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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, April 2, 2014

The Daily Drift

It's Man-Made and Natural Wonders
When you spend time in a garden you find many things ...
Carolina Naturally is read in 196 countries around the world daily.   

 Get up and get out and Walk ... !
Today is - National Walking Day

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

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Winnipeg, Ottawa, Britannia, Joliette, Vancouver, Regina, Saint-Elzear, Edmonton, Thunder Bay, Guelph, Prince Albert, Pikangikum, Sioux Lookout, Calgary, Fort Nelson, Saint John's and Mississauga, Canada
Nantuckett, Des Moines, Ocala, Joshua Tree, Bonita Springs, South San Gabriel, Sioux Falls, Kailua, Puyallup and Eau Claire, United States
Villa Maria, Argentina
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Philipsburg, Sint Maartin
Bogota and Cali, Colombia
Montevideo, Uruguay
Porto Alegre, Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
Managua, Nicaragua
Tijuana, Mexico
Caracas, Venezuela
Genoa, Ivrea, Rome, Naples, Ravenna and Milan, Italy
Cadiz, Barcelona, Badalona, Bilbao and Madrid, Spain
Vladivostok, Moscow, Chelyabinsk and Novgorod, Russia
Frankfurt Am Main, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Eschborn, Hamburg and Dusseldorf, Germany
Athens, Greece
London, Woking, Leeds, Liverpool and Leicester, England
Limerick, Dublin and Cork, Ireland
Mostar and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Lodz, Gdynia and Kielce, Poland
Vilnius, Lithuania
Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria
Mol and Brussels, Belgium
Bucharest and Slatina, Romania
Sevnica, Slovakia
Paris, Rouen and Nice, France
Ostrava, Czech Republic
Kista, Sweden
Kiev and Kharkiv, Ukraine
Deinum and Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bern, Switzerland
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Nokia, Finland
Riga, Latvia
Budapest, Hungary
Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Bikaner, Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Shillong, Coimbatore and Pune, India
Taizz and Al Hudaydah,Yemen
Denpasar, Jakarta, Banjar Gunungpande and Kebon, Indonesia
La Dagotiere and Port Louis, Mauritius
Doha, Qatar
Bayan Lepas, Kuala Lumpur, Sibu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vietnam
Guangzhou, China
Tehran, Iran
Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nagoya, Japan
Muscat, Oman
Calabar, Algeria
Cairo, Egypt
Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Berea and Cape Town, South Africa
The Pacific
Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1792 The United States authorizes the minting of the $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins as well as the silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime.
1796 Haitian revolt leader Toussaint L'Ouverture takes command of French forces at Santo Domingo.
1801 The British navy defeats the Danish at the Battle of Copenhagen.
1865 Confederate President Jefferson Davis flees Richmond, Virginia as Grant breaks Lee's line at Petersburg.
1910 Karl Harris perfects the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber.
1914 The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announces plans to divide the country into 12 districts.
1917 President Woodrow Wilson presents a declaration of war against Germany to Congress.
1917 Jeannette Pickering Rankin is sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1931 Virne "Jackie" Mitchell becomes the first woman to play for an all-male pro baseball team. In an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, she strikes out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
1932 Charles Lindbergh pays over $50,000 ransom for his kidnapped son.
1944 Soviet forces enter Romania, one of Germany's allied countries.
1958 The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics is renamed NASA.
1963 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King begins the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, Alabama.
1982 Argentina invades the British-owned Falkland Islands.

Non Sequitur


BP Refinery Leaks Oil Into Lake Michigan

Hey, it's only the environment after all ...
A BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana leaked an unknown amount of oil into Lake Michigan Monday afternoon, an incident that occurred less than two weeks after the U.S. lifted BP's ban on seeking new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP says the spill, which has since been stopped and contained, was caused by a "disruption in the refining process" at its Whiting refinery in northwest Indiana. [...]CBS, citing unnamed sources, reports that between 10 and 12 barrels - around 500 gallons - spilled into the lake.
Lake Michigan acts as the drinking water source for 7 million people in the Chigago area alone, but EPA officials said on the call that the drinking water wouldn't be affected by the spill. 
... it's not like we don't have another one!

What’s that smell in West Virgina water?

In the more than two months since the Jan. 9 […]

Wealth and climate change are increasing the cost of disaster cleanup

Political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. is right when he says that one reason we now spend more on disasters than we did in the past is that we are wealthier than we were in the past. But he's wrong in claiming that climate change has nothing to do with the increased cost. Physicist and climate scientist John P. Abraham explains a couple key flaws in Pielke's argument at The Huffington Post

The Thousand Islands ...

The Thousand Islands is a region of (in excess of) a thousand islands between Canada and the United States in the Saint Lawrence River - yes, in the river between the two nations. Some are large enough for 'castles' such as shown above while others are no more than a meter wide (to be classified as one of the 'thousand' any ground must be above the water year-round and be at least a meter wide).

Shortest International Bridge in the World


The World's Smallest Sandcastles Are Built on Individual Grains of Sand

The artist Vik Muniz is always pushing boundaries. We've previously seen his peanut butter and jelly Mona Lisas, his art reproductions made with torn-up magazines and his clown skull. Those projects push the boundaries of materials. But Muniz also pushes out space. He found that as his studio physically expanded, so did his projects. Eventually, he used earth moving equipment to create drawings hundreds of meters across.
Now, Muniz is going in the opposite direction. He had explored art at the gargantuan scale and was ready to create it at the microscopic level. So he sketched sandcastles and sent them to Marcelo Coelho, a designer who is skilled in the artistic use of a focused ion beam. With special equipment, Coelho can etch lines 50 nanometers wide. That's about one thousandth of the width of a human hair.
You results are beautiful sandcastles on grains of sand. You can read more about the project and see more images at Colossal.

Cascadă Bigăr

Bigăr waterfall, Romania

Angel Falls

Angel Falls is found in Venezuela in the Canaima National Park. It is the highest waterfall in the world at 3,212 feet (979 m). The falls has a clear drop of 2,647 feet (807 m) which is so far that the water vaporizes with the wind and becomes mist well before reaching the ground. Angel Falls is also called Kerepakupai meru which means "waterfall of the deepest place."

The Emerald Isle

Frocess Road, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

You know you want to be ...

... deep in the forest away from 'civilization' just as much as we all do.

The Stairway to Heaven

What began as a rickety wood pathway to install antenna cables over a cliff in 1942 has become a hiker’s enigma often called the “Stairway to Heaven.”
World War II motivated the U.S. military to build a radio transceiver station atop Hawaii’s Puʻukeahiakahoe mountain. The station sent low-frequency signals to communicate with submarines navigating around Japan. The Haiku Stairs (Haʻikū means “sharp break” in Hawaiian) offers a steep 2,500-foot ascent on Oahu that reaches the now abandoned station. Despite receiving an $875,000 metal renovation in 2003, according to to-hawaii.com, the trail is forbidden to many visitors wanting to endure the series of steps. The prohibition, nevertheless, hasn’t held back everyone from the climb and arriving at its wonderful island landscape views.
Haiku Stairs
We asked the Friends of Haiku Stairs (FHS) volunteer organization to get the inside scoop on the popular attraction:
What’s the current status and future of the Haiku Stairs?
FHS: Climbing on the stairs is illegal without consent from the owners — there are several, and they asked us not to share all of their names. The Friends of Haiku Stairs have a working agreement with all of the owners and are trying to obtain the newly required $1 million insurance policy that one of the owners is requiring us to have before we can even access them again, and that is only for maintenance and not recreation.
There is a continued movement to demolish the stairs altogether that is being fueled by people accessing them illegally. We believe there’s a better solution: Open the stairs to allow people to climb in safe conditions and that will alleviate the trespassing. To get there, we need political will.
Is it safe to climb the stairs?
FHS: The stairs are safe to climb if conditions are favorable, with caution, and in the daylight. People continue to access them illegally through the neighborhoods; or worse, they try to access them from the back side which is a treacherous, dangerous hike. The result is a surge in emergency calls and a strain on efforts from police and rescue teams.
View from the Omega station 2

A Minnesota Forest

Located in Minnesota (near the Canadian border), and shaped like Minnesota.

Screencap by BobInMinn taken from Google Maps and posted in Reddit, then explained at Minneapolis' City Pages:
Hello, I have been aware of this timber harvest shaped like the state of MN border for about 8 years.  I was a forester in northern Minnesota for some time and I can tell you this. This is state forest land, managed by DNR Division of Forestry.  The state employs foresters to design timber harvests to meet many objectives including ecological and economic ones.  The forester who designed this timber sale is a veteran at his craft and created this boundary line without the use of gps, but with map and compass instead.  The forest type is jack pine, which is an early successional species that colonizes sites after a major disturbance and needs full sun to thrive. This species occurs in fire dependent forests.  Modern timber sales mimic the effect of fire in these landscapes.  As such this large opening was created to encourage it's regeneration.   Loggers are contractors of the landowners/ land managers, and as such do not have discretion as to the layout of the harvest or other design features.  They perform the contract. This forester must have an artistic side.



The Sunken City of Baia

In its heyday, the Classical Roman city of Baia was the hedonist Las Vegas of the time, but now its remains are partying beneath the waves.
A prominent resort city for centuries, Baia catered to the recreational whims of the rich and powerful among the Roman elite. The city, which was located over natural volcanic vents, was famous for its healing medicinal hot springs which occurred all around the city and were quite easy to build spas over. Some of antiquity’s most powerful figures such as Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were known to have visited the city and a number of them actually built permanent vacation villas there.
Unfortunately the good times were not to last and the city was sacked by Saracens in the 8th century and by 1500, the remains of the formerly luxurious town were abandoned. After the city remains were emptied, the water level slowly rose due to the same volcanic vents that were once a draw to the area, and most of the ancient ruins were drowned under the shallow waters of the bay.
Today the ancient remains of Baia can be visited in one of the world’s few underwater archeological parks.
Plan a visit to The Sunken City of Baia on Atlas Obscura!


Turkey's Underground City That Once Housed 20,000 People

Underground cities can be found all across the world but one particular underground city has everything in it. Derinkuyu, located in present-day Turkey in the historical Cappadocia region, extends 60 meters into the ground and could accommodate 20,000 inhabitants.

Derinkuyu dates back to the 7th century BC. The early inhabitants of the underground city built it to save themselves from invasions and war. Ingenuity presented them with an opportunity to build a livable area where they can go unnoticed and where they can protect their possessions.

Ten Amazing Underground Cottages

There are some astonishing examples of underground cottages in the world. Here's a collection of the coolest looking underground cottages from New Zealand, Switzerland, Worcestershire, Italy and from other parts of the world.

Directions ...

A place we've all been to ... many times in some cases

Will the Yellowstone supervolcano erupt in our lifetime?

As with many things in nature, it helps to understand […]

Crystal Caves

The Crystal Cave is a 55 feet deep blue underground lake found on the island of Bermuda. The cave features a variety of formations that include: soda straws and stalactites. The water is crystal clear allowing visitors to view formations at the bottom of the 55 feet deep underground lake.

An Ice Cave in Iceland

Redditor VolcanosMeltMeDown is an American photographer who just spent a year in Iceland. She tells the story of how her Icelandic boyfriend recently took her to an ice cave. They got some lovely photographs, but then the story took a little twist. You don't want to miss the very last picture, either, for a laugh.

Rock of Aphrodite

The Rock of Aphrodite is a notable tourist destination for the scenic views it provides of the sea. It is also known as the Rock of the Greek or Petra Tou Romiou and is the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite.

Daily Comic Relief


Eight 'Painted' Hillsides

Here's our list of 8 of the most spectacular — and entirely natural — painted hillsides in the world.

Fire Opal

It's actually not a mineral:
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica; its water content may range from 3% to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6% and 10%. Because of its amorphous character it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike the other crystalline forms of silica which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock...

The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light; depending on the conditions in which it formed, it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare, whereas white and greens are the most common. It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent...

The word opal is adapted from the Roman term opalus, but the origin of this word is a matter of debate. However, most modern references suggest it is adapted from the Sanskrit word úpala... the argument for the Sanskrit origin is strong. The term first appears in Roman references around 250 BC, at a time when the opal was valued above all other gems...

It was also said to confer the power of invisibility if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in the hand.  Following the publication of Sir Walter Scott's Anne of Geierstein in 1829, however, opal acquired a less auspicious reputation. In Scott's novel, the Baroness of Arnheim wears an opal talisman with supernatural powers. When a drop of holy water falls on the talisman, the opal turns into a colorless stone and the Baroness dies soon thereafter. Due to the popularity of Scott's novel, people began to associate opals with bad luck and death.  Within a year of the publishing of Scott's novel in April 1829, the sale of opals in Europe dropped by 50%, and remained low for the next twenty years or so.

National soil collection may unlock mysteries

In this photo taken April 16, 2008, and provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, geologist Jim Kilburn, now retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, collects soil from Kansas. The federal government sent students and scientists to more than 4,800 places across the nation to collect soil that was analyzed for its composition. The results are now highly sought after by researchers in a wide variety of fields. (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey) 
The government has been collecting dirt — lots of it. Clumps came from the Texas Panhandle, a shady grove in West Virginia, a picked-over corn field in Kansas and thousands of other places in the lower 48 states.
A small army of researchers and university students lugging pick axes and shovels scattered across the country for three years to scoop samples into plastic bags from nearly 5,000 places. They marked the GPS coordinates, took photos and labeled each bag before mailing them back to the government's laboratory in Denver.
Though always underfoot and often overlooked, dirt actually has a lot to tell. Scientists say information gleaned from it could help farmers grow better vegetables and build a better understanding of climate change. A researcher of forensic science said mud caked on a murder suspect's boots could reveal if he had traipsed through a crime scene or had been at home innocently gardening.
David Smith, who launched the U.S. Geological Survey project in 2001, said data about the dirt will feed research for a century, and he's sharing it with anyone who wants it. "The more eyes and brains that look at it, the better," Smith said.
The idea for the massive research project came in the late 1990s, when Smith was in charge of handing out the government's store of soil data — what little there was.
The archive held information collected in the 1960s and 1970s. It was spotty and based on outdated science. Just about every researcher returned with the same disappointment, saying: "There must be more."
Smith told them that, sadly, no, there wasn't.
So he took action. During the next several years, Smith and his fellow geologists refined a plan for collecting and documenting the makeup of the nation's soil.
Digging started in 2007 and wasn't done until 2010. They strategically sunk their shovels at a spot in every 600 square miles. At each locale they took three samples — starting at the surface and going no deeper than three feet.
Before retiring, U.S. Geological Survey geologist Jim Kilburn trained many of the 40 surveyors and went into the field himself several times for up to a month. He sent back hundreds of samples on the road from Nebraska down to Texas and from Kansas west to the California coast.
Only once was Kilburn told to go away. A rancher near Sacramento, Calif., had let government researchers onto his pastures before, where they found a rare clover and told him he could no longer graze cattle there.
"No matter what I told the guy, he wasn't going to let me on," Kilburn said. "He had good reason."
A student Kilburn supervised caused a panic by leaving behind a sticky note on her motel room mirror with the reminder, "Send anthrax." The element occurs naturally in soil throughout the country, but it also has sinister uses. A housekeeper thought the worst, sparking a series of calls with geological survey headquarters until the confusion was resolved.
The hard work paid off. In October, the geological survey published a snapshot of minerals and chemicals in the ground. No other work captures the same information on a national scale, said Smith, who estimated the project cost $10 million.
Researchers at universities, institutes and government agencies have just begun using the data.
Kang Xia, a professor of environmental chemistry at Virginia Tech, stumbled upon the soil survey by chance — and at exactly the right moment.
She had set out to study and map the levels of organic carbon and nitrogen in soil — both critical for growing healthy crops. But she couldn't find samples of dirt from across the country.
"I was scratching my head," she said. "What do I do about this?"
Not long after that, a graduate student mentioned his summer job on the geological survey crew collecting dirt samples.
Problem solved. Xia emailed Smith, who offered her thousands of soil samples and a decade's worth of research.
Jennifer Phelan at RTI Inc., a research institute in Raleigh, N.C., is using the dirt to study acid rain's harm to forests, starting in Pennsylvania.
Cornell University professor Johannes Lehmann is leading a group of graduate students sifting through soil data for evidence of black carbon, a byproduct of forest fires and industrial smokestacks. The research may increase understanding of global warming.
"Without this sampling effort, we couldn't do this type of research," Lehmann said.
Dirt under the fingernails of a murder victim could help detectives figure out if the body was dumped there but killed elsewhere, said Sarah Jantzi, whose 2013 doctoral dissertation at Florida International University in the field of forensic science drew upon the government work.
A government scientist for 38 years, Smith said those after him can use this soil analysis as a starting point for decades of research. His data is available to anyone who thinks it will advance his or her project.
"The opportunities for further research are almost limitless," he said.

A Psychedelic Plant You Can Legally Grow

Image: Llez

Wormwood is a perennial herb with pale yellow flowers from which absinthe is made. When in full bloom, the flowers can be dried and consumed to be used as a pain reliever. Wormwood oil can be used as a cardiac stimulant. Careful, now, wormwood as a whole is a poisonous plant and should not be consumed in large quantities. Illegally, wormwood is often smoked in tandem with cannabis to exaggerate the effects of the high.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • Cave Art reveals an ancient view of the cosmos
  • The last commercial sailing ship
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
And more ...
Indian Bullfrog - our Animal Picture, for today.