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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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Daily Drift

Now, there's an idea ...

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

Well, there goes the noise level way up ... !
Today is - Swallows Return To San Juan Capistrano Day

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

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Buenos Aires and Villa, Maria, Argentina
Montreal, Guelph, Pikangikum, Byward Market, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Regina, Vaughan, Edmonton, Sioux Lookout, Ottawa, Calgary, Saint John's, Lansing and Britannia, Canada
Tipitapa and Managua, Nicaragua
Kayenta, Scandia, Demorest, Casper, Fairfax, Sioux Falls, Odessa, Oxford, Clemson, Missoula, Pawling, Sapula and Hemet, United States
Barranquilla and Bogota, Colombia
Lima, Peru
Valdivia and Santiago, Chile
Sao Paulo, Brazil
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Panama, Panama
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Leeds, London, Colchester, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, England
Mostar, Hadzici and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Palermo, Milan, Venice, Gambolo, Rome, Ravenna and Pisa, Italy
Myszkow, Bialystok and Warsaw, Poland
L'Olleria, Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Teo and Seville, Spain
Funchal, Lisbon, Costa De Caparica and Porto, Portugal
Heidelberg, Widdern and Altstadt, Germany
Zhovti Vody and Kiev, Ukraine
Ryazan, Kazan, Moscow, Vladivostok, Novgorod and Saint Petersburg, Russia
Dublin, Limerick and Swords, Ireland
Skopje, Macedonia
Reykjavik, Iceland
Kista, Karlskrona and Stockhom, Sweden
Riga, Latvia
Bucharest, Romania
Glasgow and Findochty, Scotland
Rouen, France
Lahti and Espoo, Finland
Athens, Greece
Vinicne Sumice and Prague, Czech Republic
Nitra, Slovakia
Arendal, Norway
Odense and Slagelse, Denmark
Vienna, Austria
Minsk, Belarus
Sofia, Bulagria
Batikent, Turkey
Udaipur, Dhanbad, Bangalore, Patna, Pune, Bhimunipatam, Delhi, Pondicherry, Shillong, New Delhi, Pallavaram, Cannanore and Thiruvananthpuram, India
Tehran, Tabriz, Borujerd, Firuzabad and Esfahan, Iran
Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Bang Khae, Pom Prap Sattru Phai and Patong Beach, Thailand
Moratuwa and Colombo, Sri Lanka
Ad Dammam and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Medan, Kebon, Jakarta and Tangerang, Indonesia
Akko, Israel
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
Erbil, Iraq
Pretoria, Rivonia, Midrand, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Secunda, South Africa
Harare, Zimbabwe
Homebush, Melbourne, Surrey Hills, Brisbane and Normanhurst, Australia
Makati, Davao, Quezon City and Manila, Philippines

Today in History

1687 The French explorer La Salle is murdered in by his own men while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
1702 On the death of William III of Orange, Anne Stuart, sister of Mary, succeeds to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1822 Boston is incorporated as a city.
1879 Jim Currie opens fire on the actors Maurice Barrymore and Ben Porter near Marshall, Texas. His shots wound Barrymore and kill Porter.
1903 The U.S. Senate ratifies the Cuban treaty, gaining naval bases in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda.
1916 The First Aero Squadron takes off from Columbus, NM to join Gen. John J. Pershing and his Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico.
1917 The Adamson Act, eight hour day for railroad workers, is ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1918 Congress authorizes Daylight Savings Time.
1920 The U.S. Senate rejects the Versailles Treaty for the second time.
1924 U.S. troops are rushed to Tegucigalpa as rebel forces take the Honduran capital.
1931 The state of Nevada legalizes gambling.
1935 The British fire on 20,000 Muslims in India, killing 23.
1936 The Soviet Union signs a pact of assistance with Mongolia against Japan.
1944 The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.
1945 Adolf Hitler orders a scorched-earth policy for his retreating German armies in the west and east.
1947 Chiang Kai-Shek's government forces take control of Yenan, the former headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party.
1949 The Soviet People's Council signs the constitution of the German Democratic Republic, and declares that the North Atlantic Treaty is merely a war weapon.
1963 In Costa Rica, President John F. Kennedy and six Latin American presidents pledge to fight Communism.
1977 Congo President Marien Ngouabi is killed by a suicide commando.
1981 One technician is killed and two others are injured during a routine test on space shuttle Columbia.

Non Sequitur


Be like Greasley

British Army Prisoner of War, Horace Greasley defiantly stares down Heinrich Himmler, Hitler's right-hand-man, who was responsible for the Holocaust. Greasley's confrontation with Himmler took place during an inspection of the camp he was confined to. The inmates were ordered to remain seated, but Greasley refused. Horace Greasley also escaped the death camp, but sneaked back in to rescue a German woman whom he had fallen in love with. 
Be like Greasley!!

Steve McCurry's Photographic Vision Of Ethiopia

Photographer Steve McCurry has an epic vision which he has been happily sharing with the world for over 30 years, and his knack for revealing the heart and soul of his subjects makes him the perfect person to call when you need help promoting a humanistic cause.
This photo journey took Steve to Ethiopia, more specifically to the remote Omo Valley region, where he was invited to capture the plight of the Omo children and help spread the word about a great cause.
The Omo Child charity takes care of children who are considered mingi (cursed) by their tribe and either sent to die in the desert or ritualistically murdered.
These unwanted mingi children are given a home and an education thanks to the efforts of Lale Lubuko and photographer John Rowe, founders of Omo Child, and with Steve McCurry’s intimate and illustrative photo series showing the world who their donations are benefitting the Omo children will hopefully receive the funding help they so desperately need.

Did you know ...

About the third party that's winning

That the millennials are independents, unreligious

And here's a map of the internet, drawn to scale

America's Dirtiest Secret ...

The oil and gas industry’s contamination problems are so large, they have been deemed impossible to prevent or clean up by both industry and government. an unimaginable tonnage of contamination is being placed into our environment every year thanks to lax regulation of exploration and production wastes.

This repugican State Senator Wants Jim Crow Back So Businesses Can Discriminate Based on Race

This asshat repugican Phil Jensen of South Dakota thinks businesses should have the right to refuse service to people based on sexual orientation, race, and religion.…
Phil Jensen of South Dakota thinks companies should have the right to refuse service to people based on sexual orientation, race, and religion.
Jensen took bigotry a step beyond the repugican norm of discriminating against gay people.
According to the Rapid City Journal:
Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer’s race or religion – whether that’s right or wrong, he says, can be fairly addressed by the free market, not the government.
“If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them,” he said.
The free market has an awful record when it comes to ending discrimination. The free market didn’t end slavery. The free market didn’t end Jim Crow. The free market is where women get paid seventy-seven cents for every dollar that a man makes.
The free market is not the cure all that wingnuts like to claim it is, because the free market has no motivation other than making profit. The left has learned how to use their free market power as consumers to boycott wingnut screeching heads like Glenn Brick and Lush Dimbulb, and groups like ALEC, but the market itself is not concerned with issues like racism, bigotry, and discrimination.
Phil Jensen considers allowing business owners to discriminate a form of “real wingnuttery,” which sounds a whole lot code for racism and bigotry. Somewhere along the way for many members of the repugican cabal wingnuttery became a synonym for racism.
As long as the repugican cabal contains elected officials such as Phil Jensen, their attempt at outreach to minorities are destined to fail. Laws that prohibit racial discrimination shouldn’t be considered big government interference.
Anyone who believes that companies should be allowed to discriminate (Rand Paul) shouldn’t be holding office. They are disguising racism with wingnuttery. The goal isn’t to take the country back, but to this country back to a much more intolerant time.

Miami Crimestoppers head eats a tip rather than hand it over to defense lawyer

Richard Masten is the executive director of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, a service that promises anonymity to the people who send in tips on serious crimes. So when a judge ordered him to hand over a tip -- with potentially identifying information -- to a defendant's lawyer, he ate it.
As Lowering the Bar points out, this is probably more of a symbolic gesture than a real defense of his source's anonymity, since there's likely a file-copy at Crimestoppers itself. Masten is going back to court this week to receive a punishment from the judge: "I'll bring a toothbrush and some pajamas."
"We promise the people who give us information to solve murders, serious violent crimes in this community, that they can call with an assurance that they will remain anonymous and that nothing about them or their information would ever be compromised," [Masten] said. "The case today started creeping into that... it’s not going to happen on my watch and I understood the consequences."

The War on Drugs makes us less safe

Conor Friedersforf counts the ways, but it comes down to saying "we've failed, sure, but we might succeed if only you gave us more money.

Functionally Obsolete

They may say it’s "functionally obsolete,' but I’d call it an ex-bridge. As in, no longer a bridge. It’s expired. It is no more. It has ceased to exist.

A 5-year-old girl spent whole day at wrong school after getting on the wrong bus

Officials at an upstate New York school district say a kindergartner spent a day at the wrong school after getting on the wrong bus. Schenectady city school district officials say the series of mistakes began on Wednesday morning when 5-year-old Janeya Nevins boarded the wrong bus, which was driven by a substitute driver.
Janeya's mother, Patricia Rodriguez, said that while she acknowledged putting her daughter on the wrong bus, she said she recognized the bus and the substitute driver from another time she sent her daughter to school. At the school, teachers were expecting a new first-grader and asked Janeya if she was that student.

Janeya said she was and spent the day answering to the no-show first-grader's name. The mistake wasn't discovered until the kindergartner's mother called her school to report that her daughter didn't get off the bus that afternoon. School officials say they located her a short time later.

Superintendent Larry Spring said that the person who usually makes calls regarding attendance issues at the girl's school was out that day, so a call was not made to Rodriguez. "While the student did impersonate another student, which didn't raise any red flags, the situation has brought to light some other serious issues that need to be addressed on our end," Spring said in a statement. The district says it's re-examining its bus and new student procedures.

There's a follow-up news video here.

Motorcycle left dangling from power lines following road accident

An road accident resulted in a motorbike left hanging from power lines in Serrinha, eastern Brazil in the early hours of Saturday.

Man arrested after reckless dancing

A man in Australia's Northern Territory ejected from a nightclub for reckless dancing was later arrested after throwing a tantrum and damaging a police car.

Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen said a 20-year-old Alawa man was arrested for criminal damage in the early hours of Sunday morning after leaving a nightclub in the city.

"He was intoxicated and apparently incensed that he was asked to leave a nightclub for reckless dancing. As a result, he kicked over signs and property in his path.

"When police caught up with him he began yelling and, out of the blue, bashed his fist on the bonnet of the police van. Bad moves all round. Some people should not drink and dance."

Man bereft of trousers kicked in apartment door searching for coat he was wearing

Police officers in Seattle arrested a man lacking trousers on Friday morning after he reportedly kicked in an apartment door and told the resident he was searching for his coat.

Police responded just before 11am to the apartment only to find a “very intoxicated man” lying on his back in the hallway of the apartment building. He had apparently urinated on himself and was covered in cuts and bruises,.
The apartment resident told police she did not know the man without trousers and had never seen him before. Another occupant of the apartment, however, confessed he partied at the apartment with the trouser-less man the night before.

The man lacking trousers was wearing the coat he thought he was missing. Police called an ambulance to take him to Harborview Medical Center. The case will be forwarded to prosecutors for potential property destruction charges.

Jail for man who assaulted policeman with sandwiches

A Nottinghamshire man has been jailed for assaulting a policeman with sandwiches after he hurled them into the face of the officer. 20-year-old Thomas South left police community support officer James Wilkinson with a cut and bleeding lip after throwing his sandwiches in a carton as he fled through Mansfield town center.
South was wanted by police for trying to spend £20 worth of counterfeit notes in the town. He successfully bought the sandwiches with his dud cash from Costa Coffee. But staff at another shop noticed one of his dodgy money and alerted police.
Officers moved in to arrest South but he fled, lobbing the sandwich as he ran in Officer Wilkinson’s direction on February 25. The type of sandwich filling was not mentioned as South was sentenced on Wednesday after admitting the attack and having the counterfeit cash.

Judge Andrew Hamilton jailed South for two months for the assault, consecutive to 12 months for the counterfeit cash charges, making his sentence 14 months, of which he will serve half and the remainder on licence. The judge told South: “there was no need for that whatsoever”, after he heard how he threw the sandwiches at the police community support officer.



Honey and Antibiotic Resistance

Nurse bees tending to brood in cells both open and capped with beeswax. Recent work at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the division of labor in honeybee colonies is controlled by small segments of noncoding RNA called micro-RNAs, or miRNAs.Honey is a new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance
Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be […]

Oats and Your Heart

New reason to eat oats for heart health

The soluble fiber in oats helps lower total and LDL […]

Blind Drunk

If you've ever had too much to drink, you might've experienced the phenomenon of "blacking out." Trace explains what occurs in the brain once you've consumed a large amount of alcohol.

The connection between Alzheimer's and life, itself

Enzymes — the molecules responsible for many chemical reactions central to life — are large and complex. So large and complex that some scientists think the beginnings of life might have happened before modern enzymes evolved. How's that work? Here's where things get crazy. Turns out, protein plaques (similar to the ones that are, today, the calling card of Alzheimer's) could have played the role.

Random Photos

Scientists just got a glimpse of what happened a half-second after the Big Bang

If the universe expanded very, very quickly in the first few moments after the Big Bang it would explain a lot of the things astronomers observe. That theory, inflation, is generally accepted by scientists, but they're still looking for physical evidence to support it. Monday, scientists announced that they might, finally, have that evidence. This is a Nobel-caliber discovery and Matthew Francis at Ars Technica does a good job of explaining the basics.

4 Facts About The Big Bang That'll Make You Look Smart Without Understanding Any Physics

Time Line of the Universe
The scientific community is abuzz with the news that astrophysicists have detected gravitational waves or ripples in the fabric of space-time left over from the Big Bang
The detection of the gravitational waves is a landmark discovery - these waves, first proposed by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity nearly a century ago, are believed to originate from the Big Bang. "Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today," said lead astronomer John Kovac of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "This has been like looking for a needle in a haystack, but instead we found a crowbar," added team co-leader Clem Pryke of University of Minnesota. Many have likened the major discovery as the "smoking gun" of the Big Bang.
The details of the discovery is fascinating (like how gravitational waves actually "squeeze" space as they travel and have "handedness" just like light waves). Even though the physics of the Big Bang may be over your head, it doesn't mean that you can't chat about it intelligently with your coworkers.
Here are 4 Neat Facts About the Big Bang That'll Make You Look Smart Without Understanding Any Physics that you can use to impress other people:

1. Father of The Big Bang was Actually a catholic Priest

The first person who proposed the theory of the expansion of the Universe wasn't Edwin Hubble, the astronomer whose name graced the space telescope orbiting the Earth today.
Rather, it was Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, astronomer, and professor of physics at the Université catholique de Louvain.
In 1927, Lemaître proposed that "the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of creation," but his new idea had little impact because the journal it was published in was not widely read outside of Belgium. A few years later, when Einstein read the paper, he remarked "your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious."


2. "Big Bang" Was Actually A Pejorative

Well, supposedly anyhow.
The name "Big Bang" was coined by British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle* who ridiculed the idea that the universe had a beginning (he likened it as "an irrational process, and can't be described in scientific terms," because that resembled the argument that the universe had a creator). Hoyle believed that the universe didn't have a beginning - it was always there (this "steady state" theory was later debunked).
On March 28, 1949, Hoyle first uttered the name "Big Bang" on a BBC radio broadcast. It was reported that he intended the name to be insulting, a claim that Hoyle later denied. He said that instead, it was a "striking image" for the radio audience meant to emphasize the difference between that, and his steady state theory.
*If you think his name is familiar, that's probably because you've seen the TV series A for Andromeda or read the novel by the same name. It was written by Hoyle and John Elliot.

3. The Big Bang Was First Conceptualized In 1225

L'image du monde by Gossuin de MetzSeven centuries before modern scientists proposed the Big Bang, a thirteenth-century English scholar named Robert Grosseteste wrote a treatise called De Luce (On Light) in which he explored the nature of matter and cosmos. In that, Grosseteste described "the birth of the Universe in an explosion and the crystallization of matter to form stars and planets in a set of nested spheres around Earth."
According to Tom McLeish and colleagues in this Nature article titled "History: A medieval multiverse," Grosseteste's De Luce is "the first attempt to describe the heavens and Earth using a single set of physical laws." In terms of the Big Bang, Grosseteste proposed an initial explosion of a primordial sort of light called lux, which then expands the universe into an enormous sphere and thinning matters as it goes.

4. Pope Pius XII Thought The Big Bang Proved The Existence of god

The relationship of the catholic cult and scientists is often catankerous, but the cult was actually rejoiced when scientists first proposed the Big Bang.
In 1951, Pope Pius XII celebrated the scientific idea of the Big Bang in a speech before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He remarked, "… it would seem that present-day science, with one sweep back across the centuries, has succeeded in bearing witness to the august instant of the primordial Fiat Lux [Let there be Light], when along with matter, there burst forth from nothing a sea of light and radiation, and the elements split and churned and formed into millions of galaxies."
Pius XII thought that the Big Bang actually proved the existence of god: "Thus, with that concreteness which is characteristic of physical proofs, [science] has confirmed the contingency of the universe and also the well-founded deduction as to the epoch when the world came forth from the hands of the creator. Hence, creation took place. We say: therefore, there is a creator. Therefore, god exists!"
Later, Georges Lemaître and other astronomers approached the Pope privately and told him that it wasn't a good idea to pin the catholic delusion on a contested scientific hypothesis (as the Big Bang was back then), and the Pope never mentioned the topic again in public.

Daily Comic Relief


Caveman Rock Music

Talk about caveman rock: Percussionists from the French National Orchestra will play a song specifically composed for a set of 24 stone chimes or lithophones dating from the New Stone Age (between 2500 and 8000 BC).
The stone chimes are solid, oblong stones that experts first believed to be pestles or grinders of grain. In 1994, archaeologist Erik Gonthier of the Natural History Museum in Paris happened to tap one with a mallet. Instead of a dull thud, he heard a musical note instead. "I thought back to my grandmother's piano and the small supports which made the strings resonate. I found some packaging foam in the trashcan of the museum, I made two rests that I placed under either end of the lithophone, and tapped it. It made a clear 'tinnnnggg'," Gonthier told the BBC, "My heart beat like crazy. I knew that I had found something great."
It took five years for Gonthier to convince other experts that the stones are actually pre-historic musical instruments. But even Gonthier admitted that there might be other purposes to the stones. "They may also have been used to signal danger, or even to call people to dinner," he said. "They could be heard from kilometers away in the desert or forest."
The French National Orchestra will play the musical piece dubbed "Paleomusique," written by classical composer Philippe Fenelon, only three times to avoid damaging or wearing the instruments down.
Read the rest of the story over at the BBC.

Don't run for the doorway: Debunking earthquake myths

A 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Los Angeles area Monday morning. Sunday, northern Chile was rocked by a 6.7 bone shaker. This seems like a nice time to link to Michelle Lanz' piece from earlier this year chronicling some common earthquake myths. One big one: Doorways aren't actually sanctuary. That idea has its origins in a time and place where most houses were made out of adobe. Today, you're better off dropping to the floor and crawling underneath something sturdy.

Brought Back To Life

Moss frozen on an Antarctic island for more than 1,500 years was brought back to life in a British laboratory.

New burial suggests cats have been domesticated far longer than we thought

Ancient Egyptians were burying (and, presumably, domesticating) cats 2000 years earlier than scientists previously thought.

Animal Pictures