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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.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Daily Drift

 Yep, that'd do it ..!
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Today in History

1306 King Wenceslas of Poland is murdered.
1570 Charles IX of France signs the Treaty of St. Germain, ending the third war of religion and giving religious freedom to the Huguenots.
1636 The invading armies of Spain, Austria and Bavaria are stopped at the village of St.-Jean-de-Losne, only 50 miles from France.
1648 Ibrahim, the sultan of Istanbul, is thrown into prison, then assassinated.
1786 Jacques Balmat and Dr. Michael-Gabriel Baccard become the first men to climb Mont Blanc in France.
1844 Brigham Young is chosen to head the Mormon Church, succeeding Joseph Smith.
1863 Confederate President Jefferson Davis refuses General Robert E. Lee's resignation.
1876 Thomas Edison patents the mimeograph.
1899 The first household refrigerating machine is patented.
1925 The first national congress of the Ku Klux Klan opens.
1937 The Japanese Army occupies Beijing.
1940 The German Luftwaffe attacks Great Britain for the first time, begining the Battle of Britain.
1942 U.S. Marines capture the Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.
1944 U.S. forces complete the capture of the Marianas Islands.
1945 The Soviet Union declares war on Japan.
1950 U.S. troops repel the first North Korean attempt to overrun them at the battle of Naktong Bulge, which continued for 10 days.
1963 England's "Great Train Robbery;" 2.6 million pounds ($7.3 million) is stolen
1974 President Richard Nixon resigns from the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal.
1978 Pioneer-Venus 2 launched to probe the atmosphere of Venus.
1979 Iraq's president Saddam Hussein executes 22 political opponents.
1983 Brigadier General Efrain Rios Montt is deposed as president of Guatemala in the country's second military coup in 17 months.
1988 Angola, Cuba and South Africa sign cease-fire treaty in the border war that began in 1966.
1989 NASA Space Shuttle Columbia begins its eighth flight, NASA's 30th shuttle mission.
1990 Iraq annexes the state of Kuwait as its 19th province, six days after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.
2000 Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley raised to surface, 136 years after it sank following its successful attack on USS Housatonic in the outer harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
2007 An EF2 tornado hits Brooklyn, New York, the first in that borough since 1889.
2008 Georgia invades South Ossetia, touching off a five-day war between Georgia and Russia.

Non Sequitur


Iconic rock formation, The Cobra, crumbles

Millions-year-old tower near Moab, Utah, loses its top-heavy head during period of severe weather last week; was a favorite among rock climbers
The Cobra, a millions-year-old, iconic rock formation, crumbled in severe weather. Photo by Thatcher Clay/Flickr
The Cobra, a millions-year-old, iconic rock formation, crumbled in severe weather.
The Cobra, a millions-year-old, iconic rock formation popular with rock climbers, met an unfortunate demise last week during a period of severe weather.
The top-heavy head of the 50-foot rock tower near Moab, Utah, became detached and crumbled to the ground between Tuesday and Friday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Officials aren’t exactly sure what caused the decapitation, but it is believed lightning, high winds, and rain are contributing factors.
What's left of The Cobra. Photo by Mr. K from the Mountain Project website
What’s left of The Cobra.
“We haven’t been out there to investigate, but from our perspective, it’s an act of nature,” Lisa Bryant, a public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management in Moab, told Outside. “Erosion happens. It’s sad when something like this happens, but we’re very grateful that no one was hurt.”
The overriding theory by climbers is that the structure was struck by lightning.
“It would be a surprise to exactly no one who has stood atop that sketchy block that it slid off, but The Cobra actually lost its head from below the ‘wattle’ of the neck, on up,” climbing enthusiast Lisa Hathaway of Moab told Rock and Ice. “This makes me think the beheading was a result of a lightning strike, either direct or collateral damage.
The Cobra was popular among rock climbers. Photo from Lisa Justice Facebook page
The Cobra was popular among rock climbers.
“It had a very loose cap,” Hathaway told Outside. “It was almost more miraculous that it lasted as long as it did.”
Indeed. On the climbing website Mountain Project, George Bell made the first comment about The Cobra on February 20, 2002, saying, “This sick tower gets my vote as ‘most likely to fall down in the next 10 years.’ What is holding it up?”
Bell missed it by two years.
Hathaway told the Salt Lake Tribune that it was an April Fools’ Day tradition in Moab to say the tenuous formation had collapsed.
“Alas, it was no prank [this time],” she told Deseret News. “The Cobra was beheaded.
“It will definitely be sorely missed. The Cobra was definitely an iconic little summit for people to climb.”
The Cobra is part of the Fisher Towers formation located 20 miles northeast of Moab. The Utah Geological Survey reported that the Fisher Towers is approximately 245 million years old, making The Cobra one ancient rock formation.
Or one former ancient rock formation, as it were.

Tuvalu climate change family granted New Zealand residency following appeal

A family from the Polynesian island of Tuvalu have been granted New Zealand residency after claiming they would be affected by climate change if they returned home. It is the first successful application for residency on humanitarian grounds in which climate change has featured, but the Immigration and Protection Tribunal said the family had strong ties to New Zealand. Environmental law expert Vernon Rive said the tribunal would be keen to avoid opening the floodgates to other climate change refugee claims.
The international Refugee Convention does not recognize victims of climate change as refugees. "I do see the decision as being quite significant," Rive said. "But it doesn't provide an open ticket for people from all the places that are impacted by climate change. It's still a very stringent test and it requires exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature." The Tuvalu family moved to New Zealand in 2007, but has had no legal status in the country since 2009. Their two children, aged 3 and 5, were born in New Zealand. The family has three generations of relatives living in New Zealand.
The father is a qualified teacher but has been a maintenance worker at a fast-food chain because he couldn't register as a teacher. His several applications for work visas were refused. In November 2012, the family lodged claims for refugee and protected persons status. In March last year, their claims were dismissed and last month the tribunal turned down their appeals because they did not meet the refugee convention. They successfully appealed against that decision on humanitarian grounds. In a decision issued last month, the tribunal found "exceptional circumstances ... which would make it unjust and unduly harsh" for the family to return to Tuvalu.
Immigration lawyer Trevor Zohs, who represented the family with Carole Curtis, said the effects of climate change should be recognized. "A lot of people are affected by illness when they go back, they get sick from drinking polluted water. The island is porous so even when the water is not flooding, it penetrates the rocks under the land." Appealing the decision on humanitarian grounds allowed discretion to be widened so the tribunal could consider whether it would be unjust to send a person back to their country. "Obviously their character, the fact they're going to contribute to New Zealand and that they have a connection to New Zealand is also taken into account," Zohs said.

8 Real-Life Locations That Inspired Disney Places

Ever watch a Disney movie and feel slightly disappointed that you'll never be able to visit those wondrous, fantastical places? Good news: The castles, towns, geological formations, and even buildings in many Disney movies were inspired by real-life locations.
So the next time you're feeling a little sad that you'll never get to visit Snow White's cottage or the Beast's magic castle, buy yourself a plane ticket and get going.

Plans to open funeral parlor opposite block of retirement flats described as insensitive

Plans to open up a funeral parlor opposite a block of retirement flats have been described as "insensitive". Proposals have been put forward by Adam & Greenwood funeral directors for a parlor on High Street in Maldon, Essex. Elderly people who live at the back of the building said they were distressed by the thought of having to see hearses and bodies coming and going. The company said it would not be seeking alternative premises. Brian Stewart lives on the top floor of the retirement block. "When I look out of my windows, I look directly at this proposed funeral parlor," he said. "To think about it is so depressing. My wife died in January and I'm having to get over that. But then to be faced with looking at a funeral home... it's just not on."
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "To me, it's just totally insensitive. The people who live here, they don't need to see this. We're just hoping and praying something will be done to make sure this doesn't actually go ahead." Ray Ward, from Adam & Greenwood funeral directors, said he wished those concerned had spoken to him before he signed up to buy the premises. "The strength of feeling has come as a surprise," he said. But he is adamant the parlor will go ahead, because the company has a new contract to provide out-of-hours funeral services in the Chelmsford and Maldon district areas. "My contract says I have to pick people up within an hour and the base in Maldon will allow us to do that," he said. "If the planners turn me down, I will go to appeal."

Why Can People Live In Hiroshima And Nagasaki Now, But Not Chernobyl?

On August 6 and 9, 1945, U.S. airmen dropped the nuclear bombs Little Boy and Fat Man on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On April 26, 1986, the number four reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine exploded.

Today, over 1.6 million people live and seem to be thriving in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a 30 square kilometer area surrounding the plant, remains relatively uninhabited. Why is that?



World War 1: Women At Work

Prior to the First World War, less than 10% of the female population were actively employed. But by the outbreak of the war, this number had risen three fold. Here are rarely seen images of women at war - from agriculture to army recruits and the ladies' fire brigade.

Teenage girl smeared mascara on improperly parked car

A teenage girl has been charged with property damage after allegedly vandalizing a car at the Jewish Community Center in Chesterfield, Missouri, as she was offended by the way the person had parked their car.

Two members of the Stoner family charged with cultivating marijuana

Two members of the Stoner family were charged with growing marijuana at their family home in Corvallis, Montana, this week. Rodney Ray Stoner, 57 and his son, Adam Lee Stoner, 24, appeared this week before Ravalli County Justice of the Peace Robin Clute on felony drug charges after Ravalli County sheriff’s deputies allegedly discovered a grow operation at the elder Stoner’s home.
The charging affidavit in the case said a former Baltimore law enforcement officer and a relative of the Stoners tipped off law enforcement to the alleged grow operation.The man told deputies that Rodney Stoner had shown his wife and children the plants growing in a home-built room in an unattached garage. A deputy asked the children – ages 12 and 14 – what they had seen, and they confirmed the plants were marijuana. They told the deputy they had taken a DARE class and had seen photos of the plant.
A search of the elder Stoner’s home allegedly recovered five marijuana plants, processed marijuana, marijuana pipes and grinders. Four clonazepam tablets were also allegedly found in the bedroom of the son. He did not have a prescription for the drug. The younger Stoner told officers the marijuana belonged to him and that his father allowed him to grow it in the home.
Adam Stoner was charged with criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of dangerous drugs, both felonies. He also faces misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. Rodney Stoner was charged with felony accountability for criminal production of dangerous drugs. He’s charged with the same misdemeanor counts as his son. Clute released both men on their own recognizance.

Thief broke through brick wall of store to steal a 12-pack of beer and some meaty snacks

Surveillance has been released showing a man breaking into an Enmark convenience store in Bluffton, South Carolina, last Tuesday morning.

Cafe burglar found preparing himself crab cakes

A hungry burglar who broke into a cafe in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, early on Thursday was found by police in the kitchen of the restaurant preparing himself some crab cakes, police said.
Stephen L. Quinn, 41, of Millsboro was charges with burglary, theft under $1,500, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, said Police Chief Keith Banks.
The incident unfolded at about 1:30am at Planet X Cafe, where officers were called to investigate a person breaking the glass front door. When officers arrived at the location, they found Quinn preparing crab cakes and he had a stolen bottle of alcohol, also taken from the cafe, to accompany his meal.
Upon seeing the officers, Quinn tried to make a run for it, broke through the rear door and was promptly captured in the back alley behind the restaurant, Banks said. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution after failing to post $2,000 secured bail. He faces an Aug. 8 preliminary hearing.

Man faces attempted murder charge after roommate ate three of his Chips Ahoy cookies

A central Illinois man is accused of trying to kill his female roommate for allegedly eating three of his Chips Ahoy cookies. When Allen M. Hall, 23, threatened to kill his 49-year-old roommate after discovering she had eaten the cookies for breakfast, at first she thought he was joking. But after repeating the threats Hall attacked her, said an affidavit by Decatur patrol officer Joseph Kish. The incident occurred at about 10:15am on Wednesday in a house, where Hall and the roommate had separate bedrooms.
The victim said she was dressing in a bathroom when Hall started pounding on the door, threatening to kill her. Because she didn't take the threat seriously she opened the door and told him: “If you are going to kill me then go ahead,” the victim later told police. Hall shocked her with his violent response. “Allen grabbed her around the throat with both of his hands and threw her down into the tub,” she told police, said the affidavit. “She hit the back of her head on the tub and this caused a knot on her head.”
Hall then got on top of her “and strangled her to the point she could not speak and was having difficulty breathing.” The victim's husband and landlady both arrived on the scene and “had to pull Allen off of her.” She later told police she believed “Allen would have killed her if (her husband and landlady) had not been there.” The landlady told police she was in the dining room when she heard “commotion coming from the bathroom.”
When she arrived on the scene, Hall was on top of her in the tub, with his hands around her neck “and appeared to be squeezing as hard as he could.” When the landlady yelled for him to stop, he did not relent, so she grabbed one of his arms. Then she and the victim's husband pulled Hall off of her. “If she had not been there she believed Allen would have killed (the victim),” the landlady told police. During a police interview, Hall explained, “(The victim) told him to kill her, so he charged.” Hall is being held on $75,000 bond in the Macon County Jail on charges of attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery. He is due in circuit court for his arraignment by Thursday.

Daily Comic Relief


Couple who thought home had been wrecked by burglars discovered culprit was pregnant squirrel

When Mariam Pal and her husband returned to their home in the Notre-Dame-de-GrĂ¢ce area of Montreal, Canada, after a week away and found the interior trashed, they assumed the damage had been caused by burglars. The living room was overturned - lamps knocked over, sofa cushions on the floor, window blinds shredded and chocolate wrappers all over the floor.

Wandering tortoise detained by police

A tortoise found in Alhambra, California, couldn't outrun the police on Saturday.
It took two officers to take a 150-pound tortoise into custody, the Alhambra Police Department said. "The tortoise did try to make a run for it; but, our officers are pretty fast. Almost had a pursuit!"
Officials said they received a call about the animal when someone found it wandering on the road. The tortoise has distinct markings, police said, and was picked up by animal control.
The animal's owner can contact the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control center.

Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens

Touchscreen technology has ventured into the world of reptiles. Red-footed tortoises have learned how to use the devise in exchange for a strawberry, a new study reports. Researchers taught the tortoises a few touchscreen basics in order to learn about the animals' navigational techniques. The tortoises not only mastered the task in exchange for strawberries, but the animals also transferred their knowledge to a real-life setting. "Generally people see reptiles as inert, stupid and unresponsive," said Anna Wilkinson, one of the study's lead researchers and a senior lecturer of animal cognition at the University of Lincoln in England. "I would like people to see that there is something much more complex going on."
Red-footed tortoises are inquisitive and eager to eat treats, making them good test subjects, Wilkinson said. The tortoises, which are native to Central and South America, don't have a hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with learning, memory and spatial navigation, Wilkinson said. Instead, red-footed tortoises may rely on an area of the brain called the medial cortex, an area associated with complex cognitive behavior and decision making in people. To understand how tortoises learn, the researchers tested how the reptiles relied on cues to get around. Wilkinson's colleagues at the University of Vienna gave the tortoises treats when the reptiles looked at, approached and then pecked on the screen.
The four red-footed tortoises in the study learned how to use touchscreens fairly quickly, Wilkinson said. "It's comparable to the speed with which the pigeons and rats do it," Wilkinson said. "I've trained dogs to use a touchscreen and I'd say the tortoises are faster." Their speedy learning is in line with the fact that tortoise hatchlings don't receive parental care, so they have to learn how to make decisions about food and shelter for themselves from the moment they hatch, she added. In the main experiment, the tortoises pecked a red triangle in the center of the touchscreen. When two blue circles flashed, they had to consistently peck either the circle on the right or the one on the left to get a treat.

All four of the tortoises mastered the touchscreen task, but two eventually stopped cooperating, possibly because they were too small to properly reach the screen, Wilkinson said. The remaining two tortoises applied their knowledge to a real-life situation in the next part of the experiment, Wilkinson said. The researchers placed them in an arena with two blue empty food bowls that looked like the blue circles on the touchscreen. The tortoises went to the bowl on the same side as the circles they were trained to peck on the screen. However, it's possible that the tortoises weren't transferring knowledge, but simply had a preferred side, said Jennifer Vonk, an associate professor of psychology at Oakland University in Michigan, who was not involved with the study. The researchers trained the tortoises to go to the opposite bowl in the arena to see how flexible they were, but once reintroduced to the touch screens three months later, the tortoises immediately began pecking on the same side as before.

Animal Pictures