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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Daily Drift

Nine Days To Go ....

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
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Today in History

1431 Henry VI of England is crowned King of France.
1653 Oliver Cromwell takes on dictatorial powers with the title of "Lord Protector."
1773 To protest the tax on tea from England, a group of young Americans, disguised as Indians, throw chests of tea from British ships in Boston Harbor.
1835 A fire in New York City destroys property estimated to be worth $20,000,000. It lasts two days, ravages 17 blocks, and destroys 674 buildings including the Stock Exchange, Merchants' Exchange, Post Office, and the South Dutch Church.
1863 Confederate General Joseph Johnston takes command of the Army of Tennessee.
1864 Union forces under General George H. Thomas win the battle at Nashville, smashing an entire Confederate army.
1930 In Spain, a general strike is called in support of the revolution.
1939 The National Women's Party urges immediate congressional action on equal rights.
1940 British troops carry out an air raid on Italian Somalia.
1944 Germany mounts a major offensive in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium. As the center of the Allied line falls back, it creates a bulge, leading to the name–the Battle of the Bulge.
1949 Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung is received at the Kremlin in Moscow.
1950 President Harry Truman declares a state of National Emergency as Chinese communists invade deeper into South Korea.
1976 President Jimmy Carter appoints Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations.
1978 Cleveland becomes the first U.S. city to default since the depression.
1998 The United States launches a missile attack on Iraq for failing to comply with United Nations weapons inspectors.
2003 The shrub signs the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which establishes the United States' first national standards regarding email and gives the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce the act.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Story 
The famous Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started life as a poem created by an American advertising executive called Robert May.
He was requested to produce a poem that could be given away to children by the Santa Claus employed by Department Stores at Xtmas!
Working as an Advertising Executive Robert May had a natural flair with words and was able to compose the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer poem which was specifically designed to appeal to children.
It was commissioned by the Montgomery Ward department store who up to this time purchased third party coloring books to give away at Xmas, this idea was conceived as a cheaper "in-house" option!
This brilliant marketing ploy proved to be a massive success and approximately 2.5 million printed copies of the "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer" poems were given away in the first year of its publication!
In 1949 the singer Gene Autry recorded a musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with music composed by Johnny Marks. The recording sold 2.5 million copies during the Xmas week in 1949 and became number one in the music charts.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer : Lyrics
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!

Will The Real Santa Claus Please Stand Up?

We always think of Santa Claus as an incredibly old man - positively ancient - but the fact is, he's exactly 150-years-old, born in 1863. Indeed, we might be thinking of Santa's predecessor St. Nicholas, who is far older, believed to have been a Turkish bishop in the 300s. But the first European winter gift-bringer is even more of a geezer, going back to ancient Germanic paganism and the Norse god Odin.
So who is Santa? What does he stand for? How should he be depicted? Collectors Weekly takes a historical look at these burning questions.

Nine Legendary Monsters Of Xmas

The customs of the holiday season, which include St. Nicholas Day, New Years Day, and Epiphany, as well as Xmas, often incorporate earlier pagan traditions that have been appropriated and adapted for contemporary use.
Customs that encourage little children to be good, so as to deserve their Xmas gifts from Father Xmas, St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, often come with a dark side: the punishment you'll receive from a monster or evil being of some sort if you aren't good! These nefarious characters vary from place to place, and they go by many different names and images.

Police officers say around-the-clock watch over collection of empty boxes is humiliating

Police in the Spanish city of Vigo have been ordered to maintain an around-the-clock watch over a collection of empty Christmas presents, a task officers say is "humiliating".
Local police have been guarding the empty boxes for a week. Three pairs of police officers are currently working eight-hour shifts to make sure that no one disturbs the brightly covered packages. The orders to protect the boxes came directly from city mayor Abel Cabellero.
But the officers charged with the mission reportedly find the work 'humiliating and insulting'. "This is not a matter for police; officers have other things to do," a source said. One public official estimated the cost of the agents' time at €14,000 ($19,200) - "or up to one hundred times the value of the boxes they are protecting".
Vigo police are not even working alone to protect the presents. Two security guards hired by local retailers are also taking part in the campaign. "Vigo is one of the most secure cities in Europe," said Spain's Police Director: Ignacio Cosidó Gutiérrez during a recent visit to the city to open a new police station.

Police hunt for Santa after he crashed his car through a hedge before fleeing

A man woke up to a shock on Friday when “Santa” drove through his garden hedge. William Morren, 66, was woken at 5.25am after hearing a crash in his garden in Dundee. And he looked out of his window to see a man dressed as Santa clambering out of a blue Nissan Micra before running away. Police are now hunting for the driver, who they believe may have been hurt in the smash.William said: “I was in bed and I heard a bang and I thought it was an accident or something. I got up and had a look and there was a bus across the road. The bus driver got out and went over to the wee blue car that was in the hedge. Then the bloke got out and it was a bloke in a Santa outfit.
“He ran off down the road after the bus driver went over to him and he was leaning forward a lot and I thought he was drunk. The police asked me if I would be able to identify him but he was wearing the whole Santa outfit apart from the beard, so I don’t think I will be able to. He was slim and scruffy and younger than me. I hate Christmas anyway because a close family member died a few years ago. Now I hate Santa even more.
“I am not happy about what he has done to my hedge.” The car was recovered by a tow truck just before 7am, but “Santa” has not yet been traced by police. A Tayside Division spokeswoman said police were called to a home in the early hours of the morning.  “A male driver dressed as Santa crashed into a garden hedge,” the spokeswoman said. “We are now trying to find the driver. Anyone who can help is asked to speak to any police officer.”

Random Photos


As word of the successful application of the "affluenza" defense (which holds that spoiled rich children have a diminished capacity to understand right and wrong and can't be held criminally liable for crimes up to an including killing strangers) spreads, there's been lots of commentary on the subject. But as is often the case, Lowering the Bar has some good and timely words, from a satirico-legal perspective.

Did you know ...

The top ten ways the U.S. is the most corrupt country in the world

That global elites worry about inequality

That Ayn Rand destroys sears

An eagle steals camera; takes selfies

USA Today/Pew Poll Shows Democrats With Advantage in 2014 Elections

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid
A new poll released on Friday by USA Today and Pew Research shows that voters prefer Democrats to repubgicans in a generic Congressional vote. The results showed that 48% of respondents would vote for a Democratic candidate if the 2014 midterms were held today, while 44% would vote repugican. This compares favorably with their previous poll during the government shutdown, when 49% favored Democrats against 43% for the repugican cabal.
When you consider the amount of negative press the mainstream media threw out at the rollout of the ACA and President Obama since the end of the shutdown, Democrats should feel downright giddy to see these poll results. This helps to show that the Affordable Care Act is not the election killer that many Democrats have felt it might be in recent weeks. Perhaps we will finally see Democrats start embracing the law on the campaign trail, seeing that more and more people are signing up everyday and many super-wingnut lawmakers are finally starting to wave the white flag and realize their repeal fantasies will never be realized.
Another interesting part of this poll was repugicans’ views on the tea party. Only 32% of repugicn cabal voters said they agreed with the tea party. During the government shutdown, 41% said they agreed with the movement., and that stayed pretty much the same a month later when they were asked. This is really in stark contrast to late October 2010, right before the midterms that brought us a repugican majority in the House, when 58% of repugicans agreed with the tea party’s views.
Obviously, this is just one poll, and we are still nearly a year away from the 2014 midterms. But, I think this poll can help show Democratic lawmakers that they need to stop running away and hiding from their accomplishments and ideals and embrace them instead. Stop playing defense against the repugican cabal and its compliant media machine. Go on the attack! Hype up the health care law at every given opportunity. Point out that the economy continues to get stronger. Highlight how strong the auto industry is today compared to five years ago. Point out the overall lack of cooperation and compassion that the repugican cabal has shown since taking over the House. Be the aggressor.

Rachel Maddow Highlights AP Story Showing Red States Sabotaging the Uninsured

Rachel discussed an AP story that was published earlier in the day showing that the rate of participation in the online insurance marketplaces was much higher in Democratic…
On The Rachel Maddow Show last Thursday night, Rachel discussed an AP story that was published earlier in the day showing that the rate of participation in the online insurance marketplaces was much higher in Democratic leaning states that are running their own online exchanges and have expanded Medicaid compared to repugican controlled states that have refused both to run their own exchanges or accept additional Medicaid funds. Below is an excerpt from the AP story:

Newly released federal figures show more people are picking private insurance plans or being routed to Medicaid programs in states with Democratic leaders who have fully embraced the federal health care law than in states where repugican elected officials have derisively rejected what they call “Obamacare.”
On one side of the political divide are a dozen mostly Democratic leaning states, including California, Minnesota and New York. They have both expanded Medicaid for lower-income adults and started their own health insurance exchanges for people to shop for federally subsidized private insurance.
On the other side are two dozen wingnut states, such as Texas, Florida and Missouri. They have both rejected the Medicaid expansion and refused any role in running an online insurance exchange, leaving that entirely to the federal government.
The new federal figures, providing a state-by-state breakdown of enrollment in the new health care program through November, showed that the political differences among leaders over the initiative are turning into differences in participation among the uninsured.
To those who have been paying attention, this should come as absolutely no shock. From the get go, repugican governors and state legislatures have played ball and made sure to follow lockstep with repugican cabal leaders in Washington by making it as difficult as possible for the uninsured in their states to get coverage through the ACA. By refusing to create their own exchanges, they forced the federal website to handle far more visitors than was initially expected. Meanwhile, by refusing to expand Medicaid, they have heartlessly allowed the working poor in their states to continue to go without health insurance when they could easily be covered through virtually no cost to the states.
What is really remarkable here is that a VAST majority of the 1.2 million that have been able to obtain coverage in the first two months of the ACA’s rollout come from a small percentage of the states in this country. Below is a chart that Rachel used on her show Thursday night showing that wide disparity between blue and red states:

maddow chart
What is truly remarkable is just how hard certain states are fighting to prevent their citizens from obtaining health insurance for purely ideological reasons. Missouri, for instance, has made it illegal for the state to actually create an online marketplace, when they quietly put a confusingly worded initiative on the ballot during last year’s Presidential elections. Texas, which has the the nation’s largest population of uninsured residents, has actively pushed against the ACA from the outset, led by outgoing Governor, and laughably bad 2012 Presidential candidate, Rick Perry. In the hugely populated state, only about 14,000 have signed up for an insurance plan through the end of November and less than 17,000 have been deemed eligible for Medicaid.
The one huge point that needs to be hammered home again and again and again is that that millions and millions or Americans would already be signed up for insurance or be covered by Medicaid if repugicans would have just accepted the law instead of trying to sabotage it at every turn.  The fact that 1.2 million got coverage by the end of last month is miraculous when you consider the roadblocks that were laid in place. The sad fact is that if you currently live in a state that is mostly controlled by Democrats, it is quite easy to get covered. If you are in a state controlled by repugicans, it is much more difficult for you to get coverage for no other reason than the people governing your state, as well as the majority of citizens occupying it, just plain hate the President.

'Boner’s' Outburst at Wingnut Groups Was Completely Phony

Boehner's phony indignation targeting wingnut groups he bent over backwards serving over the past three years did not have an ounce of truth or credibility.…
John Boehner
Every adult, and likely most children, have seen a display of righteous indignation where someone reacts with an emotional angry outburst over their perceived mistreatment, an insult, or some form of injustice. In fact, in many Ccristian doctrines righteous indignation is regarded as the only form of anger which is not sinful; such as angry old testament god commanding his “people” to exterminate entire populations, or when angry jesus made a whip and drove “bankers” out of a temple. On Thursday, Americans were treated to an exhibition of righteous indignation when Speaker of the House John Boehner lashed out at wingnuts for opposing the last minute budget agreement announced on Wednesday, but there was nothing righteous about Boehner’s outburst and his indignation was as phony as the so-called “bipartisan budget agreement.”
At Boehner’s press conference, his phony indignation targeting wingnut groups he bent over backwards serving over the past three years did not have an ounce of truth or credibility. He claimed that Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers, and Freedom Works had “lost all credibility,” and were “using our members, misleading their followers, and pushing our members in places they don’t want to be,” and that they had “pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and to shut down the government.”
Boehner can blame wingnut belief tanks and the Koch brothers for all manner of imagined slights against repugicans, but he went too far when he accused them of pushing repugicans into fighting to defund the Affordable Care Act or shutting down the government. First, Boehner is Speaker of the House and as such he, and he alone, was responsible for the shutdown as well as the forty-plus votes to repeal or defund the President’s healthcare insurance overhaul since 2011.  Boehner could have garnered Democratic support to end the shutdown at any time, but he was too busy letting Ted Cruz run the House. As far as pushing Republicans to defund the ACA, the first repeal vote of 2013 was the 34th time Boehner wasted taxpayer time and money, and his excuse was that some of the “newer guys wanted a chance to vote to against Obamacare” so he gave them the opportunity several times since then even though Boehner knew it would never work. He even had the temerity to criticize one of the wingnut groups for saying after the government shutdown debacle that “One of these groups stood up and said ‘We never really thought it (defunding Obamacare) would work.’”
The reason Boehner feigned outrage at the wingnuts running the House is that he desperately wanted the budget agreement, Ryan’s Path to Prosperity-lite, to pass for several reasons. For one thing, it cut discretionary spending at austerity levels more than Ryan’s prior budgets that could never get past the Senate. It also spared the wealthy and corporations from any tax reform, robbed federal employees’ pensions, and guarantees unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire three days after Christmas.
If the budget passes the Senate, repugicans have no reason, and Democrats have no leverage to force them, to address corporate tax reform, unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, or truly fix sequester cuts that are now cemented in place for nine more years. The only thing about this deplorable budget that conservative groups on the receiving end of Boehner’s phony indignation hate is that it contained any discretionary spending on domestic programs and did not privatize Medicare and Social Security. Other than that, it is a deficit hawk’s wet dream and Boehner put on a show to get it passed in the House last night. Hopefully Senate Democrats will see the budget for what it really is; the Path to Prosperity, death for any unemployment benefit extension, and the loss of any leverage for corporate tax reform, infrastructure improvements, or preserving food assistance for hungry Americans.
The other reason Boehner put on an act for the cameras was to assuage the damage repugicans put on themselves with the shutdown. If he was seriously angry at Ted Cruz and hardline conservatives, where was his outrage at them for pushing repugicans to let the farm bill languish all year long, or pressure them to bifurcate SNAP (food stamps) out of the bill as irrelevant? While he was spitting and spewing venom at the Koch brothers’ groups; where was his righteous indignation at them for pushing House repugicans to allow immigration reform to go untouched all year, oppose job creation, minimum wage hike, corporate tax reform, or infrastructure improvements the President called for during the State of the Union and Inaugural speech? There was none, and Boehner had an answer for focusing his outrage on opposition to the budget; “Listen we are taking these issues on one at a time. The goal for today is to get this budget agreement passed.” Sadly, that is all that House repugicans passed before they go on hiatus and they will start 2014 sucking up to the Kochs’ wingnut groups and doing their bidding when they hold the debt ceiling hostage again.
There is a reason this session of Congress is the least productive in history and it all starts with John Boehner and his dedication and devotion to the Kochs’ wingnut groups. He was not outraged at those groups he claimed is “pushing our members in places they don’t want to be” because Boehner’s caucus is precisely where Boehner wants them to be and he proved it time and again when he prevented bipartisan Senate bills from even coming to the floor for a vote. If, and there is evidence there was, any of Boehner’s members were interested in working for the people and against the Koch brothers’ groups, he could have appealed to Democrats for assistance and they would have obliged him just to help the American people. However he did not, and whether it was the farm bill, food stamp cuts, tax reform, immigration reform, jobs programs, or raising the debt limit without jeopardizing the nation’s credit, he always did the bidding of the conservative groups he railed against over a budget agreement that does nearly as much damage to the economy as repugicans and the Kochs’ groups wanted all along.
Boehner is the worst kind of scum, and no phony act of righteous indignation against his puppeteers over one heinous Ryan budget will ever change that fact. He wanted an austerity budget for two years and he got it; without extending unemployment benefits or funding SNAP. As soon as Democrats, or the President, ask him to work for the American people to raise the debt limit, reform corporate taxes, reform immigration, create jobs, feed hungry Americans, pass a farm bill, or fund infrastructure improvements, he will go through another righteous indignation act to show the Koch brothers’  groups that House repugicans will not be pushed to a “place they don’t want to be;” helping Americans or defying lunatic fringe wingnuts.

Desperate To Save His Job 'Boner' Declares 'War' on tea party Groups

In a private meeting John Boehner claimed that outside groups aren’t real wingnuts, as he escalated his war on tea party groups that’s designed to save his job. The New York Times reported,
While Speaker John A. Boehner was harsh in his public criticism of wingnut advocacy groups opposed to a new bipartisan budget deal, his attack on the organizations was even more pointed when he was behind closed doors. “They are not fighting for wingnut principles,” Mr. Boehner told rank-and-file House repugicans during a private meeting on Wednesday as he seethed and questioned the motives of the groups for piling on against the plan before it was even made public. “They are not fighting for wingnut policy,” he continued, according to accounts of those present. “They are fighting to expand their lists, raise more money and grow their organizations, and they are using you to do it. It’s ridiculous.
Boehner has always known that the wingnut groups are involved to make a profit and grow, but he is speaking out now because he sees a chance to blame them for the government shutdown. Speaker Boehner is a master of blaming others, but this situation is unique because he is blaming his fellow wingnuts. The hypocrisy is that John Boehner became speaker because of the tea party’s success in 2010. Boehner had no issue with using the tea party to get him the gavel, but now that the tea party has become toxic, the Speaker is breaking out the knives. The repugican establishment is making their next big move against the tea party. Their first move is the redoing of the presidential primary system to make it more difficult for tea party candidates to win the repugican nomination. Phase two is Boehner separating his members from the outside groups. The big message that the Speaker sent was that certain outside groups aren’t going to be able to run wild and kill legislation with nothing more than threats. Rep. Boehner isn’t going to be turning down Koch dollars anytime soon. He is fine with nearly all of the outside groups. Who the repugican cabal is really going after is the Jim Demint led Heritage groups, and DeMint’s former PAC, Senate wingnuts Fund. The repugican cabal still needs the ads that the outside groups run during the election season. They are trying to push out the groups who primary incumbents and run ads against repugicans. Boehner made his bed with the tea party, and now he is doing everything in his power to escape it.



Ikea's stuffed wolf becomes face of Hong Kong protest movement

Ikea stores in Hong Kong have unexpectedly sold out of a stuffed toy wolf after it became the unlikely symbol of opposition to the city's unpopular government. Hundreds of the stuffed toys flew off the shelves days after an anti-government protester threw it at the city's leader Leung Chun-ying during a weekend public meeting. "Lufsig has been sold out at all Ikea stores," a spokeswoman said, adding that there were queues before the stores opened.
The innocent-looking toy depicts the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood", and can be seen holding a stuffed toy resembling the grandmother. Ikea's website for mainland China features the toy with a Chinese name, which sounds similar to a profanity in the Cantonese dialect. "The Wolf" is also Leung's nickname in a reference to what critics see as his untrustworthiness and cunning.
"The toy was politically utilized by protesters targeting the chief executive so it has become a political symbol of opposition to the government," Sonny Lo, head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, said. The toy even has its own Facebook page featuring pictures of the wolf in various locations.
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 as a semi-autonomous territory with its own political and legal system that guarantees civil liberties not seen on the mainland. Leung, appointed as chief executive by a pro-Beijing committee last July, is charged with overseeing the transition to universal suffrage to choose his successor in 2017. His critics are sceptical of his ability to manage this process because of his ties with Beijing.

What Happened On Easter Island

A New (Even Scarier) Scenario

In A.D. 1200, a small group of Polynesians - it might have been a single family - made their way to Easter Island, settled in and began to farm. When they arrived, the place was covered with trees - as many as 16 million of them, some towering 100 feet high.
These settlers were farmers, practicing slash-and-burn agriculture, so they burned down woods, opened spaces, and began to multiply. Pretty soon the island had too many people, too few trees, and then, in only a few generations, no trees at all. That's the story we all know, the Collapse story. The new one is very different.

Amid Neo-Nazi Worries Bavaria Pulls Plug on Annotated 'Mein Kampf'

Neo-Nazi Worries: Bavaria Pulls Plug on Annotated 'Mein Kampf'
For years, historians in Munich have been working on an annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" to be released when the copyright expires in 2015. The state of Bavaria gave the green light in 2012 -- but now they are trying to halt the project. More

British Library uploads one million public domain images to the net for remix and reuse

The British Library has uploaded one million public domain scans from 17th-19th century books to Flickr! They're embarking on an ambitious programme to crowdsource novel uses and navigation tools for the huge corpus. Already, the manifest of image descriptions is available through Github. This is a remarkable, public spirited, archival project, and the British Library is to be loudly applauded for it!
We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.
The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain 'licence'. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release.
There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.
If you need help or would like to collaborate with us, please contact us on email, or twitter (or me personally, on any technical aspects)

Hilarious Warning Labels

Some things in life should go without saying, but there's always the occasional genius who needs to be told not to shave during an earthquake.
On a salt packet: “Warning: Contains salt.”
On a can of aerosol cheese: “For best results, remove cap.”
On an information booklet: “Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet.”
On air freshener: “For use by trained personnel only.”
On dog medicine: “Alcohol may intensify the effects.”
On rubbing alcohol: “Avoid contact with eyes, ears, brain, and surrounding membranes.”
On a letter opener: “Safety goggles recommended.”
On a travel pillow: “Do not use while sleeping.”
On a dust mask: “Does not supply oxygen.”
On a disposable razor: “Do not use during an earthquake.”
On a box of dice: “Not for human consumption.”
On a toy called Rubber Band Shooter: “Caution: Shoots rubber bands.”
On a bicycle: “Removing the wheel can influence the performance of the bicycle.”
On a disc-shaped chocolate: “Do not place chocolate into any electronic equipment.”
On a cleaner for eyeglasses: “Not for or direct use in eyes.”
On a birthday badge for two-year-olds (it says “I am 2” on one side): “Not to be used by children under 3 yrs. of age.”
On a dishwasher: “Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.”
On a can of tuna: “Caution: Contains fish.”
On toilet bowl cleaner: “Safe around pets and children, although it’s not recommended that either be permitted to drink from the toilet.”

Awesome Pictures

Simple mathematical formula describes human struggles

Would you believe that a broad range of human struggles can be understood by using a mathematical formula? From child-parent struggles to cyber-attacks and civil unrest, they can all be explained with a simple mathematical expression called a "power-law."

Simple mathematical formula describes human struggles
As the temperature rises so too does human conflict
[Credit: Sven Torfinn/Panos]
In a sort of unified theory of human conflict, scientists have found a way to mathematically describe the severity and timing of human confrontations that affect us personally and as a society.

For example, the manner in which a baby's cries escalate against its parent is comparable to the way riots in Poland escalated in the lead-up to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It comes down to the fact that the perpetrator in both cases (e.g. baby, rioters) adapts quickly enough to escalate its attacks against the larger, but more sluggish entity (e.g. parent, government), who is unable, or unwilling, to respond quickly enough to satisfy the perpetrator, according to a new study published in Nature's Scientific Reports.

"By picking out a specific baby (and parent), and studying what actions of the parent make the child escalate or de-escalate its cries, we can understand better how to counteract cyber-attacks against a particular sector of U.S. cyber infrastructure, or how an outbreak of civil unrest in a given location (e.g. Syria) will play out, following particular government interventions," says Neil Johnson, professor of physics and the head of the interdisciplinary research group in Complexity, at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami (UM) and corresponding author of the study.

Respectively, the study finds some remarkable similarities between seemingly disconnected confrontations. For instance:

  • The escalation of violent attacks in Magdalena, Colombia—though completely cut off from the rest of the world—is actually representative of all modern wars. Meanwhile, the conflict in Sierra Leone, Africa, has exactly the same dynamics as the narco-guerilla war in Antioquia, Colombia.
  • The pattern of attacks by predatory traders against General Electric (GE) stock is equivalent to the pattern of cyber-attacks against the U.S. hi-tech electronics sector by foreign groups, which in turn mimics specific infants and parents.
  • New insight into the controversial 'Bloody Sunday' attack by the British security forces, against civilians, on January 30,1972, reveals that Bloody Sunday appears to be the culmination of escalating Provisional Irish Republican Army attacks, not their trigger, hence raising new questions about its strategic importance.
The findings show that this mathematical formula of the form AB-C is a valuable tool that can be applied to make quantitative predictions concerning future attacks in a given confrontation. It can also be used to create an intervention strategy against the perpetrators and, more broadly, as a quantitative starting point for cross-disciplinary theorizing about human aggression, at the individual and group level, in both real and online worlds.

Ten Cool Places You Are Not Allowed to Visit

CN readers already know about North Sentinel Island and Pripyat, but they are far from the only "forbidden" areas of the world. Oddee has ten more that you might want to see, but you cant. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the cave painting as Lasceaux up close and personal? Ain't gonna happen.
The caves, which have been banned to the public since 1963, have been menaced in recent years by a series of unexplained, and only partially controlled, fungal invasions. Any human presence in the caves is regarded as potentially destructive. Normally, they are entered only once a week by one security guard for a few minutes at a time.
You can have your hopes dashed for nine other spots in this list at Oddee.

Why The Universe Could Be A Hologram

Our universe could well be a hologram according to new research from Japanese physicists. There is now compelling evidence that the universe as we know it is in fact a projection from a lower-dimensional universe.
The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card, but now it is the entire Universe that is encoded in such a fashion.

Daily Comic Relief


NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Spies Mysterious Object At Edge Of Saturn's Rings

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted an object located right at the edge of Saturn's A ring that is confounding scientists. Its name? Peggy, after astronomer Carl Murray's mother-in-law.
This strange something was spotted by accident on April 15 when Cassini's cameras were aimed at a tiny moon named Prometheus that orbits just inside another of Saturn's rings. A member of the mission's imaging team, astronomer Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London, noticed an odd kink at the A ring's edge that jutted outward.

Corgi and Bunny Are Friends

Riley, a 3-year old corgi, has new friend. It’s a wild rabbit! Lareina Tan, Riley’s human, says that they met on a walk. She was initially afraid that Riley might hurt the bunny. But all they want to do is play together. The bunny has even waited outside Riley’s house for the dog to come out and play. Ms. Tan says:
The bunny ran around in circles around us instead of away, and jumped onto Ripley's front paw while she was sitting. I want to believe the bunny chose to hang with her.
Riley is quite gentle and, true to his shepherding roots, only nudges him along.
You can see more photos here.

Real-life Lassie limped to find help for unconscious owner after they were hit by car

A dog helped save her owner who was badly injured after being hit by a car. John Miles was walking his dog Lucy in Dorchester, Massachusetts as he does every day, when both of them were hit by the fast-moving vehicle.
Miles blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened. Lucy, a husky-beagle mix, who was also injured, limped to a nearby dentist’s office and barked until help arrived. She limped back and stayed by John’s side until emergency crews arrived. “I’m very happy that Lucy did what she did,” Miles said. “Makes me feel wonderful because if a dog as good as her can get recognition for doing something above and beyond good for her.”
Miles had no identification on him, so first responders used Lucy’s ID tags to determine who they were. “What I’m being told is she sat there and was crying and everything else, you know because I couldn’t get up,” Miles says. “That’s the type of dog she is.” Miles suffered major injuries including two broken legs, a broken arm and 15 facial fractures. He has to undergo surgery. Lucy is currently limping around with a torn ACL and leg fractures. Right now, she is clearly missing her owner.

“We found out that beagles actually cry, they have tear ducts,” said Caitlan Miles, John’s daughter. “So after the accident, when I was home with her, she had tears running down her fur. She is walking around lost without him.” Lucy will also have to have surgery. A fund has been set up to help pay for the cost of her care. “Once the winter’s over, if I’m recovered and Lucy’s recovered you can bet we’ll be out doing our walking again,” John said. Boston Police say the driver stopped after the accident and will not be charged.

Animal Pictures