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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, October 3, 2013

The Daily Drift

This is how our secretary greeted us this morning ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 countries around the world daily.
The obligatory cat meme  ... !

Today is (There are no special celebrations today) Day  

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
San Jose, Costa Rica
Port Saint Lucie, Fairless Hills, New Prague, Logansport and Corona Del Mar, United States
Sioux Lookout, Britannia, Ottawa, Seaton Village, Mississauga, Montreal, Chatham, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Saint John's and Forest Lawn, Canada
San Juan and Carolina, Puerto Rico
Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Mexicali and Ecatepec, Mexico
Santiago, Chile
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Warsaw, Poland
Nuremberg and Osnabruck, Germany
Antioch, Ankara and Bursa, Turkey
London, Lancaster and Woking, England
Madrid and Malaga, Spain
Rouen, Lyon and Cerny, France
Bologna, Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence and Pisa, Italy
Oslo, Norway
Vinicne Sumice, Czech Republic
Korsor, Denmark
Dublin, Ireland
Zhovti Vody and Kiev, Ukraine
Zurich, Switzerland
Bratislava, Slovakia
Penza, Chelyabinsk, Russia
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Budapest, Hungary
Pondicherry, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Powai, Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Jalandhar, India
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tehran and Karaj, Iran
Doha, Qatar
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kota Tinggi and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel Aviv, Israel
Surabaya, Indonesia
Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
Makati and Yumbing, Philippines
Sunshine and Homebush,  Australia

Today in History

1739 Russia signs a treaty with the Turks, ending a three-year conflict between the two countries.
1776 Congress borrows five million dollars to halt the rapid depreciation of paper money in the colonies.
1862 At the Battle of Corinth, in Mississippi, a Union army defeats the Confederates.
1873 Captain Jack and three other Modoc Indians are hanged in Oregon for the murder of General Edward Canby.
1876 John L. Routt, the Colorado Territory governor, is elected the first state governor of Colorado in the Centennial year of the U.S.
1906 The first conference on wireless telegraphy in Berlin adopts SOS as warning signal.
1929 The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes officially changes its name to Yugoslavia.
1931 The comic strip Dick Tracy first appears in the New York News.
1940 U.S. Army adopts airborne, or parachute, soldiers. Airborne troops were later used in World War II for landing troops in combat and infiltrating agents into enemy territory.
1941 The Maltese Falson, starring Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade, opens.
1942 Germany conducts the first successful test flight of a V-2 missile, which flies perfectly over a 118-mile course.
1944 German troops evacuate Athens, Greece.
1951 A "shot is heard around the world" when New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson hits a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League pennant.
1952 The UK successfully conducts a nuclear weapon, becoming the world's third nuclear power
1955 Two children's television programs and a family sitcom all destined to become classics debut: Captain Kangaroo, Mickey Mouse Club, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
1963 A violent coup in Honduras ends a period of political reform and ushers in two decades of military rule.
1985 The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight.
1989 Art Shell becomes the first African American to coach a professional football team, the Los Angeles Raiders.
1990 After 40 years of division, East and West Germany are reunited as one nation.
1993 Battle of Mogadishu, in which 18 US soldiers and some 1,000 Somalis are killed during an attempt to capture officials of the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's organization.
1995 Former pro football star and actor O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, ending what many called "the Trial of the Century.".
2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase distressed assets of financial corporations and supply cash directly to banks to keep them afloat.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

12 signs America is insane

A woman enters half-marathon, takes wrong turn, wins full marathon by mistake

Well, what do you know

Obamacare so in demand that sites are overwhelmed

Maybe House repugicans will want to reconsider the foundational premise of their shutdown: hating on Obamacare. How many times have you heard a repugican say they are standing with the American people who don't want Obamacare? Well, the millions of Americans who have overwhelmed exchange websites in just the first 12 hours of the exchanges being open would argue.
New York has had more than 2 million visitors this morning, which is causing some trouble for people trying to sign up. To put that in perspective, New York has 2.5 million uninsured residents. [...]
 Kentucky's new marketplace, the Kynect, had processed over 1,000 applications for insurance by 9:30 a.m. this morning. The Web site has had more than  24,000 visits from people browsing the insurance rates.

Shutdown Spectacle

How the world sees us right now:

  'America Is Already Politically Bankrupt'

Shutdown Spectacle: 'America Is Already Politically Bankrupt'
As the United States government shutdown enters its second day, Washington is the target of both ridicule and concern overseas. German commentators describe the situation as a "specifically American problem" with far-reaching consequences. More... 



Anal Retentive Infants

While Congress fights over memorials, the repugican shutdown risks health and safety of millions

Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to the news media with U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (L) at his side at 1:00 in the morning after the House of Representatives voted to send their funding bill with delays to the
No government, but keep the memorials.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that closing the war monuments was rapidly seized upon by repugicans as the most offensive thing about closing down the government. Programs for children, pregnant women, food safety and the rest of it can of course be shut down for the duration, but our war monuments—now that's the thing that just will not do. Just as with previous hurried efforts to refund the FAA lest congressional arsonists find their planes irritatingly delayed, it seems appropriate that the caucus can only find themselves worked up about the things they can see out their own windows. They're infants. They have yet to develop object permanence.

Did you ever wonder ...

The repugicans in Disarray as Democrats Move to Take Away All repugican cabal Leverage on Debt Ceiling

Senate Democrats believe that they can use their leverage in the government shutdown to force House repugicans to solve the shutdown and the debt ceiling together.
According to The Hill, Democrats are demanding that the government shutdown and the debt ceiling be solved together:
boehner-faceSenate Democrats believe the longer the government remains shut down, the more leverage they will wield in the debt-limit debate later this month.
There is growing sentiment among Democrats that the short-term funding resolution and debt-limit increase should be combined. They claim the issues should be merged to take advantage of Republicans, who are pided and off balance trying to fend off blame for the shutdown.

Previously, Democrats were resistant to such an idea. That was at least in part because President Obama is refusing to negotiate on the debt limit. But a Democratic senator told The Hill this week that is no longer a concern, saying the White House can effectively deal with the repugican cabal’s tactics.
Democrats are eager to deal with the debt limit now, when polls show most of the public blames repugicans for the shutdown. They contend it would be difficult for the repugican cabal to make additional demands linked to the debt limit while they’re embroiled in a crisis over a six-weekend spending stopgap.
Even though it was the House repugicans who pushed for the shutdown, what is becoming obvious is that Democrats have a plan to deal with a shutdown and the debt limit already in place. As the shutdown drew near, Democrats had a unified message. Democrats across the spectrum have not wavered. On the other side, repugicans have been divided and at each other’s throats.
The repugicans appear to have been completely unprepared for the political backlash against them. It is unfathomable that they didn’t know that they would be intensely blamed for any shutdown, but the House’s panicked attempts to pass partial funding bills reek of a group of people who have gotten in way over their heads.
House repugicans began this process under the belief that they could force a delay or repeal of the ACA by shutting down the government. They also thought that that they could use the debt ceiling to force the country to accept a laundry list of demands that were rejected by the voters during the 2012 election.
Nothing is going the repugicans’ way. In fact, everything is going against them. House repugicans were expected to cave on the government shutdown at some point, but they may end up giving up a whole lot more than they ever imagined. It is possible that House repugicans could be forced to pass a clean CR and raise the debt limit while getting nothing in return.
Democrats no longer want repugicans to cave. Senate Democrats want a House repugican capitulation.

The truth be told

Democrats Step Aside and Watch House repugican Drown In Their Own Government Shutdown

gop-fail Democrats quickly shot down the latest repugican attempt to weasel out of their government shutdown by stopping the bills that would have partially funded veterans, national parks, and DC.
In an act of desperation, House repugicans jumped on an idea by Sen. Ted Cruz to make the Democrats look bad by passing bills that would fund veterans’ programs, national parks, and the District of Columbia. What Cruz floated wasn’t a strategic path victory, it was a was a way out. Sen. Cruz pushed his knuckle headed strategy in the media, “We should fund national parks and keep them open right now, today,” Cruz told reporters Tuesday. “And we saw yesterday, that can happen quickly. It doesn’t take weeks or even days, within hours, if Congress wants to, we can fund every single one of the priorities the president laid out yesterday, we can fund clean CRs if Harry Reid and the Democrats don’t object. That is what I hope we will do.”
House repugicans tried to corner Democrats into going on the record against funding for popular programs by suspending the rules and requiring a two thirds vote for passage. House Democrats quickly saw that the votes were attempt by repugicans to get out of the corner that they had painted themselves into, and refused to play along. The veterans affairs funding bill failed 264-164. The national parks bill failed 252-176. The bill to fund the District of Columbia failed 265-163.
During the debate on the three bills, House Democrats made it clear that they were well aware of what the repugicans were trying to do. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called out the hypocrisy of repugicans proposing a funding bill that actually cuts veterans’ funding, “So, let’s not leave our veterans behind by leaving their children, their grandchildren, [and] their families – what they need. And just to go into it, this bill is billions of dollars less than what over 420 Members in this House [of Representatives] passed in June. We are all there for our veterans. There is no question about that, as our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer said. Nobody questions the commitment that we all have, [or] the gratitude that we have, the appreciation, the pedestal that we have our veterans at. But we leave them behind when we leave behind all that they fought for. And we leave them behind when we put a bill on the floor that is billions of dollars less than we all came together to support just a few months ago. Don’t exploit them. Don’t use them. We owe them too much. On the battlefield, we leave no soldier behind, and when they come home, we leave no Veteran behind – and all that they know and love.”
House repugicans are drowning in their own government shutdown, and Democrats are content to stand aside and watch them sink. The only life preserver that repugicans have is pass the clean CR.
Democrats are not coming to the rescue.

Random Celebrity Photos


julie newmar

♥ ♥ ♥
Julie Newmar

The Forgotten Dynasty Of The Ryukyu Islands

Japan has more than one royal family. The Shō kings ruled present day Okinawa for more than four centuries, but not many people realize they were/are a thing. Their reign ended in 1879 but the family's descendants live on among the common folk today.

Their lives are anything but lavish. So what happened to this other, lesser known ruling family and how are they keeping their royal traditions alive?

Knight Errant

Airport shut down after suitcase full of flour and cinnamon found

A suitcase which caused German police to shut down Düsseldorf airport in fear it was a bomb contained nine kilos of flour and cinnamon. Over 10,000 passengers were affected and 140 flights cancelled.

The alarm was raised after authorities noticed a suitcase in the departure lounge with an image of Big Ben and a London bus without an owner. Initially concerned it could be a bomb, police shut down the airport until 10.30pm.
They quickly realized it was not explosives, and word spread that the mystery case contained a large amount of drugs. But the North Rhine-Westphalia state office of criminal investigation found the suitcase contained three bags of flour, cornflour and cinnamon, weighing nine kilos.

Investigators also found an iPhone charging cable and a towel alongside the flour. It remains unclear why the owner was carrying so much flour and little else. “Carrying food is not forbidden,” a Düsseldorf state security expert said.

Man Named Fudge Charged with Stealing Ice Cream, Cakes

Conor P. Fudge took the concept of nominative determinism a little too seriously. The 25-year-old was caught on video surveillance cameras taking ice cream, cakes, and cash from a Cold Stone Creamery outlet in Iowa City, Iowa.
The owner of the business told officers that Fudge used an unauthorized key to enter the business, according to a police complaint.

Fudge hadn’t worked at the ice cream shop since Aug. 27, according to police.
That's only been a month, Apparently it wasn't long enough to forget how good the ice cream is. Fudge has been charged with third-degree burglary. 

Eating Bacon Will Make You Live Longer

Bacon-lovers, you're in luck. A new study from researchers at ETH Zurich (Federal Institute of Technology) has revealed that niacin (vitamin B3) could help you live longer. The niacin-rich food menu includes not only bacon, but also Marmite, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, and peanuts; so, this pretty much sounds like the most delicious recipe for long life ever.

Energy Metabolism Prof Michael Ristow and his team decided to feed roundworms a bunch of niacin, and discovered that the new element in the worms’ diet saw them living one-tenth longer than their Vitamin B3-free peers.

Couple grow potato that looks like a sheep

Steve and Lorna Binning were digging up their potato crop at their allotment in Wells, Somerset, when they found one that looks like a sheep.
They’ve named it Spud and despite its unusual appearance they’re not going to let it go to waste. “We’ll probably make chips with it,” said Lorna.

Random Photos

Forgotten Florida

6 Amazing But Abandoned Places In The Sunshine State

Holidays to Florida normally conjure up images of packed theme parks and bustling beaches, but for a growing group of urban explorers, it's the state's abandoned places that are the main attraction.

A graffiti-spattered sports stadium, futuristic houses and defunct hotels are just some of the eerie but fascinating structures tucked behind Florida's mass tourism. There's even a secret rocket factory from the 1960s. Some of them are no longer standing, but thankfully they were caught on camera before they faded forever.

In Memory Of Les Grands Goulets Road

Built between 1843 and 1854, Les Grands Goulets Road is a route in the Vercors, a massif of mountains and plateaus in the Rhône alpes region of France.

This epic road is a winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveller over the mountains. Some accidents, causing several death, forced the French government to close the road permanently since 2006 after 156 years in use. For all the people who will no longer be lucky enough to see this historic road, there is still this tribute to the builder.

Daily Comic Relief


Dusty Deltas, Roaring Dams And Alien Landscapes

Stunning aerial photos reveal how humans have reshaped the Earth with our need for water - a vital resource we take for granted until it's gone.

These large-scale pictures reveal strangely patterned agricultural land, dry deltas, huge multi-colored circles created by pivot irrigation, organized food production and human life centered around the compound that covers 71% of the Earth's surface.

The Haunting, Beautiful Weirdness Of Mars

Mounted to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it floats high above the red planet is the HiRISE telescope, an imaging device capable of taking incredibly high-resolution photos of the martian landscape.

The stunning views captured by HiRISE have inspired a book from the publisher Aperture, called This is Mars, which includes 150 of its finest looks at the planet. The entire collection is in black and white, however, as that's how HiRISE's images naturally turn out. But by combining different color filters on the telescope, NASA is able to produce colored versions of most images too.

Three Little Bears

If you go down to the woods today you may find ...

Sea Lebrities

The Sea Lions Of Pier 39

We often read about people taking over the natural habitat of other species but it is rare to come across a case where the animals come back and reclaim their territory from us. Yet this is exactly what has happened in San Francisco.

Local Californian Sea Lions have always been present in the city's bay but had been pushed out to Seal Rocks, a small formation at the north end of the Ocean Beach. Pier 39's K-Dock was developed and opened in 1978. Little did we know that the sea lions also had their eyes on this particular piece of seaside real estate.

Injured dog ran straight to hospital emergency department following attack

When a large aggressive dog attacked little Bella the Snorkie at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Canada on Friday, the bleeding and injured animal knew exactly where to go. She ran straight to the emergency department of The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus. Bella, a 17-month-old Miniature Schnauzer-Yorkshire Terrier mix known as a Snorkie, was walking with owner Bruce Simpson in the Experimental Farms’s corn and bean fields at about 5:30pm when they encountered a woman and her dog, a German shepherd mix. Neither animal was on a lead, despite a long-standing policy that dogs on the farm’s property must be restrained. The snarling dog ran directly at Simpson and poor Bella, who weighs just 14 pounds. Before either Simpson or the other dog’s owner could react, it had grabbed Bella in its jaws and given her several vigorous shakes. The attack lasted just a few seconds. Simpson jumped at the large dog to separate it from Bella, and the woman managed to get her dog on a lead. “I was just screaming at her, very upset,” a still-shaken Simpson recalled.
The angry exchange continued for several minutes as Simpson called 911. “She was saying, ‘I didn’t know anyone was here. I came because I didn’t expect anybody else to be around,’” Simpson said. After refusing to give him her name, she turned and walked away. “She said I was scaring her because I was too upset,” said Simpson, who snapped a picture of the woman’s retreating back. When Simpson turned around to attend to Bella, she was nowhere to be seen. Still on the phone with 911, Simpson began a frantic search. It wasn’t until he returned to his car, where the 911 operator had told him to wait for police, that he noticed the voice-mail message on his cellphone. It was from Josh Picknel, a medic with the Ottawa Paramedic Service. Despite several deep bites and a three-to-four-inch flap of skin torn from her back, Bella had managed to make her way through the corn field, cross six lanes of rush-hour traffic, and present herself at the Civic’s emergency department.
Simpson and his wife had inscribed their cellphone numbers on a tag on Bella’s collar, and Picknel phoned them both to say the paramedic service had their dog. “The dog came running up and kind of looked like it was in distress,” said Keith Buchanan, the superintendent of operations for the paramedic service. “Tail between the legs and sort of this ‘I’m scared’ look on her face. She was terrified.” At first, Buchanan, who administered first aid to Bella, thought she had been hit by a car, “just the way some of her skin tears were. They were quite large.” He wrapped Bella in a towel to keep her calm and wrapped a bit of gauze around her muzzle so she wouldn’t nip at her benefactors. “Normally when dogs get a little bit of pain, they can’t talk, so they snap,” he explained. He downplayed his role in Bella’s rescue. “No big heroics or anything like that,” he muttered. “She was just an animal in distress, and I looked after her, that’s all.”
Buchanan joked that Bella’s appearance at the emergency department was a sign of “animal intelligence. If you’re hurt, the first one you want to call is a paramedic. Dogs just instinctively know that.” Simpson was impressed, too. “What a smart dog!” he exclaimed. “That’s pretty much the best place she could have gone. Which is weird.” After paramedics ferried Simpson and Bella to the Ottawa Veterinary Hospital on Boyd Avenue, Bella underwent three hours of surgery to stitch her together again. She was released late Saturday to her owners, though there’s some concern that the strip of torn skin might not re-attach and heal properly. He’s still upset that the woman allowed her large dog to run free. “If she knew there was a potential for that to happen, the dog should never have been off lead and should have been muzzled,” he said. Simpson has been in touch with city bylaw officers and has filled out a report on the incident. He’d like the woman to cover his veterinary bills, but most of all, he wants to make something is done so her dog doesn’t attack another defenseless animal. “I just don’t want it to happen to somebody else.”

The Lizard with Green Blood

(Just Like Spock!)

Mr. Spock, the green-blooded Vulcan on Star Trek, would've said himself this is fascinating. Louisiana State University biologist and NatGeo explorer Christopher Austin studies a species of lizard, the Prasinohaema skink, that has green blood.
Actually, the skink, found almost exclusively on Papua New Guinea, not only has green blood - it has green bones and tissues as well. It's even got a green tongue, Austin remarked in this news article over at National Geographics. But why? It turns out that the animal has an unusually high concentration of the bile pigment biliverdin.
Biliverdin is a pigment that results from the breakdown of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color. In humans, they're the reason that some bruises are green in color. Too much biliverdin is toxic and gives humans the disease called jaundice, so it's a mystery how the reptile could survive.
Austin speculated that the high level of biliverdin in the skin could actually be beneficial:
“It’s surprising because at these concentrations of bile pigments in the blood, [the skinks] should be completely jaundiced, if not dead,” Austin said.
Austin hypothesizes that the lizard evolved to tolerate the biliverdin because it may provide protection against a group of parasites called Plasmodium.
Best known for causing malaria in humans, Plasmodium also causes malaria in reptiles and birds. Austin believes that the presence of toxic biliverdin instead of hemoglobin may make it harder for Plasmodium to infect the skinks.
Carrie Arnold of National Geographic has the rest of the story.

The Insect That is the Cross Between an Alien Xenomorph and the Sarlacc

Spanish photographer J. Gallego of the Microinstantes blog captured the eye-popping pictures above of the larva of a species of lacewing or thread-winged antlion (of the tribe Crocinae) with an extremely elongated prothorax and fearsome jaws.
Now, this probably reminded you of the iconic scene in Alien 3 where Ripley came face to face with the Alien xenomorph.
Not only that, the insect is also like the Sarlacc, which inhabits the Great Pit of Carkoon, from the movie Star Wars.
Why Sarlacc, you ask? Here's why. An antlion larva digs sand pit trap and buries itself in the center of the pit with its jaws just below the surface, waiting for an unsuspecting ant to wander in.
An ant that steps into the loose sand of the pit would slip to the bottom, right to the waiting jaws of the antlion. A quick snap of the long mandibles not only captures the ant, but also injects into it a cocktail of digestive enzmes to liquify the content of the victim's body.
Escaping the trap isn't easy - if an ant tries to climb up the wall of the pit, the antlion would start throwing sand and pebbles at the insect to make it fall back (the sandy wall of the pit is also prone to collapse, thus sending the victim back to the maws of the waiting antlion).
(Entomologist Gil Wizen has a fascinating photo of the Crocinae larvae emerging from its sandy death trap)
Here's a video clip of how an Antlion pit works from the Discovery channel's Monster Bug Wars: