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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 17, 2013

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Telling the truth ...! 
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Today in History

Today in History
1743 By the Treaty of Abo, Sweden cedes southeast Finland to Russia, ending Sweden's failed war with Russia.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte's army defeats the Russians at the Battle of Smolensk during the Russian retreat to Moscow.
1833 The first steam ship to cross the Atlantic entirely on its own power, the Canadian ship Royal William, begins her journey from Nova Scotia to The Isle of Wight.
1863 Union gunboats attack Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, for the first time.
1942 Marine Raiders attack Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands from two submarines.
1943 Allied forces complete the conquest of Sicily.
1944 The mayor of Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, meets with the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed throughout the city.
1945 Upon hearing confirmation that Japan has surrendered, Sukarno proclaims Indonesia's independence.
1960 American Francis Gary Powers pleads guilty at his Moscow trial for spying over the Soviet Union in a U-2 plane.
1978 Three Americans complete the first crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon.
1987 93-year-old Rudolf Hess, former Nazi leader and deputy of Hitler, is found hanged to death in Spandau Prison.
1988 Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq is killed in an airplane crash suspected of being an assassination.
1998 President Bill Clinton admits to the American public that he had affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
1999 A 7.4-magnitude earthquake near Izmit, Turkey kills over 17,000 and injures nearly 45,000.
2005 Israel begins the first forced evacuation of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, as part of a unilateral disengagement plan.
2012 Moscow's top court upholds ban of gay pride events in Russia's capital city for 100 years.

Non Sequitur

Daily Comic Relief
The "A wee bit too far" Edition

Seven Really Weird Musical Instruments

Odds and Sods
Ever heard of a wheelharp? A hardingfele or a holophonor? Folks are always inventing new ways to produce sound. At the same time, we learn of traditional instruments from all over that are unlike any we've seen before. Here are some strange and wonderful musical instruments.

Did you know ...

Did You Know ...
About the shady overlap of disease charities and drug companies

Here's Joe Gandleman, on the San Diego mayor fiasco

That a study shows spiders have personalities

That evolution punishes mean people

Weekly Unemployment Applications Drop to 2007 Numbers

The Lunatic Fringe's Worst Nightmare

The repugican's Worst Nightmares Come True

The Labor Department said that weekly applications for unemployment insurance dropped to the fewest claims since October 2007. …


Daily Comic Relief
The tragic thing is , it's not a lie

Scott Walker Has 3 Grannies and a 14 Year Old Girl Arrested for Singing In Wisconsin

Lunatic Fringe
Scott Walker is now arresting the elderly and children for singing protest songs about him in Wisconsin. The governor is even arresting journalists for covering his unconstitutional arrests.
Here is video of today’s arrests from Scott Walker Watch:
The Center For Media and Democracy posted the low lights on their Facebook page, “Arrests at the Wisconsin State Capitol continued today. Among those arrested today were a 14-year-old, the editor of The Progressive Magazine, three raging grannies, and a local elected official.”
The editor of The Progressive, Matthew Rothschild wrote the unbelievable story of how he got arrested in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin for being a journalist:
But the police officers said to stand back. I said I was a journalist, the editor of The Progressive magazine.
“You can’t be here,” they said.
“I’m with the press,” I said. “I have a right to be here.”
Whereupon, without a warning that I’d be arrested, Officer S. B. Mael grabbed my hands and put them behind my back, cuffed them, and said, “Obstruction.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Block said, as she was put in the elevator.
“This is getting absurd, guys,” I said to the officers, who refused to engage with me.
They took me to the basement of the capitol, frisked me, and put me in a chair.

The police kept me in the basement of the capitol until all the protesters had left. They took down my name and Social Security number and address and phone number and employer (I reminded them I worked at The Progressive).
And then they hauled me off in a squad car to the Dane County jail just three blocks away, where I was frisked again, booked, fingerprinted, had my mug shot taken, and kept in a holding cell with three other inmates for an hour and twenty minutes before being released.
The stunning part of Rothschild’s story is that he was arrested for being a journalist. Scott Walker has tried to squash these protests by arresting the singers, but their numbers keep growing. Walker then tried to arrest people for watching the singers sing, but he had to back off after a public outcry brought him unwanted national attention. Now, his strategy seems to be that he will arrest the protesters and the journalists who cover the protesters. The Walker junta likely assumes that these protests will die out if journalists are too intimidated to cover them.
Apparently, Gov. Walker has never heard of the Internet.
One of the most overlooked stories in the country right now is what is happening to the Solidarity Singers in Wisconsin. The arrests now total over 200, but the number of protesters continues to steadily grow every day. Scott Walker is another repugican who harbors presidential delusions, so he wants the protesters out of the capitol before the national media arrives to cover his 2016 campaign.
When Walker busted the unions, the national media paid attention. When he survived the recall, they went away. However, the battle for Wisconsin did not stop when the national media left. The struggle is continuing on, and Scott Walker is willing to do anything, including stomping all over the constitution to silence these protesters.
Scott Walker is trying to kill the First Amendment in Wisconsin, but the state’s true patriots are using songs to bravely fight for their rights. The more arrests that are made, the larger the protest will grow, and the louder their songs will be sung.
Gov. Walker is fighting a battle that no tyrant has ever won.

The repugicans Try To Disprove Evolution By Claiming that Dragons Really Existed

Lunatic Fringe
The more science discovers about how the universe works, the more regressive Republican thinking becomes. Dragons were real and prove the authority of the Bible. The proof? Dinosaurs…
Dragons or Dinosaurs 
Okay, let’s just cancel the 21st century. It is just not working out for some people and has obviously come to a screeching halt in any event. And yes, you can blame the repugicans for that.
god caused global warming, says dimwitted repugican Jeff Miller of Florida. Yeah, 99 percent of climate scientists say anthropogenic global warming is real but it turns out it’s just god.
Phew! For a minute, I thought we were goners.
Bazinga! It was just one of god’s zany pranks, and we fell for it.
What a wild and crazy sky god!
Well we don’t need the EPA anymore!
“I will tell you this,” said Miller. “I will defund the E.P.A.”
There you go!
Besides, even though it gets hotter every year, with 2000 to 2009 being the warmest decade on record, David Barton says “Global warming occurs but we haven’t had it in sixteen years.”
I’m sure everything will be okay then and we can go back to polluting without thought. Yep, nothing to be seen here. Move along.
And man oh man, have I had it with dinosaurs and cave men palling around and floods forming Grand Canyons and now we’re being told dragons were honest-to-god for real.
No kidding.
Darek Isaacs has written a book about it: Dragons or Dinosaurs. “The bible speaks about dragons,” and this book, we are told, “confirms biblical authority and demolishes the theory of evolution.”
Yeah. Turns out we get our myths about dragons from – you guessed it – the caveman’s best friend: the dinosaur. How did science ever overlook that!
And look at this great film he has made:
Isaacs says,
If dragons in fact were entirely mythological, if they were a figment of the imagination, and if they never ever did exist, then god just compared our adversary to a make-believe creature that never existed.
See? How hard was that you silly secularists, placing your trust in science and observable fact! Only Commies care about facts!
Our authority — everything we do we have to measure by the word of god, that is what I believe. So, we have to go to the Bible, and the bible speaks about dragons.
And if you go to the website, you can even download a free study guide, “ideal for homeschooling or bible study groups.”
The more science discovers about how the universe works, the more regressive repugican thinking becomes. This trend is observable and repeatable.
Honestly, I’m surprised the 20th century didn’t do them in but somehow they survived all that century’s advances and still they’re charging pell-mell into the 13th century while the rest of us look forward to eking through this one somehow with air to breathe, water to drink – but not enough to make breathing difficult.
You know, god’s zany rising sea levels.
So the 21st century was just a big mistake. Let’s just accept our lot in life, get rid of all that evil technology that is a result of science we no longer need – except for your roof! Everyone knows roofs were invented to keep all those birds god likes to zap when he gets pissed from falling on your head.
Enjoy the 13th century my friends. Good, good times.

The truth hurts

Daily Comic Relief
The Truth Hurts

Educating repugicans: Why You Can’t Spell KKK Without the Letters G-O-P

Lunatic Fringe
by Sarah Jones
 Wingnuts didn't like it when I tweeted, '#WhySomePeopleAreDemocrats Because not everyone wants to wear a white hood while dragging women back to the cave.' This prompted them into…

The truth be told

Daily Comic Relief
The Truth Be Told

Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC Put Falsified Signatures On A Letter To A Senator

Lunatic Fringe
by Annie-Rose Strasser
ALEC logo 3x2This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated.
ALEC has come under intense scrutiny for its involvement in orchestrating passage of Stand Your Ground in several states. The law became a hotbed of controversy in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. Though it wasn’t ultimately used in killer George Zimmerman’s defense, Stand Your Ground allowed Zimmerman to walk free on the night of the killing, turned out to be central to the case at trial, and was cited by one of six jurors as a justification for his acquittal.
After the Zimmerman verdict was announced, Durbin said that he would conduct an inquiry in ALEC’s involvement in the bill.
The group hit back Monday with a letter that tried to discredit Durbin’s inquiry. The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”
“[A] simple Google search found that seven of the signatures on the letter were unidentifiable, four were spouses of elected lawmakers, 35 of the signatures were duplications and one was an expletive rant,” said ProgressNow Research Director Brian Wietgrefe in a release.
The group’s full ananlysis is available here.
Over half of states in the U.S. have enacted some version of Stand Your Ground laws. Much of that legislation is similar to model legislation crafted by ALEC. The National Rifle Association, too, has been pivotal in lobbying for Stand Your Ground.

Let me get this straight ...

Pictures say a thousand words
There's just no accounting for willful ignorance

Man hugging wife caused hostage scare

Paranoia Strikes Deep 
A loving husband triggered a massive police presence at a Cricket Store in southeast Houston on Tuesday.

Police received a call that someone in the store was being held against their will.
Actually, the store manager was hugging her husband goodbye.

A passerby saw the embrace and thought she was being held hostage.

A two-year-old taken from Parents, Murdered

Criminal Minds
Yes, it's another marijuana-related death IN TEXAS
Two-year-old Alexandria Hill was placed in foster care after her parents were caught smoking marijuana in their home while she slept. Authorities charged them with "neglectful supervision," and just months away from getting their baby back, the parents learned they would never see their young child again. Placed in a foster home to protect her from them, Alexandria was brutally beaten to death by her care-giver

The tragedy raises questions about laws equating marijuana use with neglect, particularly when the punishment involves placing a child in a potentially abusive environment, away from loving parents. Incidents of abuse are higher than average in foster homes, and children often struggle to thrive away from their parents. Thus, the removal of children from their parents' home should be executed rarely and only in times of absolute necessity.


Texting woman drove 185 miles while asleep

Dumb Human Tricks 
A sleeping driver who managed to drive 300km (185 miles) from the Waikato to Mt Maunganui via Auckland has alarmed police in New Zealand. Hamilton Police shift manager, Senior Sergeant Dave Litton, said a concerned friend called 111 call shortly after midnight on Tuesday to say a woman had taken sleeping pills and had driven away from her Hamilton home. The woman's friend said the driver had a sleeping disorder and had previously driven off while asleep 10 months ago and ended up in Tauranga.

Police were unsure about her level of consciousness throughout the trip but she was found slumped over the wheel at 4.55am at her former home in Mt Maunganui, with no recollection of the night's events. The bizarre drama has prompted a warning for drivers with medical conditions to be honest and open with their doctors and to adhere to restrictions of any prescriptions. Litton said the woman was said to have a fondness for the beach so after getting the call they sent patrol cars to check the route to Raglan while the Northern Communications Center advised police to look out for her silver Toyota hatchback. The driver's cellphone was on and Litton said she was texting as she drove, but those receiving her messages believed she was half asleep.
Her phone polled in Otara in South Auckland about 2am but the vehicle had gone when police arrived. The next message said she was heading for the Coromandel. "While this was going on police were scanning any reports of unusual or concerning driving as we attempted to find the Toyota and prevent a potential tragedy," Litton said. He said the woman's phone polled at Te Puna near Tauranga at about 3.45am before her car was found up a driveway at her former address in Mt Maunganui about 4.55am. "The woman's cousin found her, asleep, slumped over the wheel," Litton said.

"When woken she had absolutely no recollection of the events overnight and we have sought an urgent order forbidding her to drive and to seek medical advice on her suitability to remain holding her drivers license. While her being found safe and well is a relief for everyone involved, the potential for tragedy was huge and we're urging people suffering medical conditions to be open and honest with their doctors and seek advice on if the medication they are prescribed affects their ability to drive or not." Litton also urged people on such medications to be frank with loved ones and friends so steps could be taken to ensure they didn't put themselves or those dearest to them at risk.

Drunk Chinese man nearly shipped to US after mistaking shipping container at port for his B&B

Impaired Human News 
A man who drunkenly wandered into a 60-foot shipping container thinking it was his hotel woke up to find he'd been sealed in ready for a two-week journey to America.
Jiang Wu woke up after a big night in Qingdao, eastern China, in the sealed container that was one hour away from the long trip to Los Angeles. He had mistaken the container for his B&B and had to phone the police to get out.
"The container was sealed and he couldn't get out so he called everyone he knew for help and called us too," a police spokesman said. "His problem was, though, that he couldn't tell us which container he was in and there were thousands of them stacked on top of each other."

Police eventually found him in a container stacked 18 metres in the air, following the hammering sounds he made.

Just Because Society is Messed Up Doesn’t Mean Comic Books Need to Be

Interesting Stuff 
by Mindy Townsend
 Just Because Society is Messed Up Doesn’t Mean Comic Books Need to Be
It’s really great when legends in a particular field dismiss the concerns of minorities. Did I say great? I meant horrible. But that’s exactly what happened at the Television Critics Association press tour.
Comic book creators Michael Kantor, Todd McFarlane, Len Wein and Gerry Conway participated in this press tour to promote a documentary on American comic books called “Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle.” As reported on Think Progress, they said some pretty messed up stuff.
There is a disturbing sexist streak that runs through geek culture, and comic books are no different. Women are vastly underrepresented at the big two comic book publishers, Marvel and DC. According to McFarlane and Conway, there’s not really any need to worry because there isn’t really a barrier to entry!
“There’s nothing stopping the people that want to do those from doing it,” McFarlane said when I asked if the dominance of the kinds of images he’s produced suggests a creative stagnation in superhero comics. Conway agreed, saying that “There may be some people who are actually very, very passionate to do that themselves, and they should. I mean, I don’t think there’s a barrier necessarily in the field. There’s certainly a barrier at the two main companies for new talent,” in a nod to my point to McFarlane that the employment levels of women and people of color at major comics companies are extraordinarily low.
Yeah, because we all know how easy it is write and draw in your spare time while working a job that supports you and your hobby, then build up a fan-base that will eventually pay you for your content. A major publishing house has nothing over the power of the Internet!
As painfully tone-deaf as those statements are, I’m more concerned about something else. Alyssa Rosenberg reports in the piece from Think Progress:
It’s an ancient canard that male heroes are as idealized as women, an idea that ignores their costumes, the difference between a fantasy of power you want to inhabit and sexual ability you want to take advantage of, and the contrast between admiring what someone can do with their body, and what you can do to theirs. But when I followed up with McFarlane, Wolverine creator Len Wein, and The Punisher creator Gerry Conway, the presentation became a showcase for a kind of attitude that’s far from universal in comics, but that still exerts considerable power among both creators and consumers of comics. In Conway’s words, “the comics follow society. They don’t lead society.” And the society they follow is all too comfortable with McFarlane the fantasies of artists like him dominating superhero comics.
Comics don’t lead society, they follow. This feels like an epic cope-out. In essence, what they are saying is this: white guys dominate the culture. Until they don’t anymore, comic books will be dominated by white men.
OK, cool, but comic books are part of culture. White guys will dominate culture until they don’t anymore, but the people who make the culture we consume refuse to diversify. I’m not the only one who sees this as a self-perpetuating cycle, right?
Furthermore, this seems like a dumb way to run a business. Sure, comic books are art, and art should reflect the culture in which it is made. But look at superhero-sized blockbuster Marvel’s The Avengers. Women accounted for 40 percent of those who saw the movie on opening weekend. And are you familiar with cosplay? Think of all the hours of thought and planning and all the money it took to create these amazing comic book-inspired costumes. Don’t tell me these women aren’t fans and don’t deserve to be represented in the medium.
Perhaps the most insulting thing to come out in Rosenberg’s piece is that these respected comic book creators seem to believe that giving in, as it were, to demands for more female/POC/LGBT representation in comic books would necessarily lead to bad stories.
Conway, McFarlane, and Wein all defaulted to another line of argument: that anyone asking for more diverse superhero comics is effectively asking for an entitlement that won’t produce good storytelling.
“There hasn’t really been historically a comic book that has worked that is trying to get across a kind of message, if you will,” McFarlane insisted. “So the female characters that work are the ones that are just strong women that actually it’s good storytelling, and the odd character that is a minority that works is the one that is just a good strong character. They’ve tried to do minority characters and bring that label and that surrounding [debate] into it. You’re aware that you’re reading a minority comic book. I think it’s wrong.”
I guess since white, hetero, cis-male are the default human setting that those characters bring only universal truths to the table. I think the point is that we’d like to see a lot of different characters from a lot of different gender, ethnic and racial backgrounds. The problem with the “token” character is that that character then has to speak for an entire race or gender, and that’s not fair. No one wants a crappy character just to fill a quota. However, it’s not unreasonable to want a superhero that you can identify with.
(Oh, and for evidence that comic books can have wonderful diversity of characters while still managing to tell a really compelling story, pick up Gail Simone’s new title, The Movement.)
The comic book industry has a problem. It’s too white, it’s too male and it’s too skittish, and it’s unfortunate that it seems unwilling to confront this problem and grow from it.

Atheists Smarter than Faithful

Ouch, that's got to hurt ...

Cue the outrage? Or makes sense to me?

An analysis of 63 scientific studies by the University of Rochester has concluded that atheists are more intelligent than cultist types. Of the studies analyzed, 53 reflected "a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity."

The team of psychologists hastened to point out, however, that it didn't mean people were dumb if they
believed in god — rather, that the more intelligent a person was, the more inclined they were to form
their own world view. For the purposes of the study, intelligence was defined as "ability to reason, plan,
solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience."

That all sounds pretty neat – but not much good when you're burning in hell with a pitchfork in your butt.


Random Photos

Pictures say a thousand words

Lisa Bechtold Echo Park, Ca
Lisa Bechtold, Echo Park, Ca

Archaeology News

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Busy mammal's work leads to the discovery of a 12-century burial ground that includes the graves of two Slavic warlords.
Small carved stones unearthed in a nearly 5,000-year-old burial could represent the earliest gaming tokens ever found.
See the pieces of what might one of the earliest games ever found.
The petroglyphs date back to between 10,500 and 14,800 years ago.

Astronomical News

Scientific Minds Want To Know
These 13 newly found planets fly sizzlingly close to their stars, orbiting in just 3 to 10 hours.
Galaxies matured much earlier than scientists thought, a new analysis of a vast amount of Hubble Space Telescope data shows. 
'Journey' aimed to study the best ways to feed astronauts during a trip to Mars.
SpaceX's prototype reusable booster managed to hover more than 1,000 feet above ground.
Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency, doubled its budget to refurbish two old space shuttle hangers in an effort to lure a secretive military project to the Kennedy Space Center.
The Juno spacecraft is speeding through space towards its date with Jupiter, but it will need a little help from home to get there.
There have been many alternative history scenarios that explore what might have happened if Nazi Germany won WWII -- How might this have driven space exploration? 
Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are some of the most powerful explosions in the Universe -- now a new GRB has been spotted from a time in the Universe's history when galaxies were just beginning to form.

Science Mash Up

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Low levels of added sugar in diets of mice shortened their lifespan and reduced reproduction, a new study shows. 
Fear and lack of data can drive stereotypes.
Like any religious conflict, this debate can only be settled with a point system.
More goes into making Ouija boards move than you might think. Scientists are now saying this fabled link to the "other side" is really just driven by the players' subconscious. Laci explains.
The more you browse through your news feed, post comments and like posts on Facebook, the more likely you are to feel dissatisfied with your life.
Thought you knew how penises worked? You've got it all wrong! Some animals have an actual bone that does the ... hard work. Laci explains.
American culture appears to be shifting on the issue of marijuana legalization.
In light of a San Diego man who kidnapped a teenager and was ultimately killed during her rescue, we wonder: How close are any of us to snapping?

Science Tidbits

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Climate change will trigger harsher and more frequent heat waves in the next 30 years regardless of the amount of Earth-warming CO2 we emit.
The modern meltdown of the Antarctic Ice Sheet mirrors the frozen continent's big thaw after the last ice age ended 20,000 years ago.
Medical marijuana gets all the headlines, but many legal weeds have traditions as medicines too.
'Bee-friendly' plants may be killing the vital pollinators they're intended to help.
Shipwrecks are remarkably well preserved in the Antarctic, but dead whales tend to disappear there. Scientists have just found out why. 

Believe it or not

Odds and Sods
Believe It or Not

Animal News

Animal News
The olinguito is the first new carnivore species reported in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
It was a heartwarming reunion that saw the giant panda licking and cuddling her baby inside a cage.
Sixty-five million years separates the last dinosaurs and modern humans. It can take some time to get our story straight.
Reports from Denmark show the spread of an Amazon nut-cracker. Expert says it's good to eat.
The glowing jellyfish gene allows scientists to know that genetic material successfully transferred into the animal.
Ivory poachers go to sometimes-absurd lengths to smuggle prized pieces of elephant tusks across borders.
A bear researcher in Minnesota gets the support of Jane Goodall after the state pulled the researcher's permit.
On this World Elephant Day, elephants face the threat of extinction within a decade.