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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 15, 2014

The Daily Drift

 True dat ..!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

Just do it ... !
Today is  - National Relaxation Day
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The Pacific

Today in History

1261 Constantinople falls to Michael VIII of Nicea and his army.
1385 John of Portugal defeats John of Castile at the Battle of Aljubarrota.
1598 Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, leads an Irish force to victory over the British at Battle of Yellow Ford.
1760 Frederick II defeats the Austrians at the Battle of Liegnitz.
1864 The Confederate raider Tallahassee captures six Federal ships off New England.
1872 The first ballot voting in England is conducted.
1914 The Panama Canal opens to traffic.
1935 American comedian and "cowboy philosopher" Will Rogers dies in an airplane accident, along with American aviation pioneer Wiley Post.
1942 The Japanese submarine I-25 departs Japan with a floatplane in its hold which will be assembled upon arriving off the West Coast of the United States, and used to bomb U.S. forests.
1944 American, British and French forces land on the southern coast of France, between Toulon and Cannes, in Operation Dragoon.
1945 Gasoline and fuel oil rationing ends in the United States.
1947 Britain grants independence to India and Pakistan.
1950 Two U.S. divisions are badly mauled by the North Korean Army at the Battle of the Bowling Alley in South Korea, which rages on for five more days.
1969 Over 400,000 young people attend a weekend of rock music at Woodstock, New York.
1971 US President Richard Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages and prices in an attempt to halt rapid inflation.
1986 Ignoring objections from President Ronald Reagan's Administration, US Senate approves economic sanctions against South Africa to protest that country's apartheid policies.
1994 US Social Security Administration, previously part of the Department of Health and Human Services, becomes an independent government agency.
1994 Infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal captured in Khartoum, Sudan.
2001 Astronomers announce the first solar system discovered outside our own; two planets had been found orbiting a star in the Big Dipper.
2007 An earthquake of 8.0 magnitude kills over 500 and injures more than 1,000 in Peru.

Non Sequitur


15 things foreigners love about the US

by Sophie-Claire Hoeller
While foreigners love to hate on the United States, they still flock to our shores, enjoy our all-you-can-eat buffets, and infuriate us by walking too slowly. If you ask us, there’s a big ol’ incongruity between the amount of bashing they do and their secret lust for everything American.
We asked them what they absolutely hate about the US. And then we proceeded to ignore them while making repeated references to WWII. Today, as promised, Part II: What foreigners absolutely love about this country. The list (of course) was long, but we trimmed it down to the best 15. Take pride, America.
The American Dream is alive and well.
There are so many self-made millionaires in this country. Americans don't fear failure, spending their life savings on developing some app or wild business idea.
Even if that business idea is Yo.
The work ethic puts everyone to shame.
Most foreigners will say Americans work too much. They may be right. But they also admire the ambition and tenacity Americans show in the pursuit of success.
Friendliness, when they mean it.
It's almost as if everyone is this country was born with a friendly, white smile. But even though New Yorkers might get a bad rap, if you ask someone for directions on the street, they're likely to show you the way. And don't even get us started on Southern Hospitality. 
Friendliness, even when they don't mean it.
Fake enthusiasm beats staff that think they’re doing you a favor by doing their jobs. Your waitress at Chili's might ask you four times "How's everyone doing?" in the pursuit of a bigger tip, but you know she's going to ask. On the flip side, French waiters would rather you not come to the restaurant, and will let you know that.
There is so much freedom.
The sheer number of things that are legal somewhere in the U.S. is mind-boggling. Freedom of speech? Check. Freedom of religion? Check. Free refills? Damn straight.
And this makes no mention of Texas, where it seems like nearly everything is legal, except for driving a Smart car.
Free Refills.
Let's reiterate that one. Foreigners may insult Americans for being fat, but secretly, they also want another Diet Coke for free.
If you tried drinking iced teas on a hot day in Rome, you'd be paying for four iced teas. And DIY fountain drinks? Unheard of.
Plus, Olive Garden has its unlimited soup and breadsticks. And in the most American of American developments, you can now get endless appetizers at TGI Fridays for $10.
Hollywood movies and TV shows.
Even the most staunch America-hater probably binge watches The Big Bang Theory, keeps up with the Kardashians, and will watch whatever Michael Bay is blowing up these days.
The BBC might have Sherlock, but the USA has everything else. Including WWE Raw on USA.
god bless the USA. And the WWE.

Everything is based on convenience.
24-hour stores, delis and pharmacies on every single block, stores that are open seven days a week and past 6pm, drive-thru fast food, drive-thru liquor stores – in most countries, this is literally unthinkable. In the U.S., it's the standard.
Change is a thing.
The Civil Rights Movement was just 50 years ago – now a black man's president.
The food combinations are ridiculous... and amazing.
Bacon wrapped burgers? Brilliant! Marshmallows on sweet potatoes? Innovation at its finest! You mean I can take the rest of this home and have a whole second meal? Sign me up!
Garbage disposals destroy everything.
What a fantastic invention.
The staggering array of choices.
There's an entire aisle dedicated to breakfast cereal in most grocery stores. And a ton of it is good! And there's something like 457 flavors of Doritos alone. Walking into a Walmart presents a dizzying variety of options of everything from brands of ketchup to vacuum cleaners. It's an incredible testament to free market economics.
And snack food.
So much stuff for so little money.
You can buy a gallon of mayo in the store. And its a 2 for 1 deal! Dollar stores can outfit an entire kitchen for under $50. And Amazon seems like it'd ship everything short of a house to your house, with free shipping.
Actually, you probably can get a house shipped to your house.
A lot of people carry less than $20 on them at all times. You know why? Just about every place accepts credit cards. You can buy a pack of gum with your card. And cashiers probably prefer it.
Health and fitness are everywhere.
The prevalence of spin studios, 24-hour gyms, juice shops, kale and quinoa are mind-boggling. Not everyone participates, but Americans revere people like Jack LaLanne and stock their homes with equipment like Chuck Norris' Total Gym.

12 Things Foreigners Hate About the US

by Sophie-Claire Hoeller
12 Things Foreigners Hate About the US
Sure, we stick out like sore thumbs overseas, the French think our country consists entirely of pictures of chicken wrapped in bacon, and the Euros don’t like our best snacks. But so what? We didn’t rescue the world twice in one century so we could eat Canadian bacon while watching parliament on public TV.
That said, for as awesome as America is, you have to admit that to an outsider it can seem like one confusing country of gun-owning football fans who shop at Walmart.
Which is why we thought it’d be fun (even though we totally don’t care) to find out what the rest of the world finds most baffling (and most endearing) about the good old U.S. of A. 
Your national sports finals are not World Championships. Not even a little bit. Remember that huge event that happens every four years that sucks up relentless hours of TV coverage? No, not the presidential campaign. The Olympics. Yeah, that’s a real world championship. You can’t be the best in the world if you don’t play outside your country. And Canada doesn’t count.
Football is not what that game is. Sure, players use their feet to run. And there is a ball. But realistically, the guys closest to playing anything resembling football (i.e. using a foot on the ball) are the punter and kicker. Are those really the players you want your sport judged on?
The measurement systems are asinine. Feet and pounds made sense when there weren’t better systems in place. People also used to think trephination was a swell idea.
“How are you” is a greeting, not to be mistaken for any sort of interest in you. Asking this question will launch any foreigner into a diatribe about their personal wellbeing. Americans don’t care and will probably think you’re really self-important if you start elaborating.
Relentless optimism and friendliness are the norm. It’s just exhausting to everyone else. Can’t you just accept the fact that some things suck and always will? Like tapioca pudding.
Your coins are senseless (c’mon, that’s a good pun). A dime is smaller than a nickel, but worth twice as much, and also smaller than a penny, which actually costs taxpayers money to produce. They also have nicknames like nickels and dimes that don’t tell you anything about their denominations. Speaking of denomination, nowhere on a quarter does it say 25 cents.
Tipping has no set guidelines. Even Americans are divided over this issue. There’s no set amount or percentage. You’re either Mr. Moneybags or a cheapskate, depending on who you’re with. But really. Why do visitors (or anyone) have to pay the price for cheap employers, or pay people to do their jobs even reasonably well? Take coffee, for example. You’d probably tip the waiter who brought you the cup, but not the guy who brewed it to your liking. One job’s not harder than the other — actually, the barista’s job is surely tougher.
Food portions are titanic. You’re not fat because your food is terrible for you. You’re fat because your food is terrified of you and you eat an entire dinner table-sized plate of it at every meal.
You expect everyone to speak English perfectly. Do you know what you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. Three languages? Trilingual. One language? American.
You’re so loud. To a foreigner, the American speaking volume sounds approximately 27 percent louder than any other person’s. Inside voices are actually a thing. You just have to let everyone know about all that freedom you have lying around.
You live to work. Too bad your life sucks.
The average person in the great no-vacation-nation gets 13 vacation days, if they’re lucky (the US is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require any paid vacation time). Even Bolivia gets almost three times as many days. In fact, Americans are afraid of taking their hard-earned holidays: Last year, they left half a billion unused.
You can dish criticism, but you can’t take it. Americans like to consider theirs the “greatest country on Earth” and criticize everything from Canada’s awesome healthcare to Angela Merkel’s skirt suits. But the second anyone so much as makes a face at chili cheese fries, Americans freaking lose it. Where’s that First Amendment when you need it?

The Daily Groaner

A man goes into the doctor. He says, "Doc, you gotta check my leg. Something's wrong. Just put your ear up to my thigh, you'll hear it!"

The doctor cautiously placed his ear to the man's thigh only to hear, "Gimme 20 bucks, I really need 20 bucks."

"I've never seen or heard anything like this before, how long has this been going on?" the doctor asked.

"That's nothing Doc put your ear to my knee!"

The doctor put his ear to the man's knee and heard it say "Man, I really need 10 dollars, just lend me 10 bucks!!"

"Sir, I really don't know what to tell you. I've never seen -- er, heard -- anything like this." The doctor was dumbfounded.

"Wait Doc, that's not it. There's more, just put your ear up to my ankle," the man urged him.

The doctor did as the man said and sure enough, he heard his ankle plead, "Please, I just need 15 dollars. Lend me 15 bucks please, if you will."

"There's nothing about it in my books," he said as he flipped through several volumes. "But I can make a well-educated guess. Based on life and all my previous experience I can tell you that your leg seems to be broke in three places." 

Why Fire Hydrants Don't Freeze and Burst During Winter

The fire hydrant that we know today traces its origins back to fire plugs. Water mains that transported fresh water in a city or town used to be made of hollowed out logs buried beneath the streets. Whenever there was a fire and firefighters needed water, they dug up the cobblestone street and drilled a hole into the wooden pipe.
The invention of a post- or pillar-type fire hydrant is generally credited to Frederick Graff Sr., Chief Engineer of the Philadelphia Water Works around the year 1801. It had a combination hose/faucet outlet and was of 'wet barrel' design with the valve in the top.

Why do we easily forget someones name?

Why do we easily forget someones name? This is something that happens to even the most kind and conscientious among us.

No sooner does someone utter the most fundamental factoid about themselves than the information flees our brains forever. There are a few reasons why this occurs.

Mystery over massive Alexander-era tomb unearthed in Greece

A view of a large burial monument dating back to the 4th century BC, in Kasta, near Amphipolis, Greece on August 24, 2013
A view of a large burial monument dating back to the 4th century BC, in Kasta, near Amphipolis, Greece on August 24, 2013
Archaeologists have unearthed a funeral mound dating from the time of Alexander the Great and believed to be the largest ever discovered in Greece, but are stumped about who was buried in it.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday described the find as "unique" after he visited the site, which dates to the era following Alexander's death, at the ancient town of Amphipolis in northern Greece.
"It is certain that we stand before an exceptionally important find," Samaras said in a statement. "This is a monument with unique characteristics."
Hidden under a hill at the ancient town, the Hellenistic-era mound containing the tomb has a near-circular circumference of 497 metres (1,630 feet), Samaras said.
A five-meter marble lion, currently standing on a nearby road, originally topped the tomb, he said.
"The tomb is definitely dated to the period following the death of Alexander the Great (in 323 BC), but we cannot say who it belonged to," supervising archaeologist Katerina Peristeri told Mega channel.
Built on the banks of the river Strymon, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the modern city of Serres, Amphipolis was an important city of the ancient Macedonian kingdom under Alexander.
Alexander's Persian wife Roxanne and son Alexander were exiled to Amphipolis and murdered there on the orders of his successor King Cassander around 310 BCE.
There were no suggestions that the tomb could have belonged to Alexander himself, who died in Babylon in what is present-day Iraq, but experts believe it could have belonged to another member of the royal family.



Everything You Need To Escape From Alcatraz

Eighty years ago, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary officially opened its gates to some of America's most violently incorrigible criminals. It was the most escape-proof prison ever built. Escape-proof, that is, for everyone except three prisoners in 1962 and their trusty arsenal of brilliant, hacked-together gadgets.
The complexity and planning of the escape itself is a marvel to behold. Here's everything they used to pull off one of the most insane escapes in prison history.

Using pine sap for indoor lighting

Indoors, pine sap was seldom made into candles.  It was unnecessary.  A piece of sap cut or pulled from a tree—about the size of a little finger from the tip of it to the knuckle—would burn for longer than an hour.  It was laid on something flat that was heatproof, like a carefully chosen rock with a depression in the top of it.  A lamp in a seashell would not drip tar on a table or cause the shell to break from the heat.  A wick of twisted thread or string was pressed into the sap and lit.  The flame would char the wick until it reached the sap and then set it on fire.  
Text and image from an article about colonial indoor lighting at Colonial American Digressions.

Random Photos

Why you might want to have an eel in your well

A 155-year-old eel living in a Swedish well has died.
"My family bought the cottage in 1962, and we always knew the housepet was included," Mr Kjellman said.
Before public water systems were developed in the 1960s, it was common practice to drop eels in to household wells to get rid of flies and bugs.

"Eels normally only live to be seven years old, they usually get so fat and their intestinal canals stop working. But this one just lived and lived and lived,” said Mr Kjellman...

Åle became something of a celebrity during his decades at the bottom of the well, featuring in numerous Swedish books and TV programs. 
For some of my years in Kentucky I lived in a semi-rural location with the home's water provided by a cistern rather than a well.  The cistern was recharged by runoff from the roof of an outbuilding.  Because I was not meticulous in cleaning the gutters of leaves and other organic debris, various insect larvae would get washed down the downspout into the cistern and eventually appear in my tap-water.

I should have kept an eel in the cistern.

The Ten Biggest Dinosaur Mysteries We Have Yet to Solve

We know dinosaurs better than ever before. Paleontologists continue to find new species, naming a new one every two weeks or so, and more accurately reconstruct familiar dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops.
Despite all our recent advances in understanding the Age of Reptiles, dinosaurs still present us with a slew of unresolved questions. Here's a list of ten dinosaur mysteries that continue to perplex paleontologists.

Daily Comic Relief


Watch as Diver Screams With Whale Shark Approaching

It was all fun and games until the giant whale shark came just a little too close for comfort.

That was the experience of a scuba diver in the Atlantic Ocean who let out a whale of a scream when a shark came at him while he was filming underwater.
In a video posted to YouTube Friday, the diver’s companion is seen treading water in the midst of one shark while he suddenly points frantically at another shark now coming directly toward the diver with the camera.
The diver's gurgled scream is followed by a brief silence and then laughter, or, more likely, unfettered relief, as the shark swims away.
The startled diver had good reason to scream considering the whale shark is the largest fish in the sea, at a length of at least 40 feet, according to National Geographic.
But the shark was most likely just intrigued by the new creatures in the sea rather than wanting to have the pair for lunch. National Geographic reports the preferred meal of whale sharks is plankton, the small organisms that drift and float in the ocean.

Rare opah catch might be a world record

Joe Ludlow's catch of a 181-pound opah has been submitted to the IGFA for record consideration; it exceeds the current record weight by 18 pounds
Joe Ludlow poses with rare opah catch that could land angler in the record book
Three anglers recently completed a rare and perhaps unprecedented feat by landing an opah aboard a San Diego-based boat fishing in Mexican waters.
Opah, also referred to as moonfish, are rarely caught by recreational fishermen, and for three people to catch an opah on the same day was considered extraordinary.
But lost amid the hype swirling in fishing circles when the opah-trifecta photo surfaced (see photo below) was that one of the moonfish, a 181-pounder caught by Joe Ludlow, exceeds the world-record weight by 18 pounds.
The fish were caught aboard the Excel, a luxury long-range sportfishing boat that spends several days at a time in Mexcan waters.
The International Game Fish Association lists as the all-tackle world record a 163-pound opah caught in October 1998 off San Luis Obispo in Central California.
Armando Castillo, Joe Ludlow and Travis Savala (left to right) pose with opah aboard the Excel
That was an El Niño year and El Niño-like conditions (un usually warm water) are prevalent this summer off California. Opah catches tend to be associated with warm-water events.
Justin Fleck, captain of the Excel, said Ludlow was one of five anglers that hooked an opah at about the same time, soon after the boat had stopped over a school of yellowtail.
Most people were fishing near the surface with bait but the five anglers dropped heavy lures into deeper waters, and suddenly all five were hooked into large fish that fought much differently than yellowtail.
“The fish were pulling the guys up the rail toward the bow, and back toward the stern, then back to the bow, but they weren’t really taking any line,” Fleck said.
Opah are oval-shaped with silvery-red bodies and vermillion-colored fins. When the first opah was spotted and identified, many customers stopped fishing and started following the five anglers around the boat.
“It became a sideshow,” Fleck said.
Ludlow’s fish was the first to be brought over the rail, after a 30-minute fight.
Two others were gaffed minutes later, while two became unhooked and swam off.
The Excel was fishing in 190 feet of water near San Martin Island. Fleck said that a group of opah must have just been swimming through the area.
That in itself is somewhat unusual, since opah are not schooling fish, except during spawning season. (There’s not a directed fishery for opah because they’re so solitary, but enough are caught indiscriminately by long-line fishermen to provide a market for consumers.)
“We must have just been in the right place at the right time,” Fleck said, adding that the paperwork this week was submitted to the IGFA for world-record consideration. “And we were following IGFA rules.”
The IGFA can take several weeks to approve or deny world-record applications.

Amazon's Biggest Fish Faces Threat of Extinction

Fishing for Brazil's FossilsVillagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013. Catching the arapaima, a fish that is sought after for its meat and is considered by biologists to be a living fossil, is only allowed once a year by Brazil's environmental protection agency. The minimum size allowed for a fisherman to keep an arapaima is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). Picture taken November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Bruno Kelly)
Measuring 10 feet (3 meters) long and weighing in at more than 400 pounds (180 kilograms), it's hard to imagine that the arapaima, the largest fish in the Amazon River basin, could ever go missing. But these huge fish are quickly disappearing from Brazilian waterways, according to a new study.
A recent survey of fishing communities in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, found that the arapaima is already extinct in some parts of the Amazon basin. In other parts of the Amazon, its numbers are rapidly dwindling.
However, the researchers also uncovered some good news: In communities where arapaima fishing is regulated, the species is actually thriving, giving the researchers hope that conservation of the species is still possible.
Commonly known as pirarucu, arapaima (Arapaima gigas) are the largest freshwater fish in South America. They're unique among fishes for their ability to breathe air — a feat made possible by a primitive lung, which they possess in conjunction with a gill system that allows them to breathe underwater. The fish developed this function because they typically live in oxygen-poor waterways, according to the Tennessee Aquarium, which is home to several arapaima.
But while this supplemental breathing technique helps the fish survive in its native habitat, it also makes the arapaima much easier to catch, according to the researchers.
"Arapaima spawn on the edges of floodplain forests and come to the surface to breathe every 5 to 15 minutes, when they are easily located and harpooned by fishers using homemade canoes," said Caroline Arantes, a doctoral student in wildlife and fisheries science at Texas A&M University in College Station, who helped conduct the study.
Fishy policies
Of the five known species of arapaima, three have not been observed in the wild in decades, according to study co-author Donald Stewart, a professor with the State University of New York at Syracuse's College of Environmental Science. Stewart said that all five species dominated fisheries in the Amazon just a century ago.
A commercially important species, arapaima are traditionally fished by local Amazonian communities, a practice that's largely unregulated, the researchers said. To find out how this lack of regulation might be affecting the giant fish, the researchers interviewed local fishers operating within a 650-square-mile (1,683 square kilometers) floodplain in northwestern Brazil.
In 19 percent of the 81 communities surveyed, the arapaima was found to be already extinct. And the giant fish's numbers are depleted, or approaching extinction, in 57 percent of the communities surveyed. In 17 percent of the communities, the fish were deemed "overexploited," according to the researchers.
"Fishers continue to harvest arapaima regardless of low population densities," said study leader Leandro Castello, an assistant professor of fisheries at Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment, in Blacksburg.
But the blame for the arapaima's dwindling numbers doesn't just fall on local fishing communities. Policymakers in Brazil may also be responsible, the researchers suggest. Government officials in the region tend to follow a "bioeconomic" line of thinking, which may have doomed the arapaima, the researchers said.
"Bioeconomic thinking has predicted that scarcity would drive up fishing costs, which would increase price and help save depleted species," Castello said. "If that prediction were true, extinctions induced by fishing would not exist, but that is not what has happened."
Fishing down
What is happening in the Amazon River basin is in line with something Castello and his colleagues call the "fishing-down" theory. This idea helps explain how large, high-value, easy-to-catch fish — such as the arapaima — can be fished to extinction.
In communities where arapaima are scarce, local fishers stop hunting the fish in traditional ways, such as with a harpoon. However, this doesn't mean fishers aren't killing arapaima; they're simply killing them in a different way.
These fishers use gill nets to harvest smaller fish, including juvenile arapaima. While local fishers don't necessarily catch the smaller arapaima on purpose, by "fishing down" they still end up killing the fish and further depleting the arapaima population.
But there is a bright side to this sad fish tale, according to study co-author David McGrath, a researcher with the Earth Innovation Institute in San Francisco. In communities that have implemented fishing rules, such as imposing a minimum capture size for arapaima and restricting the use of gill nets, the density of arapaima is 100 times higher than in places where no such rules exist.
"These communities are preventing further arapaima extinctions," McGrath said.
Unfortunately, only 27 percent of the communities surveyed have management rules in place for fishing arapaima. One community that does manage these fish, Ilha de São Miguel, banned the use of gill nets two decades ago. It now has the highest arapaima densities in the region, the researchers found.
But regulations like those implemented by the community of Ilha de São Miguel are not common in floodplain regions, Castello said. These areas, he explained, suffer from widespread illegal fishing, a fact that he worries could lead to fishing-induced extinctions for other Amazonian species.
Fixing the situation
Part of the problem, Castello said, is a lack of economic alternatives for the fishers who survive on the commercial trade of threatened fish species. But the researchers said their findings demonstrate that it's possible to save the arapaima from extinction without jeopardizing local food supplies.
"Fisheries productivity in Ilha de São Miguel is also the highest in the study area," Castello said. "Cast nets are allowed because they are much more selective, yet they yield abundant fishes for local consumption, so food security for the community is not compromised."
This bodes well for both fish and fishermen, said the researchers, who believe that spreading the fishing practices of Ilha de São Miguel to other areas of the Amazon could bring this unique species of fish back from the brink.
"Many previously overexploited arapaima populations are now booming due to good management," Castello said. "The time has come to apply fishers' ecological knowledge to assess populations, document practices and trends, and solve fisheries problems through user participation in management and conservation."
The results of the study were published online today (Aug. 13) in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems.

Animal Pictures