Welcome to ...

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, June 4, 2013

The Daily Drift

Peace, Love and Understanding

Carolina Naturally is read in 191 192 countries around the world daily.

Remember that geeky girl from high school ... well  ...

Today is Audacity To Hope Day 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

We would like to welcome our newest readers:

Solomon Islands 
Some of our readers today have been in:
Merignac, France
Nairobi, Kenya
Istanbul, Turkey
Manchester, England
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Jakarta, Indonesia
Ljubjana, Slovenia
Siauliai, Lithuania
Sofia, Bulgaria
Tartu, Estonia
Yerevan, Armenia
Casablanca, Morocco
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Singapore, Singapore
Belize City, Belize
Cape Town South Africa
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Ha Dong and Hanoi, Vietnam
Lahore and Peshawar, Pakistan
Puchong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lesna, Gdansk and Warsaw, Poland
Manila, Davao, Tay Tay, Baguio and Naic, Philippines

And across the USA in cities such as:
Charlotte, New Bern, Goose Creek, Columbia, Durham and Raleigh

Today in History

1070   Roqueford cheese is accidentally discovered in a cave near Roqueford, France, when a shepherd finds a lunch he had forgotten several days before.  
1615   The fortress at Osaka, Japan, falls to Shogun Leyasu after a six-month siege.  
1647   Parliamentary forces capture King Charles I and hold him prisoner.  
1717   The Freemasons are founded in London.  
1792   Captain George Vancouver claims Puget Sound for Britain.  
1794   British troops capture Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 1805   Tripoli is forced to conclude peace with the United States after a conflict over tribute.  
1859   The French army, under Napoleon III, takes Magenta from the Austrian army.  
1864   Confederates under General Joseph Johnston retreat to the mountains in Georgia.  
1911   Gold is discovered in Alaska's Indian Creek.  
1918   French and American troops halt Germany's offensive at Chateau-Thierry, France.
1919   The U.S. Senate passes the Women's Suffrage bill.  
1940   British complete the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk.  
1943   In Argentina, Juan Peron takes part in the military coup that overthrows Ramon S. Castillo.  
1944   The U-505 becomes the first enemy submarine captured by the U.S. Navy.  
1944   Allied troops liberate Rome.  
1946   Juan Peron is installed as Argentina's president.  
1953   North Korea accepts the United Nations proposals in all major respects.
1960   The Taiwan island of Quemoy is hit by 500 artillery shells fired from the coast of Communist China. 1972  Black activist Angela Davis is found not guilty of murder, kidnapping, and criminal conspiracy.

Non Sequitur


It's Grillin' Season

It's barbecue season again, and while most people limit their grilling to meats and a few veggie sides, why not go all out and cook your dessert on the grill? As some one who has cooked all variety of things on the grill while waiting for the coals to cool down, I can tell you that grilled berries, stone fruits and pineapple are absolutely amazing. Add a little ice cream or chocolate and you've got yourself a dessert. I've also cooked donuts over a campfire (I really like roasting things on an open flame) and can assure you they would also be heavenly on the grill.

Did you know ...

That more soldiers are being discharged for misconduct than any time in history including those with PTSD

The 5 reasons Ronald Reagan couldn't make it in today'srepugican cabal

That grassroot voters need to defeat wall-street owned pols

hat Walmart thought man kidnapped his own kids because they're biracial

North Carolina Senate budget plan pushes pregnant women out of Medicaid

Largely unnoticed and unremarked in the budget recently passed by the N.C. Senate was a troubling reduction in the eligibility of pregnant women for the state’s Medicaid program.
While repugicans have made it clear they don’t want to accept federal money to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, this attempt to cut eligibility levels for women currently on Medicaid marks a new effort to limit health options for low-income North Carolinians.
The Senate provision claims lower-income pregnant women will be able to buy coverage with a state subsidy in the private insurance market, a hope that is not realistic given that the Affordable Care Act was set up assuming states would expand, not restrict Medicaid.
With this change, the N.C. Senate willfully ignores the successful bipartisan history of our expansion of Medicaid for pregnant women in our state and the terrible cost both in money and infant health such a reduction will mean.
Back in 1989, shortly after news that North Carolina had the highest infant mortality rate of any state in the nation, repugican Gov. Jim Martin created a task force to seek solutions to this national embarrassment after he already had been pushing for changes to address the problem. Solutions championed by Martin included expanding Medicaid to many more pregnant women in 1987. The infant mortality rate started to decline quickly.

Martin eventually gave the majority of the credit for the decline to the expansion of the Medicaid program to pregnant women.
After a few years, expanding Medicaid (during their pregnancy only) to pregnant women at 185 percent poverty level, an initiative called “Baby Love” in North Carolina, was a smashing success. Not only was the infant mortality rate declining but, by keeping newborns healthy and out of hospital intensive care units, the state Medicaid program was saving significant money.
By 1993, then N.C. Secretary Human Resources Robin Britt was saying, “Every dollar spent on the state Baby Love program results in a savings of $2.02 on Medicaid costs.” While the central pillar of the Baby Love program was the expansion of Medicaid to pregnant women, it was just one part of the comprehensive approach that Martin’s administration took to fight infant mortality.
Because lower-income pregnant women could easily get Medicaid, Baby Love was able to coordinate maternity care through the program and include health education for everyone and home visits for women with higher risk pregnancies. The Baby Love program, one of the first attempts in North Carolina to comprehensively not just deliver health services but to coordinate those services and make sure they were effective, became a model for North Carolina’s moves to coordinate care for the majority of people on Medicaid.
Over the years, the seed planted by the Martin administration grew into a comprehensive approach to managing the care delivered to people on Medicaid, called Community Care of North Carolina. These efforts have saved state taxpayers over a billion dollars and given effective and quality health care to the lowest-income residents of our state.
Over the last 20 years, North Carolina has gone from an annual growth rate in Medicaid costs of 14 percent to today’s 3.5 percent grown rate (the lowest in the nation). North Carolina leads the nation in reducing Medicaid growth responsibly.
It is no exaggeration to say that because of Martin’s efforts the lives of thousands of North Carolina’s children were saved and continue to be so. It is also no exaggeration to say that because of Martin, North Carolina was able to start on a path to drastically lower spending growth in its Medicaid program and save taxpayers enormous amounts of money over the years.
The repugicans currently in the N.C. Senate have ignored this history and passed a budget taking us back to a future of high costs and high infant mortality rates, a move precisely in the wrong direction.

Reality is ...


The Incredible Mental Midgetry of the tea party

Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist the Muslim. The beard is a dead giveaway
It is difficult to fathom what passes for brains in the tea party. I’m talking about shit. As in shit for brains. My dad used to say it all the time. I never knew what he meant. I do now. I do.
Cathie Adams’ stunning conclusion that Grover Norquist is a Muslim because he has a beard, left me speechless despite five years of egregious tea party stupidity.
We have seen and heard things we never thought to hear outside of a Saturday Night Live skit. But these people are completely serious. It is surreal. There is no other word for it.
Grover Norquist is a Muslim because he wears a beard. It shows that tea party portrayals of President Barack Obama stem from a common core of irrationality. Certainly if Obama can be a Muslim because he doesn’t back the idea of religious crusades, then Norquist can be a Muslim because he has a beard.
It’s no wonder they can think women’s bodies can repel a rapist’s sperm or that men are superior to women and white people to black people.
They style themselves after the American Revolution’s patriots, but gods almighty, folks, if the Founding generation’s patriots had been half this stupid, the defenders of Bunker Hill would have aimed their muskets the wrong direction and historians would still be pondering the biggest mass suicide in world history.
The crap the tea party peddles is nothing new. The ideas behind the tea party are nothing new. The world has been plagued by mental degenerates since the dawn of time and we might as well accept that demanding cogent arguments from them is going to change anything.
Let me define cogent for any tea partier reading this (I am going way out a limb here on the assumption that some of them, at least, can read):
Cogent: clear, logical, and convincing.
I used to just assume people were capable of reading, and not only reading, but comprehending. The tea party has convinced me that I was hopelessly optimistic.
I met teabonics, and my life has never been the same:
(If facts don’t matter, why should spelling?)
I discovered that insipid intellects like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Christine O’Donnell could get whole rooms full of tea party faithful to nod their heads as though Solomon himself had just spoken.
And I don’t want to hate on the women here: there are towering tea party intellects among the men too:  Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin is prominent among them but he is far from alone. He has good company in mental midgets like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and of course, Rand Paul, who may well inherit the tarnished mantle of leadership from Michele Bachmann.
There is Grover Norquist himself.
It is a good thing these people had not surfaced when I was born. I would have crawled right back into the womb. But back then, there were actually intelligent people in the repugican cabal.
For example, the repugican cabal platform did not call for the sexual servitude of women. Or announce to the world that slavery had actually been a beneficial experience for black people. Or that “there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas” (thanks for the memories, Michele Bachmann).
Or that people with beards were muslims.
I mean, look out jesus.
Jesus Says Enjoy Hell
The tea party is supposed to be the champions of good christian folk, but clearly, Cathie Adams has not picked up her bible recently. I’ll direct her to Leviticus 19:27 and 21:1-5. But hey, maybe jesus was a secret mooslim too.
Do you remember earlier this month, when Sean Hannity called Democrats “a party of lying demagogues”?
Apparently, from a tea party perspective, anyone who accurately quotes the enormously, catastrophically stupid things they say, is a “lying demagogue.” People who accurately quote them are making them martyrs, or, like Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern, of “stoning” them.
Stoning, as in the bad stoning (only liberals do the good stoning, as in, “are you stoned, or are you a liberal?”).
Can I be both?
It’s not that I’m prejudiced against stupid people. I just don’t think stupid people should be running our country. Look where shrub got us. Do we really need people who don’t understand basic scientific principles running our country?
Shouldn’t it be a pre-requisite that a candidate be smarter than a farm animal?
I said I am not prejudiced against stupid people, and I am not. I am just tired of them. Since 2008 it has been like an endless whack-a-mole marathon. And it’s not like we’re actually whacking any sense into them.
There are limits to what any receptacle can hold and theirs are just very small.
Size does matter.
The tea party plays, as all populist movements throughout history have done, to the lowest common denominator. As Benjamin Franklin said, “A mob’s a monster; heads enough but no brains.”
And that should be history’s judgment of the tea party movement of the early years of the 21st century. Anything else, and the bad guys won and are writing the books that the helots are no longer taught to read.
If tea party mean-spiritedness and mental midgetry isn’t enough to motivate a liberal to stay the course, I don’t know what is.
If nothing else, just do me this one favor: before growing a beard, think about all those well-armed tea party patriots out there looking for a mooslim terrorist to shoot before he could blow something up.
We can’t correct tea party stupidity, but to the extent we can compensate for it, common-sense (and I am not talking about tea party common sense, which seems to demand you shit in your bed) demands that we do so.

Meet austerity's millionaires

Britain's harsh austerity measures have produced a sharp decline in real income and quality of life for the majority of the country; but the number of people earning £1M+ has doubled and is at an all-time high.
Official figures reveal that 18,000 people now earn at least £1m – the highest number recorded by HM Revenue & Customs. In 2010-11, 10,000 earned more than £1m, and in 1999-2000 there were only 4,000 earning such a salary.
There is also growth further down the salary brackets, with 5,000 more earning £500,000 to £1m in 2012-13 compared with 2010-11, an extra 31,000 earning £200,000 to £500,000, and 7,000 more earning £150,000 to £200,000.
The figures will increase concerns that the trends of the 1990s and early 2000s are continuing, with a growing disparity between the top-earning 1%, many of whom work in finance, and the rest of the workforce. In sectors such as manufacturing, construction and hospitality salaries have been squeezed in recent years. A recent report showed that if low to middle earnings were to rise by the 1.1% a year above inflation achieved in the past, average annual household incomes in this group would take until 2023 to reach £22,000 – the equivalent of where they stood in 2008.

Why cities love speed cameras

A set of speed cameras in a box in a four-lane tunnel in Washington D.C. has issued over 61,000 speeding tickets in the past seven months.
The revenue from speed cameras and red-light cameras has grown to become a noteworthy piece in the District’s $12.1 billion budget since the devices made their debut 14 years ago. Overall, they took in $84.9 million in fiscal 2012. Since the current fiscal year began Oct. 1, the 10 most-profitable speed cameras have issued $29.5 million in tickets...

So far this fiscal year, the camera inside a 5-foot-tall steel box on K Street is by far the most productive in the District. After its $8.1 million in revenue, a camera on southbound D.C. 295 ranks second with 33,495 tickets valued at $4.6 million.
What to watch for:
There are orange warning signs — “Photo Enforced” — hanging beneath the 25 mph signs on either end of the tunnel, but they are missed or ignored by an average of 305 drivers a day who receive speeding tickets in the mail. 

Why Do Identical Twins End Up Having Such Different Lives?

Their genes are exactly the same, so why don't identical siblings' lives follow more similar patterns? The scientist behind a pioneering 21-year study - Professor Tim Spector, head of twin research at King's College, London - believes he has the answer.

Killers as Cult Heroes

Felons can attract support from a fringe of the public eager to take up a killer's cause, no matter how brutal the crime.

How markets allow people to violate their moral codes

Here's a press-release describing a paywalled paper in Science magazine, written by a pair of University of Bonn Economists. They conducted an experiment that showed how markets diffused responsibility for actions that ended up violating individual moral codes, so that people did things in market contexts that they had previously described as immoral when done individually.
"To study immoral outcomes, we studied whether people are willing to harm a third party in exchange to receiving money. Harming others in an intentional and unjustified way is typically considered unethical," says Prof. Falk. The animals involved in the study were so-called "surplus mice", raised in laboratories outside Germany. These mice are no longer needed for research purposes. Without the experiment, they would have all been killed. As a consequence of the study many hundreds of young mice that would otherwise all have died were saved. If a subject decided to save a mouse, the experimenters bought the animal. The saved mice are perfectly healthy and live under best possible lab conditions and medical care.
A subgroup of subjects decided between life and money in a non-market decision context (individual condition). This condition allows for eliciting moral standards held by individuals. The condition was compared to two market conditions in which either only one buyer and one seller (bilateral market) or a larger number of buyers and sellers (multilateral market) could trade with each other. If a market offer was accepted a trade was completed, resulting in the death of a mouse. Compared to the individual condition, a significantly higher number of subjects were willing to accept the killing of a mouse in both market conditions. This is the main result of the study. Thus markets result in an erosion of moral values. "In markets, people face several mechanisms that may lower their feelings of guilt and responsibility," explains Nora Szech. In market situations, people focus on competition and profits rather than on moral concerns. Guilt can be shared with other traders. In addition, people see that others violate moral norms as well.
"If I don't buy or sell, someone else will."

Asking for a precise number during negotiations can give you the upper hand

With so much on the line for job seekers in this difficult economic climate, a lot of new hires might be wondering how — or whether at all — to negotiate salary when offered a [...]

Daily Comic Relief


Fake CGI always looked cooler than the real thing

Neil Emmett writes about fake computer graphics, as so often found in 1980s sci-fi movies and TV productions that were as inexpensive as they were ahead of their time.
Primitive digital imagery has had something of a resurgence across the past decade or so, to the point where pastiches of 8-bit pixel graphics have found their way into mainstream productions such as Wreck-It Ralph. Perhaps it is time that the animators and digital artists of today rediscovered the lesser-known cousin of this aesthetic: the strange world of pseudo-CGI.

Graphene is strongest material in the world

In a new study, published in Science May 31, 2013, Columbia Engineering researchers demonstrate that graphene, even if stitched together from many small crystalline grains, is almost as strong as graphene in its perfect crystalline [...]

Four Coin Flips That Changed History

Coin flipping as a game was known to the Romans as navia aut caput (ship or head), as some coins had a ship on one side and the head of the emperor on the other. In England, this game was referred to as cross and pile.

Nowadays, flipping a coin has become the ultimate unbiased decision maker. Calling it in the air often settles friendly disputes over who gets the last slice of pizza or whether to go to the movies or bowling on Friday night. Here are four big decisions that came down to a simple question: Heads or tails?

Ten Fascinating Train Routes Across The World

The history of rail transport dates back nearly 500 years. Many railroads that passes through wonderful landscapes have until recently been a popular form of passenger transport. But with the invention of planes, these beautiful and sometimes treacherous routes are usually transformed into a tourist attractions.

Random Photo


Earth News

A new study that essentially weighed the oceans over seven years shows that a previous figure for the rate of sea level rise is dead on.
The weather outside isn't global climate change. It just behaves like it, sometimes. 
Data from the first oceanographic research expedition shows the ocean has been warming since at least 1873.

Martian Rats

Let's hope the Mars Rover has got a rat trap or two, because the Red Planet is infested with ... Martian Rats:
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity snapped this panorama(above) of the “Rocknest” site with its MastCam camera on sol 52 (Sept. 28, 2012) of the mission. Now, with a keen eye and fertile imagination, a UFO enthusiast realized there was a camouflaged rodent hiding in the rocks. Needless to say, there’s no other evidence supporting this claim, it’s just something that looks like a rodent.
But as you may have guessed, after exercising an ounce of logical thought, what was once a cute furry four-legged creature suddenly becomes… wait for it… this is a good one… arock. And there you have it ladies and gentlemen: We’ve found a rock on Mars… that looks like a rat.
Ian O'Neill of LiveScience explains this Martian oddity: Here.

First Glimpse of Moving Starlight

New research gives us the most accurate measure of the Extragalctic Background Light -- the photons, new and ancient, that are traveling through intergalactic space.

Do You Have Chimp Feet?

Human feet may be more flexible that we thought, research finds. 

Of Mammoths and Doorbells

Tissue samples are almost always heavily degraded.
Police uncover the antsy source of late-night doorbell ringing.

Sniffer dogs re-trained to ignore pot and focus on hard drugs

When Dusty, a 19-month-old black Labrador, walked past a pipe full of marijuana during a recent police search of a house, he was doing exactly what his handler hoped.

The newest drug-sniffing dog on the police force in Bremerton, near Seattle, is one of a few police dogs in Washington state that are not trained to point out pot during searches. Other police departments are considering or in the midst of re-training their dogs to ignore pot as well, part of the new reality in a state where voters legalized marijuana use.

"We wanted to train our dog on what was truly illegal substances, that would be heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine," said Dusty's handler, Officer Duke Roessel, who added that Dusty found 5lbs of meth during that recent search. Police departments in Bremerton, Bellevue and Seattle, as well as the Washington state patrol, have either put the dogs through pot desensitization training or plan not to train them for marijuana detection.

The law decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of the drug for individuals over 21 years old. It also barred the distribution and growth of marijuana outside the state-approved system. Police say that having a K-9 unit that doesn't alert to pot will lessen challenges to obtaining search warrants because the dog won't be pointing out possible legal amounts of the drug. Traditionally, dogs are trained to alert on the smell of marijuana, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and cocaine. They can't tell which one it is or how much of each there is.

The Albino Wallaby Joey

When a weird-looking wallaby joey was born at the Linton Zoo, keepers knew he was special right away and even named him ALF (Alien Life Form). What they didn't know was that little ALF would soon grow up to be an absolutely stunning albino wallaby.

Though he's already half-grown now, he's a bit of a mama's boy and still tries to climb into mom's pouch for a little comfort.

"Holding nature's land speed record for 10 million consecutive years"

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years

The insect is so large — as big as a human hand — it's been dubbed a "tree lobster." It was thought to be extinct, but some enterprising entomologists scoured a barren hunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and found surviving Lord Howe Island stick insects.

Animal Pictures

Mr. Mule Deer Comes for a Visit by NaturalLight on Flickr.