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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.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Daily Drift

Intelligence is out there ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 countries around the world daily.
 A Pirate ye be ... !

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day  

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Today in History

1356 In a landmark battle of the Hundred Years' War, English Prince Edward defeats the French at Poitiers.
1544 Francis, the king of France, and Charles V of Austria sign a peace treaty in Crespy, France, ending a 20-year war.
1692 Giles Corey is pressed to death for standing mute and refusing to answer charges of witchcraft brought against him. He is the only person in America to have suffered this punishment.
1777 American forces under Gen. Horatio Gates meet British troops led by Gen. John Burgoyne at Saratoga Springs, NY.
1783 The first hot-air balloon is sent aloft in Versailles, France with animal passengers including a sheep, rooster and a duck.
1788 Charles de Barentin becomes lord chancellor of France.
1841 The first railway to span a frontier is completed between Stousbourg and Basle, in Europe.
1863 In Georgia, the two-day Battle of Chickamauga begins as Union troops under George Thomas clash with Confederates under Nathan Bedford Forrest.
1893 New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the right to vote.
1900 President Loubet of France pardons Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus, twice court-martialed and wrongly convicted of spying for Germany.
1918 American troops of the Allied North Russia Expeditionary Force receive their baptism of fire near the town of Seltso against Soviet forces.
1948 Moscow announces it will withdrawal soldiers from Korea by the end of the year.
1955 Argentina's President Juan Peron is overthrown by rebels.
1957 First underground nuclear test is takes place in Nevada.
1970 First Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Artis (originally called the Pilton Festival) held near Pliton, Somerset, England.
1973 Carl XVI Gustaf invested as King of Sweden, following the death of his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf.
1982 The first documented emoticons, :-) and :-(, posted on Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System by Scott Fahlman.
1985 An earthquake kills thousands in Mexico City.
1985 Parents Music Resource Center formed by Tipper Gore (wife of then-Senator Al Gore) and other political wives to lobby for Parental Advisory stickers on music packaging.
1991 German hikers near the Austria-Italy border discover the naturally preserved mummy of a man from about 3,300 BC; Europe's oldest natural human mummy, he is dubbed Otzi the Iceman because his lower half was encased in ice.
2006 Military coup in Bangkok,  revokes Thailand's constitution and establishes martial law.

Non Sequitur


American Roadtrip

Autumn admirers can track the progress of the changing foliage using the U.S. Forest Service's Fall Colors 2013 website. Then use Roadtripper's map to plan ahead for a fall excursion.

Random Photos


La Dolce Vita

Stop me if you’ve heard this before

Senseless shooting resulting in multiple fatalities. 
by Dennis
A single government contractor from Texas, armed to the teeth, entered a navy yard building and killed 12 people. This was another great day for Wayne LaPierre and…

Under Obamacare, Millions Of Americans Will Pay Less Than $100 Per Month For Health Insurance

by Tara Culp-Ressler
Obamacare-Sebelius-And-Obama-649x376 About 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 each month on Obamacare’s new state-level marketplaces, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s because those people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will reduce the price of purchasing a plan under the health reform law.
The Obama administration calculated the expected premiums for people buying “silver” plans, which are the second-cheapest option on the new insurance marketplaces. Even though not every marketplace has announced its premium rates yet, researchers were still able to estimate those payments based on the health law’s rule for determining subsidies.
Americans who make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level — which works out to be $94,200 for a family of four — are eligible for subsidies that ensure they’ll only pay a certain percentage of their income for a health plan. Using census data on Americans’ income levels, researchers were able to extrapolate how many of them would be paying less than $100 for monthly premiums for silver plans.
The new HHS report aligns with previous research that has found that many Americans won’t be covering the full cost of premiums for individual plans on Obamacare’s marketplaces. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 48 percent of the Americans who need to buy insurance on the marketplaces will receive federal subsidies to help them afford it. That number rises even more for young Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 years old, who comprise the largest share of any age group to benefit from this cost-saving provision.
One of the persistent criticisms of the health reform law is that it will dramatically hike Americans’ premiums. But many of the reports about potential “rate shock” don’t take into account the effect of the federal subsidies. It’s difficult to predict how Obamacare will impact specific premiums in every state, but it is important to remember that the plans being created under the health law are brand new. They won’t necessarily be comparable to the insurance that Americans currently have, because Obamacare’s marketplaces will require each plan to meet a set of requirements to ensure they provide adequate coverage.
In addition to subsidized plans on the marketplaces, other Americans will end up paying less than $100 for their insurance because they will qualify for Medicaid under their state’s expanded program. Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is optional, and the HHS report calculated the effect it will have in the 25 states that have so far indicated they will accept it. In that half of the country, about 12.4 million uninsured Americans will pay less than $100 each month — and many of them will pay nothing at all — to participate in the public health insurance program.
Between federal subsidies and increased Medicaid enrollment, more than half of the Americans who are currently uninsured won’t need to pay more than $100 per month to begin accessing health coverage under Obamacare, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The repugicans Channel Hitler as They Claim to See Him Everywhere

The repugicans love to play mix 'n match labels with Nazis and Communists but themselves channel Hitler as they do so to stoke fear and anger…
The repugicans love to draw false parallels between Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler, and to liken themselves to the so-called Greatest Generation, who crusaded against Nazism.
For ignorant repugicans – leaders and base included – liberals and progressives are somehow both Nazis and Communists, and oddly enough, at the same time, Caliphate-loving terrorists, as though any one of the three could be equated with the others.
Orson Scott Card, Mormon and sci fi author, as well as being a foe of LGBT rights, is also an Obama hater, and one of those who likes to play the Hitler card. Four months ago he said, “Like Hitler, he [Obama] needs a powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise.”
Like Hitler, he [Obama] needs a powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise…The National Police will be recruited from “young out-of-work urban men” and it will be hailed as a cure for the economic malaise of the inner cities. In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama’s enemies.
Never mind that Obama neither needs nor has a powerful domestic army – or any domestic army – for people like Card, who operate by generating fear, even the suggestion is enough.
Far from being punished for saying such stupid and dishonest things, Card was rewarded last week by being appointed to the UNC -TV Board of Trustees by repugican state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. Said Chairman Robb Teer,
We are pleased to welcome Mr. Card to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees. We are grateful for his willingness to serve and look forward to working with him to continue providing the people of our state with enriching, life-changing television in these challenging times.
Apparently, some repugicans think public television should reflect their hate-filled and inflammatory rhetoric – which happens to be a very Hitler-like move, and one, no doubt, of which Der Führer would have approved.
The use of these terms demonstrates that wingnuts who apply them haven’t the faintest idea what they are talking about. Communism is an extreme left wing ideology, while Nazism is an extreme right-wing ideology. The two hated each other as only extremists can.
The Nazi hymn, the Horst Wessel Lied, reveals the degree of antipathy existing between the two in its first verse:
Die Fahne hoch die Reihen fest geschlossen
S. A. marschiert mit ruhig festem Schritt
Kam’raden die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen
Marschier’n im Geist in unsern Reihen mit
Flag high, ranks closed,
The S.A. marches with silent solid steps.
Comrades shot by the red front and reaction
march in spirit with us in our ranks.
People like Glenn Beck and our various religious zealots fling words like “Communist” and “Nazi” around because they generate negative emotion. None of it has to make any sense. In fact, they don’t want to make any sense. They just want to stoke levels of fear and hatred, which is, as it turns out, very Nazi and very Hitler-like of them.
This absurd mixing and matching of labels is supposed to magnify the fear and danger. So we run into people like Matt Barber who wants to equate Paganism with secularism, and Patrick Henry College professor Stephen Baskerville, who in demonizing both feminism and islam, rationalizes how a group can be both one thing and another by invoking Hitler and Stalin:
Though they claim to advance rights, or equality, or justice – values that in their place may be seductively legitimate – the real aim is power – or as currently phrased, “empowerment.” In comparison with this shared common goal, differences in contentare secondary. This is why alliances are readily formed between seemingly incompatible agendas: Hitler and Stalin, or Islamists and feminists. “Power is the alpha and the omega of contemporary Communism,” wrote Milovan Djilas during the repression of the 1950s.”Ideas, philosophical principles, and moral considerations…- all can be changed and sacrificed. But not power.
Because we can all see radical islamists allying themselves with feminists.
The christian fundamentalists pretend “gay activists” are Hitler’s storm troopers but in reality, the gays are as much the victims of repugican ideology as they once were of Nazi ideology, and it is the gay-bashing repugicans who are playing the part of Hitler’s brown battalions. The tea party mantra is less “Don’t Tread on Me” and more “I will Tread on You.”
Of course, if repugicans would spend more time reading history and less making it up, they would know these things and their leaders would not so easily be able to lie to them. It is all available and so easy to find that failing to do so borders on the criminal.
Just look at a few examples:
Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, one of Hitler’s early confidants, wrote in his memoirs, referring to the 1920s, that, “The Nazis were only one of the numerous Right Wing radical organizations flourishing in Bavaria at the time.”
Like the repugicans, the Nazis received monetary support from big business. They also received help from the military and in their early days, even from the Bavarian government “With the Central Government in Berlin predominantly Socialist, the Bavarian authorities sought actively to thwart it and encouraged for their nuisance value all the disgruntled Right Wing elements who flocked south for safety.”
French scholar Christian Ingrao, in a recent study of intellectuals in the SS, points to the dangers in the Third Reich of being thought a leftist: The “firmness of [Obersturmbannführer Heinz] Gräfe’s ideological convictions” was questioned on several occasions” with the accusations being leveled at him not only of pacifism but the even worse label of being “solidly on the left.” As Ingrao says, “the accusation was a serious one.”
Ingrao also relates how another intellectual, Erich Ehlers, was “put to work hunting down Communists and Social Democrats” – the Social Democrats of Weimar Germany being socialists. In fact, in the Third Reich the SD, or security branch of the SS, had as its primary task during Hitler’s rise to power, surveillance of the Nazi Party’s political enemies on the left.
On the other side of the equation, the Communists in 1929 and 1930 went with the slogan, “Beat the Fascists wherever you find them!” and they literally meant “beat” as in a physical sense – bloody.
Like repugicans, Hitler spoke (in Mein Kampf) of “the international traitors and enemies of the country” and the “terrorist activities” of the Reds; he spoke disparagingly of the “fanatical extremists of the left wing” to whom the Nazi Party who “were organized in movements with a more or less radically Marxist tendency…[possessing] no nationalist tendencies whatsoever and deliberately repudiating the idea of advancing the interests of the nation as such.”
In effect, the left was to Hitler as it is to repugicans: traitors.
Of course, as it does for us today, the Communist Party in Germany of the 1920s occupied the far left of the political spectrum, with the Socialists somewhere nearer the middle. But though repugicans seem confused by the “Socialist” in National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP), Hanfstaengl relates that “When he [Hitler] talked of National-Socialism what he really meant was military-Socialism, Socialism within a framework of military discipline, or, in civilian terms, police-Socialism.”
One of Hitler’s early supporters, Otto Strasser, left the NSDAP “because it was insufficiently Socialist and revolutionary.”
Other supporters had issues – for different reasons – with Hitler’s management of the Party. Hanfstaengl relates that Dietrich Eckart, another of Hitler’s old guard, was frustrated with the anti-communists and anti-Semites in Hitler’s inner core, complaining that “you cannot build a political party on the basis of prejudices alone.”
As it turns out, you can, as both the NSDAP and the repugican cabal have proven. Fear and anger of the Other are potent weapons as the tea party phenomenon proves.
But historically, it has not ended well. A lesson of history repugicans might wish to consider as they dream their dreams of just wars and crusades and the imposition of American exceptionalism on every shore.

Transfer An Audio Message By Poking Someone With Your Finger

Disney researchers have developed a microphone that lets a user record a voice message and then relay that message to another person simply by touching them with a finger. The microphone converts the voice message into an inaudible signal which is transmitted to the body of the person holding the microphone.

It can then be transmitted from that person's body to another person's body through touch. The recorded sound only becomes audible when touching someone else's ear. The sound can't be heard by anyone else but the person being touched. Look at a video of this concept.

How to be simultaneously right and wrong

If somebody tells you an ostensible fact about human behavior or human thought and shows you a picture of an fMRI at the same time, are you more likely to believe what you've just been told? There's a debate within science right now about whether people are more easily lead astray by brain imaging, or whether those rainbow pictures of the mind affect our thinking much at all. Some studies show one result. Some show another. At Scientific American Mind, Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer explain why both sides might be right in this fight. It's a neat reminder that answers aren't always binary. 

Daily Comic Relief


Bad Cops

Ten arrests in 87 minutes: How NYPD dispersed peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests

A short film by Paul Sullivan that chillingly breaks down the creepy tactics New York City police used to intimidate and harass protesters, and arrest them for expressing their first amendment rights in public space. In these examples, it seems they used "the momentum of arrests" to deter the spirit of the crowd--not because the individuals shown here actually posed a threat to the public, or had harmed anyone or done anything bad.

In a police encounter, could your iPhone thumbprint be used against you? Maybe. 

"Under the Fifth Amendment, Police can’t force you to self-incriminate by testifying, or divulging something in your mind. It’s unclear if that same protection applies if the password is your fingerprint."WSJ.com.

High court dismisses case against man accused of drinking tea suspiciously

Bewildered by the explanation that a man was arrested because he was drinking tea in a "suspicious manner" at a road side stall near Shivaji University in Kolhapur, India, the Bombay high court directed the police to back off and set aside the preventive detention proceedings against him. Vijay Patil, a 49-year-old restaurant owner from Kolhapur had moved the high court to challenge his detention and sought damages. His lawyer Satyavrat Joshi said the police had no real reason to pluck him off the street at 11am on February 22 while he was merely sipping tea.

The high court said it agreed. "Beyond saying that the petitioner had no explanation for being at the tea stall, we find nothing in the affidavit in reply, filed by police sub-inspector V T Jadhav," said a bench of Justices C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel last week. The judgment penned by Justice Patel said, "This is bewildering. We were unaware that the law required anyone to give an explanation for having tea, whether in the morning, noon or night. One might take tea in a variety of ways, not all of them always elegant or delicate, some of them perhaps even noisy. But we know of no way to drink tea 'suspiciously'." He added, "The ingestion of a cup that cheers demands no explanation. And while cutting chai is permissible, now even fashionable, cutting corners with the law is not."
The court said the arrest "presents far more fundamental problems." The provisions of section 151 Code of Criminal Procedure invoked by the police are "preventive, not punitive." The section allows police to arrest a person without a warrant or a court order, as the only means to prevent a serious crime from taking place. Such arrests can only be made when a police officer is satisfied that the impending cognizable crime cannot otherwise be prevented. "Otherwise," the high court said, "there is a violation of a person's fundamental right to life and liberty." In this case, the magistrate too had imposed a bond of Rs 4,000 (£40, $64) on Patil before releasing him under section 107 Code of Criminal Procedure which deals in maintenance of public peace and tranquility.

The high court said a magistrate must exercise these powers to order execution of bonds "only in an emergent situation." The prosecutor KV Saste said the arrest was justified as Patil was a repeat offender with over 100 cases against him. In most cases, he was acquitted with not a single conviction and over 90 percent were outside the jurisdiction of Rajarampuri police station which had arrested him. "His past criminal history is irrelevant as it does not lead to any conclusion of imminent criminal activity," the judges said. Besides, there is a five-step procedure that acts as a safeguard against potential abuse of power, before a magistrate can issue a showcause notice in such arrests, the HC said. The court did not grant Patil any compensation but held that "Previous acquittals cannot be brushed aside like this."

Value of cannabis seizure downgraded in value from €120,000 to nothing as plants were all male

Police in the Republic of Ireland are still hunting a drugs gang after discovering a botched cannabis growing operation with no drugs. Detectives were delighted when 150 plants were found hidden in two grow houses at the rear of a home in rural Co Donegal.

Officers found the blooming plants up a lane near the village of Kilmacrennan. But those behind the operation hadn't done their homework. All the plants were male.
Male plants are usually dumped early into the cultivation process because they don't contain any of the chemicals which give the user the ‘high'. It now means gardai have had to downgrade the value of the seizure from €120,000 - to nothing.  “There wasn't enough cannabis for a single joint,” one source revealed.

Some of the plants may have taken up to a year to grow. Gardai seized heat lamps, gardening tools and boxes of the fertilizer MiracleGro. It's understood gardai have interviewed one man and wish to talk to at least three others.

It's the Climate, Stupid

Tropical forests ‘fix’ themselves
Tropical forests speed their own recovery, capturing nitrogen and carbon faster after being logged or cleared for agriculture. Researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama think the

Climate change to shift Kenya’s breadbaskets
Kenyan farmers and agriculture officials need to prepare for a possible geographic shift in maize production as climate change threatens to make some areas of the country much less productive



The history of zits

These are the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that are thought to refer to acne. They're part of a nifty piece by Hilda Bastian that looks at the history of our understanding about zits — where people thought they came from before we knew about their relationship to hormones and bacteria. And how some of the myths that originated in that pre-scientific understanding still affect our cultural attitudes about acne and the way anti-acne products are marketed to us today.

Extreme binge drinking ...

How common is it among high school seniors?
A University of Michigan study published online in JAMA Pediatrics finds that 10 percent of high school seniors have engaged in extreme binge drinking, drinking 10 or more alcoholic drinks

Health News

RIP Stephen Crohn: The man AIDS couldn't kill

Stephen Crohn lost a boyfriend and many friends to AIDS before realizing that there must be something different about him that kept him from contracting HIV. He eventually became one of the key patients that helped scientists discover the delta32 mutation — a very rare genetic anomaly that makes a person immune (as far as we know) to HIV. Crohn died on August 23rd. His family has said the death was a suicide.

Cancer quack continues killing women, new link to odd hospital revealed

Skepticblogger Orac writes about the sad saga of Fabio Lanzoni’s sister Christina’s ovarian cancer, which killed her, but with help from "University General Hospital and at the Burzynski Clinic." It's no accident that this hospital, which has been sued for fraud and is associated with America's famous non-jailed cancer quack, goes by the abbreviation "UGH." 

Love thy neighbor ...

 ... It could lower your risk of stroke
Here’s some neighborly advice for adults over age 50: Stay friendly with your neighbors. A new University of Michigan study shows that adults in this age bracket who live in

Diminishing fear vicariously by watching others

Phobias — whether it’s fear of spiders, clowns, or small spaces — are common and can be difficult to treat. New research suggests that watching someone else safely interact with

Indigenous sign languages protected in online dictionary

A University of Melbourne researcher has helped develop the first online dictionary of sign languages used by Indigenous communities across central Australia. The dictionary includes several hundred videos of hand-signs

Twenty-five historic b/w photos colorized

#25 The Hindenburg Disaster

Users of Reddit's "Colorized History" have taken old photographs and brought them to life with stunning color. The fiery destruction of the Hindenberg zeppelin marked the end of the era of airship travel; the widely publicized event caused the public to lose trust in the slow, unwieldy ships.

See the rest here.

The ten oldest buildings is the world

Tumulus of Bougon, France
Tumulus of Bougon, France
See the other nine here.

Awesome Pictures


A Meeting of Giants by Mountain Man JC13 on Flickr.

Legend Of The Vegetable Lamb Of Tartary

The Vegetable Lamb was a popular myth of the Middle Ages that described a live lamb growing from a very special plant. It was believed to come from a vast region of Europe and Central Asia known then as Tartary.

Medieval texts described two varieties of the Vegetable Lamb - the first produced little naked, newborn lambs inside its pods, and the other had a life-sized lamb, with bones, blood and flesh, attached by its belly button to a short plant stem. This stem was extremely flexible, so allowed the tethered lamb to graze on the vegetation around it. Once all the vegetation was eaten, or if the stem broke, the lamb would die.

Secretion from beaver bottoms can be a source of the taste of vanilla

The Swedish National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) has confirmed that anal secretions from the beaver, in the form of castoreum, can be used to provide a taste similar to vanilla in baked goods and sweets.

"Natural aromas can be extracts from plants, fungi, and in some cases animals. The labeling provisions do not require that the kind of flavor is indicated, with the exception of coffee and quinine," Ulla Beckman Sundh at the agency said.
Vanilla flavor, it has been established, is not only derived from the vanilla bean. It can also come from conifer trees, or indeed from the anal passage of a beaver. Beckman Sundh however questioned whether the beaver is likely to become a common a source of flavoring for baked goods, sweets, soft drinks and other items.

"As far as I know the beaver is not an animal which is bred, so supply is not that great," she said. The beaver population was wiped out in Sweden in the 19th century due to the popularity of castoreum which was then used in natural medicines. Following the import of animals from Norway in the 1920s, the population has grown to around 100,000.

Fire salamanders under threat from deadly skin-eating fungus

Fire salamanders have been almost wiped out in the Netherlands by a new skin-eating fungal disease which could threaten other amphibian populations. Fire salamanders, recognizable by their distinctive yellow and

Do Animals Cry?

Certain animals may weep out of sorrow, similar to human baby cries, say animal behavior experts.

Animal Pictures