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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, January 18, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
Word Play ... !
Today is  -  Thesaurus Day

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Today in History

1486   Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York.
1701   Frederick III, the elector of Brandenburg, becomes king of Prussia.  
1778   Captain James Cook discovers the Hawaiian Islands, naming them the 'Sandwich Islands' after the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Sandwich.  
1836   Jim Bowie arrives at the Alamo to assist its Texas defenders.  
1862   John Tyler, former president of the U.S., is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
1902   The Isthmus Canal Commission in Washington shifts its support from Nicaragua to Panama as a favored canal site.  
1910   Aviator Eugene Ely performs his first successful take off and landing from a ship in San Francisco.  
1916   The Russians force the Turkish 3rd Army back to Erzurum.  
1942   General MacArthur repels the Japanese in Bataan. The United States took the lead in the Far East war criminal trials.  
1945   The German Army launches its second attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest from the advancing Red Army.  
1948   Ghandi breaks a 121-hour fast after halting muslem-hindu riots.  
1962   The United States begins spraying foliage with herbicides in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.
1964   Plans are disclosed for the World Trade Center in New York.  
1978   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isolate the cause of Legionnaire's disease.  
1991   Iraq starts firing Scud missiles at Israeli cities.

A 12-Year-Old Wrote a Letter to Each NFL Team – And Only This One Responded

A 12-Year-Old Wrote a Letter to Each NFL Team – And Only This One Responded
A 12-Year-Old Wrote a Letter to Each NFL Team – And Only This One Responded (ABC News)
After a 12-year-old from Yukon, Oklahoma, hand-wrote letters to executives of 32 NFL teams, he was shocked and delighted to receive a personal response from the owner of the Carolina Panthers, who have undoubtedly made a fan for life.
When Heather Pope's son Cade was home sick from school the week before Christmas, he was "kind of bored" and "needed something to occupy his time," so he asked his parents if he could write to every professional football team.
Cade penned 32 letters—-one to the CEO, owner, or president of each team.
Pope said they "decided to go that higher route" because "getting a response from them would be harder but more meaningful."
"So we weren't quite sure what we could get back, if we could get back anything," she added.
After a 12-year-old from Yukon, Oklahoma, hand-wrote letters to executives of 32 NFL teams, he was shocked to receive a personal response from the own...
On December 26, Cade sent 16 letters to the NFC teams. On January 5, he sent 16 letters to the AFC teams.
A letter to Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was in the first batch.
Cade wrote, "My family and I love football. We play fantasy football and watch NFL games every weekend. My parents are St. Louis Ram's fans. My brother is a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I don't have a team to cheer for yet. I am ready to pick an NFL team to cheer on for a lifetime!"
Pope said, "With Christmas and different activities it took him about three weeks to hand-write all of those letters."
"He didn't really have one team that he wanted to hear from," she said. "He just wanted to see what kind of response he'd get."
Last Thursday, Pope was pulling into her driveway when a delivery man arrived with a box from the Panthers.
Cade was still at school, but she texted him a photo. "I asked him to guess which team it was and gave him a hint that they were in the playoffs. The Panthers was his first guess."
When Cade came home he opened the package to find a signed Carolina Panthers helmet as well as a handwritten note from Richardson.
Pope said the first line of Richardson's "kind response" stood out most. The team owner wrote, "'We would be honored if our Carolina Panthers became your team. We would make you proud by the classy way we would represent you.'"
Richardson also "talked very highly of some of his players."
Pope said Cade was "overjoyed that he got that kind of response."
Richardson "takes fan mail extremely seriously," said Panthers Director of Communications Steven Drummond. "He is one of those owners who will get the mail every day and read it and always write handwritten responses."
While the letter now resides in Cade's room, Pope says it's the gesture that impressed her most.
"It's not the merchandise, it's not the items they sent us," she said. "It's what they tell us. Why he should be their fan."

The world's oldest ice hockey stick

It's known as the Moffatt stick:
Moffatt, nicknamed "Dilly" and born in 1829, is believed to have been the original owner of what the Canadian Museum of History says is the world's oldest known hockey stick.
The son of Loyalist shipbuilders who settled on the shores of Pottle Lake, Dilly would have been less than 10 years old when the stick was fashioned from a single tree branch. He took ownership of the short-handled stick by carving his initials into its long blade.
Now the stick sits in a protective case, awaiting its unveiling when the Canadian Museum of Civilization is officially reopened as the Museum of History on Canada Day in 2017. Presley was fascinated by the stick when he found it in a barber shop in 2008 in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. His fascination was such that he paid $1,000 for it... **
Through its donor-supported National Collection Fund, the museum recently purchased the Moffat stick from Presley for $300,000...
"It is the earliest known hockey stick, or hurley stick, that we have yet to identify," she said.
The Moffatt stick has its own website (whence the photo), where you can see the documentation, including study of the paint/varnish and the dendrochronology.
** the guy who sold it for $1,000 isn't happy about the recent resale of it.  
Now Ferneough is feeling ripped off.  "I think I should get a little cut," he said.

Link Dump

It may finally be possible to create an effective bedbug trap.  Two Canadian researchers have published a report identifying a "bedbug aggregation pheromone."
How to season a cast iron skillet.  "The skillet you want is at least fifty years old, and right now it is probably sitting on a thrift store shelf or a yard sale table. Your first task is to locate it..."  (tip:  more fun than a thrift store search - find skillets at local auctions)
Citing liability concerns, some cities are now severely limiting or prohibiting children from sliding on sleds in public parks.
"Dartmouth College has charged 64 students, many of them varsity athletes, with honor code violations following allegations of widespread cheating in a sports ethics class." 
Video of an impressive "dust devil" occurring amidst a crowd of people.  Fortunately nobody was injured.

A scale model of the solar system.
You've probably seen reports of the Paul-Revere-era time capsule recently discovered and opened by the staff at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Boston.com has a detailed report, including photos (recovered coins at right) and a video highlighting the careful work of the conservators.
A young man constructed a "suicide helmet" that simultaneous fired eight shotgun shells into his head.

How To Trick Yourself Into Drinking More Water Every Day

Water is required to cushion and lubricate your joints, protect your brain and other internal tissues, regulate your body temperature, and remove waste from your body through urination, bowel movements, and perspiration.

Water is the best thing you can put in your body, yet so many of us ignore it throughout the day. Here are some great ways to trick yourself into developing a healthy habit of drinking lots of water every day.

Brrr …

Anna_Paola_bikiniBrrr … Feeling cold is contagious

Just looking at somebody shivering is enough to make us feel cold, according to new research at the University of Sussex in the UK. Volunteers who watched videos of people […]

Better cement

Crush those clinkers while they're hot
Better cement: Crush those clinkers while they’re hot

Making cement is a centuries-old art that has yet to be perfected, according to researchers at Rice University who believe it can be still more efficient. Former Rice graduate student […]

Skellie, the Skeleton with her Own Instagram Account

Many Instagram accounts resemble never-ending fashion shoots, and people love them. Dana Herlihey and some co-workers opened an Instagram account and used a plastic Halloween skeleton as their model as a joke. But “Skellie” turned out to be very popular, and the parade of typical Instagram poses continues. Skellie describes her page thusly:
OMG I cannot literally even so I'm literally dead. omgliterally
The pictures are hilarious! For being so dead she can’t even, Skellie sure has a lot of fun.

Two-year-old boy swept away in storm-water drain managed to tread water until help arrived

A two-year-old boy swept hundreds of meters down a flooded storm-water drain in the Gordon suburb of Canberra, Australia, miraculously survived after managing to keep himself afloat until help arrived. Emergency services crews were called to Stace Place, which backs on to the open air drain, after family members reported the toddler missing shortly before 7.30pm on Saturday.
Kyle James was found floating in the drain, which police said was full of water and flowing quickly, about 500 meters from his home. Members of the public had pulled Kyle, who was dressed in a Superman suit, from the drain as intensive care paramedics arrived. Witnesses told paramedics Kyle kept himself afloat using strokes he had recently learned at swimming lessons.
He was treated for mild hypothermia and taken to Canberra Hospital in a stable condition. ACT Ambulance Service duty officer Chris Barry said Kyle sustained minor injuries, including scratches and bruising, after he was swept over three ledges in the waterway and came to a stop in a holding pool. He said Kyle, who has recently been tested for autism, was lucky to be alive but had reportedly been in good spirits when he was rescued.

"I'd put it down to the fact that he didn't realize the danger he was in; children often don't realize that they're in trouble," he said. "It's very lucky it would appear he was able to swim and able to save himself." Stace Place resident Caleb Watt, who heard distressed screams around the time the toddler went missing on Saturday night, said the storm-water drain was often dangerously full after a lot of rain.

Cop Arrests Teenager, Teenager Then Saves Cop’s Life

On September 10 of last year, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida arrested 17-year old Jamal Rutledge for allegedly violating probation and burglary. While Officer Franklin Foulks processed him at the police station, he collapsed and fell unconscious. No one was in a position to see this except Jamal, who immediately kicked on a door until he got the attention of other officers. Those officers performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Foulks, who is alive and recovering. You can see the incident in this security camera footage:
The police department is grateful to Jamal. The city is presenting him with a commendation. ABC News (warning: auto-play) quotes Det. DeAnna Greenlaw:
Regarding Rutledge, Greenlaw said the department had hopes it may have a positive impact on the youth, who has been arrested again since the incident.
"By commending the juvenile as well [as the officers] we hope the juvenile will maybe turn some things around, and not have such negative interactions with the police," she said. […]
Greenlaw said the teen remains under probation restrictions, but the department is hoping that they will be lifted for the ceremony.
"We wanted to make sure we commended him for making the right decision," Greenlaw said. "We wanted to make a positive impact on him and his vision of police officers."

Off-duty police officer armed with traffic cone caught two robbers

An off-duty police officer in Ireland has been praised by a judge for arming himself with a traffic cone and catching two robbers who had raided a shop in Dublin. Det Garda Paul Johnson disabled the getaway motorbike after the robbery in Westland Row.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Det Johnson was on his way to Pearse Street train station when he spotted two customers at the counter in the store wearing motorbike helmets. He stopped, thinking it was unusual, and noticed that their visors were pulled down. The detective then armed himself with a traffic cone and waited outside the shop having heard the men threatening staff.
He noticed that a motorbike parked outside the shop had its engine running and knocked it over anticipating it to be the getaway vehicle. When the raiders left the shop Det Johnson ran after them while protecting himself with the traffic cone. He identified himself as a police officer and noticed that one of the robber's was armed with a knife. He pushed him away and the robber fell over the motorbike.
Members of the public then came to the detective's assistance and managed to hold down the raiders until other police arrived. The judge praised the diligent work of Det Johnson who he said "disabled" the robber's getaway motorbike. The court heard that the cash was still on the men when they were arrested. Kevin Penrose, 49, of Casement Road, Finglas, was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to robbery. Larry Brazil, 52, of Cappagh Avenue, Finglas, received a four-year suspended sentence.

Woman stabbed in park hit assailant over the head with a saucepan

A stabbing victim hit her attacker over the head with a saucepan after an argument in a park in the Coconut Grove suburb of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.
The 61-year-old woman was stabbed in the upper arm and chest with a steak knife the 56-year-old female attacker produced from her bag.
Superintendent Del Jones said the stabbing occurred after an argument broke out between the women in Karu Park, Coconut Grove at about 7pm on Monday. “The argument escalated and one of the women removed a steak knife from her bag, and stabbed the victim four or five times,” she said.
“The victim has then defended herself with a saucepan and hit the attacker over the head, leaving her with minor injuries.” Supt Jones said the offender has been arrested and spent the night in custody, while the victim was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital. “The offender will be spoken to by serious crime detectives,” she said.

Austrian plait thief is apparently active again

Police in Austria are appealing for witnesses after a strange man cut off a seven-year-old’s long plaited hair as she was on her way to school in eastern Styria last week.
Police fear that a man known locally as the “Zopfabschneider” (plait cutter) is back after going quiet for a few years. In April 2011 there were several reported incidents of a man aged between 40 and 50, who spoke the local dialect, approaching young girls and snipping off their plaits.
He was described as balding, with short grey hair and stubble. He was dressed in a black jacket with a neon green lining and blue jeans. He also wore a black woolen hat edged with blue, and brown shoes. In the latest incident a seven-year-old girl and her nine-year-old brother were on their way to school in Bad Gleichenberg at 7.15am on Thursday.
The man approached them, spoke to them, and walked down the road with them. As they passed the tourism school he took a pair of silver scissors out of his jacket and cut off the little girl’s plait. He then ran away, and the children ran to school and reported what had happened.

1882 Winchester Rifle

The 132-year-old gun, considered an everyman's rifle in the 1800s, was found leaning against a tree.

Bucket of Blood Street and 6 Other Terribly Dark Place Names in the USA

There’s a town in Texas called Cut and Shoot. I’ve long advocated moving there for the sole purpose of having it in my home address. Or if that’s not convenient, I’ll be happy to live on Bat Cave Road in San Antonio.
If you’re a bit more macabre, then Sarah Black of Atlas Obscura has 7 places with names with dark implications. Sadly, they’re marred by actual historical violence, such as Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Arizona. It’s named after a particularly savage gunfight between rival gangs in 1886.

New Zealand's Amazing Steampunk Town

Oamaru, New Zealand, is famous for its colony of blue penguins, and plenty of tourists come to see them. But the town is also the steampunk capital of New Zealand. Tom Fassbender went to see what that was all about, and found that the community takes the steampunk ethic seriously, as a part of preserving its Victorian-era architecture and as an art project.
To the town’s credit, it’s fully embraced the steampunk vibe, going so far as hosting the annual 3-day Steampunk NZ Festival (2015’s is scheduled for May 28) and creating a steampunk-themed playground—complete with an elephant howdah zipline, a pennyfarthing swingset, and a Victorian-age rocket slide—that my daughters have declared as the best playground in the world.
And right smack in the middle of all this steampunky goodness is Steampunk HQ, a industrial-inspired steam-powered art gallery and retro-futuristic showroom set up in a massive, three-story Victorian-style sandstone building originally built in 1883 (it used to have five stories but lost two in what they say was a “spectacular fire”).
Take a tour of Oamaru and the Steampunk HQ in pictures and text, at Boing Boing.

Japanese breakthrough in indoor farming

Japanese breakthrough in indoor farming
Shigeharu Shimamura, a plant physiologist and CEO of Mirai, has constructed the world’s largest indoor farm—25,000 square feet of futuristic garden beds nurtured by 17,500 LED lights in a bacteria-free, pesticide-free environment. The result? About 10,000 heads of fresh lettuce harvested each day.
The unique “plant factory” is so efficient that it cuts food waste from the 30 to 40 percent typically seen for lettuce grown outdoors to less than 3 percent for their core-less lettuce.

'Human Finger'

The weird fingerlike thing wasn’t from a bear or other wild mammal, but it also wasn’t human.

Methane Emissions

The White House wants to slash methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in the U.S. by up to 45 percent below 2012 levels to tackle climate change.


Greenland's Glaciers

Greenland didn't always have glaciers, reports a new study that pins the region's ice-cold features on plate tectonics and a shift in the Earth's tilt.

How Long Would It Take To Get To Alpha Centauri?

Alpha Centauri is located 4.37 light years from the Sun, making it the closest star system to our Solar System. Can we ever get there? The answer is... not easily.
A distance of 4.3 light-years equals trillions of miles away from Earth - nearly 300,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. How might we travel to Alpha Centauri, the next-nearest star? And how long would it take to get there?

Ancient Scorpion Had Feet, May Have Walked Out of Ocean

Ancient Scorpion Had Feet, May Have Walked Out of Ocean
A specimen of the new scorpion species Eramoscorpius brucensis, which lived about 430 million years ago, making it among the earliest scorpions. 
The species probably lived in water, but it had feet that would have allowed it to scuttle about on A new scorpion species found fossilized in the rocks of a backyard could turn the scientific understanding of these stinging creatures on its head.
The fossils suggest that ancient scorpions crawled out of the seas and onto land earlier than thought, according to the researchers who analyzed them. In fact, some of the oldest scorpions had the equipment needed to walk out of their watery habitats and onto land, the researchers said. The fossils date back some 430 million to 433 million years, which makes them only slightly younger than the oldest known scorpions, which lived between 433 million and 438 million years ago.
The new species "is really important, because the combination of its features don't appear in any other known scorpion," said study leader Janet Waddington, an assistant curator of paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
Backyard fossils
The new species fell into Waddington's hands almost by happenstance. Museum curators frequently get calls about fossils, most of which are run-of-the-mill, she told Live Science. But a woman who called about an "insect" in her backyard stone wall had something very exciting on her hands.
"When she showed me this fossil, I just about fell on the floor, it was so amazing," Waddington said.
The fossil was no insect, but rather a scorpion — and a new species at that. Over the years, more specimens trickled in, mostly from patio stones and rock quarries, and one from a mislabeled fossil at a national park on Canada's Bruce Peninsula. Now, Waddington and her team have 11 examples of the new species, ranging in length from 1.1 inches (29 millimeters) to 6.5 inches (165 millimeters).
What made the animal, dubbed Eramoscorpius brucensis, so fascinating was its legs.
Walking in water
Previously, the earliest scorpion fossils found came from rocks that were originally deposited in the water, leading paleontologists to believe that the animals evolved on the seafloor, like crabs, and only later became landlubbers. Ancient scorpions had legs like crabs, with a tarsus, or foot segment, that was longer than the segment preceding it. This arrangement, Waddington said, would have meant the creatures walked on their "tippy-toes," such as crabs do today.
But E. brucensis was different. This species had a tarsus segment that was shorter than the segment before it, which would have made it possible for the animal to set its tarsus flat against the ground. In other words, this scorpion had feet.
"They could have walked on their feet, which is really important because it meant that they could have supported their own weight," Waddington said. Without the need for water to buoy them up, the animals could have walked on land.
The fossils also show that the scorpions' legs were solidly attached at the body, without the exaggerated "hinge" seen in scorpions that would have needed water to stay upright. What's weird, Waddington said, is that all the other features of these scorpions seem aquatic. They are found in marine rocks, and their digestive systems appear to require water (in today's land scorpions, digestion begins outside of their bodies, a process that requires adaptations these ancient scorpions lack).
Waddington said she and her team suspect that the fossils they've collected are not the bodies of dead scorpions at all. Instead, they may be molts, exoskeletons left behind as the scorpions grow. Scorpions are incredibly vulnerable during molting, Waddington said, and in deep water, ancient squidlike animals would have loved a helpless scorpion snack. The scorpions that could haul themselves out of the water onto the shore to escape predators would have had a survival advantage. The rocks that house the scorpion fossils often feature ripples that would have been created when wind blew thin films of water over land, suggesting a shoreline lagoon habitat.
What that means is that the first adaptations that scorpions developed for life on land could have appeared much earlier than researchers thought.
"Our guys are really, really old," Waddington said. "They're vying for the second-oldest [scorpions] known."
The researchers reported their findings today (Jan. 13) in the journal Biology Letters.

Russian police officer kidnapped by donkey

A police officer in the city of Makhachkala in the Republic of Dagestan was kidnapped by a donkey on Monday.
The officer sat on the donkey before it dashed off at speed into the distance, much to the amusement of his colleagues.

Labrador likes to take solo bus ride to her dog park stop

Commuters in Belltown, Seattle, report seeing a Black Labrador riding the bus alone in recent weeks. The 2-year old has been spotted roaming the aisles and hopping onto seats next to strangers. When the dog got off the bus, without an owner, at a dog park last week, it piqued the curiosity of local radio host Miles Montgomery.
"It doesn't really appear to have an owner. The dog gets off at the dog park. I just look out the window and I'm like, 'did that just happen?'" Montgomery asked. "She was most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn't figure out what that was. It was really just about seeing where her stop was." It turns out the dog, Eclipse, doesn't always ride the bus alone. She visits the dog park a few times a week, sometimes with her owner. The duo live right near the bus stop.
Eclipse's solo rush hour ride happened one day when her owner took too long to finish a cigarette. "We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park," said Jeff Young, who owns the dog. "It's not hard to get on. She gets on in front of her house and she gets off at the dog park, three or four stops later." Young said the tradition has been going on for a while. "She's been here the last two years, so she's been urbanized, totally.
"She's a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog," he said. "Probably once a week I get a phone call. 'Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here,'" he says. "I have to tell them, 'no. She's fine.' She knows shat she's doing." A spokesman for Metro Transit said the agency loves that a dog appreciates public transit. "She would be much safer in the world if she had her owner on a leash," he joked. "It makes their day," added Young. "It's a good part of their day and it works out for her so I just let it go."

In Costa Rican Bullfighting, You Can’t Kill the Bull . . . But the Bull Can Kill You

Bullfighting in other parts of the world is often a gory spectacle that ends in the deaths of the bulls. It’s different in the bullfighting and rodeo traditions of Costa Rica. There, daring young men enter the ring as improvisados—daredevils who ride, chase, and evade the bulls. No matter what the bulls do, improvisados are not allowed to hurt or kill them. These rules led to 200 bull-induced injuries at the recent national Zapote Festival. Lindsay Fendt of Modern Farmer was on hand to photograph the event. You can see her photo essay here.

More diverse than expected

Endangered monkeys in the Amazon are more diverse than previously thoughtEndangered Amazon monkeys more diverse than expected

Research by UCLA life scientists and 50 colleagues sheds new light on the biological differences among more than 150 species of monkeys in South America, many of which are endangered. […]

Wildlife CSI

New research for the first time documents an effective method for raising latent prints from the feathers of birds of prey.

Anmal Pictures