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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 3, 2014

The Daily Drift

Well, what do you now ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 195 countries around the world daily.
 It's A Wild Life ... !
Today is - World Wildlife Day

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Today in History

1791 Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.
1803 The first impeachment trial of a U.S. Judge, John Pickering, begins.
1817 The first commercial steamboat route from Louisville to New Orleans is opened.
1845 Florida becomes the 27th U.S. state.
1857 Under pretexts, Britain and France declare war on China.
1861 The serfs of Russia are emancipated by Alexander II as part of a program of westernization.
1863 President Abraham Lincoln signs the conscription act compelling U.S. citizens to report for duty in the Civil War or pay $300.00.
1877 Rutherford B. Hays, the republican governor of Ohio is elected president, his election confirmed by an electoral commission after disputed election the previous November.
1878 Russia and the Ottomans sign the treaty of Stenafano, granting independence to Serbia.
1905 The Russian Czar agrees to create an elected assembly.
1918 The Soviets and Germany sign a peace treaty at Brest-Litovsk depriving the Soviets of White Russia.
1919 Boeing flies the first U.S. international airmail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington.
1923 The first issue of Time magazine is published. It's editor, Henry R. Luce, is just out of Yale.
1931 President Herbert Hoover signs a bill that makes Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner," the national anthem.
1939 In Bombay, Gandhi begins a fast to protest the state's autocratic rule.
1940 A Nazi air raid kills 108 on a British liner in the English Channel.
1941 Moscow denounces the Axis rule in Bulgaria.
1942 The RAF raids the industrial suburbs of Paris.
1945 Finland declares war on the Axis.
1952 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds New York's Feinberg Law banning Communist teachers in the United States.
1969 Sirhan Sirhan testifies in a court in Los Angeles that he killed Robert Kennedy.
1973 Japan discloses its first defense plan since World War II.
1999 Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky appears on national television to explain her affair with President Bill Clinton.

Non Sequitur


Andrew Jackson

The Indestructible President

by Jenny Drapkin

It's a wonder Andrew Jackson was able to defeat the British during the War of 1812. And found the modern Democratic Party. And become President of the United States. After all, Jackson should've died many, many times before he had the opportunity to do any of those things.

Little Orphan Andrew

The sun rarely shined on Andrew Jackson's childhood. At 14, Andrew and his brother, Robert, were captured, starved, and abused by the British during the Revolutionary War. After finally being released, they were forced to trek 45 miles to a POW camp in the rain. Robert was so sick that he was slung over the back of a horse. Andrew, meanwhile, was left to trudge through the mud—barefoot, without a jacket, and delirious with smallpox. Their mother eventually negotiated for the boys' release, but Robert died only two days after reaching the family home. Bedridden for months, Andrew pulled through miraculously.
Once Andrew had been nursed back to health, his mother left to tend sick prisoners of war in Charleston Harbor, 160 miles away. There, she succumbed to cholera and died. Since his father had passed away before he was born, Andrew suddenly found himself a penniless orphan. He moved to the town of Salisbury, N.C., where he scrubbed the floors of a law office by day and roamed the streets by night, stealing signposts and moving outhouses where no one could find them.

The Hot-headed Gunslinger

The next 100 times Andrew Jackson should have died were in duels of honor—the old-fashioned variety, where sometimes men fired their pistols into the air and sometimes they didn't. Often, these run-ins were instigated by talk of Jackson's wife, Rachel, who'd previously been with an abusive husband. Jackson valiantly rescued her from the nasty situation, yet the finality of her divorce at the time of their wedding was questionable at best. Needless to say, this was a sore spot for Jackson, and he wasn't afraid to draw his pistol at any mention of it. In fact, things only got worse when he decided to run for president, as it became the topic of a massive smear campaign. Rachel was called a bigamist more times than she could handle, and she died of a heart attack before she could even make it to the White House.
Although not all of Jackson's duels were near-death experiences, at least two of them were. Once, for instance, he was shot squarely in the chest. Normally, that sort of thing would signal the end of a duel, but Jackson simply staunched the wound with a handkerchief, and then shot and killed his opponent. The bullet, however, was lodged so close to Jackson's heart that it couldn't be removed, and he suffered from chest pains and excessive phlegm for the rest of his life. In another fight, two bullets shattered Jackson's arm and left shoulder. Doctors wanted to amputate, but Jackson refused for fear it would ruin his military career.

The War Hero

Jackson also should've died at some point during his glory days on the battlefield. He became a national hero for "clearing out" the American Indians from the South and for defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans in early 1815, but General Jackson also fought less glorious battles against malaria, diarrhea, and starvation. In one campaign against the Creek Indians in 1813, he survived on nothing but acorns.

The Enormously Popular President

The combination of Jackson's humble roots and military success made him wildly popular in the rough-and-tumble early days of the United States. Winning the Oval Office by a landslide in 1828, he was proclaimed "The People's President" in much the same way the British proclaimed Diana "The People's Princess." America's six previous presidents were born rich and had been well-educated, whereas Jackson had once cleaned floors for a living. But the citizens who loved Jackson nearly killed him, too. On Jackson's inauguration day, a mob of well-wishers rushed the White House lawn to shake hands with him. The crowd became so thick that the president would have been crushed to death if his friends hadn't formed a protective ring around him to shield him from the mob.
Of course, no matter how popular a president is, there are always those eager to take him down. In 1835, Jackson was leaving the Capitol building when a demented misanthrope named Richard Lawrence approached him with a raised pistol. Too shocked to move, the president watched as Lawrence fired a shot. Nothing happened. Then the assailant produced a second gun and fired. Again, nothing happened. Horrified, onlookers wrestled Lawrence to the ground and held him until he could be taken into custody. Only later would the strange truth become known that both pistols had been properly loaded. Odds of two misfires in a row: 1 in 125,000. The expression on Lawrence's face: Priceless.

Twelve Fabulous Tubs

Few things are more relaxing than a nice soak in the tub, but there's something really special about a bathtub that really stands out. Over on Homes and Hues, we rounded up twelve of the most beautiful tubs we could find.
Whether you like futuristic, rustic or modern styles of home decor, you're pretty much guaranteed to see something you wish you could have in your dream home. Don't believe me? Find out for yourself at Homes and Hues: 12 Beautiful Bathtubs Perfect for Relaxing.

America's Best-Rated Restaurant Is a Tiny Shack

Yelp! has released their list of the 100 best places to eat in America, and it’s not like any such list you’ve seen. The ratings site relies on reviews from everyone, from self-styled critics to tourists to you and me. In this list, pricy Michelin-rated restaurants don’t have an advantage over the local crab shack. And guess who’s on top?
It’s a tiny seafood haunt wedged into a condominium complex in Kona, on Hawaii’s Big Island. It’s called Da Poke Shack, and in Yelpers’ eyes it’s pretty much perfect: an average of five stars on 612 customer reviews.

Aficionados swoon for its poke bowls—salads that combine Japanese-inflected spices and greens like seaweed or kimchi with generous chunks of still-floppingly fresh, raw Ahi tuna.
That’s not the only surprising result: New York City’s highest-rated eatery is a food truck. Read more about the list at Slate.

Health News

A team of French investigators has discovered viruses containing genes […]
Studying link between HIV, drug use could help prevention, detection […]
When Cornell University veterinarians found half-foot-long worms living in their […]
It may seem like mosquitoes will bite anything with a […]
Newer diabetes drugs cost more, but may not work better Two newer classes of drugs to treat adult-onset diabetes may […]

Did you know ...

That , that 'justified' actor turns out to be a wingnut asshole

These 5 reasons the 1% don't want unemployment to decrease

That working single mothers are disproportionately poor

That Larry Summers thinks we should raise taxes in the rich

That white folks in red states are the biggest food stamp moochers

And meet the man silicon valley CEOs turn to when they want to screw their workers

That "religious freedom" is being used to chip away at gay rights

About the do's and don'ts of buying legal marijuana

North Carolina christians bully teen into closing atheist club

You may remember the story of Jessica Ahlquist, the Vermont teen who was viciously bullied and threatened by christians all over the country for trying to get an unconstitutional religious banner removed from her school. Jessica's story is both terrifying and inspirational, because she won her case, and has gone on to become something of a celebrity in the secular community. Over the last few weeks, a similar story has been unfolding in North Carolina. Kalei Wilson, a student at Pisgah High School, wanted to start an atheist club. School officials weren't having any of that, and stonewalled the process, going against both school policy and legal precedent. The Secular Student Alliance, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and ACLU all brought their considerable influence to bear, and the school quickly saw the light of reason, and agreed to allow the club to form.
Sadly, one of the things we've seen in recent years is that many christians are not content to obey the law when it comes to atheists. If they don't get their way, they often resort to bullying, harassing, and even making death threats. So it has gone in North Carolina. Just days after learning that she could move forward with the club, Kalei's family released the following statement:
It saddens us to report that due to the numerous threats and the verbal attacks on Kalei along with the vindictive which-hunt (sic) to hurt the reputations of affiliated local groups and our own family, Kalei will not be continuing with the group.
We have contacted GoFundMe and requested they return your generous donations. They have assured us that your funds will show back up in your respective accounts within 3 to 5 days.
Your love and support are priceless and we apologize in letting you down. It was our single goal to support Kalei in her efforts to start the much needed SSA club.
However, we never expected our family and friends to be sought out and demonized. Please know that we recognize the importance of the club but we can not justify our involvement with the risk of our families safety and well being.
Much love.
It's a sad ending, to be sure. One can hardly blame Kalei and her family for doing what they need to do to protect themselves. If anything, they should be praised for having the guts to try it in the first place. They probably knew about Jessica Ahlquist's ordeal, and must have known that there was real risk. The reality in America is that to be openly atheist is to live as a second-class citizen. Good on them for doing what they believed was right even though they knew things could get really ugly.
Some people may look at this as a failure, but I do not. In fact, in terms of social justice, I think it's great that it happened, aside from the trauma the family suffered. The main reason it's a good thing in the big picture is the publicity. I'm not the first person to write about this, and I won't be the last. This story is all over the place, and secularists all over the country are reaching out and offering support and solidarity. This is strengthening the secular community, and reinforcing its resolve. These kinds of christians can no longer bully in secret or with impunity. Their behavior is out there for everybody to see, and boy, is it ugly.
There's a term for someone who suffers severe persecution over a personal belief, and Christians should know it well. It's "martyr." Early christian stories celebrate those who were bullied, threatened, and even killed in the name of belief. Every savvy politician knows that one of the most dangerous things for the ruling party to create is a martyr around which the oppressed can rally. These christian bullies are now part of the oppressing majority, and have adopted the role of the Romans in the old stories. They would do well to remember who won in the end.
Let's speak plainly about the christian wingnuts in recent years. They're seen as self-righteous bullies by a lot of people. Especially young people. They've become infamous for discriminating and oppressing while claiming they're actually the victims of abuse. One need only look at the recent veto of Arizona's religiously inspired "anti-gay bill" to see it play out.
People aren't buying it anymore. Stories like this illustrate very clearly who are the real bullies. Kalei wasn't trying to stop anyone from doing anything. She wasn't trying to shut down a christian club. She was trying to create a place for her friends to hang out after school and work on their own interests. For that, she and her family were persecuted, bullied, and threatened to such a degree that they backed down. There is no shame for her or her family, but there is immense shame to be heaped on those who did the bullying.
It is sad that there will be no atheist club at Pisgah High School for the time being. It is appalling that yet again, christians resorted to mob justice when the law disagreed with them. Even so, there is much to celebrate, because this battle is part of a much bigger culture war, and the story itself is a powerful tool for atheists in their quest for equality in America. Good on you, Kalei, and thank you for everything you've done. I'm sure we've not heard the last of you.

No one wants to drive out to Walmart stores anymore

Things are looking tough for our favorite corporate exploiters.
    The world's largest retailer, which gets more than half its sales from groceries, on Thursday gave a disappointing full-year forecast. It blamed sharp cuts in food stamp benefits and higher payroll taxes that will hit disposable income for its core customers. Wal-Mart shares fell 2.2 percent in morning trading.
Walmart helped create the low-wage economy and repugican cabal-style anti-government corporatism that is now, ironically, biting it in its ass. But there's more to the retailer's problems than austerity cuts. Fact is, its business model is increasingly an anachronism.
    Cold weather and a reduction in food stamp benefits aren't the only reasons behind Wal-Mart's lowered fourth-quarter forecast.
    The big-box discounter is in need of a bricks-and-mortar makeover, analysts said. To resonate with today's shopper, Wal-Mart needs to move its stores closer to major population centers, shrink the square footage of its superstores and shutter about 100 underperforming U.S. locations, they suggest.

TSA not sure if DC drivers licenses are valid ID

DC resident Ashley Brandt was surprised to meet a TSA agent at Phoenix airport who didn't think that DC drivers' licenses were valid ID, because DC isn't a state.

17 Signs That You'd Qualify as a Witch in 1692

by Leah Beckmann

Discover whether you are guilty of maleficium and/or would have been accused of practicing witchcraft according to the laws and evidence used during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

1. You are female

Are you a woman of any kind? If so, you are probably one of the devil’s many hellbrides. Since the medieval period, “an aspect of the female has been associated with the witch.” For thousands of years, people have believed women to be more susceptible to sins than men, and sinning is a clear indication of devil worship. In Salem, 13 women and five men were convicted of practicing witchcraft, though historically the numbers dramatically favor accused women over men.

2. You are poor/cannot support yourself financially

The poor, homeless, and those forced to rely on the community for support were among the most vulnerable and often accused of witchcraft. Sarah Good, hanged in 1692, was extremely disliked and distrusted by neighbors because she wandered from house to house begging for food.

3. You are rich/financially independent

If you’re a grown woman living this life without any additional support, you probably also have a jar of eye of newt in your pantry. Any indication that a woman could live without the help or supervision of a man raised alarm. She would likely have been isolated from the community—until, of course, she was arrested and put on trial. Between 1620 and 1725, women without brothers or sons to share their inheritance comprised 89 percent of the women executed for witchcraft in New England.

4. You have one or more female friends

A note to all popular teens and the cast of Sex and the City: A group of women congregating without a male chaperone was deemed a “coven meeting to worship the Devil.” Ladies be communing with flirty cosmos and the devil.

5. You have had an argument with one or more of your female friends

Infamous witchfinders like Matthew Hopkins and John Searne inspired such terror in the community that it didn’t take long for women to accuse other women of witchcraft as a way of deflecting their own indictments. According to author Elizabeth Reis, “women were more likely than men to be convinced of this complicity with the devil, and given such convictions about themselves, they could more easily imagine that other women were equally damned.”
Take the case of Rachel Clinton: “Women of worth and quality accused [her] of hunching them with her elbow” when she walked by them at church. Rachel, herself a former woman of “worth and quality,” had a mentally disturbed mother and a late-in-life marriage that caused her to slip to the bottom rung of the class system. Add to that some finger-wagging biddies screaming about an elbow jab and, double double toil and trouble, Rebecca was convicted of witchcraft.

6. You have had an argument or disagreement with someone

The important thing to remember is that anyone could accuse anyone. And they did. If you found yourself accused of practicing witchcraft of any kind by any kind of person, you might as well have been seen flying naked over the moon on a broomstick made out of a cursed lover’s ears.

7. You are very old

Older women, both married and unmarried, were extremely susceptible to accusations. Rebecca Nurse was a 70-year-old invalid when she was accused by disputing neighbors. At 71, she became the oldest woman tried, convicted, and put to death for being a witch.

8. You are very young

Dorothy Goode was only 4 years old when she confessed to being a witch (simultaneously implicating her mother, Sarah, who was hanged in 1692). Dorothy was imprisoned for nine months before her release. The experience left her permanently insane.

9. You are a midwife

Put simply by writer Joel Southern, a midwife’s “age, social and marital status, autonomy, pagan influences, secret knowledge of herbs and most importantly, the vilification of her profession as unclean and demeaning served to demonize the midwife. In short, the midwife represented everything the Church feared.”

10. You are married with too many children

You have an unnaturally fertile womb that can only be the result of a dark magic. Add to that a young couple nearby having a difficult time conceiving, and you are almost certainly stealing would-be babies from them. Because you are a witch.

11. You are married with too few (or no) children

The devil cursed your unholy womb with infertility. Plus, if your neighbors and their six children are suffering in any way, they almost certainly believe the jealous crone living next to them has hexed their home.

12. You have exhibited “stubborn,” “strange,” or “forward behavior"

Let loose any kind of sass or backtalk and ye be a witch, probably. Again, in the trial of Rachel Clinton, her accusers solidified the case against her with the following: “Did she not show the character of an embittered, meddlesome, demanding woman—perhaps in short, the character of a witch? Did she not scold, rail, threaten and fight?”

13. You have a mole, birthmark, or third nipple

Any of these found on the body could be interpreted as the Devil’s mark. This is also where the witch’s familiar—usually a dog, cat, or snake—would attach itself to her to drink her blood. The accused were completely rid of their body hair until some kind of marking was found. Now imagine a tiny puppy guzzling from Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark.

14. Butter or milk has spoiled in your fridge

Several testimonials during the Salem Trials mention spoiled dairy products in connection with the accused. Be honest about the condition of your fridge before you continue.

15. You have had sex out of wedlock

Throw yourself directly into a blue hellfire if this one applies to you. In 1651, Alice Lake of Dorchester was tried as a witch for having “played the harlot, and being with Child.” Her guilt was so intense that she eventually confessed to convening with the devil “through the commission of her sin.” She was hanged that same year.

16. You have attempted to predict the identity of your future husband

Ever daydreamed about your soulmate? Written his name in cursive in your notebook? Then, like Tituba, a slave woman living in Salem, your activities could be construed as witchcraft. Tituba encouraged young girls to predict the identities of their future husbands and became the first woman in Salem accused of practicing the craft. And thanks to dreamy succubi like you, she won’t be the last.

17. You have broken virtually any rule in the Bible and thus entered into a pact with the devil

Here are a handful of rules the Puritans observed. Breaking any could lead to a witchcraft accusation:
-The strict observance of Sabbath, "the training day of military discipline.” This includes no fire, no trading, no traveling, and something called “new showbread In the holy place.” That last one is punishable by death.
-No adultery
-No leading people to other Gods by prophecy or dreams
-No getting raped
-No planting more than one type of seed in a field
-No touching a pig carcass
-No wearing clothing made of more than one kind of cloth or fabric
-No round haircuts
-No braided hair
-And definitely no suffering a witch to live
Did you do any of these things? Then congratulations, you are guilty of practicing witchcraft. You are hellbound, and will likely be hanged, burned, or left to rot in a filthy prison until you die. May the dark shadows cloak you in their wretched embrace. Hail Satan.

Boy playing war found real hand grenade

A boy and his friend playing pretend war found a hand grenade in the woods behind a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina last week.

Jeremiah Pride, 9, dug it out of the ground while playing war with toy guns at his home. He was on his knees pretending to shoot someone when he felt something unusual.

"They didn't really understand what they had at first," said Jeremiah's mother, Mary Pride. "When they brought it around the front, we noticed it was a grenade and I called the police." Dispatchers warned them to be careful with the grenade until police arrived. "I ran across the street far away from it," Jeremiah said.

The grenade body had no fuse or explosive, according to a Rock Hill police report. It was secured and taken to a bunker for destruction. It's unclear where the grenade came from or how long it was buried. The grenade was "very old," Pride said. "You could tell it had been there a lot of years, maybe from the Civil War days," she said. "It was very rustic." Jeremiah called his discovery "very, very cool."

Thief stole car, went on shopping spree using owner's credit card, then returned car

Police are searching for an unusual thief who they say stole a car, went on a shopping spree, and then returned the vehicle to the same parking spot. The victim, Jim Kemeny, says his keys and wallet were stolen last week from West Wash Park Fitness in Denver, Colorado where he works as a personal trainer.

Random Photos

Under the Rock

Alcatraz's secret tunnels discovered
A lot of dark secrets about Alcatraz have been revealed over the years, and now a group of scientists has found one more buried under the former prison's walls.
Researchers from Texas A&M University, using ground-penetrating radar technology, discovered a network of tunnels underneath the San Francisco island prison. Experts had believed the tunnels were destroyed long ago. Professor Mark Everett explained the technology to BBC News.
From BBC News:
"The cart has a transmitter and a receiver — it sends an electromagnetic wave into the ground that then reflects off all the different structures underneath.
"Much like medical imaging would make a scan of the body, we are making a scan of the ground under the rec yard."
But why were there tunnels under the prison, often called "the Rock"? Was Al Capone trying to pull a "Shawshank"? Not so fast, Hollywood.
The tunnels were from the 19th century, when the island was used as a military fort. The researchers believe they also found magazine buildings where ammunition was stored as well as other structures.
The underground discovery can't be physically reached except by radar, according to reports.
Alcatraz began as a military fort, but it went on to become America's most infamous federal prison, housing the likes of Capone, George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes, Mickey Cohen and Robert Stroud. It shut down in 1963 due to concerns that rough Bay Area weather was affecting the integrity of the prison's walls. The escape of three prisoners in 1962 likely hastened the decision to close the rock.
Alcatraz has since gone on to become a popular tourist destination, drawing 1.3 million visitors a year.


Dutch Village Designed Just For People With Dementia

In the Netherlands a radical idea is being tested: Self-contained 'villages' where people with dementia shop, cook, and live together - safely. In the small town of Weesp at a dementia-focused living center called De Hogeweyk, aka Dementiavillage, the relationship between patients and their care is serving as a model for the rest of the world.

Hogeweyk, from a certain perspective, seems like a fortress: A solid podium of apartments and buildings, closed to the outside world with gates and security fences. But, inside, it is its own self-contained world: Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more.


Portugal's Most Picturesque Village

At its advent, Piodao was a farming community, and that heritage is still felt today, with the main industries of this town being livestock, produce, olive oil, and cheese. The relative remoteness of this village created a microcosm of distinct culture, with an attitude of self-sustainability.

In the middle of the last century, many of the people in this small village began to abandon it, favoring the big cities to the primitiveness of the city. Piodao did not even receive electricity or a road until 1972. It is those who visit this picturesque town that have breathed life back into it.

Dancing lights over The UK and Ireland

Reds and greens galore: Northern lights put on another show
Their act hasn't changed that much over the past several thousand years, but the northern lights still put on a dazzling show whenever they take the stage.
In this case, the stage was located near the U.K. and Northern Ireland. Residents were treated to a spectacular display of greens and reds — no special effects needed — on Thursday night.
The northern lights, also called aurora borealis, materialize when gaseous particles in the atmosphere mix it up with charged particles from the sun. The particles collide with Earth's atmosphere, and the results are never a letdown, no matter how many times you've seen 'em.

A Map of the United States as Seen by Invading Alien

New York and Los Angeles? They have to go. Take out a few monuments in Washington. Flatten Chicago if you have time. Then you're done, as far as our new overlords are concerned.
Alaska and Hawaii? Good news: to the aliens, you don't even exist. You can probably even avoid occupation.
Of course, the rest of us in Flyoverlandia won't necessarily be spared. We nuked Houston ourselves in Independence Day.



The Alamo's Musical Duel

THE ALAMO'S MUSICAL DUEL - February 28, 1836
Susannah Dickinson's eyewitness accounts of the Alamo siege are the most heavily relied upon source of information regarding the last days of the Alamo defenders. Although most of her stories were tragically somber, she did have a joyful tale to tell from Day 6 of the siege.

According to Dickinson, Davy Crockett took it upon himself to raise the morale of the men and he decided that the best way to do so was by challenging John McGregor to a musical duel of instruments. McGregor, a Scotsman by birth, took up his bagpipes while Crockett took up his fiddle. They played back and forth, loudly enough for the Mexican soldiers to hear - and they created one of the most legendary moments in Texas history.

It is said that McGregor won the duel because he was able to play the loudest and the longest. And Texas urban legend claims that the Mexican soldiers coined the term "gringo" after hearing the men singing "Green Grow the Rushes Oh". While these stories have undoubtedly grown and been embellished throughout the years, the heart of the tale is based in fact and it was undoubtedly one of the few happy moments for the beleaguered Alamo defenders during their ordeal.

Rare Color Photographs Of Imperial Russia

Capture a snapshot of the Russian Empire circa 1910 and you’d expect to see images of turmoil, chaos and an empire on the verge of bloody revolution, but these color portraits by photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii are full of a sense of serenity and peace.
Sergey used an early tri-color photo process that involved shooting the subject through three different filters-red, green and blue. These three color images were then projected through the same color filters onto a screen and superimposed, creating the realistically colored final image.
Sergey's amazing and rare color photographs come from negatives purchased by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1948, and now they're available to view online here.

Irish Pirates

The pirate alliance operated on the southwest coast of Munster, Ireland in the early 17th century.

Medieval folk didn't drink alcohol to avoid dirty water

A well-established myth debunked.

Daily Comic Relief


Ring Pop?

No, it's not a ring pop. One thousand times more valuable than gold, Red Beryl is extremely rare and has only been discovered in Utah and Mexico so far.

The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws

Kevin Underhill, the very funny lawyer behind Lowering the Bar, a very funny law-blog, has published a book of weird laws through the ages, called The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced. It's a genuinely funny and extremely weird tour through the world's dumbest rules, starting with the Babylonians (who had a trial-by-ordeal through which you could prove you weren't guilty by jumping into the river and not drowning) up through the Hittites (who had a whole set of rules about whether it was OK to steal your neighbor's door); the ancient Greeks and Romans (who were allowed to go into their friends' houses to search for their stolen property, provided they did so in nothing but a loincloth, to ensure they didn't plant any goods while searching) and modern times, including the notorious "Pi=3.2" state law.
Humanity's inventiveness in making dumb rules is really boundless. Underhill's snarky commentary brings to life such rules as:
* Ala. § 34-6-7, which forbids secret passages leading from billiard rooms
* Ark. HR Con Res 1016, which sets out the official possessive form of Arkansas (it's "Arkansas's")
* Ga. Code Ann § 43-43A-I, which establishes that a pay toilet is not a coin-operated amusement
* Or. HR Con Res 12, which sets out Oregon's official state microbe (brewer's yeast!)
* Tex. penal code § 43.23(g) which exempts Texas lawmakers from the state's five-device-limit on sex-toys
* Australia's Goods and Services Tax Act § 165-55, which gives tax commissioners the power to "treat a particular event that actually happened as not having happened;" and "Treat a particular event that did not actually happen as having happened" (and a lot more contrafactual goodness)
* Lei No 3.770 of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, which requires cellular phone companies to extend a 50% discount on airtime to stutterers
* German Civil Code §§960-61, 962, 963 and 964, which set out the rules requiring beekeepers to chase after their errant swarms, rules for adjudicating the mingling of swarms chased by more than one beekeeper; and rules for removing your swarming bees from other beekeepers' hives
I laughed a lot reading The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and I'm considering laminating my copy for long life by the toilet, as it is some of the best short-form humorous reading I've yet encountered.
The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced

Hercule the parrot led police to the man who murdered his mistress

A talking parrot named Hercule has helped police in India crack the case of who murdered his mistress after it "identified" the alleged killer. Neelam, wife of a local Hindi newspaper editor Vijay Sharma, was found murdered at her residence in Balkeshwar, Agra on February 20, police said.
While the police were looking for the killer, Sharma noted a change in the behavior of their pet parrot Hercule, whenever his nephew, Ashutosh Sharma Goswami, came to the house. "It sulked every time Ashutosh passed its cage," Sharma's brother Ajay said. Growing suspicious, the victim's family started taking names of possible suspects in front of the parrot.

When Ashutosh's name was taken, Hercule started shouting 'Usne maara, Usne maara' (He has killed), Ajay said. The family then informed the police, who took Ashutosh into custody. On questioning, Ashutosh confessed to the crime. Ashutosh told police that along with his accomplice, Ronny Massey, entered Sharma's house and forced Neelam to hand over cash and valuables at the point of a dagger.

Afraid that she would reveal his identity, Ashutosh allegedly stabbed her to death. He also allegedly stabbed Sharma's pet dog to death when he started barking at him. Both of them have been arrested and charged with murder and theft, Agra State Police Service Shalabh Mathur said. "We got a lot of help from the parrot to zero in on the murderer," the SSP said.

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