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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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Daily Drift

It's Our Fun Day
You will be much ... so much ... better off
Carolina Naturally is read in 196 countries around the world daily.   

 Oh, well we started our Science Sunday yesterday and today we celebrate something we use in science go figure ... !

Today is - Bunsen Burner Day

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

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Ripon, Roslyn, Miami, Hickory, Issaquah, Nescopeck, Romulus, Peshastin, Geneseo, Latrobe, Gallatin, Olanta, Vinton, Bemidji and Turlock, United States
Lansing, Seaton Village, Pikangikum, Ottawa, Sioux Lookout, Hanover, Montreal, Vancouver, Guelph, Quebec and Regina, Canada
Rio De Janeiro, Porto Algere, Curitiba and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Managua and Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Mexico City, Mexico
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia
Dresden, Germany
Antwerp, Belgium
Melitopol, Zhovti Vody and Kiev, Ukraine
Kista, Sweden
Bilbao, Madrid, Malaga, Cadiz and L'Olleria, Spain
Rouen, Paris and Orleans, France
Oslo, Norway
Dublin, Ireland
Ankara, Turkey
Sofia and Veliko Turnovo, Bulagria
Zurich, Switzerland
Caterham and Slough, England
Poznan, Katowice, Lodz, Gdynia, Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Warsaw and Krakow, Poland
Ravenna, Ivera, Prato and Rome, Italy
Costa De Caparica, Portugal
Nuremberg, Sulzbach, Widdern, Bochum and Rothe Erde, Germany
Bucharest, Romania
Sarajevo, Hadzici, Banja Luka and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Netherlands
Vilnius, Lithuania
Ryazan, Moscow and Kazan, Russia
Zagreb, Croatia
Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Hrinova, Slovakia
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Nokia, Finland
Tehran, Iran
Singapore, Singapore
Mumbai, Patna, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Thanjavur, New Delhi, Cannanore, Delhi, Shillong and Jodhpur, India
La Dagotiere, Port Louis and Quarte Bornes, Mauritius
Seoul, Korea
Pontianak and Jakarta, Indonesia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Guangzhou, China
Sanaa, Yemen
Kuala Lumpur, Sibu and Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cairo, Egypt
Bechar and Algiers, Algeria
Tunis, Tunisia
Harare, Zimbabwe
Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa
The Pacific
Perth and Homebush, Australia

Today in History

1282 The great massacre of the French in Sicily The Sicilian Vespers comes to an end.
1547 In France, Francis–king since 1515–dies and is succeeded by his son Henry II.
1776 Abigail Adams writes to husband John that women are "determined to foment a rebellion" if the new Declaration of Independence fails to guarantee their rights.
1779 Russia and Turkey sign a treaty by which they promise to take no military action in the Crimea.
1790 In Paris, France, Maximilien Robespierre is elected president of the Jacobin Club.
1836 The first monthly installment of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is published in London.
1862 Skirmishing between Rebels and Union forces takes place at Island 10 on the Mississippi River.
1880 The first electric street lights ever installed by a municipality are turned on in Wabash, Indiana.
1889 The Eiffel Tower in Paris officially opens on the Left Bank as part of the Exhibition of 1889.
1916 General John Pershing and his army rout Pancho Villa's army in Mexico.
1917 The United States purchases the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.
1918 Daylight Savings Time goes into effect throughout the United States for the first time.
1921 Great Britain declares a state of emergency because of the thousands of coal miners on strike.
1933 To relieve rampant unemployment, Congress authorizes the Civilian Conservation Corps .
1939 Britain and France agree to support Poland if Germany threatens to invade.
1940 La Guardia airport in New York officially opens to the public.
1941 Germany begins a counter offensive in North Africa.
1945 The United States and Britain bar a Soviet supported provisional regime in Warsaw from entering the U.N. meeting in San Francisco.
1948 The Soviet Union begins controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.
1949 Winston Churchill declares that the A-bomb was the only thing that kept the Soviet Union from taking over Europe.
1954 The siege of Dien Bien Phu, the last French outpost in Vietnam, begins after the Viet Minh realize it cannot be taken by direct assault.
1960 The South African government declares a state of emergency after demonstrations lead to the deaths of more than 50 Africans.
1966 An estimated 200,000 anti-war demonstrators march in New York City.
1967 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Consular Treaty, the first bi-lateral pact with the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution.
1970 U.S. forces in Vietnam down a MIG-21, the first since September 1968.
1980 President Jimmy Carter deregulates the banking industry.
1991 Albania offers a multi-party election for the first time in 50 years.

Non Sequitur


Have Baby Boomers forgotten how wild they were?

Baby Boomers are now the Establishment, achieving a status never envisioned by the generation that was known as “anti-Establishment!” And looking back on how wild and rebellious our generation was – we should feel fortunate that so many of us made it to this point!
As a self-described “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation,” I often write about the hypocrisy and selective memory that is so prevalent today. When I talk about issues involving today’s young generation like the content of their music, the challenging fashion trends, and behavior that is deemed "anti-social," I am quickly reminded about what I witnessed with my generation.
If young people, today, were part of a rock music festival where widespread drug use and total nudity were flaunted and I talked about it on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, I would hear from callers denouncing the young people who were part of a music festival that blatantly included such debauchery. And yet, many of those who would be complaining would be part of the anti-Establishment generation that exhibited the exact behavior they would be condemning.
The anti-social behavior of the young generation at Woodstock in 1969 is well-documented, and included drugs, drinking, nudity and even sex in public view. But the wild behavior of that young generation, which is now the Establishment, was close to home during the “Celebration of Life” music festival on the banks of the Atchafalaya River in Pointe Coupee Parish in 1971.
The scheduled 8-day music festival was shut down after 4 days. With temperatures in the 90's, a shortage of basic survival necessities, and behavior considered by law enforcement to be dangerous, the festival came to an early end. But it was actually shut down following a $700,000 Internal Revenue Service tax lien placed against the festival promoters, which prevented the festival from doing any business, including purchasing water for the hot, parched concert-goers.
To survive the scorching heat, many teenagers took off all of their clothes and frolicked in the Atchafalaya River and in the mud along the river’s banks. The heat may have been only one reason for the “freedom from clothes,” because this was a young generation that promoted freedom in every way possible. Young people naked in the river and covering themselves with mud became a public spectacle, with locals cruising the river in their boats to get a close up look at the nudity. A few seaplanes landed on the river, and there is a photo of an airline flying very low over the river, giving anyone on board a clear view of what this young generation naked in the river! Flight regulations for the airlines were a lot looser in 1971!
The governor of Louisiana, Governor John McKeithen, a Democrat, promised the citizens of Pointe Coupee Parish that he would personally throw out any “long-haired, dope-group anarchists” who attempted to put on a festival. Governor McKeithen represented the attitude of the Establishment about a young generation than many believed was completely “out-of-control.”
Contempt for a young generation that was part of the “Celebration of Life” festival, Woodstock or any of the events that attracted a young crowd in the late-60s and early-70s is no different from the contempt that young generation – now the Establishment – has for today’s young generation and the music, fashion, drug use, drinking and behavior that challenges what is considered socially acceptable now.

Beyond the hypocrisy and selective memory of the Baby Boomer generation, there should be the honest acknowledgement what we were really like as the original anti-Establishment generation.
The Baby Boomer generation proudly invented the phrase “sex, drugs and rock n roll!” and boldly lived accordingly.  But this is the same generation that as the new Establishment has condemned today’s young generation for its sexuality, drug use and rebellious music.
It is acceptable and expected for the Establishment in any era to set positive examples and teach younger generations from their mistakes, but the Baby Boomer Establishment’s condemnation of younger generations lacks any real admission of wrongdoing – and that is hypocritical.
The music that represented the young Baby Boomers was rebellions and filled with controversial lyrics, both sexually and politically. Fashion trends challenged the norms of “good taste” and sometimes even the law. And drug use and drinking were no different from what goes on at concerts today.  It was reported by a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine that there were areas at the “Celebration of Life” named Cocaine Row and Smack Street where 30 different mind-altering drugs were available for sale – only two of which could be smoked.  Plastic syringes were sold at $1 each.
One of the obvious differences today, is that guns are a problem, and that was never a concern in large crowds in the past. But other than guns, Baby Boomers forget how much they challenged society - and the law.
If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation, challenge yourself to be honest about the wild, anti-social behavior from your youth, and don’t condemn today’s young generation as if they are the first to rebel against the Establishment!
Many of those who were part of the drinking, drugs and nudity of the “Celebration of Life” are responsible businessmen and women. The lesson all this is that we think we became a responsible generation – and so will they!
Were you at the “Celebration of Life” or some other music festival where young people exhibited wild behavior?
What do you admit about your younger years? 

31 April Fools Day Pranks to Play on Your Kids

One of the great things about having children is that they laugh at your stale old jokes because they haven’t heard them a million times like your friends have. To them, you are a treasure trove of knowledge because you know a little more than they do. And depending on their ages, they will fall hard for April Fools Day pranks. Buzzfeed put together a list of simple tricks aimed at kids, which are mostly harmless. Your mileage may vary, so keep your child’s level of sensitivity in mind. Making candied apples with onions inside might not be appropriate for young kids, but putting googly eyes on everything in the refrigerator might be just the ticket.

Palmerston Island, Where Everyone Is Related

Palmerston Island is a coral atoll in the Cook Islands in one of the most isolated part of the Pacific Ocean. The tiny Pacific island has no airport, and is visited by a supply ship only twice a year. But Palmerston's fame comes not only from the fact it is a perfect island paradise, but from its unique history.

The entire population of Palmerston Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has been found to speak with a West Country accent - because the residents all descend from one man from Gloucestershire, William Marsters.

Why selfies look wrong

Selfies make us look strange, lopsided, comical.
Because a cellphone camera sits inches from our faces, whereas our brains are used to a mirror-image seen from several feet away.
Stop worrying about how pretty you are and embrace imperfection and character.

Bell-less, Whistle-less, Darn Good French Toast

Bread. Eggs. Cream. Butter. Just your run-of-the-mill ingredients, right?
They're probably sitting on your shelf right now, happily embracing their plain-ness and versatility, looking safe and unassuming in their shades of beige.
That's about to change.

It's about to change because said bread, eggs, cream, and butter are about to be made into Bell-less, Whistle-less, Darn Good French Toast. The recipe cuts to the chase, forgoing spices and extracts, focusing instead on said eggs, cream, bread (challah bread), and butter. You whip together the eggs and cream, which form a custardy mixture, then dip the eggy bread into this custard, making sure to gently squeeze the bread with your fingertips to draw the eggs and cream to the center. Then, you fry the bread in butter. Outside is a crisp crepe-like shell. Inside, pudding. What are you waiting for?
Making French Toast
Bell-less, Whistle-less, Darn Good French Toast
Serves 4
1 loaf challah bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
butter, for grilling and serving
Good maple syrup, for serving
1. Slice challah into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices.
2. Whisk together eggs and cream.
3. Heat a griddle or flat grill pan over medium high heat, and add 1 tbsp butter for every two pieces of French toast it will accommodate; swirl butter around to cover surface.
4. Dip slice of bread in egg and cream; flip and repeat. Add to griddle, and grill until golden (approximately 90 seconds) on one side; flip and repeat.
5. Serve with additional butter, if desired, and good quality maple syrup. The experience is enhanced with the addition of good quality smoked bacon.

Daily Funny

Norwegian roads agency not amused by Silly Walk road signs

A pair of doctored comedy road signs installed at a zebra crossing in Ørje, inspired by Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks, have not gone down well with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
"It's just for fun. There's no deep thought behind it," Reidar Johannes Søby from the Kreativiteket art group said. "People live in their ordinary lives and when they see this sign, maybe they can have a little smile on their face. That's all."
The signs, designed to encourage people to use a "silly walk" from the classic Monty Python sketch . But the notoriously bureaucratic Norwegian Public Roads Administration is not so amused.

"One should not use signs that can be confused with public signs," section chief Elisabeth Bechmann said. "They are not very happy about it," Søby said. "They do not seem to have a sense of humour."
There's a video of more people, including police officers, silly walking across the zebra crossing here.

British supermarket installed ATM 15 inches from ground

Supermarket to review positioning of cash machine installed 15 inches off the ground

What is this, an ATM for ants?
"Customers have to bend or kneel to use the machine, installed outside a Sainsbury's Local store in Basford. A Sainsbury's spokesman said the cash machine was installed so low down because it was located on a hill. The supermarket added that it had not had any complaints." [BBC]
A supermarket say they'll review the positioning of a cashpoint cash machine installed just 15in (38cm) off the ground in Nottingham.
Customers have to bend or kneel to use the machine, installed outside a Sainsbury's Local store in Basford.
A Sainsbury's spokesman said the cash machine was installed so low down because it was located on a hill.
The supermarket added that it had not had any complaints about the height but was looking at moving the machine, thought to be Britain's lowest.

Building collapsed while being made 'safe'

A blue plaque building once home to troubled poet in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, collapsed moments after a structural engineer on a cherry picker prodded at an exposed beam and bricks near to the roof.
Police were called out to the property on Stamford Street Central at 7.30am on Thursday following reports of falling bricks and debris. Officers quickly decided to cordon off the two-storey building and close a section of the road after it appeared the building had bowed and was in imminent danger of collapse.
Structural engineers from the local authority were called out to make an assessment. Eye-witnesses described how a man who was standing on the cradle of a cherry picker had just removed a single brick when it came down .

“He was up there trying to make it safe and he obviously took out the wrong brick. The whole lot came down with a loud rumble,” said the witness. A blue plaque mounted on the front of the building marks the fact it was once home to poet Francis Thompson who lived there between 1864 and 1885.

The Most Interesting Place In Your State

Redditor Midwester looked up each state on Wikipedia, and grabbed the first item under “points of interest” to compile this U.S. map of the most interesting place in each state. I was surprised to realize how many of these I have actually been to. Large size here.

Then a day later, he came up with a second map, this time using number counts for the most popular attraction in each state. Large size here. As you can see, they don’t match with Wikipedia’s “points of interst." I like the first map better. Land Between the Lakes is nice, but it's mostly in Tennessee, and only really enjoyable if you have a boat or a vacation home. Mammoth Cave is awesome! 

The Real-Life Story That Inspired Up

In 2007, we had a post about Edith Macefield and her refusal to sell her home, even though a high-rise was going up all around her little house in Seattle. Edith died in 2008.

In 2009, we posted a picture of Macefield’s house festooned with balloons as a promotion for the then-new Pixar movie Up. Many speculate that the movie was inspired by Macefield.

You might not know the rest of the story. Who got the house when Macefield died? She willed it to Barry Martin, the construction chief of the project that went up around her house! The two had become good friends during the building controversy. He is making sure that Macefield's legacy lives on. Read the whole story, with pictures, at Buzzfeed

Emma and Cinnamon

Emma is leading her horse, Cinnamon. Emma was two years old when this video was recorded, but she’s already on her way to being a real horsewoman. Cinnamon is a very gentle and cooperative horse, who went on to live and work at the Nighthawk Ranch, a getaway for children with cancer, in Guffey, Colorado. Video by Emma’s father, Justin Dunn. You can see more videos of Emma taking care of horses at Daily Picks and Flicks.

Grandmother lucky to be alive after she was almost strangled to death by pet python

A grandmother from Melbourne, Australia is lucky to be alive after she was almost strangled to death by her pet python. Sharon Plevko, of Kilsyth, was on the phone when the two-meter-long snake, named Scoot, wrapped itself around her neck and began to choke her. As she tried to plead for help, the snake squeezed tighter, stopping her air supply. Sharon said she thought she was going to die. "It was pretty quick, he went twice around my neck and started doing the choke," she said. "I tried to get him off but I couldn't, he was that strong.
"It felt like someone had grabbed me and it got tighter, and tighter, and tighter. He was serious. It was like someone had put something around my neck and was pulling at it. I just couldn't even get one finger in to pull him off and get some air in. I could barely talk and I was asking for help." Sharon's daughter, Laura, was on the other end of the line, powerless to respond to her mother's muffled pleas for help. "We thought she was joking," Laura said. "All of sudden we could hear her saying: 'help me, help me'. She couldn't talk.
"We didn't know what to do. It was terrifying." Sharon believes she was strangled for more than 90 seconds."I couldn't breathe," she said. "I thought my eye balls were going to pop out - that was how bad it was." Eventually, Sharon managed to free herself from the python's grasp. "I squeezed its neck and then squeezed his tail and he loosened a bit," she said. After breaking free, she returned the python to its enclosure and dialed Triple 0. An ambulance took her to hospital with neck injuries ad blurred vision. Paramedics told Sharon she was just seconds away from death.

"To actually feel the blood rise to your head," Sharon recalled. "I could feel the pressure behind my eyes. The pressure in my head was so bad." Sharon said Scoot had been in the family for over two years and he had never attacked before. "I've had him around my neck and he goes wherever he wants to," she said. "I wasn't really paying attention. I think he was probably trying to get on the bench top or something. When I wasn't doing anything with him, for some reason he decided 'well, this is what I'm going to'. I still think he's cute," Sharon added.



The 14 Greatest Hoaxes of All Time

Anyone can toilet paper a house or slip a whoopee cushion onto a chair. Pulling off a truly legendary prank is harder. To fool the media, crowds, and even the military, you need patience, planning, and more than a little genius. But when everything comes together into one big victimless laugh, it’s a thing of beauty. Here are history’s greatest hoaxes, each one proof that with effort and a little luck, you can fool a lot of the people, all of the time.

1. The Birth of the Bathtub!

December 20 gets no respect. On the calendar, it’s just another winter day best known for not being Christmas. But in 1917, writer H. L. Mencken set out to change that. When readers of the New York Evening Mail opened the paper in late December, they found Mencken’s 1,800-word essay “A Neglected Anniversary,” detailing the arrival of the bathtub in the United States. Mencken meticulously cataloged the tub’s rocky debut in 1842, explaining how the bathroom fad had caught on only after Millard Fillmore installed one in the White House. By the 20th century, Mencken explained, the momentous anniversary had fallen into obscurity. “Not a plumber fired a salute,” he lamented. “Not a governor proclaimed a prayer.”
There’s a good reason why. Mencken had made the whole thing up. The humorist figured everyone would see through the ruse, and he later wrote that the article was “harmless fun” meant to distract readers from World War I. “It never occurred to me it would be taken seriously,” he wrote.
But printing the piece in the Evening Mail gave Mencken’s little joke extra credibility, and he was stunned by how the story snowballed. Within a few years, it had been referenced in “learned journals” and cited “on the floor of Congress.” The tale became so pervasive that the Boston Herald ran an article in 1926 debunking it under the headline "The American Public Will Swallow Anything." Three weeks later, the same paper cited Mencken’s bathtub origin tale as fact.
Mencken tried to set the record straight, but his efforts were futile. People were more interested in hearing about President Fillmore’s tub than hearing the truth. Even today, the nugget resurfaces from time to time: In 2008, the story was featured in a Kia ad, which hailed Fillmore as “best remembered as the first president to have a running water bathtub.” Poor guy can’t even be remembered for something he actually did.

2. Sherlock Holmes Finds the Missing Link

Ever since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, scientists have been looking for the missing link—a transitional fossil that would seal the argument for human evolution. In 1912, an amateur geologist and archaeologist named Charles Dawson found it. The skull he pulled from a gravel pit in Piltdown, England, seemed to conclusively fit the part, and the discovery rocked the scientific community. Skeptics claimed the fossil was exactly what it looked like: a human skull cobbled together with an ape jaw to fool gullible scientists. In the ensuing excitement, believers shouted down deniers, and in December 1912, the Geological Society of London hosted a ceremony where Dawson presented his fossil, the Piltdown Man.
The doubters continued doubting until 1917, when researchers discovered a similar fossil nearby. The Piltdown faithful were thrilled: the new find, Piltdown II, seemingly legitimized the old one. 
But the Piltdown Man’s scientific legitimacy gradually eroded over the next few decades. Other early human skulls began popping up in China and Africa, and each had an apelike skull with a human jaw: the opposite of the Piltdown combo.
The jig was finally up in 1953. After conducting tests on the skull, anthropologist Joseph Weiner and geologist Kenneth Oakley determined Piltdown Man was no man at all. Rather, he was a combination of man (the skull), orangutan (the jaw), and chimp (the teeth). What’s more, fluorine dating showed that the bones were no more than 100,000 years old, certainly not new but not missing-link ancient. The head looked older only because the hoax’s perpetrator had stained it with iron and chromic acid.
While the hoax was eventually exposed, the prankster behind the caper is still at large. Dawson is the most likely culprit, but literary sleuths have turned their suspicions to another man: Sherlock Holmes’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Not only was Conan Doyle a member of Dawson’s archaeological society and a frequent visitor to the Piltdown site, he hinted in his novel The Lost World that faking bones is no tougher than forging a photograph—the ultimate smoking gun! If only Holmes were on the case.

3. Italy’s Secret Pasta Gardens

Where does spaghetti come from? On April 1, 1957, the BBC news program Panorama tackled the question with a segment about a Swiss town’s robust spaghetti crop, brought on by a warm spring and the disappearance of the spaghetti weevil. “For those who love this dish, there’s nothing like real homegrown spaghetti,” anchor Richard Dimbleby said.
Viewers ate it up. On April 2 the BBC was flooded with hundreds of phone calls from people eager to grow their own noodles, then a rare treat for British diners. Keeping the whimsy going, the BBC instructed anyone interested in a pasta-bearing tree to “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

4. The World’s Worst Bestseller

Everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover. But the aphorism got an extra dose of validity in 1969, when Penelope Ashe, a bored Long Island housewife, wrote the trashy sensation Naked Came the Stranger.
As part of her book tour, Ashe appeared on talk shows and made the bookstore rounds. But Ashe wasn’t what her book jacket claimed. The author was as fictional as the novel she supposedly wrote—and both were the work of Mike McGrady, a Newsday columnist disgusted with the lurid state of the modern bestseller. Instead of complaining, he decided to expose the problem by writing a book of zero redeeming social value and even less literary merit. He enlisted the help of 24 Newsday colleagues, tasking each with a chapter, and instructed them that there should be “an unremitting emphasis on sex.” He also warned that “true excellence in writing will be quickly blue-penciled into oblivion.” Once McGrady had the smutty chapters in hand (which included acrobatic trysts in tollbooths, encounters with progressive rabbis, and cameos by Shetland ponies), he painstakingly edited the prose to make it worse. In 1969, an independent publisher released the first edition of Naked Came the Stranger, with the part of Penelope Ashe played by McGrady’s sister-in-law.
To the journalist’s dismay, his cynical ploy worked. The media was all too fascinated with the salacious daydreams of a “demure housewife” author. And though The New York Times wrote, “In the category of erotic fantasy, this one rates about a C,” the public didn’t mind. By the time McGrady revealed his hoax a few months later, the novel had already moved 20,000 copies. Far from sinking the book’s prospects, the press pushed sales even higher. By the end of the year, there were more than 100,000 copies in print, and the novel had spent 13 weeks on the Times’s bestseller list. As of 2012, the tome had sold nearly 400,000 copies, mostly to readers who were in on the joke. But in 1990, McGrady told Newsday he couldn’t stop thinking about those first sales: “What has always worried me are the 20,000 people who bought it before the hoax was exposed.”

5. Bipedal Beavers, Unicorns, and Other Moon Monsters

Much like submarines, submarine sandwiches, and the U.S. Constitution, the ethics of journalism were still evolving in the early 19th century. One rule that hadn’t totally sunk in yet: Don’t ply your readers with outright fabrications. The newspapers of the day routinely manufactured stories to generate sales, but none was as outrageous as the New York City rag The Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax,” a series of six articles published in 1835 about the discovery of civilization on the moon.
The articles claimed that a British astronomer named John Herschel had used a powerful new telescope to spot plants, unicorns, bipedal beavers, and winged humans there. The articles even went a step further, claiming that our angelic moon brethren collected fruit, built temples from sapphire, and lived in total harmony. The hoax was debunked immediately. Soon after the first installment ran in The Sun, its uptown competition, the New York Herald, slammed the story under the headline "The Astronomical Hoax Explained."
But the American public preferred a universe dotted with angels, unicorns, and bedazzled architecture. The story created such a buzz that papers around the world rushed to reprint it, while a theater company in New York worked out a dramatic staging. Before long, The Sun was making extra coin selling pamphlets of the whole series and lithographic prints that depicted life on the moon. It took five years for the story’s writer, Richard Adams Locke, to finally confess to making it all up. As he wrote in the New World, his intention was to satirize “theological and devotional encroachments upon the legitimate province of science.” But in all this, the thing we can’t believe is that no New York team has embraced the moon beaver as its mascot.

6. A Math Whiz Horse!

Is a hoax still a hoax if the perpetrator doesn’t know it? Wilhelm von Osten would likely say no. At the turn of the 20th century, the German math teacher was determined to prove the intelligence of animals. After trying (and failing) to teach a cat and a bear how to add, he finally found a sufficiently studious beast. With years of training, a horse named Hans could add, subtract, multiply, and read German.
Von Osten held regular displays of his star pupil’s intelligence. Hans would calculate sums and convert fractions by tapping a hoof to indicate numbers. He became a national sensation, made headlines in the United States, and earned the nickname Clever Hans. To prove that the horse’s skills were real, Von Osten allowed a group of experts to examine his equine genius. They found nothing fishy, and Germany embraced Hans as a marvel until psychology student Oskar Pfungst came along.
Unsatisfied with the work of the experts, Pfungst examined Hans and figured out how the horse was doing its calculator act. Von Osten was sending him subconscious signals. Each time Hans was presented with a math question, he’d tap away until a subtle cue on his owner’s face told him to stop. The cues were so subtle that Von Osten didn’t even know he was giving them. Indeed, the horse got problems right only when they were simple enough for Von Osten to solve, and his percentages plummeted when he wasn’t allowed to face his master. When Pfungst exposed the truth, Von Osten denied it, insisting that Hans really was clever, and he continued to parade his horse before happy crowds. Today, animal psychologists know to write off these cues as the “Clever Hans effect.”

7. The Supergroup That Never Got To Rock

Music fans got exciting news in 1969 when Rolling Stone reviewed the first album by the Masked Marauders, a supergroup featuring Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. Due to legal issues with their respective labels, the stars’ names wouldn’t appear on the album cover, but the review extolled the virtues of Dylan’s new “deep bass voice” and the record’s 18-minute cover songs. One of the album’s highlights was an extended jam between bass guitar and piano, with Paul McCartney playing both parts! The writer earnestly concluded, “It can truly be said that this album is more than a way of life; it is life.” For anyone paying attention, the absurd details added up to a clear hoax. The man behind the gag, editor Greil Marcus, was fed up with the supergroup trend and figured that if he peppered his piece with enough fabrication, readers would pick up on the joke.
They didn’t. After reading the review, fans were desperate to get their hands on the Masked Marauders album. Rather than fess up, Marcus dug in his heels and took his prank to the next level. He recruited an obscure San Francisco band to record a spoof album, then scored a distribution deal with Warner Bros. After a little radio promotion, the Masked Marauders’ self-titled debut sold 100,000 copies. For its part, Warner Bros. decided to let fans in on the joke after they bought the album. Each sleeve included the Rolling Stone review along with liner notes that read, “In a world of sham, the Masked Marauders, bless their hearts, are the genuine article.”

8. How April Fools’ Day Didn’t Get Its Name

As Joseph Boskin would tell you, the origins of April Fools’ are murky. In fact, the Boston University professor and pop culture historian was trying to say just that in a 1983 interview with reporter Fred Bayles. But each time Boskin told Bayles that no one is quite sure how the holiday started, the interviewer pushed him for a more concrete answer. Eventually, the academic got fed up with the aggressive questioning and decided to concoct a story worth printing.
Off the top of his head, Boskin began regaling Bayles with a tale from the days when Constantine ruled Rome. Jesters, he said, petitioned the emperor to allow one of their own the chance to rule for just one day. On April 1, Constantine relented. A jester, King Kugel—Boskin named him for the Jewish pudding dish—took over and proclaimed that April 1 would always serve as 24 hours of silliness.
Boskin later said he made the story so absurd that Bayles would have to catch on. No dice. The AP ran Bayles’s story about King Kugel, and soon Boskin was fielding calls from news outlets across the country. He initially kept up the ruse, but a few weeks later, the truth slipped out during one of his lectures about the media’s willingness to believe rumors. The editor of the school paper was in the class, and the campus Daily Free Press ran a headline declaring “Professor Fools AP.”
Once the truth was out, the AP was predictably embarrassed, but the story has a happy ending. Bayles, no longer an eager reporter, is now a professor of journalism at BU, where he can speak from personal experience about the media’s gullibility.

9. Virginia Woolf Ships Out

Before Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster were literary titans and before John Maynard Keynes was the father of modern economics, they were part of a crowd of friends that informally called themselves the Bloomsbury Group. Comprising writers, artists, and thinkers, the group basically functioned as a fraternity for geniuses. So it’s fitting that the group’s lasting legacy is a piece of tomfoolery.
In 1910, the HMS Dreadnought was the fiercest, strongest ship in the Royal Navy. To the poet William Horace de Vere Cole, it seemed like the perfect place for the Bloomsbury Group to stage a high-concept prank. Cole, Woolf, her brother Adrian Stephen, and three pals decided to sneak aboard the Dreadnought, disguised as the emperor of Abyssinia and his entourage. Why risk the wrath of the Royal Navy? Because it was funny! The group sent a phony telegram to the ship’s commander, letting him know that a delegation was en route, then they simply showed up at the ship.
Amazingly, it worked. Dressed in caftans, turbans, and gold chains and with their faces painted black, the “Abyssinians” were welcomed aboard the Dreadnought with an honor guard, a red carpet, and a naval band. Despite the intentionally amateurish costumes, including at least one mustache that began falling off in the rain, the Abyssinians stayed in character for the entire tour. When they spoke, it was either to exclaim “Bunga, bunga!” in excitement or ramble in an invented language of Latin, Swahili, and gobbledygook. At one point, they were forced to decline a meal, relaying through Stephen, who was acting as translator, that the food had not been prepared to their specifications. In reality, they didn’t eat because they were afraid their makeup would come off.
The tour ended without the crew suspecting a thing. But then someone called reporters. British papers had a field day with the story. Sailors were heckled with cries of “Bunga, bunga” in the streets, and King Edward himself made his displeasure with the incident known. In the face of such humiliation, the navy was forced to take action. According to contemporary accounts, the navy got its revenge by caning two of the male hoaxers. Woolf was spared the lash because she was a woman, even though a lady’s mere presence on the ship was one of the greatest sources of the navy’s embarrassment.
Eventually, though, the Royal Navy developed a sense of humor about the incident. When the Dreadnought rammed and sank a German submarine during World War I, its crew received a congratulatory telegram from superiors. The text? “BUNGA BUNGA.”

10. A Bordello of Barks

Joey Skaggs is a professional prankster who plays the media like his instrument. He’s made waves posing as an outraged gypsy hell-bent on renaming the gypsy moth. He launched Walk Right!—a fictional group dedicated to enforcing proper walking etiquette through militant tactics. But perhaps the best illustration of his life’s work is the brothel for dogs that he opened in 1976. The prank started when Skaggs ran an ad in The Village Voice offering dog owners a chance to buy their pets a night with alluring companions, including Fifi, the French poodle. To Skaggs’s surprise, he began getting calls from people wanting to drop $50 for his service.
It didn’t take much for the media to bite, and when reporters showed up with questions, Skaggs reeled them in by staging a night at his “cathouse for dogs.” The stunt worked; TV stations issued breathless reports of the wanton acts of canine carnality. The ASPCA launched an investigation, a veterinarian publicly condemned the brothel, and the New York Health Department raised concerns about Skaggs’s licensing.
Skaggs eventually admitted the whole thing was a goof, but not everyone believed him. To this day, a television producer for WABC New York argues that the brothel was real and that Skaggs’s hoax claims are just a clumsy attempt to cover his trail. Of course, WABC has good reason to insist that Skaggs was running a genuine poodle prostitution ring: The station won an Emmy for its coverage of the story.

11. MIT Blows Up Harvard!

MIT students derive great pleasure from tormenting their rivals at Harvard. Our favorite prank of theirs occurred during the 1982 Harvard-Yale football game when a weather balloon emblazoned with the letters “MIT” began emerging from the ground near the 50-yard line. In the preceding days, a group of MIT students had snuck into Harvard Stadium and wired a vacuum motor to blow air into the balloon until it exploded, proving once again why you don’t mess with engineers.

12. Greasing the Wheels

Back in the late 19th century, college teams took trains to get to road games, and Auburn took full advantage of the situation. For a few seasons, students ran grease along the train tracks before Georgia Tech games, making it impossible for the train to stop anywhere near the station. Year after year, the poor football team ended up lugging its gear a number of miles back to the station, giving the players more of a warm-up than they bargained for and tilting the games in Auburn’s favor.

13. Card Talk

Tricking opposing fans into holding up placards that spell out a hidden message is a prank older than time. It was perfected with the Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961, during which students altered the placards given to University of Washington fans so that the giant banner they formed read “Caltech” on live television. The math and science school, which sits just a few miles from the Rose Bowl, wasn’t even involved in the game.

14. The Elusive Northwest Tree-Dwelling Octopus

According to the species’s official website, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus is native to the rainforests of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. It spends most of its time frolicking on treetops and snacking on frogs and rodents. But today, the arboreal cephalopod faces extinction thanks to rampant predation by the Sasquatch.
That last detail gives away the joke to most people. But not everyone is so discerning. The octopus’s meticulous creator—known online as Lyle Zapato—doesn’t just throw hoaxes onto the web—he brilliantly links back to dozens of external sites listing everything from short stories about tree octopuses to videos of a baby tree octopus hatching to recipes for cooking them. And he throws in just enough legitimate links to throw readers off his scent. In fact, every statement is laboriously cross-referenced; most Wikipedia pages would be lucky to have this many sources.
Taken together, Zapato’s labyrinth of sites can trick even savvy web surfers into thinking this tree-dwelling octopus exists. A 2006 study by the University of Connecticut showed that 25 out of 25 web-proficient middle-schoolers fell for the hoax. Even when researchers told them that tree octopuses don’t exist, the students couldn’t identify the clues on the site to prove that it wasn’t factual. The plight of the Pacific Northwest tree octopus is just one of Zapato’s many causes; he maintains an elaborate site dedicated to promoting the Bureau of Sasquatch Affairs and one that alleges that the nation of Belgium doesn’t exist (the deceptive branding of Belgian waffles fits into his conspiracy theory). Of course, whether you look at it as art or entertainment, Zapato’s handiwork is a reminder not to believe everything you read on the Internet.

Liquid water discovered on the surface of Minnesota

Bank Error Put $31,000 into Teenager’s Account

First Citizens Bank in Hull, Georgia, has several account holders with the same name. But instead of double checking account numbers, they deposited one man’s $31,000 into the account of an 18-year-old with the same name. The teenager must have felt like he won the lottery, because that’s how he acted. He withdrew $20,000 in cash and spent $5,000 with his bank card. It was March 17, ten days after the deposit, before the original depositor complained to the bank. Only then did the bank discover the error.
The suspect came back into the Hull branch on March 18 wanting to withdraw more money, but a teller informed him of the mistake and asked him to return the money, deputies said. The teen then insisted the money was from an inheritance.

A deputy went to the teen’s house, where the teen again said he thought the money came from his grandmother’s estate.

The deputy told the teen the bank wants the money back as soon as possible, so the teen told the officer he would go to the bank and try to settle the matter without going to jail, according to the report.
Did he go to the bank and try to settle up? No. Bank officials are is still waiting, and say they will prosecute if he doesn’t return the money.

North Korean students must now all wear Kim Jong Un's "Chinese smuggler" haircut

A disturbing new turn in the North Korean Official Haircut Story: men male students can no longer choose from 18 approved haircuts and must henceforth all sport the same haircut as Kim Jong Un. This haircut is locally known as the "Chinese smuggler haircut."
Update: The BBC has since updated its story: the haircut mandate applies only to students, not all men.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source tells Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes." Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. "Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'," the Korea Times reports.

Duke Nukem goes to court

Two companies, actual registered companies with people working for them, people with dreams and aspirations and fragile human hopes, are going to court to fight for ownership of Duke Nukem

Daily Comic Relief


Man Convicted Of Domestic Violence Can't Possess A Gun, Supreme Court Rules

by Nicole Flatow
When it comes to "domestic violence," even pushing or grabbing can be sufficient to bar federal gun possession, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in a unanimous ruling issued Wednesday morning.
The ruling could have significant implications in interpreting which state domestic violence laws bar gun possession. For women in particular, domestic violence is one of the biggest risks associated with gun ownership. A Violence Policy Center review of 2011 FBI crime data found that 94 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a male they knew, and 61 percent of those killers were a spouse or intimate acquaintance. Female intimate partners were more likely to be killed by a gun than any other weapon.

Woman named Crispi used bacon in alleged arson attempt

A woman from Uintah County, Utah is accused of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend's home with a pound of bacon left burning on a gas stove. Cameo Adawn Crispi, 31, was charged with arson, a third-degree felony on Wednesday.
Crispi's ex-boyfriend called Naples police on March 14 to report that he'd received "multiple phone calls and texts" from her in an hour and wanted it to stop, according to charging documents. He also said he did not want her at his home. An officer went to the home. He said Crispi was obviously impaired and there was smoke coming out the front door.
"I asked to come in and observed a wood stove left open with a fire burning inside and hot coals on the floor around the stove," the officer wrote, noting that he also found a cookie sheet loaded with a pound of bacon sitting on top of the kitchen stove. "I observed the burner to be on the setting 'High' and the bacon to be severely burned and smoking badly," the officer wrote. The officer stopped the spread of the fire and arrested Crispi, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.346.
Due to her impaired state, she was taken to the hospital for a medical clearance before being booked into jail. "The doctor asked her about the fire … and she stated she was attempting to start a fire in the house to get back at (her ex-boyfriend)," the charges state. In addition to the arson charge, Crispi is also charged with burglary, assault by a prisoner, interfering with an arresting officer, electronic communication harassment and intoxication. She is due in court April 14.

Man sentenced for throwing lettuce at his mother

Robert James Mills appeared in the Invercargill District Court in New Zealand on Monday for assaulting his mother with a lettuce.
Police said Mills, 37, was arguing with his mother at an Invercargill property on February 16 when he uplifted the lettuce from the garden and threw it at her, "connecting with the victim's face and taking her by surprise".
Defense lawyer Scott Williamson said the lettuce incident was the result of an ongoing argument between the pair. Judge Alistair Garland said Mills' actions appeared to be borne by frustration.
"It didn't cause any physical injuries but the friction between the two of you is causing emotional harm and it's something you need to address," he said. He sentenced Mills to nine months' supervision on the condition he undergo counseling for alcohol, drug and anger issues if directed by the probation service.

Christopher Reeves arrested for DUI and meth possession while wearing a Superman T-shirt

A Utah man named Christopher Reeves was wearing a Superman t-shirt when arrested early on Tuesday for methamphetamine possession and driving under the influence.
33-year-old Reeves was allegedly speeding and driving erratically at around 3am when Davis County sheriff's deputies pulled over his vehicle.
Reeves, who appeared impaired, was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. A subsequent search of his car turned up a large bag of meth, drug paraphernalia, and the synthetic drug Spice.
Charged with narcotics possession, DUI, and other counts, Reeves was booked into the county jail, where he remains locked up in lieu of $15,000 bail. Investigators felt the need to point out that Reeves is not related to Christopher Reeve, the late actor who portrayed Superman in four movies.

Man who police say stole couch returned for matching cushions and rug

A man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who police say stole a couch, returned days later to grab matching cushions and a rug to tie the room together.
Michael Deon McClerin is not facing theft charges at this time; he was arrested by Grand Rapids Police for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police believe it was 41-year-old McClerin who broke into the Gorman’s Home Furnishings store on March 3 and left with a leather couch worth more than $6,500.
Police say he returned six days later to pick up the cushions and a rug. McClerin was arrested at a girlfriend’s house in Grand Rapids on Thursday and police say they discovered a receipt for a storage unit that held other stolen items from Gorman’s. The couch and rug have yet to be recovered.
Lt. Patrick Merrill said McClerin was not a typical “smash and grab” burglar taking whatever he could get his hands on, but more of a specialist. Police say McClerin “took orders” for specific types of items and then specifically stole those pieces. McClerin remains in the Kent County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Man jailed for shoe store robbery 15 years ago celebrated release by robbing the same store

A convicted criminal recently let out of prison allegedly robbed the same store in Toms River, New Jersey that put him there 15 years previously. According to Toms River police, Christopher M. Miller was arrested for stealing the cash register from a Stride Rite shoe store on March 22. He was released from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, N.J. on March 21. The same Stride Rite store was robbed in 1999. Miller, 40, was convicted of that robbery and subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • ACA smashes its goal of 6 million signups days early
  • Boehner blows ups after Obama thwarts his plan to screw the uninsured
  • State by state breakdown of the 2.8 million people the repugicans are screwing
  • Bin Ladin's son-in-law convicted in civilian court despite wingnut protests
And more ...
A Cowfish is our Animal Picture, for today.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Daily Drift

It's a Scientific Encyclopedia
The Laws of Physics always apply! 
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And here you thought it was greener ... !

Today is - The Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day

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Today in History

1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sign a decree expelling all Jews from Spain.
1840 "Beau" Brummell, the English dandy and former favorite of the prince regent, dies in a French lunatic asylum for paupers.
1858 Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia patents the pencil with an eraser attached on one end.
1867 Russian Baron Stoeckl and U.S. Secretary of State Seward completed the draft of a treaty ceding Alaska to the United States. The treaty is signed the following day.
1870 The 15th amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, passes.
1870 President U.S. Grant signs bill readmitting Texas to the Union, the last Confederate state readmitted.
1885 In Afghanistan, Russian troops inflict a crushing defeat on Afghan forces Ak Teppe despite orders not to fight.
1909 The Queensboro Bridge in New York opens. It is the first double decker bridge and links Manhattan and Queens.
1916 Mexican bandit Pancho Villa kills 172 at the Guerrero garrison in Mexico.
1936 Britain announces a naval construction program of 38 warships. This is the largest construction program in 15 years.
1941 The German Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel begins its first offensive against British forces in Libya.
1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein's first collaboration, Oklahoma, opens on Broadway.
1944 The U.S. fleet attacks Palau, near the Philippines.
1945 The Red Army advances into Austria.
1946 The Allies seize 1,000 Nazis attempting to revive the Nazi party in Frankfurt.
1950 President Harry S Truman denounces Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.
1957 Tunisia and Morocco sign a friendship treaty in Rabat.
1972 Hanoi launches its heaviest attack in four years, crossing the DMZ.
1975 As the North Vietnamese forces move toward Saigon, desperate South Vietnamese soldiers mob rescue jets.
1981 President Ronald Reagan is shot and wounded in Washington, D.C. by John W. Hinkley Jr.
1987 Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers is bought for $39.85 million.