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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1765 English Prime Minister Lord Greenville resigns and is replaced by Lord Rockingham.
1774 Russia and the Ottoman Empire sign the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji, ending their six-year war.
1779 American troops under General Anthony Wayne capture Stony Point, N.Y.
1875 The new French constitution is finalized.
1882 Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of Abraham Lincoln, dies of a stroke.
1918 Czar Nicholas and his family are murdered by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg, Russia.
1940 Adolf Hitler orders preparations for the invasion of England.
1944 Soviet troops occupy Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive towards Germany.
1945 The United States detonates the first atomic bomb in a test at Alamogordo, N. M.
1969 Apollo 11 blasts off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, heading for a landing on the moon.
1999 A private plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. is lost over the waters off Martha's Vinyard, Mass.

Non Sequitur


Scalia may have opened path for Quakers to abstain from taxes

The controversial Hobby Lobby decision elevated religious belief over legal compliance -- this may be good news for Quakers, Amish, Mennonites and others who've historically faced punishing reprisals for withholding some of their tax to avoid funding the military.
In particular, Justice Scalia's dicta sets out a logic for conscientious objection to compliance with US law where the issue is related to religious faith. Sarah Ruden, a Quaker, writes in Salon about her belief that she will now be able to field a legal challenge to full tax-payments on the basis of Scalia's argument.
There’s nothing remotely like this basis in wingnut christians’ pleas that they have a religious objection to voluntary abortion (or birth control somehow resembling it) — an issue never even mentioned in the bible, and manifesting during recent years mainly (it could be argued) as a political wedge and the cat-o’-nine-tails of anti-feminist backlash.
I look forward with mirth to the Supreme Court’s deliberations on whether the portion of military spending funded by the taxes of religious pacifists represents a compelling public interest. Historians of our era — Justice Scalia is especially keen to consult history when backing up his rulings — must already be revving up to declare that it would have benefited our nation hugely had there not been as many military resources available for our government to splash out with. Even more to Scalia’s taste as evidence, a delegate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention declared that a standing army was like an erect penis, “a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure.” Crude analogy, but it’s turned out to be no joke.

An Outrage Beyond All Others

The Use Of Religion to Assault Democracy

It is true the Founders gave preferential treatment to white male landowners, but the Ninth Amendment provided a means for future lawmakers to give equal footing …
There is a fairly well-know idiom, “give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile” that describes a person or group who has been given a small amount of power or freedom to do something, and then attempts to seize a lot more, or unlimited, power. That sense of entitlement is often the result of giving preferential treatment to a person or group over and above that of everyone else, and it is likely why the Founding Fathers did not single out any group as having supremacy or special rights over any other. It is true the Founders gave preferential treatment to white male landowners, but the Ninth Amendment provided a means for future lawmakers to give equal footing to the entire population. Where the Founders did not give preferential treatment or privileges was for religious adherents, and they included the Establishment Clause to ensure that future generations would never face the threat of religious imposition due to preferential treatment from the government.
Within 24 hours of the Hobby Lobby ruling, there were two statements from christian fundamentalists that demonstrate exactly what happens when a group has been given a small amount of power or freedom and then attempts to gain much more. The first statement, “My religion trumps your right to (fill in the blank) is precisely why the Founders included the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause the High Court’s wingnuts’ Hobby Lobby ruling demolished according to constitutional scholars and lawyers. The second statement was in a letter to the President within 24 hours of the ruling warning him he better start “giving deference to the christian prerogative” that is also a direct result of the wingnut Court neutering the Establishment Clause. However, the idea of government “deference to the christian prerogative” began long before Hobby Lobby, and it is the result of giving the religio-wingnuts an inch that inspired them to take a mile.
There is not one specific instance of deference to the christian prerogative that is bringing Americans closer to a theocracy, but rather, a combination of government actions that not only violated the Establishment Clause, they gave the religio-wingnuts freedoms and power over and above that of every other American. Now, the American people are beginning to realize the danger, and folly, of “government deference to the christian prerogative” that began in earnest when horrible B-movie actor Ronald Reagan gave the immoral majority a voice in the direction of government. Because Reagan set the precedent, every President since then keeps religious advisors close to the White House.
The shrub’s “faith based initiatives” gave deference, and taxpayer dollars, to the christian prerogative that President Obama continued and likely set the stage for the recent White House friendly faith leaders’ letter demanding the right to discriminate against the LGBT community and non-christians in hiring practices. In fact, when the White House eliminated certain a christian cabal’s access to “faith-based” taxpayer dollars over their continued discrimination against gays, they were apoplectic and the first signatories of the “deference to christians” letter the day after Hobby Lobby.
Another monumental error, and sheer folly, was making “in god we trust” the christian national motto in 1956 to replace E pluribus unum (one out of many). Whatever the reason for imposing an official government motto establishing religion on the nation, in 1962 when the Supreme Court ruled prayer in public school was unconstitutional according to the 1st Amendment, the christian wingnuts considered the ruling a violation of the christian national motto. The wingnut Court just re-established Constitutional sectarian prayer at public meetings out of deference for christians’ prerogative, and because the religio-wingnuts were given an inch, it is just a matter of time before they take a mile in the form of mandatory state-sanctioned public school prayers.
In 1995 the government gave deference to christians to ignore any law (except taxes) in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and because it was not inclusive enough, the wingnuts on the High Court expanded the special rights to include artificial legal entities (closely-held corporations) that inspired the letter to the President demanding more deference to christian’s prerogative to discriminate by judicial fiat.
In states across America, repugicans are blatantly transferring taxpayer dollars for public schools into private religious schools, as well as teaching the bible as science with impunity. The federal government, and justice department, is giving deference to the christian prerogative by not taking action against what was once regarded as a violation of the Establishment Clause and patently unconstitutional.
What should enrage all Americans with knowledge of this demand for deference to christian prerogatives is the practice of providing cults and clergy with tax-exempt status. It is robbing Americans’ tax dollars that are sorely needed to support education, law enforcement, roads, fire protection, and providing for those in need. To make matters worse, and it is much worse, is the federal government’s deference in NOT stripping cult’s tax exemption when they blatantly campaign from the pulpit. Every year evangelicals join the Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement and actively campaign for repugicans from the pulpit, videotape the campaign speeches, and send them to the Internal Revenue Service and dare them to revoke their tax-exempt status. The evangelicals do not even attempt to conceal their motive of taking the IRS all the way to the Supreme Court so the 5 wingnuts will strike down the prohibition on tax-exempt cults using Hellfire and brimstone to guilt their cultists into voting for repugicans.
The greatest form of deference to the christian prerogative is this unwillingness, whether it is driven by deference or cowardice, to cite the origin of the assault on democracy and several segments of the population. Oh, it is true Democrats and organizations such as Planned Parenthood decry the repugican war against women, and LGBT groups complain the assault on gays is homophobia, discrimination, and something about marriage equality, but they all defer to the to the christian prerogative of never, never, ever citing the real source of attacks on other Americans; the christian bible.
America has shown enough deference to the christian prerogative that has given them inordinate freedom and power over other Americans and the government to the point they are now demanding the ultimate deference to christians. It is damn high time to repeal the RFRA, strip tax exempt status from all cults with extreme prejudice, enforce anti-discrimination laws, and imprison governors and repugican legislatures for robbing tax dollars allotted for public schools to teach the bible in private christian schools. While the Department of Justice is at it, they need to actively pursue, and prosecute, any and all public school personnel from teachers to superintendents to school boards promoting bible curriculum as science.
This country has incrementally drifted so far from the Founding Fathers’ and Constitution’s Framers’ original intent to maintain America as a secular nation, and it all began by giving deference to the christian prerogative. This country was never intended to be a christian nation, and yet the Supreme Court’s wingnuts and repugicans in Congress and state legislatures are introducing, and in many cases enacting, laws founded on American bastardized christian fundamentalism.
The religio-wingnuts were not satisfied with a christian national motto, religious liberty to flout any law, offices in Congress and the White House, taxpayer dollars for faith-based initiatives, or tax free status at the expense of the people, and after being given far too many inches, and deference to their prerogatives, they have the temerity to demand more. It is time for Americans to say enough, draw a line in the sand, and not give one inch more. Because now that the christian wingnuts are on a roll, they are not going to stop until they get the ultimate deference; constitutional freedom to impose a christian theocracy on a secular representative democracy.

Top House repugican Admits That There Are No Grounds To Impeach President Obama

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee admitted that repugicans have no grounds for articles of impeachment against President Obama.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other things you see coming out of this are more and more calls for the president to be impeached, Sarah Palin most prominently this week. Any articles of impeachment would be drawn up by your committee. Is this something you’re considering? Or do you agree with Speaker Boehner who says it’s off the table?
GOODLATTE: We are not working on or drawing up articles of impeachment. The Constitution is very clear as to what constitutes grounds for impeachment of the president of the United States. He has not committed the kind of criminal acts that call for that.
On the other hand, we do believe that the president is not enforcing the law. And there’s a wide array of issues, not just immigration, where we believe that. And that’s why the speaker, and many of us in the Congress, are getting ready to take legal action to stand up for the people’s right, for their elected representatives to be the part of our government that passes laws, not a president with his pen and his cell phone.
There has been a story floating around for the last few days that Speaker Boehner is pursuing a lawsuit against President Obama in order to silence the calls among repugicans for articles of impeachment against President Obama. If Boehner was trying to take impeachment off the table with this lawsuit, he is failing miserably. The lawsuit is whetting the appetite among the repugican rank and file for impeachment. It is almost as if they expect impeachment if repugicans win back control of the Senate.
Goodlatte is correct. The repugicans don’t have any grounds for impeachment articles against President Obama. It is rare that a top repugican publicly states that President Obama is not committing a crime.
Goodlatte may have hurt the repugican case against Obama with his statements because the Boehner lawsuit sounds more and more like the kind of legislative versus executive branch turf war that the courts have historically been reluctant to get involved in.
The repugicans have been calling for this president to be impeached for things that the shrub did. Currently, some repugicans want to impeach Obama for the shrub’s immigration policy. It never stops, but the Boehner lawsuit has thrown gasoline on the fire. Instead of calming the impeachment talk, House repugicans have made things exponentially worse with their lawsuit scheme.
Veteran congressional repugicans understand what impeaching Bill Clinton did to their approval ratings. That’s why they are trying to steer the base away from impeaching President Obama. However, the lawsuit could backfire on the House repugicans. Instead of firing up repugican voters for November, a refusal to impeach might cause them to stay home. The repugican voters have been told for years that Obama needs to be removed from office, so they aren’t going to be happy when their elected members of congress refuse to follow through.
Top House repugicans have painted themselves into a corner, and they are being forced to admit that they don’t really want to impeach Obama. The lawsuit still sets up a path to impeachment, but it is clear that the House repugican leadership is losing their nerve and they apparently don’t want to go down that road.

The repugican Myth of Obama’s ‘Part-Time America’ Gets Destroyed With One Graph

The repugicans love to accuse President Obama of creating a 'part-time America', but in fact 'since 2010, full-time jobs are up 7.6 million, and part-time jobs have declined …
part time America via Derek Thompson for The Atlantic
Derek Thompson slayed the repugican talking point about Obama’s “Part-Time America” in The Atlantic in an article entitled, “Here’s What Obama’s ‘Part-Time America’ Really Looks Like.”
He opened with a bang, “The president’s critics love this talking point. But since 2010, full-time jobs are up 7.6 million, and part-time jobs have declined by more than 900,000.”
This repugican myth has been debunked regularly but that doesn’t stop them from trudging it out at the corner of embarrassed and desperate, thus Mort Zuckerman dragged out the mold yesterday for the Wall Street Journal, aka, Rupert Murdoch’s Other Fauxian Arm.
So Thompson goes in for the kill. All it took was a graph.
Here’s a screengrab but you have to go to The Atlantic to play with it:
part time America via Derek Thompson for The Atlantic
(Data fromFRED Thompson notes, “Y-axis in 1,000s, again.” )
Thompson pointed out several facts to bear in mind regarding the part-time versus full-time discussion, one of which was via a document produced by the Fed, which explained that “current levels of part-time work are largely within historical norms, despite increases for selected demographic groups, such as prime-age workers with a high-school degree or less.” Of course, repugicans don’t “believe” in the Fed. They think the Fed is part of an evil Marxist plot to takeover America with marketplace competition like Obamacare. So these facts probably won’t get you anywhere in a “debate” with true believers.
In September of 2013, we debunked the fevered hopes of a flailing party after House Majority Leader-elect (then Whip) Kevin McCarthy (r-CA) tweeted, “90% of the jobs created have been part-time. Obamacare creates a part-time economy, part-time opportunity, and a part-time America.” Not true.
Just a month prior, PolitiFact had taken on this hazy wingnut fantasy when they rated as true a claim by Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, that most jobs created since passage of the health care law have been full-time positions.
“(S)ince the Affordable Care Act passed, 90 percent of job growth has been in full-time positions.” The statistics show that 87 percent of the increase in jobs between March 2010 and July 2013 consisted of full-time jobs. A shorter time frame would show the opposite pattern, but on the numbers, Krueger is right. We rate the claim True.
It’s mid 2014 and repugicans haven’t changed their claims one bit. No need to let reality intrude on their pleasant dreams of America failing.
The repugicans like to infuse the image of the President with their idea that under him, America has become lazy and due to his healthcare reform law, America is so lazy that it’s broken. Thus, they call him the part-time President and slobber over their fictional idea that the first black president has created a nation of lazy Americans who are only working part-time. Because, you know, they are so not racists.
Yet these same repugicans justify the laziest people in government — the US House of Representatives. The repugican cabal-led House is the place legislation goes to die and crazy extremist go to be enabled. Meanwhile repugicans cut the working days down each year, demanding their same salary for doing nothing and instead spend 30%-70% of their time fundraising. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor rewarded the least popular House in history by cutting their number of scheduled work days even further than the already whittled 126 in 2013 to 113 in 2014.
Nice work if you can get it.
The truth is that Americans are hurting for well-paying jobs. The President has been urging Congress to follow his lead and raise the minimum wage, but repugicans are against this previously bipartisan action. They claim they are sure it will kill job creation, but that has been debunked by the Economic Policy Institute, who pointed out that in fact not only would it be good for the economy, but it will also have a positive effect on job creation.
Americans aren’t lazy and neither is President Obama. House repugicans? They’re as lazy and entitled as they come. They are also the only people in this scenario who willfully reduced their own working days until they are part-time legislators, but demanded the same pay for less work. That finger they’re pointing at Obama? Four more are pointing back at them.

The Truth Be Told

The Next Shutdown?

Congress Must Avoid Another Manufactured Crisis And Extend The Highway Trust Fund

Unless Congress acts to extend the Highway Trust Fund before the August recess, we will be facing not a government shutdown but a construction shutdown that threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs.
As we have written before, the Highway Trust Fund provides the overwhelming majority of transportation funding to fix roads, bridges, and railroads. It's income is generated from a federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel. Why is it running out? It's been 20 years since that tax has been increased, and a combination of inflation, better fuel efficiency, and reduced driving have substantially reduced the amount the gas tax brings into the HTF and has threatened its solvency as a result. The Department of Labor has estimated that the fund will be depleted this fall.
Here is what's at stake: if Congress doesn't make a fix, more than 1,000 construction projects would be at risk. States would have to scale back their plans to improve transportation, and would lack the certainty of federal transportation funding to be able to plan for the future. Over a hundred thousand roadway projects and 5,600 railway projects could see delays. And above all else, because of this nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk.

OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe "flexible" workforces, austerity, and mass privatization.
The report, Policy Challenges for the Next 50 Years , makes a number of assumptions about the impact of automation on skilled jobs in the workforce, the end the recent growth in the developing world (especially the BRIC nations), and a series of worsening environmental catastrophes.
As Paul Mason points out in The Guardian, the OECD does not countenance the possibility of rupture -- states opting out of market capitalism, say, or non-state actors refusing to accept claims on property. It seems unlikely that the changes the OECD envisions will not be attended by more changes in the way people think about the legitimacy of the economic and political system that produced them.
The OECD has a clear message for the world: for the rich countries, the best of capitalism is over. For the poor ones - now experiencing the glitter and haze of industrialization - it will be over by 2060. If you want higher growth, says the OECD, you must accept higher inequality. And vice versa. Even to achieve a meager average global growth rate of 3% we have to make labor "more flexible", the economy more globalized. Those migrants scrambling over the fences at the Spanish city of Melilla, next to Morocco, we have to welcome, en masse, to the tune of maybe two or three million a year into the developed world, for the next 50 years. And we have to achieve this without the global order fragmenting.

US jails struggle with role as makeshift asylums

Jails Struggle With Role As Makeshift Asylums
Peering through the chain link of a holding pen at the Cook County Jail, a man wrapped in a navy varsity jacket leans toward clinical social worker Elli Petacque Montgomery, his bulging eyes a clue that something's not right. "They say I got bipolar, that's all," he says.
"OK, are you taking your meds?" she asks.
"When I can get them," he answers.
"I'm down here every day," Montgomery says. "Every morning I hear this."
The Chicago jail and many of its 3,300 counterparts across the country have become treatment centers of last resort for people with serious mental illnesses, most arrested for non-violent crimes. And like other jails, it is awash in a tide of booking and releases that make it particularly unsuited for the task.
U.S. jails, most of whose 731,000 inmates are trying to make bail or awaiting trial, hold roughly half the number in prisons. But last year, jails booked in 11.7 million people — 19 times the number of new prison inmates. The revolving door complicates the task of screening for mental illness, managing medications, providing care and ensuring inmate safety.
"Jails are churning people," says Henry J. Steadman, a consultant to government agencies on how courts and correctional facilities deal with people with mental illnesses.
Experts have pointed to rising numbers of inmates with mental illnesses since the 1970s, after states began closing psychiatric hospitals without following through on promises to create and sustain comprehensive community treatment programs.
But as the number of those with serious mental illnesses surpasses 20 percent in some jails, many have struggled to keep up, sometimes putting inmates in jeopardy.

The Associated Press has reported that at least nine of the 11 suicides in New York City jails over the past five years came after operators failed to follow safeguards designed to prevent self-harm by inmates. The AP's investigation into the deaths of two mentally ill inmates at the city's Rikers Island complex — one who essentially baked to death in a 101-degree cell in February and the other who sexually mutilated himself last fall — have prompted promises of reform.
Federal law protects the rights of people in jails and other institutions. But in temporary holding facilities, dealing with serious, long-term mental illnesses requires operators to rethink what they do, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart says.
"You're given a court order by a judge to hold this person in the jail until you're told not to," Dart says. "You're not supposed to do anything other than feed him, give them a bed, make sure they don't harm anyone else or themselves. ... You're not in there trying to cure people."
Many jails are dealing with similar dynamics, with sometimes disturbing results.
—In June, federal officials cited "deplorable" conditions for mentally ill inmates in the Los Angeles County jails as partly to blame for 15 suicides in 30 months. The L.A. system, the country's largest with 19,000 inmates, has been under federal supervision since 2002, but still fails to adequately supervise inmates "with clearly demonstrated needs," the Justice Department concluded.
—In Pensacola, Florida, Justice officials last year issued a scathing report about conditions at the Escambia County Jail. Records showed many inmates who requested care were never seen by a mental health professional. When inmates refused to take medications, the jail merely removed them from its list of those with a mental illness.
—In Columbus, Nebraska — seat of a county of 33,000 — six Platte County Detention Center inmates attempted suicide early this year, as many as in the previous 10 years combined. Jon Zavadil, the recently retired sheriff, says about 80 percent of all inmates medicated for some type of mental illness.
"Every county jail in the state has the same problem," says Zavadil, who blames Nebraska lawmakers for voting to close two of the state's three public psychiatric hospitals over the past decade.
Researchers long warned mental illness was being "criminalized," as police arrested more people for low-level offenses.
In the 1980s, researchers found about 6 percent of inmates showed signs of serious mental illness. A survey published in 2009 found 17 percent of jail inmates with serious mental illnesses. Individual jails report far greater numbers.
Today, many of those jailed with mental illnesses have grown up in a system full of holes.
"Even what we had when I started doing this work in 1988 was better than what we have now," says Nancy Koenigsberg, legal director for Disability Rights New Mexico, which helped bring suit against her state's Dona Ana County Detention Center in 2010 for mistreating mentally ill inmates.
But while the jail has since increased its mental health staff, New Mexico cities and counties have continued closing drop-in centers and other programs to that help maintain treatment. Many people wind up repeatedly picked up for relatively minor crimes.
At the Volusia County Detention Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, administrators compiled a list of such "frequent flyers." The 19 worst had been collectively jailed 894 times, mostly for minor offenses. Nearly half had a history of mental illness.
"A lot of their behavior was low level," says Marilyn Ford, the county's corrections director. "So they cycle through in a fairly short period of time and they never make it to prison."
Chicago's jail can offer an island of stability for inmates with mental illnesses, Dart says. In coming months, Dart plans to convert a former boot camp into a transition center to help those with mental illnesses after release.
But William, a 62-year-old inmate who says he's been jailed nine or 10 times for theft to support a drug habit, is doubtful. Many judges dismiss mental illness as a factor in crimes, says the inmate, diagnosed with depression, anxiety and symptoms of bipolar disorder. Outside jail, treatment is hard to get.
"Once we leave here," he says, "we're back on doom street."

Our Lost Childhoods


The Sad, Strange, True Story Of Sandy Allen, The Tallest Woman In The World

Sandy Allen was born in 1955, a normal-sized baby. But she grew, and grew, and grew to be 7’ 7” by the time she was 20, when brain surgery to remove a tumor on her pituitary gland stopped her growth. She was diagnosed with the tumor as a pre-teen, but as her family was uninsured, they could not afford it. If she’d had the surgery as a young girl, she would have been just a tall woman. As it turned out, Sandy Allen achieved the world record as the tallest woman in the world. But it came with a price- Gigantism has a lot of physical effects besides height. Doctors told her she’d be lucky to live past age 30.
Sandy would always have two options: a life lived publicly — one that embraced her title, perhaps attempted to do good with it, but invited judgment — or a private one. Soon after she became aware of how short her life might be, she elected the former. A Scottish promoter named Norman Adie first took Sandy to Australia, where she appeared at several department stores. That summer she did appearances at Adie’s Fantastic Facts and Feats in Wildwood, N.J. Sandy brought along Michael and adopted a dog she called Adie. After two summers there, she decided to take a job at the Guinness Museum in Niagara Falls, Canada.

“At that point her family needed money, and she wasn’t making it too well on a secretary salary,” Rose says. “She could be out on her own and make it for herself. That appealed to her.”
Allen worked at the Guinness Museum for eight years, and did plenty of traveling and public appearances afterward. But her body strained under her 450-pound weight, and as she got older, she suffered more physical disabilities and became frustrated and depressed. But she always put on a happy face for the public. Read the story of Sandy Allen at Buzzfeed.

The History Of The Weird Keyboard Symbols You Never Knew You Needed

Before the age of the internet, you likely never noticed some of the keyboard symbols that you now use all the time. Most of us still don't know the actual history behind these now-ubiquitous symbols, the reasons they exist, or how they ended up in your email addresses and URLs.
It's actually fascinating once you start digging. It turns out that type itself dates back to the early days of civilization. So even in cyberspace, there are a few paleolithic surprises.

The 19th-Century Health Scare That Told Women To Worry About 'Bicycle Face'

Once upon a time, the main danger associated with bicycling had nothing to do with being hit by a car. Instead, some late 19th century doctors warned that - especially for women - using the newfangled contraption could lead to a threatening medical condition: bicycle face.

Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one's balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted 'bicycle face,' noted the Literary Digest in 1895. It went on to describe the condition: 'usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness.'

25 Facts You Always Believed That Actually Aren't True

You probably thought the Earth revolves around the Sun right? Or that the Vikings wore horned helmets. Read on to see how wrong you are. These are 25 facts you always believed that actually aren't true.



Sometimes Work Can Make You Feel Like A Minion

Do you ever feel like you work for an evil mastermind who is hatching a despicable plan to take over the world?
If you answered yes then you’ll probably relate to the giant construction minion in this photo- he's working hard for his supervillain boss and loving every minute of it!
Minions aren’t generally known for their fine workmanship, so whatever this guy helps build will probably come tumbling down in a day or two, but at least he delivers service with a smile. BEE-DO-BEE-DO-BEE-DO!

Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave

Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave
An excavation at Reynard's Kitchen Cave in the UK unearthed 26 coins from the Iron Age and Roman …
Digging through a cave in central Britain, archaeologists uncovered 26 ancient gold and silver coins belonging to the Corieltauvi tribe, a group of people that lived in Britain before the Roman conquest.
Archaeologists previously found collections of coins like these in other parts of Britain, but this is the first time they have ever been discovered buried in a cave. The discovery of the coins was a surprise, because they were found at a site called Reynard's Kitchen Cave, which is located outside the Corieltauvi's usual turf.
"It might be that we have a member of the tribe living beyond the boundary that is more usually associated with the territory," Rachael Hall, an archaeologist at the National Trust who led the excavation, said in an email.
Back in 2000, a group of almost 5,000 Corieltauvi coins were discovered in Leicestershire. This more recent find at Reynard's Kitchen Cave might be additional evidence that members of the tribe once hoarded coins. Hall and the team speculate that the coins were hidden to ensure they weren't stolen, and whoever buried them may have planned on returning to the site to dig the coins up again.
The discovery included 20 Iron Age coins, three Roman coins and three coins from much later eras, according to a treasury report prepared by Ian Leins, curator of Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum. While the coins are not all from the same time period, Hall and the team of archaeologists said it's common to find collections of coins from different times, in the same way that, for example, U.S. coins from earlier decades are still circulating among newer coins.
Archaeologists are still unsure how Iron Age coins were used, but it is unlikely they were used as money to purchase items. They were more likely used as a means for storing wealth, given as gifts or offered as sacrifice. The three Roman coins discovered predate the Roman invasion, so archaeologists believe the coins may have been given as gifts.
A climber seeking shelter in the cave first discovered four of the coins, which prompted a full-scale excavation by the National Trust and Operation Nightingale, a group that helps injured military members recuperate by having them perform field archaeology.
The monetary value today of the coins discovered is around two thousand pounds (about $3,400 USD). The collection of coins officially qualifies as "treasure" under the United Kingdom's 1996 Treasure Act, which means it is valuable enough that it needs to be reported to authorities and offered up to museums.
Earlier excavation of Reynard's Kitchen Cave revealed animal bones and pieces of pottery. The coins will be put on display later this year at the Buxton Museum in Derbyshire.

Norway archaeologists find 8,000-year-old skull

Archaeologists in Norway have found what might be an 8,000-year-old skull, possibly containing brain matter, in a dig site in Stokke, southwest of Oslo. They say the find could help explain living conditions in the Stone Age.
Archaeologists in Norway have found an 8,000-year-old skull, still containing brain matter
The team has been digging at the Stokke site for two months and believe that the site consists of two separate Stone Age settlements. Among many other findings at the dig, the latest find is a human skull, which still appears to contain brain matter, and they hope that the find will tell them something about how it was to live in the Stone Age.
Experts are not yet sure whether the skull belongs to an animal or a child, According to Gaute Reitan, dig site leader, "It is too early to say. We need help from bone experts."
Speaking of the possible brain matter inside the skull, Reitan told NRK, “Inside it is something rather grey and clay-like,” adding, “You can just think for yourself what that may be.
"When we dug out some sample squares here, we very early came down to masses of soil, rich in carbon. We sent samples of this soil for fast dating in order to find a little more out of what we were dealing with. The bones in the pit are just as old," Reitan said.
Archaeologist Joachim Field Power excavating what is thought to be an 8,000 year old burial
“It’s seldom enough that we get to dig in a camp from a portion of the Stone Age that we really don’t know much about,” Reitan added. “But the fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special.”
Other bone fragments were found at the site and analysis will determine whether these are from people or animals. One was “quite large,” Reitan said, “maybe a shoulder- or hip bone.”
Reitan added that the archaeologists “now need help from the experts” to analyze and date the material, however, he did say they’re “quite sure” already that it dates from the Stone Age.
If confirmed, “it can help us learn more about what it was like to live in the Stone Age in Norway.” Early testing has dated the skull at around 5,900 BC, meaning it is almost 8,000 years old.

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There’s just some fun-loving girls you’re glad to know. Give the new handle @ladytramps a follow as @cierrarrose & @hpyness travel around looking for good livin’.

It's So Hot in Yellowstone That a Road Literally Melted

National Park is in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, along with a little bit spilling over into Idaho and Montana. At 3,468 square miles, it's larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island together.
Yellowstone rests on a geological hot spot--specifically, a volcanic caldera. The enormous heat contained beneath the Earth's surface bubbles up through geysers and hot springs.
The geothermal heat can damage human structures on the surface. This photo from the Associated Press shows a strip of Firehole Lake Drive. The subsurface heat has melted the asphalt.

Strange hole opens in Russian woods

Strange hole opens in Russian woods.
The size of this hole is so huge that people may come down into it on several Mi-8 helicopters, as they say. The place is situated not far from the largest Yamal gas reserve, a powerful underground stream is heard from the bottom. What you can see around the hole is a forest, the soil around the hole was thrown out. No explosive works had been carried out in the area, so it’s hard to explain why the hole appeared there.

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Mayor Marries Crocodile

Joel Vasquez Rojas is the mayor of San Pedro Huamelula, a town in Oaxaca, Mexico. This past week, in a grand public wedding, he married a young female crocodile that was wearing a white bridal gown.
The wedding was in keeping with an old tradition in this coastal fishing town. The crocodile is proclaimed a “princess.” Marrying her ensures good luck for fishermen in the future.
Residents filled the city hall, where the wedding took place. They danced, ate, and set off fireworks. The bride and groom, of course, took the first dance.

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