who has been married to her husband Brian for three years, is hoping she can keep her ring safe in future. She added: “It wasn’t the best timing of losing the ring as our anniversary was just over a week away at the time. But I will definitely be keeping a close eye on it now and am very grateful to Roxy for leading me to it!”

Live bomb found in squid

A fishmonger in the south of China was gutting a squid for a customer when his knife hit an eight-inch live bomb

The squid, which was itself more than three feet-long, was caught in the shallow waters off Guangdong province, China, and taken to the fish market in Jiaoling county. "This sort of squid lives close to the shore and normally makes a meal of small fish and prawns," said the fishmonger, who gave his name only as Mr Huang to the Guangzhou Daily newspaper.

"Perhaps he thought the bomb was his favorite food and gulped it down. He certainly had a big belly when he was caught," he added. The bomb weighed around three pounds and was shaped like an aubergine. Local police suggested it might have been dropped by a fighter jet but did not date it.

Mr Huang said the police had arrived promptly after he called an emergency number and that they had taken it away and performed a controlled explosion. The police said that despite the age of the bomb, and its rusty exterior, it remained active and could have detonated.

Ten Incredible Two-Headed Animals

Generally, one head is enough for any living creature, but the mythological hydra had more than its fair share - just perfect for slaying any ancient Greeks unwise enough to cross its path. Of course, many-headed beasts have made plenty of appearances in modern-day fiction.

Yet, as fantastical as it might sound, animals with two (or, more rarely still, three) heads exist in real life as well. And while they may not be as funny, terrifying or gigantic as their fictional counterparts, they're definitely just as strange.

Animal Pictures


Igor Perfilyev