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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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Daily Drift

'Nuff said  ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily

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Today is - No Pants Day

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Today in History

1872 Russian Grand Duke Alexis goes on a gala buffalo hunting expedition with Gen. Phil Sheridan and Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.
1879 The British-Zulu War begins. British troops — under Lieutenant General Frederic Augustus — invade Zululand from the southern African republic of Natal.
1908 A wireless message is sent long-distance for the first time from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
1913 Kiel and Wilhelmshaven become submarine bases in Germany.
1915 The U.S. Congress establishes Rocky Mountain National Park.
1926 U.S. coal talks break down, leaving both sides bitter as the strike drags on into its fifth month.
1927 U.S. Secretary of State Kellogg claims that Mexican rebel Plutarco Calles is aiding communist plot in Nicaragua.
1932 Oliver Wendell Holmes retires from the Supreme Court at age 90.
1938 Austria recognizes the Franco government in Spain.
1940 Soviet bombers raid cities in Finland.
1943 Soviet forces raise the siege of Leningrad.
1952 The Viet Minh cut the supply lines to the French forces in Hoa Binh, Vietnam.
1962 The United States resumes aid to the Laotian regime.
1973 Yassar Arafat is re-elected as head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
1982 Peking protests the sale of U.S. planes to Taiwan.
1991 The U.S. Congress gives the green light to military action against Iraq in the Persian Gulf Crisis.
1998 Nineteen European nations agree to prohibit human cloning.
2010 An earthquake in Haiti kills an estimated 316,000 people.

Non Sequitur


Out of the Abyss

Looking for Lessons in Iceland's Recovery

by Guido Mingels Out of the Abyss: Looking for Lessons in Iceland's Recovery
In 2008, Iceland experienced one of the most dramatic crashes any country had ever seen. Since then, its recovery has been just as impressive. Are there lessons to be learned? SPIEGEL went to the island nation to find out.  More

Did you know ...

The real reason the middle class is dead

That lower cognitive abilities predict greater prejudice through wingnut ideologies

That media blog poynter mis-identified NBC anchor Brian Williams in a story about how most Americans can't identify NBC anchor Brian Williams

The Number of Americans Identifying as Liberal Jumps to Record High

What we are seeing here is the beginning changes of a long term paradigm shift, ushered in by President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party he helped reinvent.…
The number of Americans identifying as liberal jumped to 23% in a new Gallup poll, the highest number since Gallup started asking the question in 1992.
Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%). But the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification edged up to its highest level since Gallup began regularly measuring ideology in the current format in 1992.
Gallup explains that while this is the highest number of self-identified liberals, it’s being led by Democrats. “Currently, 43% of Democrats say they are liberal, a nearly 50% increase from 29% in 2000. Over the same period, the percentage of Democrats identifying as moderate is down to 36% from 44%, and wingnut identification is down to 19% from 25%.”
Gallup then goes on to argue that this is because Democrats have become increasingly more ideological, “These changes are a telling indicator of the shift in the Democratic Party from a party that was more ideologically diverse to one that is increasingly dominated by those from the left end of the ideological spectrum.”
There is no proof of that statement, and in fact, recent history belies it. If the party is dominated by those from the left, then its platform is not being run by those who dominate it. There is a party that has become more ideological, but it’s not the Democrats. The Democrats have been busy growing their tent, expanding it until hardcore progressive liberals wonder if the party stands for anything anymore. (Of course, the extremes will always feel that both parties stand for nothing by measure of their position.)
I would posit that what’s really going on is the word liberal is no longer the dirty word it used to be. Had Gallup used the word “progressive” instead of liberal all of these years, they might have seen different results. The repugicans successfully managed to associate the word “liberal” with the idea of pot-smoking hippies living on a commune demanding taxpayer funded welfare. The repugicans still cling to that idea of what a “liberal” is. However, if you ask Americans where they stand on an issue without labeling positions, Americans are often so far to the left as to be what repugicans inaccurately call “socialists”.
Thus, repugicans have to expend a lot of energy demonizing anything associated with “socialist” policies that Americans prefer, because our system of government does not allow repugicans to govern as they would prefer, taxing the poor to death in order to cater to the aristocracy. When your policies are not easily sold to the masses but the masses have the right to vote, you have to distract them from the real issues, demonize your opponents personally while avoiding the issues like the plague, stop the masses from voting when you can, and make sure that anyone who aspires to be rich like you believes that they can achieve this – even though your polices will ensure that they cannot – by associating themselves with your “values”. This translates into heaping disdain on the less powerful, blaming them for their circumstances, in order to justify stealing security from them to feed the profits of the few.
The really interesting shift going on here is a shift in perception. The media and many voters are still operating on out-dated ideas of what it means to be a “wingnut” and a “liberal”. When you ask someone why they are a wingnut, especially if you ask a Southerner, the reasons they give are mostly things that repugicans no longer actually stand for — such as fiscal responsibility, high moral standards, hard work, national security, and family values. In actually, those values have been taken over by the Democrats, with President Barack Obama leading the way.
As much as repugicans like to paint Obama as the most “liberal” former Senator ever, hell bent on destroying America with lazy liberalism, in truth the President is a person who believes in hard work, as evidenced by his own life story. He believes in the marketplace, as evidenced in ObamaCare. He believes in family values, as defined by being a good father and partner rather than the sex of whom one marries. And Obama has a record of exemplary fiscal responsibility. One could argue that some of that record is due to repugicans forcing it upon him due to their intention to destroy the economy under him, but in truth, Democrats have a better recent track record of paying for their proposals than repugicans. This is partly due to Democrats being sensitive about the implications behind the label of “liberalism”, but a record is a record.
What we are seeing here are the dawning signs of a long term paradigm shift, ushered in by President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party he helped reinvent. The changes Obama demonstrated most clearly during campaigns and less clearly while governing exemplify the new Democratic Party, boldly staking out the moral ground of social and economic justice, unwilling to cede national security and morality to the repugicans, who’ve proven they excel at neither.
Old ideas die slowly, and the last to get them are always the fear-driven corporate beltway media — just like post-corporate takeover, Hollywood tries to recreate its successes based on yesterday’s formula. Fear never sees what’s ahead.
What is ahead is an America where being liberal is an aspiration, not an insult.

Harry Reid Knocks Out the repugican cabal By Announcing Paid for UI Benefits Extension Plan

Senate repugicans are scrambling after Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a paid for Democratic plan to extend unemployment benefits through November 2014.
Reid said that the nearly year long extension met the repugicans conditions for supporting a bill. Democrats would pay for the extension by extending the sequester’s mandatory savings for one year. The proposal also cracks down on people who receive both unemployment benefits and disability.
Sen. Reid pointed out on the Senate floor that Democrats are waiting for the repugican plan, but the repugican cabal has offered nothing. Reid said, “I wish we could have done it until the first of the year. We can’t find enough money. I have been waiting here for more than 24 hours for a reasonable proposal by my repugican friends to pay for this. We don’t have one yet.”
The repugicans, already enraged and on the warpath because Reid is not going to allow them to offer amendments on the final bill, came up with the most pathetic reason ever to oppose the Democratic proposal. According to John McCain (r-AZ), repugicans are opposing the Democratic proposal because the extension is too long, “We’re very much opposed to that length of extension. There’s room for compromise but a year is just too long.”
Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have come up with a proposed bill that met all of the conditions that repugicans laid out as necessary in order to get their support, but repugicans are now refusing to support it because they don’t want to help the unemployed that much.
The latest lame excuse for repugican opposition reveals how much Harry Reid has boxed the repugicans in. One by one, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats are taking away the repugican reasons for opposing extending unemployment benefits.
Democrats want a year long extension, while repugicans want three months. Even if both sides moved to the middle and agree to a 6-7 month extension that would still be a big win for Democrats. The problem is that while repugicans play games, 1.3 million Americans are suffering.
Harry Reid is doing what he has to do to get an unemployment benefits extension through the Senate, but repugicans who are still bitter over the nuclear option are making everything more difficult than ever. Senate Democrats showed America that even when repugicans get what they want, they will still find an absurd reason to say no.
The repugicans are running out excuses. Their endless obstruction is not only hurting the repugican brand, but it is also punishing millions of Americans.
The old boxer Harry Reid scored a KO today, but punch drunk repugicans haven’t realized yet that they’ve lost the fight.

Jon Stewart Hammers wingnuts For Their Hypocrisy On Income Inequality

Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart came out with both barrels blazing on Thursday night’s episode of The Daily Show. He had the wingnuts squarely in his crosshairs and he had no qualms firing upon them. The first segment of the show was regarding income inequality and how the right seems to show complete disdain for the poor and find excuses not to help them, all the while constantly making excuses for giving more and more to the rich. It was a beautiful display by Stewart of showing the complete hypocrisy the wingnuts show when it comes to discussing income inequality, as well as basically showing how totally cruel and insensitive they really can be.
The whole segment was essentially a montage of wingnuts saying douchey things in regards to poor people, while at the same time making sure to constantly come to the defense of the rich. It started out with clips of pundits and politicians railing on about the takers. Then, it segued into repugicans providing reasons why long-term unemployment benefits shouldn’t be extended. First, he showed them saying this was just supposed to be temporary relief. After that, it went into them saying that this was something that needed to be paid for. However, as Stewart highlighted, things were different when it was suggested that shrub-era tax cuts needed to be paid for.
Stewart really got into a groove after that. He did little to hide his anger and frustration at the clips he was showing of wingnut pundits and repugican lawmakers saying idiotic things regarding social programs and poor people. He pinpointed how wingnuts think that welfare programs provide too much to poor people, giving them less incentive to work. However, at the same time, they feel that it is fundamentally unfair to raise the minimum wage. Obviously, since there are some people taking advantage of social welfare programs and committing fraud, it is reason to not provide benefits for ANYBODY. Yet, we should not judge Wall Street for the actions of a few bad apples and make the industry adhere to more regulations.
This is when Jon Stewart is at his best. When he is passionate about something and displays true righteous indignation, nobody is better. When he aims his comedic gun at a deserving target, watch out! Stewart truly is a master at highlighting hypocrisy and completely shredding those who practice it.

Dimbulb Says repugican cabal Are ‘Like A Bunch Of Wildebeests’ For Not Coming To Christie’s Defense

As one would suspect, Lush Dimbulb totally lost his shit Thursday regarding the Chris Christie bridge scandal. For the most part, Dimbulb spent the entire show discussing the scandal, affectionately known as Bridgegate now. Dimbulb had a lot of different takes on the situation, as you’d expect. And, obviously, Obama was to blame somehow. But what was interesting is that Lush threw the repugican cabal under the bus for not circling he wagons and coming immediately to Christie’s defense. Below are some of his comments from Thursday’s show:

“Governor Christie just yesterday, I believe, and frequently many times prior has talked about how he’s different because he’s shown he can work the other side.  He said (paraphrasing), “It’s not that we don’t have arguments, we have arguments, but, at the end of the day, we put it all aside and we work together.  We get things done in this state.  I know how to work with the other side. I know how to cross the aisle and get things done for the people of New Jersey.”
Okay.  Given that, have any of the Democrats that Governor Christie claims that he can work with come out and supported him?  Not that I’ve heard. Have any of the RINOs, the repugicans in name only, the moderate repugicans, have any repugican establishment types come out and said that they support Christie? They haven’t. This is the thing, folks. This is the thing. The repugicans — when any of them get in trouble, I mean — it’s like a bunch of wildebeests.
If a lion in Africa attacks a wildebeest, all the other wildebeests scram and get out of there and offer no assistance whatsoever. You’ve seen it on National Geographic. You’ve seen it on all the Earth shows, all the animal shows, animals eating animal shows, you’ve seen it all. And the repugican cabal is the same way.”
Yep, he pretty much called repugicans a bunch of cowards that run away frightened when one of their own is attacked. Now, he did make sure to mention RINOs and establishment repugicans. Basically, in Lush’s warped, deluded mind, the only true repugicans are crazy tea party ones, or ones that kiss the ring of King Dimbulb. Anyone that may have had a reasonable thought once or stated that Dimbulb was not the all and powerful voice of the repugican cabal is, of course, a RINO.
After calling out repugicans for not rallying around Christie, El Lushbo was somehow able to blame Christie’s whole troubling saga on Obama. Of course, that is a Dimbulb specialty. Always find a way to mention and blame Obama for anything and everything. In a display of sheer and utter lunacy, Dimbulb pivoted Christie’s Bridgegate into Chicago politics, the IRS ‘scandal’, Obama’s foreign policy, Obamacare and the government shutdown. He tried to equate parks and museums being closed during the government shutdown to Bridgegate. Basically, he blamed Obama for the government shutdown and saying that he closed national parks and landmarks as political retribution, but on a much larger scale than Christie.
Typically, Dimbulb doesn’t make much sense, as he generally rambles on for a few hours looking for new ways to demonize liberals, women, minorities, Democrats and the President. But, on Thursday, he seemed even more incoherent than normal. It is still amazing to me that he has the most popular radio show in the nation. Even for the most ardent racist or woman-hater, what is the appeal of listening to Lush stammer and spit into his microphone for hours on end trying to reach a semi-coherent thought?

Texas Gets Between a Doctor and Patient After The religio-wingnuts Demand It

The repugicans have no qualms using the government to come between a patient and their doctor if the religio-wingnuts demand it, and that is what is happening in…
The repugicans have made the claim, ad nauseum, that government has no right getting between a patient  and their doctor and they use that phony argument to criticize the Affordable Care Act even though their claim is patently false. However, they have no qualms using the government to come between a patient and their doctor if the religio-wingnuts demand it, and that is what is happening in Texas since a week after Thanksgiving.
Readers may remember the 2005 Terry Schiavo case when shrub cut short his vacation to return to Washington and sign emergency legislation prohibiting Shiavo’s husband from disconnecting his brain dead wife from machines and removing feeding tubes that kept her body alive. A similar case is playing out in Texas where a state law prohibits family members from fulfilling their daughter’s wishes because she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time the pulmonary embolism killed her and deprived her brain of oxygen for over an hour. The woman, a paramedic, had expressed her wishes on several occasions that if she ever was in a situation requiring machines to keep her alive, she wanted to be disconnected and signed an advance medical directive to make sure her wishes were fulfilled.
The woman, Marlise Munoz, collapsed and died at home a week after Thanksgiving, but after being rushed to a hospital doctors used drugs, electric shocks, and machines to restart her heart; they could not undo the damage to her brain. Munoz is only alive because machines have kept her heart beating since November 26 and doctors confirm there is absolutely no brain activity. Her husband and parents want to honor her wishes and properly grieve for the 33-year-old former paramedic if Texas would allow it, but Texas is one of 12 states that regard pregnant brain dead women suitable as natural incubators. The obscure Texas law is serving its intended purpose to allow the religio-wingnuts, not doctors, the woman, her husband, or family to decide when Marlise is taken off the machines keeping her heart beating. Regardless of the family’s wishes, they are secondary to the bible thumping crowd forcing the Munoz family to wait until doctors take the likely severely damaged fetus to prove a point that their wishes to keep a body alive as an incubator takes precedence over the woman and her family’s wishes.
Munoz’s husband, Erick, said  ”I understood that the intent of the law was to protect the fetus, to help it survive if it was viable, but at 14 weeks, a fetus isn’t viable. We were told the fetus weighed between four and five ounces.” Marlise’s husband, also a paramedic, said “That poor fetus had the same lack of oxygen, the same electric shocks, the same chemicals that got her heart going again,” and that after such trauma, and an hour without oxygen, “it’s likely in the same condition that Marlise is in.” Doctors have not been able to assess the damage the  drugs, electric shocks and an hour without oxygen may have done to the fetus, but they are bound by state law to leave her on machines despite her advance directive and her family’s wishes to let her go in peace.
The family is likely sorry they brought the story to the media because it ignited a firestorm of hatred and vitriol from the anti-choice mob who accused the woman’s grief-stricken husband and father of wanting to “pull the plug” and “get rid” of his wife and baby. Mr. Munoz has had to shield the couple’s son from vicious comments coming from the religio-wingnut, anti-choice mob, and is likely in a state of shock himself that besides losing his wife, he has to deal with vile comments from so-called religious folk. He is probably going to have to deal with astronomical medical bills before the affair is finished, but he is too emotionally ravaged to even consider that Texas is not going to pick up the tab for a lengthy hospital stay due to their archaic and Draconian laws.
According to the Texas advance directives statutea person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient,” but according to some legal experts the hospital could take Munoz off life support without violating the law. Still, it is Texas and wary hospital officials continue to insist they must keep Munoz’s body alive to sustain the pregnancy. Some other states have similar laws, but they humanely take into account the fetal viability at the time of brain death, but Texas and 12 other states are not remotely humane.
This case is a tragedy for Marlise Munoz’s family that is being made worse by hate emanating from the anti-choice crowd, and may send Mr. Munoz into bankruptcy when the hospital bill comes due. No insurance carrier is going to pay for keeping Marlise alive, especially when she had a legal advance medical directive expressing her wishes to be taken off life-support. It is just further proof that the religio-wingnut, anti-choice mobs, and Texas law intends to make women into birth machines even if they were dead for an hour, shocked back to life, and kept on a machine to serve as an incubator for a likely severely damaged fetus.

Man charged with murdering stepfather by giving him an atomic wedgie

A former marine is facing a murder charge for killing his stepfather with underwear, investigators say. Thirty-three-year-old Brad Davis is accused of suffocating his stepfather during a fight days before Christmas in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma.
Investigators say both men were drinking at the home near McLoud Dec. 21 when Davis' stepfather, Denver St. Clair, spoke "ill of Davis' mother." According to an affidavit, Davis claims his stepfather "swung first," then Davis fought back, giving his stepfather an "atomic wedgie." Davis said after the fight his stepfather stopped breathing.
Davis called 911 and St. Clair was deceased by the time officers arrived at the scene. According to the affidavit, St. Clair had multiple blunt force injuries to his face and his "elastic underwear waistband had been stretched up over his head," leaving a ligature mark around his neck. Blood was found in the living room and kitchen areas.

Investigators say Davis admitted hitting St. Clair several times until St. Clair lost consciousness.  It was then, according to the affidavit, that Davis "grabbed St. Clair's underwear and gave him an 'atomic wedgie'." On Dec. 27, the state medical examiner determined St. Clair died of blunt force trauma and/or asphyxiation. Davis was booked into the Pottawatomie County Jail where a judge ordered him held without bond for first-degree murder.

Man outraged over library beer ban became all shouty and sweary

A man who just wanted to drink his beer in a library in Australia's Northern Territory allegedly wrestled a librarian who attempted to confiscate it before launching into an F-word tirade. The unknown man pulled out his alcohol at the computer terminals inside Casuarina Library on Friday.
Warwick Mylchreest, 22, was waiting to use the printer when he watched the beer battle unfold. "He pulled out a long neck of Extra Dry and started chugging it," he said. "He put it down on the desk and the librarian sheila told him it's a library and he can't have it here. Old mate jumped up and tried to wrestle her for it.

"They both had their hands on it. Then she said 'you can leave or else hand it over'." Mr Mylchreest said the man promised to leave if the librarian gave him his beer back. But instead he sat back down at the computer. Mr Mylchresst said there were children present in the library at the time the incident occurred.
The librarian returned with the manager who told the man she'd call the police. The man jumped up, shouted "well call the police" and stormed off, shouting the F-word the whole way. Mr Mylchreest, from New South Wales, said he'd never seen anything like that at a library before. It's unclear whether or not the man got his beer back.

Man rammed car into gas station then stole and ate banana before leaving

Police in Newington, Connecticut are asking for the public's help identifying a man who backed his car into a petrol station several times, stole a banana, then fled the scene.
The incident happened shortly before 2am on Wednesday, at the Citgo gas station on Cedar St. When police arrived on the scene they found extensive damage to the doors.
After reviewing surveillance video, officers discovered that the suspect, driving a light-colored Ford Freestyle station wagon with CT registration plates, backed into the entrance doors several times creating an opening in the glass. Police said the suspect then entered the store. The man wasn't wearing a mask and didn't attempt to hide his identity.

Once inside the store, police said the man picked up a banana from a shelf, peeled and ate it, then walked out. According to police, nothing else was taken during the burglary. The suspect then fled the scene in the station wagon, which sustained damage to the driver side rear bumper and tail light, police said.

Woman left teeth marks in car bodywork during drunken rage

A woman sank her teeth into a car roof after a roadside argument with three shocked strangers on a night out. A court heard Rhian Jeremiah, 26, left teeth marks in the bodywork of the white Fiat 500 - and was likened in court to villain Jaws in the James Bond movies. Her shocked victims heard a "metal crunching" sound as Jeremiah's teeth pierced the metal.Prosecutor Gerald Neave said: "Jeremiah approached the occupants of the Fiat at 2am after she had been drinking. She became aggressive and angry but the three people in the car could not understand what she was saying and drove off. They were parked outside a takeaway restaurant called Lip Lick'n Chicken when Jeremiah arrived and tried to wrench open the passenger door. She sank her teeth into the car's frame between the roof and the door. The occupants could hear a loud screeching noise as she bit down on the roof."
Magistrates heard Jeremiah had been drinking at a memorial night for her late boyfriend Simon Jones who drowned off the coast of Aberystwyth. The court heard she was retracing his last known movements on what would have been his birthday when she bit the Fiat 500. Car owner Selina Day, 23, told the court: "She came up to the car and tried to rip the door open. We couldn't understand what she was saying - she was very drunk and was abusive.
"There was a bit of an argument and she sunk her teeth into the part of the car above the window. I could hear metal crunching. I had never seen this lady before in my life. I didn't know what she was talking about." Jeremiah, of Cardigan, West Wales, denied causing £220 criminal damage to the car by biting it but was found guilty. She admitted assaulting two police officers who were called to arrest her for biting the car. Jobless Jeremiah was given a 12-month community order and told to attend 20 alcohol abuse help sessions.



How People In Muslim Countries Prefer Women To Dress In Public

An important issue in the Muslim world is how women should dress in public. A recent survey from the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research conducted in seven Muslim-majority countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), finds that most people prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face.

Only in Turkey and Lebanon do more than one-in-four think it is appropriate for a woman to not cover her head at all in public.

Autism symptoms may get better with a job

More independent work environments may lead to reductions in autism symptoms and improve daily living in adults with the disorder, according to a Vanderbilt study released in theJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Eating the food of the 1950s

Ever wonder what some of the 1950s cookbook horrors Cory posts here would look (and taste) like in real life? That's what the Midcentury Menu blog is for — cooking and eating (or, at least, tasting) savory jello-and-meat monstrosities so you don't have to.

The 30 Most Influential Colleges And Universities Of The Past Century

Universities provide fertile ground for world-changing research, ideas and future leaders. Certain universities are known for their contributions to technical fields within science and engineering, some specialize in business or law, and others take a more diverse approach, offering a range of programs and degrees. Here are 30 most influential universities of the past 100 years.

Can You Walk On Water?

No! But you can run, jump and even bike on 8,000 liters of non-newtonian fluid in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Awesome Pictures

Stunning photos of partially frozen Niagara Falls

by Dylan Stableford
The polar vortex that has gripped the U.S. and Canada this week has led to some spectacular icy images. The latest come from Niagara Falls, which partially froze on Tuesday, when the high temperature was a record low of minus 2 degrees.
Aaron Harris, a photographer for Reuters, took several shots of the 167-foot falls on Wednesday. The ice formed on the U.S. side of the falls, which straddle the border between the United States and Canada.
While unusual, it's not the first time Niagara Falls has frozen. Photographs from the early- and mid-1900s archived at the Niagara Falls Public Library appear to show frozen falls, though some experts have questioned their authenticity.
Of course, the eye-catching freeze did not completely stop the water from flowing.
According to EnvironmentalGraffiti.com, only once, in 1848, "has freezing weather caused the thousands of cubic feet of water per second flowing over the Niagara Falls to run dry, an event thought to have been caused by ice jamming and damming upriver."
According to forecasters, Tuesday's partial freeze should thaw later this week, when the temperature at Niagara Falls is expected to rise to 46 degrees.
While Harris' photos of the frozen falls are authentic, don't be fooled by some of the old images circulating on Twitter and Facebook.

Ice boulders wash up on the shore of Lake Michigan

They fill the water just off the shore like a swarm of jellyfish — if jellyfish were round, dirty brown, and frozen solid. But how do ice boulders form? Turns out, it's kind of like the way that a piece of sea glass gets polished smooth, but in reverse. Instead of wearing away at an object, in this case the action of the waves builds an object up.
"The water temperature on the Lake Michigan is just a little bit below freezing, so you get a small piece of ice that forms in the water and as waves move back and forth it adds additional water and freezes in layers. It gets bigger and bigger, and eventually you get big balls of ice, that are pushed to the shore by the wind."

Ancient Greeks Used Portable Grills at Their Picnics

The ancient Mycenaeans have a reputation as palace-builders and warriors, but they were also quite sophisticated cooks.

Finding old development under modern forest

It's amazing how quickly a forest can grow back on clear-cut ground. I've written here before about a National Seashore in Wisconsin that looks like forest primeval today, but was, less than a century ago, a treeless expanse of small-scale timber, fishing, and stonecutting industry. The same sort of thing happens in New England, where colonial and 19th-century farms, roads, and fences have been allowed to disappear beneath a forested landscape — and to disappear well enough that people often forget they existed, at all. Now, digital archaeology is helping to uncover these sites once again.

La Geria

Lanzarote's Volcanic Vineyards

When volcanic activity caused the emergence of the Spanish island of Lanzarote 15 million years ago it was a desolate, lifeless place. Settled only three thousand years ago, the island's volcano could still erupt again.

Although the last major eruptions started in 1730 over a period of six whole years and the volcano has been dormant since 1824, even today agricultural exploitation of the island is a difficult process. Yet in the La Geria region of the island, farmers have come up with an ingenious way to grow their grapes.

Daily Comic Relief


Giant Squid Discovered On California Coast And Scientists Suspect Radioactive Gigantism

For the second time in recent months, a giant sea creature has washed ashore in California.  First it was a rare oarfish that had grown to a freakish 100-foot length.  This time it was a giant squid measuring a whopping 160 feet from head to tentacle tip.
These giants look different but experts believe they share one important commonality: they both come from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan.
Scientists believe that following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant an unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism.”
Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas.”
Unfortunately, this cadre of mutant giants seems to be drifting towards the continental U.S.  Local officials in Santa Monica, CA – where the creature drifted ashore – tried to calm residents.  “This creature appears to be deceased and even if alive only thrives in water,” said Santa Monica Parks Manager Cynthia Beard.  “We intend to move the creature in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so that they can study it,” she noted.
Although not yet well understood, radioactive gigantism is said to result when radiation causes changes to the growth regulating portions of the DNA of affected organisms.  When growth regulators fail to control cellular growth, an organism may reach many times its regular body size.
Local radioactive gigantism expert Santa Marino College biology professor Martin L. Grimm, PhD said that the nuclear disaster may have had some unintended benefits.  “These creatures give us the chance to study radioactive gigantism,” he said.  Grimm believes that harnessing radioactive gigantism may be like harnessing the atom to create atomic energy.  “Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas,” he said.  “This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism.”
Take Jaws but make him the size of a Manhattan skyscraper.”
Others find the giant sea creatures to be a potential safety concern.  Even before the giant squid washed ashore, the U.S. Coast Guard had issued a “blue alert” for residents in central and southern Californian coasts “to remain watchful.”  Yesterday Admiral Sandy Duncan-Roberts said that she would need to raise the awareness level to a “yellow alert” which asks resident to “exercise caution” along the shoreline.
Are giant sea creatures really a threat for those on land?  “Take Jaws but make him the size of a Manhattan skyscraper,” said Bruce Kenner, a marine biologist at UC San Diego.  Kenner thinks that gigantism might distort sea creatures' navigational systems.  “If that guy took a wrong turn onto the coastline he could level 40 city blocks thrashing before he comes to rest,” he said.
Residents are anxious now that a second creature has surfaced.  “Before we only worried about parking when we went to the beach,” said Marquise Griffon.  “Now we have to worry about Godzilla [stuff] coming after us.”
If any residents spot an unusually sized sea creature, they should call the U.S. Coast Guard hotline at 1-800-BIG-FISH (or 1-800-244-3474).
Of course you realize this is a made up story, right

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