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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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

996   Sixteen year old Otto III is crowned the Roman Emperor.  
1471   King Henry VI is killed in the Tower of London. Edward IV takes the throne.  
1506   Christopher Columbus dies.  
1536   The Reformation is officially adopted in Geneva, Switzerland.  
1620   Present-day Martha's Vineyard is first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold.  
1790   Paris is divided into 48 zones.  
1832   The Democratic party holds its first national convention.  
1856   Lawrence, Kansas is captured and sacked by pro-slavery forces.  
1863   The siege of the Confederate Port Hudson, Louisiana, begins.  
1881   The American Red Cross is founded by Clara Barton.  
1927   Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris completing the first solo air crossing of the Atlantic.  
1940   British forces attack German General Rommel's 7th Panzer Division at Arras, slowing his blitzkrieg of France.  
1941   The first U.S. ship, the S.S. Robin Moor, is sunk by a U-boat.  
1951   The U.S. Eighth Army counterattacks to drive the Communist Chinese and North Koreans out of South Korea.  
1961   Governor Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery, Alabama.  
1970   The U.S. National Guard mobilizes to quell disturbances at Ohio State University.  
1991  In Madras, India, a suicide bomber kills the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.

Non Sequitur


"Retronasal olfaction"

  ... smelling food after it's in the mouth

As most readers of Edible Geography will know, smell makes up to ninety percent of what we perceive as flavor, primarily through a process known as retronasal olfaction, in which odor molecules travel from the mouth to the nose via the throat as we eat.

Did you know ...

That wingnuts can't name one reality-based example of Obama tyranny

That only 4 companies process 80% of the beef in this country

That the March on Monsanto is next Saturday, may 25

The repugican Obstructionism Is The Real Scandal That’s Plaguing Washington

There are a variety of adjectives to describe repugicans in Congress since Americans elected an African American man to lead the Executive Department, and setting aside sheer racial animus, some apt descriptors are total incompetence, inability to perform, and blatant ineptitude that easily inform the state of the repugican cabal. They have, though, been very proficient at obstructing the President from their minority position and it is a sure sign they have nothing but contempt for the American people, the government, and particularly President Obama as they have done absolutely nothing for over four years except prevent the government from operating for the people. Their obstructionism won them the distinction of the worst, least effective Congress in the nation’s history, and instead of reeling from the harsh assessment, they have seized on the phony scandals over the past weeks to focus attention away from the fact that as public servants and the people’s representatives, they are absolutely worthless and have no intention of governing. Instead, they have, and will continue to, spend every waking moment obstructing the government and continue their crusade to discredit President Obama by playing up false scandals. The real scandal plaguing Washington is repugican obstructionism and their apparent glee at having phony scandals to cover the fact they lack any agenda to govern absent tax cuts for the rich and defaming the African American in the Oval Office.
In what should be evident to the American people, the next several months, and possibly years, will be a gross repeat of the past four years of government inaction on the issues that matter most to the American people. The repugicans promised to focus entirely on jobs nearly two-and-a-half years ago that have produced no jobs, and their total lack of interest in immigration reform or addressing gun safety measures will be amplified as they celebrate spending all their time on Benghazi, the I.R.S., and more attacks on the Affordable Care Act. The mainstream media has been complicit in focusing on phony scandals instead of the repugican cabal’s lack of a coherent agenda to help economic recovery or the American people, and there has been no better example than the rapidly decreasing national debt that has been supplanted with persistent coverage of Benghazi, the I.R.S., and government seizure of journalist’s phone records that is a direct result of repugican policy under the shrub junta. In fact, all of the phony scandals can be laid at the feet of repugican ineptitude and economic malfeasance to thwart the President’s attempt to govern. As journalist Dan Rather opined on Thursday, “And no wonder they’re slapping high five behind closed doors. President Obama must feel like he’s Gulliver tied down, every time he turns around he can’t really move in any way. It raises the question: Can he get anything done in this second term as president with the repugicans playing this obstructionist role?”
The phony scandals repugicans will spend the next few months on shine a light on their inaction and not, as they hope, the President’s alleged scandal-ridden Administration. The alleged cover-up of the tragedy in Benghazi shifts attention from repugicans’ refusing to appropriate more funding for security at embassies despite requests from the State Department, and media is remiss to ever point out that repugicans never investigated or charged the shrub junta for lax security during several embassy attacks around the world during the shrub’s tenure pretending to be president. However, the shrub was a white man, and that fact alone gives repugicans cover for ignoring the danger inherent in the shrub’s cowboy diplomacy that put “brave American heroes’” lives in jeopardy. Still, after eight months of repugicans’ transparent obstruction and blatantly dishonesty inherent in their Benghazi investigations, it is painfully obvious they refuse to accept the truth or  disclosures they demanded, and received as the White House released nearly 100 pages of emails and documentation answering their questions. Their persistent investigations, hearings, and threats of new investigations are deliberate tactics to avoid governing and obstruct the President from continuing the nation’s economic recovery.
The repugicans tasked car thief and House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa with holding investigations into the alleged Benghazi scandal and phony outrage involving I.R.S. investigators who did their due diligence in scrutinizing political activists’ illegal applications for 501(C)(4) “social welfare” tax exemption, instead of investigating Karl Rove and Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity’s illegal applications meant to conceal their dark money donors. The idea that the President, or anyone in his administration ordered the IRS to target conservative groups is insane on its face, especially since it was the shrub’s appointee that ran the IRS. Subsequently, while repugicans are busy attempting to tie the White House and the President to using the I.R.S. to steal the 2012 election, they conveniently will avoid spending one minute on job creation or admitting new revenue from the fiscal cliff tax increases are bringing the nation’s debt down by $231 billion in a very short period of time.
The other alleged scandal repugicans and Democrats are weighing in on is a controversy about the Justice Department’s subpoenaing journalists’ phone records in an investigation into leaks about a terrorist operation. It was repugicans who designed the intrusive Patriot Act, but since Barack Obama is President, they are crying foul in spite of his Administration investigating itself, and despite Attorney General Eric Holder previously recusing himself from the case, some repugicans called for his resignation. It is political theatre for repugicans to avoid doing the real work they were sent to Washington to do that they have determined is destroying President Obama.
In a recent PPP survey, Americans said they want, and expect, Congress to focus on the economic recovery and jobs, immigration reform, and gun safety legislation and not phony scandals like Benghazi or the IRS doing its job. The repugicans in Congress are incapable and frankly incompetent to make any substantive progress on job creation will instead spend the next several months on hearings, investigations, and ransoming the rapidly approaching debt ceiling, and obstruct this President, and the government from doing the business of the people. It has been their practice for four years and now that they have three active and phony scandals, their treasonous obstruction will take on a new measure of severity. All the while, the American people will continue suffering gross incompetence and an ineffectual government that defines the repugican cabal since the people elected an African American president.
There is no doubt repugicans hate this President, but their deliberate obstruction of government informs that their animus extends far beyond the African American in the White House. The repugican ineptitude and obstruction is approaching anti-American criminality, and their obstruction of the President’s nominees, efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and time spent on phony scandals informs they hate this country, the people, and the Constitutional mandate for governance they swore to uphold as part of the jobs whether they are in the minority or not. The real scandal the American people have been, and will continue, suffering over the past four and a half years and well into the foreseeable future is that repugicans lack any coherent agenda that does not include tax cuts for the rich and deregulating their corporate sponsors. Coupled with their animus toward President Obama and grasping at fabricated scandals, they have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they truly hate America every bit as much as they hate this President and if their ineptitude is not criminal, then it is certainly treasonous.

And I Quote

Saudi Woman Climbs Everest

A Saudi woman, Raha Muharraq, on Saturday reached the summit of Everest, the world's highest peak, in a first for the muslim kingdom where women's sports are severely restricted.

Jumping the Goat's Horns

Svolværgeita, a 490-foot pinnacle of Fløyfjellet mountain in Norway, was first climbed in 1910. You might think that's pretty late, but the summit is a near vertical ascent.
Because of its shape, the top is called the Goat's Horns. Climbers who reach the top sometimes try to leap between the two horns. Would you do it?

Competitors Likelier to Choose Red if High Testosterone

Why do so many sports players and athletes choose to wear the color red when they compete? A new study to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests [...]

The Wizard of Id


CCTV captures moment ghost calls time at bar

Video footage has emerged which appears to show the bell in the clubhouse at Exmouth Rugby Club ringing of its own volition.

The CCTV shows spooked bar staff giving the bell a cautious berth as it springs to life mid-afternoon.

But bar manager Frank Bright, known as Marv, is less than convinced. "The bell ringing on its own is pretty odd, I'll give you that," he said, "And one of the girls was quite freaked out.

"But I'm a bit more level-headed and I'm sure there's some way to explain it; I just can't put my finger on it at the moment."

Chinese Government Commands Chinese Tourists To Be Polite

The Chinese have now surpassed Americans and Germans as the world's top international spenders and are becoming one of the most significant global tourism markets. As the throngs of Chinese tourists venture out into the big wide world, the Chinese government has some words of advice for them, " Be polite!"
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang has called on his nation's tourists to improve their behavior, stressing it was important to project a "good image of Chinese tourists," official state media outlet Xinhua reported. 
The Internet is saddened by this command. Scuffles between Chinese tourists and the locals of the country they are visiting make for wonderful content.

Zimbabwean university lecturer jailed for calling Robert Mugabe 'a rotten old donkey'

A lecturer at a government university in Zimbabwe has been jailed for three months for labelling veteran President Robert Mugabe "a rotten old donkey," lawyers said on Saturday. Chenjerai Pamhiri, 38, a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe State University in Masvingo city, was convicted and jailed by a magistrate on Friday, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said.

Prosecutors alleged that Pamhiri, while doing his shopping at a local supermarket last week, shouted that Mugabe was "dirt which should be discarded, a rotten old donkey". He is also said to have urged people not to vote for him in elections expected sometime this year. Police arrested him as he left the supermarket.

"We received the shocking news of the conviction and sentencing of Pamhiri and we have promptly moved in to assist him," Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for the human rights lawyers, said. "Our lawyers will file an appeal against the conviction and sentence and a make a separate application for bail pending appeal."

Arrests for slandering Zimbabwe's long-time president and breaching the strict public order law are common and those found guilty usually get away with light sentences, fines or are ordered to do community service. Mafunda said rights lawyers have recorded over 60 such cases since 2010.

A bible bashing accusation lands woman in jail

A woman from Kings Mountain, North Carolina was arrested on Saturday and charged with assault inflicting serious injury after beating another woman with a bible, according to arrest warrants.

Evelyn Mills Moore, 57, of Saddlebrook Court in Kings Mountain, struck another woman "numerous times about her body with a closed fist and striking her with a bible about her left arm," the warrant states.

The attack caused numerous abrasions on the other woman's head, face and arms, according to the court document.

Moore was charged with a second assault charge inflicting serious injury after striking a man with her fist causing numerous abrasions on his head, face and arms and a knot near his right eye. Moore is being held at the Cleveland County Detention Center with a $105,000 bond.

Woman allegedly threatened neighbor with plunger over offensive odor

A Massachusetts woman upset by a foul odor emanating from her neighbor's house is in hot water after allegedly threatening to hit the neighbor with a plunger. In Lowell District Court on Monday, Irene Cohen, 44, was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon.

Lowell police stated in court documents that at 6:31pm  they were called to a report of an argument between neighbors. When police arrived, a female neighbor allegedly told police Cohen attacked her with a plunger. The neighbor said Cohen was angry due to the foul odor caused by some plumbing work.

During a confrontation with the victim, Cohen allegedly began to yell at her and spit in her face, then picked up the plunger, raised it above her head, and threatened to hit her with it. The victim described Cohen as "wildly out of control." The victim ran back inside her house for fear of being hit.

Cohen allegedly admitted to police she argued with the victim over a foul odor Cohen believed was her neighbor's fault. Cohen alleges that during the argument, the victim spit in Cohen's face and called her a racist name. Cohen denied using a plunger, which police noted was leaning against the fence next to Cohen. She told police she picked up the plunger to move it, but never used it in a threatening way. The victim denied spitting in Cohen's face.

Daily Comic Relief

Monday, May 20

These Coins could rewrite Australian history

by Barbara Barkhausen
Coins could rewrite Aust history 
Mcintosh points on map to the general area where coins were found. 
Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an "X" might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia's history.
Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, plans an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.
The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.

Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off Australia's north coast - had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland.
Australian soldier Maurie Isenberg was stationed on one of the islands to man a radar station and spent his spare time fishing on the idyllic beaches.
Ancient coins from the Kilwa Sultanate.
While sitting in the sand with his fishing-rod, he discovered a handful of coins in the sand.
He didn't have a clue where they could come from but pocketed them anyway and later placed them in a tin.
In 1979 he rediscovered his "treasure" and decided to send the coins to a museum to get them identified.
The coins proved to be 1000 years old.
Still not fully realising what treasure he held in his hands, he marked an old colleague's map with an "X" to remember where he had found them.
The discovery was apparently forgotten again until anthropologist McIntosh got the ball rolling a few months ago.
The coins raise many important questions:
How did 1000-year-old coins end up on a remote beach on an island off the northern coast of Australia?
Did explorers from distant lands arrive on Australian shores way before the James Cook declared it "terra nullius" and claimed it for the British throne in 1770?
We do know already that Captain Cook wasn't the first white seafarer to step on Australia's shores.
In 1606 a Dutch explorer named Willem Janszoon reached the Cape York peninsula in Queensland, closely followed a few years late by another Dutch seafarer Dirk Hartog.
And the Spaniard Luiz Vaez de Torres discovered the strait between Papua New Guinea and Australia, which was later named Torres Strait in his honour.
However, none of these explorers recognised that they had discovered the famed southern continent, the "terra australis incognita", which was depicted as a counterweight to the known land masses of the northern hemisphere on many world maps of the day.
McIntosh and his team of Australian and American historians, archaeologists, geomorphologists and Aboriginal rangers say that the five coins date back to the 900s to 1300s.
They are African coins from the former Kilwa sultanate, now a World Heritage ruin on an island off Tanzania.
Kilwa once was a flourishing trade port with links to India in the 13th to 16th century.
The trade with gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian stone ware, Persian ceramics and Chinese porcelain made the city one of the most influential towns in East Africa at the time.
The copper coins were the first coins ever produced in sub-Saharan Africa and according to McIntosh have only twice been found outside Africa: once in Oman and Isenberg's find in 1944.
The old coins might not be of monetary value, but for archaeologists they are priceless, says McIntosh.
Archaeologists have long suspected that there may have been early maritime trading routes that linked East Africa, Arabia, India and the Spice Islands even 1,000 years ago.
Or the coins could've washed ashore after a shipwreck.
When Isenberg discovered the copper coins he also found four coins that originated from the Dutch East India Company - with one dating back to 1690 raising memories of those early Dutch seafarers that stepped on Australian shores well before Cook.
McIntosh wants to answer some of these mysteries during his planned expedition to the Wessel Islands in July.
And it's not only about revisiting the beach that was marked with an "X" on Isenberg's map.
He will also be looking for a secret cave Aboriginal legends talk about.
This cave is supposed to be close to the beach where Isenberg once found the coins and is said to be filled with doubloons and weaponry of an ancient era.
Should McIntosh and his team find what they are looking for, the find might not only be priceless treasure, but relics that could rewrite Australian history.

Words that the Internet Gave Us

The Interweb isn't all lolcats and fail memes, in fact it has given us a few new and very interesting words. Tom Chatfield wrote about them in his new book Netymology:
2. Hashtags
In 1920s America, the # sign served as a shorthand for weight in pounds (and they still call it the pound sign). It was first brought to a wider public thanks to its adoption by telephone engineers at Bell Labs in the 1960s as the generic function symbol on their new touch-tone phones – and if you're looking to sound clever, you could call it an "octothorpe", the tongue-in-cheek term coined at Bell to describe it. It's on Twitter, though, that hashtags have really come into their own, serving as a kind of function code for social interaction #ifyoulikethatkindofthing.
8. Meh
There's a special place in my heart for the supremely useful three letters of "meh", which express an almost infinitely flexible contemporary species of indifference. In its basic exclamatory form, it suggests something along the lines of "OK, whatever". As an adjective, it takes on a more ineffable flavour: "it was all very meh". You can even use it as a noun: "I stand by my meh." Apparently first recorded in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, some theories trace meh back to the disdainful Yiddish term mnyeh. Its ascent towards canonical status, though, embodies a thoroughly digital breed of boredom.
9. Cupertinos
Also known as "auto-correct errors", a Cupertino error occurs when your computer thinks it knows what you're trying to say better than you do. The name comes from an early spell checker program, which knew the word Cupertino - the Californian city where Apple has its headquarters - but not the word "cooperation". All the cooperations in a document might thus be automatically "corrected" into Cupertinos. Courtesy of smartphones, Cupertinos today are a richer field than ever – a personal favourite being my last phone's determination to transform "Facebook" into "ravenous".
Tom has a few more examples over at The Guardian.

Scientists capture first direct proof of Hofstadter butterfly effect

A team of researchers from several universities – including UCF –has observed a rare quantum physics effect that produces a repeating butterfly-shaped energy spectrum in a magnetic field, confirming the longstanding prediction of the quantum [...]

Random Celebrity Photo


Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)
Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

Facial Reconstructions Of Famous Historical Figures

Why look at a painting of a historical figure when you can come face to face with one? Forensic facial reconstruction using scans of skeletal remains allows researchers to create 3D models of the face through a combination of science, history, and artistic interpretation. The results may be somewhat subjective, but they're fascinating anyway.

Here are 10 facial reconstructions of famous people.

Cambrian Fossil With Scissor-Like Claws Is Named For Johnny Depp

If you discovered a new species of prehistoric arthropod fossil with scissor-like appendages, what you you name it? Name it Kooteninchela deppi, in honor of the actor who played Edward Scissorhands!
“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands,” says researcher David Legg, who conducted the research into the fossil as part of his PhD at Imperial College London, in a statement. “Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”
Kooteninchela deppi scoured the sea floor for other animals to eat. It is thought to be an ancestor of modern scorpions, centipedes, and crabs. More

X-ray Tomography on a Living Frog Embryo

Classical X-ray radiographs provide information about internal, absorptive structures of organisms such as bones. Alternatively, X-rays can also image soft tissues throughout early embryonic development of vertebrates. Related to this, a new X-ray method was [...]

Random Photo


Alessandra Ambrosio 

Rescued dog found nursing kitten

A dog found lost and hurt in South Carolina was discovered to be caring for a tiny, nursing kitten. When Anderson Animal Control Officer Michelle Smith climbed down a steep embankment in Anderson to rescue a yelping dog, she saw a black-and-white Shih Tzu- mix curled in a tangle of bushes and briars. But when she blinked and looked again, she spotted a tiny kitten nestled next to the dog, suckling milk from her.

"I didn’t know what to think," she said. "I was shocked and surprised and then of course, awww." The dog and kitten received the same reaction when Smith took them to the animal shelter. Volunteers marveled at the way the dog, which is at least 5 years old, looks out for the 5-week-old kitten. Jessica Cwynar, director of the shelter, says such behavior is natural for mammals.

"It would be like one of us seeing a neglected or abandoned child and taking it under our wing," she said. Cwynar said the dog likely experienced a surge of hormones that induced milk production. "She’s producing some, but not all that (the kitten) will need nutrition-wise," Cwynar said. Volunteers are feeding the kitten tiny bottles of milk, a meal her canine mother likes as well.

The dog’s striped collar and clean fur means that someone is likely missing her. "She is someone’s pet because she has been groomed and has been well taken care of," Cwynar said. There is already a long line of would-be foster and adoption candidates for the pair, but Cwynar hopes that the dog’s owner comes forward and is willing to adopt a kitten. If that happens, the animal shelter will verify the dog’s ownership through veterinary or grooming records.

Coyote pup saved after close encounter with cactus

A coyote pup in Arizona is on the mend after suffering an unpleasant encounter with a cholla cactus this week. Sun City West resident Gwen Maxwell said she went for a walk on Tuesday morning when she saw what she thought was a small puppy across the street. Maxwell said the animal crawled under some bushes, and eventually disappeared.

Training Honeybees to Find Land Mines

vIn Croatia, unexploded mines dot the landscape and still kill people who find them. But a new animal is being trained to locate them for us: honeybees.
Nikola Kezic, an expert on the behavior of honeybees, sat quietly together with a group of young researchers on a recent day in a large net tent filled with the buzzing insects on a grass field lined with acacia trees. The professor at Zagreb University outlined the idea for the experiment: Bees have a perfect sense of smell that can quickly detect the scent of the explosives. They are being trained to identify their food with the scent of TNT.

“Our basic conclusion is that the bees can clearly detect this target, and we are very satisfied,” said Kezic, who leads a part of a larger multimillion-euro program, called “Tiramisu,” sponsored by the EU to detect land mines on the continent.

Several feeding points were set up on the ground around the tent, but only a few have TNT particles in them. The method of training the bees by authenticating the scent of explosives with the food they eat appears to work: bees gather mainly at the pots containing a sugar solution mixed with TNT, and not the ones that have a different smell.
It may be quite some time before the experiment reaches actual land mines. Training a few bees is completely different from training an entire colony. More

Dove builds nest in traffic light at Cuckoo Corner

A dove has built its nest in front of a red traffic light in Essex.

The bird moved into its new home at Cuckoo Corner in Southend, despite the lights having anti-bird spikes fitted.

The RSPB said the light would provide heat for the collared dove.

Frank Varga, RSPB officer, said: "It's happy and using the deterrent to support its nest, so well done."

Animal Pictures