Welcome to ...

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, March 7, 2014

The Daily Drift

Cool ...

Carolina Naturally is read in 195 countries around the world daily.   

Oh, yeah, Doodle ... !
Today is - National Doodle Day

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

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Santiago and Lo Prado, Chile
Alta Foresta, Rio De Janeiro and Salvador, Brazil
Surrey, Vaughan, Ottawa, Brantford, Lansing, Templeton, Byward Market, Guelph, Sioux Lookout, Vancouver, Calgary and Scarborough, Canada
Medellin and Bogota, Colombia
Pomona, Pima, Hackensack, Duluth, Wauconda, Ogden, Mascot, Dulles, Malvern, Shawnee and Orem, United States
The Bottom, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Lima, Peru
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Managua and Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Guaynabo and San Juan, Puerto Rico
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Palmela, Costa De Caparica and Funchal, Portugal
Cavallino, Conversano, Venice, Rome and Milan, Italy
Rouen, Paris and Lyon, France
Ostrava, Czech Republic
Dublin and Limerick, Ireland
Veliko Turnovo and Ruse, Bulgaria
Bochum, Nuremberg and Koeln, Germany
Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Nicosia and Limassol, Cyprus
Tartu and Tallinn, Estonia
Pool, Woking, Manchester and London, England
Helsinki and Vantaa, Finland
Vladivostok and Chelyabinsk, Russia
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Luqa, Malta
Ankara, Turkey
Warsaw, Poland
Belgrade, Serbia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Reykjavik, Iceland
Madrid, Spain
Copenhagen, Denmark
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sibiu, Romania
Tangerang, Surabaya, Bualu, Jakarta and Makassar, Indonesia
Doha, Qatar
Sungai Besar, Puchong, Shah Alam and Parit Raja, Malaysia
Jeddah, Riyadh and Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Mumbai, Shillong, Patna, Ahmedabad, Yanamalakuduru and Coimbatore, India
Kuwait, Kuwait
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Sibi, Pakistan
Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
Seoul, Korea
Quarte Bornes and La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Sanaa, Yemen
Singapore, Singapore
Rangoon, Burma
Chengdu, China
Tehran, Iran
Ceres, Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and Cape Town, South Africa
Tetouan, Morocco
Cairo, Egypt
Porto-Novo, Benin
Carthage, Tunisia
Surrey Hills and Homebush, Australia
Davao City, Pasig, Mandaluyong City, Pasay and Manila, Philippines
Honiara, Solomon, Islands

Today in History

322 BC The Greek philosopher Aristotle dies.
161 On the death of Antoninus at Lorium, Marcus Aurelius becomes emperor.
1774 The British close the port of Boston to all commerce.
1799 In Palestine, Napoleon captures Jaffa and his men massacre more than 2,000 Albanian prisoners.
1809 Aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard — the first person to make the an aerial voyage in the New World — died on March 7, 1809, at the age of 56.
1838 Soprano Jenny Lind ("the Swedish Nightingale") makes her debut in Weber's opera Der Freischultz.
1847 U.S. General Winfield Scott occupies Vera Cruz, Mexico.
1849 The Austrian Reichstag is dissolved.
1862 Confederate forces surprise the Union army at the Battle of Pea Ridge, in Arkansas, but the Union is victorious.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for the telephone.
1904 The Japanese bomb the Russian town of Vladivostok.
1906 Finland becomes the third country to give women the right to vote, decreeing universal suffrage for all citizens over 24, however, barring those persons who are supported by the state.
1912 French aviator, Heri Seimet flies non-stop from London to Paris in three hours.
1918 Finland signs an alliance treaty with Germany.
1925 The Soviet Red Army occupies Outer Mongolia.
1927 A Texas law that bans Negroes from voting is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
1933 The board game Monopoly is invented.
1933 The film King Kong premieres in New York City.
1935 Malcolm Campbell sets an auto speed record of 276.8 mph in Florida.
1936 Hitler sends German troops into the Rhineland, violating the Locarno Pact.
1942 Japanese troops land on New Guinea.
1951 U.N. forces in Korea under General Matthew Ridgeway launch Operation Ripper, an offensive to straighten out the U.N. front lines against the Chinese.
1968 The Battle of Saigon, begun on the day of the Tet Offensive, ends.
1971 A thousand U.S. planes bomb Cambodia and Laos.
1979 Voyager 1 reaches Jupiter.

Non Sequitur


An introduction to "Earthporn"

The photo above, of Öschinensee Lake in the Lötschberg region in Switzerland, was featured in the Earthporn subreddit.  Explore that subreddit if you enjoy photos of the earth's natural beauty.

There's also a SeaPorn subreddit.

And a SkyPorn.

Capital Cherry Trees to Peak April 8-12

Blooming cherry trees usher in spring to Washington, D.C.
Take a look at the long history of our Capitol's trees. 

Did you know ...

That we don't have freedom if we don't have free time

Just what does it mean for feminism if feminism becomes trendy

That a physicist boyfriend proposes to physicist girlfriend with academic paper

Millionaire Paul Ryan Disguises Plan to Gut All Programs for the 99% as Helping the Poor

Ryan is proposing sweeping reforms on welfare and complete overhauls of all social programs including Head Start, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, and anything helping the poor…
Ryan Evil
Income inequality has grown exponentially in the United States easily ranking it the highest among developed nations, with most of the widening gap coming between the middle class and richest one percent with the disparity becoming more extreme the further one goes up in the income distribution. In 2012, the gap between the richest 1% and the remaining 99% was the widest it has been since the 1920s with incomes of the wealthiest 1% percent rising nearly 275%, whereas the income of the remaining 99% rose barely 1% in comparison. While President Obama has spent the past year emphasizing the need to address the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and vanishing middle class, repugicans led by Ayn Rand devotee Paul Ryan intend on enacting a replacement 2015 budget that focuses on reforms. If Americans are wary of what repugicans mean by reforms, they have a good reason. Ryan is proposing sweeping reforms on welfare and complete overhauls of all social programs including Head Start, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, and anything helping the poor; or as Ryan calls them the 47% he considers “takers” and “moochers.”
Yesterday Ryan released a 204-page rebuke of the government’s anti-poverty programs that questions the concept of helping poor Americans by deriding initiatives that assist the poor struggling in low-wage jobs; if they have a job. As is usually the case when repugicans talk reform, Ryan specifically cites consolidating and then slashing all anti-poverty programs he claims “created a poverty trap that we’ve got to fix with significant reform.” Regardless of whether repugicans are citing social anti-poverty programs or tax cuts for the rich and corporations; “significant reform” always translates into drastic cuts and Ryan’s report criticizes every aspect of every anti-poverty program repugicans intend to subject to significant reforms.
The repugican report, “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” analyzes eight areas of federal policy Ryan and repugicans lust to “reform” including cash aid, education and job training, energy, food aid, health care, housing, social services, and Veterans benefits. Each of the sections begins with criticism of both state of federal anti-poverty programs that Lyndon Johnson initiated 50 years ago as part of his “war on poverty” repugicans have sought to eliminate to fund tax cuts for the richest 1% of income earners.
The Ayn Rand disciple said his “reform” document “is a precursor not only of our budget but of our larger project to introduce poverty reforms over the course of this year.” The president may focus on inequality because he can’t talk about growth. We’re focused on upward mobility, speaking directly to people who have fallen through the cracks.” It is doubtful that Ryan will actually tell people who have fallen through the cracks of his intent to target programs like food stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, low-income housing and heating assistance, most other social service programs, and low-income tax credits that prevented millions of Americans from perishing due to starvation, exposure, and ill-health. Ryan claimed the repugicans’ comprehensive anti-poverty reforms (Draconian cuts) will coincide with the repugican cabal’s intent to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and impose major cuts to Medicaid.
Ryan’s remark that the President cannot talk about growth is laughable when Obama has proposed several job creation policies, including for Veterans, that repugicans have rejected out of hand as too expensive as they plan large tax cuts for the richest Americans and their corporations. The President just announced a $300 billion infrastructure improvement plan that, although sorely needed, is woefully inadequate and less than one-tenth what the nation requires to bring the richest country on Earth in line with every developed nation in the world. The repugicans have rejected every one of the President’s proposals for infrastructure programs in the past because they did not fit their job-killing agenda.
House repugicans still portray Ryan as their fiscal genius, and Tom Cole (r-OK) said “Paul Ryan remains our big-ideas guy, and he’s talking about these issues in human terms.” According to Ryan, his big ideas focusing on human terms include “solutions that solve weaknesses in how the government supports the poor” that a serious round of cuts will solve. In fact, one of the more mysterious aspects of his report is Ryan’s assertion that “poor families face very high implicit marginal tax rates the federal government uses to effectively discourage them from making more money.” That’s right, Ryan who parrots Willard Romney’s assertion the “47% moocher class” do not pay any taxes claims the poor are facing very high tax rates that keep them from making more money at poverty-wage jobs. However, that is not the only scandalous assertion in Ryan’s statement about reforming (cutting) anti-poverty programs.
Ryan’s report cites the “breakdown” of the family as one of the primary reasons so many Americans are afflicted by low-wage jobs that keep them trapped in poverty. It says “the single most important determinant of poverty is that is it a result of broken families.” One wonders if the repugican anti-poverty agenda will include forcing all Americans into traditional marriages, criminalizing single-parent households and divorce, or forcing unmarried women into christian-imposed chastity belts to ensure they will not be single parents. Ryan also boasted that he learned from a former leader of Britain’s wingnut party how to “rework our welfare system” that means major cuts to anti-poverty safety nets. The ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD), said Ryan’s report is “simply laying the groundwork to slash social safety net programs” that he identified as “Mitt Romney’s attack on the 47 percent.”
Ryan’s report is an archetype of a class warfare manifesto that would elicit highest praise from Ayn Rand for adhering to the ideology in her fictional work Atlas Shrugged. According to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (r-CA), “People used to say we couldn’t talk about these issues. Now they have become a framework.” The repugicans have been talking about slashing or eliminating anti-poverty programs incessantly since Americans first elected an African American man as President, and the people are well-aware that any repugican framework with the words “reform” and “overhaul” means massive cuts or elimination. Any repugican plan to fight poverty has nothing to do with fighting poverty and everything to do with fighting anti-poverty programs with a view towards completely eradicating them.

Wow, repugican senators stunned to learn that Ted Cruz broke his promise to them

From the "Duh": Department:

Walking off the edge of the cliff does in fact have consequences
This is hilarious:
    Several repugican senators said Wednesday they were surprised and angered after a news report revealed that their repugican cabal colleague, Ted Cruz of Texas, made a recent fundraising appeal for a tea party coven that is trying to defeat repugican cabal incumbents it doesn't believe are wingnut enough.
    The senators said Cruz's efforts appeared to violate his own pledge to no longer target sitting repugican senators in favor of tea party-backed candidates in the hard-fought 2014 campaign in which repugicans believe they have a chance to win back control of the Senate. [...]
    "I am stunned that Cruz is involved in this fundraising effort for a group that has targeted his colleagues in the repugican caucus," Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine repugican, told CNN.
It's not funny because of what Cruz did, but rather it's funny because his repugican colleagues are surprised that he did it. What did they expect from this guy? Tea and crumpets?
And it's more than a little pathetic that this is the kind of thing that pisses them off, not something that actually has an impact on real people, like engineering a shutdown of the Federal government.

Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher's car

Kayona Hagen-Tietz, a ninth grader at Como Park High School in St Paul, MN, says she developed frostbite when she was made to stand in -5F weather wearing nothing but a wet bathing suit. She had been in swim class when the fire-bell rang, and evacuated in nothing but her wet swimsuit. Faculty offered to allow her to wait in a car, but school policy prohibits students from entering cars other than those belonging to family and their delegated help. Eventually, common sense won out, though apparently not soon enough.

Public execution by guillotine, 1939

As described in Iconic Photos:
In the early morning of 17 June 1939, Eugène Weidmann bowed down before the blade of the guillotine, the last person to do so publicly. Weidmann was the last person to be executed before a crowd in France. He had been convicted of multiple kidnappings and murders, including that of a young American socialite...

In the days following the execution, the press was especially indignant at the way the crowd had behaved. Paris-Soir denounced the crowd as “disgusting”, “unruly”, “jostling, clamoring, whistling.” Among the sins the lofty paper found unforgivable was the crowd “devouring sandwiches”. More shockingly for the authorities, the unruly crowd delayed the execution beyond the usual twilight hour of dawn, enabling clear photographs — and one short film! — to be taken. The government regretted that public executions which were intended to have a “moralizing effect” now produced “practically the opposite results.” President LeBrun signed an order to hold executions only behind closed doors.

By this time, France was already an anomaly; the proud tradition of macabre spectacle dating back millennia was fast becoming forbidden in the West. Most German states banned public executions in the 1850s. England carried out her last public execution — that of the Fenian agitator Michael Barrett — in 1868, and most of her dominions followed. From then on, momentum was with ban of public executions. Liberal Denmark banned public executions in 1882, and abolished the death penalty altogether in 1933. In 1936, Kentucky became the last American state to ban public executions. I doubt that public executions ever had a "moralizing effect."  I think they've always been part of the bread and circuses that governments provide.

Get a Life, Man

Multiple media outlets are reporting that a California man is suing McDonald’s for more than a million dollars … because he only received one napkin with his meal.
He says the incident happened last month, when he ordered a Quarter Pounder.
He immediately noticed only one napkin came with his burger.
He claims he emailed the general manager of the restaurant to complain.
According to reports, McDonald’s offered him some free food in an effort to make him happy.
That gesture did not satisfy him.
Instead, the man says he is now unable to work, because of the “Undue mental anguish” he suffered as a result of the “napkin” incident.
Well, all we can say is "Man up princess."

Worlds prettiest meme sues

Worlds prettiest meme sues
Being a meme more or less sucks, especially if you aren’t making any money off of your fleeting internet celebrity. That all goes double if your meme stems from a mugshot, like in the case of Meagan Simmons, who this week filed suit against a mugshot website for using her famous booking photo in ads.

Cajun and Creole

Cajun is country and Creole is city

What To Eat

Kids are making healthier choices at school, but much of their food ends up in the garbage or compost bin.
Despite a common belief that a meal isn't a meal without a hunk of protein, new findings suggest middle-aged adults would be better off easing up on the chicken and cheese.

How does the Navy prevent norovirus?

Despite its reputation for sending hundreds of cruise ship vacationers to the bathroom en masse, norovirus isn't nearly as big a problem on naval vessels. Unfortunately, how the Navy prevents norovirus from spreading isn't really applicable to civilian ships — it involves a lot of discipline with cleaning, strict rules about quarantine, and a lack of places to just hang out and socialize around food and drink.



Weird Science News

The key to being a creative genius is to lie and cheat! Join Anthony as he discusses how breaking rules allows you to become a better artist.
When you think about where teeth grow, your brain is probably the last place they could be. Laci sits down to discuss teratomas, and why teeth can grow in some weird places.
You wake up in the middle of the night and feel a weird, tingly feeling all throughout your arm. Laci is here to talk to you about why you feel this,
Does the way we take selfies differ from city to city? Trace reports on an interesting new study that analyzes selfies from around the world, and discovers how people in each city prefer different ways to take a selfie!
Researchers develop the first detailed model of a 3-D strand of curly hair.
Criminals think they're better than other criminals. Criminals also think they're better than you! Anthony and Trace report on an interesting new study confirming the belief that most people think they're better than everyone else.


It rained in Los Angeles. No kidding, I was shocked too. Three days without so much as a ray of sun, this transplanted Brit was beginning to feel right at home -- wet and dreaming of a sunny day.

New evidence and the "Solutrean hypothesis"

The Solutrean hypothesis:
The Solutrean hypothesis is a controversial proposal that peoples from Europe may have been among the earliest settlers in the Americas, as evidenced by similarities in stone tool technology of the Solutrean culture from prehistoric Europe to that of the later Clovis tool-making culture found in the Americas. It was first proposed in 1998. Its key proponents include Dennis Stanford, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Bruce Bradley, of the University of Exeter.

In this hypothesis, people associated with the Solutrean culture migrated from Ice Age Europe to North America, bringing their methods of making stone tools with them and providing the basis for later Clovis technology found throughout North America. The hypothesis rests upon particular similarities in Solutrean and Clovis technology that have no known counterparts in Eastern Asia, Siberia or Beringia, areas from which or through which early Americans are known to have migrated.
The Washington Post and The Independent have articles about new findings on the Atlantic coast of North America that support the Solutrean hypothesis.
At the core of Stanford’s case are stone tools recovered from five mid-Atlantic sites. Two sites lie on Chesapeake Bay islands, suggesting that the Solutreans settled Delmarva early on. Smithsonian research associate Darrin Lowery found blades, anvils and other tools found stuck in soil at least 20,000 years old [note only the soil can be reliably dated, not the artifacts themselves]...

Further, the Eastern Shore blades strongly resemble those found at dozens of Solutrean sites from the Stone Age in Spain and France, Stanford says. “We can match each one of 18 styles up to the sites in Europe.”..

Stone tools recovered from two other mid-Atlantic sites — Cactus Hills, Va., 45 miles south of Richmond, and Meadowcroft Rockshelter, in southern Pennsylvania — date to at least 16,000 years ago. Those tools, too, strongly resemble blades found in Europe...

“The reason people don’t like the Solutrean idea is the ocean,” he said. No Solutrean boats have been found. But given that people arrived in Australia some 60,000 years ago — and they didn’t walk there — wood-frame and seal-skin boats were clearly possible, Stanford argues... 
One major problem facing investigators is that early peoples would have lived on the coast next to the ocean - but sea levels have risen so far since that time that the original coast is perhaps 50 miles off the current shoreline and deep underwater.  Caves and artifacts from those locations are difficult to find.

Germany's Der Spiegel, reports on DNA studies of North Americans:
Now a team of scientists led by the Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev has analyzed the boy's [Clovis-era, found in Montana] origins and discovered that he descends from a Siberian tribe with roots tracing back to Europe. Some of the boy's ancestors are likely even to have lived in present-day Germany.

Their findings go even further: More than 80 percent of all native peoples in the Americas -- from the Alaska's Aleuts to the Maya of Yucatan to the Aymaras along the Andes -- are descended from Montana boy's lineage.

Last week, the scientists published the results of sequencing the child's DNA in the scientific journal Nature. Late last year, the same team published the decoded genome of another early human: A juvenile buried near Lake Baikal in Siberia some 24,000 years ago. Their genomes showed surprising ancestral similarities.
This earned Willerslev's team an astounding publishing achievement in just 100 days: The decoding of the genomes of the oldest analyzed members of homo sapiens in both the Old and the New Worlds. This has allowed them to reconstruct the settlement of the Americas via the Beringia land bridge during the ice ages -- when what is now the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska was frozen over -- in greater detail than ever before.
That report is discussed in a Reddit thread and summarized on the Wikipedia page, and at USA Today:
When researchers analyzed the Anzick child's DNA and compared it to the genomes of living Native Americans, they found that the boy's family members were the ancestors of multiple Central and South American groups, such as the Maya of Central America and the Karitiana people of Brazil. Willerslev estimates that roughly 80% of Native Americans are descended from the Anzick group, contradicting claims by other scholars that the Clovis people didn't leave much of a genetic legacy...

The results overturn the idea that migrants who colonized the Americas after the Clovis people are the true ancestors to Native Americans. And the discovery "puts the final nail in the coffin" for the idea that the ancestors of Native Americans may have crossed to the New World from Europe, says study author Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

With the genetic data, the researchers can construct a rough narrative of the peopling of the New World. From Siberia, ancient people gradually crossed a now-vanished land bridge to Alaska. Some drifted south, giving rise to the Clovis people and colonizing the United States and Central and South America. Others stayed in the north and founded the lineage leading to the modern-day Cree and Athabascan peoples of northern North America. The study is published in this week's Nature.

Exxon Valdez Wreck Proves Affects Last For Decades

The good news: Otters in Alaska's Prince William Sound seem to have finally rebounded to population levels and life cycles similar to those they enjoyed before the wreck of the Exxon Valdez in 1989. The bad news: The fact that it took this long is just another example of how the impact of oil spills should be measured in decades, not days. Another example: There is still oil from the Exxon Valdez on beaches near the site of the wreck. The oil exists in little pockets protected by boulders and it's still getting into food webs, at least in very small amounts.

Northern Lights

The northern lights dance in a breathtaking display over Sweden.

Mountain Hunting

The oceans are a lot more uncharted than our maps would have us believe. New satellite technology can help fill in the seafloor gaps.

Astronomy News

An international team of astronomers have estimated that every red dwarf in our galaxy hosts at least one exoplanet and that one quarter host super-Earths orbiting within their habitable zones.
If the Universe made a slasher flick, it would star the innocent bystander spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 and violent baddie galaxy cluster Abell 3627.
Every feature on Mars that's named for an engineer or technician has a back story, including the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment. 
Once you master the art of 'polar alignment' you will master the art of great astrophotography.
NEOWISE has discovered its first comet since the NASA mission was rebooted, but this 'dirty snowball' is a little... different.

Daily Comic Relief


Elephants Landscaped Ice Age Europe Into a Park

Extinct elephants and other herbivores tended prehistoric Europe into a mixture of park-like spaces and clumps of forests.

Dinos, Mammals, Snails and Clones

A remarkable collection of Jurassic Era fossils from China also includes salamanders with their gills preserved.
Snails, one of France's signature dishes, could be off the menu if the country fails to stem an invasion by a slimy worm.
Everyone keeps asking scientists when they're going to clone a woolly mammoth.Trace is here to discuss how we're planning on bringing back extinct animals, and how recent discoveries are helping this process.

Sea Otters Finally Rebound From Exxon Valdez

Thousands of otters died after the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disgorged more than 10 million gallons of crude oil onto the Alaskan coast. Now, 4,277 sea otters swim in western Prince William Sound.

The horseshoe crab blood harvest

Every year, five companies capture thousands of horseshoe crabs, drain the animals of up to 30% of their blood, and release them back into the wild. It's the first step in the production of a chemical used to make sure any injection you've ever received (from vaccines to pain killers) is free of potentially life-threatening bacteria. At The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal looks at the impact the harvest has on horseshoe crabs and what might happen to the crabs if and when we come up with a synthetic substitute.

Animal News

Human facial expressions have great similarity to those of other primates, find research that also identifies important differences.
Sea turtles hatch from nests and go to sea, where they mysteriously seem to disappear for at least two years.
Shera, a 9-year-old lion, gave birth to four cubs over the weekend at the National Zoo.

Animal Pictures