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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.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
True enough ...! 
Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

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Today is National Garage Sale Day  
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Jerusalem, Israel
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Today in History

Today in History
955 Otto organizes his nobles and defeats the invading Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in Germany.
1539 King Francis of France declares that all official documents are to be written in French, not Latin.
1557 French troops are defeated by Emmanuel Philibert's Spanish army at St. Quentin, France.
1582 Russia ends its 25-year war with Poland.
1628 The Swedish warship Vasa capsizes and sinks in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage.
1779 Louis XVI of France frees the last remaining serfs on royal land.
1831 William Driver of Salem, Massachusetts, is the first to use the term "Old Glory" in connection with the American flag, when he gives that name to a large flag aboard his ship, the Charles Daggett.
1846 The Smithsonian Institution is established in Washington through the bequest of James Smithson.
1864 Confederate Commander John Bell Hood sends his cavalry north of Atlanta to cut off Union General William Sherman's supply lines.
1911 The House of Lords in Great Britain gives up its veto power, making the House of Commons the more powerful House.
1913 The Treaty of Bucharest ends the Second Balkan War.
1941 Great Britain and the Soviet Union promise aid to Turkey if it is attacked by the AxisPowers.
1949 National Military Establishment renamed Department of Defense.
1950 President Harry S. Truman calls the National Guard to active duty to fight in the Korean War.
1954 English jockey Sir Gordon Richards retires with a world-record total of 4,870 victories, later broken by Johnny Longden of the United States. Richards was the first jockey ever to be knighted.
1954 The groundbreaking ceremony for the St. Lawrence Seaway is held at Massena, New York.
1960 NASA launches Discoverer 13 satellite; it would become the first object ever recovered from orbit.
1970 Rocker Jim Morrison tried in Miami on "lewd & lascivious behavior." Although convicted and sentenced to jail, he was free on bond while his case was being appealed when he died in Paris, July 3, 1971.
1975 David Frost purchases the exclusive rights to interview Richard Nixon.
1977 US and Panama sign Panama Canal Zone accord, guaranteeing Panama would have control of the canal after 1999.
1994 The last British troops leave Hong Kong. After 153 years of British rule, the island is returned to China.
2003 For the first time ever, temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit when thermometers hit 101.3 F (38.5 Celsius)  at Kent.
2006 All toiletries are banned from commercial airplanes after Scotland Yard disrupts a a major terrorist plot involving liquid explosives. After a few weeks, the toiletries ban was modified.

Non Sequitur

Daily Comic Relief
The 'Truth hurts' Edition

Can Fruit Kick Candy to the Curb?

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Super-sweet, novelty-flavored fruit varieties bridge the gap between fruit and candy, and may help fruit compete against candy in the market.

Did you know ...

Did You Know ...
That "almost all economic pundrity is moralizing in disguise"

That sexual assault unchecked as defense department ducks reform

That the court strikes down Arkansas law to arm teachers

That Schrodinger's cat comes alive in new experiments

That's Disgusting

Odds and Sods
The awe-inspiring offspring of our industriousness can live through the ages, but the gross byproducts of our civilization can also cause lasting damage.
Not everything that goes down the drain gets flushed away; you'd be surprised what can come floating back up.

Idiocy Abounds

Daily Comic Relief
Idiocy and Lunacy go hand in hand and Reason has left the building

The Walter Koessler Project

Odds and Sods

Lieutenant Walter Koessler was a German officer in World War I who took hundreds of photographs during his service. They were kept in a personal photo album for nearly 100 years, until his great-grandson Dean Putney began scanning them for posterity. As they are prepared, Putney is publishing them online. These pictures give us a rare opportunity to see the daily life on the "other side" of that war. More

The 7 Most Famous Works Of Art Lost Forever

Odds and Sods
The problem with some of the most wonderful works of art made through history is their irreplaceability. The Colossus of Rhodes, destroyed in an earthquake; Vermeer's The Concert (picture above) and John Banvard's Mississippi River Panorama, among others, came in a time when art couldn't be replicated, and so their uniqueness is gone for all eternity.

Great works of art have been burned, torn and stolen, lost to the public and never seen again.
Priceless works of art by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin may have been burned by a mother trying to protect her son from being charged with art robbery.

Changes in language and word use reflect our shifting values

Odds and Sods

Old Hollywood - 1930's Edition

Pictures say a thousand words

Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow

Miss Utah contestant arrested for tossing DIY bombs at people

Odds and Sods
Not so pretty: Kendra Gill, who was crowned "Miss Riverton, Utah" in June and was listed as a contestant in the upcoming Miss Utah pageant, was arrested early Saturday morning with three friends after reportedly throwing homemade bombs at people and homes. The group "admitted to buying plastic bottles, aluminum foil and household chemicals" with which to make the devices. No one was hurt, but the caustic materials could have seriously injured people, say cops.

Inventor trying to save the world from environmental destruction sparked bomb scare

Odds and Sods
A green-minded Swedish inventor who accidentally triggered neighboring Denmark's terror police has apologized for scaring people with his wire-laced car, saying his intention was only to save the world from "environmental destruction". Dan Zethraeus, who works as a television director for Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT), had driven over to Denmark and was making his way back to his car on Tuesday when he encountered police barricades.
Unaware to what could have caused the scrum, he retreated to a nearby cafe. When his phone rang, it was a Swedish reporter asking why his car was at the center of a large-scale terrorism alert operation in Copenhagen, as wires snaking up from under the chassis over the door had set off their suspicions. "I rushed off to the police and explained that it was an invention," Zethraeus said. "The bomb squad smiled a bit and weren't particularly upset, but the police were quite tense."

He noted that he had driven his car around with the odd contraption for about a month back home in Sweden, without causing any misunderstandings with law enforcement. "It's an invention and not meant to be perceived as a terror threat," Zethraeus said of his invention, an environmental system which he had hoped to patent in the not-too.distant future. "But I guess that's gone up in smoke, as there's been so much attention due to this."
And while the Swedish inventor said he was sincerely sorry for scaring the Danes, he also said he wished they'd run his license plates through the register and called him first so he could explain. "It wouldn't have taken more than a few minutes in such an important case," he said. "I'm sorry that people were frightened, that's not what I wanted, I just wanted to save the world from environmental destruction."

Telepathy may be involved in Turkish engineers' deaths

Odds and Sods
Telepathy could have been used to compel four young Turkish engineers to kill themselves, it's been suggested. A report by the Inspection Board of the Prime Ministry recently completed on the mysterious deaths of some engineers working for a Turkish defense industry giant, ASELSAN, maintains that the young engineers may have been driven to commit suicide after being exposed to telepathic attacks aimed at destroying them psychologically.

Four engineers working for ASELSAN died in mysterious and consecutive deaths in the years 2006 and 2007. Following the initial probe conducted after the deaths of Hüseyin Başbilen, Halim Ünsem Ünal, Evrim Yançeken and Burhaneddin Volkan, the press reported that the unexpected deaths of the four engineers were believed to be suicides, but question marks about the deaths have lingered on, with the families of the victims usually skeptical about their suicides.
Last year, the Inspection Board of the Prime Ministry launched a probe into the engineers' deaths. After completing a one-year investigation into the incidents, the Inspection Board has drawn up a final report. One of the most striking things in the report is the suggestion that the four engineers may have been led to commit suicide after being subjected to telepathic attacks aimed to induce depression.

Included in its report was a study by a neuropsychologist, Nevzat Tarhan, who asks prosecutors not to disregard the possibility of telepathy causing severe distress and headaches in the victims, giving them a tendency to kill themselves. Brainwaves could have been sent from 1.5km (just under a mile) away, Tarhan said. The report apparently doesn't offer a clear answer as to whether the deaths were murder or suicide but it's been submitted to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office for further investigation.

US tourist accidentally snapped finger off priceless 600-year-old statue in Florence

Odds and Sods
An American tourist has accidentally snapped the finger off a priceless 14th century statue in Florence. The unnamed man was reportedly spotted by a security guard as he began touching the statue and trying to measure its finger, but attempts to stop him came too late and the digit broke off.

The incident took place in the Italian city’s world famous Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, with the 600-year-old exhibit believed to be the work of eminent medieval sculptor Giovanni d'Ambrogio. The tourist is said to have apologized for damaging the priceless artwork, but could still receive a large fine for his careless behavior.
Before any financial penalty can be arranged, however, the American tourist has suffered the full force of Florentine fury over the incident, which locals consider symptomatic of a modern thoughtless and disrespectful attitude towards fragile ancient artworks. Timothy Verdun, the head of the museum and coincidentally an American himself, condemned the tourist’s behavior

He said: “In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, ‘Do not touch the works’”. Mr Verdun added that the price of any repair was not yet known and that, even if it was considered affordable, there was no guarantee that the restoration would be a success

Town swallowed by sinkhole

Odds and Sods
Bayou Corne, Louisiana is being swallowed by a massive sinkhole. Yes, the whole town. OK, it is a small town. But it's definitely a massive industrial disaster. Tim Murphy reports for Mother Jones.

Daily Comic Relief

Daily Comic Relief
The Gym

Natural affinities – unrecognized until now – may have set stage for life to ignite

Scientific Minds Want To Know
The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists.
Natural affinities – unrecognized until now – may have set stage for life to ignite
A computer graphic of an RNA molecule [Credit: Richard Feldmann]
It could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life came about on the planet, according to Sarah Keller, UW professor of chemistry, and Roy Black, UW affiliate professor of bioengineering, co-authors of a paper published online July 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists have long thought that life started when the right combination of bases and sugars produced self-replicating ribonucleic acid, or RNA, inside a rudimentary “cell” composed of fatty acids. Under the right conditions, fatty acids naturally form into bag-like structures similar to today’s cell membranes.

In testing one of the fatty acids representative of those found before life began – decanoic acid – the scientists discovered that the four bases in RNA bound more readily to the decanoic acid than did the other seven bases tested.

By concentrating more of the bases and sugar that are the building blocks of RNA, the system would have been primed for the next steps, reactions that led to RNA inside a bag.

“The bag is the easy part. Making RNA from scratch is very hard,” Keller said. “If the parts that come together to make RNA happen to preferentially stick to the surfaces of bags, then everything gets easier.”

The scientists also discovered a second, mutually reinforcing mechanism: The same bases of RNA that preferentially stuck to the fatty acid also protected the bags from disruptive effects of salty seawater. Salt causes the fatty acid bags to clump together instead of remaining as individual “cells.”

The researchers found that several sugars also give protective benefit but the sugar from RNA, ribose, is more effective than glucose or even xylose, a sugar remarkably similar to ribose, except its components are arranged differently.

The ability of the building blocks of RNA to stabilize the fatty acid bags simplifies one part of the puzzle of how life started, Keller said.

“Taken together, these findings yield mutually reinforcing mechanisms of adsorption, concentration and stabilization that could have driven the emergence of primitive cells,” she said.

Black, lead author of the paper, originated the ideas behind the work. A retired biochemist with Amgen Inc., Black contributed funding for the work to Keller’s lab – the work also received National Science Foundation funding – and became a UW affiliate professor volunteering in the Keller lab.

“I think that a pretty common story is that some young hotshot comes to UW to start her or his career and does a risky experiment that uncovers new fundamental science,” Keller said.  “Here we have an older hotshot who came to UW at the end of his Amgen career to do a risky experiment that uncovers new fundamental science.

“I think the story also emphasizes that people don’t become scientists just because it is a good job – they do it because they love it,” she said. “Roy worked for a year and a half straight, volunteering his time to UW on something he didn’t get paid for, just for the joy and the curiosity.”

Human News

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Talking with your hands may have begun with fish, according to research presented by Andrew Bass, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual meeting July 3-6 in Valencia, Spain. […]

Using direct human brain recordings, a research team from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and Thomas Jefferson University has identified a new type of cell in the brain that helps people to keep […]

Archaeology News

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Israeli archaeologists discover Byzantine coins and gold jewelry in a garbage pit.
Some of the oldest art in the United States maps humanity's place in the cosmos, as aligned with an ancient religion.

Earth News

Planet Earth
The world lost record amounts of Arctic sea ice in 2012 and spewed out all-time high levels of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels.

Astronomical News

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Europa has only been seen from afar, but its aura of intrigue has inspired scientists to study ideas as to how to explore the icy Jovian moon.
We have much in common with rocks.
The origin of the mysterious short-duration gamma-ray bursts have eluded astronomers for decades, but a recent observation of a "kilonova" by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope has finally nailed down the culprit.
Every 11 years or so, the sun does something quite profound -- its magnetic field completely swaps polarity. That time has come.
"Making Waves" is a wonderful reminder of the struggles faced by women scientists in a time when they were so few, and a celebration of one bright mind that gave us so much.
Galileo invented the modern telescope, but centuries of development preceded that historic day.
After exhaustive computer modeling of the orbit of the asteroid that hit the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in February, scientists suspect the space rock may not have been alone.

More than 12 billion years ago a star exploded, ripping itself apart and blasting its remains outward in twin jets at nearly the speed of light. At its death it glowed so brightly that it […]

Old Hollywood - 1950's Edition

Pictures say a thousand words

Joan Collins - Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
Joan Collins - Land of the Pharaohs (1955)

Here’s What Happens Inside You When a Mosquito Bites

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Here you see the mouthparts of a mosquito enter a mouse's skin under a microscope. Eww!
For a start, look how flexible the mouthparts are! The tip can almost bend at right angles, and probes between the mouse’s cells in a truly sinister way. This allows the mosquito to search a large area without having to withdraw its mouthparts and start over.

“I was genuinely amazed to see the footage,” says James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who studies mosquitoes. “I had read that the mouthparts were mobile within the skin, but actually seeing it in real time was superb. What you assume to be a rigid structure, because it has to get into the skin like a needle, is actually flexible and fully controllable. The wonders of the insect body never cease to amaze me!”
Ed Yong has an explanation of what's going on during a mosquito bite, plus more videos, including one where the mouthparts find a blood vessel. The article might make you itch. More

Forget Elephants! Dolphins Have the Longest Memory

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Forget elephants! A new study has shown that bottlenose dolphins have the longest memory in the animal kingdom.
Each bottlenose dolphin has a unique whistle that fuctions like a name. Research by Jason Bruck, animal behaviorist at the University of Chicago, shows that dolphins remember the unique whistles of other dolphins they've lived with, even after 20 years of separation.
Bruck got the idea for the study when he visited his family and was greeted by his brother's dog, who is usually wary of strangers. The dog remembered him from Bruck's last visit four years ago. That got him thinking, "How long do other animals remember each other?"
Dolphins, it turns out, are the perfect test subject. According to Christine Dell'Amore of National Geographic News:
[Bruck] collected data from 43 bottlenose dolphins at six facilities in the U.S. and Bermuda, members of a breeding consortium that has swapped dolphins for decades and kept careful records of each animal's social partners.
He first played recordings of lots of unfamiliar whistles to the dolphins in the study until the subjects got bored and stopped inspecting the underwater speaker making the sounds.
At this point, he played the whistles of the listening dolphins' old friends.
When the dolphins heard these familiar whistles, they would perk up and approach the speakers, often whistling their own name and listening for a response.
Furthermore, it seems like the dolphins actually enjoyed hearing whistles from their old friends. Bruck added that a set of cheeky young dolphins came up to him and whistled the names of other dolphins they wanted to hear next.
Read the rest over at National Geographic

Dolphin caught 10lb cod and gave it to family for their dinner

Animal News
A family who watched a dolphin leaping in front of their kayaks were stunned after it caught a huge fish and dropped it in front of them for their dinner. The group had spent several minutes enjoying the mischievous mammal which started swimming around their canoes off the Devon coast. But to their astonishment the friendly animal then dived down and dropped a massive cod next to Lucy Watkins, 14. The dolphin then resurfaced and began nudging the 10lb fish towards the teenager.
Lucy and her grandparents wondered whether they should pick up the floating offering in case the dolphin wanted it for himself. But the dolphin then resurfaced seconds later with his own fish, this time a seabass, and began tucking in. The family gratefully scooped up the cod, before taking it home to nearby Combe Martin to cook for their tea. Lucy said: “He definitely wanted me to have his fish. He first dropped it 20ft away but then pushed it to within 5ft of my kayak. Everyone was watching on the beach and we caused quite a stir when we paddled in with the cod.”

Lucy was astonished by the friendly dolphin which gave her dinner. She said: “It was amazing to see the dolphin. I have always had a love for them so going out to see one was very exciting. As we got out of Combe Martin Bay we started to see the dolphin splashing around I couldn’t believe my eyes it was so much bigger then I thought it would be. Once it started going under my kayak I felt comfortable with it and so I started playing with it, splashing my hands and feet in the water.
“I made me happy enough, and then all of a sudden it gave me the fish. To have this awesome creature which I had loved since I was little to give me a fish that it would normally have for dinner made me feel on top of the world.” Grandma Nina added: “It was as if he was saying to Lucy ‘Don’t worry, now I’ve got a fish to play with and so have you. This is mine for my tea, you have that one for yours.’ It seemed rude to refuse him so we took the fish and had cod and chips for supper. It was massive – I’ve still got half in the freezer.”

Puppy made 10 mile, 18-hour trek across unfamiliar territory in bid to find friendly face

Animal News
A puppy who is terrified of humans has completed an incredible 18-hour journey to return to the loving arms of his owner. Brieze, the eight-month old collie cross, was given up for dead when he escaped from a house in Staverton, Gloucestershire, on Thursday and disappeared into a 400-acre cornfield. But Brieze made an incredible 10-mile journey across unfamiliar territory and the busy M5 to the home of his owner's parents in Leckhampton.
Owner Sarah Walter, 49, of Up Hatherley, said: "He was with a carer for the day because I had to take my other dog for some chiropractor treatment. He had been there before and he knows her. But I had a phone call to say he had escaped. He's a bit like an eel and gets past you if he wants to. He had managed to squeeze through the secure paddock and into an exterior area. The police called to say he had been sighted on the M5 and had been hit by a car. They told me that Brieze had been hit as he crossed the M5. They added that he had run off, but I believed that being hit at 70 mph would not be survivable.
"I was inconsolable. I didn't know what to do. I didn't think he would have run. I thought he would have stayed in the field. I spent the next four hours searching on foot and in my car, up and down the motorway and across the surrounding farmland without success. Eighteen hours later I got a call at 4.50am from my mum saying Brieze was barking outside their window. He has an extreme terror of all humans. He's only just been starting to accept my parents." Sarah added: "How he got to my parents' house, I don't know. He wouldn't have had a clue how to get there and every time I've gone there with him, I've done the journey in a car. He must have an in-built navigation system.

"My mum just stood back from the door and he ran in. He will have been running for 18 hours. He's still shattered now. He's come through his journey quite well." Brieze has developed an extreme fear of humans which manifests itself in him charging and barking at people and circling them. He is being referred for psychological help to a behaviorist. Sarah added: "It manifested itself when I started taking him out for walks. I feel I've got to try and get him happy. He's a lovely dog and we just want to cuddle him." Brieze is still recovering from the physical exertions of his journey and is expected to fully recover from his experience.

Abandoned Shih Tzu puppy adopted by Siamese cat

Animal News

Hope the poorly puppy rejected by its mother has found a new family in a litter of Siamese cats. One-week old Shih Tzu Hope has been adopted by new mum Coco, who has allowed the newborn to feed and sleep with her own kittens. Hope was born on the same day as Coco’s kittens and owner Paula Ball, from Huyton in Merseyside, said she was delighted she had been welcomed into the litter. The pup was named Hope after surviving a complicated birth.
Paula said: “My partner’s dog Diamond gave birth to two puppies but unfortunately one was stillborn and she rejected the other. My cat gave birth to three kittens on the same day and although we thought it was a long shot we decided to see if Coco would take to the little pup and she did straight away. We named the puppy Hope because she managed to survive in the birth channel for five hours and despite being rejected she is thriving under Coco’s care.

“She is the same size as the kittens at the moment and gets fed and washed just like them.” Lizzie Goldstraw from White Cross Vets in West Derby, Liverpool, where Diamond the dog and Coco are treated, said: “We are delighted that Hope has been adopted in this way and she will no doubt feel warm and safe with her new family. Its quite unusual for a cat to take a puppy on as its own but it helped that they were born on the same day and that Paula acted so quickly to introduce the puppy.”

Hope will need physiotherapy work to strengthen her legs but vets are confident that she will develop normally. Lizzie said: “Paula is a dedicated owner who is working hard every day to help Hope develop normally and we are confident she will have a very long and happy life with her adopted mum.” Paula plans to start weaning Hope in the next four to six weeks before she gets too big for Coco to feed. She said: “It’s a real miracle and very heart-warming to see them all snuggled up together. Hope has been through a lot but she is a real survivor.”

Animal News

Animal News
With fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, the births mark the latest steps in the effort to save the endangered species.
Sharks and dinos both thrived in the same periods. Did they ever square off against each other? Recent evidence suggests the answer is 'Yes.'
The extremely well-preserved, rodentlike remains recently discovered in China provide some of the best evidence yet for how the earliest human ancestors lived.
Some wild animal behavior would land a human in the slammer.
Eighteen new prehistoric sharks have been identified -- but some 60 to 90 percent of all ancient sharks have yet to be identified.
What happens when a nefarious bug threatens valuable California citrus crops? Unleash a swarm of foreign parasitic wasps to kick the little bug's butt! Trace explains how this is gonna work.
Dolphins have an astounding memory for the names of other dolphins, new research finds.
DNA testing of "insect soup" provides a fast, cheap way to estimate biodiversity. 
The killer whales of Puget Sound are one of a kind.