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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Daily Drift

Peace Out!

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Which way ... ?!

Today is Evaluate Your Life Day 


Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Culver City, Kapolei, Annapolis, Peabody and Kiowa, United States
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Today in History

439 The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.
1216 King John of England dies at Newark and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.
1448 The Ottoman Sultan Murat II defeats Hungarian General Janos Hunyadi at Kosovo, Serbia.
1466 The peace of Torun ends the war between the Teutonic knights and their own disaffected subjects in Prussia.
1739 England declares war on Spain over borderlines in Florida. The War is known as the War of Jenkins' Ear because the Spanish coast guards cut off the ear of British seaman Robert Jenkins.
1781 Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington and Count de Rochambeau at Yorktown, Va. Cornwallis surrenders 7,157 troops, including sick and wounded, and 840 sailors, along with 244 artillery pieces. Losses in this battle had been light on both sides. The Revolutionary War is effectively ended.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte begins his retreat from Moscow.
1848 John "The Pathfinder" Fremont moves out from near Westport, Missouri, on his fourth Western expedition–a failed attempt to open a trail across the Rocky Mountains along the 38th parallel.
1864 At the Battle of Cedar Creek, Va., a narrow victory helps the Union secure the Shenandoah Valley.
1873 Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Rutgers universities draft the first code of football rules.
1914 The German cruiser Emden captures her thirteenth Allied merchant ship in 24 days.
1917 The first doughnut is fried by Salvation Army volunteer women for American troops in France during World War I.
1942 The Japanese submarine I-36 launches a floatplane for a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor. The pilot and crew report on the ships in the harbor, after which the aircraft is lost at sea.
1949 The People's Republic of China is formally proclaimed.
1950 The North Korean capital of Pyongyang is captured by U.N. troops.
1954 Egypt and Britain conclude a pact on the Suez Canal, ending 72 years of British military occupation. Britain agrees to withdraw its 80,000-man force within 20 months, and Egypt agrees to maintain freedom of canal navigation.
1960 Canada and the United States agree to undertake a joint Columbia River project to provide hydroelectric power and flood control.
1973 President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court demand to turn over the Watergate tapes.
1987 In retaliation for Iranian attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, the U. S. navy disables three of Iran's offshore oil platforms.
1988 British government bans TV and radio interviews with members of Irish political group Sinn Fein and 11 paramilitary groups.
1989 The 1975 conviction of the Guilford Four overturned by British courts; the 4 men had been convicted in the 1974 Guilford pub bombings.
2003 Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II for her work among "the poorest of the poor" in India.
2005 Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's trail for crimes against humanity begins in Baghdad.

Non Sequitur


How many shades of gray are there?

To readers of a certain sort of fiction, there are fifty. But it's not so much the count or the color that matters as the semiotics: a suggestion of moral ambiguity explored in great detail. In Roy G. Biv: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color, design critic Jude Stewart explores the symbolism of shade and light. Steven Heller interviewed her for The Atlantic.
“I’ve always been strongly swayed by color,” she tells me. “I can recall as a kid poring over a 1980s self-help book, Color Me Beautiful, which shows you how to wear the ‘right’ colors for your skin tone. The before and after shots were incredible: drape her in the right shade of pink, and suddenly she’s dewy and glowing. Drape her in the wrong shade, though, and she turns sallow and shrunken, as if her soul had been sucked out.” Her book’s chapters loosely follow the order of the rainbow-referencing mnemonic in its title—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. She also added in white, pink, and brown, colors “that don’t appear in the rainbow but allowed me to tell some great stories,” she says.
To answer the question, the book suggests a "million" shades of gray--an illustration of human nature's virtual infinitude. Heller's copy of Roget's International Thesaurus offers 17 english synonyms for "gray", exposing a cleverly Whorfian count. He reports that paint-maker Benjamin Moore offer "150-plus" shades of gray.
At Pantone's website, I found that it returns 104 official colors containing the word "gray", but many of them are obviously not particularly gray.
Frustrated, I was ultimately forced to consult the ultimate arbiter of any question regarding color: Crayola.

Things not to say ...

In other words how to placate idiots

Buzzfeed's Alex Naidus advises you on how to avoid the easy pitfalls of perceived arrogance, smugness and sanctimony. I'm a frequent dropper of "I read this really interesting article…", sad to say!

Couple want their stolen seven-foot-tall Gumby sculpture back

The search for a stolen sculpture of Gumby is underway in New York. Bob Malkin and Barbara Pokras say the 7-foot-tall, 50-pound sculpture modelled after of the friendly clay television figure was stolen from their Saugerties property early on Sunday.
Local sculptor Ze’ev Willy Neumann made the piece for Malkin more than three years ago, and it has delighted neighbours and passers-by, the pair said. “People would see it and smile and take their kids to say ‘Hi’ to Gumby,” Malkin said.

The green character, created by animator Art Clokey in the early 1950s, became a cultural icon on “The Adventures of Gumby.” Malkin and his wife said they have always been fans.

“It’s an American classic. He’s friendly. Everybody loves Gumby,” he said. “I guess the people responsible loved him so much that they stole him.” The couple have reported the incident to police and are offering a $100 reward for information leading to Gumby's safe return.

There's an additional news video here.

Neighbor's upset about singer's plastic-covered mansion

Dr. Klara Alperstein lives next door to a mansion that looks abandoned on Winding Road in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It’s depressing, frankly speaking,” she says. Dr. Alperstein has lived there since 1978 and has been thinking about selling her house, but won’t because she says the house is an eyesore that is bringing down property value.
The 20,000 square foot mansion is covered by plastic but it’s coming undone. Klara says she’s seen animals crawling inside and suspects mold is growing under the tarp.

“We are concerned each time there is a huge storm, and we’ve had some big ones, whether part of the building will fly into our property.” The homeowner, singer Deniece Williams, could not be reached for comment. Township officials say construction started in 2008 and has come to a halt.
Township spokesperson Bridget Palmer says, “We’ve communicated with her to see if she still intends to finish and as far as we’ve been told she is.” Neighbors want the town to step in, but officials say Williams has been in compliance with the law and is paying her property taxes.

There are news videos here and here.

The 30 Most Important Digital Cameras Of All Time

Digital photography has proven to be one of the most world-changing technological breakthroughs of the late 20th century. But the quest to capture and transmit images via electrons began nearly two centuries ago.

Piece by piece, the technologies that would make digital imaging possible fell into place. By the 80s, 'still video' cameras captured analog images via a semiconductor array invented at Bell Labs in 1969: the charge-coupled device, or CCD. Which brings us to the first of these, the most important digital cameras of all time.

Did you know ...

Scientists use lightning bolt to charge cell phone

That the tea party is this country's phantom of the opera

That Ebola is not as scary as the flu

The truth be told

The Great Library At Alexandria Was Destroyed By Budget Cuts, Not Fire

One of the great tragedies of ancient history, memorialized in myths and Hollywood film, is the burning of the great library at Alexandria. But the reality of the Library's end was actually a lot less pyrotechnic than that. A major cause of the Library's ruin was government budget cuts.

Same Old, Same Old

Miraculously, the Child in This Crushed Stroller Survived

A collision between two cars in Gravesend, Kent, UK sent a blue Rover skidding to a brick wall. When it stopped, the driver and terrified parents found this stroller wedged between them. The little boy inside came within just a few inches of dying. Instead, he incurred only minor injuries.
Adam Holloway, the local member of Parliament, was coincidentally on the scene and snapped the photos above.

"Blind man" led police on 85 MPH car chase

A driver "who can see for a distance of only a few feet" embarked on an 85 MPH sprint through Sheffield, England, after cops tried to pull him over on suspicion of driving drunk. He was jailed for nine months after admitting to dangerous driving,

Iranian man to be executed again after he survived first hanging attempt

Authorities in Iran have ordered that a prisoner who survived execution by hanging be hanged again. The 37-year-old, identified as “Alireza M”, was hanged in Bojnourd prison in north-east Iran last week after being convicted of drug offenses.

A doctor declared the man dead after the 12 minute-hanging, but when the prisoner’s family went to collect his body the following day he was found to still be breathing. He is currently in hospital, but a judge reportedly said he would be executed again “once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough”.
Alireza M is now reported to be in a “satisfactory” condition in hospital, and a family member has reportedly said that the prisoner’s two daughters were “the happiest of all” that he is alive. Amnesty International has called for his second execution to be stopped. “This is simply ghastly. It betrays a basic lack of humanity that sadly underpins much of Iran’s justice system,” said Philip Luther, the organization's director for Middle East and North Africa.

“The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty. The Iranian authorities must immediately halt Alireza M’s execution and issue a moratorium on all others.”

Jeepers Creepers!

Why Dark Rides Scare the Pants Off Us

When the mysterious amusement-park attractions known as 'dark rides' were first introduced in the 1920s, they freaked people out simply by putting them on little railcars, running them through a curvy track in a dark building, and setting off manual sound effects. In the 1960s, rides like Spook-A-Rama and Whacky Shack got breathing,'' moving latex figures and trippy psychedelic illusions.

Now, these cheap thrills are getting harder and harder to come by. Collectors Weekly finds out why.

Six Seriously Spooky Cemetery Stories

It's that time of year, when we look to graveyards for tales that scare the dickens out of us.

Ghosts, unexplained phenomena, and even vampires figure in these stories of graveyards from all over.

Wonder Leia

Wonder Woman is now ready to save the entire galaxy in this cosplay display by Hakuchan that mixes the DC character with Leia in her iconic slave costume. Leia strangled Jabba the Hutt with a chain in Return of the Jedi, but this time she'll use the Lasso of Truth to interrogate him, then kill him.

Air India launches investigation into 'worm sandwich' allegations

Air India has launched an investigation after a passenger said he had found worms in his mid-flight sandwich, a company spokesman has said.

The passenger allegedly made the discovery during a flight from New York to Delhi on 28 September. It is unclear whether the creatures discovered in the sandwich incident were worms or maggots.
An Air India spokesman said that the incident "involved a leading caterer who supplies all US airlines". He said that the food was picked up in the US not in India. "We have already taken suitable action against the caterer," the spokesman added.

He described the incident as "very rare" and said that normally caterers had very strict hygiene conditions. The spokesman said that "a full investigation" into the incident was now under way.

Can't Stop Eating?

It's Pac-Man's Fault!

Got no self control? Can't stop eating? You're not alone. Obesity is a (ahem) growing problem in the United States of America (and the rest of the world). But did you ever considered the root cause of why you just simply can't stop eating?
Well, it's trendy to blame video games for the preponderance of violence in today's society, so why not for obesity and lack of self control as well? Brian Gordon of Fowl Language comics shows us the how and why we just simply can't stop stuffing our faces with food. It's all Pac-Man's fault! (Waka waka waka = nom nom nom, see?)

A Pumpkin Grower is Ready to Change the World

Virginia is not the best place to grow giant pumpkins, which is why the state record means so much. Pumpkins like cooler weather, and the world's largest are grown in places like New England, Canada, and Europe. But William Layton holds the Virginia state record with a 1,138-pound pumpkin he grew in 2007. Like all competitive pumpkin growers, Layton spend hours tending pumpkin vines every day during the growing season, and in the past few years the weather worked against him. A pumpkin that was headed for 1,500 pounds in 2011 rotted in the wet weather. In 2012, a storm ripped his vines from the ground.
Layton wondered why he was working so hard. In 2013, he experimented with growing pumpkins above ground, in fabric tubes of his favorite recipe of compost. This year's wet weather was really bad for pumpkins (all my vines died before producing any fruit), but Layton managed to grow Lucky, a 639.7-pound pumpkin that placed second in the state this year.
Growing pumpkins in the ground is old-fashioned and insane, says Layton. Growing pumpkins above the ground, on compost-filled fabric tubes, is both possible and remarkably easy.

Layton hardly did any weeding, and none of the grueling digging, fertilizing and soil amending that used to keep him out in the pumpkin patch from sunup until it was time to go to work, and from quitting time through dark, six or seven hours a day. While the rest of the giant pumpkin world was out toiling in the fields, he was fishing.

“This is the only way to go,” he said. “I’m gonna sell my tiller. I’ve worked too daggone hard in my life to be out sweating in my garden.”
The success of Lucky led Layton to market his Super Compost and his tubes, called Garden Soxx, now available in eleven states. The tubes, when filled with compost, allow gardeners to grow all kinds of vegetables in tiny spaces, on decks or roofs, and even on concrete. Layton himself grew a conventional garden crop on his back porch! Read the story of how a difficult hobby led to a new business at Modern Farmer.

The Painful Story Behind Modern Anesthesia

On Oct. 16, 1846, the first surgical procedure was performed using an anesthetic. It was sulfuric ether, a technique developed by dentist William T. G. Morton, and it allowed surgeon John Warren to remove a tumor from the neck of Glenn Abbott while he was out cold. Morton was already a popular dentist because of his painkilling methods, but after the surgery, he was world renowned in the medical field. But that did not last.

Morton's reputation was sullied by an action that many take as a matter of course today: He attempted to patent his anesthesia, which he named Letheon, and an inhaler device he invented to deliver it. That was considered inhumane and undignified in the medical community of the 19th century. My, how times have changed! Read about Morton, and how the development of anesthesia affected the rest of his life, at PBS NewsHour

Possible Huge Chunk Of Russian Meteorite Found

The largest discovered fragment of the Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite, weighing around 570 kilograms (1,256 pounds), has been lifted from the bed of Lake Chebarkul in the Urals.

The huge meteorite chunk split into three pieces when scientists tried to weigh it. The precise weight could not be established because the heavy object broke the scales.

Roasted frog was on menu for ancient Britons

At a dig near Stonehenge in England, archaeologists have found the remains of roasted frogs, suggesting the creature may have been a popular meal at the end of the last ice age. John Hall, at The Independent, reports on what is clearly the most important part of this revelation:
The discovery means that the French - far from being the inventors of the amphibious delicacy - are likely to have stolen it from British cuisine at some point in the 8,000 or so years between the Blick Mead banquet and the 12th Century AD - when church records first refer to frogs’ legs being eaten in France.

Dog-chewed shoe sells on eBay for $378

Eric Bradley says: "I saw this eBay listing for a wingtip shoe some guy’s dog chewed up. He positioned it with a very well-written description as a ‘work of modern art’ from his dog, Jack. It sold yesterday on eBay for $378. The seller says he is donating a portion of the proceeds to a pet rescue center in Washington, D.C."

The Law of Urination

Mammals Urinate for the Same Duration
According to a paper released by Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan C. Pham, Jerome Choo and David L. Hu, mammals pee for roughly the same period of time. Both very large and very small mammals take about 21 seconds to empty their bladders with a standard deviation of 13 seconds.
The scientists call their discovery “The Law of Urination.”
How do large mammals empty their more voluminous bladders as quickly as smaller mammals? Their longer urethras amplify the gravitational force and thus create a higher fluid flow rate. The urinary system is thus an evolutionary marvel that can “be scaled up without compromising its function.”

Jellyfish Are Taking Over The Seas, And It Might Be Too Late To Stop Them

Last week, Sweden's Oskarshamn nuclear power plant, which supplies 10% of the country's energy, had to shut down one of its three reactors after a jellyfish invasion clogged the piping of its cooling system. The invader, a creature called a moon jellyfish, is 95% water and has no brain. Not what you might call menacing if you only had to deal with one or two.

En masse, jellyfish are a bigger problem. Coastal areas around the world have struggled with similar jellyfish blooms, as these population explosions are known.

Japanese company introduces wine for cats

Japanese pet food company B&H Lifes have launched a limited-release faux wine for felines.

Called Nyan Nyan Nouveau, the special cat-drink is made of juice from Cabernet Franc wine grapes, with added vitamins along with a trace of catnip.
It is said to mimic the taste of a red wine although it doesn't contain any alcohol.

However, only 1,000 180ml bottles are available, each costing 399 yen (£2.50, $4).

Kangaroo bounced into airport pharmacy

A kangaroo hopped into Melbourne airport in Australia and has been captured by authorities, after entering a pharmacy on the terminal's second level.
Police closed the pharmacy as volunteer wildlife rescuers wrangled the kangaroo into a bag. It is believed the kangaroo was from nearby bushland and was hit by a car before entering the terminal, which services both domestic and international flights.

The airport said it did not know how the kangaroo arrived at the airport's second level. It was eventually found in the skincare section of the pharmacy. Wildlife authorities said the kangaroo was "tranquillized and captured safely".

Cyrus, named after one of the helpers on the scene, will be assessed by a vet following his ordeal," said the animal welfare organization Wildlife Victoria. The airport's tarmac is guarded to prevent kangaroos interfering with flights, but the marsupials are relatively free to enter the terminal and surrounding buildings. "From where we are located there are kangaroos within the area,'' said airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett.

Animal Pictures