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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.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Daily Drift

Ahem ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 199 countries around the world daily.   

Go ahead go bare, we dare you ... !
Today is - No Socks Day

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Tijuana, Mexico
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London and Kent, England
Frankfurt Am Main, Dresden and Koeln, Germany
Vladivostok and Ryazan, Russia
Athens, Greece
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The Pacific
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Today in History

1450 Jack Cade's Rebellion–Kentishmen revolt against King Henry VI.
1541 Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River which he calls Rio de Espiritu Santo.
1559 An act of supremacy defines Queen Elizabeth I as the supreme governor of the church of England.
1794 The United States Post Office is established.
1846 The first major battle of the Mexican War is fought at Palo Alto, Texas.
1862 General 'Stonewall' Jackson repulses the Federals at the Battle of McDowell, in the Shenendoah Valley.
1864 Union troops arrive at Spotsylvania Court House to find the Confederates waiting for them.
1886 Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invents Coca Cola.
1895 China cedes Taiwan to Japan under Treaty of Shimonoseki.
1904 U.S. Marines land in Tangier, North Africa, to protect the Belgian legation.
1919 The first transatlantic flight by a navy seaplane takes-off.
1933 Hahatma Gandhi begins a hunger strike to protest British oppression in India.
1940 German commandos in Dutch uniforms cross the Dutch border to hold bridges for the advancing German army.
1942 The Battle of the Coral Sea between the Japanese Navy and the U.S. Navy ends.
1945 The final surrender of German forces is celebrated as VE (Victory Europe) day.
1952 Allied fighter-bombers stage the largest raid of the war on North Korea.
1958 President Eisenhower orders the National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green becomes the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school.
1967 Boxer Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in U.S. Army.
1984 The Soviet Union announces it will not participate in Summer Olympics planned for Los Angeles.
1995 Jacques Chirac is elected president of France.

Non Sequitur


The secret, underground concert hall of Boston

The secret, underground concert hall of Boston
Boston has its own phantom of the opera; a vast and forgotten 120 year-old concert theatre buried 40 feet below street level. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, the sleeping concert hall reminiscent of Italian Renaissance style, has been closed for more than 70 years, hidden away from the public below the unassuming old storefront of piano seller 
M. S Steinert & Sons on Boylston Street.

Cape Town Girls

Beauty Care 100 Years Ago

Beauty care procedures looked terrible 100 years ago. Women now must be happy they don't have to spend many hours sitting under strange devices or put weird things on their faces.

Did da Vinci Create a 3-D 'Mona Lisa'?

Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting may be part of the oldest 3D artwork, say two visual scientists.

Soup Kitchen

A History of the Death Penalty

Methods of executing prisoners may have changed over the centuries, but the outcome is always the same.

Why Do We Work Eight Hours a Day?

Making the work day manageable became a demand of the Chicago labor movement in the late 1860s.

Freeing Mussolini

Framed by the Nazis as one of the most daring missions of WWII, the freeing of Mussolini was actually nothing more than a friendly photo op.

The Toilet that Sank the U-1206


On April 6, 1945, a German navy submarine named the U-1206 departed from the port city of Kristiansand, in Nazi-occupied Norway, and began its first combat patrol. Assigned to the waters of the North Atlantic, its mission was to seek out and destroy British and American ships on the high seas.

For the 50-man crew aboard submarines like the U-1206, life wasn’t just extremely dangerous, it was also very unpleasant: Quarters were cramped, and the bathrooms were no exception. There were only two heads (toilets), and because one of the heads was right next to the galley, the space was often used to store food. When it was, the toilet was unavailable, meaning the entire crew had to share the remaining toilet.


The plumbing on German subs of that era differed from American and British subs in one important respect: The German toilets discharged their contents directly into the sea, instead of in a holding tank. Not having such a tank saved precious space, but it came at a price. The toilets could only be used when the submarine was traveling on or near the ocean surface. When the submarine was submerged, the pressure outside the hull was too great for the toilets to be able to flush.

If nature called under such circumstances, crew members had to use buckets, tin cans, or whatever other containers they could get their hands on. They had to carefully store the contents of all those containers -don’t spill!- until the submarine surfaced, when they could be poured into the toilets and flushed, or taken topside and emptied into the sea.

The ventilation systems on World War II German subs were notoriously inadequate, which meant that even in the best of circumstances, the air was foul with diesel fumes, human body odor, and other smells. When the toilets were unavailable and all those buckets and cans were filling to overflowing with you-know-what, the stench was even worse.

The U-1206 had a new-and-improved plumbing system. Unlike many subs in the fleet, it had high-pressure toilets that could be used at greater depths than the standard heads could. But the new system was very difficult to operate. The toilets came with complicated instructions manuals, and a few members of the crew had to be trained so that they could serve a toilet-flushing “specialists.”

Barely a week into the U-1206’s first patrol, Captain Karl Adolf Schlitt (who was commanding a sub for the first time), had to use the head while the sub was cruising at a depth of 200 feet, some eight miles off the coast of Scotland. Rather than request the assistance of the toilet specialist, Schlitt tried to follow the instructions in the manual to flush the toilet himself. Something went wrong -and when Schlitt asked the toilet specialist for help, something went wrong again. The specialist opened the outside valve -the one that opened to the sea- while the inside valve was open, causing a torrent of water to flood into the sub.

It was then that another flaw in the U-1206’s design became apparent. When the submarine is submerged, it runs on electric motors powered by a giant bank of batteries. And the U-1206’s batteries were in a compartment directly below the malfunctioning toilet. The seawater quickly combined with battery acid and created deadly chlorine gas, which began to spread throughout the sub.

As the gas filled the submarine, Schlitt had no choice but to order the submarine to surface so that the gas could be vented and replaced with breathable air. Because they surfaced within sight of the Scottish coastline, they were quickly spotted by Allied aircraft and attacked. One crew member died in the melee that followed; three others fell overboard and drowned.

The U-1206 was badly damaged in the attack and could not dive. Seeing no way to save his submarine, Captain Schlitt ordered the crew into the lifeboats; then he scuttled the ship, making it the only warship in naval history to be doomed by its own malfunctioning toilet. Thirty-six members of the crew were rescued by small boats in the area; ten others made it to shore in their lifeboats and were captured.

POT LUCKIn its eight days on patrol, the U-1206 never did manage to attack any Allied ships. Not that it would have made any difference to the Nazi war effort, which had just three more weeks to go. On April 30, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Führerbunker in Berlin; seven days later, Germany surrendered and the war in Europe was over.
It’s possible that the toilet that sent the U-1206 to the bottom of the Atlantic may have saved the surviving 46 members of the crew. Though Winston Churchill later admitted that “the only thing that ever frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril,” by the summer of 1943 the Battle of the Atlantic had turned decisively in favor of the Allies, who were now able to sink U-boats faster than the Germans could replace them. The odds of a German submariner surviving the war were slim: 75% of the entire U-boat fleet was sunk during the war, and 30,000 of the submarine service’s 40,000 crew members went to a watery grave with them.

Thanks, perhaps, to a malfunctioning toilet, the U-1206’s 46 surviving crew members were not among them.

A Revolution in Killing The Technological Innovations of WWI

by Felix Bohr
A Revolution in Killing: The Technological Innovations of WWI A new era in warfare was born on the battlefields of Flanders in 1915. German troops launched a chlorine gas attack in the first ever large-scale use of chemical weapons. It was but one of the technical innovations seen during World War I, and not all of them were as deadly.  More.

The Warship that fired the first Shots of WWI

The Warship that fired the first Shots of WWI
The river monitor Bodrog, the Austro-Hungarian navy ship that fired the first shots of World War I and a witness to the European conflicts of the 20th century under four different flags, now serves as a gravel barge in Serbia.
The Bodrog, a heavily armored vessel launched in 1904 and equipped with the most advanced naval technology of the time, shelled the Serbian capital just before midnight on July 28, 1914.
The ship’s 120 mm guns fired the first shots of a conflict that would last four years, leave millions of people dead and devastate Europe.
This ship has been sunk twice and had a long history. Kind of sad it’s just wasting away.



Circus Train Crash Mystery

When a train carrying circus animals derailed in a small town in central Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day 1893, animals were buried -- but where?

The Donner Party

Members of the Donner Party cut these trees near Alder Creek in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to make cabins. The high stumps reflect the deep snow in the winter of 1846-47.

The 9 O'Clock Ride of Sybil Ludington

16-year-old Sybil Ludington became a hero of the American Revolutionary War. At approximately 9 pm on April 26th, 1777, Sybil, the eldest daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, climbed onto her horse and proceeded to ride 40 miles in order to muster local militia troops in response to a British attack on the town of Danbury, Connecticut -- covering twice the distance that Paul Revere rode during his famous midnight ride.

Riding all night through rain, Sybil returned home at dawn having given nearly the whole regiment of 400 Colonial troops the order to assemble. While the regiment could not save Danbury from being burned, they joined forces with the Continental Army following the subsequent Battle of Ridgefield and were able to stop the British advance and force their return to their boats.

Following the battle, General George Washington personally thanked Sybil for her service and bravery. Although every American school child knows the story of Paul Revere, unfortunately few are taught about Sybil Ludington's courageous feat and her contribution to war effort.

Mutiny on the Bounty

What happened to Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian and the crew of mutineers after their famous uprising?



Rare 18th century hat recovered from cottage wall revealed at Luton's Wardown Park Museum

a photo of a two gloved hands holding a very fragile wide brimmed hat
The fragile 18th centry hat has been treated using 21st technology
Wardown Park Museum has revealed the latest addition to its famous headwear collection; a rare 400-year-old wide brimmed hat recovered from the interior wall of a 17th century cottage in Essex.

The fragile 18th century lady’s hat, which is only one of four of its kind in the world, has been carefully treated for pests to limit further damage to the hat itself and also to rule out any risk of contaminating other hats in the museum’s collection.

Wide brimmed hats were popular with women in the eighteenth century, and like this example recovered from behind the cottage wall, were often decorated with  motifs over a linen lining.

It joins a holding of hats and headwear that reflects a long and distinguished tradition of hat-making in the city dating back to the 17th century. Hat making and millinery dominated the town in the eighteenth century.

The museum’s Significant Collections Curator, Veronica Main describes the storage of the hats as a "pest management environment control nightmare" due to the combination of materials including metal, fur, straw and wool.

The new arrival has been subjected to a technically advanced anoxic treatment within an oxygen-free chamber to eradicate any insect infestation and is now safely on show to the public.

a close up shot of a wide brimmed hat with larcework

Vädersoltavlan (1535)

Excerpts from the Wikipedia summary:
Vädersolstavlan (Swedish for "The Sun Dog Painting") is an oil-on-panel painting depicting a halo display, an atmospheric optical phenomenon, observed over Stockholm on April 20, 1535. It is named after the sun dogs (Swedish: Vädersol, "Weather sun") appearing on the upper right part of the painting. While chiefly noted for being the oldest depiction of Stockholm in colour, it is arguably also the oldest Swedish landscape painting and the oldest depiction of sun dogs...

The medieval urban conglomeration, today part of the old town Gamla stan, is rendered using a bird's-eye view. The stone and brick buildings are densely packed below the church and castle, which are rendered in a descriptive perspective (i.e., their size relates to their social status, rather than their actual dimensions). Scattered wooden structures appear on the surrounding rural ridges, today part of central Stockholm...

According to the passage in the Vasa Chronicle, however, both Petri and the master of the mint Anders Hansson were sincerely troubled by the appearance of these sun dogs. Petri interpreted the signs over Stockholm as a warning from God and had the Vädersolstavlan painting produced and hung in front of his congregation. Notwithstanding this devotion, he was far from certain on how to interpret these signs and in a sermon delivered in late summer 1535, he explained there are two kinds of omens: one produced by the Devil to allure mankind away from God, and another produced by God to attract mankind away from the Devil — one being hopelessly difficult to tell from the other. He therefore saw it as his duty to warn both his congregation, mostly composed of German burghers united by their conspiracy against the king, and the king himself...

 In the painting, the actual sun is the yellow ball in the upper-right corner surrounded by the second circle. The large circle taking up most of the sky is a parhelic circle, parallel to the horizon and located at the same altitude as the sun, as the painting renders it...
There's way more at the extensive Wikipedia page on old Stockholm and the science of the phenomenon

The Chansonnier Cordiforme

The Chansonnier Cordiforme (1470s) or Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu is a cordiform (heart-shaped) music manuscript, Collection Henri de Rothschild MS 2973, held in the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Now indeed can I cry ‘alas’
and flood my eyes with tears
for I can no longer see her
as I used to, woe is me.
No indeed can I cry ‘alas’.
O accursed tongue, evil and sinful,
that caused me so much pain,
you have brought me to such straits that
life has become a misery.
Now indeed can I cry ‘alas’.
If I cannot believe that I shall ever again
see my dear treasure as I used to,
with a golden noose
around my neck my life shall end.

Scurvy Knaves

The first European settlement in the Americas was founded in what is now the Dominican Republic. That is, to say, it was founded on a warm, fruit-growing island. And, yet, scurvy was apparently a major reason that settlement failed.

Daily Comic Relief


A British iron age coin die

As reported by the British Museum:
One of the most recent acquisitions made by the Department of Coins and Medals is a highly unusual object – an ancient punch or ‘die’ used to manufacture coins in the second century BC. The die was found in Bredgar, Kent by a metal detector user in 2013 and is being used to shed new light on when the first coins were made in Britain...

Close examination of the coin die revealed that it was used in the production of the early Gallo-Belgic A coins. What this means is that, although it is the third Iron Age coin die to be found in the UK (the others are also in the British Museum), it is almost certainly the earliest. The most significant aspect of this discovery is the fact that it is a British find. This raises the intriguing possibility that the earliest known coins from Britain were actually made here and not just imports from the Continent.
More at the link, including comments re the stylized horse on the die and the chalk one at Uffington.

How the Ancient Egyptians Really Built the Pyramids

The ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids may have been able to move massive stone blocks across the desert by wetting the sand in front of a contraption built to pull the heavy objects, according to a new study.

Ancient Caribou Hunting Site Found Beneath Lake Huron

An elaborate array of linear stone lanes and V-shaped structures has been discovered on an underwater ridge in Lake Huron.

Ancient Native Americans came face to face with sabertooth cats

Smilodon fatalis — the best known of the sabertooth cats — overlapped with the arrival of the ancestors of today's Native Americans for two or three thousand years.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • The Deadliest Animal In The World
  • Military Trained Dolphins Will Not Be Killing Russians
  • The Plant With 1000 Faces
  • Hippocrates' Legendary Tree 'Fingerprinted'
And more ...
This elephant is our Animal Picture, for today.