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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.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

Winter Weather Alert: Due to the local weather there is a distinct possibility that Carolina Naturally will be unable to publish over the next few days. Yesterday's snow and ice did not cause any power outage here although many did loose power from iced over power lines snapping and ice covered tree limbs falling on them around the area. Today's moderate 'warming' will allow the snow and ice to partially melt, but with the sundown they will refreeze in below freezing temperatures and the chance of loss of power still remains. We are crossing all fingers and toes in the hope that Ma Nature continues to spare the power lines and we can post this blog on it's regular schedule.
Snow on Grandfather ...

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Today in History

1349 2,000 Jews are burned at the stake in Strasbourg, Germany.
1400 The deposed Richard II is murdered in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.
1549 Maximilian II, brother of the Emperor Charles V, is recognized as the future king of Bohemia.
1779 American Loyalists are defeated by Patriots at Kettle Creek, Ga.
1797 The Spanish fleet is destroyed by the British under Admiral Jervis (with Nelson in support) at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, off Portugal.
1848 James Polk becomes the first U.S. President to be photographed in office by Matthew Brady.
1859 Oregon is admitted as the thirty-third state.
1870 Esther Morris becomes the world's first female justice of the peace.
1876 Rival inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both apply for patents for the telephone.
1900 General Roberts invades South Africa's Orange Free State with 20,000 British troops.
1904 The "Missouri Kid" is captured in Kansas.
1912 Arizona becomes the 48th state in the Union.
1915 Kaiser Wilhelm II invites the U.S. Ambassador to Berlin in order to confer on the war.
1918 Warsaw demonstrators protest the transfer of Polish territory to the Ukraine.
1920 The League of Women Voters is formed in Chicago in celebration of the imminent ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
1924 Thomas Watson founds International Business Machines Corp.
1929 Chicago gang war between Al Capone and George "Bugs" Moran culminates with several Moran confederates being gunned down in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
1939 Germany launches the battleship Bismark.
1940 Britain announces that all merchant ships will be armed.
1942 Japanese paratroopers attack Sumatra. Aidan MacCarthy's RAF unit flew to Palembang, in eastern Sumatra, where 30 Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed A-28 Hudson bombers were waiting.
1945 800 Allied aircraft firebomb the German city of Dresden. Smaller followup bombing raids last until April with a total death toll of between 35,000 to 130,000 civillians.
1945 The siege of Budapest ends as the Soviets take the city. Only 785 German and Hungarian soldiers managed to escape.
1949 The United States charges the Soviet Union with interning up to 14 million in labor camps.
1955 A Jewish couple loses their fight to adopt Catholic twins as the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to rule on state law.
1957 The Georgia state senate outlaws interracial athletics.
1965 Malcolm X's home is firebombed. No injuries are reported.
1971 Moscow publicizes a new five-year plan geared to expanding consumer production.
1973 The United States and Hanoi set up a group to channel reconstruction aid directly to Hanoi.
1979 Armed guerrillas attack the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
1985 Vietnamese troops surround the main Khmer Rouge base at Phnom Malai.
1989 Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini charges that Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, is blasphemous and issues an edict (fatwa) calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Non Sequitur


DNA Analysis Of Paracas Elongated Skulls Released

The Results Prove They Were Not Human

Paracas is a desert peninsula located within the Pisco Province in the Ica Region, on the south coast of Peru. It is here were Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery in 1928, a massive and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world.
These have come to be known as the 'Paracas skulls'. In total, Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, which are believed to date back around 3,000 years.
A DNA analysis has now been conducted on one of the skulls and expert Brien Foerster has released preliminary information regarding these enigmatic skulls. It is well-known that most cases of skull elongation are the result of cranial deformation, head flattening, or head binding, in which the skull is intentionally deformed by applying force over a long period of time.
It is usually achieved by binding the head between two pieces of wood, or binding in cloth. However, while cranial deformation changes the shape of the skull, it does not alter its volume, weight, or other features that are characteristic of a regular human skull. The Paracas skulls, however, are different.
The cranial volume is up to 25 percent larger and 60 percent heavier than conventional human skulls, meaning they could not have been intentionally deformed through head binding/flattening.
They also contain only one parietal plate, rather than two. The fact that the skulls' features are not the result of cranial deformation means that the cause of the elongation is a mystery, and has been for decades.
Mr. Juan Navarro, owner and director of the local museum, called the Paracas History Museum, which houses a collection of 35 of the Paracas skulls, allowed the taking of samples from 5 of the skulls.
The samples consisted of hair, including roots, a tooth, skull bone and skin, and this process was carefully documented via photos and video. The samples were sent to the late Lloyd Pye, founder of the Starchild Project, who delivered the samples to a geneticist in Texas for DNA testing.
The results are now back, and Brien Foerster, author of more than ten books and an authority on the ancient elongated headed people of South America, has just revealed the preliminary results of the analysis. He reports on the geneticist's findings:
"It had mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans."
The implications are huge. "I am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree," Foerster wrote. He added that if the Paracas individuals were so biologically different, they would not have been able to interbreed with humans.
The results need to be replicated and more analysis undertaken before final conclusions can be drawn.

Ice Skating’s First Superstar

Sonja Henie went to the Olympics for Norway four times, and won gold in figure skating three of them. Then she became a Hollywood movie star. But besides being very good at her sport, she was the first female figure skater to achieve any kind of stardom. That was because, even as a young teenager, she was brave enough to change everything about the competition. She didn’t just do tricks, she made figure skating into an art by adding ballet moves. And she wore a short skirt.
The creation of Sonja’s “image” was a family project. In her first Olympics—1924, Chamonix, aged 11—she wore a baggy outfit, the black skate boots of the day, and finished last in a field of eight competitors. Three years later, in 1927, when she won her first world title, her uniquely choreographed free skate was delivered in a svelte costume of white velvet, its bell skirt hemmed to just above the knee. The audience was shocked . . . and delighted. Sonja’s liberation from those old-crow skating skirts showed off spins and spirals to better advantage, and allowed her to perform tricks—the single axel, for instance—that had previously belonged to male skaters.

And one more thing. As Michael Kirby, the Canadian champion who was Sonja’s skating partner in the late 1940s, would write, “She had what was thought to be incredible gall for wearing pure white skates. This, she told the press, was because it reminded her of the beautiful snow in her homeland of Norway.”
But when Henie retired from amateur skating in 1936, she was only 24 and her career was just beginning. Read about Henie’s life, her competitive career, and her later stardom in movies and in ice shows, at Vanity Fair.

The repugicans Lose It and Try to Overthrow John Boehner Over the Clean Debt Limit Bill

Wingnuts are so outraged at John Boehner for bringing a clean debt limit increase bill to the House floor that they are mounting a coup to overthrow the Speaker of the House.
The cabal for non-growth got the ball rolling by proclaiming that something was wrong with the House leadership, “When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt ceiling increase, we thought it was a joke. But it’s not. Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the repugican cabal. This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support.”
The heritage foundation’s heritage action warned House repugicans that they are scoring tonight’s vote, Rather than suspending the debt limit again, Congress should “put the budget on a path to balance in order to avoid a much worse fiscal crisis in the future—before deciding how much more to borrow.” Heritage Action opposes S. 540 and will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.”
The most over the top reaction came from the senate wingnuts fund:
The repugicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose. These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged wingnut efforts so many times that repugicans now have no leverage. There’s only one solution.
John Boehner must be replaced as Speaker of the House.
Wingnuts helped repugicans win a majority in the House of Representatives, which made it possible for John Boehner to become Speaker. Unfortunately, he has chosen to ignore us and help President Obama enact his liberal agenda.
Instead of using repugican control of the House to stop bad legislation, Speaker Boehner has used it to increase spending, raise the debt limit, increase taxes, pass a bloated farm bill, and fund the implementation of Obamacare. Instead of fighting for conservative principles, Speaker Boehner has completely surrendered to the Democrats.
Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage.
There are 232 repugicans in the House today and it requires 218 votes to be elected Speaker. If 15 repugicans refuse to vote for John Boehner at the beginning of the next Congress, he won’t have the votes to be re-elected and repugicans will be forced to pick someone else for the job.
Several wingnut cabals including (not)for America, tea party non-patriots, and (no)freedom works have already called for Speaker Boehner to be replaced. Now it’s time for us to join them.
In December, Boehner blasted the cabals, “These groups are using our members. They are misleading their followers, they’re pushing our members in places they don’t want to be. They’ve lost all credibility. They pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and to shut down the government. And most of you know, our members know that wasn’t exactly the strategy I had in mind. One of these cabals stood up and said ‘We never really thought it would work?’”
These wingnut cabals believe that Boehner has committed the unforgivable sin of actually allowing the United States to pay its bills. For this reason, Boehner must be overthrown. They would like to see Speaker Boehner replaced with someone who will have no qualms about causing a global financial crisis. However, Boehner understands something that these wingnut agitators don’t.
The repugicans were never going to win. They were never going to win a debt ceiling showdown. Democrats were not going to budge. Boehner tried to “go on offense” with the government shutdown, and the repugican cabal’s approval rating plummeted. Democrats know that they control the Senate and the White House, so they are never going to fear the House repugicans.
Despite his ineffective and weak leadership, Boehner has been the only person stopping the House repugicans from destroying themselves. The wingnut cabals’ behavior is a symptom of the sickness that is rampant in the repugican cabal. The extremists on the lunatic fringe believe that bringing a bill to the House floor that allows the nation to pay its bills is an unforgivable offense. They are out of step with the country, and frankly, out of their minds.
The wingnut agitators destroyed the repugican cabal years ago, but now they are trying to give John Boehner the boot.

Loophole to American Citizenship for Chinese

The tropical island of Saipan is experiencing a baby boom.
Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a tiny U.S. territory just four hours away from China by plane. It's popular with tourists, because no visa is required for visits up to 45 days.
But an under-the-radar industry is attracting a different kind of tourist.
It starts back in China - where in central Beijing, with an undercover reporter posing as newly pregnant, who found a tourism agency that sells packages for expecting mothers looking to have an American-born baby. Babies born in Saipan are legally U.S. citizens.
The tour agent we met with sold Saipan like a 5-star vacation, with brochures touting high-end accommodations and top-of-the-line medical care. Full packages started at $27,000, promising social security cards, birth certificates, and most importantly, an American passport with instant citizenship for the baby.
ABC News didn't buy the package but heard that it is easy enough to make the trip without one. So we flew to Saipan ourselves.
Within hours of arriving in Saipan, brokers online were vying for business. Soon they met with our producer - still undercover as a newly pregnant prospective client - to show her places she could stay.
"I know everything you need to know about having an American baby," one broker said during one tour. Two of his clients, two pregnant Chinese women, were also present.
Another broker took our producer on another tour, selling ocean views and offering cooking and laundry while the clients who were already living there were getting ready with baby bathtubs and strollers.
Local records show the number of babies born to Chinese mothers has skyrocketed, increasing 35 fold from just eight in 2009 to 282 in 2012, according to the Health and Vital Statistics office on the Northern Mariana Islands.
That means 71% of babies born in Saipan are "ABCs" - American-born Chinese.
It is not illegal, but there are critics.
"When they come of age, they can apply to bring their families into the United States," said Rep. Steve King of Iowa. "It looks to me that we've got a rather open door in the Northern Marianas and we should figure out how to close it."
Saipan's U.S. congressional representative said that he is aware of the issue and has even written and asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for help.
"We want to make sure this small problem stays small," said Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. "We are trying to fix this. We are trying to control the problem."
They are trying to control it before the business of "ABCs" gets in the way of the larger Chinese tourism industry and the dollars it brings into Saipan's economy.
"Their contribution is truly important," Sablan said of the tourism money.
Back in China, business is booming, with agencies selling packages for Chinese babies who will always be American.

Nigerian restaurant busted for cannibal cuisine

Untitled  A hotel restaurant in Onitsha, Nigeria was reportedly shuttered after authorities confirmed it was selling dishes containing human meat. According to the Naija Zip, self-described as an er, "gossip news" site, police discovered two human heads on the premises along with weapons and ammunition.
"I went to the hotel early this year, after eating, I was told that a lump of meat was being sold at N700, I was surprised," a pastor who tipped off the cops was quoted as saying. "So I did not know it was human meat that I ate at such expensive price.”

Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Kills Entire Class Of Terrorists-In-Training

A group of terrorist insurgents are dead after they accidentally detonated their own car bomb Monday at a terrorist training camp in a Sunni Muslim area north of Baghdad.
Iraqi officials said that 21 are dead and some two dozen have been arrested as a result of the incident, reported by Business Insider.
Security forces rushed to the area after hearing the explosion, and arrested 22 men attempting to flee, which included several who were injured.
Authorities found seven car bombs without plates, several explosive belts and roadside bombs after searching two houses and a garage in the area.
A police officer said that the militants were attending a lesson on making car bombs and explosive belts when a glitch set off one of their devices.
According to Business Insider, violence has spiked in Iraq since April of last year, when security forces cracked down on a Sunni protest camp.
Insurgents, who have been exploiting Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment by the Shiite-led government, are also emboldened by successes of their comrades in the war raging in the neighboring country of Syria.

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Pink eye is more than one thing

By now, you are probably aware that NBC Olympics anchor Bob Costas has pink eye, and it's getting worse. What I didn't realize: Pink eye is a symptom, not a diagnosis. It's an infection of the lubricating cells that line your eye, but lots of things can cause that infection, including staph and strep bacteria, chlamydia, and rhinovirus. Those are common causes of pink eye, but there are some more exotic ones out there, as well. It was the most common symptom of the emergent flu strain H7N7 when that virus infected 89 people in the Netherlands in 2003. There are even three viruses that can cause acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, a sort of uber-pink eye that is, thankfully, not nearly as dangerous as it sounds.

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Deadliest Mushroom Is Spreading Worldwide

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Global Warming Paused as Winds Heat the Pacific

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Auroras, ita venusta! Lorem ipsum dolor sit mitterent eos:

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Sunspot Larger Than Jupiter

"The massive sunspot AR 1967 is now wider than the planet Jupiter and is very active," Chumack told Space.com in an email on Feb. 4. "Yesterday no less than seven M-class solar flares have erupted from this region."
The sunspot group AR 1967 has continued to unleash several solar flares as it makes its two-week trek across the face of the sun, as seen from Earth. During its last rotation in January, the sunspot group was known as AR 1944 and fired off the first major sun storm of 2014 - an X-class solar flare - in January. X-class flares are the strongest solar storms the sun experiences, with M-class events registering as medium-strength solar events.
John Chumack captured three images of the giant sunspot on Feb. 3 from his backyard in Dayton, Ohio. Two full-disk images are featured: The first appears in hydrogen alpha light (Lunt 60mm/50 F Ha Scope, DMK 31AF04 Camera 1/436 second exposure, 720 frames Stacked), followed by an image of sun in white light from the use of Baader Solar Filter Film (Baader Solar Filter Film, 6" cave reflector, Canon Rebel Xsi, DSLR, 1/2000 second exposure, ISO 400). Chumack also sent Space.com a stunning close up shot of the sunspot group in hydrogen alpha light (Lunt 60mm/50 F Ha Scope, DMK 21AF04 Camera, 2x barlow 1/60 second exposure, 720 frames Stacked).
Residing at the heart of the solar system, the sun is among more than 100 billion stars in our host galaxy, the Milky Way. Approximately one million Earths could fit inside the sun, as it holds 99.8 percent of our solar system’s mass. Nuclear reactions bring core sun temperatures to more than 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). The visible part of the sun is about 10,000 degrees F (5,500 degrees C).
Sunspots are typically cooler regions that reach about 3,800 degrees Kelvin (6,400 degrees Fahrenheit, or 3,500 degrees Celsius). While this is much cooler than the rest if the sun, a single sunspot is still 10 times brighter than the full moon. By keeping track of sunspots, scientists can measure the solar activity and space weather. These dark, active areas on the surface of the sun are the result of an interaction of plasma with the sun's magnetic field—mostly occurring in two mid-latitude bands on either side of the sun's equator.
The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cyle. The current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, was expected to peak in late 2013.
Warning: Never look directly at the sun through binoculars, telescopes or with your unaided eye. Severe eye damage, and even blindness, can result. Astronomers use special filters to safely observe the sun and protective glasses are required for solar eclipse viewing.

A really, really ancient star

SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 is possibly one of the oldest stars ever identified. We don't know it's age, writes Invader Xan at the Supernova Condensate blog. But, based on the colors of light it produces, there's reason to think it dates to a time that is damn near impossible to comprehend.
To find a star which is so devoid of metals, it must be old. Very old. In fact, the venerable SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 shows all the hallmarks of being one of the second generation of stars ever formed. The first ever stars formed quite soon after the Universe was born. They were composed of little more than hydrogen and helium. As a result, they were massive, fast burning, and rapidly died as supernovae. Known as “Population III” stars, these mysterious primordial stellar beasts have never actually been observed. However, we know they must have existed.
You can read more about the star at the Supernova Condensate blog. And be sure to check out the comments where there's an answer to the question, "If this star is so old, why isn't it dead yet?"

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