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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Daily Drift

Wild hats are required for the Derby ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 198 countries around the world daily.   

And we're off to the races ... !
Today is - Kentucky Derby Day

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

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Thunder Bay, Pikangikum, Britannia, Joliette, Lansing, Byward Market, Barrie, Montreal, Lake Louise, Nunalla, Downsview and Ottawa, Canada
Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Toritama, Brasilia and Tatui, Brazil
Santiago, Chile
Novato, Creedmor, Hopatcong, Eureka, Clovis, Bourbonnais and Poughkeepsie, United States
Managua and Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Mexico City, Mexico
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Amsterdam, Baaren and Zaandam, Netherlands
Moscow, Ryazan, Vladivostok and Kazan, Russia
Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
Madrid, Algerircas, Malaga and Cadiz, Spain
Magenta, Pau, L'ancisenne-Lorette and Deville-Les-Rouen, France
Teixoso and Lagos, Portugal
Cagliari, Milan, Rome, Sovana, Curno, Pescara and Ivrea, Italy
Nutzenberg, Rosenheim and Hannover, Germany
Kent, Middlebough and Manchester, England
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nokia, Finland
Stockholm, Sweden
Novi Sad, Serbia
Oziemk, Poland
Oslo, Norway
Reykjavik, Iceland
Athens, Greece
Dublin, Ireland
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Jakarta, Pontianak and Depok, Indonesia
Nagoya, Japan
Singapore, Singapore
La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Johor Bahru, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Baghdad, Iraq
Rangoon, Burma
Pune, Thiruvananthpuram, Shillong, Bangalore, Kolkata, Coimbatore and New Delhi, India
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tehran, Iran
Bangkok, Thailand
Cairo, Egypt
Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa
Rabat, Morocco
The Pacific
Sydney and Botany, Australia
Makati, Philippines

Today in History

495 Pope Gelasius asserts that his authority is superior to Emperor Enanstasius.
1568 French forces in Florida slaughter hundreds of Spanish.
1855 Macon B. Allen becomes the first African American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.
1859 France declares war on Austria.
1863 The Battle of Chancellorsville rages for a second day.
1865 President Lincoln's funeral train arrives in Springfield, Illinois.
1926 U.S. Marines land in Nicaragua.
1952 The first airplane lands at the geographic North Pole.
1968 After three days of battle, the U.S. Marines retake Dai Do complex in Vietnam, only to find the North Vietnamese have evacuated the area.
1971 James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King's assassin, is caught in a jail break attempt.
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Great Britain.
1982 A British submarine sinks Argentina's only cruiser during the Falkland Islands War.

Non Sequitur


Buy one quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars for US$121.95

The "Bank of Zimbabwe" is selling a quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars for US$122, which is a rip-off. Why not buy Zimbabwe 50 trillion dollars bank notes from the "Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe" for US$0.83 instead?

When in ancient Rome, bring bottled water

Turns out, when your entire plumbing system and all your aqueduct pipes are made of lead, your water probably contains more lead than is strictly safe. That said, researchers don't think the locals were getting high enough doses to cause the kind of brain damage that would lead to, for instance, an increase in crime.

Speckles on the Sun larger than Alaska

The surface of the Sun is covered in what scientists call "granules" — upwellings of plasma, which are caused by convection currents just the same way that colder, denser water sinks in the ocean or hot goo rises to the top of a lava lamp. The tops of these upwellings are responsible for making the surface of the Sun appear all pebbled and speckley. And, as this image from Wikimedia Commons shows, they are MASSIVE.
They are also helping scientists learn more about what happens inside the Sun's boiling heart, according to a story by Tom Yulsman at the ImaGeo blog.

Inside the vegetative mind

The invention of the artificial respirator in Denmark in the 1950s created more than just a new technology. It created a new class of being — the vegetative state. More than half a century later, scientists are still trying to understand what happens inside the minds of vegetative patients.

U.S. Warming Fast Since the First Earth Day

Some States Warming at Twice Global Rate
Average annual temperatures have been rising in every state since the first Earth Day in 1970. 
The states that have warmed the most since then are Delaware and Wisconsin, at about 3 degrees warmer than in 1970.
Average temperatures across most of the continental U.S. have been rising gradually for more than a century, at a rate of about 0.127°F per decade between 1910-2012. That trend parallels an overall increase in average global temperatures, which is largely the result of human greenhouse gas emissions. While global warming isn’t uniform, and some regions are warming faster than others, since the 1970s, warming across the U.S. has accelerated, previously shown in our report The Heat is On. Since then, every state’s annual average temperature has risen accordingly. On average, temperatures in the contiguous 48 states have been warming at a rate of 0.48°F per decade since 1970, nearly twice the global average.
You can find a chart to compare the warming among the states at Climate Central.

Here's How Much Money Doctors Actually Make

While many Americans complain about the costs of healthcare: insurance, hospital bills, paperwork, and medicine, relatively few begrudge doctors making a good living. After all, they study for years to achieve their degrees and usually graduate in deep debt. Then most of them work really hard to manage illness, improve our health, and save our lives. How much money do doctors actually make? It depends on their specialty and in what part of the country they work. According to Medscape’s annual Physicians Compensation Report, the doctors you actually see regularly make the least and specialists make quite a bit more. Do doctors believe they are making enough? Strangely, the biggest difference in satisfaction are two specialties that are close together both on the chart and on the body: dermatologists and plastic surgeons.  
Dermatologists were the most likely to say their compensation was fair; plastic surgeons were the least likely.

While dermatologists earn $308,000 and plastic surgeons earn $321,000, 65% of dermatologists are satisfied with their careers, compared to just 37% of plastic surgeons. And only about one in four dermatologists spends more than 40 hours a week seeing patients, compared to more than half of plastic surgeons.

That suggests that the demands and joys of the job shape how much compensation seems "fair" more than just the salary itself.
Read more about the report at Business Insider, and see more graphs from the report at Medscape.

Having leisure time is now a marker for poverty, not riches

In Post-Industrious Society: Why Work Time will not Disappear for our Grandchildren, researchers from Oxford's Centre for Time Use Research argue that there has been a radical shift in the relationship between leisure, work and income. Where once leisure time was a mark of affluence, now it is a marker for poverty. The richer you are, the more likely you are to work long hours; while the poorer you are, the fewer hours you are likely to work every week. 
  The researchers theorize multiple causes for this. Poor people are more likely to be underemployed and unable to get the work-hours they want (and need) to support themselves. Rich people are likely to work in jobs that disproportionately advance and reward workers who put in overtime, so a 10% increase in hours worked generates more than 10% in expected career-gains.
They also claim that rich workers are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, but I'm skeptical of this -- I think that relative to unskilled workers doing at-will 0-hours temp work whose every move is constrained and scripted by their employers, this is probably true, but I don't think that the white-collar world is producing a lot of people who think that their work is meaningful and rewarding.
In today’s advanced economies things are different. Overall working hours have fallen over the past century. But the rich have begun to work longer hours than the poor. In 1965 men with a college degree, who tend to be richer, had a bit more leisure time than men who had only completed high school. But by 2005 the college-educated had eight hours less of it a week than the high-school grads. Figures from the American Time Use Survey, released last year, show that Americans with a bachelor’s degree or above work two hours more each day than those without a high-school diploma. Other research shows that the share of college-educated American men regularly working more than 50 hours a week rose from 24% in 1979 to 28% in 2006, but fell for high-school dropouts. The rich, it seems, are no longer the class of leisure.
There are a number of explanations. One has to do with what economists call the “substitution effect”. Higher wages make leisure more expensive: if people take time off they give up more money. Since the 1980s the salaries of those at the top have risen strongly, while those below the median have stagnated or fallen. Thus rising inequality encourages the rich to work more and the poor to work less.

State of Denial

South Korean Plastic Surgeons Are Too Good At Their Job

People who get plastic surgery claim they do it to better themselves, making themselves look and feel better, but plastic surgery can also complicate your life and make it hard to re-enter your home country when your new face doesn't match the one in your passport photo.
Women heading from China and Japan to South Korea in order to undergo extensive plastic surgery are finding the operations so successful that customs agents don't believe they're the same person.
It has become such a problem that some Korean hospitals are now issuing "plastic surgery certificates" to their patients so they can go home again.
From the look of this lady's incredible transformation I can see why customs agents are having a hard time believing they're the same person!

Epigenetics could help explain differences between us and Neanderthals

Methylation — where a chemical compound attaches to DNA and changes the way that DNA is expressed without changing the DNA, itself — probably played a role in the difference between human body types and the bodies of Neanderthals

Why You Get Angry When You're Hungry

Are you easily made angry whenever you're very hungry, and then as soon as you eat, you're fine? Why does this happen? Laci explains the science of being "Hangry."

Coffee Helps You Stay Honest

Psychological Study
Caffeine--it's nature's wonder drug! And it's best consumed with coffee, often by spooning the grounds directly from the can into your mouth at 3 AM as a deadline nears.
It also makes you more honest. Well, kind of. Michael Christian, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of North Carolina, studied 171 sleep deprived nurses. Those who had some sweet, sweet caffeine flowing through their veins tended to be more honest than those who didn't. Anne Fisher of Forbes reports:
For this study -- which, by the way, wasn't sponsored by Starbucks -- volunteers who had been kept awake all night were divided into two groups. All were asked to chew gum in the morning, but one group got a plain wintergreen placebo, while the other chomped on gum laced with 200 milligrams of caffeine, or about the same amount that's in two cups of black coffee.
The participants were then put in situations where researchers "encouraged them to go along with a lie in order to earn some extra money," Christian says. "We tried to replicate a situation where a boss or a peer was pressuring them to cut ethical corners at work."
The results: Those who got the extra boost of caffeine consistently balked when researchers urged them to cheat, while those who were just exhausted -- and had chewed the non-caffeinated gum -- showed a marked willingness to cast conscience aside and go along with the deception.
Employers who want to reduce the likelihood of misbehavior should make sure people aren't putting in too many long hours without a break and "avoid scheduling tasks that require a great deal of self-control when looming deadlines make long hours unavoidable," the study concludes. Two other suggestions: Put in nap rooms at the office and don't skimp on the free coffee.

MERS and Death

An update on MERS — Scientists have been tracking Middle East respiratory syndrome since 2012. At New Scientist, Deborah MacKenzie looks at what's going on with the disease now — including a surge in cases and the identification of MERS patients outside the Middle East.

A fourth-year medical student writes about death — Med student Shara Yurkiewicz writes a heart-wrenching essay about watching a patient die during hip surgery.

Appeals court orders Obama administration to disclose the legal theory for assassination of Americans

The Obama administration has lost a high-stakes lawsuit brought against it by the New York Times and the ACLU over its refusal to divulge the legal basis for its extrajudicial assassination program against US citizens. The Obama administration declared that it had the right to assassinate Americans overseas, far from the field of battle, on the basis of a secret legal theory. When it refused to divulge that theory in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the Times and the ACLU sued. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found in the Times's and ACLU's favor.
The Obama administration had insisted that the legal memo in question was protected as a national security secret. However, the court found that because the administration had made statements about the memo, assuring the public that the assassinations were legal, it had waived its right to keep the memo a secret. There's no work on whether the administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.
"After senior Government officials have assured the public that targeted killings are 'lawful' and that OLC advice 'establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate,'" the appeals court said, "waiver of secrecy and privilege as to the legal analysis in the Memorandum has occurred" (PDF).
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which in a friend-of-the court brief urged the three-judge appeals court to rule as it did, said the decision was a boon for citizen FOIA requests.
"It's very helpful. We have a number of cases, including one of our oldest FOIA cases, that involves the warrantless wiretapping memos. The basic premise is when OLC writes a legal memo and when that becomes the known basis for a program, that's the law of the executive branch and cannot be withheld," Alan Butler, EPIC's appellate counsel, said in a telephone interview.

Convicted Terrorist Sentenced to Read Malcolm Gladwell Book

Malcolm Gladwell is a public intellectual famous for his broad-scope psychological and sociological books, such as The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink. His most recent book is entitled David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. It's a study of how disadvantages can make people stronger. A US federal court recently sentenced Rebecca Rubin, a convicted terrorist, to read it as part of her punishment.
Between 1997 and 2001, she committed several acts of arson on behalf of environmental causes. US District Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Rubin to 5 years in prison, so she'll have plenty of time to get through the book.  Judge Aiken hopes that by reading the Gladwell book, "Rubin could learn non-violent means to protesting systems she perceives as unjust."
What books do you think would serve as effective criminal punishments?

Grave-Robbing Cannibal Brothers Arrested - Again

The two brothers stand accused of repeatedly eating dead people



Incredibly Realistic Sculpture Carved From A Single Block Of Wood

Creating highly detailed sculptures, with realistic fluid shapes and organic contours, out of wood is a feat in itself, but when you create each individual work out of one single piece of wood you’ve got some serious wood carving skills!
Stefanie Rocknak is one of these extremely talented wood carvers, and the beauty of her single block sculpture is not just in the execution, but the elegant simplicity and retention of the basswood's natural grain pattern as well.
The figure looks like he’s really splashing through a wooden wave, with face turned in mid-breath and a hand so realistic it even has creases in the palms.

The Post-Shooting Life of Sixteen Film Sets

Hollywood spends big bucks for lavish film sets on location. What happens to these sets when the movie wraps? Moving or reusing them costs more than they’re worth, but sometimes dismantling them is required by agreement. Often, they are just left as they are. And then? Some just fall into ruin, but others find a new life under the management of people who know an opportunity when they see one. Take, for example, Sweethaven, the seaside town that was the setting of the Robin William’s film Popeye.
Robert Altman’s 1980 film adaptation of the comic Popeye suffered at the box office, but the nation of Malta has done very well with the film’s set, turning it into the Popeye Village theme park.

The park preserves the original 20 buildings constructed for Popeye’s “Sweethaven” setting, and adds a museum devoted to the movie’s history. It also stages shows featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl, and scenic boat tours of the village and its bay.
Tourists can also visit The Shire in New Zealand, the Field of Dreams in Iowa, and several Tunisian places that were transformed into Tattooine for the Star Wars movies. Several Western towns are still in place as well, and you can read about them at Atlas Obscura.

An Energy Efficient Glow-In-The-Dark Highway

Energy efficiency is a big part of “going green”, and delivering electricity to a long, lonely stretch of highway is not only a daunting dask- it’s simply inefficient.
With the advancement of solar power we may find better ways to bring electricity to rural areas, but a remote highway generally has little use for light, and typically needs to be lit up on the road itself more than the shoulders.
That’s what makes this highway in Oss, Netherlands so unique- the road markings glow-in-the-dark.
Studio Roosegaarde spent two years developing the idea of integrating photo-luminescent powder into the road paint, and their glowing highway innovation makes a drive in the dark seem like a trip into the world of Tron.

A City Intersection with No Traffic Lights

American drivers, imagine a busy intersection in a large city with no traffic lights and no traffic cops. This is the condition in many cities around the world. This intersection is in Meskel Square, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The thing that keeps drivers from constantly crashing is the idea that no one has any right-of-way, and you just go when you can, stop when someone is in front of you, and don’t hit anyone. Could the famously traffic law-abiding American drivers deal with such a system? Probably not, because we are concerned with who has the right-of-way, and tend to get a little hostile when someone causes us a two-second delay in our travels.

Daily Comic Relief


Art exhibition about urban legends

SewerGator wp
"Hearsay: Artists Reveal Urban Legends" is a new group exhibition at California State University, Fullerton's Begovich Gallery where artists were asked to create pieces about modern day myths that resonate with them in some personal way. More than three dozen artists participated including Boing Boing favorites like Ransom & Mitchell, Jeffrey Vallance, Robert Williams, and Victoria Reynolds. Above, Chris Farling's "Sewer Gator." Below, Lew Delport's "The Goatman" and Ransom & Mitchell's "Teke Teke." 
Goatman wp

Finally! Shopping Center Introduces Passing Lane

I'm a fast walker. When I'm moving around, I'm trying to get at my destination, not enjoy the scenery. So shopping can be a frustrating experience when I get stuck behind someone waddling down the middle of a walkway at 1 MPH. This problem is especially aggravating when shopping carts are involved.
A mall in Sheffield, UK is now taking a bold stand against the human speed bumps that cause so much frustration for good and decent people in the world. After reading a complaint letter by 10-year old Chloe Nash-Lowe (who deserves some sort of Nobel Prize for her efforts), the managers of the Meadowhall Shopping Centre have created a passing lane. When you want to get around traffic clogs, get into the fast lane.
Now let's spread this great idea to sidewalks, grocery stores, and hallways everywhere. Forward!

A Bed And Breakfast Shaped Like A Beagle

Waking up with some hair of the dog that bit you last night means something completely different when you’ve just spent the night in a B&B shaped like a beagle.
This charming canine shaped cabin is called the Dog Bark Park Inn, it’s located in scenic Cottonwood, Idaho and it was built by chainsaw carvers Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin.
Each room is decorated with works by Sullivan and Conklin, which are all shaped like dogs of course, and the modest bed and breakfast has room to host four guests in the main beagle building called Sweet Willy.
There’s one major rule at the Dog Bark Park Inn- guests must love dogs, or else they’re barking up the wrong tree!

Living in an 84-square foot house

Dee Williams was diagnosed with a heart condition when she was 41. Faced with her mortality, she radically changed her life. She built a tiny house and reduced the number of things she owns to about 300. She wrote a book about her experience, The Big Tiny.
Time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored—but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury—time—that would come with downsizing.
Deciding to build an eighty-four-square-foot house—on her own, from the ground up—was just the beginning of building a new life. Williams can now list everything she owns on one sheet of paper, her monthly housekeeping bills amount to about eight dollars, and it takes her approximately ten minutes to clean the entire house. It’s left her with more time to spend with family and friends, and given her freedom to head out for adventure at a moment’s notice, or watch the clouds and sunset while drinking a beer on her (yes, tiny) front porch.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • Scientists Create Solar Panel Window
  • Appearance Of Night Shining Clouds Has Increased
  • Bathing In The Sunset Of An 'Earth-Like' Alien World
  • Before, During An After The Big Bang
And more ...
This horse is our Animal Picture, for today.