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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, September 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey wingnuts - What he said ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

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Today in History

1146 Zangi of the Near East is murdered. The Sultan Nur ad-Din, his son, pursues the conquest of Edessa.
1321 Dante Alighieri dies of malaria just hours after finishing writing Paradiso.
1544 Henry VIII's forces take Boulogne, France.
1773 Russian forces under Aleksandr Suvorov successfully storm a Turkish fort at Hirsov, Turkey.
1791 Louis XVI swears his allegiance to the French constitution.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Russia reaches its climax as his Grande Armee enters Moscow–only to find the enemy capital deserted and burning, set afire by the few Russians who remained.
1814 Francis Scott Key writes the words to the "Star Spangled Banner" as he waits aboard a British launch in the Chesapeake Bay for the outcome of the British assault on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
1847 U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott capture Mexico City, virtually bringing the two-year Mexican War to a close.
1853 The Allies land at Eupatoria on the west coast of Crimea.
1862 At the battles of South Mountain and Crampton's Gap, Maryland Union troops smash into the Confederates as they close in on what will become the Antietam battleground.
1901 Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as the 26th President of the United States upon the death of William McKinley, who was shot eight days earlier.
1911 Russian Premier Piotr Stolypin is mortally wounded in an assassination attempt at the Kiev opera house.
1943 German troops abandon the Salerno front in Italy..
1960 Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia form OPEC.
1966 Operation Attleboro, designed as a training exercise for American troops, becomes a month-long struggle against the Viet Cong.
1975 Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton becomes the first native-born American saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
1979 Nur Muhammad Taraki, president and former prime minister of Afghanistan, is assassinated in a coup in which prime minister Hafizullah Amin seizes power.
1982 Bachir Gemayel, president-elect of Lebanon, is killed along with 26 others in a bomb blast in Beirut.
1984 Joe Kittinger, a former USAF fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, becomes the first person to pilot a gas balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
1994 Major League Baseball players strike over a salary cap and other proposed changes, forcing the cancellation of the entire postseason and the World Series.
2007 Northern Rock Bank suffers the UK's first bank run in 150 years.

Non Sequitur


Why Are Baseball Seasons 162 Games Long?

We honestly did not realize that the Major League Baseball season was 162 games long, but I’ve often been impressed at how many games they play. There aren’t too many days off for a player between April and October! But why 162? The reason involves math, the history of baseball, and a little more math. But it’s unlikely that the number will change anytime soon -no team wants to give up home games, because that’s where they make money. And if you had more games, you’d have to pay the players more. Read about how the formula for MLB schedules came about at mental_floss.

Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn't

Go in search of eggs in most foreign countries and you might encounter a strange scene: eggs on a shelf or out in the open air, nowhere near a refrigerator. Shock and confusion may ensue. What are they doing there? And are they safe to eat?
Americans, along with the Japanese, Australians and Scandinavians, tend to be squeamish about their chicken eggs, so they bathe them and then have to refrigerate them. Most other countries don't mind letting unwashed eggs sit next to bread or onions. Why is that?

James Earl Jones Used to Pretend to Be Darth Vader on the CB Radio

In the original Star Wars trilogy, the British actor David Prowse played the body of Darth Vader and the American actor James Earl Jones provided the voice. Jones is known for his rich, melodious voice. No one else could have played Vader as well, nor provided a voice that is instantly recognizable.
Jones knows this, of course. He's used it to have fun with people. In an interview last January with the New York Times Magazine, Jones describes how he once used Vader's voice to fool truck drivers:
You’re never tempted to pick up the phone and pretend to be Darth Vader? I did that once when I was traveling cross-country. I used Darth as my handle on the CB radio. The truck drivers would really freak out — for them, it was Darth Vader. I had to stop doing that.

These Maps Show Which States Star Wars And Star Trek Are Most Popular In

Star Wars and Stark Trek are immensely popular everywhere. Movoto decided to figure out which of these franchises came out on top, state by state.

Whether you use the Force or just want Scotty to beam you up, you're likely to be surprised at where the love for these two sci-fi franchises is the strongest.

11 Tree Houses That Aren't Meant for Just Kids

These days, tree houses aren't just for kids. People from all age groups can enjoy sleeping, eating and playing up in the trees. Over at Homes and Hues, we rounded up 11 tree houses that are filled with luxuries.
Many of the houses are available for rent throughout the year, allowing you to stay right in the forest you're exploring while still offering you a comfortable bed and other creature comforts.
Of course, some of them are more wild than others. In fact, while the bedrooms of this Costa Rica tree house are screened in, the kitchen and other spaces are totally open to the elements -and the sloths!
Don't miss the rest of the list over at Homes and Hues: 11 Tree Houses Adults Will Absolutely Adore

Woman pulled gun on lawn maintenance worker for waking her up by making too much noise

A Florida woman is accused of threatening to shoot a lawn maintenance worker because he woke her up, according to the Ormond Beach Police Department.
Police said Gina Briggs, 26, pointed the gun at the victim because he was making too much noise on Oriole Circle on Monday morning.
Briggs later told detectives that she would have shot the worker in the head, but didn’t because she forgot to load the gun.

Briggs was booked at the Volusia County Jail and charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of carrying a concealed firearm.

China tells Dalai Lama to have respect for reincarnation

China has repeated a call to the Dalai Lama to respect what it said was the historic practice of reincarnation, after the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader implied in an interview he may be the last to hold the position. The Dalai Lama, in an interview at the weekend, said the tradition of the post could end with him, adding the Tibetan Buddhism was not dependent on a single person. The Dalai Lama, 79, has stated previously that he will not be reborn in China if Tibet is not free and that no one, including China, has the right to choose his successor "for political ends".
China has previously warned the Dalai Lama he has no right to abandon the tradition of reincarnation. China, which regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist, has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops marched in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that when it came to the reincarnation of living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, China had a "set religious procedure and historic custom".
"China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways of passing on Tibetan Buddhism," Hua said. "The title of Dalai Lama is conferred by the central government, which has hundreds of years of history. The (present) 14th Dalai Lama has ulterior motives, and is seeking to distort and negate history, which is damaging to the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism." In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put that boy under house arrest and installed another in his place.
Many Tibetans spurn the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama as a fake. Traditionally, high lamas, Buddhist priests, can take years to identify a child deemed to be a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, a search usually limited to Tibet. Tibetans fear that China will use the issue of the Dalai Lama's religious succession to split Tibetan Buddhism, with one new Dalai Lama named by exiles and one by China after his death. China says its rule has brought much needed development to poor and backward Tibet. Exiles and rights groups accuse China of failing to respect Tibet's unique religion and culture and of suppressing its people.

Mystery as women woke up to find their knickers removed and hanging from trees

In an unusual incident that has left villagers in the Gokwe South District of Zimbabwe, shocked, women in Chibarirwa and Demawatema last week woke up without their panties while their babies’ nappies miraculously disappeared. The strange incident was confirmed by Headman Madzivazvido, under whose jurisdiction the two villages fall.
Sources said the undergarments and nappies were found hanging from trees in a bushy area. They said the incident is still the talk of the two remote villages. “The areas are isolated and bushy. There are no homes nearby hence it is difficult to pinpoint someone as the culprit. Some women from both villages claim they just woke up in the morning to find that their undergarments had been stripped off while they were asleep,” said the source.
The source said other villagers said their panties and their children’s nappies vanished from the lines where they had left them to dry after washing. All victims were later asked to identify their panties, the source said. “The majority were able to positively identify their clothes and their children’s nappies though all were reluctant to take them as they suspected witchcraft,” said the source. Headman Madzivazvido said when he received the report, he quickly sought spiritual intervention. “I received a report about the strange incident last week and we are trying to seek answers from spirit mediums and local prophets in our area.
“They are telling us that the ancestral spirits are the ones behind the whole issue,” he said. Headman Madzivazvido, however, said the incident could be an act of mischief by a naughty villager. He said he does not subscribe to the notion that ancestral spirits could strip women of their panties. The village head said when he reported the matter to the police, they told him it needed a cultural solution. “The police told me they could not handle the matter as they felt no law had been broken. They advised me to deal with the matter culturally,” he said.

Cops Are Sorry They Keep Losing Cool Guns That the Military Gives Them

Last month, Fusion found that 184 police agencies across the U.S. had been suspended from the Pentagon's notorious military-issue weaponry program for losing the guns they were given. The news site visited nine California departments in search of their lost armaments, with funny/sad results.The DOD's "1033" program-which gained new scrutiny after the Ferguson riots raised questions about cops' military-style up-armoring-has shoveled $4.3 billion in Humvees, helos, guns, and grenade launchers to 8,000 or so police departments since its inception in 1990. But for some reason, many of the free .45s and M-14s keep disappearing from police armories, and cops have no good answers:.
In April 2013, the Huntington Beach Police Department was suspended from the Pentagon's 1033 equipment-sharing program after they lost track of an M16 semi-automatic rifle. And they weren't the only ones.

Tech Companies Want to Suppress Settlement Like They Suppressed Salaries

Silicon Valley tried to settle away a $9 billion wage-fixing lawsuit, which alleges that companies including Apple and Google colluded to suppress employee wages. But a federal judge nixed the paltry $324.5 million pay out, saying it was not enough. Now the companies behind the conspiracy are appealing, insisting the lowball figure is adequate.

Layoff Letter to Woman With Cancer Causes Outcry

Beth Greenfieldby Neth Greenfield Layoff Letter to Woman With Cancer Causes Outcry
The letter signed by Dr. Visnich.
A Pennsylvania woman who is battling pancreatic, liver, and ovarian cancer is also now out of a job, thanks to the oral surgeon, George Visnich, who employed her for 12 years. Visnich laid her off in writing shortly after her devastating diagnosis, according to a letter written on his stationery that wound up posted on Facebook and then published the local newspaper this week.
image“You are currently engaged in a battle against cancer that will be demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally,” reads the letter to Carol Jumper, 51, of Hopewell Township. “You will not be able to function in my office at the level required while battling for your life. Because of this, I am laying you off without pay as of August 11, 2014. Your last paycheck will be mailed to you this Friday, 8/15/14. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you fight this horrible disease. Thanks for your time at Visnich Oral Surgery. I hope your battle is swift, smooth, and successful!”

Neither Visnich nor his lawyer, Larry Kelly, returned calls seeking comment from Yahoo Health on Friday. But Kelly told the local Beaver County Times that the meaning of the letter has been misconstrued, and that it was simply a “humanitarian” gesture to allow Jumper to collect unemployment. Visnich wrote the letter, Kelly explained, “with the understanding that when she is feeling better, she can come back to work.” He added that the media coverage, which has blown up this week, has been “very disappointing, in that he’s trying to help this woman and he’s made out to be a villain.”
A friend of Jumper’s, John Barkovich, who has been helping to plan fundraisers in support of her treatment costs, told Yahoo Health that the coverage has indeed gotten out of hand. “She wants to drop the whole thing,” he said. “Somebody posted the letter on Facebook with good intentions, to alert friends that Carol is now unemployed.” He added that Jumper “is not worried about the doctor at all, and she made it quite clear to me that she wants [the attention] diffused.”
But Jumper’s fiancĂ©, Dennis Smerigan, told the Beaver Countian on Wednesday, “I was pissed when I read that letter. No kind of man sends a letter like that.” He added, “She had been working full-time for this man for over 12 years. He didn’t even call her, he hasn’t even called her once since she got sick.”
The social media response has been angry, as well, with Twitter users calling the letter “horrible,” and Visnich “an awful man to work for if you happen to get cancer,” a “cold, vile, nasty man,” and various other unmentionable descriptors.
Jumper’s supporters, meanwhile, have set up various fundraisers, including T-shirt sales, an upcoming spaghetti dinner, and a golf outing. Updates can be found on “Bumper’s Buddies,” a closed Facebook group. “Our Dear friend Carol Jumper was recently diagnosed with Cancer,” notes the page, which already had more than 1,250 supporters Friday. “This group is to support Carol in her fight against the disease and to keep everyone posted on her progress and any upcoming events that will be held to help with any medical expenses she will need.”

Experience Does It

A new study takes a serious look at happiness and finds that material possessions take a back seat to memorable life experiences.

Woman in China Found to Have No Cerebellum

A 24-year-old woman from Shandong Province in China was recently admitted to a hospital after presenting with symptoms of dizziness and nausea. Once a brain scan was performed, it was discovered that she had no cerebellum, with the brain cavity that it normally fills instead replaced with cerebrospinal fluid. The patient is one of only nine people known to have lived with this condition.
The cerebellum is the area of the brain associated with motor control, timing, coordination and fine movement. The patient described a lifelong difficulty with balance, and her mother said she couldn't stand on her own until age four nor walk unassisted until age seven. Yet the woman was determined overall to have only "mild to moderate" symptoms and "slightly irregular" movement.
The woman's case is an important data set with regard to the study of neuroplasticity, in which one or more regions of the brain adapt to compensate for brain damage in another area. Learn more about this fascinating case at io9.

Body of Betrayal

Perhaps we trust our bodies too much. Our brains and senses fool us on almost a daily basis. Here’s how. 



Troubling Contact

An apparent missionary and other outsiders are shown giving clothes and other gifts to children from an isolated indigenous tribe. 

The Eight Weirdest Flags In The World

The flag you see above is the national flag of Nepal. It's the only national flag that is not quadrilateral. Evan Bartlett of The Independent found seven other national flags that are a little odd.

Females Fully Revealed

Greek archaeologists excavating the large and mysterious burial mound in Amphipolis have now revealed the full body of the two figures unearthed on Saturday, showing the sculptures’ great artistic value.

Supercharged Solar Storm

The first of two coronal mass ejections have slammed into Earth's magnetic field and space weather forecasters predict this rare one-two punch could result in 'supercharged' auroral displays. 

Astronomical News

More than two years after touching down inside Gale Crater, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has arrived at the place that drove scientists to select the landing site at the outset – Mount Sharp.
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe, and display a mysterious diversity in their appearance that has puzzled astronomers for more than two decades.

Daily Comic Relief


Lake Monsters Are Real

A commission in Iceland has concluded that a legendary lake monster there exists; others aren't so sure.

Angry Birds

A long-standing theory that excessive conflict is bad for society has been demonstrated in an animal population.

Over 100 killer spiders bought over the internet found in abandoned Irish house

Over 100 killer spiders have been found in an abandoned house in Co Carlow. The horror infestation was discovered in recent weeks after a member of the public raised the alarm and called in a local animal refuge. Among the lethal critters found crawling in the house were black widows, funnel-web spiders, scorpions and tarantulas.
National Exotic Animal Sanctuary (NEAS) manager Kevin Cunningham: "We received a call from Carlow about a gentleman who had vacated a house and left over 100 spiders behind. "We had to go in with an expert, catalog all the species and have the potentially lethal ones like the black widow and funnel-web spiders - which can kill you - destroyed.
"The man had bought the spiders over the internet and had them delivered to him and this is a growing problem that we are seeing here. Many of the spiders would just give a nasty bite but some like the funnel-web spider were a cause of concern. There were also dozens of dead spiders found around the room and the worryingly from postage boxes found on the premises, the spiders were posted from abroad.

"Imagine if they got out of the packaging while in transit. This is not an isolated case. All around Ireland, there are people with tigers, bears and poisonous snakes as pets. It's been going on a long time and we need to put the brakes on." The NEAS say new laws are now needed to stop the influx of dangerous and exotic animals being bought over the internet for pets.

Dog sacrificed its life to save six rail passengers from electrocution

As the Gummidipoondi-Chennai Central local train in Tamil Nadu, India, arrived at 8.45pm on September 3, the passengers jumped out as normal. Many were going home, some others had to catch connecting buses and trains. Six commuters came out of Central station, paused for a few minutes, and were greeted by the warm earthy smell that emanates minutes after a downpour. All of them reached home that night.
They probably would not have. In those few minutes that these six men had paused, a few meters away, an Indian mongrel barked, then jumped into a puddle of water and became lifeless. Seconds later, the commuters realized that the pool of water in which they were about to step had a live wire snapped from an electrical line. The dog had barked to warn them not to step forward. When it saw that the commuters paid no heed, it took its final leap.
Death came instantly, but commuters were stunned by what they saw as an act of supreme sacrifice. The dog that died left behind a litter of 10-day-old pups. Residents of the area adopted all of them, but, probably because of the mother's absence, two died. "On Wednesday night, a broken high voltage wire fell in a pool of collected rainwater inside the railway premises. The frantic dog kept barking but people shooed it away. It dashed ahead, jumped in the water, and gave up its life," said Dawn Williams, general manager, Blue Cross. People informed Railway Protection Force inspector N Alagar Swamy, who cordoned off the area.
"When RPF personnel reached the spot, they found a litter of puppies. We rescued them and gave them to Blue Cross," said Swamy. As the news about the dog's death spread, Blue Cross volunteers received a huge response for adopting the pups. "Long after they were adopted, we continue to receive calls," Williams said. Two of the pups died shortly after being adopted. The rest of the pups are well. "We had two dogs earlier. Both died recently. When we went to the Blue Cross to adopt a dog, people told us about the pup's mother who had saved human lives. We immediately adopted them," said Pradeepa, who adopted two dogs.

11 Dog Breeds That No Longer Exist

What makes a dog breed go extinct? Some are mated out, completely turned into new types of dogs to fit the fashion or function of the day. Others are wiped away by predators or ignored by the breeders that had sustained them.
No matter how it happened, extinction for dog breeds is permanent. Here are 11 examples of dogs that no longer walk the earth.

Animal Pictures