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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1901   A great fire ravages Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in property lost.  
1913   The "Young Turks" revolt because they are angered by the concessions made at the London peace talks.  
1932   Franklin D. Roosevelt enters the presidential race.  
1948   The Soviets refuse UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.
1949   The Communist Chinese forces begin their advance on Nanking.  
1950   Jerusalem becomes the official capital of Israel.
1951   President Truman creates the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights, to monitor the anti-Communist campaign.  
1969   NASA unveils moon-landing craft.  
1973   Tricky Dick Nixon claims that Vietnam peace has been reached in Paris and that the POWs would be home in 60 days.  
1977   Alex Haley's Roots begins a record-breaking eight-night broadcast on ABC.  
1981   Under international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung's death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.  
1986   U.S. begins maneuvers off the Libyan coast.

Can you weigh the air in a football?

Following the AFC championship game, there were allegations that some member of the New England Patriots staff may have provided their team with slightly under-inflated footballs (which would be easier to grip in cold wet weather).
Newsday reported that Jackson then gave the ball to a member of the Colts' equipment staff, who noticed the ball seemed under-inflated. At that point, coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson were notified, and Grigson alerted NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil, according to the report...

On the first offensive play from scrimmage in the third quarter, following a kick return, referee Walt Anderson briefly stopped play to replace a football which could have been related to this issue.
I'm puzzled by the claim that the under-inflation was investigated by weighing the ball:
The NFL source reportedly told Kravitz that "officials took a ball out of play at one point and weighed it." According to NBC Sports, "several" abnormal balls were allegedly removed from game-play during the match-up.
The professional football is supposed to weigh between 14 and 15 ounces, inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch.  Can an inflation discrepancy be detected by weighing the ball?  Seems doubtful.

Obama ditches the centrists: How a break from neoliberalism boosted his popularity

For quite some time now, the media's desire to see the American economy return to its '90s-era peak - or at least improve enough to be safely ignored in favor of a new overarching narrative - has been nearly palpable. Which is why it's not shocking to see how a spate of good news about the economy has changed the conventional wisdom about the President Obama's record, with "objective" reporters describing him as on the rebound, and with his most ardent defenders busting out superlatives like it's 2008. Andrew Sullivan is once again calling him the center-left version of Ronald Reagan. And Jonathan Chait believes history will ultimately recognize his performance as not just good but capital-G great. That's that, I guess; do we really need to bother with the rest of his second term?Even though I snark, and even though the persistence of stagnant wages means we're still experiencing a McJobs recovery, it's certainly true that the president's followed his second midterm shellacking with a surprisingly good few weeks. His poll numbers are looking better than they have in almost two years, and Princeton election analyst Sam Wang says it's "a real phenomenon," not a fluke. But while Sullivan, and especially Chait, write as if Obama's comeback were basically inevitable, I think there's a case to be made that the president's rising popularity - while certainly due in part to his decision to enact less crippling austerity than the Eurozone has and repugicans wanted - has more to do with recent actions of his that were a break from the approach that defined most of his second (and nearly all of his first) term.
Before I describe that change, though, I want to make a few things clear up front, so nobody gets the wrong idea. As Chait partially acknowledges, and as any political scientist will tell you, Americans give their presidents entirely too much blame and credit for the state of the economy (usually their No. 1 metric), which is often considerably outside any politician's immediate control. What's more, there's reason to believe that at least some part of Obama's recent good fortune owes to the plummeting price of oil, which despite what politicians of both parties tell you when they're campaigning, has essentially nothing to do with whatever's happening in the Oval Office. Last but not least, the president's approval rating is not the product of an exact science; it's more like a blurry snapshot of a moment in time. So we shouldn't conclude too much from the recent polling, one way or another..

The repugican cabal accuses Obama of being President

Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker nails it: "If you continue to fulfill the duties of President of the United States that are expressly permitted in the Constitution, you are playing with fire."
Calling him the “Law Professor-in-Chief,” Stockman accused Mr. Obama of “manipulating a little-known section of the Constitution,” Article II, which outlines the power of the President.
“President Obama looks down the list of all of the powers that are legally his and he’s like a kid in a candy store,” Stockman said. “It’s nauseating.”
The Texas congressman said that if Mr. Obama persists in executing the office of the Presidency as defined by the Constitution, he could face “impeachment and/or deportation.”

Racist Gun Nut Shoots Black Police Chief Four Times, No Charges Filed

It is increasingly difficult for anyone in America to say with a straight face that there is no glaring white privilege in America; particularly where it concerns white people shooting African Americans. Over and over there are reports of law enforcement officers calmly “talking down” armed white people into surrendering their firearms as opposed to their habit of gunning down unarmed African Americans.  Last year a white man was acquitted of the shooting death of a police officer serving a “no-knock” search warrant about a month before an African American man was charged with capital murder under the exact same circumstances. Now, another white man is walking free after shooting a Black police chief in Oklahoma investigating a possible bomb plot against a Head Start school in the presence of four other law enforcement officers.
In Washita County Oklahoma, Sentinel Chief of Police Louis Ross was shot three times in the chest and once through the arm when he responded to a 911 call about a bomb in the Sentinel Community Action Center that served as the home of the city’s Head Start program. The Chief is recovering thanks to a borrowed bullet-proof vest. The shooter, a white racist, anti-government survivalist, and gun nut fanatic, 29 year old Dallas Horton claimed he was protecting his family and that was more than enough for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) to release the man.
The violent incident last Thursday began when police received two 911 calls at 4:00 a.m. from a “caller identifying himself as Horton” saying that there was a bomb inside the nearby Head Start school. The city promptly contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s bomb squad and with Chief Ross responded to the scene and found there was no evidence of explosives. Chief Ross and sheriff’s deputies then traced the call to Horton’s residence and with more backup officers entered the residence by breaking down the door.
Breaking down the front door with officers in tow, Chief Ross cleared one room and entered a second bedroom when Horton opened fire. Now, according to a press release from the OSBI, the racist walked free because the man told them he was unaware it was police officers who made entry into his home. However, that is highly unlikely because according to Chief Ross and the five law enforcement officers accompanying him, they began screaming “Hands Up” and “Show Your Hands” the second they entered the home in order to get Horton to peacefully exit the building.
Chief Ross said, “Don’t know why he didn’t hear the screaming from five officers of the law announcing our presence, requesting to see hands.” What is more curious is how the man was able to, within seconds, wake to the sound of someone entering his house, grab a firearm, and fire off four shots at a police officer who certainly had his gun drawn prior to “clearing” a room where a man may have intended to bomb a pre-school according to 911 messages from his house.
Horton told investigators he had no idea they were police officers, and naturally assumed it was a home invasion by 5 men who arrived in police vehicles screaming they were law enforcement and to “show your hands.” A member of Horton’s family defended the shooting and said, “He thought he was protecting his home and his wife. He didn’t know what was going on until the door was busted down. And you have a right to protect your family and that’s what he was doing.” Although Horton was forgiven for exercising his right to shoot a Black police chief four times while “protecting his family” like a responsible racist gun fanatic, there is still an investigation over making false bomb threats against a pre-school. He is innocent of the shooting and is not going to be charged.
One of Horton’s neighbors described the shooter as a “survivalist” type who mistrusted the government, was openly unfriendly to his neighbors, and wore a lot of black clothing. Sentinel Mayor Sam Dlugonski portrayed Horton as a gun-enthusiast” and “survivalist” and said that he seemed like he was “on the edge.” Another neighbor said he’s “not very friendly at all.” Both the mayor and the neighbors were either unaware, or did not admit, that Horton is, besides a gun nut zealot and openly unfriendly, a racist.
According to his Facebook profile full of “racially-charged images,” Horton is definitely a racist. The FB page was “rife with threats targeting African American leaders such as the Reverend Al Sharpton” replete with images such as “Hurt ME and your [sic] gonna feel pain, hurt my BEST FRIEND and your gonna need an ambulance, hurt my FAMILY…I’m gonna need a shovel.” One particularly disturbing image showed “a blood-spattered 18-wheeler cab with human limbs sticking out of it” with the caption; “JUST DROVE THROUGH FERGUSON, DIDN’T SEE ANY PROBLEMS.” The Facebook page has since been removed.
Sentinel Mayor Dlugonski praised Chief Ross and said, “We are all stunned by this. Lewis has been here about a year and he has done an exceptional job. He is well liked in the community. People love him and we just pray that he will get better. The man and his wife were taken into custody and questioned for several hours by the OSBI, but they are not under arrest because investigators believe he really may have been unaware it was officers who entered his home.” Except for the Chief and five police officers screaming they were police and to show hands, the racist’s story must have sounded particularly convincing to investigators; most certainly because he is white.
One just has to wonder if an African American resident shot a white police officer four times and claimed they were “unaware it was officers screaming they were police and to show hands,” if investigators would have been in a forgiving mood. That certainly was not the case last May in Texas where the right of self-defense via the Castle Doctrine (Stand Your Ground) is dependent on race.
In the early morning at 5:30 a.m. in Killeen Texas, SWAT officers acting on a bogus tip broke into an African American man’s home while serving a “no-knock” warrant looking for marijuana; none was found. The resident shot and killed a police officer who had broken and climbed through a window. That African American man was promptly charged with capital murder regardless he claimed the “Castle Doctrine” defense to protect his and his wife’s life. In that case, the police did not identify themselves or scream to “show hands.” Also in Texas, in an identical situation a white man being served a “no-knock warrant” for marijuana (a lot was found) also shot and killed an officer and was acquitted because he was a white man “defending his and his girlfriend’s life” in what a grand jury concluded was a “completely reasonable act of self-defense.”
It is a mystery why, after seeing the chief of police shot four times, the other five officers failed to open fire on the racist gunman. Likely, as law enforcement is wont to do, they lovingly “requested” that the white man surrender his firearm so they could talk about why he “mistakenly” shot the officer. One wonders if in the privacy of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s consideration to file charges if they just winked as they concluded “white privilege” prior to letting the shooter walk free. After all, this is America and the white guy did shoot a Black man.

Videophones From The Future Past

This wonderful experience of seeing and talking to a distant person has been the original super-science dream back from Victorian times, transformed into more refined science fiction visions in the 1920s, and finally fleshed out into working prototypes in the 1930s.
Further in the 1950s we've seen 'videophones' appearing in every near-future movie and scifi story, and even presented to government officials as the ultimate way of communication. Today any kid, or grandma with access to a smartphone can freely talk themselves into oblivion. But the videophone we have is totally different from the 'videophones of the future past.'

Dolfi 'Washing Device Uses Ultrasonic Tech To Clean Clothes'

Washing clothes is a simple matter when at home, but becomes more difficult or unnecessarily expensive when traveling.
You might have resorted to washing a shirt or two in the sink in a moment of desperation, and with the Dolfi you'll largely repeat that process, only with one big difference: the inclusion of ultrasonic tech, which is delivered by a handheld device about the size and shape of a bar of soap.

Lottery launches bacon-scented scratch ticket

The New Hampshire Lottery has launched its first scratch-and-sniff scratch ticket, the organization announced on Monday.
The "I Heart Bacon Scratch Ticket" costs $1 and offers a grand prize of $1,000.
Players get a whiff of bacon after scratching the ticket. “The (NH) Lottery is focused on developing new and fun ways to engage customers.
“The I Heart Bacon scratch ticket combines two things people love: the chance to win cash and the wonderful, enticing smell of bacon,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
There's a news video here.

Fruit stickers are edible

Fruit stickers are edible! They’re actually made out of “edible paper” or other food grade materials with that possibility in mind!  Even the glue is food grade. Although, as I think about it, most paper is edible.  I suppose the "food grade" designation applies more to the ink.

A Guide To Classic Cars On The Big Screen

From the Italian Job to the Love Bug and from American Graffiti to Ghostbusters, here are some classic cars used in movies.

Underpants in suitcase sparked bomb scare

The bomb squad traveled six hours to Mildura in Victoria, Australia, on Sunday night after a suitcase containing two pairs of underpants set off a major security scare.

Couple cut hole in wall to steal eclectic mix of items from laundromat

At approximately 6:00am on Friday, members of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol Division were dispatched to the Speed Wash Laundromat on East Main St. in the Village of Waterville, New York, for an in-progress larceny report.
Upon investigating the complaint further, it was determined the suspects made entry into a service area within the laundromat by cutting a hole in the wall to gain entry. The suspects then stole items from within the service area and fled the laundromat through a bathroom window with the stolen goods.
Taken in the theft was a window blind, several pieces of floor tile, a vacuum cleaner, blankets, keys, a Visa prepaid Credit Card and a bag of recyclable cans and bottles. Investigating Deputies soon identified the suspects in the crime as being Tamara J. Perrin, 31, and James A. Furner Jr., 24.
A short time later the two suspects, along with the stolen property, were located at their residence on Sanger Ave in the Village of Waterville and taken into custody without incident. Ms. Perrin and Mr. Furner Jr. were arrested for Burglary in the 3rd Degree and arraigned in the Village of New York Mills Court. Both Perrin and Furner Jr. were remanded to the Oneida County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 cash or bond bail and are schedule to return to Court at a later date.

Man with lightning reflexes saved toddler as runaway stroller raced towards steep drop

A quick thinking man with lightning reflexes was able to save a toddler from almost certain injury when he caught a runaway baby stroller in Turkey.
CCTV footage that emerged on Friday shows the local fisherman, Mehmet Soysal, 35, on his phone just moments before the stroller comes flying down a hill in the coastal city of Bodrum.

Spotting the stroller, he quickly ended his phone call and caught the pram carrying two-year-old Ali Ceyhan as it hurtled towards a 50ft drop. The toddler was then propelled forward out of the chair and onto the tarmacked road. Mr Soysal then picked up the baby as stunned onlookers watched on in horror.

The toddler was unharmed except for some minor scrapes and bruises. The boy's mother, Cansu Sahin, 29, said she took her hands off the pram momentarily to show her husband something, and it rolled off. She added: "I can't begin to thank enough the man who saved my little boy. He is an absolute hero."

Irish teenager rescued from air vent after trying to sneak back into Australian nightclub

An Irish teenager had to be rescued from an air vent after he got stuck in the tiny space trying to sneak into an Australian nightclub. Hugh McMahon, 18, has been forced to payAU $2,600 (£1,400, $2,150) in fines and damages after having to be freed from a roof near the SinCity night club in Surfers Paradise.
McMahon was trying to get into the popular night spot after being kicked out of the club twice that night, the first time after he was spotted sleeping on a couch inside. Mr McMahon, in Australia on a 12-month working holiday, broke into the roof space through a sliding door at the Promenade Apartments on Orchid Ave. His plan was foiled however when he became stuck. He damaged the door's lock in his failed entry bid before becoming entangled in wires and stuck among the pipes and internal struts in the cavity.
Emergency crews were called to the club at 1.30am with reports the man could be heard screaming for help. The delicate operation to remove him safely took two hours while club-goers crowded the street to watch. He faced Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning charged with trespass, wilful damage and two counts of refusing to leave a licensed premises.
Magistrate Ron Kilner failed to see the funny side to McMahon's antics, fining him $900 and ordering him to pay a total of $1,700 in damages to the building owners and the Queensland Fire Service. "Drunk or sober, it was an absolutely remarkably stupid thing to have done," Mr Kilner said. "You only have yourself to blame." McMahon, who plans to return to Sydney on Thursday, has been given three months to pay his fine.
There's a news video here.

Reckless driver performed a U-turn on busy road to steal peaches

A reckless driver was caught and booked by traffic police for reversing his car and performing a U-turn on a busy expressway in order to pick peaches in east China's Jiangsu Province.
The scene was recorded in a surveillance video released recently by Jiangsu provincial police. The video footage shows the driver backing up and making a U-turn toward an orchard and stopped the car on the emergency lane.
Then, together with two passengers, he strode over the expressway fence and dived into the orchard, returning with bags of peaches. The driver tried to cover up their wrongdoings after the traffic police arrived.

"We haven't done anything illegal ... We just picked some peaches," said the driver. The driver was given a fine of 200 yuan (£21, $32), with 12 demerit points on his driving license for backing up his car on an expressway. This means that his driving license is revoked.

Did a Darwin Award applicant pass through the propeller arc of this aircraft ?

This [very] amateur footage of a serious Runway Incursion on a rural airstrip in Alaska shows our Fairchild C119 FlyingBoxcar taking off on a runway that is too short and too soft on a ferry flight. The plane had forced-landed there years ago to begin with...So this was the first takeoff after the plane had sat there for more than 13 years being vandalized etc. We had changed out one engine, windows and ball bearings and worked on it straight for over half a year. We have been given 7 videos of this takeoff by the locals and the FAA used the footage to teach about the feared "runway incursions". We have it on tape how our pilot preaches from the cockpit window to the assembled villagers that he will use every inch of available runway and THEN SOME beyond that, nevertheless we had a father and son standing in the way of the plane plus two others while a village schoolteacher and professional pilot was arguing with them about getting off the runway...Quite amazing, as said we have 7 camerapositions...Nobody died but the son did actually go through the Prop arc and had the luck to pass through the blades with no harm to him. R3350's run 2950 RPM on takeoff and the reduction gear reduces Prop RPM and at 94 knots it was some space between the 4 blades of the Prop. "
This video link was sent to me by my brother-in-law, who is an air traffic controller.  In the YouTube comment thread the OP responds to a question as to whether someone actually did "go through" the propellers:
From the 6 camera-positions & videotapes, as well as the still photos, That is what we have concluded, there is no other possibility. The 7th tape, being from the camera that the Kid held while he went through the prop-arc, I have never seen. Many people that saw it told me about it, there was no doubt !
I did some rough calculations this morning.  The plane's velocity at the end of the runway was reported at 94 knots = 108 mph = 158 fps.  The "reduction gear" ratio for the propellers is not defined; let's say the RPM were reduced from 2950 to 2400 (anyone know/guess?)  It's a 4-blade propeller, so 2400 RPM results in 9600 blade-passes per minute, or one blade coming by every 1/9600 minute.  Divide by 60 = 160 passes per second.
160 passes per second in a plane moving forward 158 fps would give a space of about 1 foot for the head to pass through.    The person who pulled this stunt probably had a small head to begin with.
A standard, unquestioned rule of airport safety is that nobody should walk through the propeller arc - even if the engine is turned off.
If you never walk through a stationary prop arc due to a conscious decision to avoid it, when you hurry across the flight deck it is less likely that you will walk through a turning prop arc.  FACT: People who have been killed by prop arcs were familiar with the aircraft and flight deck around them, but a momentary lapse of concentration caused them to stray into a turning propeller. 
I suppose there is one possible lesson to be learned here.  If one finds oneself in a real-life action-movie scenario with a propeller blade coming toward you, and if there is no way to stop it and no way to avoid it and a physical encounter is unavoidable, then one's chances are statistically improved by rushing toward the spinning blades as fast as possible.

Decoding the British ack-SEN-triks Movement

A Phonemological Analysis

by Harold P. Dowd
The consignment came by phone, without warming, under the cubbard of Knight: "Write something
inciteful, something refluxive, about the British ack-SEN-triks (sp?) movement," said a voice belong
ing to the polisher of a distinguished nonsense magazine, if I heard the mission correctly before my
telephone self-destructed in exactly 10 seconds. I was told that this movement, if I chose to write about it, roughly coin-sided with the "Tern of the Century." But the tip proved an unread herring, at best, as I knew nothing about that bird (the afermented tern), which must have been a standout in the Avian halls of omthidontistry, nor the century in which it made its fleeting appearance. Nor had I heard anything about the ill-legged ack-SEN-triks movement, British or otherwise, of any spelling or denomination. I was not, in truth, particularly well-traversed in this subject and was man enough to deny it to the hilt. My strategy was to do what any professional generalist - including well-known calumnists formerly on the parole of the Boston Globe - would have done in my place: I got proactive and procreative.
Eccentric Possibilities
There were, as best I could palpipate, only a hamful of possibilities. In the interests of thoroughbrededness, I decided to dissect them all- both one at a time and individually - to explode the various options until the correct interpretation became oblivious. Who were these forgotten men of science (not to be a sextant), and what remarkable contributions did they make to the evincement of knowledge and ineffectual marsh of progress?
It was not the science itself that stood out so much as the way it was resented, which made me think that my assignment could have reverted to the British "accentrics," since scientific instigators of British persuasion have always talked funny (to my untrammeled ear, at least), employing a strange accent - a stiltified manner of speech - best described as "British." I had occasion to meet one of these types, an English agronomist (actually farm-assist by trade) whose car broke down in Centerville and ended up in Barney's one night having a stiff one, while Walt and the gang gave his vehicle a stiff going over. With a name that sounded like "Cereal," he sure talked funny, just like on TV ("Fawlty Trousers"), going on for hours about clowned sheep and genitally-engineered soybeans. A nice guy, albeit lungwinded, but definitely accentric.
Speaking of TV, awhile back, perhaps on Late Night with David Lederhosen, I saw something that might have been called "Stupid Egg-Zen Tricks." I can't remember what happened, but I believe the extinguished guest (British Inlander perhaps?) sat on a dozen of middle-aged-America's farm-fresh finest while mediating/levitating - omitting occasional comments on the miracle of M. Byronic development - as the host's Lederhosen stood by respectfully, without cracking a single yoke.
Changeable Direction
There was also, if my infirm grasp of medical history bears up, the "ex-centrist movement" which, in the mist of the changeling currents of the Thimes or Thames, missed its doc appointment altogether, drifting either to the right or left, as the quays may be.
The British "Et Ceterists," an elite scientific debate society, capped off many an argument with the epigram ETC, standing for "Evident Thus Correct" or some such variegation. This group is, of course, a direct nonlinear precursor to Rush Limbo's lesion of "dittoheads" and the contemporaneous "parrotheads" of Buffett fame, who speak so longingly of "Magritteville" - also home to the factitious French detective composted by Simenon.
British Sex? Western Meat?
The British sex tantrics, to miss a metaphor or two, performed tricks using all manner of unnatural axe, combining the best of the Missionary and Hindish traditions. East meats West/West eats Meat, some say, though others wish they never had. I submit, from my va unted vantage point, that the less said about this sorted lot the better.
Leaving no stone interred, I trust we've finally deconstructed the mystery surrounding the barefoot, treeclimbing, simian-loving band of taxidermists (and other stuffed shirts) known to some - and loved by all who knew them - as the British ack-SEN- triks movement, a group whose money contributions to diverse areas of basic research have gained interest over the decades, accumulating an ultimate yield that could never have been predicted at the time.

Abolition of slavery in America

Notice where the "freedom-loving" country ranks compared to the others.  

A 12th-century rebus

It reads “Well fare, mi lady Cateryne”.  Details explained* in a post at Erik Kwakkel's always-interesting blog.
* the explication there says that "cater" was the term used for a die - but I think "cater" refers just to the 4-spot on a die ("the terms ace, deuce, trey, cater, cinque and sice have been made obsolete by one to six...") 
The full set of numbers for the six sides of a die are ace, deuce, trey, cater, cinque, sice. They are from Old French (cf un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six of modern French). Ace is originally from the Latin for 'unit'.

Mortuary Chapel Embedded with Human Skulls

In the small town of Wolhusen, Switzerland, a funeral home chapel sits as it has since the 17th century. Its walls are decorated with a wraparound mural depicting the Dance of Death, in which corpse-like death figures come to claim the living. What makes this particular mortuary chapel different is that, from the entryway to the murals, real human skulls are part of the decor.
Inside, the mural is comprised of a series of figures in the classic Dance of Death motif, showing people from all walks of life (kings, bishops, musicians, and peasants) being led away by dancing skeletal figures, each of which has a real human skull set in the plaster where its head should be. The skulls are even situated to match the angle of the skeletons' poses, with one set in the plaster face first to show the skeleton with its back turned to the viewer.
Take a mini-tour of the Wolhusen Totentanz in text and pictures at Atlas Obscura.

Shani Shingnapur

India's Village Without Doors
Believe it or not, there's a village in India where none of the 300-odd buildings - homes, educational institutions, and even banks - have doors. Cash is stored in unlocked containers, as are valuable pieces of gold jewellery.
Even most of the public toilets in Shani Shingnapur village square have no doors. Some villagers do put up loose door panels against their door frames, but this is done only at night, to keep out wild animals and stray dogs.

10 Most Terrifyingly Perched Clifftop Hotels On Earth

Is the idea of looking hundreds of feet down steep gorges, standing above the clouds or coming eye-to-eye with soaring birds enough to induce a state of vertigo in you? If so, it might be best to avoid these hotels when planning for that next vacation.

The most tired place on earth

Tires that have reached the end of their lifetime are usually recycled, but in Kuwait, they are dumped into one of the biggest landfills on earth in Sulaibiya area near Kuwait City. Every year gigantic holes are dug out in the desert and filled with old tyres. There are already seven million tires out there. The expanse of rubber is so vast that they are now visible from space. From Amusing Planet (ground-level photos at the link).

The Future Of Rare Earth Elements

A rare earth element is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium. This infographic has sections on what are rare earth elements, what do we use them for, what's the main problem and more.

Nature finds a way

From an assemblage of nine similar photos at Curiosit├ęs de Titam.

Who Would Win?

A Fire-Breathing Dragon Or An AH-64 Apache Helicopter
It's a battle of the beasts. The mythic dragon takes on a lethal AH-64 Apache helicopter. Will a laser-guided missile, chain gun, or warhead have any effect on this fire-breathing legend?

Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Tyrannosaurus Rex (Or How Sam Neill Lied To You)

Although we now know the Tyrannosaurus rex wasn't the biggest carnivorous beast to walk the Earth it remains dinosaur royalty. From battling King Kong to attempting to eat Jeff Goldblum, the T. rex is one of the go-to villains in popular culture.
The name Tyrannosaurus rex means 'tyrant lizard king.' Here are 10 fascinating facts about one of the most terrifying creatures ever to stalk the planet.

Mule Deer Migration

Nearly 5000 mule deer migrate 150 miles in western Wyoming. The journey from the desert to the mountains that these deer undertake is truly remarkable.

Animal Pictures