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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.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Daily Drift

We could use a dozen or so of these around here - a couple of dozen, even ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 199 countries around the world daily.   

Queen for a Day ... !
Today is - Mother's Day

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The Pacific
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Today in History

1573 Henry of Anjou becomes the first elected king of Poland.
1689 French and English navies battle at Bantry Bay.
1690 In the first major engagement of King William's War, British troops from Massachusetts seize Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) from the French.
1745 French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army at Fontenoy.
1792 The Columbia River is discovered by Captain Robert Gray.
1812 British prime Minster Spencer Perceval is shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons.
1857 Indian mutineers seize Delhi.
1858 Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi lands at Marsala, Sicily.
1862 Confederates scuttle the CSS Virginia off Norfolk, Virginia.
1864 Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern.
1960 Israeli soldiers capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires.
1967 The siege of Khe Sanh ends, the base is still in American hands.

Non Sequitur


How ‘selfies’ create confidence

How ‘selfies’ create confidence

sel·fie /ˈselfē/ (noun)- a photograph that one has taken of […]

Playing outside could make kids more spiritual

Playing outside could make kids more spiritual

Children who spend significant time outdoors could have a stronger […]

In sickness and in health

Why couples don't get marriedIn sickness and in health: How illness affects the risk of divorce

In the classic marriage vow, couples promise to stay together […]

Yawning to cool the brain

Yawning to cool the brain
Why do we yawn? We tend to yawn before sleep […]

Extreme sleep

Extreme sleep: Change in durations may affect brain health in later life

A new research study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital […]

Out of shape?

Out of shape? Your memory may suffer

Here’s another reason to drop that doughnut and hit the […]

People with autistic tendencies vulnerable to alcohol problems

Young adults with autistic tendencies don’t often engage in social […]

Acupuncture Helps Kids Manage Pain, Nausea

Acupuncture Helps Kids Manage Pain, Nausea

The pink plastic box thatCynthia Kim, MD, EdD, opens at […]

Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to aggressive prostate cancer

Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to aggressive prostate cancer

Vitamin D deficiency was an indicator of aggressive prostate cancer […]

Rare Polio-Like Disease in California

Rare Polio-Like Disease in California

UCSF and Stanford physicians and researchers report on five cases […]

Autoimmune Diseases May Succumb to New Drug Strategy

Autoimmune Diseases May Succumb to New Drug Strategy

New pharmaceuticals to fight autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, […]

Electronic nose sniffs out prostate cancer using urine samples

Electronic nose sniffs out prostate cancer using urine samples

Novel noninvasive technique successfully discriminates between prostate cancer and benign […]



Why Is It So Hard to Thread a Needle?

Scientists are shedding light on why threading a needle can be such a challenge, even if you do have good eyesight and a steady hand.

Why did lighthouse keepers go mad?

It wasn't the solitude. The Old Salt Blog explains:
In the 19th century, lighthouse keepers had a high frequency of madness and suicide.  Many assumed that they went mad from solitude and the demands of the job. It turns out it was something simpler and more sinister.

Fresnel lenses were the great lighthouse innovation of the 19th century.  The lenses developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel greatly increased the intensity and range of the lighthouse beacon. For rotating lights, just as importance as the strength of the light, however, was maintaining a specific speed of rotation, so that if the chart said that the light flashed every twenty seconds, the light, in fact, rotated so that the light was visible every twenty seconds.  The best near zero-friction bearing of the day was created by floating the light and the lens on a circular track of liquid mercury.  When dust, dirt or other impurities built up in the mercury, part of the light house keeper’s job was to strain the mercury through a fine cloth.
For an exhaustive academic study of the subject, see Lighthouse Keeper's Madness: Folk Legend, or Something more Toxic? in the Proceedings of the 11th Annual History of Medicine Days at the University of Calgary.

The last operating lighthouse Fresnel lens in the United States is in the Split Rock Lighthouse near Two Harbors along Minnesota's famed North Shore of Lake Superior (top photo).

Their blog entry from 2009 describes the extreme precautions taken nowadays when the lens needs to be serviced:
Nearly two gallons of mercury was drained, and the mercury bowl and float cleaned, and the mercury replaced.  The very small surface area of mercury that is exposed to the air when the float is closed was covered with mineral oil to stop any mercury exposure to the air.

Neanderthals Weren't Stupid

Think Neanderthals were inferior to Homo sapiens? Think again.

Study questions Neanderthal inferiority to early modern humans

Study questions Neanderthal inferiority to early modern humans

Neanderthal demise may be the result of interbreeding, assimilation, not […]

Daily Comic Relief


Bacteria Could Stop Dangerous Gas Leaks

Bacteria that chow down on methane gas could trap greenhouse gas before it contributes to global warming, reports a new study.

U.S. corn yields are increasingly vulnerable to hot, dry weather

U.S. corn yields are increasingly vulnerable to hot, dry weather

Corn yields in the central United States have become more […]

Citizen scientists provide clarity for lake researchers’ big questions

Citizen scientists provide clarity for lake researchers’ big questions

A massive new study of water clarity trends in Midwestern […]

Drought in West?

If you think the 1930s drought that caused The Dust […]

How NASA Might Build Its Very First Warp Drive

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive.

His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks - and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity.

Can We Grow Plants on Mars?

Last year, NASA announced that they had found water on Mars. This posed a question to scientists: Could we grow plants in the soil of Mars? Trace explains what is necessary to grow crops on Earth, and if Mars is able to sustain life.

‘Wimpy’ dwarf fossil galaxy reveals new facts about early universe

‘Wimpy’ dwarf fossil galaxy reveals new facts about early universe
Faintest galaxy ever detected illuminates unusual aspects of the universe’s […]

Astronimical News

Northern China is infamous for dust storms that can sometimes choke Beijing in a yellow haze. A new satellite image shows one of these storms from above.
The first few months of 2014 have certainly been active for our nearest star and last night the sun unleashed another X-class flare -- the most powerful type of solar flare.
For the first time, a Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket successfully flew itself back to Earth for an experimental touchdown at sea, company chief executive Elon Musk told reporters.
Astronomers are fascinated by exoplanets and the possibility of life on these worlds. Should they also focus on exomoons? Ian O'Neill from Discovery News explores the possibility of alien life and oceans on the moons of other planets.
By now we should be used to Curiosity's "firsts," but it doesn't make them any less spectacular.
The Eta Aquarid shower is coming, but where do the meteors come from and how can we see them?
A robotic miniature space shuttle on a classified mission for the U.S. Air Force marked its 500th day in orbit on Friday, with no word about when and where the space plane will land.

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • How a hospital contributed to the deaths of five children
  • The brutal yet refined art of Boat Jousting
  • LA's House of Davids de-tackified
  • Good Samaritan turns trash into mobile homes for the homeless
And more ...
This bird is our Animal Picture, for today.