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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Daily Drift


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

Door to door, come on!  ...

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Today in History

310   St. Eusebius begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
1521   Martin Luther confronts the emperor Charles V, refusing to retract the views which led to his excommunication.
1676   Sudbury, Massachusetts is attacked by Indians.
1775   American revolutionaries Paul Revere and William Dawes ride though the towns of Massachusetts warning that "the British are coming."
1791   National Guardsmen prevent Louis XVI and his family from leaving Paris.
1818   A regiment of Indians and blacks is defeated at the Battle of Suwanna, in Florida, ending the first Seminole War.
1834   William Lamb becomes prime minister of England.
1838   The Wilkes' expedition to the South Pole sets sail.
1847   U.S. forces defeat Mexicans at Cerro Gordo in one of the bloodiest battle of the war.
1853   The first train in Asia begins running from Bombay to Tanna.
1861   Colonel Robert E. Lee turns down an offer to command the Union armies.
1885   The Sino-Japanese war ends.
1906   A massive earthquake hits San Francisco, measuring 8.25 on the Richter scale.
1923   Yankee Stadium opens with Babe Ruth hitting a three-run homer as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1.
1937   Leon Trotsky calls for the overthrow of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
1942   James H. Doolittle bombs Tokyo and other Japanese cities.
1943   Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot down by American P-38 fighters.
1946   The League of Nations dissolves.
1949   The Republic of Ireland withdraws from British Commonwealth.
1950   The first transatlantic jet passenger trip is completed.
1954   Colonel Nasser seizes power in Egypt.
1978   The U.S. Senate approves the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama.
1980   Zimbabwe's (Rhodesia) formal independence from Britain is proclaimed.
1983   A suicide bomber kills U.S. Marines at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.

Non Sequitur


The Saudi Marathon Man

A new crime, apparently: being brown while being bombed.
A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb. He wasn’t alone; a hundred and seventy-six people were injured. But he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force,” as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a “phalanx” of officers and agents and two K9 units.

Did you know ...

Here's a short, recent history of pressure cooker bombs

That only dozens attend DC Tax Day protests

That a repugican county commissioner uses the n-word. but he's not racist, because, in his words, he "built habitat homes for colored people"!

Med Express uses broken Ohio law to silence critics who say true things

Are you a lawyer in Ohio? If so, your pro-bono services are urgently needed to defeat a trollish, bullying legal action from Med Express, a company that sells refurb medical equipment on eBay. The company is suing one of its customers for providing accurate, negative feedback on eBay's comment system, trying to establish a precedent that saying true things on the Internet should be illegal if it harms your business. They're relying on the fact that Ohio has no anti-SLAPP laws -- laws designed to protect people against the use of litigation threats to extort silence from critics -- and have admitted that, while they have no case, they believe that they can use the expense of dragging their victims into an Ohio court to win anyway. Ken from Popehat has more:
This is the ugly truth of the legal system: litigants and lawyers can manipulate it to impose huge expense on defendants no matter what the merits of their complaint. Censors can abuse the system to make true speech so expensive and risky that citizens will be silenced. Regrettably, Ohio does not have an anti-SLAPP statute, so Med Express and James Amodio can behave in this matter with relative impunity. If Ms. Nicholls has to incur ruinous legal expenses to vindicate her rights, the bad guys win, whatever the ultimate outcome of the case.
Unless, that is, you will help Amy Nicholls stand up — not for $1.44, but for the freedom to speak the truth without being abused by a broken legal system.
If you are an attorney practicing in Medina County, Ohio, please consider offering pro bono assistance. Mr. Levy will be coordinating assistance, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is a privilege to work with him. Help give Med Express and James Amodio the legal curb-stomping they so richly deserve. Justice, karma, and the esteem of free speech supporters everywhere will be your reward.
If you aren't an attorney, you can help, too. Med Express should not be permitted to act in this manner without consequence. The natural and probable consequence is widespread publication of their conduct. Help by publicizing the case on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog, on forums, and on every other venue available to you. Ask yourself — would you want to do business with a company that abuses the legal system to extract revenge against customers who leave truthful negative feedback?

American oligopolies are the new monopolies

Tim Wu says, "I wrote something quick in the New Yorker about America's big blind spot when it comes to big business -- if its not a monopoly, its no problem, so highly concentrated industries can get away with whatever they want."
This blind spot is of particular significance during an age when oligopolies, not monopolies, rule. Consider Barry Lynn’s 2011 book, “Cornered,” which carefully detailed the rising concentration and consolidation of nearly every American industry since the nineteen-eighties. He found that dominance by two or three firms “is not the exception in the United States, but increasingly the rule.” Consumers, easily misled by product labeling, often don’t even notice that products like sunglasses, pet food, or numerous others come from just a few giants. For example, while drugstores seem to offer unlimited choices in toothpaste, just two firms, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, control more than eighty per cent of the market (including seemingly independent brands like Tom’s of Maine).
The press confuses oligopoly and monopoly with some regularity. The Atlantic ran a recent infographic titled “The Return of the Monopoly,” describing rising concentration in airlines, grocery sales, music, and other industries. With the exception of Intel in computer chips, none of the industries described, however, was actually a monopoly—all were oligopolies. So while The Atlantic is right about what’s happening, it sounds the wrong alarm. We know how to fight monopolies, but few seem riled at “The Return of the Oligopoly.”
Things were not always thus. Back in the mid-century, the Justice Department went after oligopolistic cartels in the tobacco industry and Hollywood with the same vigor it chased Standard Oil, the quintessential monopoly trust. In the late nineteen-seventies, another high point of enforcement, oligopolies were investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, and during that era Richard Posner, then a professor at Stanford Law School, went as far as to argue that when firms maintain the same prices, even without a smoke-filled-room agreement, they ought to be considered members of a price-fixing conspiracy. (By this logic, the Delta and US Airways shuttles between New York and Washington, D.C., would probably be price-fixers, since their prices do vary by how far in advance you buy, but are always identical.)

Bitcoin Trading Prompts Tulip Mania Comparison

What does a 21st century electronic currency have to do with tulips in 1630s Holland? Here's a primer.

Just so you know ...

New broad-spectrum antibiotic can kill MRSA, anthrax

A new broad range antibiotic, developed jointly by scientists at The Rockefeller University and Astex Pharmaceuticals, has been found to kill a wide range of bacteria, including drug-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) bacteria that do not respond [...]

New type of solar structure cools buildings in full sunlight

Homes and buildings chilled without air conditioners. Car interiors that don’t heat up in the summer sun. Tapping the frigid expanses of outer space to cool the planet. Science fiction, you say? Well, maybe not [...]

Algae-Powered Apartment Complex Blooms In Hamburg

BIQ House, a 15-unit net-zero energy apartment complex clad with an algae-filled bio-adaptive shell, is completed in Hamburg, Germany, as part of the International Building Exhibition.

As the world's first building powered by algae, the 15-unit Bio Intelligent Quotient House generates biomass and heat with the assistance of 129 integrated glass bioreactor panels covering approximately 2,150 square feet of the four-story structure's southeast and southwest facing sides.

The Seating Preference of Subway Riders

Do you stand or sit down in a crowded subway train? Give up your seat to a pregnant woman or an elderly or do you pretend not to notice?
Researchers from the New York City Transit Authority know what you'll do, because they've done the research:
Some of the findings might seem intuitive to the veteran subway rider, even if the rationale is not.
When a subway car has more passengers than seats, the study found that an average of 10 percent or more of the seats were not taken. And even when a subway car is less than half-filled, the authors found that a small percentage of riders would inevitably choose to stand.
Riders prefer seats near a door, the authors said, and demonstrate “disdain for bench spots between two other seats.” Those who stand also prefer to do so near doors, in part because of its many “partitions to lean against,” and for the precious seconds they save getting off the train.
But the doorway area was desirable for a less obvious reason, too, the report found; it allowed riders to avoid “the sometimes uncomfortable feeling of accidentally making eye contact with seated passengers.”
The snapshots combine to sketch a transit landscape of convenience, game theory and occasional altruism, where often every movement is executed with purpose.
Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times has the post: Here.

Science Proves That Men Just Don't Get Women's Emotions

Ladies, if you ask a man to look into your eyes and he still doesn't get you, don't blame him. Blame his obviously inadequate brain, instead:
... new research suggests men really do struggle to read women's emotions — at least from their eyes.
The research, published Wednesday (April 10) in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that men had twice as much trouble deciphering women's emotions from images of their eyes compared with those of men. Parts of the male brain tied to emotion also didn't activate as strongly when the men looked at women's eyes.
Tia Ghose of LiveScience summarizes it for us: Here.

Social science + engineering = help for dying languages

Many of the world’s languages are disappearing. David Chiang wants to do something about that. Chiang, USC Viterbi research assistant professor and computational linguist at the USC Information Sciences Institute, worries that the loss of [...]

How To Converse Properly

18 Tips From Old Etiquette Books
Etiquette was a booming business in the 19th-century. Industrialization meant that people were moving between places and classes in a way they hadn't before, and there was a great demand for guidance on how to fit into the social circles that they had either gotten themselves into, or wanted to get into.

Hundreds of etiquette books were published in this period, and they all had something to say about how to use language. Here are 18 perfectly charming rules on how to converse properly culled from 19th century etiquette books.

Random Photo


Amber Heard

Women Who Graduated from Elite Universities Work Less

Decades after women fought to participate in the workforce and higher education, Professor Joni Hersch at Vanderbilt University noticed a strange counter trend: more and more female graduates of elite universities are dropping out of the workforce.
“Even though elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages and have higher expected earnings, they are still opting out of full-time work at much higher rates than other graduates, especially if they have children,” said Hersch.
Hersch’s research finds that 60 percent of female graduates from elite colleges are working full time compared to 68 percent of women from other schools. [...]
Hersch found that when comparing graduates from elite and less selective schools, the largest gap in full-time labor market activity is among women who also earned a master’s in business degree.
“Married MBA mothers with a bachelor’s degree from the most selective schools are 30 percentage points less likely to be employed full time than are graduates of less selective schools,” said Hersch.
But why? Hersch doesn't think it's because these women are being forced out: More

Reality TV Cracks Open The Extravagant World Of Hollywood Vintage

Vintage fashion is finally having its moment in the sun. Or, that is, the bright lights of cable reality TV. Two shows that premiered this season - Bravo's 'Dukes of Melrose' and Smithsonian Channel's 'L.A. Frock Stars' - each focus on a high-end vintage boutique located near Hollywood and patronized by big-name celebrities. Collectors Weekly talked to the stars of both shows.

Eyeball Shaving

Forget mascaras! To properly beautify your eye, you'd need to shave it. Here's the bizarre ancient Chinese art of eyeball cleaning:
The bizarre practice is dying out in China, but customers can still get the traditional treatment from the Mr Deyuan, who has been offering the service from his stand in a park in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, for the past seven years.
After holding the eye open and running his blade across the surface of the eyeball, the barber then inserts a small rod beneath the upper and lower lids and scrapes it back and forth.
Mr Deyuan will provide a head and face shave plus an eye cleaning for RMB5 - the equivalent of around 50 pence.
The Daily Mail has more pics that you should NOT see if you're squeamish about those sorts of things: Here.

The Top 8 Neglected Monster-Slayers In World Mythology

When it comes to gods and/or demigods who slay monsters, Hercules, Thor and Gilgamesh get the bulk of the attention. Vishnu and Shiva's roles slaying monsters in Hindu myths are well-known, too. Here are some monster-slayers who get neglected simply because their pantheons are not as familiar to most of the world.

Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year

(Image credit: Pierre Dalous/Kookaburra 81)
The winners of the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year Contest 2012 have been announced. This is their seventh annual contest, and the winner were selected by votes from active Wikimedia project members. The picture above, of a pair of European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) by Pierre Dalous, came in first place. Continue reading to see the rest of the 12 top vote-getters.

2. On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the Sun's atmosphere, the Corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. (Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
3. High-speed photography of a light bulb shot with an airsoft pistol. (Image credit: Stefan Krause, Germany/Ritchyblack)
4. A wide evening view to Måbødalen in Eidfjord municipality, Hordaland, Norway, in August 2011. (Image credit:Simo Räsänen/User:Ximonic)
5. Yak near Yamdrok lake, Tibet. (Image credit: Dennis Jarvis/Archer10)
6. Šmarjetna gora, with the view towards Škofja Loka, Slovenia. (Image credit: Mihael Grmek/Meho29)
7. Heritage castle park in Pszczyna, Poland. (Image credit: Jacek Cisło/Poranek)
8. Door to Hell, a burning natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan. (Image credit: Tormod Sandtorv/Flickr, edited by Hellbus)
9. Merging in the mist: Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisbon, Portugal. (Image credit: F Mira/Flickr)
10. Tarvasjõgi, Kõrvemaa Nature Park, Estonia. (Image credit: Ireen Trummer/Ireena)
11. The silhouette of space shuttle Endeavour seen against Earth's colorful horizon during shuttle mission STS-130. (Image credit: Crew of Expedition 22/NASA)
12. Arlington Row, Bibury, UK, built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. (Image credit: Saffron Blaze)

Freighthopping Hobos

Free - And Illegal - Transportation For Gentlemen Of The Rails
For almost two centuries, hobos have been been attempting to avoid 'greasing the tracks' (which is to get ran over by a train) while hopping freight trains to get from one town to the next.

Born out of the need to travel in search of work, the term 'hobo' is thought to have originated in the United States after the mid 19th century when the end of the American Civil War left discharged soldiers to find their way home or look for employment elsewhere.

Poland's Underground Salt Cathedral

The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, lies 135 meters (443 ft) underground within the Kraków metropolitan area. The mine, built in the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 2007, as one of the world's oldest salt mines still in operation.

Commercial mining was discontinued in 1996 due to low salt prices and mine flooding. Now a museum, the Wieliczka Salt Mine's attractions include dozens of statues, three chapels and an entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners.

The secret history of a hidden mural at a Los Angeles hotel

The website Mosaic Art Now has a fun story about a tile mosaic of an oil refinery that was discovered behind some wood paneling at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles.
In May 2012, when the renowned Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles was slated to close its doors for good, the owners ran a huge liquidation sale—the entire contents of the hotel went up for grabs. The hotel changed hands over the years, originally the Statler—then Statler-Hilton, then Omni, and finally the Wilshire Grand— remained one of the “see and be-seen” hotspots of the midcentury atomic age.
During the clearance sale, a puzzling discovery was made: a fifteen-foot mosaic mural commissioned by The Los Angeles Petroleum Club was found behind some old wood paneling. The Club had at one time maintained a posh member’s suite at the hotel. This is where the intrigue and mosaic sleuthing begins.

Awesome Pictures

Hobbit Humans Had Big Brains

New findings on the brain size of the tiny folks who lived until about 12,000 years ago suggest we may be cousins.

Could Life Be Older Than Earth Itself?

Applying a maxim from computer science to biology raises the intriguing possibility that life existed before Earth did.

Animal News

Lead threat grows for rare US birds Condor

One of the rarest US birds is under a growing threat from ingesting lead fragments.

Pine MartenPine marten survey suggests recovery

One of Scotland's rarest carnivores is showing signs of recovery after years of declining populations, a new report suggests.

Animal Pictures

Inca Tern, a species of bird, lives in the Pacific coastline from northern Peru south to central Chile. 
The birds are famous for their manly "mustache".