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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Daily Drift

We will throw the invaders out ...!
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Today in History

1626 The Danes are crushed by the Catholic League in Germany, marking the end of Danish intervention in European wars.
1776 The Americans are defeated by the British at the Battle of Long Island, New York.
1793 Maximilien Robespierre is elected to the Committee of Public Safety in Paris, France.
1813 The Allies defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Dresden.
1861 Union troops make an amphibious landing at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
1862 As the Second Battle of Bull Run rages, Confederate soldiers attack Loudoun County, Virginia.
1881 New York state's Pure Food Law goes into effect to prevent "the adulteration of food or drugs."
1894 The United States congress passes an income tax law as part of a general tariff act, but it is found unconstitutional.
1910 Thomas Edison demonstrates the first "talking" pictures–using a phonograph–in his New Jersey laboratory.
1912 Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes first appears in a magazine.
1916 Italy declares war on Germany.
1928 Fifteen nations sign the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, outlawing war and calling for the settlement of disputes through arbitration. Forty-seven other countries eventually sign the pact.
1941 The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumimaro Konoye, issues an invitation for a meeting with President Roosevelt.
1945 B-29 Superfortress bombers begin to drop supplies into Allied prisoner of war camps in China.
1963 Cambodia severs ties with South Vietnam.
1975 Veronica & Colin Scargill of England complete tandem bicycle ride around the world, a record 18,020 miles (29,000.4 km).
1979 Lord Mountbatten is killed by an Irish terrorist bomb in his sail boat in Sligo, Ireland.
1984 President Ronald Reagan announces NASA Teacher in Space project, intended to inspire students and honor teachers and spur interest in the fields of science, mathematics and space exploration.
1989 Chuck Berry performs his tune Johnny B. Goode for NASA staff in celebration of Voyager II's encounter with the planet Neptune.
1991 Moldavia declares independence from USSR.
1993 The Rainbow Bridge, a 1,870-foot suspension bridge over Tokyo Bay, completed.
2003 Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing within 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km).
2008 Democrats nominate Barack Obama for president, first African American nominated by a major political party for the office of President of the United States.
2012 First interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity.

Non Sequitur


"If You Want the American Dream, Go To Finland"

Complaining about the country's education system is a favorite pastime of many American parents, but why don't - or can't - we change the way we educate our children?
Author Amanda Ripley decided to investigate by enlisting "field agents" of American students who studied abroad at Finnish, South Korean, and Polish schools.
Here's what she found out:
“If you want the American dream, go to Finland.” These blunt words from a British politician, quoted by Amanda Ripley in “The Smartest Kids in the World” [...]
[American student named Kim, who went to a typical Finnish school] soon notices something else that’s different about her school in Pietarsaari, and one day she works up the courage to ask her classmates about it. “Why do you guys care so much?” Kim inquires of two Finnish girls. “I mean, what makes you work hard in school?” The students look baffled by her question. “It’s school,” one of them says. “How else will I graduate and go to university and get a good job?”
It’s the only sensible answer, of course, but its irrefutable logic still eludes many American students, a quarter of whom fail to graduate from high school. Ripley explains why: Historically, Americans “hadn’t needed a very rigorous education, and they hadn’t gotten it. Wealth had made rigor optional.” But now, she points out, “everything had changed. In an automated, global economy, kids needed to be driven; they need to know how to adapt, since they would be doing it all their lives. They needed a culture of rigor.”
Read more over at the New York Times: Here| Ripley's book: The Smartest Kids in the World

Did you know ...

You can have a drone of your own

That Joe Gandelman tells us that this is a critical moment in the cable news war

The mother of Boston bombing suspects was on terrorist watch list

About Liz Cheney's: fishgate

South Carolina city unanimously approves plan to make being homeless illegal

A new plan has been passed which will make it illegal to be homeless in Columbia, South Carolina. That’s right, if you are homeless, you will be arrested. Last week, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan called the Emergency Homeless Response, which will remove homeless people from the downtown business district, and place them in an encampment area. The area designated will be patrolled by the police, and the new residents are confined to that space.Most of us would call that a prison of sorts. Whatever spin elected officials want to put on this, it’s an abuse of power. Consider this: Many war-weary veterans are homeless and now they’ll be placed in a patrolled encampment.
Think Progress reports:
Here’s how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan (D), will work.
Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly enforce the city’s “quality of life” laws, including bans on loitering, public urination, and other violations.
And just to ensure that no one slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police.
In order to accommodate all the homeless people who will now be banned from downtown, the city will partner with a local charity to keep an emergency shelter on the outskirts of town open 24 hours a day. However, it’s unlikely the shelter, which can handle 240 guests, will be enough to handle the local homeless population, which numbers more than six times the available beds.
Homeless people can stay at the shelter, but they’re not permitted to walk off the premises. In fact, Columbia will even post a police officer on the road leading to the shelter to ensure that homeless people don’t walk towards downtown. If they want to leave, they need to set up an appointment and be shuttled by a van.
In other words, the 1,518 homeless people in the Columbia-area now have a choice: get arrested downtown or be confined to a far-away shelter that you can’t readily leave. Jail or pseudo-jail.
A democrat spearheaded this plan. Holy cow. Even worse, this plan was voted on unanimously.
Here’s an image of Councilman Runyan:
Julie Driscoll from Smoking Hot Politics breaks it down:
 If you’re (1) confined, (2) prevented physically from moving freely about, (3) restricted to a narrow strip of land as far away from the city proper as possible, and (4) crammed like sardines into a facility designed for 240 that will have to house six times that number, you’re a prisoner. I can call my poodle a pit bull, too, but that doesn’t make it so.
Think Progress has a detailed report here. 
More at Smoking Hot Politics.

Colin Powell Blasts repugicans and Warns That Their Voter ID Scheme Will Backfire

Gen. Colin Powell didn’t pull any punches on Face The Nation, when he bluntly warned repugicans that their plan to suppress the vote through voter ID laws is going to backfire.
Video via CBS News:

Bob Schieffer asked Powell about the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and the general dropped a fact bomb. Powell said:
The concern I have now is that many states are putting in place procedures and new legislation that in some ways makes it a little harder to vote. You need a photon ID, but you didn’t need a photo ID for decades before so is it really necessary now?
They claim that there’s wide spread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing documents, nothing substantiates that. There isn’t widespread abuse, and so these kinds of procedures that are being put in place to slow the process down, make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African Americans might vote. I think they’re going to backfire, because these people are going to come out do what they have to do in order to vote and I encourage that.
Gen. Powell reminded his fellow repugicans for the millionth time that the country is getting more diverse, and that the minority will be the majority within the next generation. He said that repugicans don’t just need a new message. They need new substance.
Most repugicans view Powell as a traitor to the cabal because he endorsed President Obama in 2008, but the repugican cabal would be in a lot better shape if they would listen to him.
Powell was exactly right. The repugican efforts to suppress the vote will backfire. People aren’t stupid. They know that the repugican cabal is trying to disenfranchise them.
The wingnut’s best chance at making their massive plan to suppress the vote work was their attempt to surprise implement it before the 2012 election. Now that people have had time to plan, this effort will most definitely backfire.
Instead of discouraging voters, repugicans are encouraging them to get out there and do what they have to do in order to protect their vote. There are organizations all across this country that are committed to helping voters get the identification that they need. Attorney General Holder is still fighting to protect voting rights, and recently challenged Texas’s plan to suppress the vote. Democrats have made the right to vote a central issue, and fighting for all Americans nationwide.
Maybe after repugicans get routed again by the Democratic nominee in 2016, they will begin to understand that they can’t suppress their way to the White House.
I’m with Powell on this one. I think the repugican cabal’s suppress the vote scheme is destined to backfire and fail in spectacular fashion.

Hilarity Ensues When Wingnuts Try to Protest Facebook and Utterly Fail

Wingnuts couldn't even get 30,000 patriots to participate in a 24 hour Facebook protest from their basement. …
gop fail
If they’ve ever wondered why they cannot compete with the Civil Rights movement, on top of not having an actual issue other than resentment at minorities and women, wingnuts have answered their own question now.
While tens of thousands showed up from around the country to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, wingnuts couldn’t even get 30,000 patriots to participate in a Facebook protest from their basement.
Wingnuts scheduled a protest against Facebook for Sunday the 25th of August, because Facebook apparently hasn’t let them post all of the racist, threatening things they are free to tweet. SO UNFAIR.
David Phillips at the Las Vegas Democrat Examiner reported:
The organizers of the “blackout” have set up an event page on Facebook so people can sign up and send out invitations to other like-minded people to join the “blackout”. At the time of this writing, 27,735 people have agreed to go dark for the 24 hour period. Another 223,970 people on Facebook have been sent invitations but have not responded.
On the event page it says, “We are organizing a nationwide “blackout” of Facebook to protest their arbitrary and capricious policies targeting wingnuts with censoring and suspensions. We are asking for all conservatives to suspend (deactivate) their accounts for at least 24 hours on August 25th. If you are a business or promoting a page and have a FB advertising account, we are asking that you also suspend that for 24 hours.”
Oh, way to win for wingnut businesses—take yourselves out of the market because your brethren aren’t allowed to post threats to other people. It’s called pouting.
But there was a day when CNN would have raced to cover this, even if only one “patriot” showed up. Things are really looking dreary for the wingnuts, with the media assisting the repugican cabal in their Tamp Down the Crazy public relations efforts.
Since hardly anyone did show up, the wingnuts shut down the event page. It’s no longer accessible.
“This page will not be accessible after the 25th. We would like to carry this energy and momentum forward as a permanent movement to address, not only the Facebook issue, but other pressing issues of importance to us as conservatives. In that vein, we have started a Facebook group where we can all meet after this event to organize and ‘strategize’ our future plans. The group is called “The Liberty Tree” because the liberty tree was a tree in Boston which is considered the birthplace of the American Revolution and where the patriots gathered. “
Now they want all of the protest members to join them ON FACEBOOK – for a 'protest' day – at their new Facebook Page, The Liberty Tree. Yes, this is just like the Revolution, only people actually showed up to the Revolution and they put their lives on the line for freedom, as opposed to being too lazy to abstain from using Facebook for a day. We’ve been trying to tell wingnuts that abstinence doesn’t work…
It’s bizarre, but wingnuts seem to expect that a private business like Facebook owes them, the consumers who do not pay a dime for the service, a platform and are not allowed to set any rules because FREEDOM. Someone will have to explain that First Amendment again one day to the “constitutional wingnuts”.
1,300 'patriots' have joined the Tree of Liberty Facebook page, including a few of my own friends who are decidedly liberal. Cue another dizzying combination of self-pity meeting paranoia, and passing itself off as a Revolutionary War hero. All the world is a conspiracy against wingnutss – they just know it.

It’s Time to Tell the Truth: repugicans Aren’t christians

The repugicans don’t get a lot of things, but they really don’t get christianity – because it’s not what they follow.
See, a few decades ago the leaders of the repugican cabal did something very intelligent.  History shows one of the easiest ways to manipulate, and control, people is through their religion.  You can get people to do horrific things in the name of “their god” by convincing them that their actions are acceptable because they are the true believers, and those they oppose are the “heathens.”
You see this with radicals of every faith.  These radical leaders take a handful of excerpts from whatever book they follow and manipulate millions into believing whatever they want.
The repugicans knew two key issues could easily control millions — abortion and homosexuality.  Once they identified their two key manipulation points, all they needed to do was tie in whatever political ideology they wanted with these two religious-based delusions and they could create a political cabal that was worshiped more like a faith than a political agenda.
And that’s exactly what they did.  I always encourage people to stop saying repugicans represent christianity, and call them out on what they really worship.
I call it “repugicanity” and I consider it a cult.  It’s a perversion of christianity mixed with a political set of man-made delusions.  These people view their devotion to the repugican cabal on the same level they do their belief in their god.  To them, the repugican cabal is the cabal of “real christians.”  They don’t need facts or reality to support their political illusions, they have “faith.”
Except, your political illusions are supposed beliefs to be based on facts — not faith.
What they follow is some mix of Ayn Rand economic ideologies and a couple of select passages from the bible.
Which I always find hilarious considering Ayn Rand thought religious people were stupid and insane.  So people like Paul Ryan, who built his economic ideology on her teachings while claiming to be a devout “christian,” just show their ignorance by claiming to believe in both.  How exactly can someone build an economic platform based on a woman who completely contradicted christianity, while claiming to be a follower of christianity?
It makes absolutely no damn sense.
See, the whole point of being a christian means you follow the teachings of christ.  I’ve actually seen many of these “christians” try and say jesus would support cuts to welfare and side with the top-down economic mishandling of the repugican cabal.
As I’ve said before, whether you believe in jesus christ or not is not the issue, what he symbolized and his story aren’t really debatable.  He spent his life helping the poor, sick and needy.  He never once spoke about homosexuality or abortion.  He embraced those from the lowest rungs of society by saying that those for whom much had been given, much is expected.  He taught love, hope, compassion and forgiveness.  He warned against those who would manipulate the word of god for their own selfish ambitions.  He opposed greed and encouraged giving.
You know, the exact oppose of what repugicans stand for.
But that doesn’t matter to these people because they oppose abortion and homosexuality — again, two things jesus never spoke of.
And honestly, can you name one other “christian” value repugicans claim to value?  Because I hate to break it to them, but guns weren’t invented by jesus.  Saying you have a “god-given right to bear arms” is just ignorant.  Your god didn’t grant anyone the right to bear arms, a bunch of slave owning rich white men did in the late-1700′s.  Most of which weren’t even christians. So please, stop calling repugicans “christians” — they’re not.
I can’t count the times I’ve heard people say they don’t consider themselves christians any longer because of the ignorance of the repugican cabal  Millions have abandoned christianity because these people have hijacked a faith to distort it for their own political gains.
It’s time real christians take back their faith from these people who’ve turned so many sour on christianity.  It’s time they rise up against these ignorant fake christians and call them out directly on the truth.  They don’t follow christianity.
They follow repugicanity.  They worship Reagan, guns and greed — not jesus christ.

Al Jazeera America Fails to Deliver on Faux News’ Paranoia

fox news paranoia
Well it’s been a few days since Current TV became Al Jazeera news, and so far no reports of an intifada or foreign terrorist attack on the homeland, nor have there been any reports of clever subliminal messaging embedded in the sneakily intelligent programming designed to make us all praise allah against our feeble christian wills which, as we all know, are no match for a determined muslim onslaught.
Nope. So far it is All Quiet on the Red White and Blue Western Front. Quite frankly, Uncle Sam appears suspiciously bored by it all. Then again, I suppose I would be bored too if I had been promised the end of western civilization and then all I wound up getting was a news program. A news program where actual news gets reported, and where news is the focus, not grossly overpaid news ‘personalities’. And yet this is still so unbelievably cruel, appealing to our better nature with the lure of intelligent programming. What kind of people would do such a thing? What is their true objective?
From the Washington Post:
Al Jazeera, which is owned by the royal family that rules the oil-rich Arab Gulf nation Qatar, seems to be addressing what it sees as its greatest weakness in the U.S. media market, its foreignness, as well as its greatest strength, its commitment to serious coverage. For the former, it plays up domestic coverage, which is pretty new for the Al Jazeera network. For the latter, it leans on its reputation for foreign coverage, as well as a supporting quote from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who once said, “It is really effective, and in fact viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news.”
So now just because they have the endorsement of a former United States Secretary of State we’re supposed to trust their intentions? What about that royal Arab family connection thing? Gotta be something there, right? Time to dig deeper. Time to seek out the time-tested wisdom of Faux News.
From The Raw Story:
Faux News analyst Jim Pinkerton suggested on Monday that Al Jazeera’s new American television network might have an editorial policy that was supportive of “killing Americans and so on” because he said that was what most Arabs wanted.
In preparation for Al Jazeera America’s Aug. 20 launch, Faux News host Jon Scott noted during a Monday segment that “some charged” that the network’s Middle East counterpart “gave a voice to terrorists.”
“But what about the editorial side of it?” Scott asked Pinkerton. “I mean, Al Jazeera, many people saw it as a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden because that was the channel that regularly aired his diatribes right after 9/11.”
“Well, I think there’s something to that,” Pinkerton agreed. “But look, they’re an Arab news channel, and let’s face it, many — if not most — Arabs probably support what bin Laden was trying to do in terms of killing Americans and so on. The polls from the Pew Center certainly show that.”
Of course you know, this means war. Dig deep enough, and the dirt will find you.

The Koch Brothers Crawl Back Into Their Cave and Refuse to Buy Tribune Papers

The Kochs decided that the Tribune papers weren't financially viable enough to use as tea party style propaganda outlets. …
The Koch brothers decided they don’t want the Tribune papers as their propaganda outlet after all.
After the Kochs conducted a “due diligence test” they concluded the papers, which include the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and aren’t “financially viable” enough to use as tea party style propaganda outlets.  Of course, the public outcry against the Kochs buying the news to put their special spin on it  had absolutely nothing to do with it.
According to the Daily Caller, which broke the story, the Koch Brothers lost interest once they found out that CareerBuilder.com, a job search website and Classified Ventures LLC – a car and building rental site bring in a lot of the revenue.
Two of the Tribune Company’s digital assets in particular, CareerBuilder.com and Classified Ventures LLC., a source with knowledge of the proceedings told The Daily Caller, were discovered to be half of the company’s revenue.
“They’re basically such an important part of the revenue,” the source confirmed, “in a way that if they sold them, it goes away.”
Translation: The job search site and the rental site earned lots of money, but they’re too icky for the Kochs to keep because you know, they actually do some good for human kind. Their ickiness outweighed the allure of having access to a huge audience for their Tea Party style propaganda.  In other words, even profit isn’t enough incentive for the Koch brothers to have any association with something that might actually help the unemployed get a job or help people who want to rent a car.
The whole notion of a job search site bringing in a significant amount of money during a period of unemployment shouldn’t be surprising – even for people who are so removed from the world that most Americans live in.  Aside from the ick factor that would go with a business that makes profits but also does some good for people, there is another plausible reason the Kochs were turned off.  Career Builder’s income creates a few optics problems for the Koch brothers.
It dispels the right wing meme that unemployment is a life style of choice for all those lazy takers. The site cannot profit unless both “job creators” and “job takers” use the site.  Employers are not going to pay for a service that doesn’t lead them to suitable employees.  In other words, the site’s significant income proves the unemployed are actively looking for work.
The only thing worse than keeping these sites is selling them because as the Daily Caller’s insightful source pointed out the revenue “goes away.”

Thankfully, the Kochs’ utter disdain for people who didn’t “earn” their money the old-fashioned way outweighed their ever ending lust for profit – regardless of its human benefits.  Hey, now we know the Koch Brothers do have principles after all.
Naturally, this is good news for writers who won’t become mere propaganda machines for what would probably be lower paychecks and for the readers who will be spared the daily doses of Koch tea.
Of course, the Koch brothers continue to shop for a propaganda outlet that is economically viable – without doing anything to help people.
Now that the Kochs are looking elsewhere to unleash their tea party spin machine, the Tribune Co. is moving ahead with some restructuring plans.  According to USA Today, the company’s plans include creating a separate company, Tribune Publishing, for The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers. They also intend to focus more attention on the television branch of their business.

Nixon's resignation letter

39 years ago President Nixon quit. It was a shining moment for America

All-Pork Restaurant Opens in Chicago

Chef David Burke has opened Burke's Bacon Bar, a carry-out restaurant in Chicago that puts pork into its dishes---with an emphasis on bacon. Denise I. O'Neal of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Varieties include five-spice duck (smoked Peking duck, Chinese bacon (pork belly), hoisin sauce, cucumber cilantro and scallions in a steamed bun; 50 cents extra); banh mi (chicken liver-bacon salad, bacon, pickled vegetables, herbs and lime on a baguette ) and the Big Kahuna Spamwich (barbecued spam, pineapple slaw, bacon crumbs, homemade pickles on a King’s Hawaiian roll). Soups, salads and sides are also available. Desserts include bacon chocolate chip cookies— “delish”— and bacon peanut brittle.
“Bacon could be the one legal drug, because once you taste it you’re hooked,” Gresh said.
Trending next at the bacon bar? Body products including lip balms and soaps, and there’s even talk of a bacon cake down the road.

Man Has Stroke, Loses the Ability to Feel Sad

Malcolm Myatt, 68, had a stroke. It affected the frontal lobe of his brain--the part of the brain that governs emotions. As a result, he's lost the ability to be sad:
Experts have confirmed that it is not uncommon for strokes to cause psychological, emotional and behavioral changes.
The retired lorry driver said: "I am never depressed. Being sad wouldn't help anything anyway. I would definitely rather be happy all the time than the other way round. It's an advantage really.
"The stroke could have become my worst enemy but I wouldn't let it. Now I barely even notice that I don't feel sadness.” [...]
Many of the psychological changes that occur after a stroke are down to the physical damage of the brain, and will depend upon which part of the brain has been affected and the extent of the damage, The Stroke Association said.
Dr Clare Walton explained: “When a stroke strikes, the blood supply to the brain is cut off, brain cells die and permanent damage can be caused. Every stroke is different, and the area of the brain that’s damaged will determine how the person is affected.

Woman turned up alive 13 days after her funeral

The family of 50-year-old Sharolyn Jackson was overjoyed to learn that, 13 days after they held a funeral and burial, Jackson is, in fact, alive. The services were held on August 3rd after the Philadelphia Medical Examiner had signed a death certificate for Jackson and a body, thought to be hers, was laid to rest.
Then, last Friday, Jackson showed up at a Mental Health Facility. Her family was elated, but an investigation has now been opened to determine who is buried in the grave thought to be hers. So far, city officials say they know the body is that of an unidentified woman who was found dead from natural causes on July 20th on a West Philadelphia street, her body taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

When a social worker who knows Jackson - and her son - both identified pictures of the dead woman as Ms. Jackson, the Medical Examiner’s Office signed a death certificate, allowing an undertaker to remove her body for funeral services and burial. A representative of the Philadelphia Health Department says all proper procedures were followed by workers and, with two people, including a family member, identifying her, it was following protocol to release the body.

The representative now says city officials are expected to seek an order to exhume the unknown body so steps can be taken to identify her. Jackson’s family say that while they are very happy to know their loved one is alive, they feel great sorrow for the family of whoever is buried at the grave-site.

If you could travel back in time ...

When asked "If you could travel back in time, which decade of the 20th century would you most like to see?", Americans most popular choice is the 1950s, which was selected by 18% of Americans...

Americans' time travel preferences relate strongly with their age. 35% of those over 65 would want to return to the 1950s and 18% would want to go back to the 1960s, the decades when they would have experienced their adolescence and early adulthood...

For those 18-29 years-old, the top two choices are a mix of personal and societal nostalgia. 19% would choose the 1990s - when most of those in the age demographic were kids. 19% also would select the 1920s - a time well before they were born, but celebrated in American culture, most recently by this year's film adaptation of the Great Gatsby.
Text and graphs from YouGov.

Fifty Things A Geek Should Know

In days of yore, it was easy to spot a geek. They were the ones inside on a sunny day indulging their unfashionable obsessions to the detriment to our social standing. Now, thanks to the arrival of 'geek-chic', what once would result in ridicule is now considered 'really cool.'

So check this infographic and discover how many geek facts you know for real.

When Pigs Fly

In English, we often use the term "when pigs fly" to indicate something that will never happen. It's become so common that we've managed to make flying pigs a pop culture meme. It's not the only way to say it in English, and other languages have their own colorful phrases for "not gonna happen." For example:
Israel "When hair grows on the palm of my hand"

Hungary “When it’s snowing red snowflakes”

Portugal “In the afternoon of Saint Never’s day”
There's more of these at Nautilus , and even a world map showing where more idioms are used.

Top 10 Warning Signs That State The Obvious

The whole point behind warning signs is to alert us about doing things that could be hazardous towards us, and if you value your life it's usually best to read them and act accordingly. However, there is a fine line between hazardous warning signs and warning signs that state the obvious.

Here are 10 Warning Signs That State The Obvious.

The Duplex


Alien Gargoyle

It was weird enough to see Darth Vader grotesque on the National Cathedral, and a spaceman carved on a 16th century cathedral. This gargoyle, projecting from a Scottish Abbey, looks a bit like a certain movie xenomorph we are familiar with, right? Paisley Abbey was founded in 1245, so is it possible that H.R. Geiger found inspiration in the figure? Or was it inspired itself by extraterrestrials? No.
However, following pictures of the Alien-gargoyle appearing on-line and in news reports, it has been revealed that the Abbey had some renovations in the 1990s, which included many of the original gargoyles being replaced.  
See more pictures and a video at Dangerous Minds.

Shakespearean theater to be resurrected

The 16th century theatre where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was first performed will be excavated and turned into a Scheduled Ancient Monument at the centre of a vast performance, exhibition and commercial space in Shoreditch.
Shakespearean theatre to be resurrected
Excavations at the 16th century theatre in Hackney
[Credit: © Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will]
Built in 1577, the playhouse – home to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, as well as the premiere of Henry V – was rediscovered in excellent condition last summer, a year after a Museum of London Archaeology team had begun digging there.

Working three meters below ground level, they found the original stage floor and brick walls from a theatre measuring 22 meters along 14 sides. The development, which includes a 164-seat indoor auditorium and a 200-seat outdoor space, will place the artifacts alongside finds from other Elizabethan theaters.

“In my 30 years of experience as an archaeologist there is only one thing in development that excites the public more than archaeology, and that is Shakespeare,” said Chris Thomas, one of the archaeologists.

“We have both here.  The scheme has been designed to make the Curtain Theater the centerpiece, providing it with a generous amount of space for the display and offering the large public open space with a focus few other developments can match.

“This is a site of international significance that, without this development, will lie hidden and inaccessible to the public.”

Thomas said he expected the exhibition space, designed by the company behind the new Mary Rose Museum, to become “one of the archaeological highlights” for tourists and “an unrivalled educational and heritage resource” for residents in Hackney.

In a submission during the planning process, English Heritage said a successful resurrection of the Curtain would have “value across the board educationally”, allowing audiences to be “moved, excited and awestruck” by the remains of one of Shakespeare’s favorite stages.

The race to save Petra from its own success

A victim of its own success and fragility, the World Heritage site of Petra is currently under assessment to limit the safety risks it poses to both tourists and its local population.
The race to save Petra from its own success
Al Khazneh or The Treasury at Petra [Credit: Web]
A two-and-a-half year UNESCO project, which was launched in July 2012 to monitor the slopes in the Siq as a response to the instability of its sandstone rocks, unearthed other underlying challenges facing the site, according to UNESCO.

Monitoring devices have been installed to identify and document the most unstable areas in the Siq, the 1.2-kilometre path leading to the iconic Treasury, and will result in the creation of a set of guidelines to better manage the site and mitigate risk.

In 2009, the minister of tourism and antiquities contacted UNESCO to warn that a large block of stone in the Siq was likely to detach and fall, which prompted a decision to install metal bars to secure the anchoring of the stone a year later.

Shifting stones are common in the ancient city due to the unique geology of the site, as sandstone is severely affected by weathering but also absorbs water easily, which could freeze once captured inside the stone, posing a risk for cracks, according to experts.

“Petra has the typical Jordanian terrain with very little vegetation to hold the soil together, and with climate change today, you have less precipitation but an increased risk of flashfloods,” Anna Paolini, director of the UNESCO Amman Office, told The Jordan Times.

Flashfloods increase the risk of cracks and mudslides, which are among the threats to the longevity of the site and to the tourists’ safety.

“The purpose of the rehabilitation of the Siq was mainly to limit flashfloods,” Petra National Trust (PNT) Executive Director Aysar Akrawi said in a recent interview.

“In 1994, 21 French tourists died in the Siq, and every year, a couple of people from the community fall victims to them,” Akrawi noted.

Besides the efforts to ensure safety in the Siq, tourists need to make “an informed decision” on visiting the site, according to Paolini, especially if the tourist is of a certain age or suffers a physical condition.

“There is a need to reinforce the security on the site due to its complexity. Risk in Petra is something that needs to be taken into consideration… [there are risks of] getting lost, falling, dehydration, heart attacks…,” she added.

Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, attracts 600 to over 2,000 visitors per day depending on the season, according to the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP).

“The reputation of Petra makes it possible to manage projects and… the Siq project is very important because it deals directly with the safety of the tourists,” said Emad Hijazeen, deputy chief commissioner at PAP.

Involving the local community

According to a UNESCO 2010 rapid assessment report, 41 per cent of the local residents surveyed said they see Petra as a source of income, whereas over a third of them did not know that Petra was a World Heritage Site.

“The economic value of the site is the most commonly understood just as for any site in the world… and there is a need for concerted efforts with the local population,” Akrawi noted.

Although most of the local residents have been working in the site over the years and a majority of them consider Petra to be their home, those working on the site are not integrated at a management level. In addition, the UNESCO assessment revealed that less than 10 per cent of the surveyed tourists said they had interacted with the local community.

“If you want your local communities to become protectors of the site, they need to buy in,” Akrawi pointed out.

“You need to give the people from Petra the tools to manage their own site… but bedouins are not yet involved in the decision-making process even if it is the intention,” she added

Officials at the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) said they are already trying to involve the bedouins by hiring them as guards or guides at the visitor center.

They added, however, that the most conservation positions require a specific set of skills and the demand falls mostly on geologists, water experts and archaeologists.

The lack of personnel is one of the main areas of concern for UNESCO, whose objective is to ensure the follow-up of the Siq project is in Jordanian hands after the assessment period is over.

“The idea is to train Jordanians to be able to read and analyse the data, but you need an expert to interpret it and the problem we face is that we don’t have enough people to train for the time being,” Paolini said.

“As the monitoring will have to continue after the project ends, having competent trained personnel will be the only way to allow sustainability of the project in the long term,” she noted.

A scientific advisory committee was recently formed with members representing all stakeholders to find common solutions to the issues facing the site.

“We try to engage everybody to get the best results out of the project and everyone represents different specializations so it offers a more holistic approach,” Hijazeen told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Out of the Petra entry ticket prices, the sum reallocated to conservation has doubled from 10 per cent in 2009, and Hijazeen said the size of the Petra park and the many challenges it faces require this amount to be increased in the future.

The UNESCO Siq Stability project was officially launched in July 2012 and is funded by the Italian government in partnership with the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection, the PNT and the PDTRA, among others.

Tomb find confirms powerful women ruled Peru long ago

The discovery in Peru of another tomb belonging to a pre-Hispanic priestess, the eighth in more than two decades, confirms that powerful women ruled this region 1,200 years ago, archeologists said.
Tomb find confirms powerful women ruled Peru long ago
Workers uncover a burial chamber of the Moche culture in the Cao religious compound, close to the city of Trujillo, Peru, on August 3, 2013. The discovery in Peru of another tomb belonging to a pre-Hispanic priestess, the eighth in more than two decades, confirms that powerful women ruled this region 1,200 years ago, archeologists said [Credit: AFP]
The remains of the woman from the Moche -- or Mochica -- civilization were discovered in late July in an area called La Libertad in the country's northern Chepan province.

It is one of several finds in this region that have amazed scientists. In 2006, researchers came across the famous "Lady of Cao" -- who died about 1,700 years ago and is seen as one of the first female rulers in Peru.

"This find makes it clear that women didn't just run rituals in this area but governed here and were queens of Mochica society," project director Luis Jaime Castillo told AFP.

"It is the eighth priestess to be discovered," he added. "Our excavations have only turned up tombs with women, never men."
Tomb find confirms powerful women ruled Peru long ago
View of one of two skeletons found in a burial chamber of the Moche culture (between 200-700 AD), in the Cao religious compound, close to the city of Trujillo, Peru, on August 3, 2013 [Credit: AFP]
The priestess was in an "impressive 1,200-year-old burial chamber" the archeologist said, pointing out that the Mochica were known as master craftsmen.

"The burial chamber of the priestess is 'L'-shaped and made of clay, covered with copper plates in the form of waves and sea birds," Castillo said.

Near the neck is a mask and a knife, he added.

The tomb, decorated with pictures in red and yellow, also has ceramic offerings -- mostly small vases -- hidden in about 10 niches on the side.

"Accompanying the priestess are bodies of five children, two of them babies, and two adults, all of whom were sacrificed," Castillo said, noting there were two feathers atop the coffin.

Julio Saldana, the archeologist responsible for work in the burial chamber, said the discovery of the tomb confirms the village of San Jose de Moro is a cemetery of the Mochica elite, with the most impressive tombs belonging to women.

New finds in Xinjiang shed light on early defence strategy

Some intriguing historical finds now. A group of stone tombs found under rubble in the north west of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are remembered as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries of 2012. More mystery is unfolding however as archaeologists continue to explore and research in and around the area.
New finds in Xinjiang shed light on early defence strategy
New finds in Xinjiang shed light on early defence strategy
A group of stone tombs found under rubble in the north west of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous
Region are remembered as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries of 2012
[Credit: CNTV]
This scattered rubble within the Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture had the eyes of the archaeological world on it last year. Dozens of stone tombs and sites believed to be for sacrificial rituals were found in the area. The ancient remains date from around four thousand years ago and are believed to be the first batch of archaeological finds from the Bronze Age in Xinjiang.

Archaeologists have recently also found three connected houses in the upper terrain of the area and have concluded they probably served as watch houses in the early Bronze Age.

Cong Demin, research, said, "Where I’m standing is 1800 meters above sea level. You can see this is a great vantage point, so it holds a strategic significance. It would lend itself to being a watch tower location."

While the new discovery in Xinjiang sheds lights on the earliest military defences in China, digs are now being held at a Tang dynasty tomb site, located in a village in Fangshan district, Beijing.

The site was discovered by chance during construction work and inscriptions on the tombstones confirm that it is the final resting place of Liu Ji, a high ranking official from the Tang dynasty, who was once a reigning military power in Beijing.

The writer of the epitaph was Quan Deyu, a teacher of the famous poet Liu Zongyuan. He was asked by the emperor to writer the epitaph for Liu Ji, signifying the prominent position that Liu Ji and his family held in the region some 1200 years ago.

Death Defying Walks In China's Yellow Mountains

Huangshan is a mountain range in eastern China and one of the most iconic locations in the country. The most special location is the area's aptly named Bridge of Immortals. The frighteningly high bridge's ornately carved path leads from a cave in a sheer rock wall to another on a nearby wall, traversing the narrow gorge below.

If that isn't enough of a thrill however, there are a number of footpaths anchored right into the cliff walls. In some instances the only thing keeping you from a sudden drop off the side of the very questionable walkway, is a steel chain to hold onto in utter terror.

Black Hole Ejects "Space Slinky"

You know what's the best thing about black holes, apart from them not being too close to us that they'd suck all of us up into oblivion? Two words: space slinky.
Eileen Meyer from the Space Telescope Science Institute and colleagues used images from the Hubble Space telescope to analyze the central black hole of nearby M87 galaxy and discovered that when it is busy feeding, the black hole can also fire jets of plasma into space, in the form of a giant helical slinky:
Meyer found evidence that suggests the jet's spiral motion is created by a helix-shaped magnetic field surrounding the black hole. In the outer part of the M87 jet, for example, one bright gas clump, called knot B, appears to zigzag, as if it were moving along a spiral path. Several other gas clumps along the jet also appear to loop around an invisible structure. [...]
"The jet structure is very clumpy. Is this a ballistic effect, like cannonballs fired sequentially from a cannon?" Meyer asked, "or, are there some particularly interesting physics going on, such as a shock that is magnetically driven?"
Meyer's team found evidence for both scenarios. "We found things that move quickly," Meyer said. "We found things that move slowly. And, we found things that are stationary. This study shows us that the clumps are very dynamic sources."

Meet The World's Oldest and Largest Wombat

This picture might look photoshopped, but Patrick is 100% real. The 27 year-old wombat weighs 66 pounds and lives in the Ballarat Wildlife Park in Australia. While the adorable little man is already 12 years older than most wombats, he probably won't pass on his genes because he has never mated with a female, so don't hold out your hopes for a Patrick 2.0 to show up in another 27 years.

Snow Leopard Cub Born at Brookfield Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has announced that a snow leopard cub was born there on June 13th. The cub, a blue-eyed baby boy, does not yet have a name.
The cub, who currently weighs about 10 pounds, is the first cub born to nearly 3-year-old Sarani and her mate Sabu, 3. Since his birth the cub and his mom have resided in an off-exhibit den. Until the cub is 3 months old, he will remain there bonding with his mom before making his public debut in mid-September.
See more pictures of the cub at the zoo's Facebook page: Here.

Animal Pictures