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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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
Yes, we can spell squirrel - we're not wingnuts you know ... !
Today is  -  Squirrel Appreciation Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Greater Sudbury, Halifax, Henry Farm, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec and Wanless Park, Canada
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Mexico City, Mexico
Managua, Nicaragua
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Issaquah and Kaumakani, United States
Caracas, Venezuela
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Brno, Czech Republic
Oulu, Finland
Salon-De-Provence, France
Frankfurt Am Main, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Muenchen, Germany
Athens, Greece
Reykjavik, Iceland
Dublin, Swords and Waterford, Ireland
Alessandria, Brescia, Milan and Ravenna, Italy
Riga, Latvia
Amersfoort and Amsterdam, Netherlands
Arendal and Hamar, Norway
Covilha, Portugal
Belgrade, Serbia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Eixample, Madrid, Pinar de Chamartin and Pontevedra, Spain
Karlskoga, Vingaker, Sweden
Mykolayiv, Ukraine
Bangalore, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Raipur and Shillong, India
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tehran, Iran
Ashdod, Israel
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Karachi, Pakistan
Singapore, Singapore
Lagos, Nigeria
Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa
The Pacific
Perth, Strathfield and Sydney, Australia
Auckland, New Zealand

Today in History

1189   Philip Augustus, Henry II of England and Frederick Barbarossa assemble the troops for the Third Crusade.  
1648   In Maryland, the first woman lawyer in the colonies, Margaret Brent, is denied a vote in the Maryland Assembly.  
1785   Chippewa, Delaware, Ottawa and Wyandot Indians sign the treaty of Fort McIntosh, ceding present-day Ohio to the United States.  
1790   Joseph Guillotine proposes a new, more humane method of execution: a machine designed to cut off the condemned person's head as painlessly as possible.  
1793   The French King Louis XVI is guillotined for treason.  
1910   Japan rejects the American proposal to neutralize ownership of the Manchurian Railway.  
1919   The German Krupp plant begins producing guns under the U.S. armistice terms.  
1921   J.D. Rockefeller pledges $1 million for the relief of Europe's destitute.  
1930   An international arms control meeting opens in London.  
1933   The League of Nations rejects Japanese terms for settlement with China.  
1941   The United States lifts the ban on arms to the Soviet Union.  
1942   In North Africa, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel launches a drive to push the British eastward. While the British benefited from radio-intercept-derived Ultra information, the Germans enjoyed an even speedier intelligence source.  
1943   A Nazi daylight air raid kills 34 in a London school. When the anticipated invasion of Britain failed to materialize in 1940, Londoners relaxed, but soon they faced a frightening new threat.  
1951   Communist troops force the UN army out of Inchon, Korea after a 12-hour attack.  
1958   The Soviet Union calls for a ban on nuclear arms in Baghdad Pact countries.
1964   Carl T. Rowan is named the director of the United States Information Agency (USIA).
1968   In Vietnam, the Siege of Khe Sanh begins as North Vietnamese units surround U.S. Marines based on the hilltop headquarters.  
1974   The U.S. Supreme Court decides that pregnant teachers can no longer be forced to take long leaves of absence.
1976   Leonid Brezhnev and Henry Kissinger meet to discuss Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT).  
1977   President Carter urges 65 degrees as the maximum heat in homes to ease the energy crisis.
1993   Congressman Mike Espy of Mississippi is confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Lacking natural ‘brilliance’

Sarah-Jane-Leslie-162Women seen as lacking natural ‘brilliance’ may explain under-representation in academia

The stereotype that women lack natural “brilliance” could explain their underrepresentation in academia, according to new research based at Princeton University. The researchers surveyed 1,820 faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate […]

8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science

by Alena Hall
http://themindunleashed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/8-ancient.jpgThe Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.
Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.
In their never-ending search for the best way to live, Greek philosophers argued over the relative benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being sees happiness as a factor of increased pleasure and decreased pain, while eudaimonic (“human flourishing”) happiness has more to do with having a larger purpose or meaning in life. A recent study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Barbara Fredrickson may reveal which form of happiness is more beneficial for health and well-being.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found that while both types of happiness can make you feel good, the latter could promote physical health and longevity as well. Using phone interviews, questionnaires and blood samples, the study explored how the two forms of happiness affected individuals on a genetic level. Participants with more hedonic and less eudaimonic well-being were found to have a lower production of virus-attacking antibodies, while those with more eudaimonic well-being experienced an increase in antibody production.
The traditional Chinese medicine technique is believed to address imbalances in a person’s qi (pronounced chi), the circulating energy within every living thing. Whether or not you believe in the existence of this energy flow, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the age-old practice may be an effective way to relieve migraines, arthritis and other chronic pains.
Analyzing previous research data from approximately 18,000 subjects, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and standard western care when treating various types of pain, including migraines and chronic back pain.
Traditional Buddhist teachings suggest that community is a key component in any happy, fulfilled life. A 2010 study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers confirmed this belief, concluding that a healthy social life promotes longevity.
In analyzing the 148 studies — involving more than 300,000 individual participants — available on the subject, the researchers discovered that those with stronger social relationships maintained a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. The effect of social relationships on mortality risk is even greater than the effect of exercise or obesity.
This ancient Chinese martial art is based on the belief that achieving balance with one’s mind and body creates an overall sense of peace and harmony, naturally inspiring a long life. A report in the May 2009 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch summarized several studies confirming that this “moving meditation” practice can help prevent and treat many age-related health problems alongside standard treatment in older adults. A number of studies in the past decade have found tai chi to be helpful for those suffering from arthritis, low bone density and heart disease.
Stemming from ancient Eastern origins, the practice of meditation is believed to help still the mind and reach a heightened level of awareness, improving health and well-being as a byproduct. Science is now proving the health benefits of meditation. The latest study from a team of Harvard Medical School scientists reveals how this mind-body practice can affect genes that control stress levels and immune function.
Harvard psychiatrist John Denniger and his team used neuro-imaging and genomics technology to measure potential physiological changes in each subject more accurately. After observing the high-stress individuals as they followed the study’s prescribed yoga and meditation practices, the team noticed an improved mitochondrial energy production, utilization and resiliency, which help to reduce the stress linked to health conditions like hypertension and infertility.
Tibetan Buddhist tradition includes a practice called metta, or loving-kindness. A 2012 study from Emory University found that compassion meditation based on this Tibetan model can effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.
Another loving-kindness meditation study from 2011 found that, over time, this practice increased participants’ positive emotions that allowed them to find a deeper sense of mindfulness, their purpose in life, the network of support surrounding them, and their health. These components helped increase their overall life satisfaction.
According to Buddhist teachings, one must accept the things they cannot change in order to reduce suffering. Now, scientists have found that this belief rings true, especially for older adults who are working through difficult life changes.
Researchers from Deakin University in Australia found that facing the realities of living with assistance and losing a degree of independence helps seniors live longer and feel far happier. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies last year, compared feelings of life satisfaction and perceived control of older adults living with assistance and those living in the community. Their analysis revealed that the ability to accept the inevitable (as well as maintain low-level control) in an assisted living setting was a significant predictor of life satisfaction. The researchers concluded, “In order to protect the well-being of older individuals, adaptation involves both a sense of control and the active acceptance of what cannot be changed.”
If there is one thing that a variety of ancient wisdom traditions can agree on, it’s the value of love in maintaining a happy, meaningful life. And a group of Harvard researchers, on a mission to uncover the true roots of life fulfillment, conducted a 75-year study that reached the same conclusion.
The Harvard Grant Study, led by psychiatrist George Vaillant, followed the life trajectories of 268 male students in order to answer life’s universal questions of growth, development, value and purpose. Vaillant considers the most meaningful finding of the study to be that a happy life revolves around loving relationships. He explained that there are two pillars of happiness: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

Vitamin A Deficiency and Type 2 Diabetes

Vitamin A Deficiency May Be Involved in Type 2 Diabetes

Investigators have long sought the answer to a vexing question: What are the biological mechanisms involved in the development of type 2 diabetes? A recent study from Weill Cornell Medical […]

Dear Doctor ...

Dear Doctor: Whenever I travel in cars, I get sick. Is there a remedy? 
Kalemere, Kiboga

Dear Kalemere: Motion sickness is a condition in which confusion between visually perceived movement and sense of movement in the semicircular canals (organ of balance) results in fatigue, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. This can occur whether one is traveling by road, sea, or air.
The brain senses movement by getting signals from the semicircular canals, ears, eyes, muscles and joints. When it gets signals that do not match, the brain has an area that can be used to resolve confusion between what one sees and balance and is also useful in inducing vomiting when it detects poisons.
When the semicircular canals in the inner ear transmit to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still, the resulting confusion makes the brain believe there must have been intake of poison hence nausea and vomiting to help expel the poison.
Looking out of the window of a moving vehicle towards the horizon in the direction of travel will tell the brain that one sees the movement that the semicircular canals are detecting, hence stopping the symptoms.
A nap (but not reading a book), closing eyes, or watching TV in the car will resolve the conflict between the eyes and the organ of balance. A nap also helps prevent psychogenic effects like fear of the problem which worsens it.
Fresh cool air, avoiding a full stomach or alcohol before or during travel and avoiding foul odors can all help. Where one sits is also important. The front seat of a car, upper deck on a boat or wing seats in a plane may reduce motion sickness.
Traditional drugs for vomiting may not be of help. Turning corners, bumpy roads or rough sea travel can worsen motion sickness.
Though anyone can suffer from motion sickness regardless of their background, children two to 12 years as well as those anxious about travel and those susceptible to vomiting (such as those in early pregnancy) are most likely to get the problem.

No more civil forfeiture without warrant/charges

In a surprise move, the US Attorney General has ordered police departments to cease the practice of civil forfeiture (basically, stealing stuff and selling it) unless the forfeiture is related to a specific warrant or charge.
Although Holder could certainly have gone farther (by limiting civil forfeiture to cases in which there was a conviction), this is a most welcome (and again, surprising) move from the AG, who has been pretty quiet on the issue, and whose DoJ was complicit in helping local cops evade the minimal checks and balances in the system.
State law still allows for civil forfeiture without charge or warrant, but without the federal statute (and its notorious equitable sharing rules), outright theft will be harder for police departments.
Withdrawing civil forfeiture revenue from police departments will have an immediate and sharp impact on surveillance: according to some stellar research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Dave Maass, there's a kind of revolving door between forfeiture and spying. Local police forces use surveillance to find pretenses to seize assets from rich targets, then use the assets to pay for further wiretapping capabilities.
When local law enforcement agencies participated in federal investigations, the federal government paid them back by divvying out a portion of the proceeds from the seizures. These agencies included police department, sheriff offices, and district attorney offices, as well as investigative task forces that span multiple jurisdictions. These agencies were required to broadly report how they spent the money in a variety of categories, including electronic surveillance, on an annual basis.
Between 2011 and 2013, law enforcement agencies in California spent a total of $13.6 million in funds from the federal asset forfeiture program on electronic surveillance equipment, a statewide average of $4.5 million per year.
To give a sense of scale: that was enough to cover the cost of wiretap equipment (including installation fees, supplies, and equipment) for the entire state of California, with change left over.
To look at it another way, that’s enough to pay for equipment in more than 3,500 wiretaps, far more than these agencies actually conducted. This could indicate that either agencies may have bought more equipment than they needed to carry out these wiretaps, used the funds to pay staff, or that they may have spent significant portions of the money on surveillance that doesn’t require a wiretap order.

Faux News ‘Expert’ Claims muslim Extremists Have 19 Paramilitary Training Facilities In U.S., Ignores 1,300+ Wingnut Militias

by Stephen D Foster Jr
Yet another Faux News terrorism “expert” has jumped on the fear mongering bandwagon to make Americans afraid of muslims, this time claiming that there are 19 muslim paramilitary facilities in the United States.
During an interview on Faux News with host Neil Cavuto, former CIA agent Wayne Simmons responded to the wingnut gripe that President Obama isn’t saying the words “islamic jihad” or “islamic extremist” by repeating a debunked myth that there are “no-go zones” in Europe and America where law enforcement is banned and Sharia law reigns. He then suggested surrounding such zones with razor wire and shutting off water access to the zones to force muslims to come out and be placed on a list.
“Until they face that, until they say that, until they get rid of these no-go zones. You go in and you put razor wire around those no-go zones, you turn off the water and then as they come out you catalog them. And that’s how you close these no-go zones.”
Then Simmons ramped up the fear factor by claiming that muslims have set up 19 paramilitary facilities across the country from which to commit acts of terrorism against American targets.
“It is incomprehensible that anywhere in the United States, these types of things would be allowed and, yet, my friend Ryan Mauro, as you probably know, reported that through the Clarion Project that we’ve got at least 19 paramilitary muslim training facilities in the United States. Are you kidding me? What are, what are they gonna do, go hunt deer during deer season? No. They’re using paramilitary exercises to plan and execute these types of operations all over the United States.”
To be blunt, it’s hard to believe that America’s militarized police forces would be too cowardly to enter “no-go” zones if they actually existed. The fact, however, is that they don’t exist.
Furthermore, Simmons reports that there are 19 muslim paramilitary groups in the U.S. that Americans should be scared of while not even mentioning the over 1,300 racist anti-government wingnut militias scattered across the country. You know, the same wingnuts who thirst for bloody revolution and fantasize about killing cops and liberals? The same wingnuts who stockpile assault weapons while planning the next Oklahoma City bombing? Yeah, THOSE militias.
Simmons’ claim is also suspect because he is getting this information from a notorious wingnut islamophobe named Ryan Mauro, whose Clarion Project organization is funded by anti-muslim and anti-islam groups. To learn more about Mauro and his hateful anti-muslim coven, visit here.
Once again, Faux News is guilty of drumming up hatred and fear of muslims by giving so-called “terrorism experts” airtime to spew their dangerous rhetoric and outrageous claims. This kind of irresponsible media needs to stop before innocent people are killed. Just because a person is a muslim, doesn’t mean they are a terrorist. It would be like saying that a person must be a racist anti-government wingnut ammosexual militia member because they are a 'christian'.

BP fine for Gulf of Mexico spill is lowered

From The Guardian:
BP will face a maximum fine of $13.7bn under the Clean Water Act for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, several billion less than feared.
Federal magistrate Carl Barbier ruled on Thursday that the size of the spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, the worst offshore spill in US history, was smaller than the government had claimed.
He said that it amounted to 3.19m barrels, well below the government’s estimate of 4.09m barrels, which could have led to penalties of up to $17.6bn...
The Clean Water Act penalties would come on top of more than $42bn the oil major has set aside or spent for clean-up, compensation and fines.
Somewhat ironic photo via imgur (though note the sign would have been put up by the franchisee, not the oil company).

Cutting The Price At The Pump To Kill Clean Energy

Is Big Oil Cutting The Price At The Pump To Kill Clean Energy?
Why are the major corporate oil players fighting the business equivalent of a World War to drill for more oil in every available space on earth, land and…

Would-be store robber decided not to proceed after recognizing clerk

An attempted robbery suspect changed his mind after he recognized the clerk at the Colorado convenience store he walked into.

Woman stole TV by hiding it under her dress

Police are hunting a female shoplifter who was caught on camera stuffing a boxed plasma TV up her dress before strolling out the store. CCTV footage caught the thief strolling into the open showroom in the town of Guapiles in central Costa Rica, as a female friend looked on.
After quickly checking for security, she picked up the plasma TV, straddled the box, straightened her dress, then walked off with it wedged firmly between her thighs. Shop assistant Jacint Ramirez Callas, 25, said: "She did it so quickly no one had time to notice or react.
"And having watched the video it is amazing that the TV doesn’t fall out from between her legs. She must be a pro or have very thick thighs. She left as if she didn't have a care in the world. I’ve never seen anything like it." Now police have appealed to the public for help in catching the thief by releasing the video of snatch and grab.

A spokesman for the police said: "We believe this woman has had a lot of experience of doing this as it only took her 13 seconds from start to finish. Either she has been practicing at home or has carried out similar thefts and we appeal to anybody who might know more to get in touch." Police have asked anyone who may recognize the women involved to contact them.

13 Weird Moments In The History Of Water Fountains

When was the last time you gave serious thought to a drinking fountain? Maybe it was in elementary school, when they were the only way to wet your whistle. Or maybe never. That would be perfectly understandable. They seem boring!
But they're not. Far from it. It turns out the history of drinking fountains is much crazier than you could have imagined. Brace yourselves.

Elderly driver sped through car wash at 40mph

An elderly driver in California may have set a record for fastest car wash ever.
The 94-year-old man was caught on camera speeding through the Quick Quack Car Wash in Sacramento at an estimated 40 miles per hour last Friday.
The man paid for his car wash, but then claimed he confused the brake and accelerator pedals.

Workers rushed out to try and stop him, but the car crashed through the equipment, causing an estimated $100,000 worth of damage. No one was injured and the man walked away without a scratch.

The Forgotten History Of How Automakers Invented The Crime Of 'Jaywalking'

100 Years ago, if you were a pedestrian, crossing the street was simple: you walked across it. Today, if there's traffic in the area and you want to follow the law, you need to find a crosswalk. And if there's a traffic light, you need to wait for it to change to green.

Fail to do so, and you're committing a crime: jaywalking. To most people, this seems part of the basic nature of roads. But it's actually the result of an aggressive, forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers that redefined who owned the city street.

Photographer Uses LED Lights to Create Eerie Macro Photos of Glowing Mushrooms

Glowing Mushroom Macro Photography by Martin PfisterIn his charming macro photographs of mushrooms, southern Germany-based photographer Martin Pfister adds an otherworldly glow to his diminutive subjects by illuminating them with LED lights. His mushroom photos, as well as his beautiful landscape photography, can be purchased on 500px.

Complex Systems Collapse

The internationalized world of the Bronze Age came to a catastrophic end. We are not immune to a similar systems collapse…

The Anthropocene

trinity300Was first nuke test the start of new human-dominated epoch, the Anthropocene?

An international group of scientists has recommended that the fateful Trinity nuclear test on July 16, 1945, be considered the dawn of a new geological age dubbed the Anthropocene – […]

Making New Land

A Tongan volcano has created a substantial new island since it began erupting last month.

Oops ...

earth1Oops: Humanity has exceeded 4 of 9 ‘planetary boundaries’
An international team of researchers says climate change, the loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, and altered biogeochemical cycles like phosphorus and nitrogen runoff have all passed beyond levels that […]

Mine the Moon

It's a long-range plan -- like 50 years long! -- but China has begun making serious noises about mining the moon for a form of helium that's rare here but not so rare on our little lunar buddy.

A Fly Through Earth's Backyard

On Jan. 26, astronomers will be keeping their eyes peeled for a large space rock that is due to make a fast dash past the Earth-moon system.

Science Goldmine

'Mojave' may have cracked under the pressure from Curiosity's drill, but mission scientists are excited about studying fresh rock that hasn't been exposed since its formation millions of years ago.

When Huygens Landed on Titan

On Jan. 14, 2005, the European Huygens probe landed on Titan's foggy surface, revealing a very alien, yet familiar, world.

Beyond Pluto

A new study suggests that at least two more planets are circling the sun far beyond Pluto’s orbit.

More hospitable ...

MIT-AquaPlanet-01Planets outside our solar system more hospitable than thought

A study by astrophysicists at the University of Toronto suggests that exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – are more likely to have liquid water and be more habitable […]

Homeless cat praised for saving abandoned baby

A baby boy no older than 12 weeks has been found in a box on a staircase in an apartment block in the Russian town of Obninsk. The box was meant for a cat, who then warmed up the baby. The baby in the cat box was discovered by one of the neighbors, who had heard what she thought to be loud meowing and rushed to rescue the cat from possible offenders. The feline has been living in the apartment block for three years, fed and petted by its residents.
The day she found an unexpected guest in her box was a freezing one, but the baby was very warm, according to the woman, who first discovered the abandoned boy. "She has been keeping the baby warm for several hours and meowing to call for help," she said. The woman, who turned to be a nurse, said she also found a bag with baby food and nappies. The boy was well and tidily dressed, she added. But it was the baby's new furry carer who was worried about the boy even after police and medics arrived.
She kept close to the baby and didn't want to let it go, the woman said. "When an ambulance worker took the baby to bring him into the car, the cat followed him and pitifully meowed," she said, adding that the four-pawed adoptive mother tried to jump into the ambulance to follow the boy. The cat then sat for hours on the road by the house waiting for the car to return and bring him back, neighbors said. The baby boy was taken to a hospital in Obninsk, some 60 miles from the Russian capital.

Doctors said the boy, who might be from six to 12 weeks old, is completely healthy and feeling well. "We have received a lot of feedback from sympathizing residents, who are willing to help and ask if any food, toys and other things are needed," a pediatric nurse said. The police are now trying to identify the baby and are searching for his parents, while the cat, who looks to be expecting herself, is receiving extra care and treated like a hero by the residents.

Six Ways To Prepare A Coelacanth

Coelacanths originally appeared in the fossil record between 415-360 million years ago. The first specimen was discovered and described from a fossilized tail in 1839 by biologist and geologist, Louis Agassiz. Originally thought to have gone extinct, no one dreamed that coelacanths might still be alive today.
So the scientific world was astonished when a live specimen was caught by local fishermen on the coast of East London in South Africa on 22 December 1938. But how do you preserve a fish so researchers can study it for hundreds of years into the future? There are six different methods used by the American Museum of Natural history to preserve its coelacanth specimens for research.

The Salmon Fishing Bears Of Brooks Falls

Brooks Falls is a waterfall located on the Brooks River within Katmai National Park and Preserve, in Alaska, and a favorite fishing hole for Alaskan brown bears. The bears are attracted by salmons that arrive at the Brooks Falls between July and early September on their way to Brooks Lake.
In order to reach Brooks Lake the fish have to navigate the Brooks Falls. But doing so makes them easy prey to the bears. It is fascinating to watch the bears waiting at the top of the waterfalls to grab at the fishes as they leap out of the water.

Animal Pictures