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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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Daily Drift

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

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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Vila Veha, Brazil
Calgary, Henry Farm, Joliette, Montreal, Ottawa and Vaughan, Canada
Bogota, Colombia
Mexico City and Pedro Escobedo, Mexico
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Waukesha, United States
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Sofia, Bulgaria
Split and Zagreb, Croatia
Hostivice, Prague and Stare Mesto, Czech Republic
London, Stanton and Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
Paikuse, Estonia
Cerny, Paris, France
Frankfurt Am Main, Hamburg and Osnaburck, Germany
Athens and Piraeus, Greece
Reykjavik, Iceland
Dublin, Law and Waterford, Ireland
Brescia, Catanzaro, Milan, Naples and Pumenengo, Italy
Siaulni, Lithuania
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Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Ussuriysk, Russia
Madrid, Oviedo and Pinar de Charmartin, Spain
Karlskoga, Sweden
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Calicut,Kolkata, Panipat, Pune, Raipur and Shillong, India
Jakarta, Indonesia
Seoul, Korea
Jdaidet el Matn, Lebanon
Klang, Malaysia
Colombo and Maharagama, Sri Lanka
Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa
Lusaka, Zambia
The Pacific
Melbourne, Strathfield and Sydney, Australia
Consolacion, Philippines

Today in History

1689   England's "Bloodless Revolution" reaches its climax when parliament invites William and Mary to become joint sovereigns.  
1807   President Thomas Jefferson exposes a plot by Aaron Burr to form a new republic in the Southwest.  
1813   During the War of 1812, British forces under Henry Proctor defeat a U.S. contingent planning an attack on Fort Detroit.  
1824   A British force is wiped out by an Asante army under Osei Bonsu on the African Gold Coast. This is the first defeat for a colonial power.  
1863   In an attempt to out flank Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, General Ambrose Burnside leads his army on a march to north Fredericksburg, but foul weather bogs his army down in what will become known as "Mud March."
 1879   Eighty-two British soldiers hold off attacks by 4,000 Zulu warriors at the Battle of Rorke's Drift in South Africa.  
1905   Russian troops fire on civilians beginning Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg.  
1912   Second Monte Carlo auto race begins.  
1913   Turkey consents to the Balkan peace terms and gives up Adrianople.  
1930   Admiral Richard Byrd charts a vast area of Antarctica.  
1932   Government troops crush a Communist uprising in Northern Spain.  
1939   A Nazi order erases the old officer caste, tying the army directly to the Party.
1943   Axis forces pull out of Tripoli for Tunisia, destroying bases as they leave.  
1944   U.S. troops under Major General John P. Lucas make an amphibious landing behind German lines at Anzio, Italy, just south of Rome.  
1971   Communist forces shell Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the first time.  
1979   Abu Hassan, the alleged planner of the 1972 Munich raid, is killed by a bomb in Beirut.  
1982   The pretender Ronny Raygun formally links progress in arms control to Soviet repression in Poland.

Celtic Lore: the tales that might have inspired Star Wars and Harry Potter

#5 of 5
Rhiannon the Horse-Maiden
The ‘First Branch’ of the Mabinogion tells the story of Pwyll, lord of Dyfed in south-west Wales. Near his court at Llys Arberth (modern Narberth), there was a gorsedd, a magical mound. Anyone who sat on the mound was assured either of a catastrophic shock or a wondrous event.
One day, Pwyll was sitting on the gorsedd when he saw a beautiful woman riding, clad in shimmering white upon a dazzling white horse. He commanded his swiftest horsemen to ride after her and stop her but, however fast they galloped, she outpaced them, even though her own mount appeared to be ambling. So Pwyll leapt on his own steed and pursued her, to no avail.
In desperation he called out to her and immediately she reined in her horse and sat waiting for him. When he caught up with her, she told him she had only been waiting for him to address her before she stopped. The horsewoman’s name was Rhiannon (‘Great Queen’). The pair fell in love and married, but at first their union appeared cursed, for no child was born to them.
After three years Rhiannon produced a son, but even then the couple’s troubles were not over: on the night of May-eve, just before the spring festival of Beltane, the baby was stolen. Rhiannon’s watch-women had fallen asleep at their post. When they woke, fearing blame, they framed the slumbering Rhiannon, killing a puppy and smearing her hands and face with its blood, so that the mother appeared to have killed – and eaten – her own son.
Pwyll neither banished not executed Rhiannon, but imposed a strange punishment: she had to crouch by the gate of the palace and carry every visitor up to the door on her back, like a beast of burden.
But there was a happy ending: the baby was found and returned to his parents. Rhiannon named him Pryderi, which means ‘care’. Rhiannon’s recurrent association with horses probably betrays her origins as a pagan horse-goddess.

How Does An Apple Grow?

One of the world’s most common fruits might seem like a simple thing to grow. But in the first 20 seconds, this video will blow your mind.

Obama’s Tax Plan Forces repugicans To Choose Main Street Or Wall Street

President Obama’s proposal to give middle class and working class Americans a tax break has the repugican cabal on the defensive. The president plans to pay for the tax cuts, by raising the capital gains tax to 28 percent on households making over half a million dollars annually. That rate is the same rate that the capital gains tax was during Ronny Raygun’s junta.
President Obama presented his populist tax proposals on Tuesday during his State of the Union Address. The plan includes a series of tax breaks for low and middle-income families, while raising $320 billion in tax revenue from wealthy individuals and large financial institutions.
The repugicans in Congress are balking at the measures, but the proposals enjoy support with rank-and-file repugican voters. 36 percent of repugicans favor raising the personal tax rate for millionaires. However, that percentage jumps to 53 percent, if repugicans are asked whether they support raising the income tax on those earning over a million dollars a year to 50 percent, “the same rate taxed under the pretender Raygun.” While the impetus for a more populist tax policy is being driven the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party, the tax increases simply restore Raygun era tax rates.
The repugicans in Congress quickly pledged their allegiance to the wealthy, by criticizing Obama’s plan. The idiot Marco Rubio (r-FL) complained that, “raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful.” A spokesman for  the moron Paul Ryan dismissed Obama’s plan as “not a serious proposal”. By aligning with the rich, repugicans are alienating a large segment of the American people, including many self-identified repugicans. With Obama’s approval ratings on the rise, as he continues to move away from overcautious centrist complacency to bold left-center action, it is now the repugican cabal that must struggle to establish an identity that average Americans can relate to.
With the richest one percent slated to hold over half the world’s wealth by 2016, Obama’s mildly redistributive tax proposals couldn’t come at a better time. Even the politically tone-deaf Mitt Romney is trying to reinvent himself as a poverty-fighting populist as he gears up for another presidential bid. Of course, unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has not outlined how he plans to fight poverty, but his 2015 rhetoric is a far cry more populist than his 2012 broadsides against “class-envy” and the supposedly parasitic 47 percent. Still, his new-found populism will be a tough sell for voters as long as his car still rides in an elevator at home.
In the political chess game between the White House and Congress, Obama’s new tax proposals are smart politics. Insofar as they will benefit middle-class families and the working poor, they also make for good policy. The repugicans in Congress are eager to fight everything Obama suggests, making it unlikely that they will latch onto his middle-class tax breaks. They almost certainly will not support raising taxes on the rich to help average working Americans.
Many rank-and-file repugicans might also resist any proposal put forth by Barack Obama. However, the middle and lower-income repugicans who can do the math, will find that the tax cuts help them. As America’s economic resurgence continues, spreading the benefits to regular Americans only makes sense. Congressional repugicans who stand in the way will once again demonstrate that their loyalty is confined to the ultra-wealthy. Their commitment to cutting taxes is reserved for helping out the moneyed class, while they have no problem giving ordinary Americans the shaft.

The repugican cabal is Driven by Two of the Most Destructive Forces in Human History

by Allen Clifton
When it comes down to my issues with the repugican cabal, the root of most of my opposition lies in my belief that their ideology just doesn’t make any sense. They talk endlessly about freedom and liberty, while simultaneously pushing for religious rule over our government. Which doesn’t make any sense considering religion is nearly the complete opposite of freedom. How can someone be “free” if they’re forced to follow religious rules that control people by telling them what they should or shouldn’t do? Especially if someone doesn’t believe in that particular religion. It just doesn’t make any sense.
The same goes for their economic ideology. The repugican cabal’s economic beliefs are entirely predicated on the belief that 98 percent of Americans will be better off by making the top 2 percent richer. Even now one of the biggest wingnut attacks used against President Obama is wage stagnation. But they’re apparently too ignorant to understand that when they complain about stagnant wages, while taxes are low and the rich are doing better than ever, they’re actually admitting that trickle-down economics doesn’t work.
When you get right down to it, the two biggest driving forces behind the repugican cabal are greed and religion. And those just happen to be two of the most destructive things human beings have endured throughout our history.
How many millions of people have died over the centuries due to greed and religion? How many people have suffered because of these two things? How many people have wallowed in poverty or been confined to slavery in the name of greed and/or religion? What history shows us is that they’re powerful forces on their own, but when they’re actually combined the results are often catastrophic.
But I don’t just mean greed for money, but power as well. Empires that weren’t satisfied with what they had – they wanted more. They had to conquer and grow. It was no longer enough to simply be powerful and wealthy, they wanted to be the most powerful and wealthy. They wanted almost everyone on Earth to bow to their rule. The number of nations they conquered didn’t matter, nor did the amount of money they gained from their conquests, it was simply about greed and power. After all, how much land or money does anyone really need? It’s like the saying goes, what can someone buy with $5 billion that they couldn’t buy with $3 billion?
Then when you mix religion into all of that, it’s a very dangerous and often deadly mixture.
That’s what islamic radicalism is really all about. It’s corrupt individuals using religion to justify their greedy desires for power. It’s all about control. And let’s face it, religion is the ultimate mechanism to use if you want to control large amounts of people.
Here in the U.S. repugicans use religion all the time to manipulate people into voting against their own interests. The repugican cabal has successfully managed to get wingnuts to actually mix their politics and faith together. I call it “repugicanity,” and I consider it more of a cult than an actual political cabal. It’s a whole lot of people who honestly believe that the only way to be a true 'christian' is to be a repugican. And they’ll never question the repugican cabal, because that’s tantamount to questioning their faith – which we all know many wingnuts sure as heck won’t do.
But when you remove all the wingnut propaganda and rhetoric and get to the core of the repugican cabal, their social philosophies are built on religion and their economic ideologies are based on greed. They want to create a society run by theocratic government where the rich and the powerful have unregulated control over practically everything.
And when you look through all of human history, those are the two things that have been the catalysts behind some of the most horrific acts ever committed.

Texas House installing panic buttons after 'hostile' encounters with open carry agitators

In the wake of increasingly large and frequent protests by the open carry gun nuts, the Texas House of Representatives approved rules that would allow for the installation of panic buttons and give representatives the power to have "hostile" citizens summarily ejected from their offices, The Houston Chronicle reports.The day before these rules were passed, members of Open Carry Tarrant County spent time visiting the offices of lawmakers who opposed House Bill 195, which would overturn the state's 125-year-long ban on openly carrying handguns.
Two Democratic representatives - Poncho Nevarez and Celia Israel - claimed that members of Open Carry Tarrant County harassed them. A Facebook post by group member Kory Watkins bears out Nevarez's claim:
In the video, agitators can be heard berating the seated representative. "You're a tyrant to the Constitution!" one yelled. "You won't be here very long!" shouted another.
"I'm asking you to leave my office," Rep. Nevarez told Watkins.
"You need to leave my state," Watkins replied.
When the representative attempted to retreat into his office, the agitator placed his foot in the door to prevent him from doing so.
Watkins replied to criticism of that particular action on Facebook, writing that "[i]f a foot in the door of a tyrant's office bothers you more than a tyrant mocking the people and the Constitution, you are the problem." He then added, "[w]onder how the jews turned out begging Hitler for their rights back. Maybe they should have put their foot in the door!"

Flight delayed for two hours after fight broke out in the cockpit between pilot and engineer

An Air India pilot and the flight engineer who signed off on the plane's airworthiness, had a 'disagreement' in the cockpit and came to blows, with the plane loaded with passengers and ready for takeoff. As a result, the plane stood on the tarmac for over two hours before a replacement pilot was called in to handle the flight. On Saturday morning, AI 143 was scheduled to take off from Chennai to Delhi and from there on to Paris.
When the plane had arrived in Chennai from Mumbai, the pilot, identified as Captain Manik Lal, had landed and asked the engineering team to fix a minor snag in the plane before he began the long haul run, "When he returned, the engineer is believed to have said that it would be fine and certified the plane ready to fly. The pilot was not happy about this and refused to take off unless the fault was rectified. This boiled into an argument which ended in fisticuffs," said an airport source. At 9.45am, the incident triggered a protest from the flight engineers and ground staff who rallied against the pilot.
"They demanded that he come out and apologise or they not allow the plane to go. We intervened and got him to leave the cockpit and escorted him to the airport terminal," said a CISF official. Kannan, the flight engineer is believed to have sustained minor bruises. Along with other engineers, they are believed to have spoken to the police to file a complaint against the pilot, "The matter is being discussed but no formal complaint has been given yet," said an official at the Airport S2 Police Station. In damage control mode AI quickly mobilized a back-up pilot, Captain Krishnakumar and somehow managed to have the flight operate by 11.45am.
 "We have managed to operate the flight without any additional issues. The engineers are cooperating with us," said an Air India spokesperson. Though airline sources have described the pilot as having had similar run-ins with staff in the past, pilots and colleagues have rallied behind him, "He is a very straightforward pilot who takes flying by the book very seriously. It remains to be seen what the real issue was, " said another Air India pilot, associated with the Madras Flying Club. Air India also said that a formal complaint has been lodged with the DGCA and a detailed inquiry will be held, "For now he is off the roster, and will not be cleared to fly until the investigation is done. No such action has been taken on the other party as of now," said the spokesperson.

Man arrested after trying to bury his 10-year-old daughter alive

A man was arrested in Tripura, northern India, for trying to bury his 10-year-old daughter alive in the backyard of his home. The incident happened on Friday afternoon in Putia village close to the India-Bangladesh border.
Police sources say the man's dislike for the girl child led him to commit the alleged crime. The accused, Abul Hussein, allegedly dug a pit in his backyard while his wife was away. He then allegedly put his daughter in the pit, hands tied, mouth taped and filled earth up to her chest level.
Realizing that his wife had returned home, Hussein allegedly placed a bamboo-drum over his daughter's head, intending to bury her later. But his wife soon grew suspicious and raised the alarm, following which neighbors rescued the girl. They later thrashed her father and informed the police.

Hussein has been booked for attempt to murder and was sent to judicial custody till January 20 by a local court. "Abul Hussein was roughed up by the people who rescued the girl from half-buried condition. Considering his week physical condition, the court sent him to Judicial Custody for four days reserving directive on our plea for police-remand," said Amal Chakraborty, the officer-in-charge of the local police station.

Woman who wet pants at haunted amusement park upset her photo is being used by company

A woman who wet her pants at a haunted amusement park in New Zealand is upset a photo of the incident is being used to market the company on social media. Spookers theme park in South Auckland are using a photo of the woman's wet shorts on the top banner on their Facebook page.
The woman, who does not want to be named, is demanding Spookers take the picture down. She says she had been teased because friends and relatives recognized her from her clothing. A relative who was with the woman on the night said she had wet her pants through laughter, not fright.
"We had been through the haunted house and we were laughing so much and she lost control of her bladder," the relative said. "She has seen the Facebook page and she is not happy, she doesn't want it up there." The woman's relative said she was going to call Spookers to complain and ask them to remove the post.
Spookers' director Beth Watson said she had not yet complained but would take the photo down if the woman called her. "We do have a sign saying we take photos for promotional reasons but if people call us we remove the photos from Facebook immediately." Watson believed the photo was fine to use because it didn't show the woman's face. Watson said about five people wet their pants at Spookers each night. "It is very, very common and most people aren't embarrassed about it at all," she said.

Five-year-old boy given bill for missing school friend's birthday party

A five-year-old boy has been handed an invoice for missing his friend’s birthday party. And now his parents claim they have been threatened with the possibility of court action if they don’t pay up. Derek Nash and his partner, who live in Torpoint, Cornwall, discovered the ‘no show fee’ invoice for £15.95 in their son’s school bag last week. Mr Nash, a delivery driver, said he “thought it was a joke”. Just before the Christmas holidays, Alex, their son, was invited to a classmate’s Birthday party at the Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre. Alex, who goes to Torpoint Nursery and Infant School, told his parents he wanted to go and so Mr Nash and his partner confirmed he would be at the celebration.
Mr Nash said: “She saw me and asked if Alex was coming to the party. At this time I agreed and said that Alex was looking forward to it.” But Mr Nash later realized he had arranged for Alex and his sister Lily to out for a day trip with their grandparents. “By this time we did not have a contact number, email or an address to let [the boy’s mother] know,” explained Mr Nash. “So on the day of the party we asked Alex what he wanted to do; he chose to be with his grandparents.” On January 6 Alex went back to school as the new term got under way. Mr Nash continued: “My partner looked out for [the friend’s mother] to apologize for Alex not showing up to the party, but didn’t see her.
“But on January 15 she looked in Alex’s school bag and found a brown envelope. It was an invoice for £15.95 for a child’s party no show fee. I asked Alex’s class teacher if [the child’s mother] had given anything to her. She said, ‘Yes, a brown envelope’. I then visited Alex’s school headteacher, who couldn’t apologize enough that one of the teachers had passed this on. She said she would remind all staff that this was a breach of protocol. I left the school and went to see [the birthday boy’s mother] as her address was on the invoice. When she answered the door I told her I had found the invoice in my son’s school bag and that I wasn’t happy about it. I told her I would not be paying her the money. I told her she should have spoken to me first and not put the invoice in my son’s school bag.”
He added: “I would have sympathized with her about the cost of Alex not showing up, but I just can’t believe the way she has gone around it.” The couple claim that the mother of Alex’s friend has threatened the couple with taking the case to the small claims court. And five-year-old Alex has told his parents that his classmate will no longer play with him after he didn’t show up to the party. Mr Nash said: “I drive all around the South West for my job and I have talked to quite a few people about this. They’re all quite incredulous that this has happened. I thought it was a joke to begin with. I am lost for words.” Mr Nash’s partner, who doesn’t want to be named, has been in contact with the mum via Facebook hoping to resolve the situation. The mother of Alex’s friend was unavailable for comment.

No charges against teenager who pretended to be a doctor at Florida hospital for about a month

Hospital staff and police have opted not to pursue charges against a teenager who, they say, masqueraded as a doctor for a month at a West Palm Beach, Florida, facility before being found out. According to police documents, authorities were called to St. Mary’s Medical Center on Tuesday by the staff after a patient reported that “a child was dressed as a doctor.” The patient said the 17-year-old was dressed in a white lab coat with a St. Mary’s logo and the word “anesthesiology” embroidered on the front. The report said the young man, whose name was not released, was wearing a “stethoscope around his neck and a face mask.”
Dr. Sebastian Kent, an ob-gyn, said he encountered the teen as he tended to a patient that the teen had called “his wife.” “He was wearing a lab coat, a white coat very similar to a doctor’s coat,” Kent said. “Initially and certainly looking back retrospectively, I thought you know this person looks so young. … And I just [thought]: ‘Boy, they’re getting out of med school really quickly now.” Kent said that they did not talk medicine and that at no point did he see the teen administer to any patients. An hour later, he said the teen left him a Post-It note asking that the ob-gyn give him a call.
Kent said that when he did reach him over the phone, the teen asked to follow him as an “intern” in the office and hospital. When Kent sought details about the teen’s schooling, he said the teen was ambiguous. “Every minute there was a different school. He was from one place, then he was from someplace else,” Kent said. “The story started to get a little more vague. … He did remind me of the kids that I tutor in high school. Just the kind of language he used. … Just his way of expressing himself.” Kent said he did not call the police but a while after that conversation, he saw the teen outside surrounded by three or four police officers.

The police report said the teen said that he’d been a doctor for “years” and that his family knew about it. In a statement, the hospital said: “On January 13, an individual was detained by security at St. Mary’s Medical Center after falsely presenting himself as a physician. The individual never had contact with any hospital patients and did not gain access to any patient care areas of the hospital at any time. The hospital immediately notified local authorities, who took the individual into custody, and we are cooperating with their ongoing investigation. The safety and security of patients is our highest priority.” The child was released into the custody of his mother, who told police that the child was under the care of a doctor but refused to take medication.

Woman devastated after £530 was blown away in a tornado of money

A Dundee woman has been left counting the cost of the wind after £530 she was carrying blew away. Indea Ogilvie had just lunched with a friend in Broughty Ferry and was making her way back to her car when she dropped her purse. The 19-year-old, who was carrying takings from the Perfection Beauty Salon, Lochee, then watched in horror as the wind swept her cash away.

Man surprised to find stranger hiding in his trunk after car wash

A man went to a car wash in Pomona, California, and came home with a stranger hiding in his trunk. Sal Landeros had returned to his Montclair home after going to Tuzos car wash, when he heard a knocking from his trunk. "He hit his trunk and he heard someone tap again back. He was like, 'Okay, there's someone definitely in my car,'" Landeros' brother Eddie said.

Sal Landeros and his son Chris carefully opened the trunk, unsure of who or what was inside. "I said, 'Open it slowly.' (My son) saw the eyes and slammed it back again. I said, 'Forget it. Just call the cops,'" Sal Landeros said. "Real scary." Montclair police surrounded the car with tasers and guns drawn. Eddie Landeros captured video of the ordeal.
The man appeared to climb out, happy to be free from the trunk, only to be handcuffed and taken into custody. "He was saying sorry a lot and he was running away from someone that needed his money, because he didn't pay up or something. I guess he worked at the car wash too.

"He must have got in while they were washing it. He just closed the trunk on himself," Eddie Landeros said. The family can laugh about the unusual encounter now, but they say it was frightening as it was unfolding. "Something you don't expect. Even the police officers said, 'This is a new one for us. We've never seen this one,'" Sal Landeros said.

Police officer says moonwalking encourages people to follow traffic rules

Dancing police officer Ranjeet Singh of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, India, is inspiring his junior colleagues to adopt his moonwalking dancing routine to manage traffic on the city’s bustling, and often chaotic, roads. He says it is his duty as well as his passion. “Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters. That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules,” he says.
At least three other police traffic police personnel have adopted Singh’s style. And Singh is even training the juniors into perfecting their craft. Sumant Singh Kachhawa, who joined the force recently, said he was inspired by Singh from his college days. “I used to observe Ranjeet bhai during my college days and wanted to be like him. I instantly approached him for some tips as soon as I got my job. It's real fun to control traffic in that manner and at no point of time I feel bored,” said the 22-year-old.
Another young follower is Mahendra Singh Tomar. Deployed at Palasia Sqaure, another busy intersection of the city, Tomar considers that commuters get inspired in the way he goes about his job. “One should leave an impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signalling people on roads,” said the officer who has been working for the past six years in Indore. Even the higher officers of the force are quite impressed by Ranjeet Singh’s efforts.

“He is not only an inspiration to constables but for his seniors as well. His style of controlling traffic attracts everyone. He has been exceptional in sharing his style with his colleagues,” said Anjana Tiwari, additional superintendent of police (traffic). Ranjeet Singh, however, blames the people for the traffic mess in the city. “There are commuters who don’t wish to follow any instruction. Our job is to tell them but in the end it is their choice,” he says.

Something is Hidden Behind the Soda Machine in This Diner

What looks like a vintage Coke machine in this Shanghai sandwich shop called The Press is actually a door. Those who open the door and step beyond it find their environment transformed. The bright lights of the diner turn to the dim ambience and inviting design of Flask, a modern-day speakeasy.This unlikely food and drink duo is the brainchild of Alberto Caiola, Associate Design Director at Coordination Asia Architecture Design & Consulting Company. The general idea behind the hidden bar entrance can be found in various forms in other cities worldwide: it lends an air of exclusivity to the establishment. Walking through an unmarked entrance gives patrons a feeling that they're part of an alluring secret.
Flask is an attractive space with winning d├ęcor. It looks like an interesting spot to have a cocktail. See pictures of it here and at Caiola's website, which also has a detailed description of the place and the inspiration behind it.

Replica of Hong Kong Phooey mural expected to fetch HK$1.5 million at auction

A piece of street art destroyed by Hong Kong authorities has been remade and is expected to fetch more than HK$1.5 million (£127,000, US$192,000) at a Sotheby's auction next week. It comes as experts say the demand for "cutting edge" art is growing across the Asian market with new, younger collectors emerging. The ceramic mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey, a mask-wearing dog who is an expert in kung fu, was created by French street artist Invader.
It first went up on a wall in a quiet street of Hong Kong's upmarket Happy Valley neighborhood last January. But the artwork, which measures 1.3 meters x 2.1 meters was taken down within weeks by Hong Kong authorities, sparking outrage from residents. Now the artist has recreated the mosaic, which has the character performing his signature flying kick, and it is expected to be the highlight of Tuesday's auction. It will be sold alongside the first ever work to be auctioned in Hong Kong by British artist Tracey Emin, a turquoise neon sign that reads "Trust Me", expected to fetch up to HK$350,000 (£30,000, $45,000).
"There are some very important collectors acquiring Monet and Van Gogh, but there's also a deep pool of new collectors trying to acquire more cutting edge pieces," Isaure de Viel Castel, Sotheby's head of mid-season sales for contemporary and modern fine arts, said. Artists such as Invader are responding to this challenge by making replicas of their works so collectors can take them home, she said. "We're reaching out to new collectors here, people in their 30s or 40s who are very international."
Hong Kong has emerged as one of the world's major auction hubs in art and wine thanks to cash-rich mainland Chinese buyers with an appetite for luxury items. But the city authorities are also frequently criticized for failing to preserve Hong Kong's cultural heritage, with the rapid pace of development leading to the demolition of historic buildings, and iconic graffiti scrubbed from walls. Invader expressed deep disappointment after his art was taken down. "I have never faced a situation where a public authority would systematically and rapidly remove the art from the streets," the artist said in February of last year.

This Batman On Bat Throne Trading Card Is Selling For $3500 On eBay

It’s unclear what metahumans like the Flash and Aquaman do when they need to expel solid waste from their bodies, but when Batman needs to go number two he sits down on a toilet just like everybody else.

Batsy’s bathroom time may not seem like a moment you’d want to commemorate with a trading card, but back in 1966 that Batman bathroom card became a reality thanks to some bored employees at Topps.
According to eBay seller clubhouse this crazy card was created as an inside joke and was never released to the public, a fact which they figure warrants an opening bid of $3500:
The holy grail of all BATMAN CARDS. A 1966 TOPPS Batman black cape BATMAN ON BAT THRONE. A family member use to work at the Topps printing plant in CT during the 1960′s. That is where this card originated from. It appears some Topps employees were bored one day and made a card of Batman sitting on the toilet. This card was never released.
If this card had been sold along with the rest of the set it might have changed an entire generation's mind about the Caped Crusader, resulting in Aquaman becoming bigger than the Bat!

8 Science-Backed Reasons To Read A (Real) Book

Although more and more people own e-books, it seems safe to say that real books aren't going anywhere yet. Most people who read e-books continue to read printed ones as well.
There's nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one's spine. Plus, you'll never run low on battery. And it turns out that diving into a page-turner can also offer benefits toward your health and happiness.

10 Things You Should Know About Prohibition

On January 16, 1920, scores of thirsty Americans took to the streets to buy their last legal drinks from liquor stores and saloons. The United States officially became a 'dry' country the following day, when the 18th Amendment outlawing 'the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors' took effect.
The amendment and the accompanying Volstead Act proved wildly unpopular among many Americans. Alcohol continued to flow like water in the big cities, and gangsters, bootleggers and ordinary citizens alike all flouted the law until its repeal in late-1933. Here are 10 fascinating facts about America's alcohol prohibition.

Objects of Intrigue: The Infernal Machine

In 1835, Giuseppe Mario Fieschi and two co-conspirators tried to assassinate King Louis-Philippe of France. To pull it off, Fieschi devised what became known as “the infernal machine.”
Rather than fire just one shot at the king, or even three if the trio joined together, Fieschi constructed a mutant weapon with 25 barrels that could shoot at once, all pointing in different directions. The machine of wood and iron was finally set up on the third story of 50 Boulevard du Temple in Paris, and on July 28, 1835 put to its macabre test.
The king was only slightly grazed, but 18 people died and 42 were wounded in the sudden onslaught, including Fieschi himself. After all, when you have 25 barrels firing, the chances of one of them malfunctioning are multiplied. Read how the crime played out, and see pictures of the infernal machine, at Atlas Obscura.


The Art Of Urban Exploration
Most of us now live in towns and cities and you might assume that these areas are fully mapped out and known to all. However, some places become unseen or out of bounds and, left to their own devices, become almost geographical blind spots.
Join us as some of these off-limits areas are infiltrated - with some startling photographic results.

Ancient burial remains in Okinawa cave may fill void in Japanese ancestry

by Shunsuke Nakamura
Ancient human remains found at the Sakitari-do cave site in Nanjo, Okinawa Prefecture. The area being pointed to is the head. (Shunsuke Nakamura) The discovery of probably one of the oldest burial sites in Japan could shed more light on the country's prehistory and the emergence of primitive culture.
The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum in Naha announced Dec. 11 that it found human remains dating back more than 9,000 years at the Sakitari-do cave site in Nanjo, Okinawa Prefecture.
The bones dating to the Jomon Pottery Culture period (c. 8000 B.C.-300 B.C.) were found under 3 meters of dirt, indicating they had not been disturbed. Four large stones about 30 centimeters long had been placed over such areas as the head, chest and stomach of the adult, of undetermined gender, who was lying face-up.
As joints in the arms remained connected, it is believed the bones were found in their original site, suggesting the cave was used as a tomb.
The bones were also excavated from a depth below where earthenware about 9,000 years old was previously found, suggesting they date further back in time.
The finding may help fill in a blank period in which no traces of humans living in Okinawa were found between Minatogawa Man, whose remains were discovered in the town of Yaese dating back to the Paleolithic Age about 20,000 years ago, and earthenware about 7,000-8,000 years old, the first indication of culture.
“How did the prehistoric people of Okinawa treat the dead?" pondered Okinawa museum curator Shinji Yamasaki. "This find offers a glimpse of their view of life and death, and the spiritual world. It also serves as material evidence for revisiting the debate on whether the Shiraho (cave ruin) remains and those of Minatogawa Man are graves.”
The museum has been conducting digs at the Sakitari-do site since fiscal 2009, and discoveries such as the oldest earthenware in Okinawa and the first shell tools from the Paleolithic Age in Japan shore up theories that the prefecture has continuously been inhabited.
Burial remains from the early Jomon period on Japan's main island have been found at the Kamikuroiwa Iwakage site in Ehime Prefecture and the Tochibara Iwakage site in Nagano Prefecture. The latest finding would be at least as old as the others.
Clusters of ancient human remains have been uncovered in Okinawa, with bones dating back 20,000 years recently discovered at the Shiraho Saonetabaru Cave Ruins in Ishigaki. Each finding has stirred debate as to whether the sites were graves.

Wild Ride

North Carolina Has some roads ...
Brace yourself and take your motion-sickness meds. This state is home to some of America’s curviest roads. The most famous is an 11-mile adventure with 318 curves called the Tail of the Dragon. Wild name, wild ride.

Concerns that 'too clever' sparrows seen flying around supermarket could be a health risk

Health concerns have been raised after three sparrows who are proving “too clever” to be caught set up home inside Asda in Crawley, West Sussex. The birds have been spotted flying around the supermarket in the town centre, since Christmas. And despite the best efforts of staff, who have tried unsuccessfully to catch them with nets, the sparrows are refusing to budge. Customer Ellen Bonner and her mother Jan are worried that the animals could pose a risk to the public by contaminating food. Ellen, from Ifield, said: “I have seen them at least three times in the last month. Because I’m a chef I know about food hygiene and seeing them fly over the food counters and open food, I am concerned about cross contamination.
“I have seen feathers fall down on the food and I have seen the birds casually walk around on the shop floor.” The 19-year-old added: “Food can be contaminated with any diseases that the birds have, that can then make the customer seriously ill.” Ellen’s mother Jan last saw the sparrows on Monday evening. She has also seen feathers and bird poo on the floor near where customers can buy pizza, food from the deli and fresh fish. Jan said: “I told one staff member about the birds but she said they ‘haven’t got any’. I said ‘look down there’ and there were two birds. She was rather embarrassed.” The 58-year-old also saw different, larger birds in the store for “several months” last year.
“Last year they had quite large birds in there,” she said. “Staff told me they would have to get a hawk in to get the birds.” It is understood that the three sparrows are roosting in the roof of the store, with one source saying they are proving “too clever” at present to catch. They added that staff are trying to figure out the best way to humanly remove them from the shop. It is unclear how they have got into the supermarket. The source said: “Every Sunday our colleagues come in with a net on a pole and they walk up and down and try to catch them. But they are very clever.”
An Asda spokeswoman added: “There have been a couple of sparrows sighted in store that have been clever enough to find a warm building to hide out in during the recent bad weather. As soon as they were spotted, the store contacted the authorities to have them removed. Sparrows are a protected species so only certain methods can be used to capture and release them. The store is working with specialist animal control experts to catch the birds. In the meantime, their whereabouts are being closely monitored and customers can be assured there is no risk to food safety.” House sparrows are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill them or damage an active nest or its contents.

1-Horse Power Ice Cream Churn

Alpha Ag Inc., a family-owned business in Illinois, makes low-tech but effective farming equipment. It’s known for its line of horse treadmills. They give horses a good workout, but they’re made to provide energy for practical tools. We’ve previously seen a horse treadmill powering a log splitter. That’s only one of many uses that Alpha Ag has developed for its horse treadmills. The company also makes grinders, water pumps, and washing machines. Most importantly, Alpha Ag make ice cream churns, which are a great idea for a hot day.

Hypnotic Murmuration of Starlings

This murmuration (flock) of starlings makes rolling waves in the sky over Utrecht, The Netherlands. The video footage, made by Alpacamedia and set to music by MTT, makes for quite a mesmerizing two minutes and seventeen seconds.

Heart of Glass

One of several species of glass frogs native to tropical rainforests of Central and South America
One of the wonders of the natural world is the ability of so many species to use camouflage as a defense mechanism against predators. Often camouflage means intricate patterns of brightly colored markings that help the animal to blend in with its habitat. In other cases, camouflage can mean transparency. Disappearing against the backdrop of your surroundings is easy if others can see right through you. Such is the case with the animals seen in this photo collection.
See more images of these fascinating species here.

Crocodile Icefish, native to Antarctica, has no scales. Icefish are the only vertebrates without red blood cells and hemoglobin

Sea lion evaded captors to take a dip at public pool

A female sea lion caused havoc at a seaside salt water pool in Dunedin, New Zealand, on Saturday afternoon. The Department of Conservation were called to the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool but left when it became clear the sea lion would not be moving on.
Lifeguard Ana Keelty said the animal had come over the hill from Seconds Beach nearby and had somehow managed to get through the pool doors and into the public swimming area at about 2.30pm. "Obviously we had to get everyone out of the pool pretty fast," Keelty said. 

Much to the delight of pool-goers, the sea lion evaded capture and three hours after it arrived, was still taking dips in the lane pool. Swimmers unfortunately had to be evacuated from the water, although staff did not think the animal was dangerous unless provoked.

The DoC worker charged with moving the animal on had left around 5pm. They were hoping the sea lion would go back to the beach of her own accord. "This is a very rare occurrence," Keelty said. "I think it's only happened once before."

Animal Pictures