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

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Daily Drift

How about some perspective ...

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Today in History

1539   Emperor Charles V reaches a truce with German Protestants at Frankfurt, Germany.
1689   Residents of Boston oust their governor, Edmond Andros.
1764   The English Parliament bans the American colonies from printing paper money.
1775   The American Revolution begins as fighting breaks out at Lexington, Massachusetts.
1782   The Netherlands recognizes the United States.
1794   Tadeusz Kosciuszko forces the Russians out of Warsaw.
1802   The Spanish reopen New Orleans port to American merchants.
1824   English poet Lord Byron dies of malaria at age 36 while aiding Greek independence.
1861   The Baltimore riots result in four Union soldiers and nine civilians killed.
1861   President Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.
1880   The Times war correspondent telephones a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel, the first time news is sent from a field of battle in this manner.
1927   In China, Hankow communists declare war on Chiang Kai-shek.
1934   Shirley Temple appears in her first movie.
1938   General Francisco Franco declares victory in the Spanish Civil War.
1939   Connecticut finally approves the Bill of Rights.
1943   The Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi rule begins.
1960   Baseball uniforms begin displaying player's names on their backs.
1971   Russia launches its first Salyut space station.
1977   Alex Haley receives a special Pulitzer Prize for his book Roots.
1982   NASA names Sally Ride to be the first woman astronaut.
1989   The battleship USS Iowa's number 2 turret explodes, killing sailors.
1993   The FBI ends a 51-day siege by storming the Branch Dividian religious cult headquarters in Waco, Texas.
1995   A truck bomb explodes in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

Non Sequitur


Oldest European Medieval Cookbook Found

A 12th-century manuscript contains the oldest known European Medieval food recipes.

Apartment Resident Leaves Water Tap On All Winter, Creates Ice Mountain

Wen Hsu of Jilin, China didn't want his water pipes to freeze. So, just as many people around the world, he turned on the tap. And left it on...all winter:
Wen Hsu, 58, had lived on the seventh floor of the property scheduled for demolition to make way for a new shopping centre for 35 years and when developers managed to buy all the other flats in the building - he was left as the only resident.

As winter approached and it got colder Hsu was worried that the uninsulated water pipes running up through the unused and unheated flats below him would freeze, leaving him without running water. So in order to keep the temperature of the pipes above freezing he simply switched on the tap – and then diverted the warm water to flow down the side of the building.

How to ...

Thursday, April 18

Siri, the keeper of secrets

Robert McMillan writes: "Not everyone realizes this, but whenever you use Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant, she remembers what you tell her. How long does she remember? Apple isn’t saying. And the American Civil Liberties Union is concerned."

Man Called 911 to Complain about Mom

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone and vent about your parents, but just don't call 911, mmkay?
Vincent Valvo, 19, was arrested for calling 9-1-1 twice to complain that he 'didn't like how his mom was talking to him.
Police arrested Valvo outside his Vero Beach home at 4:30 a.m. after he made the second phone call. In both calls, Valvo complained about his mom.
Not surprisingly, alcohol was involved: More

Judge Holds Himself in Contempt of Court When His Cell Phone Rings in Court

judgeJudge Raymond Voet of Ionia County, Michigan has a simple rule: if your cell phone goes off in court, you will be held in contempt of court and fined $25. He's consistent about enforcement. When his own cell phone rang, he imposed the penalty on himself. It's a new phone and Judge Voet wasn't sure how to operate it. But that excuse didn't cut it:
"That's an excuse, but I don't take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cell phones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on," he said. "The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that. I tow a tough line, and I got to back it up this afternoon."
At the next recess, Voet held himself in contempt of court, fined himself $25, and stated on the record "If I cannot live by the rules that I enforce, then I have no business enforcing these rules."

And that's the way it is ...

Thursday, April 18

From mice to humans, comfort is being carried by mom

There is a very good reason mothers often carry their crying babies, pacing the floor, to help them calm down. New research published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 18 shows that [...]

Why Do Humans Cry?

We all cry, but what biological function does it serve, and why are humans the only species to shed tears of sorrow and joy?

Researchers abuzz over caffeine as cancer-cell killer

Researchers from the University of Alberta are abuzz after using fruit flies to find new ways of taking advantage of caffeine’s lethal effects on cancer cells—results that could one day be used to advance cancer [...]

Five Benefits of Sunlight You Probably Never Knew About

by Lisa Garber
 sunrise 265x165 5 Benefits of Sunlight You Probably Never Knew About 
Most of us thank sunlight in terms of natural healing for one thing: the sunshine vitamin – vitamin D. But cavity- and cancer-preventing vitamin D isn’t the only reason to spend time in the sun. Here are 5 benefits of sunlight you probably never knew about.

1. Benefits of Sunlight - Sunlight Helps Kill Pain

In a 2005 study, patients staying on the well-lit side of their hospital unit, thereby receiving about 46 percent greater sunlight exposure, experienced less perceived stress, took 22 percent less analgesic medication hourly, and incurred 21 percent less pain medication cost. Whether they were exposed to sunlight through glass or with windows open is not stated in the study. Natural brightness of sunshine may very well have had these effects on the patients, but keep in mind that some aspects of sunlight, like the ignition of vitamin D production, doesn’t happen through glass.

2. It Can Help You Lose Weight

Sunlight affects our metabolism to the point of helping to burn subcutaneous fat, according to a study published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Vitamin D and weight loss are closely tied, with the vitamin being regularly inversely correlated with visceral fat and obesity. One study published in Anticancer Research found that the greater the levels of vitamin D among Hispanics and African Americans, the lower their adiposity, including abdominal obesity.
Want to burn fat? Spend between 10 and 30 minutes in the sunlight, depending on your skin pigment, in the two hours on either side of noon without sunscreen daily in the summer. Winter months will require longer periods in the sun, food rich in vitamin D, or even moderate supplementation.

3. Sunlight Via Solar Cycles May Determine Lifespan

Researchers of a study published in Medical Hypothesis say:
“Persons conceived and likely born during the peaks (MAX approximately 3 years) of approximately 11-year solar cycles lived an average 1.7 years less than those conceived and likely born during non-peaks (MIN approximately 8 years). Increased energy at solar MAX, albeit relatively a small 0.1 percent increase from MIN, apparently modifies the human genome/epigenome and engenders changes that predispose to various diseases, thereby shortening lifespan.” The researchers believe that this sun-derived variation in the genome may be intended to help us adapt to a changing environment.

4. Sunlight Makes You More Alert at Night

Subjects felt more alert in the evening after 6 hours of daylight exposure compared to those who, in the same study, were only exposed to artificial light. The latter group became sleepier in the evening. For those of us working late into the night (or just trying to stay awake through a movie), spending more time in the sun may help.

5. Plants Aren’t the Only Ones to Convert Sunlight to Energy

Melanin is a paradoxical thing: it adds pigment to our hair and skin and reduces damage to DNA, but an excess of it can turn malignant (melanoma). Researchers who published their seemingly outlandish hypothesis in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine say that the melanin in our skin may act as solar panels and ingest energy from the sun, just like plants, by converting gamma and ultraviolent radiation into metabolic energy.
“Animal inability to utilize light energy directly has been traditionally assumed,” write co-authors Goodman and Bercovich. They cite the avian pectin, a strange organ that “may help cope with energy and nutrient needs under extreme conditions, by a marginal but critical, melanin-initiated conversion of light to metabolic energy, coupled to local metabolite recycling.  …  Melanin and the pectin may have unexpected lessons also for human physiology and medicine.”

Random Photo

Nine Adventure Travel Hoaxes

vIt's much easier to tell a story about a trip or an expedition that you didn't take than to actually make the trip. But the tallest tales are figured out to be hoaxes eventually. For example:
Frederick Cook almost certainly set foot in many places where previously no person had before—but the New York-born explorer is also seen as one of modern exploration’s most notorious fraudsters. He participated in three significant expeditions between 1891 and 1903, two of them into the Arctic and the latter a circumnavigation of Alaska’s Mount McKinley, also known as Denali. In 1906, he set forth on another McKinley outing, this time returning home to report that he had summited the 20,320-foot peak, which had never been climbed before. The claim stood the test of time for only three years, when the true story came spilling out: Cook had taken his summit photo on a tiny mountain 19 miles from McKinley’s peak.
Suspicions about Cook's Mount McKinley climb escalated after his claim to have reached the North Pole in 1909 was disputed. But that's another story in the list. The nine stories at Smithsonian include swimming, racing, sailing, and several mountain summits. More

Applicants Wanted For A One-Way Ticket To Mars

Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet. Uncharted waters, mountains or far away lands have always drawn explorers. History books show that desire for adventure, even in the face of extreme danger, did not deter the likes of Columbus or Magellan.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Mars One has already received thousands of prospective applicants. But there is no return - unlike the mission which hopes to fly to Mars and back in 2018.

Saturn's System May Contain 'Born Again' Moons

There's evidence to suggest the majestic Saturnian system was re-born out of a violent demolition derby less than 4 billion years ago.

A Dozen Fascinating Gorges Around The World

Gorges, also known as canyons, are deep ravines found between cliffs. They are formed from the landscape after being carved by rivers which naturally reach a baseline elevation, creating these stunning natural visuals in the process.

Gorges are much more common in arid areas than in wet areas because physical weathering has a greater effect in arid zones. The word 'canyon' has a Spanish origin with many being found in the United States while Europeans prefer to use the term 'gorge.'


Thursday, April 18

Loyal dog kept master warm as he lay trapped under car for four days

For four days and cold nights Herbert Schutz lay pinned beneath his crashed car, and no one, except his loyal dog Boydy, knew. The 76-year-old crashed his car on his property at Rylstone, in central west New South Wales, Australia, last Thursday. It took until Monday night before help arrived. In the meantime all that an injured Mr Schutz had with him was his trusty kelpie, who lay on his chest to keep him warm. Mr Schutz is adamant his "best friend" saved his life.

When paramedics got to Mr Schutz they were in awe that an elderly man could be in such good condition, despite four days without food or water, and trapped under a car. Police believe Mr Schutz's Honda 4WD hit a tree sometime on Thursday. He was able to get himself out of the vehicle, before it rolled and partially trapped him. When his daughter couldn't raise Mr Schutz on the phone after trying for several days she called his neighbor and asked him to go over to his property and see if everything was OK.

Neighbor Eric Merrett said that as he got down the driveway of the property, he spotted the crashed car and feared the worst. "I saw the car but he wasn't in it ... then I heard him call out to his dog," Mr Merrett said. "I thought to myself 'Where the hell is he?' ... I walked around the car and there he was on the ground beside it." He said Mr Schutz was conscious and was able to explain what had happened. He told Mr Merrett he was adamant his dog had saved his life. "He was very with it, I was pretty surprised how good he was after four or so days lying there," Mr Merrett said. "He said his dog lay on him and kept him warm a lot of the time."

Mr Schutz was taken to Rylstone Hospital, then flown to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, where he is in a stable condition. He was suffering broken ribs and a fractured pelvis, which is believed to be the result of a horse treading on him while he lay helpless. Daughter Heika said her father was in good spirits and was recovering from his ordeal. Acting Superintendent Julie Boon said Mr Schutz's survival under the circumstances was "amazing". "It's a great survival story," she said. Boydy is being well cared for and rewarded by neighbors until Mr Schutz is well enough to return home.

The Dying Art Of Cormorant Fishing

Guided only by the flicker of their lanterns and the last light of a dimming sun, cormorant fishermen drift silently across a Chinese lake, hoping to make a last catch for the day. These photographs provide eery and touching snapshots of a dying tradition, all but stamped out by big business.

As the sun sets in these remarkable images, taken in China's Guangxi Zhuang region to record the ancient art of the cormorant fisherman, so to fades the light of a once vibrant and lucrative industry that has taken place in Japan and China for more than a thousand years.

Egg study supports link between birds and dinosaurs

A small, bird-like North American dinosaur incubated its eggs in a similar way to brooding birds – bolstering the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs, researchers at the University of Calgary and Montana State University [...]

Little-known dinosaurs that should make an appearance in Jurassic Park 4

Brian Switek does fantastic work writing about dinosaurs. I haven't finished his new book, My Beloved Brontosaurus , just yet, but it's shaping up to be fantastic — all about the slow, lumbering dinosaurs of our childhoods and how our conception of them morphed into something totally different. He's going to be on Science Friday on, well, Friday. And he's written them a post about four distinctive but seldom-discussed dinosaurs that should really get their 15 minutes of fame.

Eleven Organisms Scientifically Named After Fictional Characters

vThis dinosaur was named the Godzilla lizard: Gojirasaurus quayi. But Gojirasaurus is far from the only species named for fictional characters. There are species, both existing and extinct, named after Batman, Han Solo, cartoon characters, and even Muppets! Read about 11 of them (ten animals and one fungus) here.

Zombie Snake

Thomas Scott found a rattlesnake in his garage. He bravely chased the snake outside and decapitated it. But that doesn't mean the end of the snake -yet. A snake head, even without its body, can bite and kill up to an hour after decapitation. See a video of a the rattlesnake head looking around and ready to bite at Nat Geo TV. It's scary. More

New Species of Forcepfly

Meet the forcepfly Austromerope brasiliensis, a newly discovered species (and only third known example in the family) that got its name from its hind claspers that look like a pair of huge forceps. You'd be surprised to know that those are large genital forceps used by males to, uh, secure the females during mating: More

Chiropractic for Elephants

That's one BIG spine to adjust! If you think that chiropractic is just for humans, you haven't met chiropractic veterinarians:
Thirty years ago, Dr. Gene Giggleman was a veterinarian who thought chiropractors were quacks. Since then, he says he's straightened out thousands of dogs and cats, not to mention the occasional snake, hamster, gerbil and guinea pig.
"And I know people who have adjusted pigs, goats and rodeo bulls," said Giggleman, a professor at Parker University in Dallas, which specializes in chiropractic care.
In Southern California, Dr. Rod Block has tended to an elephant, a paralyzed iguana, a turkey, pigs, llamas and countless dogs and horses.
Sue Manning of AP has the post: Here.

Sea Lion Strandings Climb, Scientists Stumped

Nearly 1,300 sickly sea lions have washed up on the shores of southern California.

Animal Pictures


What are you lookin’ at?