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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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Daily Drift

Ain't it though ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 195 countries around the world daily.
 Oink, ya'll ... !
Today is - Pig Day

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
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Today in History

1642 York, Maine becomes the first incorporated American city.
1692 Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass.
1776 French minister Charles Gravier advises his Spanish counterpart to support the American rebels against the English.
1780 Pennsylvania becomes the first U.S. state to abolish slavery.
1803 Ohio becomes the 17th state to join the Union.
1808 In France, Napoleon creates an imperial nobility.
1815 Napoleon lands at Cannes, France, returning from exile on Elba, with a force of 1,500 men and marches on Paris.
1871 German troops enter Paris, France, during the Franco-Prussian War.
1875 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, which is invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1883.
1912 Albert Berry completes the first in-flight parachute jump, from a Benoist plane over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, Missouri.
1915 The Allies announce their aim to cut off all German supplies and assure the safety of the neutrals.
1919 The Korean coalition proclaims their independence from Japan.
1921 The Allies reject a $7.5 billion reparations offer in London. German delegations decides to quit all talks.
1932 The Lindbergh baby is kidnapped from the Lindbergh home near Princeton, New Jersey.
1935 Germany officially establishes the Luftwaffe.
1941 Bulgaria joins the Axis as the Nazis occupy Sofia.
1942 Japanese troops land on Java in the Pacific.
1943 The British RAF conducts strategic bombing raids on all European railway lines.
1960 1,000 Black students pray and sing the national anthem on the steps of the old Confederate Capitol in Montgomery, Ala.
1968 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is replaced by Clark Clifford.
1969 Mickey Mantle announces his retirement from baseball.
1974 A grand jury indicts seven of President Nixon's aides for the conspiracy on Watergate.
1985 The Pentagon accepts the theory that an atomic war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter."
1992 Bosnian Serbs begin sniping in Sarajevo, after Croats and Moslems vote for Bosnian independence.

Non Sequitur


Nerf Rebelle

Girl-marketed action toys that are cool and work well

Nerf's Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow (part of the wider Rebelle line of action toys marketed to girls) gets pretty high marks from its owners, and promises a dart-range of 75 feet. I confess that I'm conflicted about this -- there's nothing inherently masculine or feminine about Nerf toys, their gendering is already a synthetic creation of the company's marketing strategy.
That said, there are unquestionably girls who feel like action toys are not for them because of normative gender pressure (to which Nerf is a contributor, of course), and the existence of toys that are intended to allow them the space for imaginative play without worrying about appropriate gender norms is a good thing. Especially since the Rebelle toys are not just "girly" -- they're also cool, as well-built and well-designed as the "boy" versions, the perfect imaginative accessory for your little Hunger Games fan.

Extreme Parenting And Wild, Wild Kids!

A funny (and sometimes very bizarre) image compilation focusing on unusual bits of parenting of fascinating and energetic kids.

Leaders on the Run and Where They Went

Ukraine's former president is just the latest in a notable list of heads of state who fled after being ousted. Where do they go?

The repugican IRS Witch Hunt Cost Taxpayers $14 Million and Counting

Darrell Issa According to an IRS letter just released, Darrell Issa’s (r-CA) and the repugicans’ manufactured IRS investigation/campaign ad has cost the taxpayers $14 million dollars and counting.
$14 million wasted on a witch hunt, as they refuse to pass any real legislation and claim that we must make cuts to programs to help the vulnerable. And they’re not done yet. The repugicans are holding two hearings this week in the Oversight Committee and one in the Appropriations Committee.
Given all of the secrecy and careful orchestration surrounding Issa’s witch hunts, how do we even know what the IRS witch hunt is costing? We only know because Representatives Sander Levin and Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked the IRS on February 7 in a letter. They released a letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen regarding the money and resources spent on the repugican witch hunt.
The costs, which are explained as the “conservative approach”, detailed in Koskinen’s letter are $8 million in direct costs like salaries, benefits, and travel, plus an additional $6 million to $8 million to “add capacity to information technology systems to process materials to investigators.”
All of this was spent when Darrell Issa knew from the beginning that there was nothing to see. Documents were presented at his witch hunt that were deliberately redacted to tell a false story that repugicans wanted the public to hear.
Levin and Cummings are not impressed. The released a statement, “After one of the most far-reaching investigations in recent history—spanning multiple House and Senate Committees that obtained hundreds of thousands of documents and interviewed dozens of officials—there is absolutely zero evidence of political motivation or White House involvement. Despite this fact, repugicans remain fixated on falsely accusing the White House of targeting its political enemies, wasting millions of dollars in an attempt to reignite their partisan inquiry before the November elections.”
It is clear that Darrell Issa and the House repugican cabal are actually the party guilty of using taxpayer funds to conduct a political witch hunt, while claiming that their party is being targeted by a taxpayer funded organization.
Issa and the repugican cabal spent 14 million targeting Democrats so far, and they’ve come up with nothing.
NOTHING. Just more ways to waste government money, from the cabal of “fiscal conservatism” and “small government”. And it’s not just the actual money spent, but the idea of resources. The IRS was already underfunded.
Maybe repugicans need to pay-as-you-go for their witch hunts. If there isn’t a certain level of evidence to support their accusations, or if they are proven wrong, they must pay back a percentage of the costs. You know, like responsible grown ups would.

Mitch McConnell Plans a Big Tax Cut for the Rich if repugicans Win The Senate

McConnell said he did not see a path forward for tax reform this year, and it is likely because in Republican parlance "tax reform” entails giving major tax breaks to the rich…
Albert Einstein was a brilliant theoretical physicist, and although he was by no means a noted psychologist, he did accurately define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By Einstein’s definition (or any by definition) , repugicans are truly insane, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed that repugicans plan to both do nothing throughout 2014 and wait until next year to enact an even more disastrous tax scheme than during the shrub junta to devastate the economy again and destroy the government according to Grover Norquist’s plan. However, repugicans do not labor under any delusion that their plan for “tax reform” will produce different results than during the shrub years because the scheme repugicans are proposing will deliver the government to Norquist to “drown in a bathtub” and produce a population paying the rich and corporations for the privilege of living in “their America.”
McConnell said he did not see a path forward for tax reform this year, and it is likely because in repugican parlance “tax reform” entails giving major tax cuts to the richest 2% of income earners and their highly profitable corporations. McConnell said, “If we had a new repugican Senate next year, coupled with a repugican House, I think we could have at least a congressional agreement that this is about getting rates down and making America more competitive, not about giving the government even more revenue.” Forget that tax rates are at their lowest levels in 60 years, or that the rich and corporations already pay a low rate compared to 27 other wealthy nations, it is never low enough for repugicans so they have a plan to give the rich and corporations a nearly tax-free existence.
The repugican “tax reform” plan is Paul Ryan and Willard Romney’s proposal to cut the tax rate for the richest Americans and their corporations to 25%, but their effective tax rate means they will likely pay hardly any taxes. Although the corporate tax rate stands at 35% currently, the effective corporate tax rate is only 10% in 2013 according to the Government Accounting Office. If the corporate rate is cut by 10%, corporations will pay an effective tax rate of 0.6% at most, and for the largest corporations that already paying nothing in taxes and get refunds from the hardworking taxpayers, the repugican plan will mean taxpayers will be paying corporations directly for being American corporations. It is likely why repugicans intend on raising taxes on the poor and middle class to fund taxpayer subsidies for the rich and their corporations.
Reducing the tax rate for the richest Americans to 25% also brings their effective rate to next to nothing compared with middle class taxpayers. As it stands now, Americans earning over one-million dollars annually pay an effective rate of 23% instead of 39% due to generous tax loopholes and the ability to hide their money in offshore tax haven accounts. The repugican plan to reduce the wealthy’s rate to 25% means at most the richest 2% will pay less than 8.5% while the poor and middle class who lack offshore accounts and loopholes will pay 25% to help the rich and corporations as McConnell says,
be more competitive.” This is the grand tax plan Romney and Ryan campaigned, and lost, on in 2012 and yet repugicans intend on enacting their hideous plan to increase taxpayer gifts to the rich and corporations.
Although the repugicans’ tax plan is a giant gift to the rich, McConnell exposed the repugican cabal’s intent to starve the government of revenue to eliminate its ability to function by not “giving the government even more revenue.” The repugican plan does increase revenue to partially cover tax breaks for the rich and corporations, but it will not be enough to pay them for the privilege of living in a country where the bottom 98% of the population sends tax dollars directly to corporations and the rich.
McConnell and repugican ideology is in line with fascist Grover Norquist who wants to destroy the U.S. government by starving it of revenue and getting it down to a size he can “drag into a bathtub and drown.” In order to starve the government of any revenue, repugicans plan to enact their idea of tax reform to increase the income inequality that is slowly destroying the economy and the middle class. Americans have to face the sad fact that repugicans will effectively slash tax rates for the rich and corporations to the point they will eventually pay nothing in taxes; that is McConnell’s idea of making American more competitive. But while repugicans intend on eliminating taxes for the rich and corporations, 98% of Americans will see a substantial tax hike that inordinately targets the poor and middle class.
According to McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, it appears repugicans intend on doing nothing throughout 2014 and still draw their inflated salaries and taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits. To date, repugicans have revealed they will not raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits, pass comprehensive immigration reform, fund infrastructure improvements, or anything the American public supports. But they will attempt to reverse the President’s executive orders and investigate Benghazi and the IRS to death, and attempt to pass religious liberty laws to give evangelical christians the right to dominate the rest of the population; but they will do absolutely nothing for the American people.
The repugicans will likely fine-tune their so-called “tax reform” scheme to raise taxes on the poor and middle class to fund tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and slash domestic programs to fund what tax hikes on the poor and middle class fail to cover. The result will be a teabagger-libertarian dream where the great majority of Americans toil to fund the military, religious and oil industry subsidies, and of course the wealthy and corporation’s tax cuts. All the while, Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers will wait in the wings until they can finally achieve their vision of an America without a government.

Productivity hacks

Man shot in buttocks arrested after doctor found cocaine in his clenched cheeks

Authorities arrested two men who were wounded in gunfire in Marrero, Louisiana, over the weekend, including a 20 year old accused of hiding cocaine in his injured buttocks. Akili Bailey of Marrero, and Treon Florant, 21, were shot multiple times in Marrero on Saturday afternoon, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office reports.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence just before 4pm after receiving a report of a shooting. They arrived to find Bailey sitting out front in a chair with gunshot wounds to his buttock, leg and foot. Florant lay face-up in the grass, a few feet from Bailey. He suffered gunshot wounds to the back of his of neck, leg and knee. Both were taken to LSU Interim Public Hospital in New Orleans.
But when paramedics tried to assist Bailey, he refused to get up and appeared to be "clenching his buttocks together," the arrest report said. Authorities may have suspected his behavior was due to the location of his injury. But a doctor who treated Bailey at the hospital retrieved a small bag containing 2.5 grams of cocaine from his buttocks.

Bailey was booked with possession of derivatives of coca leaves as well as two outstanding warrants for simple battery and simple criminal damage to property. Florant was booked on warrants issued in January for aggravated assault with a firearm and use of a firearm in connection with drug activity or violence. The victims were uncooperative and refused to answer questions about the shooting, an incident report said. No arrests have been made in the case.

Raw waffles led to 911 call

A Florida woman, unhappy with her midnight waffles called 911 to complain.
"They gave me some raw waffles," starts the caller's story, "and I told him that I don't want the waffles."

The irate Tampa woman said she wanted the charges for the waffles taken off her bill, but the restaurant wasn't able to refund her. She shares her side of the story with the 911 operator, "[the restaurant] sold me something that was uncooked,

"I'm already paying for the whole waffle that was already uncooked, so you want me to pay for the half of waffle too that ain't uncooked." The 911 operator patiently tells the woman that the police will come help sort the matter out, but it will ultimately be a civil matter.

Inexpensive U.S. wines popular abroad

The first time I got properly plastered, as a 12- or perhaps 13-year-old Briton, it was thanks to that exotic foreign import, Mad Dog. Oh, for that sweet, fruited American brew! Here's Hamilton Nolan on the fact that "Foreign Idiots Can't Get Enough of Our Wine", riffing on the LA Times' coverage of California's effortless exporting of it.
No disrespect to people in foreign countries, but they are approximately the world's biggest suckers, when it comes to believing things about America. No, all Americans are not cowboys; we don't all own guns, and work at Disney Land; and we certainly don't make any good wine.
By 14, I had learned to make my own Mad Dog, from Ribena and a bag of sugar and powdered yeast. I remember being quite certain that it tasted better than the real thing, too.

Forgotten Foods ...

... reviving weird old food and figuring out what should be brought back

Meg Favreau writes, "I thought you guys might be interested in this column I've been writing for the last year-ish -- I scour old cookbooks for once-popular recipes that have fallen out of favor, explore the (often weird) history of the food, and provide a recipe. Favorites include Welsh rarebit (the OG bachelor food, cooked in proto-microwave chafing dishes, and known for causing dreams so batshit that Little Nemo creator Winsor McCay did a long-running strip just about rarebit nightmares), beef tea (the chicken soup of its day, which tastes like hamburger water in the best way), and a Halloween about a booklet that juxtaposes candy recipes with testimonials about feminine ills (That ended up being posted on Table Matters' non-food sister site).
And if the chafing dish is the lady, Welsh rarebit is its lord. The Bachelor and the Chafing Dish actually says exactly that, describing, “toasted or cooked cheese” – the base of rarebits – as “the king of the chafing-dish.” 1900′s The Bachelor Book, meanwhile, notes that Welsh rarebit is an excellent after-theater food, and says this about serving the rarebit in perfect bachelor style:
If there is one bachelor there should be one pretty girl, two bachelors, two pretty girls, ad infinitum, to say nothing about the chaperone, who may be pretty or ugly so long as she is shortsighted and harmonizes with your decorations.
But having an excuse to hang out with pretty ladies (“Hey baby, wanna come back to mine for some hot cheese sauce?”) isn’t the only reason why Welsh rarebit was eaten as an evening food. See, Welsh rarebit was traditionally served as what Taco Bell has tried to tactfully call FourthMeal – late-night drunk food. It has all the hallmarks of today’s post-bender eats – cheesy, fatty, with plenty of bread to soak up the booze. (OK, I don’t think that actually works, but it’s what I’ve tried to convince myself was happening every time I’ve had a misguided late-night burger.) What’s interesting about Welsh rarebit’s typical late-evening consumption, though, is that the dish is also supposed to induce absolutely batpoop-crazy dreams.

Hot Sauce Science

The Chemistry of Sriracha

Sriracha is a type of hot sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in Eastern Thailand. Beloved by millions for its unique spicy, garlicky, slightly sweet flavor, the chemistry of 'rooster sauce' is the focus of this video.



Why Being Fat Is Not Always Obvious

Most parents underestimate their children's weight, and half of parents did not recognize that their children were overweight or obese, research shows.

How Humans Went From Being One Shade to Many

Without protective fur to safeguard against sun damage, our ancestors went from pale-skinned to dark-skinned.

Why Sitting Too Much Can Kill You!

Many of us work hard to take care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising, but new research says that it might not be enough. Laci reports on a new study that says that the amount of time we spend sitting is killing us!

Help scientists study how wood from land feeds animals in the deep sea

When a tree falls in a forest, it becomes an ecosystem — a source of food and habitation for a diverse array of animals. The same thing is true when a tree falls into the ocean. Or when a wooden boat sinks. Bits of wood that reach the deep sea floor become colonized with all kinds of life. Now, Craig McClain, one of the intrepid minds behind the excellent blog Deep Sea News, is studying those communities, using them to learn more about food webs, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. And you can help.
McClain and his team have been intentionally dropping pieces of wood into the ocean, and then going back later to collect those wood falls and study the things that have grown on them. One of the ways they do that is by documenting the stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur present in the animals. Different combinations and concentrations of isotopes can tell you a lot about what different animals are eating — who is predator, who is prey, and the role the wood fall plays in those relationships. They need help paying for that stable isotope analysis. For the next few days, you can donate toward their research at Experiment.com.

XKCD helps you visualize the time of day all over the world

In Now, the latest XKCD cartoon, Randall Munroe provides a handy, continuously updated way to visualize the current time all over the world. I happen to know that Munroe is an inveterate long-distance driver who likes to pass the hours on the road by calling friends; I imagine that a wheel like this would be handy for helping him figure out which continent he should be searching for in his address-book in order to find conversational partners at any hour of day.

The Golden Age Of Tinkering

Just Put A Propeller On It

Once upon a time, motorcycles, trains, and even UFOs were driven by propellers. Personal flying machines roamed the streets of Paris, and people were afraid that marauding anarchist Zeppelins might destroy their cities. No, it's not a steam punk novel. It was the turn of the twentieth century, and the golden age of tinkering.

Mummy Murder Solved

A mysterious mummy that sat in a German collection for over a century was once an Incan woman who was murdered with blunt-force trauma to the head, possibly in a ritual sacrifice, new research suggests.

Work to begin on 180-mile "Nicaragua Canal" to rival Panama

Wired's Greg Miller takes a look at the huge risks involved in digging enormous, container-ship size canals.
There are many lingering questions. How HKND–apparently the only company to submit a bid–managed to land the deal, isn’t clear, leaving many Nicaraguans frustrated by their government’s lack of transparency. ... Exactly where the money to build the canal will come from is another mystery, as is the role, if any, the Chinese government will play. Wang Jing has denied that the government is involved in the project, as have government officials. But some analysts suspect otherwise. ... Nor has any assessment of the environmental impacts of the project.

Daily Comic Relief


Astronomical News

The leaky spacesuit worn by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano during a spacewalk last July had leaked a week earlier, a problem that NASA failed to correctly diagnose, a panel investigating the near-drowning has found.
The number of known planets beyond the solar system took a giant leap thanks to a new technique that verifies candidate planets found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in batches rather than one-by-one.
Hubble has slewed in the direction of M82 to snap this dreamy portrait of SN 2014J, the closest supernova to erupt in recent decades.
Water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of one of the first alien planets ever identified by astronomers.
Earlier this month, a peanut-shaped asteroid buzzed Earth and astronomers managed to image it using radar.
As the recent X4.9-class flare ripped across the surface of the sun, a fleet of solar observatories were ready to measure its impact.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata has captured many impressive views through his camera lens, but this is one of the most beautiful.
Solar maximum may be starting to wane, but the sun has no intention on slipping into the stellar doldrums quietly.

Science and Health News

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More Science and Health News

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Cowabunga, Dude

Surfing Crocodile

Enjoying the crest of a wave, this crocodile shut down Cable Beach near Broome, Western Australia, one of the country's most popular tourist hotspots. The animal has been slated for removal to the nearby Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Park.

Whales and ships are more common through Bering Strait

The Arctic is home to a growing number of whales […]

Animal Pictures