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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.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Daily Drift

See the sights of nature with a friend today ...

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

Just do it! ...

Today is Let It Go Day 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Minsk, Belarus
Amman, Jordan
Santiago, Chile
Warsaw, Poland
Lima, Peru
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Tbilisi, Georgia
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Vancouver, Canada
Lagos, Nigeria
Kuwait, Kuwait
San Jose, Costa Rica
L'viv, Ukraine
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Ankara and Isparta Turkey
Peshawar and Karachi, Pakistan
Semarang and Tangerang Indonesia
Casablanca and Mekenes, Morocco
Birmingham and Southampton, England
Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
Cebu City, Sampaloc, Manila and Davao City Philippines
Kota, Kinabalu, Puchong, Kampar, Johor Bahru, Perai and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

And across the USA in cities such as:
Flossmor, Sandwich, Manitou Springs and Greenacres*

*And, No, that's not the old TV sitcom either it is an honest-to-gosh-real-life town in the USA

Today in History

1683   William Penn signs a friendship treaty with the Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania.  
1700   Russia gives up its Black Sea fleet as part of a truce with the Ottoman Empire.  
1758   British and Hanoverian armies defeat the French at Krefeld in Germany.  
1760   Austrian forces defeat the Prussians at Landshut, Germany.  
1848   A bloody insurrection of workers erupts in Paris.  
1860   The U.S. Secret Service is created to arrest counterfeiters and protect the president.  
1863   Confederate forces overwhelm a Union garrison at the Battle of Brasher City in Louisiana.  
1865   Confederate General Stand Watie surrenders his army at Fort Towson, in the Oklahoma Territory. 1884   A Chinese Army defeats the French at Bacle, Indochina.  
1885   Former general and president Ulysses S. Grant dies at the age of 63.  
1902   Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy renew the Triple Alliance for a 12-year duration.  
1934   Italy gains the right to colonize Albania after defeating the country.  
1944   In one of the largest air strikes of the war, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force sends 761 bombers against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.  
1951   Soviet U.N. delegate Jacob Malik proposes cease-fire discussions in the Korean War.  
1952   The U.S. Air Force bombs power plants on Yalu River, Korea.
1964   Henry Cabot Lodge resigns as the U.S. envoy to Vietnam and is succeeded by Maxwell Taylor. 1966  Civil Rights marchers in Mississippi are dispersed by tear gas.

Non Sequitur


Supermoon is Today

vThe full moon on today will be the closest that the moon gets during its full phase this year, so some are calling a "Supermoon." Yes, the moon will appear larger because it's closer to us, but according to Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, the effect is not as pronounced as it has been hyped to be. The moon will appear about 1% larger than last month's full moon, or about 10-15% larger than the smallest full moon of the year. Here's the science behind the moon's differing appearance:
As it happens, the Moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse, not a circle, so the distance between us and the Moon changes all the time. When the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit we call it perigee, and apogee when it’s farthest. These happen once per lunar orbit, of course, about 13 times per year each. This year, the average perigee distance is about 363,000 kilometers (225,000 miles), and the average apogee distance about 405,000 km (251,000 miles) [Note for math and astronomy pedants: astronomers measure distances using the centers of objects, so the distance to the surface of the Moon from the surface of the Earth is a bit smaller than this, by the sum of the radii of the two objects: about 8000 km.]

But those are averages; the actual numbers month by month are all a bit different. The full Moon on June 23 will occur when the Moon is just a hair under 357,000 km (221,300 miles) away, the closest perigee of the year. The phase of the Moon and its distance from Earth are not connected in any way; a full Moon can happen when the Moon is at apogee, perigee, or any point in between. It so happens this June 23 full Moon occurs just 20 minutes after perigee, so it really is about as close as it can get. That’s pretty nifty timing!
So while nothing out of the ordinary will happen during the "Supermoon," you should still go take a look, because the moon is always neat! More

Supermoon' Science

On Sunday the moon will be at its closest point to Earth.

Solar splashback generates new insight to stars

On June 7, 2011, our Sun erupted, blasting tons of hot plasma into space. Some of that plasma splashed back down onto the Sun’s surface, sparking bright flashes of ultraviolet light. This dramatic event may [...]

Photo Shows Earth's Summer Solstice from Space

A satellite photo reveals a sparkling blue Earth dotted with clouds to mark the northern summer solstice.

Sun Celebrates Solstice with Flare

Summer has arrived for the Northern Hemisphere and, as if to celebrate, the sun unleashed a solar flare and coronal mass ejection. 

Random Photos

Did you know ...

That everyone's quitting Facebook

Here's the ACLU's interactive map of abortion access attacks in 2013

How America became a third world country

That the first paperless library will open in San Antonio

Bernie Sanders’ Youth Jobs Plan That Will Create 400,000 Jobs Advances In The Senate

sanders-mcconnellA bit of good news came out of the Senate as Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that his Youth Jobs Bill has advanced, and will be added to the Senate’s immigration reform bill.
Senate leaders announced today that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan to spend $1.5 billion creating jobs for 400,000 young people age 16-24 has been added to the immigration bill. Sen. Sanders said, “At a time when real unemployment is close to 14 percent and even higher among young people and minorities, it is absolutely imperative that we create millions of decent-paying jobs in our country. The establishment of a youth employment program for 400,000 young people is a good step forward but in the months to come we must do even more.”
Theoretically, Sen. Sanders should have bipartisan support. It is not a government mandate, but a grant program that would give the states extra money for job training and creation. It is a practical plan that guarantees every state grant money to help them solve the problem of youth unemployment.
As we wrote when the plan was first proposed, the bill is modeled after the stimulus, and President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The Youth Jobs Act would provide $3 billion to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the country’s low income and economically disadvantaged young people. The legislation would also provide skills and job training. The Department of Labor would provide $1.5 billion in grants to states to provide job opportunities. States could also use the money to identify employment opportunities in emerging occupations, or occupations that will help their own communities through the public or non-profit sector. Another $1.5 billion in grants would be given to state and local communities to provide job training and apprenticeship programs. All states would receive a minimum of $15 million for summer and year round jobs. The rest of the funding would be used to target areas of high youth unemployment and poverty.
In a congress where job creation is a completely ignored priority, what Bernie Sanders has managed to accomplish is huge. It is possible that the Senate could vote down his amendment, but getting the amendment included in a piece of legislation that is expected to pass with a great deal of bipartisan support is important. There still are a few members of Congress who understand the importance of job creation, and are trying to do something.
Sen. Sanders gets it. The government doesn’t have to give people jobs, but it can give cash strapped states the resources that they need to innovate and create. A New Deal style or Great Society type program would never pass the Senate. This bill may not pass either, but it’s a start. The youth jobs plan could be the first major legislative step in deal with the stubborn problems surrounding unemployment.
Much more needs to be done. There are millions of middle aged workers who lost their jobs during the recession, and have not been able to find work for years. As the nation gets caught up in scandals and partisan bickering, it is easy to think that the long term unemployed have been forgotten.
Not everyone has forgotten. Bernie Sanders is still fighting, and his battle should inspire others to remember that this country’s government is supposed to be for, of, and by the people.

The Patriot Act violates the Constitution

From Crooks and Liars
Remember when we were told that the scary powers of the Patriot Act would only be used against terrorists? Good times! Imagine an open-ended, secret audit of your business finances -- just in case. Just as we saw RICO abused by the FBI in the 80s and 90s, now they're using the Patriot Act to sidestep the legal process for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism.

Michael Isokoff:

    The FBI has dramatically increased its use of a controversial provision of the Patriot Act to secretly obtain a vast store of business records of U.S. citizens under President Barack Obama, according to recent Justice Department reports to Congress. The bureau filed 212 requests for such data to a national security court last year - a 1,000-percent increase from the number of such requests four years earlier, the reports show.

    The FBI's increased use of the Patriot Act's "business records" provision - and the wide ranging scope of its requests -- is getting new scrutiny in light of last week's disclosure that that the provision was used to obtain a top-secret national security order requiring telecommunications companies to turn over records of millions of telephone calls.

    Taken together, experts say, those revelations show the government has broadly interpreted the Patriot Act provision as enabling it to collect data not just on specific individuals, but on millions of Americans with no suspected terrorist connections. And it shows that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court accepted that broad interpretation of the law.

    "That they were using this (provision) to do mass collection of data is definitely the biggest surprise," said Robert Chesney, a top national security lawyer at the University of Texas Law School. "Most people who followed this closely were not aware they were doing this. We've gone from producing records for a particular investigation to the production of all records for a massive pre-collection database. It's incredibly sweeping."

Reality is ...

Hershey Canada pleads guilty of price-fixing

Hershey Canada Inc. faces a fine of US$3.8 million (CA$4 million) after pleading guilty to its role in fixing the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada.
Canada's Competition Bureau said Friday that the chocolate manufacturer admitted in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that it conspired, agreed or arranged to fix the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada in 2007.
The competition bureau says that Hersey also admitted that in 2007 senior employees communicated with employees at Nestlé Canada Inc., Mars Canada Inc. and an independent distributor network to exchange competitively sensitive pricing information about chocolate confectionery products in Canada.
The bureau earlier this month laid criminal charges against Nestle SA's Canada arm, Mars Inc.'s Canada division and ITWAL Ltd., a network of independent wholesale distributors.

Judge orders mental evaluation for ricin suspect

by Chandler Friedman and Chelsea J. Carter
Texas actress accused of sending ricin-laced letters to Obama, Bloomberg Shannon Richardson ricin arrest 
A federal judge ordered a mental evaluation for a Texas actress charged with sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last month.
Shannon Richardson, 35, was ordered to undergo the evaluation within 30 days, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Texarkana. She is charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The request was made by Richardson's attorney. Richardson is in federal custody.
Richardson, also known as Shannon Rogers and Shannon Guess, initially told the FBI that her husband, Nathaniel, had sent the ricin-laced letters, but a polygraph exam found her to be "deceptive" on the matter, authorities said.
Investigators found that her computer storage devices contained the text of threatening letters sent to the president, but the couple's computer records show her husband couldn't have printed them out because he was at work at the time, an FBI arrest affidavit said.
Richardson later told investigators she mailed the ricin-tainted letters, but she claimed that her husband typed the letters and forced her to print and mail them, the affidavit said.
Her husband denied involvement and claimed his wife wanted to end their marriage and leave him, the affidavit said. He told investigators that his wife was "intentionally misleading" them, the court papers said.
Nathaniel Richardson filed for divorce last week. His wife is pregnant, according to divorce papers.
In a statement earlier this month to E! News, Shannon Richardson said: "I really can't say much at all, but the accusation couldn't be further from the truth."
Richardson has had minor roles in TV series, including "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries."

Man remodeling an old house finds treasure

In his decade of working construction and home remodeling, David Gonzalez always dreamed of finding some hidden treasure in the demolition work. He’d even put dollar bills in new walls for folks to unearth in the future.

So he chalks up to karma the 1938 Action Comics #1 book he found amid old newspapers used to insulate a wall of a fixer-upper he was gutting in Elbow Lake, Minn. The old comic book, from June 1938, features a new character named Superman lifting a car on its cover...
The comic could have been worth more had it not been for a heated argument with one of his in-laws... When his wife’s aunt grabbed the comic book amid all the excitement of the discovery, he grabbed it back and tore the back cover. Experts downgraded the comic book’s condition to a 1.5 on a 10-point scale...
Still, it’s going for more than 10 times what Gonzalez paid for the abandoned house in Elbow Lake.. He and his wife went to the Grant County courthouse and researched the owner, who told them a neighboring restaurant had offered $10,000 to buy it. They planned to demolish the house and put in a parking lot. “So I offered $100 more and got it for $10,100,” he said.

Is Connecticut the Best State Now?

The results of the American Human Development Index are out, ranking each state on livability by taking into account wealth, health, and education. This year, Connecticut edged out Massachusetts as the best overall state to live in.
* In terms of the overall index—a measure of how well states are “improving people’s well-being and expanding their freedoms and opportunities”—Connecticut and Massachusetts are followed by New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

* The bottom five states are Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
The report also has some interesting data, if you compare states that score closely to each other on one value, such as wealth, but low on others. Read the highlights at Slate.

Explore each state's results in an interactive map. Here .

How To Get Rich In Your Country Of Choice

How do the rich get rich? The answer depends on geography. This infographic breaks down, for various regions, how the rich earned their dough. In the United States it's by savings through earnings. In the Middle East it's inheritance, with 49 percent of respondents saying they got their dough passed on to them.

The infographic still leaves a couple questions open. How is 'wealthy' being defined here? And what can we attribute to the differences: culture, laws, or something else? Either way, go ahead and use this as your field guide to your very own cash-filled swimming pool.

Drunk man arrested after letting his seven-year-old son drive him home

A man has been charged over allegedly allowing his seven-year-old son to drive in the early hours of the morning because he had too much to drink. A police patrol noticed the child behind the wheel after the car drove along The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, without its headlights on, at about 3am on Friday.

It is alleged his father was drunk in the passenger seat beside him. The boy and his his father were visiting the Gold Coast from New South Wales, police said. It is understood the boy may have driven nearly 10 kilometers from Southport Spit into the heart of Surfers Paradise. The 41-year-old man has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and adult in charge under the influence of liquor.

He is due to face the Southport Magistrates Court on July 3. The boy is in the care of relatives who traveled from New South Wales after the incident. The news has astounded Queensland authorities. ‘‘I shake my head and am shocked by the madness of this,’’ Transport Minister Scott Emerson said.

RACQ senior road safety adviser Joel Tucker said the matter could have had a devastating outcome. ‘‘Children at that age don’t have the mental or physical capabilities to drive a car safely,’’ Mr Tucker said. He said apart from the obvious physical problems with someone so young driving a car, the child’s inability to understand basic road rules or how a car operates makes it highly dangerous.

Daily Comic Relief

Medieval Manuscript Mended with Silk Thread

There's a hole in your Fifteenth Century manuscript. How are you going to fix it? At some point during the history of this manuscript housed at Uppsala University in Sweden, the solution was to embroider the holes.

Ice Diving in the Otherworldly Glow of Russia’s White Sea

Beneath the waves of the White Sea, the only natural light is the ghostly green glow shining through the ice above, which makes for amazingly beautiful if unusual photos. More

Sheep-Eating Plant Opens Up After 15 Years

A gruesome plant blooms in the United Kingdom after more than a decade.

Large dinosaur bones found in Queensland, Australia

A graveyard of large dinosaur bones has been discovered in outback Queensland. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum's palaeontologists uncovered the fossils during a dig near Winton, in central west Queensland.
Large dinosaur bones found in Qld, Australia
Palaeontologist Stephen Poropat directs Milton Gosley and Harry Elliott
excavate a large sauropod tibia [Credit: AAOD]
Field palaeontologist David Elliott said he's not seen this many large dinosaur bones in one area for a decade.

"Most digs involve a lot of digging in search of the bone deposit but that wasn't the case with this one," Elliott said.

"As fast as we tried to dig around one bone, we uncovered another - there were bones everywhere - giant limbs, vertebrae and two meter long ribs stacked across each other and joined together by rocky concretions."

Large dinosaur bones found in Qld, Australia
Trish Sloan and Carl Webster piece together a small femur found as surface fragments
in the first week of the dig [Credit: AAOD]
The museum's research associate Dr Stephen Poropat says the discovery will go a long way towards filling in the gaps of knowledge of Winton's ancient giants.

"These bones belong to a huge animal that is up there with some of Australia's largest dinosaurs," Poropat said.

"The really exciting thing about this site is the number of bones we have found of the same animal. We suspect that it could be Wintonotitan but as very few complete bones of Wintonotitan have been found, we will need to wait until the bones have been prepared before we are sure."

He said it could be a completely new species too.



Upping The Cute factor

"Jerry (rescued from kill shelter) loves to smell flowers"

Beagle-boxer-basset mix wins World's Ugliest Dog

A huge-headed, duck-footed mix of beagle, boxer and basset hound was the upset winner Friday at the 25th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest.

Walle (WAHL-ee), a 4-year-old mutt from Chico, Calif., who was entered at the last minute, was judged most unsightly of 30 dogs at the Northern California competition.

"This dog looked like he's been photo-shopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals," judge Brian Sobel said.

Walle overcame the dominance in recent years by nearly hairless Chihuahuas, Chinese cresteds, or combinations of the two.

Owner Tammie Barbee got the dog when he was three months old.

"People come up to me and say that dog is not right," Barbee said, "but I love him."

Judges said they were especially impressed by Walle's bizarre waddle of a walk.

Walle wins $1,500 and will make several network TV appearances next week, including NBC's "Today" show and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

The contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds gets worldwide attention, with media from around the world traveling to Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.

Organizers say the dogs are judged for their "natural ugliness in both pedigree and mutt classes."
Sorry but we just don't see it.

The Great Barrier Grief

UNESCO gave Australia a reprieve of one year to determine whether the country is taking enough protective measures to keep the World Heritage Site from being labeled as a site "in danger." 

Life in Australia's Great Barrier Reef is threatened from all sides. What's at risk?

Animals Know More Than You Think

Chickens have better numeracy and spacial awareness skills than young children, and pigs use mirrors. Humans might have to rethink the definitions of 'bird-brain' and 'pig ignorance.'

According to a new report, chickens appear to be much more intelligent than previously thought, with better numeracy and spacial awareness skills than young children. According to Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, studies over the past 20 years have revealed their finely honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead.

Animal Pictures


Twins by Buck Shreck.