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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Daily Drift

Good Question ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Internet, ooh ... !

Today is Internet Day 


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

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Cincinnati, Kenosha, Carbondale, Brooklyn, Sandy City, Topeka and Bristow, United States
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mississauga, Britannia, Joliette, Ottawa, Montreal, Byward Market, The Village and Sioux Lookout, Canada
Oaxaca De Juarez, Mexico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tipitapa and Managua, Nicaragua
Umurbey, Turkey
Cherkasy and Zhovti Vody, Ukraine
Chelyabinsk and Artem, Russia
Rome, Milan and Ivrea, Italy
Madrid, Spain
Athens, Greece
Kista, Sweden
Paris, France
Bradford, London, Slough and Dunstable, England
Wehlheiden, Berlin and Sulzbach, Germany
Dobra and Warsaw, Poland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Horsholm, Denmark
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Purwakarta and Jakarta, Indonesia
Beirut, Lebanon
Bangalore, India
Bayan Lepas and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thiruvananthapuram, Pune, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Shillong, Mumbai and New Delhi, India
Nishi-Tokyo-Shi and Tokyo, Japan
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kuwait, Kuwait
Amman, Jordan
Cape Town, South Africa
Homebush, Australia
Sampaloc, Philippines

Today in History

1618 Sir Walter Raleigh is executed. After the death of Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh's enemies spread rumors that he was opposed the accession of King James.
1787 Mozart's opera Don Giovanni opens in Prague.
1814 The Demologos, the first steam-powered warship, launched in New York City.
1901 Leon Czolgosz is electrocuted for the assassination of US President William McKinley. Czolgosz, an anarchist, shot McKinley on September 6 during a public reception at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, N.Y. Despite early hopes of recovery, McKinley died September 14, in Buffalo, NY.
1927 Russian archaeologist Peter Kozloff apparently uncovers the tomb of Genghis Khan in the Gobi Desert, a claim still in dispute.
1929 Black Tuesday–the most catastrophic day in stock market history, the herald of the Great Depression. 16 million shares were sold at declining prices. By mid-November $30 billion of the $80 billion worth of stocks listed in September will have been wiped out.
1945 The first ball-point pen goes is sold by Gimbell's department store in New York for a price of $12.
1949 Alonzo G. Moron of the Virgin Islands becomes the first African-American president of Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia.
1952 French forces launch Operation Lorraine against Viet Minh supply bases in Indochina.
1964 Thieves steal a jewel collection–including the world's largest sapphire, the 565-carat "Star of India," and the 100-carat DeLong ruby–from the Museum of Natural History in New York. The thieves were caught and most of the jewels recovered.
1969 The U.S. Supreme Court orders immediate desegregation, superseding the previous "with all deliberate speed" ruling.
1969 First computer-to-computer link; the link is accomplished through ARPANET, forerunner of the Internet.
1972 Palestinian guerrillas kill an airport employee and hijack a plane, carrying 27 passengers, to Cuba. They force West Germany to release 3 terrorists who were involved in the Munich Massacre.
1983 More than 500,000 people protest in The Hague, The Netherlands, against cruise missiles.
1986 The last stretch of Britain's M25 motorway opens.
1998 South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports condemns both sides on the Apartheid issue for committing atrocities.
1998 John Glenn, at age 77, becomes the oldest person to go into outer space. He is part of the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-95.
1998 The deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record up to that time, Hurricane Mitch, makes landfall in Honduras (in 2005 Hurricane Wilma surpassed it); nearly 11,000 people died and approximately the same number were missing.
2004 For the first time, Osama bin Laden admits direct responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US; his comments are part of a video broadcast by the Al Jazeera network.
2008 Delta and Northwest airlines merge, forming the world's largest airline.
2012 Hurricane Sandy devastates much of the East Coast of the US; nearly 300 die directly or indirectly from the storm.

Non Sequitur


Blogging Lite

Due to a hectic schedule today we are 'Blogging Lite'.

Just a few photos, comics and whatever we decide today.

We have not spent an entire day playing with the dogs or any of the other animals around here so we're playing hookey to do so.

So, that is our 'hectic schedule' - just go with it.

Be back tomorrow.

JFK Had Trouble With The Winguts, Too

Go To Your Room

Were you aware ...

Coach seating is getting even worse

Uh-oh: airlines ordering new Dreamliner 787s and Airbus A330s are asking to have them fitted with 16.7"-wide coach seats, a new low for long-haul travel. These are planes intended for intercontinental flights -- six to 14 hours! -- and they're shaving the armrests, squeezing the seats, and otherwise cramming in ways that beggar the imagination. The airlines say it'll all be OK -- they'll just distract you from your terrible circumstances with big meals and TV.
Of the airlines that have bought Boeing Co.'s new 787 Dreamliner—a model touted as improving passenger comfort—90% have selected nine-abreast seating in coach over roomy eight-abreast. And 10 airlines around the world now fly narrower Airbus A330 jetliners with nine 16.7-inch seats in each row—among the tightest flying—rather than the eight it was designed for, according to the unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. EADSY +2.04%
The new trend in economy seating reverses a half century of seat growth in economy class. Early jet planes like Boeing's 707 had 17-inch seats, a dimension based on the width of a U.S. Air Force pilot's hips, says Airbus marketing chief Chris Emerson.
That standard for long-haul flying increased to 18-inches in the 1970s and 1980s with the 747 jumbo and the first Airbus jets. It widened to 18.5 inches with the Boeing 777 in the 1990s and A380 superjumbo in the 2000s. Now, cost-conscious airlines are moving to lighter 17-inch-wide seats on their Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliners and 18-inch seats for A350s.



An Autonomous, Self-Steering Robot Cane for the Blind

This robotic cane is the future of navigational canes used by visually impaired people. Dr. Cang Ye, a roboticist at the University at Arkansas at Little Rock, led the engineering team that developed it.
The Co-Robotic Cane (CRC) has a camera and a laser detection and ranging system that detects objects in the user’s path. It warns the user through the earpiece. The roller tip on the end also moves toward a useful path, guiding the user in that direction. Dr. Ye says that the cane will prove to be a great advance in navigational aids for the visually impaired that is far beyond that which is currently available.

Marley, Mon

What happens to a pocket hose when it goes bad

Today, a wrinkly as-seen-on-TV impulse buy. Tomorrow, a nightmare creature from The Abyss.

Cheerleaders who stepped up in life

Believe it or not


Louie, Louie – The Language of the Lyrics

In 1963, a group named the Kingsmen covered the song “Louie Louie,” originally recorded by Richard Berry eight years prior. The Kingsmen’s version is a classic and you’ve almost certainly heard it (but if not, here you go) and likely can sing the whole thing — kind of. You probably have no idea what the actual words are because they’re a garbled mess which is impossible to understand. But that didn’t stop an angry parent from writing to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and insisting that the lyrics were obscene. For some reason, this led to an FBI investigation (!) which concluded, no, the lyrics are just unintelligible. The FBI was right, but they missed something. At about 0:53 into the song, Lynn Easton, the band’s drummer, dropped a drumstick and yelled out the f-word. It’s audible (but not obvious) in the recording.

A Good One

The Water Cycle

Here's the cutest depiction of the Water Cycle you'll see today, courtesy of Nick Seluk of The Awkward Yeti.
Water what? You know, the water cycle you learn in elementary school: how the sun heats up and evaporates water in the ocean and seas, then the water condenses into clouds and then rains back to earth, and so on and so on.
You can probably imagine why the water cycle is important, but have you given a thought as to how big this process is? Like, for example, how much water evaporates from the ocean every year anyhow? Try 92 quadrillion gallons. That's 92,000,000,000,000,000.

Good Question

Why is Snot Green?

We should be grateful for snot, the nasal mucous that works overtime to combat the nasty bugs we inhale when we breathe. What causes it to be green is an enzyme, myeloperoxidase, which actually makes bleach to kill microbial invaders. This tiny bleach factory is safely (for us) contained in a special kind of white blood cell called a neutrophil, which is a particularly active part of our immune system that hunts down and swallows up invasive cells. 
Researchers in Germany have captured some fantastic (and terrifying) videos of a neutrophil mercilessly stalking the bad guys, before engulfing them whole – these cells are truly voracious. You do not want to make an enemy of a neutrophil. It will find you, and it will kill you.
Once captured, the neutrophil proceeds to douse its captives with bleach manufactured by our recent acquaintance, myeloperoxidase. Doing this internally allows a degree of damage limitation, tantamount to a controlled explosion. Sadly though, much like Monty Python’s Mr Creosote, the neutrophils can’t keep consuming forever. Eventually they take a suicidal step, rupturing open and spewing their digested contents out into the warzone, ready for you to honk out of your nose and admire.
Even though green snot may be disgusting at times, it could be worse. The chemical explanation of snot at Infectious Enthusiasm links the operant molecule, haem, to the red in our red blood cells. Just imagine how horrible it would be to blow your nose and see red come out!

Daily Comic Relief


Snapshot of 19th Century Life


Crow. 1902

Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery

Two pre-Columbian mummies more than a thousand years old were found in a pre-Incan cemetery in a suburb of Lima, archeologists said Thursday.
Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery
Archaeologists work at the pre-Inca religious complex "Huaca Pucllana",
 in the residential district of Miraflores, in Lima [Credit: AFP]
"This is one of the most important finds in more than three decades of excavation, because both mummies are intact," Gladys Paz told AFP at the foot of the Huaca Pucllana tomb, an ancient religious complex in the Miraflores neighborhood.

The first signs of the tomb were found five days ago, but the process of unearthing the mummies of an adult and child took time.
Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery
Craftwork around a mummy bundle at the pre-Inca religious complex
"Huaca Pucllana"[Credit: AFP]
The Pacific Ocean and Lima's concrete buildings are visible from part of the huaca -- a Quechua word for religious sites -- that towers more than 20 meters (66 feet) high.

The grave was found intact with offerings and a sacrificed companion, Paz said in reference to the mummified child.
Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery
An archaeologist cleans a recently discovered tomb of an intact mummy of the
Wari prehispanic culture[Credit: Reuters/Mariana Bazo]
"This is the third intact find among more than 70 tombs excavated since 1981," when researchers began their work at the Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid-like temple built on six acres (2.5 hectares) of land between AD 100 and 600.

In 2010, archeologists discovered the tomb of a woman who was buried with her four children. In 2008, the mummy of a 13-year-old girl was found.
Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery
Some of the items found in the tomb [Credit: Cris Bouroncle/AFP]
The two recent mummies remain unopened in the place where they were found. They will be taken to a lab in the next four to six months to determine the age and sex of each individual.

In the tomb, researchers also found seven vessels with feline designs used to drink a matte tea concoction, 12 fabric bags and the remains of three guinea pigs.
Two mummies found in ancient Peru cemetery
The site is in the heart of one of Peru's bustling suburbs
[Credit: Reuters/Mariana Bazo]
Dozens of journalists thronged to the site for a chance to catch a glimpse.Project director Isabel Flores said archeologists have yet to search through 40 percent of the Huaca Pucllana, built during the pre-Hispanic Wari culture.

There are about 350 huacas in Peru's capital region, interspersed among buildings and homes, hinting Lima's pre-Hispanic ancestors.

Archaeologists unearth a 6,500-year-old mystery

Archaeologists have found a prehistoric wetland site near Bamburgh which was a hive of human activity for at least 2,000 years.
Archaeologists unearth a 6,500-year-old mystery
Archaeologists have unearthed a 6,500 year-old timber paddle at Bradford Kaims,
near Bamburgh [Credit: Berwick Advertiser]
The dry summer gave archaeologists from the Bamburgh Research Project a valuable opportunity to excavate part of the site at Bradford Kaims.

It is now wet pasture but was once a series of shallow lakes connected by streams, which drained into Budle Bay.

They uncovered a wooden paddle, sitting on a brushwood platform, which dates from around 6,500 years ago at the start of the Neolithic period - the time of the very first farmers. The paddle and platform were next to a burnt mound - piles of stones which had been heated by fire.

These heated stones could have been used for a number of activities, from cooking and brewing to tanning, metal extraction, canoe making or even sweat lodges - the forerunner of saunas.

Four small artificial islands have also been found, made of stone rubble on wood foundations.

These may have been used to reach deeper water for the ritual offering of gifts, or as a base from which to set fish traps.

Project co-director Graeme Young said: “To find preserved organic material like this from this period is incredibly rare in Britain.

The timber paddle. was lying just on top of a timber platform, formed from round wood lengths pegged into the underlying layers.

“The platform would have been exciting enough but the paddle is just outstanding,” said Mr Young. “We think from parallels that it may be for moving the hot rocks off the burnt mound rather than paddling a canoe.

“At this moment we think the platform and paddle are very, very early Neolithic, making it in the order of 6,000 or more years old.”

The paddle was obviously in a very fragile state and if left to dry out would have been lost so the team lifted it in a block with the supporting deposits.

It is currently in safe storage at Edinburgh University. The process of freeing the find from its protective covers will start soon.

The project has been backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage but funding is needed to continue the investigation next year.

Double Rainbow

Divi Tree

Chemists show life on Earth was not a fluke

How life came about from inanimate sets of chemicals is still a mystery. While we may never be certain which chemicals existed on prebiotic Earth, we can study the biomolecules we have today to give us clues about what happened three billion years ago.
Chemists show life on Earth was not a fluke
In them, began life [Credit: University of Utah]
Now scientists have used a set of these biomolecules to show one way in which life might have started. They found that these molecular machines, which exist in living cells today, don’t do much on their own. But as soon as they add fatty chemicals, which form a primitive version of a cell membrane, it got the chemicals close enough to react in a highly specific manner.

This form of self-organisation is remarkable, and figuring out how it happens may hold the key to understanding life on earth formed and perhaps how it might form on other planets.

The 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to chemists for showing how complex molecules can perform very precise functions. One of the behaviours of these molecules is called self-organisation, where different chemicals come together because of the many forces acting on them and become a molecular machine capable of even more complex tasks. Each living cell is full of these molecular machines.

Pasquale Stano at the University of Roma Tre and his colleagues were interested in using this knowledge to probe the origins of life. To make things simple, they chose an assembly that produces proteins. This assembly consists of 83 different molecules including DNA, which was programmed to produce a special green fluorescent protein (GFP) that could be observed under a confocal microscope.

The assembly can only produce proteins when its molecules are close enough together to react with each other. When the assembly is diluted with water, they can no longer react. This is one reason that the insides of living cells are very crowded, concentrated places: to allow the chemistry of life to work.

In order to recreate this molecular crowding, Stano added a chemical called POPC to the dilute solution. Fatty molecules such as POPC do not mix with water, and when placed into water they automatically form liposomes. These have a very similar structure to the membranes of living cells and are widely used to study the evolution of cells.

Stano reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie that many of these liposomes trapped some molecules of the assembly. But remarkably, five in every 1,000 such liposomes had all 83 of the molecules needed to produce a protein. These liposomes produced large amount of GFP and glowed green under a microscope.

Computer calculations reveal that even by chance, five liposomes in 1,000 could not have trapped all 83 molecules of the assembly. Their calculated probability for even one such liposome to form is essentially zero. The fact that any such liposomes formed and that GFP was produced means something quite unique is happening.

Stano and his colleagues do not yet understand why this happened. It may yet be a random process that a better statistical model will explain. It may be that these particular molecules are suited to this kind of self-organisation because they are already highly evolved. An important next step is to see if similar, but less complex, molecules are also capable of this feat.

Regardless of the limitations, Stano’s experiment has shown for the first time that self-assembly of molecular machines into simple cells may be an inevitable physical process. Finding out how exactly this self-assembly happens will mean taking a big step towards understanding how life was formed.

Upping the Cute Factor

Let Go?!


Animal Pictures