Welcome to ...

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.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Daily Drift

The horror within ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
How to drive a woman insane ... !

Today is National Chocolates Day 


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

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Bismarck, Laguna Woods, Poplar Bluff, Harwood Heights, Vincennes, Red Oak, Azusa and West Roxbury, United States
Lima, Peru
Santiago, Chile
Mississauga, Montreal, Ottawa, Britannia, Thunder Bay, Kenora, Chatham, Sioux Lookout and Guelph, Canada
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Obizaba, Mexico
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Portmore, Jamaica
Bern, Switzerland
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ankara, Turkey
Warsaw and Szczecin, Poland
Frankfurt Am Main, Rostock, Nuremberg, Berlin and Aalen, Germany
Paris, Mont-Saint-Aignan and Cerny, France
Ivera, Ravenna, Rome, Padova and Milan, Italy
Madrid, Zeanuri, Cadiz and Teo, Spain
Moscow, Chelyabinsk and Ryazin, Russia
London and Rugby, England
Oslo, Norway
Kista, Sweden
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Luttans'k and Zhovti Vody, Ukraine
Dublin, Ireland
Iasi, Romania
Skanderborg, Denmark
Groningen, Netherlands
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brussels, Belgium
Vrilissia, Greece
Riga, Latvia
Helsinki, Finland
Elbasan, Albania
Delhi, New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Shillong, Jamshedpur, Thiruvananthapuram and Vishakhapatam, India
Islamabad, Pakistan
Riyadh and Al Khubar, Saudi Arabia
Kathmandu, Nepal
Ahvaz, Esfahan and Drumiyeh, Iran
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Serpong, Indonesia
Beirut, Lebanon
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Doha, Qatar
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Town, South Africa
Tangier, Morocco
Surrey Hills, Sydney, Melbourne and Sunshine, Australia

Today in History

312 Constantine the Great defeats Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Mulvian Bridge.
969 After a prolonged siege, the Byzantines end 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.
1216 Henry III of England is crowned.
1628 After a fifteen-month siege, the Huguenot town of La Rochelle surrenders to royal forces.
1636 Harvard College, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, is founded in Cambridge, Mass.
1768 Germans and Acadians join French Creoles in their armed revolt against the Spanish governor of New Orleans.
1793 Eli Whitney applies for a patent on the cotton gin, a machine which cleans the tight-clinging seeds from short-staple cotton easily and effectively–a job which was previously done by hand.
1863 In a rare night attack, Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet attack a Federal force near Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to cut their supply line, the "cracker line." They fail.
1886 The Statue of Liberty, originally named Liberty Enlightening the World, is dedicated at Liberty Island, N. Y., formerly Bedloe's Island, by President Grover Cleveland
1901 Race riots sparked by Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House kill 34.
1904 The St. Louis police try a new investigation method: fingerprints.
1914 The German cruiser Emden, disguised as a British ship, steams into Penang Harbor near Malaya and sinks the Russian light cruiser Zhemchug.
1914 George Eastman announces the invention of the color photographic process.
1919 Over President Wilson's veto, Congress passes the National Prohibition Act, or Volstead Act, named after its promoter, Congressman Andrew J. Volstead. It provides enforcement guidelines for the Prohibition Amendment.
1927 Pan American Airways launches the first scheduled international flight.
1940 Italy invades Greece, launching six divisions on four fronts from occupied Albania.
1944 The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flies from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Truk.
1960 In a note to the OAS (Organization of American States), the United States charges that Cuba has been receiving substantial quantities of arms and numbers of military technicians" from the Soviet bloc.
1962 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders Soviet missiles removed from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
1965 Construction completed on St. Louis Arch; at 630 feet (192m), it is the world's tallest arch.
1971 Britain launches the satellite Prospero into orbit, using a Black Arrow carrier rocket; this is the first and so far (2013) only British satellite launched by a British rocket.
1982 The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party wins election, giving Spain its first Socialist government since the death of right-wing President Francisco Franco.
2005 Libby "Scooter" Lewis, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, resigns after being indicted for "outing" CIA agent Valerie Plame.
2007 Argentina elects its first woman president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Non Sequitur


World's Best Place to Be a Woman

by Beth Greenfield
Iceland? Don't mind if I do
While the United States endlessly debates the notion of women having it all, Iceland has simply made it a reality. That’s the conclusion, at least, of the annual Global Gender Gap Report, released by the World Economic Forum this week. Iceland tops the list of 136 countries ranked in terms of gender equality for the fifth year in a row — followed by fellow Nordic countries Finland, Norway, and Sweden — and a big part of the reason is the attainable work-life balance that exists there. Unlike in the United States, which came in at No. 23.
“These [Nordic] economies have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in high female employment, more shared participation in childcare, more equitable distribution of labor at home, better work-life balance for both women and men and in some cases a boost to declining fertility rates,” the near-400-page report notes. “Policies in some of these countries include mandatory paternal leave in combination with maternity leave, generous federally mandated parental leave benefits provided by a combination of social insurance funds and employers, tax incentives, and post-maternity re-entry programs.”
Add to that dreaminess the fact that all Nordic countries achieved a near-100-percent literacy rate for both sexes decades ago — and that there are top-down approaches to promoting women’s leadership (including a law in Norway requiring publicly listed companies to have at least 40 percent of each sex on their boards) — and you may just want to pack some warm sweaters and hop a flight to the land of Bj√∂rk and skyr.
The report, issued annually since 2006, measures a range of issues to determine its rankings: health, education, workforce participation, political involvement, and global competitiveness. And it’s a good reminder that gender parity is just about not only equal rights, but also efficiency.
“Many countries have closed the gender gap in education, for example, but gender-based barriers to employment minimize their returns on that investment; their highly educated women aren't working,” notes Foreign Policy. “The highest ranking countries in the index have figured out how to maximize returns on their investment in women, and are consequently more economically competitive, have higher incomes, and higher rates of development.”
Rounding out the ranking's top 10 are the Philippines, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland and Nicaragua.
Meanwhile, the United States is behind Cuba, Canada, and the African country of Burundi. That’s partly because of not being able to close wage gaps and participation gaps when it comes to senior and leadership positions, as well as a lack of laws mandating maternity leave, although the United States has, thank goodness, “fully closed its gender gap in education and health,” the report notes.
America has some serious work to do for women—and not only according to this particular ranking. Earlier this year, the annual Save the World’s Mothers report ranked 176 countries based on five indicators of a mother’s well-being: the risk of maternal mortality, mortality rate of children under 5, educational status, economic status and political participation. The Nordic countries swept here, as well, followed by Spain, Belgium, and Germany. The United States came in at a barely respectable No. 30 due to poor scores in mortality rates (both child and mother), as well as political status, as compared with other highly developed nations.
Earlier this year, the Economist created a “glass-ceiling index,” in honor of International Women’s Day, which judged 26 countries based on data including wage gaps, male-female ratios and leadership positions. New Zealand topped that list, followed by Norway and Sweden, while the United States slid in at No. 12, just behind France.
It’s incredibly important to remember and be grateful that we’re not living in Chad, Pakistan or Yemen, which came in dead last in the Global Gender Gap Report, or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which ranked last in the Save the World’s Mothers list. But still, icy climates are suddenly looking better and better…

Did you know ...

That the Kansas supreme court suspends ex-attorney general over abortion investigations

That Medicare had a messy roll out, too

That a study shows musicians think more accurately than the rest of us

That wingnuts live not on a bubble, but in a hall of mirrors

The truth be told


Texas's "texting judge" resigns, admitting she texted instructions to prosecutors

Third generation Texas judge Elizabeth E. Coker has resigned just ahead of being investigated for misconduct; she admits that she texted instructions to prosecutors in order to help them convict the defendants whose cases she heard. She also is accused of other indiscretions, including meeting with jurors and attempting to influence them to convict defendants. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct suggests that she lied to them as well, perjuring herself. She's out of a job, but apparently will face no criminal or civil sanctions for her crimes; nor will the victims whose trials she perverted be freed.

“…the Commission investigated claims that Judge Coker allegedly engaged in other improper ex parte communications and meetings with Jones, other members or the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney, and certain defense attorneys regarding various cases pending in her court; Judge Coker allegedly exhibited a bias in favor of certain attorneys and a prejudice against others in both her judicial rulings and her court appointments: and .Judge Coker allegedly met with jurors in an inappropriate manner, outside the presence of counsel, while the jurors were deliberating in one or more criminal trials;”
The agreement, signed by Coker on October 19, further suggests the Committee believes she committed additional indiscretions during the course of their highly publicized investigation.
“…the Commission also expressed concerns that Judge Coker discussed the Commission’s investigation and Judge Coker’s written responses to the investigation with a material witness prior to that witness’ testimony before the Commission in an apparent attempt to influence that witness, and that the judge may not have been candid and truthful in her testimony before the Commission when questioned about her contact with the witness;”

Ex-NSA chief's "off the record" interview wasn't

Ex-NSA chief and current dumbass Michael Hayden gave "off the record" interviews, trashing the current administration, on a public train. His remarks were, accordingly, reported live on Twitter by a fellow traveler in a nearby seat. Hayden was a good sport, though, subsequently offering tweeter Tom Matzzie his own face-to-face interview

The truth hurts


Manchester cops trumpet seized "3D printed gun" - turns out to be parts for a 3D printer

Police in Manchester, UK made a huge show out of having seized a "3D printed gun." Then, it turned out that they'd just seized parts for a 3D printer. But it's still very scary, as Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood copsplains: it might have been a 3D printed gun, and they had "intelligence" about a 3D printed gun, and if we search the computers we stole, we might find plans for a 3D printed gun, and also, our botched, humiliating cockup "opens up a wider debate about the emerging threat these next generation of weapons might pose."
Thanks, Officer Hypothetical, for saving us from this dire threat!
"We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3D gun.
What we have seized are items that need further forensic testing by national ballistics experts to establish whether they can be used in the construction of a genuine, viable firearm.
We will also be conducting a thorough analysis of computers we have recovered to establish any evidence of a blueprint on how to construct such a weapon.
Clearly the fact we have seized a 3D printer and have intelligence about the possible production of a weapon using this technology is of concern. It prudent we establish exactly what these parts can be used for and whether they pose any threat.
What this has also done is open up a wider debate about the emerging threat these next generation of weapons might pose.
The worrying thing is for me is that these printers can be used to make certain components of guns, while others can be legitimately ordered over the Internet without arousing suspicion. When put together, this could allow a person to construct a firearm in their own home.
Thanks to Challenger, which is the biggest ever multi-agency response to organized crime in Greater Manchester's history, we now have even greater resources to combat any emerging threats posed by organized criminal gangs, which may include the production of these weapons.Under Challenger we will a multi-agency action plan for every single organized crime group in Manchester and we will target these networks from every possible angle, hitting them where it hurts."

Prince Charles denies likening kingship to prison

Prince Charles is doing the "taken out of context" dance after an anonymous aide compared his becoming King to "the prison shades" closing on his life.
'A Clarence House spokesman said: "This is not the Prince of Wales's view and should not be attributed to him as he did not say these words,' reported the BBC. '"The prince has dutifully supported the Queen all his life and his official duties and charitable work have always run in parallel."'
Prince Charles is like his father, except that his off-the-cuff remarks, instead of being shocking or offense, are merely prelude to another week of Prince Charles's stuttering, scoffing self-humiliation.



Man returned to burning house to rescue his beer

Officials are still investigating the cause of a house fire that broke out in Columbus, Georgia, on Thursday afternoon, but residents are blaming a newly installed water heater.

Builder who loved a joke buried with his boots

A builder who loved a joke was given a fitting send off, with a pair of work boots stuck on the bottom of his coffin to make it look as though his feet were hanging out.
Avid Stockport County supporter Jason Calvert, 40, from Cheadle Heath, suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage earlier this month.
He had no life insurance so his family were about to take a loan out to pay for his funeral.
But fellow County fans, Jason’s work colleagues and friends raised £3,500 in just two weeks to pay for the service which took place on Monday.

Bingo hall brawl leads to lifetime nationwide ban for six women

Police were called and six women given a lifetime nationwide ban after a mass fight broke out at Torquay Gala Bingo hall. The "vicious" brawl erupted between two groups of ladies who began arguing during a game. Shocked players watched in amazement as an argument between six women carried on during the game then exploded into violence. Witnesses described seeing somebody sent flying from a chair while another nursed a bloody nose.
A spokesman for Gala Bingo said: "We can confirm there was an incident at our club on October 17. Gala Bingo have a zero tolerance towards any violence in our clubs and the members involved will be barred from our clubs." One shocked player said after the bingo brawl: "It's not the sort of thing you expect to see at the bingo. It was vicious." An ambulance was also sent to the bingo hall in Temperance Street after reports the violent dispute had spilled into the foyer. A witness said: "There had been a disagreement in the foyer before we started playing.
"The game was interrupted by these two groups talking and arguing. The next thing I saw was one girl practically flying off her chair. I don't know if it was because somebody had punched her or she was going for somebody else. There was another woman who looked like she was having a panic attack. It was a big scuffle but we couldn't tell what it was all about or what was really happening. It carried on in the foyer and then the police were called." The woman, in her 20s, is thought to have suffered a bloody nose in the alleged altercation.

It is not known what caused the fight but police say it involved about six females. A police spokesman said: "The initial report was of a fight in the main part of the premises which staff were struggling to control. When police arrived it was clear there had been some sort of dispute but all the parties were dispersed." The ambulance service confirmed it had treated two women, one with facial injuries. Nobody required hospital treatment. Police said no arrests had been made but they were still investigating what had happened.

Random Photos

The Bookmobile

The Library On Wheels Of Yesteryear
Long before Amazon was bringing books to your doorstep, there was the Bookmobile. A travelling library often used to provide books to villages and city suburbs that had no library buildings, the bookmobile went from a simple horse-drawn cart in the 19th century to large customised vehicles that became part of American culture and reached their height of popularity in the mid-twentieth century.

Step Inside The Russian Spacesuit Factory

The town of Tomilino, 16 miles southeast of Moscow, is rather unassuming about its role in the history of space exploration. A snack kiosk and a shaky sign for a bus stop are about all there is to greet a visitor getting off the commuter train.

There is no statue of the world's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, in his bright-orange spacesuit waving to earthlings after his successful landing. But that's a shame, because Tomilino is the home of the world's few workshops where space travelers can get their outfits.

What's The Origin Of The Word Dude?

Dude is an American English slang term for an individual. It typically applies to males, although the word can encompass all genders. Dude is an old term, recognized by multiple generations although potentially with slightly different meanings.

From the 1870s to the 1960s, dude primarily meant a person who dressed in an extremely fashion-forward manner or a citified person who was visiting a rural location but stuck out. In the 1960s, dude evolved to mean companion, a meaning that slipped into mainstream American slang in the 1970s. Current slang retains at least some use of all three of these common meanings.

How Did Ancient Greek Music Sound?

It is often forgotten that the writings at the root of Western literature - the epics of Homer, the love-poems of Sappho, the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides - were all, originally, music. Dating from around 750 to 400 BC, they were composed to be sung in whole or part to the accompaniment of the lyre, reed-pipes, and percussion instruments.

The music of ancient Greece, unheard for thousands of years, is being brought back to life by Armand D'Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University.

Archaeology News

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists excavate a 1,700-year-old tablet with an etched curse, in the City of David in Jerusalem.
X-rays of a sealed box found at the skeleton's feet have revealed it contained needles, possibly highlighting the occupation of the noble woman buried there.
See artifacts recovered and examined from an ancient Etruscan tomb. 

Earth News

Plenty of studies have shown that the Arctic is warming and that the ice caps are melting, but how does it compare to the past, and how serious is it?
Coral animals produce a chemical that serves as a seed for clouds and gives the ocean its unique scent.
Birds have returned to 'Rat Island' in numbers large enough to surprise experts, and make the island deserving of a new name.
It's been 33 years since the eruption that left a lifeless hole in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. A new image from space shows how far life has come in reclaiming the land.
A lunar meteorite discovered in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in August 2004 is one of the rare Moon rocks found on Earth being used to help understand lunar geology.
Fuzzy, green-fleshed kiwifruit shares many genes with shiny, red tomatoes. Plus, the kiwifruit is a genetic freak with duplicated DNA.

Astronomical News

The mesmerizing rings of Saturn glimmer in a series of new photos that illuminate parts of the planet that normally appear darkened.
Carbon-rich planetary systems are likely bone dry, meaning 'diamond planets' probably aren't life's best friend.
After a recent period of unrest, the sun has re-established what it means to be a star experiencing solar maximum -- it fired off not one, but two of the most powerful class of solar flares in quick succession.
The Boomerang Nebula in the constellation Centaurus is officially the coldest known place in the entire Universe -- It's even colder than the frigid background temperature of space!
The massive hot bed of star formation astronomers call the Cygnus Wall is captured in an amateur astronomer's photo.
Astronomers are attempting to boost the imaging prowess of the Hubble Space Telescope by taking advantage of naturally occurring zoom lenses in space.
NASA's Saturn orbiter, the Cassini spacecraft, has has a stunning glimpse into Titan's thick atmosphere, revealing its vast lakes of liquid methane and ethane, plus possible analogs of terrestrial salt flats.
We will eventually have the technology to make Mars a more habitable planet -- but for whom? Earthlings, or Martians?

Daily Comic Relief


Canadian street littered with fish heads after spillage

It was a foul-smelling and surreal scene in Vancouver last Wednesday night after a load of salmon fish heads spilled from a vehicle onto a busy intersection.
While an odor lingered in the area late into the night, the driver responsible did not, taking off before police arrived.
Drivers did their best to dodge the hundreds of heads. City crews spent the night cleaning up the mess.

It is unknown what caused the slippery scene. “It’s a very fishy incident and we are investigating,” Sgt. Randy Fincham joked.

There's an additional video here.

Norwegian hunter missed moose and hit man sitting on toilet

A moose hunter in Norway accidentally shot a pensioner sitting on the toilet in a nearby holiday home. The man had been aiming for the animal, but saw his wayward bullet pierce the wooden wall behind it and strike the unsuspecting victim.
Officials said the man in his 70s was rushed to hospital by helicopter from the site in the island Vesteroy, around 74 miles south of capital Oslo. His injury was not though to be life-threatening. The moose also escaped unharmed.
Anders Stroemsaether, the policeman leading the investigation, said the hunter had been detained for questioning and the victim was likely to recover. "He was in the toilet when he was shot in the abdomen," he said. "His injury should not be life-threatening. His wife is clear that she does not hold a grudge against the hunter who shot (her husband).
"She is of course upset by what has happened, but she is being taken care of by the police and her family. It is obvious that there is a risk involved in hunting. A hunter is always responsible for ensuring the background is clear when a shot is fired and everyone understands that what has happened here should not happen."

Prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is not wanted in Oregon

'Dinosaur of the turtle world,' discovered by an angler, is the first of these invasive critters to be found in the state, and hopefully the last alligator snapping turtle
Biologist Jason Journey poses with invasive alligator snapping turtle captured at Prineville Reservoir.
A fisherman at Prineville Reservoir in Oregon was startled last Friday to spot a large, prehistoric-looking creature cruising along the surface.
Wildlife experts were notified and the next day the creature, an exotic alligator snapping turtle, was captured and promptly euthanized.
This week there’s concern about the possibility that others of its kind are in Prineville—or elsewhere in Oregon. This is the first known find of what’s sometimes referred to as “the dinosaur of the turtle world” in Oregon, and hopefully the last.
alligator snapping turtle
Close-up of the alligator snapping turtle 
Because alligator snapping turtles, with their scaly tails, spiked shells, and powerful beaked jaws, do not belong anywhere but their native southeastern United States habitat. There, in swamps and river and canals, they help balance the ecosystem.
Beyond that territory, though, they’re regarded as pests with the potential to adversely impact native fishes and amphibians (they’ll even devour ducklings), and spread disease. Their extremely powerful bite also makes them dangerous to humans.
Moreover, the alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the United States. It can weigh at least 220 pounds and an unverified report from Kansas, in 1937, placed the weight of one specimen at 403 pounds.
How the much smaller alligator snapping turtle made it into Prineville Reservoir is anyone’s guess, but it’s believed that it was released by someone who had owned the reptile as a pet, and released it when it became too large to care for.
Its shell will be used as part of an educational display of invasive, or non-native species, according to the Idaho Statesman Journal.
“We already have problems in the Willamette Valley with common snapping turtles,” said Rick Boatner, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I’d hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon.”

Search for monkeys that escaped from Belfast zoo

A search is continuing for two monkeys who escaped from their enclosure at Belfast zoo. Six lion-tailed macaques managed to get out on Monday - four have since been returned. The other two monkeys have been seen in the grounds or near the zoo. Belfast zoo said it has been monitoring their movements and has positioned a number of traps and staff in the areas where the missing animals have been seen.
One of the monkeys was captured by zoo keepers in the grounds of Belfast Castle. The incident was filmed by Michael McGowan, who was walking his dog in the castle grounds at the time. Mr McGowan said he spotted the monkey shortly before it leapt on to a window ledge on the castle. "The dog took a second glance, I took a second glance, and the monkey wasn't in the least bit worried about human beings being about," he added.

He said zoo keepers arrived with a dart gun to sedate the animal, but it tried to escape before they could fire a shot, so one keeper "rugby tackled" the monkey to the ground. Another one of the monkeys made a surprise appearance on a "peace wall" fence at a primary school in Newtownabbey on Thursday morning. The animal perched on the fence at Hazelwood Integrated school, on the Whitewell Road, during the school run. Tricia Douglas, a teacher in the school's nursery department, took a photograph of the unusual visitor who appeared shortly after she arrived for work.
Ms Douglas said a classroom assistant had noticed the monkey at about 8:30am and the school authorities then alerted the zoo. She said the schoolchildren were excited by the sight of the monkey and offered him some bananas, which he came down off the fence to collect and eat. However, she added that the animal ran off before zookeepers arrived to catch it. Belfast zoo manager, Mark Challis, said: "We are confident that all of the macaques will soon be found and returned to their enclosure. If anyone sees the lion-tailed macaques we would ask them to contact the zoo immediately. "

Animal News

Poisoning by local ranchers, other human-related issues are putting the king of the jungle in jeopardy of losing the title.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposes new safety regulations for pet food and animal feed to prevent food-borne illnesses in both animals and people.
Giant George, the Great Dane, stood higher than 7 feet when on his hind legs.
Fiercely carnivorous mice that attack and kill deadly scorpions feel no pain from their prey's sting, and new research reveals why.
The ancestors of modern carpenter bees may have become extinct roughly 65 million years ago, around the same time the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Barnacles ingest plastic garbage in the North Pacific gyre, a new study finds.