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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.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Daily Drift

Hey, wingnuts, yeah, we're talking to you ...!
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Today in History

1567   Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, is murdered his sick-bed in a house in Edinburgh when the house blows up.  
1799   The USS Constellation captures the French frigate Insurgente off the West Indies.  
1825   The House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. President.  
1861   Jefferson F. Davis is elected president of the Confederate States of America.  
1864   Union General George Armstrong Custer marries Elizabeth Bacon in their hometown of Monroe, Mich.  
1904   Japanese troops land near Seoul, Korea, after disabling two Russian cruisers.  
1909   France agrees to recognize German economic interests in Morocco in exchange for political supremacy.  
1916   Conscription begins in Great Britain as the Military Service Act becomes effective.
1922   The U.S. Congress establishes the World War Foreign Debt Commission.  
1942   Chiang Kai-shek meets with Sir Stafford Cripps, the British viceroy in India.  
1943   The Red Army takes back Kursk 15 months after it fell to the Germans.  
1946   Stalin announces the new five-year plan for the Soviet Union, calling for production boosts of 50 percent.  
1951   Actress Greta Garbo gets U.S. citizenship.  
1953   The French destroy six Viet Minh war factories hidden in the jungles of Vietnam.  
1964   The U.S. embassy in Moscow is stoned by Chinese and Vietnamese students.  
1978   Canada expels 11 Soviets in spying case.
1994  Nelson Mandela becomes the first black president of South Africa.

A Growing Number Of Democrats Say They Will Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech To Congress

The list of congressional Democrats who intend to boycott Netanyahu’s speech to Congress because of the way President Obama was treated is growing by the day.
clyburn_jamesA growing number of top Democrats plan to skip next month’s Capitol Hill speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Representatives James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, and Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), are just the latest lawmakers to indicate they won’t attend the March 3 address before a rare joint session of Congress.
The Democrats join other leading Capitol Hill liberals – including Representatives John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights hero, and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – in protesting the speech by vowing to steer clear of it.
Lee Zeldin (r-NY) predicted that jewish voters will vote repugican because of the Democratic boycott, but reality tells a different story. President Obama got 78% of the jewish vote in 2008 and 69% in 2012. In the awful Democratic year of 2014, Democrats still got 66% of the jewish vote. Since 1916, the highest percentage of jewish votes earned by a repugican pretender candidate was the 40% given to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
In short, if repugicans thought that they could use Netanyahu’s speech to make Democrats look anti-Israel and drive jewish voters to the repugican cabal, it is not going to work. The Democratic boycott has nothing to do with support for Israel. The issue is how the invitation was handled and the disrespect that has been shown to the President of the United States. The repugican attempt to make this a jewish issue is a cynical and pathetic grab for votes.
The Democratic boycott is growing. The only thing that repugicans have done successfully is turn their disrespect of this president into an international incident.

"Black people. That's what he thinks this was all about"

New David Axelrod book describes president's irritation at repugican cabal rival's 2012 concession call
Delivering his victory speech following his re-election in 2012, President Obama adhered to standard practice by offering warm words for his vanquished opponent. "I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign," the president told supporters in Chicago. "We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight."
But just before he uttered those amiable remarks, an startled Obama expressed annoyance at what he viewed as Romney's racially-tinged concession call, according to a new memoir by Obama strategist David Axelrod.
The president was "unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over," Axelrod writes in "Believer: My 40 Years in Politics," of which the New York Daily News obtained an advance copy.
"'You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee,' in other words, black people,'" Obama said, paraphrasing Romney's remarks in the call. "That's what he thinks this was all about."
Indeed, shortly after losing the election, Romney said in a call to donors that Obama secured a second term by offering "gifts" to such "targeted groups" as African American, Latino, and Millennial voters. Romney cited the Affordable Care Act, which he told the donors granted free health care "in perpetuity" to minority and low-income voters.

Bill Maher Shreds repugicans For Finally Admitting That Sarah Palin Is a Crazy Person

Bill Maher sarah palin crazy
Bill Maher took repugicans to the woodshed for finally admitting that Sarah Palin is a crazy person and proposed three other issues that repugicans ought to rethink and admit that they are wrong on.
Maher said:
Now that many repugicans have finally come forward to admit that OK, you were right Sarah Palin is a crazy person, they have to ask themselves what else might I have been completely wrong about all of these years.
To be fair, Democrats make huge mistakes too. Taking pictures of your dick comes to mind, but let’s face it, this isn’t a fifty-fifty thing. Democrats can be fuzzy thinkers, but repugicans will look you right in the eye and tell you two plus two equals jesus. But not anymore with Sarah Palin, the hacks who always defended her have officially had enough. It is as if the scales finally fell from their eyes and they were able to admit that the emperor has no clues. They called her speech incoherent, a farce, unseemly. Words that might have truly stung Sarah if she knew what they meant.
I only have one question for repugicans. What took you so long? The rest of us have been watching this dog eat grass for seven years. But now that you know you can do this, what about writing a column called you betcha I was wrong about climate change? Might feel good? Germany gets seventy-four percent of its electricity from renewables. They don’t live in the future. Turn left at Austria, they’re right there. Look ‘em up in a history book, they’re always up to something.
Or what about giving up on the idea of sending twelve million Mexicans back to Mexico? There aren’t enough trains. Ask Germany. And as long as long as we’re in a rethinking mood, you might, you know what might be a good one? Middle East invasions, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria now, Iran all of these places that you want to send heroic snipers. Turns out they don’t like it. They’re not that into being sniped, and what about that great granddaddy of zombie lies. Trickle down economics. Can’t we throw that one under the bus too. It’s never worked, and it never will.
The repugicans finally threw Sarah Palin under the bus because she humiliated them at one of their own gatherings. She went from being the annoying guest who threw up on herself to being the person who set the drapes on fire and caused everyone to flee the building.
The other positions that Maher wanted repugicans to rethink are parts of their ideology. The repugicans aren’t embarrassed by failed economic policies, and crackpot ideas to deport all undocumented immigrants. The repugicans steal elections back home based on climate change denial.
The modern repugican cabal isn’t guided by facts and intellect. The repugicans are driven by delusions and 'feelings'. The repugicans felt humiliated by Palin, so they disowned her. A cabal that is governed by delusions and 'feelings' isn’t going to be swayed by logic, facts, and science.
The repugicans may be distancing themselves from Sarah Palin, but they still behave just like her.

Random Photos

p4:Daniela Lopez Osorio

Misconceptions About Crime

Mental Floss host Elliot Morgan takes on the topic of crime in the latest episode of their "Misconceptions" series. Is violent crime on the rise? Is pleading insanity an effective defense? Is the prison population increasing? If so, why? How does the legalization of medical marijuana factor into the big picture? Mental Floss discusses these issues and more.

Fugitive Couple, 7 Kids Caught After Tourist IDs Them

A couple and their seven children are now in the custody of the FBI in Miami after they were spotted in the Bahamas and recognized as fugitives facing charges in a years-old wire-fraud case, federal authorities said.
The bizarre case, which started with alleged fraud involving hay in Colorado, led investigators to a sailboat that had run aground in Texas and, eventually, to a tip-off by a U.S. tourist in the Bahamas.
Donald and Karlien Winberg were charged last year with 15 counts, each relating to an alleged wire fraud scheme officials said they ran in Colorado that involved selling hay and corn that was not theirs to unload, authorities said.
They were indicted in April 2014 and entered a not guilty plea before violating their bond conditions in October by not reporting to probation and not reporting to the court for trial, their former attorney and federal authorities confirmed.
During the ensuing investigation, authorities said they traced them to a sailboat shipwreck in Galveston Bay, Texas. At some point after they stopped appearing in court in Colorado in October, they had purchased the sailboat in Texas, authorities say.
A federal official said that the couple ran the boat aground and "had to walk back to shore with their money" and their seven children. Because the ship was stuck on a remote sandbar, they were able to avoid the authorities who only later linked them to the ditched boat after it was found.
The Winbergs then bought another boat and made their way to the Bahamas, authorities say.
Authorities were only alerted to the fugitives this week after some Americans, whom the federal official would only identify as being from the southern United States, recognized the couple in connection to the wire fraud case and alerted Bahamian police, officials said.
The police asked for their identification and, when the couple refused to give them any, they were taken into custody where authorities were able to determine that they were wanted in Colorado, officials said.
Bahamain officials voluntarily deported the family back to the United States and they were taken into FBI custody as soon as they stepped off the plane in Miami Thursday, authorities said.
Donald Winberg, 43, and Karlien Winberg, 33, were both scheduled to appear at a hearing in Miami this morning and they are expected to be sent by the court to Colorado to face charges, though no timeline has been set, authorities said.
Authorities say social services in Florida has taken custody of the seven children, and their ages have not been released.

Woman's Bra Stops a Bullet

Ivete Medeiros of Belém, Brazil was shopping at a supermarket one day when she was accidentally shot by a criminal who was robbing another person. The bullet struck her in the chest, impacting along the underwire of her bra. Medeiros attributes her survival to God and her bra. The Guardian reports:
Her husband told the Globo channel, he feared his wife had been killed because she had been shot in the heart. She told reporters that all she felt was “a little burning sensation” thanks to divine intervention.
“It was not just the bra wiring, which softened [it] a little, but God who saved me,” she said, showing the small hold made in her blouse by the bullet.
The manufacturer of her bra now has a great marketing opportunity.

21 Unexpected Items Available From Vending Machines

Vending machines can be a great time saver when we're caught up in our busy lives and need a quick bite or a drink. Or a smoke. Or... as it turns out, the possibilities are becoming endless. Check out these 21 unusual items that are available for purchase in vending machines. Things you didn't know that you needed are suddenly accessible on the go. Now if someone would just invent an inner vending machine robot to remove the item stuck behind the metal coil dispenser, life would be a dream!

Bra vending machine, how cool is that

Random Celebrity Photos

Rita Hayworth c. 1957
Rita Hayworth c. 1957

Endless Amusement from 1847

Ah, the good old days, when one could round up some oil of vitriol, powdered glass, orpiment, mercury, saltpeter, fulminating silver, and sulphur out of the cupboards and have a grand old time! The book Endless Amusement: A Collection of Nearly 400 Entertaining Experiments is online in its entirety through Project Gutenburg. The table of contents has linked page numbers, so I zipped down to the section on detonating various things.

Procure some glass globes, between the size of a pea and a small marble, in which there must be a small hole; put into it half a grain of fulminating silver. Paste a piece of paper carefully over the ball to prevent the silver from escaping. When you wish to explode one put it on the ground, and tread hard upon it, and it will go off with a loud noise. These balls may be made productive of much amusement in company, by placing a chair lightly on them; for whoever sits down upon them will cause them to explode. These globes may be procured at the barometer-makers.
The company may be much amused, but the person having to clean up broken glass or pick it out of their skin and hair will most likely not see much mirth in the situation. I skipped over to the section on amusing experiments in electricity.
The Unconscious Incendiary.

Let a person stand upon a stool made of baked wood, or upon a cake of wax, and hold a chain which communicates with the branch. On turning the wheel he will become electrified; his whole body forming part of the prime conductor; and he will emit sparks whenever he is touched by a person standing on the floor.

If the electrified person put his finger, or a rod of iron, into a dish containing warm spirits of wine, it will be immediately in a blaze; and if there be a wick or thread in the spirit, that communicates with a train of gunpowder, he may be made to blow up a magazine, or set a city on fire, with a piece of cold iron, and at the same time be ignorant of the mischief he is doing.
Any volunteers? Not all the experiments are so ghastly. Making invisible ink couldn’t possibly cause injury.
Invisible Ink.

Put litharge of lead into very strong vinegar, and let it stand twenty-four hours. Strain it off, and let it remain till quite settled; then put the liquor in a bottle.

You next dissolve orpiment in quick lime water, by setting the water in the sun for two or three days, turning it five or six times a-day. Keep the bottle containing this liquor well corked, as the vapour is highly pernicious if received into the mouth.

Write what you wish with a pen dipped in the first liquor; and, to make it visible, expose it to the vapour of the second liquor. If you wish them to disappear again, draw a sponge or pencil, dipped in aqua fortis, or spirit of nitre, over the paper; and if you wish them to re-appear, let the paper be quite dry, and then pass the solution of orpiment over it.
Count me in -I’ll just run down to the pharmacy and ask for some aqua fortis and litharge of lead. There are plenty more dangerous experiments among the math puzzles and party tricks in this book from an unknown author and an unknown date, although the seventh edition was published in 1847.

Skull nearly sold as Gettysburg soldier's is 700 years old

Experts say a skull nearly auctioned off as that of a Civil War soldier killed at Gettysburg is actually more than 700 years old and from the Southwestern U.S.
The National Parks Service said Friday that forensic anthropologists determined the skull is from the late 1200s and belonged to a Native American man in his early-to-mid 20s.
A company that nearly auctioned the skull last year said notarized documents showed it was discovered on a Gettysburg farm.
Estate Auction Co. canceled the Hagerstown, Maryland, auction in June amid public outcry and donated the skull to the Parks Service.
Gettysburg National Military Park's Katie Lawhon says law enforcement is investigating circumstances of the confusion over the skull's origin.
The Parks Service says it's still deciding what to do with the remains.

Historical Photos

coolstuff54:William Harley and Arthur Davidson.
William Harley and Arthur Davidson.

8 Sick Remedies That Actually Work

The skeptic in me said that treating a cold with chicken soup is an old wive’s tale. But since I am an old wife and a mom, I also told myself it couldn’t hurt, probably warms the sick child up, and gives them liquid and nutrients. And don’t we all crave comfort food when we’re sick? But some old wives really knew what they were talking about. AsapSCIENCE looks at home remedies for colds and other illnesses that have been in use for a long time, and the fairly recent scientific research that explores their effectiveness. Another video tells us about the remedies that don’t work.

Mystery Microbes

The dizzying array of microbes found on NYC surfaces may inspire you to start wearing gloves when traveling in the Big Apple.

Measles Outbreak

We asked experts to explain how the vaccine works and why the outbreak is happening now.

Got a Craving for Sweet Treats?

Don't fall for the busted notion that only pregnant women have cravings. We all get them -- to varying degrees and for different foods. Find out which cues give the brain license to send us out for some ice cream.

Universal Language of Touch

Humans are born communicators -- if we have something to say, we usually say it. Just visit the Internet! But another tool in our language box flies a bit under the radar: the language of touch. Julia explains how we use it and why it works


Gravitational Waves

The BICEP2 gravitational wave announcement may have been premature, but the search has only just begun -- an interview with cosmologist Kendrick Smith.

Young Old Stars

The very first stars in the universe need to reset their birthday clocks.

Pluto Approach

After more than nine years traveling through the solar system, New Horizons is now approaching its ultimate target: Pluto.

Craters Pop

New features on Ceres' icy surface are popping into view as NASA's Dawn spacecraft slowly spirals in on its final celestial target in the asteroid belt.

Triple-Moon Jupiter Transit

The space telescope has captured the moments when three of the Galilean satellites crossed the face of Jupiter.

Spying On Curiosity's Workplace

Like a coworker looking over her shoulder in the office, Curiosity has a Martian colleague checking up on her progress from high above.

When Animals Attack


This looks like a fuckin pokemon battle.

Explaining This Octopus' Amazing Camouflage Skills

Jonathan Gordon said he had no idea this octopus was there when he scanned his camera along the ocean floor while diving in the Caribbean. He was actually focusing on a shell when the octopus emerged. How does an octopus hide so well? Yes, they change color to match their surroundings, but since octopuses are colorblind, how does that happen?
Mental_floss talked to Ernie Sawyer of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for an overview of what we know about the octopus and its amazing camouflage skills.

Don’t Kill Bedbugs with Fire

Three adults and three children are now homeless after their house burned down in Columbus, Ohio. The homeowner’s son started blaze when the family was attempting to kill bedbugs on a couch. "We sprayed the couch earlier but, uh, some alcohol you buy from the drug store which kills them on contact, and he was chasing one down with a lighter and the couch catch fire," said Fred Horne, fire victim. That caused the couch to go up in flames. They quickly tried to get the couch out of the house, but it got stuck in the doorway and caught the entire home on fire.
The family escaped through the back door. See a news video at WBNS 10TV. 

Animal Pictures