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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston.
Maryland ratifies the Articles of Confederation. She is the last state to sign.
The Directory of Great Britain authorizes vessels of war to board and seize neutral vessels, particularly if the ships are American.
To put an end to robberies by the Barbary pirates, the United States declares war on Algiers.
Texas declares independence from Mexico on Sam Houston's 43rd birthday.
The Territory of Washington is organized.
President Abraham Lincoln rejects Confederate General Robert E. Lee's plea for peace talks, demanding unconditional surrender.
The first Reconstruction Act is passed by Congress.
Rutherford B. Hayes is declared president by one vote the day before the inauguration.
Congress passes the Indian Appropriations Bill, proclaiming unassigned lands in the public domain; the first step toward the famous Oklahoma Land Rush.
Bone Mizell, the famed cowboy of Florida, is sentenced to two years of hard labor in the state pen for cattle rustling. He would only serve a small portion of the sentence.
Congress passes the Platt amendment, which limits Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.
An international conference on arms reduction opens in London.
Gabriel Lippman introduces the new three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.
Congress passes the Jones Act making Puerto Rico a territory of the United States and makes the inhabitants U.S. citizens.
In Italy, Mussolini admits that women have a right to vote, but declares that the time is not right.
Novelist D.H. Lawrence dies of tuberculosis in a sanitarium in Vence, France, at the age of 45.
The center of Berlin is bombed by the RAF. Some 900 tons of bombs are dropped in a half hour.
MacArthur raises the U.S. flag on Corregidor in the Philippines.
Ho Chi Minh is elected president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The U.S. Navy launches the K-1, the first modern submarine designed to hunt enemy submarines.
Claudette Colvin refuses to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks' famous arrest for the same offense.
France grants independence to Morocco.
More than 150 U.S. and South Vietnamese planes bomb two bases in North Vietnam in the first of the "Rolling Thunder" raids.
The siege of Khe Sanh ends in Vietnam, the U.S. Marines stationed there are still in control of the mountain top.
Federal forces surround Wounded Knee, South Dakota, which is occupied by members of the militant American Indian Movement who are holding at least 10 hostages.
A grand jury in Washington, D.C. concludes that President Nixon was indeed involved in the Watergate cover-up.
Czech pilot Vladimir Remek becomes the first non-Russian, non-American in space.
The United States plans to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to El Salvador.

Fleeing War, a Syrian Family Makes a New Home in North Carolina

A family of seven, driven from their country by violence, is building a new life in Greensboro with help from the U.S. government, resettlement workers, and volunteers.
Picture of a family of Syrian refugees outside their home in Greensboro, North Carolina
The Al Haj Kasem family, which fled the violence in Syria three years ago, is building a new life in the United States. Hussein and his wife, Aysha, stand outside their rented bungalow in Greensboro, North Carolina, with four of their five children (left to right): Ahmed, Fatima, Zahra, and Albatoul. The baby, Mohammad, was napping when this portrait was taken.
The Al Haj Kasem family gathers for breakfast just after six in the morning. There are cereal, jam, yogurt, pita bread, olive oil, and a blend of herbs called za'atar.

Republican Congressman: ‘Sometimes I believe Republicans live in an unreal world’

by Egberto Willies 
Peter King slams Republicans about funding Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security fiasco continues as Republicans continue to play games with the security of the American people. According to the Huffington Post,
The upper chamber voted 98-2 on a procedural hurdle that would pave the way for a “clean” funding bill to be brought to the floor, following a deal announced by Senate Democratic leaders earlier in the day. Only Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voted against moving forward with the agreement, which would fund DHS without any measures to block President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration.
If the Senate passes the bill it will be up to Speaker John Boehner to decide if he will allow a vote on a clean bill disassociated from the President’s executive action on immigration. In the press conference above Minority Leader made it clear that he will not allow anything but a clean bill to get through the Senate. He said he has heard many rumors that the House will return the fully funded DHS bill and send it back with many riders.
“It is a waste of time,” said Senator Harry Reid. “We will not allow a conference to take place. It won’t happen.”
Speaker John Boehner in the interview above continued to push for connecting the President’s Immigration Executive order to DHS funding. He claimed that Republicans were united on the issue. Really? Congressman Peter King (R-NY) did not concur.
“It is absolute insanity for Republicans if we don’t vote on the clean bill,” Congressman Peter King said. “If the Senate send’s us a clean bill, we have an absolute obligation not just a political obligation but a moral obligation to vote on that. To be defunding the Department of Homeland Security at a time when the terror threats are greater now than at anytime since 9/11. To me it’s just living in, it’s a fantasy world, a delusional world. … Sometimes I think that the Republicans are living in an unreal world.”
Sensible Republicans need to speak up. They have been quiet for too long as their party has been taken over by radical extremist ideologues.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Wants To Eliminate Reporting Requirements For Campus Rapes

Walker has proposed a budget which says that campus rape isn't such a big deal that a witness should be required to report it. …
Scott Walker ABC This Week
Tucked away in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget, is a clause that has nothing to do with campus funding. Yes, the proposed budget cuts 30 million dollars from the public university system. But beyond the Governor’s war on education, he is also intensifying the war on women, by proposing the elimination of rape reporting requirements on campus.
Governor: Delete the requirement that the Board direct each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form. Delete the requirement that the Board of Regents submit an annual report to the legislature regarding the methods used to comply with the above requirement.
Delete the requirement that any person employed at an institution who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receives a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted report the assault to the dean of students.
Delete the requirement that each institution report annually to the Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics on sexual assaults and on sexual assaults committed by acquaintances of the victims that occurred on the campus of that institution in the previous years, and that DOJ include those statistics in appropriate crime reports.
This measure would eliminate the requirement that universities must report the number of sexual assault that occurred on campus to the Department of Justice (DOJ), during the reporting year. That alone is controversial. However, the more shocking change is that Walker’s proposal would also end the requirement that university employees who witness a sexual assault on campus, must report it to the Dean of Students. Walker apparently thinks its okay for university employees to remain silent about sexual assaults on campus.
Over the last couple of election cycles the Republican Party has battled the perception that they are waging a “War on Women”. Whether the issue is equal pay for equal work, reproductive choice, domestic violence, or insensitivity towards rape victims, the GOP has struggled to shed the image that they are anti-woman.
Scott Walker however appears to be waging the war anew. Apparently he relishes wielding power to oppress the people of Wisconsin as some kind of stepping stone to the White House. Perhaps his reasoning is if he cripples enough unions, and ignores enough rapes, maybe he will win the undying loyalty of the meanest primary voters in the GOP. If he can prove his misogynistic mettle with enough fervor, maybe it will inspire those Republicans who can’t stand Hillary Clinton to line up in his camp.
Who knows what Walker is actually thinking, with this ill-conceived proposal. What is clear however, is that one of the leading Republican candidates for President, has proposed a budget which says that campus rape isn’t such a big deal that a witness should actually have to report it to the Dean of Students.

What This School Did To A Child Who Was Late Is Unacceptable

by S. Longfellow
Children are tardy sometimes for school. It happens, and sometimes it’s completely out of their control.
When Laura Hoover of Oregon found out what her grandson’s school was doing to him as a form of punishment for being just slightly tardy, she was livid and took her frustration out on Facebook with a post that has now gone viral.
Hoover said:
“This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader. His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple minutes late to school. Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of this baby’s control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students! The principal is responsible for this. His mom found him there, crying, and took him home for the day. Anyone want to help me flood this lady principal with calls telling her how inappropriate this is?”
She also posted the phone number. See below:
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook
This public shaming is ridiculous and not an effective consequence whatsoever. Secluding a child in front of his peers only makes him a target of ridicule, and does not provide what the child may need to get to school on time.
Did the school even think to contact this young boy’s parents and let them know his tardiness was becoming an issue? Did they seek to find a solution that could bring that child to school sooner? Did they maybe think that after the first FIVE times trying this technique that maybe, perhaps, his tardiness was completely out of his control, and slapping a horrendous public shaming punishment on top of a consequence of actions is ineffective until you get to the root of the problem. These people call themselves educators? I think not.
I truly hope this grandmother gets to the bottom of this fiasco and her grandson can return to school without the fear of being publicly humiliated.

Man gets life in prison for selling $20 worth of weed to undercover cop

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast.A homeless and hungry man agreed to purchase $20 worth of weed for a stranger in exchange for a $5 finder's fee. After the man received his $5 (marked by the police) he was arrested and jailed.
"Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole."
Fate Vincent Winslow is black. His story takes place in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Winslow’s story, preserved in court documents, transcripts, and witness testimony, never made headlines in Louisiana. If it weren’t for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the story may have all but disappeared. But in 2012, while launching an investigation into life sentences for nonviolent offenders, they selected the then 45-year-old as one of 650 inmates to investigate.
On four 8½ x 11 inch pages lined with questions, Winslow scribbled down his story. “Why did you get involved in this crime?” one survey question reads. “To get $5 dollars to get something to eat,” he writes. Amid an appeal for money to find a new lawyer, mentions of suicidal thoughts, and confessions of alcohol addiction, Winslow flips the script. In bold black letters, written at the law library of the notoriously horrific Angola prison, he poses a question of his own:
“[They] let [Perdue] go and I got life: Please explain.”

Genius Invents the Ultimate Computer Workstation

Who is this kid? I don't know. But he has earned the respect of all humanity for devising the perfect way to use a touchscreen interface. It's the opposite of a treadmill desk. There's no more needless, wasteful expenditure of energy by remaining upright, or holding up your hands. Just like there, flat on your back, as nature intended.

Maps of Cities as They Could Appear if Sea Levels Rose Significantly

Jeffrey Linn, a designer and urban planner, made a series of maps illustrating how cities might appear if sea levels rose dramatically. The maps are also filled with tongue-in-cheek name changes for the waterlogged areas, such as "Central Shark," "Middrown" and "Flushwick" instead of Central Park, Midtown and Bushwick.
See the rest of the series, which includes Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, London and other cities here. The artwork can be purchased in poster form, and can be ordered with and without the place names. Follow the artist on social media via Twitter.

Catwoman is bisexual

In the new issue of the comic, Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) kisses a woman. Her bisexuality is now canon. Writer Genevieve Valentine posted about the (non)revelation:
catwoman39header She’s flirted around it – often quite literally – for years now; for me, this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation. And as Mark Doyle and I were first hashing out the relationships in this arc, Eiko (Hasigawa, who has recently taken on the Catwoman persona) seemed like the right person: intelligent, driven, in that uncanny valley of Almost Catwoman, and knows enough about Selina that their honesty has become something of a shelter in a situation that’s getting increasingly dishonest for everybody involved. The more we talked about it, the more it was something I wanted to make happen.
Was it a surprise for them? In terms of their sexualities, not particularly; certainly it’s no surprise to Selina that she has an attraction to a woman.

Street sign: "Heads up! Cross the street, then update Facebook"

920x920sss The City of Hayward, California posted a new series of snarky signs, including this one. (Laughing Squid)

In a hole ...

The sinkhole suddenly opened up at their feet on a paved sidewalk in Seoul. Fortunately they were not seriously hurt.

Culinary DeLites

The Only 3 Cooking Oils You Need
You could stock your kitchen with bottles of sesame, safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil. But the truth is you really only need three to cover your bases.
The Only 3 Cooking Oils You Need
Every kitchen needs oil—oil for pan-frying, oil for salad dressings, oil for dipping crusty bread into. But does every kitchen need a bottle each of safflower, sunflower, peanut, sesame, olive, grapeseed and vegetable oil? No. When it comes down to it, there are only three oils every kitchen absolutely needs. Epicurious food editor Rhoda Boone walks us through them.  
AN OLIVE OIL FOR COOKING "Using olive oil is a great way to add subtle flavor to whatever you are cooking," Rhoda says. California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin is a great extra virgin olive oil that won’t break the bank, so you can use it for sautéing vegetables, roasting meat, and baking cakes.
A VEGETABLE OIL FOR FRYING Every kitchen needs an oil with high smoke point. (The smoke point is the point at which an oil, when heated, starts to smoke and break down. This not only imparts a bad taste, it’s thought to be unhealthy to consume. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of roughly 325-375°F, which is a bit too low for high-temperature cooking—you need something that has a smoke point closer the temperature you fry at, which is about 400°F.) A basic canola oil like Wesson or Crisco is a solid, inexpensive option. But if you’re willing to splurge, Rhoda recommends trying grapeseed oil (she likes Spectrum Naturals brand), which has a slightly higher smoke point and a cleaner flavor than canola. “It really outshines other oils because not only is it able to withstand high heat while maintaining a neutral taste, the oil’s clean, light flavor also makes it ideal for cold applications like salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces. This flexibility helps to justify the higher price point.” 
Yup, back to olive oil. When reaching for an olive oil to dress salads, dunk good bread in, and drizzle over soup, go for one that packs more serious punch. “The cool thing about olive oils is that their characteristics vary from region to region (like wine), so they all taste a little different. Some are grassy, some are buttery, and some have spicy notes, and they all have a pleasantly lush mouth-feel.” The higher quality the olive oil, the more these characteristics come through. “Splurge a little more here: you won’t need to use much of it to impart richness, but the flavor will really shine through,” says Rhoda. California Olive Ranch Limited Reserve is a great choice, as is Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin

Soda and Health

Everybody knows soda isn't exactly at the tip-top of a healthy diet, and now a new study finds a particular ingredient in the fizzy drinks has generated evidence of tumors in mice! Is it safe to have our pop?

'What Color Is This Dress?

Do you see blue or gold? Find out why...

Surgery and Anesthesia

The earliest known filmed surgery and use of anesthesia isn't for the faint of heart.

Heads Up!

A human head transplant is within our reach, claims a doctor who's looking to form a team to try it.

Bigger Humans?

Some of us are tall, some of us short, some just average height. Clearly, save the occasional exception, our species seems to have hit a height, er, ceiling? What keeps us from being fee-fi-fo-fumming giants?

'Big Brain'

A single gene may have paved the way for the rise of human intelligence by dramatically increasing the number of brain cells found in a key brain region.

Mind Blowing… These Unbelievable Facts Will DESTROY Your Understanding Of Time

Time has always perplexed the human race. We’ve tried to define it, track it, and measure it since the emergence of civilization. However, facts like these listed here show us how distorted our perception of time can be and how much we still need to learn about the fourth dimension.  
16. Harvard University was founded before calculus was derived.
Harvard is the oldest higher education institution in the US, founded in 1636.  Calculus wasn’t derived until later in the 17th century, with the work of Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton.

Hidden in a Coin Hoard

Gold torque within Celtic coin hoard
Archaeologists separating the contents of the largest known Celtic coin hoard have uncovered a number of gold items mixed in with the coins. The hoard, which was found on Jersey in the British Channel Islands, consists of 70,000 coins estimated to weigh a half ton in all. The researchers have so far removed a shoebox-sized portion of the hoard, revealing one complete gold torque and parts of six others.
The hoard is thought to date to around 50 B.C., when the Romans, led by Julius Caesar, were advancing north through France conquering Celtic tribes as they went. “We think they were trying to get their wealth out of the way,” says Neil Mahrer, a museum conservator with Jersey Heritage, “presumably with the idea of coming back for it later.”

Roman Tombstone

A well-preserved Roman tombstone has been unearthed in a parking lot in western England.

Galactic Dead Zone

Astronomers have detected a black hole embedded in the spiral arm of a galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth — but this isn’t any old black hole, it belongs to an extremely elusive class that may be the ‘missing link’ in black hole evolution.

Oldest Trees on Earth

Photographer Beth Moon spent 14 years shooting to create this photo collection of ancient trees.

A History of Pollution

Geologists led by Aubrey L. Hillman of the University of Pittsburgh used sediment cores from Erhai Lake to examine levels of heavy metal pollution in southwestern China over the past 4,500 years. According to a report in Science, they found a rise in copper contaminants at the start of China’s Bronze Age, but those levels remained stable until the Mongols conquered China in the late thirteenth century A.D. The sediment cores show that heavy metal pollution during the reign of Kublai Khan and the Mongols, who mined and processed silver for coins, jewelry, art, and taxes, was three to four times higher than modern industrialized mining. To read about a similar study, see "Colonial-Era Air Quality Recorded in Andean Ice."

Greenhouse Effect

The climate-changing greenhouse effect exists and has been directly measured in the United States. 

A First ...

February is the first month of 2015 with an average carbon dioxide level above 400 ppm. 

The Saharah and The Amazon

New satellite data shows how Sahara dust in the wind makes it to the Amazon, ensuring its survival. 

European bison became a fugitive species before eventual extinction

Image: Royal Natural History Volume 2 - Public DomainIn prehistoric times bison preferred to inhabit open spaces, not only forests. This is the conclusion that Polish and German scientists have come to after testing the oldest European bison (Bison bonasus) bones.
Their discovery, published in the journal PLOS ONE (open access), is important for the conservation and management of modern populations of the species, previously restored in forest environments.
The analysis of the isotopic composition of the bones showed that bison preferred open areas, and their diet was mixed, containing grassy vegetation, stems of trees and shrubs, as well as lichens – determined the researchers led by Dr. Rafał Kowalczyk from the Mammal Research Institute PAS in Białowieża and Prof. Herve Bocherens from the University of Tübingen.
Wild population restored
The European bison is the largest land mammal in Europe. After extinction in the wild in the early twentieth century, its wild populations have been restored from specimens preserved in closed herds. The world population of the species in the wild state is currently 3 thousand animals, distributed in more than thirty forest areas of Central and Eastern Europe.
There are signs, however, that the forest environment is not optimal for bison, because during winter it does not provide enough food for the large herbivores. Therefore, to survive in times of harsh and snowy winter, bison needs feeding by humans. In the absence or under-feeding, the animals migrate to the open areas, where they cause severe damage to agricultural crops. Open environment – meadows, river valleys – provide large amounts of food throughout the year, and therefore can assure the bison survival without intensive human care” – noted director of the Mammal Research Institute PAS, Prof. Kowalczyk.
Environment change
However, most of the species conservation programs assume that the bison is adapted to living in forest environments, unlike it’s cousin – American bison and extinct thousands of years ago steppe bison (Bison priscus) – closely associated with grassland. “The question is whether in the past, forests were the environment preferred by bison, or rather the environment in which the bison were forced to live, because their optimal habitat disappeared or had been occupied by man with the development of agriculture?” – noted Prof. Kowalczyk.
To answer this question, researchers from the Mammal Research Institute PAS and the University of Tübingen studied the pattern of environment usage and diet based on Early Holocene bison bones found in northern Germany, Denmark and southern Sweden.
Bone age was determined at 10-12 thousand years. During that time, after the retreat of the glacier, climate warmed and woody species gradually replaced glacial, grass-shrub tundra and steppe-tundra.
To find out which environment bison used at the time and which groups of plants were their food, the researchers measured the content of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in their bones. The isotopic composition of carbon allows to distinguish between animals foraging in the forest and those that graze in the open air, and nitrogen isotope content allows to determine the type of food consumed by the herbivore, because its amount is different in the grass than in the leaves of trees and shrubs, herbaceous plants and lichens.
The authors later compared the results of these studies with the composition of isotopes in the bones of other large herbivores: herbivorous aurochs and elk (that specialized in gnawing shoots), living in the same area during the same period. “As it turned out, at the beginning of the Holocene bison lived in open environments, feeding on stems of trees and shrubs, as well as grassy food. Their diet also included lichens, as in contemporary reindeer, closely associated with tundra environment. Bison, being a species with less specialized diet, could cope in difficult winter conditions and avoid direct food and habitat competition with specialized elk and aurochs” – noted Prof. Kowalczyk.
A fugitive species
Open living environment of the early Holocene bison indicate that the species was not originally adapted to live in dense forests and preferred open and mixed environment. Along with the progressive loss of open environments (as a result of global warming, forest expansion and human occupation), bison retreated to the forest and became a fugitive species. Density and survival of bison in the forests were probably lower than in open areas. This led to a gradual fragmentation of its distribution and extinction of species in Europe.
The study results are very important in the context of the conservation strategy and population management of an endangered species – the researchers emphasized. In their opinion, we should stop seeing bison as a typically forest species. “The environment, which can ensure the survival of the bison and reduce its dependence on man is a mosaic of forest and open areas. These areas should be selected as places to create new wild bison populations” – emphasized Prof. Kowalczyk.

Animal Pictures