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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Wheels Through Time
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Today in History

1790 The U.S. patent system is established.
1809 Austria declares war on France and her forces enter Bavaria.
1862 Union forces begin the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in Georgia along the Tybee River.
1865 At Appomattox Court, Va, General Robert E. Lee issues his last orders to the Army of Northern Virginia.
1866 The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is formed.
1902 South African Boers accept British terms of surrender.
1912 The Titanic begins her maiden voyage which will end in disaster.
1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby.
1930 The first synthetic rubber is produced.
1932 Paul von Hindenburg is elected president in Germany.
1938 Germany annexes Austria.
1941 U.S. troops occupy Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration.
1945 In their second attempt to take the Seelow Heights, near Berlin, the Red Army launches numerous attacks against the defending Germans. The Soviets gain one mile at the cost of 3,000 men killed and 368 tanks destroyed.
1945 Allied troops liberate the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald north of Weiner, Germany.
1947 Jackie Robinson becomes the first black to play major league baseball as he takes the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1953 House of Wax, the first 3-D movie, is released.
1971 The American table tennis team arrives in China.
1974 Yitzhak Rabin replaces resigning Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir.
1981 Imprisoned Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands is elected to the British Parliament.

Non Sequitur


How To Get Men More Involved in Household Chores and Parenting Duties

Ladies, are you tired of your man not doing his share of the household chores or parenting duties? Anne-Marie Slaughter of The Atlantic has an advice for you:
I am insisting that if we women truly want equal partners in the home, then we can't ask our husbands to be "equal" on our terms. They get equal say, even if we disagree. And indeed, if we can discover the joys and satisfactions of professional success, why shouldn't men be able to enjoy the rewards and satisfactions of parenting and homemaking? For years, mothers have gotten that special rush when a child reaches for his mommy and says no one else will do; do we really think a father doesn't get the same wonderful sense of being needed and valued when a child insists on his daddy?
Lisa Miller quotes therapist Barbara Kass in a blunt assessment of the problem. According to Kass, "So many women want to control their husbands' parenting. 'Oh, do you have the this? Did you do the that? Don't forget that she needs this. And make sure she naps.' Sexism is internalized." If women assume that we can do anything men can do (backwards and in heels, a la Ginger Rogers versus Fred Astaire,) and that we are superior in the home, we will never actually value men enough for them to experience the rewards of being fully equally partners. As my teenage sons frequently remind me, sexism cuts both ways.
Read more over at The Atlantic.

Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill That Would Lead to Jail For Too Big To Fail

Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed legislation today that would break up the big banks and financial institutions that crashed the economy. The ending of too big to fail would also open the door to criminal prosecutions.
Sen. Sanders called ending too big to fail a matter of justice, “We have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail. That is unacceptable and that has got to change because America is based on a system of law and justice. In my view, no single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis. At the very least, no institution, no CEO in America should be above the law. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”
The legislation makes its intended purpose clear, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities included on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.”
Too big to fail banks and financial institutions, which tanked the economy, are using their size as a defense against criminal prosecution. According to Sen. Sanders, the legislation would give the Treasury Department 90 days to identify commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and insurance companies whose failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without a government bailout.
This is a matter of both economic security and justice. The six largest financial institutions in the US control 2/3 of the country’s GDP. They hold 2/3 of all credit cards, half of all mortgages, and more than 40% of all bank deposits.
The same people who crashed the economy in 2008 now find themselves richer and bigger than ever. While people who now find themselves in poverty because of the Great Recession are being thrown into jail for missing a payment, the rich have gotten richer.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) will introduce companion legislation in the House, so that the pressure will be felt in both legislative bodies. Pressure is what this legislative initiative is all about. It is important that a message is sent to those who view themselves as above the law. Your size can’t hide your crimes, and too big to fail does not mean too big for jail.

Did you know ...

Why are there no peace correspondents?

Force sane gun laws - boycott starbucks

About how the kids saved the park

That Arianna Huffington is being sued for trashing a sub-lease

Mohawk gets kindergartener suspended from school

A five-year-old boy in Springfield, Ohio was sent home last week because school district officials deemed his new Mohawk hairdo too cool for kindergarten.
WHIO-TV, the local CBS affiliate, has the story.
Keshia Castle explained that school officials banned her son, Ethan Clos, from Reid Elementary School until he gets rid of his Mohawk — a haircut in which both sides of the head are shaven or bald and there is a stripe of clearly longer hair running down the center.
Castle said that her son had been pleading to get the haircut, and she finally relented during spring break.
When Ethan returned to school, his new Mohawk received a great deal of attention from his classmates.
“They seen his hair like it was,” Castle explained to WHIO. “All the little kids were going over and feeling on it and everything.”
School district officials ruled that the haircut violated district policies because it was causing too much commotion in class.

A 3-year-old fatally shoots deputy’s wife with his gun at Tennessee cookout

Little girls with a toy gun (Shutterstock.com)
A cookout in Tennessee ended in tragedy over the weekend when a 3-year-old child accidentally shot and killed the wife of a Wilson County sheriff’s deputy.
According to WSMV, the toddler found the pistol and discharged it during a gathering at Deputy Daniel Fanning’s residence on Saturday.
Deputies said that 48-year-old Josephine G. Fanning was dead by the time they arrived on the scene. The 3-year-old child was reportedly related to the Fannings.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) determined that the pistol belonged to Deputy Fanning.
The Tennessean reported that the deputy had been in a bedroom of the home with another relative looking at guns. The child later gained access to the firearm on top of the bed when entering the bedroom with Josephine Fanning.
Josephine Fanning was killed by a single gunshot, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.
Helm also said that alcohol was being consumed at the cookout.

"Homeless city" in tunnels beneath Kansas City

Police leveling a homeless campsite outside of Kansas City discovered a "hidden community" of transients living in an elaborate series of tunnels, reports KMBC.

Seven die in beer tank after cleaning project takes tragic turn at Corona brewery

Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg NewsMexico City authorities say seven workers died while cleaning a tank at a Grupo Modelo brewery in Mexico City. A spokeswoman for city prosecutors says the accident occurred early Sunday and that investigators are looking into whether the workers died from inhaling toxic fumes. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the case.
Plant manager Francisco Lopez Bravo told local media the workers were trapped inside the cistern while doing maintenance work.
Lopez Bravo said there are no other risks at the brewery and that it continued to operate on Sunday.
Grupo Modelo makes Corona and other globally popular beers.

Cookie Monster charged with assault after pushing child in Times Square

Cookie Monster was arrested Sunday after allegedly shoving a child in New York's Times Square when his mother did not tip him for posing with the boy.
Monster, 33, was charged with endangering the welfare of 2-year old Samay Katkar, who had wandered over to the blue-furred beast when his parents ventured into town for a weekend trip. "The next thing I know, Cookie Monster had already picked up my son and was like, 'Come on, take a picture!'", Kurada told the New York Daily News.

Woman used spaghetti sauce to rob bank

A woman used spaghetti sauce when she robbed a bank in Clinton Township, Michigan, on Saturday.
Police say the woman, who was about 60-years-old, placed a cloth bag on the counter of the Fifth Third Bank just before 11:30am and demanded money from the teller saying there was a bomb inside the bag. “It did look like there was a hard object in there,” Clinton Township Lt. Eric Reincke said.

“But it was folded over so you couldn’t see what was inside.” Bank employees left and the Michigan State Police bomb squad scanned the bag. “It turned out that it was a couple of cans of spaghetti sauce inside the bag,” Reincke said.
“If you don’t know what’s in a package… you have to treat it like it is possibly an explosive device.” The woman left in a silver, older style boxy-car driven by a man, police said. Nobody was injured and it’s not clear how much money she got away with.

Health News

Studies show 97 percent of American adults get less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, which is the minimum recommended amount based on federal guidelines. New research from the University of Missouri suggests certain [...]
A new study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that Google searches for information across all major mental illnesses and problems followed seasonal patterns, suggesting mental illness may [...]

Sniffing Rosemary Improves Memory

The scent of the herb is shown to enhance memory. 

Low on Self-Control?

We all desire self-control — the resolve to skip happy hour and go to the gym instead, to finish a report before checking Facebook, to say no to the last piece of chocolate cake. Though [...]

Random Photo

Zero TV

What has happened to telephone landline and CD sales is coming to television. And that has got broadcasters worried.
Ryan Nakashima of the AP wrote about TV broadcasters' biggest worry: the people who have no TV whatsoever (not even antenna ones that get free signals over the air). They dubbed this group "Zero TV"
Some people have had it with TV. They've had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don't like timing their lives around network show schedules. They're tired of $100-plus monthly bills.
A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and don't even use an antenna to get free signals over the air. These people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections. Last month, the Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group "Zero TV" households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007.

Ten Things On The Internet We Don't Understand, But Enjoy Tremendously

There are way more than 10 things on the Internet that we don't understand, but muppets Glove and Boots chose the 10 most interesting things on the Internet that are inexplicable (or inexplicably entertaining, that is!)
View their selections and links over at Geeks Are Sexy.

The Man Who Reverse Engineered a Fart

Way back when, Michael Levitt was told by his fellowship advisor that he should use the new technique of gas chromatography to study farts. When Levitt asked him why, he replied "Because you’re pretty much of an incompetent, and this way if you discover anything, at least it’ll be new, and you’ll be able to publish something."That started Levitt's journey into becoming the world's foremost expert on flatulence:
Levitt published thirty-four papers on flatus. He identified the three sulfur gases responsible for flatus odor. He showed that it is mainly trapped methane gas, not dietary fiber or fat, that makes the floater float. Most memorably, to this mind anyway, he invented the flatus-trapping Mylar “pantaloon.” [...]
The great variety of flatus smells — from person to person and from meal to meal — presented a quandary for the second phase of the study, the evaluation of various odor-eliminating products. Which — whose — wind should represent the average American’s? No one’s, as it turned out. Using mean amounts from chromatograph readouts as his recipe and commercially synthesized gases as the raw ingredients, Levitt concocted a lab mixture deemed by the judges “to have a distinctly objectionable odour resembling that of flatus.” He reverse-engineered a fart.
Mary Roach of Salon explores the matter in great (and when we say great, we mean it) details, including things like a pill that deodorizes your fart from the inside, the theory of fecal self-poisoning, and more: Here

Snake Oil's secret ingredients

NewImageThere was no actual snake oil in old timey snake oil (except when there was, of course). Rather, most of the lotions and potions sold by early 20th century miracle medicine salesmen actually contained mercury and lead. Now, don't you feel better? University of Detroit Mercy chemists recently analyzed the ingredients of several dozen patent medicine samples from the Henry Ford Museum's collection. From Smithsonian:
Their findings, which they presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Atlanta, were that many of the pills, powders and ointments tested had beneficial ingredients like calcium and zinc—but that others had toxins such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Back in the day, this was a very trial-and-error kind of field,” (chemist Mark) Benvenuto said in an interview. “The stuff that we think of as dangerous now, though it was dangerous, was as cutting-edge as they had at the time.”

The Search for Tycho Brahe's Nose

by Mark Benecke, Forensic Biologist

Astronomer Tygo Brahe (born 1546, died 1601; Latinized name: Tycho Brahe) was not just an early geek. When he was exhumed in 1901 to celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of his death (and also to restore his grave), many people were eager to get a look at the famous metal insert that had been substituted the Brahe's birth nose.

The Coming of the Nose

In 1572, as a Student at the University of Copenhagen, Brahe observed a very bright star. He proved that it was a Supernova located outside our solar system. Brahe's later observations of the orbits of Cassiopeia and of a comet made clear that those objects, too, were located more distantly than our moon. All this meant that, contrary to what many people believed, the heavens were changeable, not immutable as Aristotle had long ago postulated. Still, Brahe avoided painting a heliocentric view of the universe; he described the earth, rather than the sun, as being at the center of all things heavenly.
To take up his studies, Danish student Tygo had moved from Copenhagen University to the German cities of Leipzig, Wittenberg and Rostock. There, he developed an interest in alchemy and astronomy. He soon became a successfui astronomer. In 1572, he observed the new star Cassiopeia and in 1574, he became a lecturer for astronomy in Copenhagen. Shortly after that, he took up an invitation by Prussian Kaiser Friedrich II to set up the finest astronomical observatory of its time, the "Uraniborg," on the island of Hven in the Sont near Copenhagen. From 1599 on, Brahe worked in Prague. In 1600, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler joined him. Kepler caiculated planetary orbits - basing his caiculations on Brahe's meticulous observations, which Brahe had performed without a telescope.

The Going of the Nose

Tycho Brahe's nose got lost, quite early, in a student fight. On December 10, 1566, Tycho and the Danish blue blood Manderup Parsbjerg were guests at an engagement party at Prof. Bachmeister in Rostock. The party included a ball, but the festive environment did not keep the two men from starting an argument that went on even over the Christmas period. On December 29, they finished the matter with a rapier duel. During the duel, which started at 7 p.m. in total darkness, a large portion of the nose of Brahe was cut off by his Opponent. It was the most famous cut in science, if not the unkindest.

The Second Coming of the Nose

In those times in Germany (and also in Austria), it was socially okay -and even more than okay - to proudly show the signs of a duel (facial scars and other such marks of distinction). These signified that a man would stand up for his personal honor. However, to cover the -in this case extreme and unusual - disfigurement, Tycho ordered a substitute nose, made from a mixture of silver and gold. This was unusual, because in those days when someone lost a nose in that part of Europe, the replacement, if he or she were fortunate enough to be able to obtain one, was typically made of wax. (This was not as wildly unusual as it may sound to modern ears - it was not uncommon for people who suffered from lupus to lose their noses and attempt to obtain replacements.)
One of Brahe's pupils, Willem Janssoon Blaev (the name was also spelled Wilhelm Janszoon Blaeu), who lived with Brahe for two years on the Island of Hven, remembered that Brahe would always carry an ointment which he used on his nose. Aye, there's the rub- a nasty prize to pay for a hot-blooded fight!

Another Nose

vBrahe later received at least one replacement nose for his first replacement nose. We know this because when his body was exhumed, a light greenish coloration on his front cranium was interpreted to be remains of a metal mixture that included copper. The original replacement nose -the nose that everybody had been looking forward to seeing- was, however, gone. The thin metal had corroded, and the coffin made of zinc may have speeded the corrosion process.

Another Accident

Another accident ended even worse for Brahe. One day, he sent his pet moose over to the castle of Landskrona, a city dose to Hven, to entertain a nobleman there. The moose was less interested in dinner conversation than in the castle interiors, and gave itself a tour of the building. Since the animal was completely drunk by that time -people had given the moose too much beer to drink- it feil down the stairs, and broke one leg. Shortly after, it died from the wound. (This incident was reported by Gassendi in 1654; readers who take the trouble to look up its history will be entertained or aghast, depending on their feelings about animal rights, about the morality of anyone or anything drinking alcoholic beverages, and about the ergonomic deficiencies of the period's architectural designs.)

A Side Note on Duels

By the way, duels by rapier or pistol did not, er, die out in Germany until the nineteenth century, despite being severely forbidden by law. Even the German head of the state Bismarck, who took part in many duels as a student, in all seriousness asked the famous professor of medicine Rudolf Virchow for a duel in 1865! The two were political rivals, and Bismarck feit that Virchow had disrespected him by accusing Bismarck of not having read a report relating to the abolition of the German navy. The men did not duel, and so were able to go through life with noses intact.

Climate Change Will Make Airplane Rides More Turbulent

Deny climate change all you want, but just get used to a bumpy ride. A really bumpy airplane ride, that is:
For their analysis, they simulated atmospheric conditions at an altitude of about 12 kilometers (a typical cruise altitude for airliners) in the northern portion of the North Atlantic, a region that includes most transatlantic routes. During winter months, when clear-air turbulence is at its worst in that area, 16 of the 21 often-used ways in which scientists measure turbulence suggest that the average intensity of the plane-rattling phenomenon (image depicts turbulence intensity on a random winter day) will be between 10% and 40% stronger when CO2 concentrations are double their preindustrial value, the researchers report online today in Nature Climate Change. Accordingly, the frequency of moderate-or-greater turbulence—intensities at which passengers will experience accelerations of 0.5 g or more, which are strong enough to toss items about the cabin—will rise by between 40% and 170%.

Astronomical News

Light pollution isn't just an annoyance for astronomers; it's wasteful, can harm wildlife and may even damage your health.
We all know the planets are far away. But this neat little tool will help you visualize the vast expanse of interplanetary space between Earth and Mars.
In 1964, Gagarin took up the challenge of designing the Soviets' first spaceplane. 
It is thought that Mars life will have burrowed deep under the ground, well out of the reach of Curiosity's drill.
A puzzling meteorite with unknown origins: It could be from the surface of Mercury, but something doesn't quite add up.
The Universe is a vast and wondrous place -- so it shouldn't be surprising that you'll find all kinds of substances in all kinds of places, even the main ingredient in sunblock around a very old star.

New evidence dinosaurs were strong swimmers

A University of Alberta researcher has identified some of the strongest evidence ever found that dinosaurs could paddle long distances. Working together with an international research team, U of A graduate student Scott Persons examined [...]


Humans’ closest animal relatives, chimpanzees, have the ability to “think about thinking” – what is called “metacognition,” according to new research by scientists at Georgia State University and the University at Buffalo. Michael J. Beran [...]

Fluffed-up ferrets on steroids sold as toy poodles

A gullible retired man in Argentina has fallen victim to a scam after discovering the toy poodle pups he bought at a local market were actually fluffed-up ferrets on steroids.

The unnamed pensioner from Catamarca discovered he had been duped when he took the two animals to his local veterinarian to be vaccinated. The ferrets had been given steroids to increase their size and had been groomed to make their coats resemble those of pedigree poodles.

Following an investigation local press realized that the man was not alone. Another woman had been told she was buying a chihuahua, but also ended up with a ferret.

According to reports the pensioner paid around £50 for his pedigree 'poodles'. The genuine article can ordinarily cost anything up to £700. The sale of ferrets as dogs at La Salada market, Argentina's largest bazaar, has long been considered an urban myth in Argentina.

Amazing Pictures Of Burrowing Owls

The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is a tiny but long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. When you first encounter Burrowing Owls, it's hard not to be hypnotized by those large, round, bright yellow eyes. Their stare is intense and almost a little disconcerting, but they're actually among the more approachable owl species.

Animal News

A rise in ozone, especially in rural areas, could reduce insects' ability to find flowers.
An abandoned Connecticut beach town reverts to nature and becomes home to threatened bird species.
The eastern population of monarch butterflies don't use fancy navigational strategies, they just fly with a general southwest orientation.
Gelada monkey sounds could be an evolutionary step to human language.
Not surprisingly, there hasn't been a burglary in 15 years.

Animal Pictures