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

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

The 12th recorded passage of Halley's Comet occurs.
Hernando Cortez lands in what will become Mexico.
A statute is passed limiting the sale of slaves in the colony of Virginia.
Congress orders its European envoys to appeal to high-ranking foreign officers to send troops to reinforce the American army.
Astronomer William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus, which he names 'Georgium Sidus,' in honor of King George III.
Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.
Jefferson Davis signs a bill authorizing slaves to be used as soldiers for the Confederacy.
The U.S. Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
Czar Alexander II is assassinated when a bomb is thrown at him near his palace.
The Germans repel a British Expeditionary Force attack at the battle of Neuve Chapelle in France.
Women are scheduled to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York due to a shortage of men.
A three-thousand-year-old archive is found in Jerusalem confirming biblical history.
Finland capitulates conditionally to Soviet terms, but maintains its independence.
Hitler issues an edict calling for an invasion of the Soviet Union.
Julia Flikke of the Nurse Corps becomes the first woman colonel in the U.S. Army.
Japanese forces end their attack on the American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville.
Israel demands $1.5 billion in German reparations for the cost of caring for war refugees.
The FBI arrests Jimmy Hoffa on bribery charges.
China invites Soviet Premiere Nikita Khrushchev to visit Beijing.
Cambodia orders Hanoi and Viet Cong troops to get out.
The U.S. Senate votes 54-33 to restore the death penalty.
Arab nations decide to end the oil embargo on the United States.
The United States plans to send 15 Green Berets to El Salvador as military advisors.
Upon the death of Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the new leader of the Soviet Union.
Exxon pays $1 billion in fines and costs for the clean-up of the Alaskan oil spill.

Politician Forced to Confirm That He Is Not a Hologram

David Seymour is a member of the New Zealand Parliament who represents the Epsom constituency. He insists that he is a completely biological life form, not a holographic projection.
This became an issue because a citizen, known only as Zoe, submitted a request under the Official Information Act with the office of John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Zoe wanted the Queen's own Prime Minister to confirm that the  MP from Epsom is not a hologram. Stuff reports:
Seymour says Key's staff contacted him on Tuesday afternoon about the request. "You'd think if you were going to create a person from scratch, you would've done a bit better."
Seymour offers to let anyone see him to personally confirm his physical existence. They may also touch him for $5 a person.
Unfortunately, we live in an age in which such narrow-mindedness is catered to. Is photonic life not real? Can we not let Photons Be Free?

Foreigners Joining ISIL

Recent reports have estimated that more than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIL's reign of terror in the Middle East. Who are these people, where do they come from, and why are they joining an evil fighting force?

Rightscorp loses big on extortion racket

Rightcorp, the notorious, publicly traded copyright trolls, have warned investors that they're losing money despite a successful claim of mass extortion against alleged copyright infringers.
The company's business model is to do cursory research to determine who might be infringing copyrights it represents, then send those users overblown (and, in Canada, fraudulent) legal threats demanding small-money payments to go away. The company made $931,000 in $20 "settlements" in 2014, but lost $3.4 overall.
The company's major risk is that more users will sue it over its illegal tactics. These lawsuits come straight out of the company's bottom line and cost it millions in legal expenses and damages.
“The Company has not yet established an ongoing source of revenues sufficient to cover its operating costs and to allow it to continue as a going concern,” the filing reads.
“The ability of the Company to continue as a going concern is dependent on the Company obtaining adequate capital to fund operating losses until it establishes a revenue stream and becomes profitable. If the Company is unable to obtain adequate capital it could be forced to cease operations. Accordingly, these factors raise substantial doubt as to the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
While the company’s accounts give cause for concern, the precarious situation is only amplified when one examines Rightscorp’s over-exposure to a limited number of copyright-holder clients. In 2014 a total of 76% of Rightscorp sales came from one client, BMG Rights Management. The company’s contract with Warner Bros. accounted for a further 13% of sales.
If the former pulled the plug (and after a one year contract BMG only needs to give 30 days notice to do so) it could be game over for Rightscorp.

Indonesian Clothing Company Prints Interesting Washing Instructions

Sunday was International Women's Day, yet one company in Indonesia found itself in hot water with plenty of them that day for the sportswear label shown above. Salvo Sports Apparel got a negative response to the washing instructions on the label for a men's sportswear item, which suggested that the men hand their dirty items over to women instead of bothering themselves with silly details like laundering care instructions.
Visit this article to see how Salvo handled the multiple responses to angry consumers.

When Rock 'n' Roll Loomed Large Over the Sunset Strip

Rock ’n’ roll billboards flourished on the Sunset Strip from the late 1960s to the early ‘80s. Music videos weren’t yet a thing, and a hand-painted billboard, paid for by the record company, was a sign that a band had really made the big time. Photographer Robert Landau spent those years snapping pictures of the billboards in Los Angeles that advertised rock groups. It wasn’t all that he did, but those billboard images are still here while the billboards are gone. Landau published a book of them in 2012, and now his images are the subject of an exhibit opening March 24 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Collectors Weekly talked to Laundau about how he started photographing the ads as a teenager, and some of the strange experiences he’s had with them.   
There’s a great story about that Beatles billboard. When “Abbey Road” came out in 1969, there were all these rumors going around that Paul McCartney was dead. People were playing their records backward, looking for clues, and even claimed that the image on the cover of “Abbey Road” was like a funeral procession. Realizing this helped sell records, the Beatles didn’t do anything to squelch the rumors. They just let it fly. At some point, while that billboard was up on Sunset, a couple of kids got up there with a saw and cut Paul’s head off the billboard.
At the time, Foster and Kleiser called Capitol Records, and their art director was a guy named Roland Young. Young went out to look at it and he said, “You know what, just leave it like that, it’s going to get more attention.” And in fact, it did. There were pictures in the papers all over the world. Nobody was too upset that the head went missing.
When my book came out, I posted on my Facebook page, “I’ll give a free copy of the book to anyone who could tell me what happened to Paul’s head.” The next day, I get a call from a guy named Robert Quinn, who is in his 60s now, and on his 16th birthday, he had climbed up there and cut the head off. He still has it hanging in his living room somewhere in the San Fernando Valley. I went out and took a picture of him holding Paul’s head. Thanks to him, a little piece of rock ’n’ roll history got preserved because the rest of the billboard is long gone.
Laundau has more stories about the bygone days of rock ’n’ roll billboards in the interview at Collectors Weekly.

Random Celebrity Photos

Saturday with the StarsSusan Hayward
Susan Hayward

Driver-less runaway snowmobile traveled 12 kilometres down Trans-Canada Highway

Police say it’s quite fortunate no one was hurt by a runaway snowmobile on the Trans-Canada Highway on Monday afternoon. The purple Arctic Cat Puma was sent hurtling down the highway all on its own after the throttle got stuck and its operator lost control as he attempted to cross the highway near St. Jude’s just west of Deer Lake.

Bus driver's GPS error took ski tour on 800 mile detour to wrong La Plagne

A group of Belgian tourists were sent on a detour of close to 800 miles (1,200km) after a GPS navigation error by their bus driver. They were meant to arrive at the French alpine resort of La Plagne for a skiing holiday. Instead, they ended up hundreds of miles away, close to France's border with Spain.
The aspiring skiers eventually arrived in the Alps a day later. "There are three entries for La Plagne in France, and I selected the wrong one," the driver said. Rather than head to the Alps, the bus driver drove from Leuven, in central Belgium, to the village of La Plagne, in the south-west of France.
The smaller, snow-free, La Plagne is near Spain, some 400 miles (600km) south-west of the ski resort. One passenger, Sven Ceuppens said: "We had a hard time convincing the driver he was going to Spain and had a few laughs. It was a sleeper bus, so when I woke up at first light, all I saw were vineyards. Nice, but very uncommon if you want to ski.
"Immediately we knew something was wrong, but it took a map of France to convince the driver to distrust the GPS." The bus driver then turned back at Toulouse, and the group reached the correct La Plagne 24 hours late. Many of the tourists said they had enjoyed the unexpected diversion.

Residents who moved cars from driveways at council's request then fined for parking on street

Residents of Chinbrook Road in Grove Park, south east London, are furious after Lewisham Council staff asked them to move their cars for tree maintenance - before promptly slapping them with £110 parking fines. The residents had been told to move their vehicles from private driveways to allow trees on the street to be pruned. Within one hour of moving their cars, they were given £110 parking tickets.
Kayleigh Nicholls, 26, said: "We parked round the corner as this is the only available road. Within the hour we had all received parking tickets. I have an eight-week-old baby which I had to put in the car to move it and when I found the five free spaces were full I did not deem it appropriate to drive at least half a mile from my home to find alternative parking when I was parking my car to help works on the main road take place."
Miss Nicholls was issued with two parking tickets for also moving her mother's car. She has appealed to the council, stating her car was only moved at the request of the council but this has been rejected. "I'm being penalized for doing a good deed and helping the council", she said. "I don't even blame the parking attendant for issuing the ticket but I am shocked after explaining the situation the council do not believe this to be a valid excuse and still believe we need to pay the fine.
"I did consider paying it as I was getting really stressed and worried about the implications of appealing. Having spoken to friends and family they are all equally shocked so out of principal I will continue to argue my case." A Lewisham Council spokeswoman said: "Even during maintenance works, it remains the responsibility of car owners not to park their cars in areas that are restricted. If anyone contravenes these rules they will be liable for a penalty notice."

Man jailed after driving around with victim on car hood while clinging onto windshield wipers

A man had to cling to windscreen wipers as he was carried on a car's hood for up to a mile on a dual carriageway. Surrey Police has released footage after driver Grzegorz Musial, of south London, was jailed over the incident.
The victim's ordeal began when uninsured Musial clipped his wing mirror in a car park in Camberley. After saying he would call police, the victim was hit by Musial, who then drove off with him on the bonnet. The footage, captured from the dashboard of a lorry, shows the victim hanging on as the car was driven along the A331.
Officers said the man was finally thrown on to the road and suffered serious ankle injuries, a broken nose and numerous cuts and bruises, last October. Musial, of New Malden, drove off but later called police to report he feared he had hurt someone, the force said.

He admitted causing GBH, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and failing to stop at the scene of an accident, at Guildford Crown Court. He was jailed last week for 14 months and banned from driving for 18 months. Det Sgt Yahya Aslam said it was a "terrifying ordeal for the victim who ended up literally clinging on for his life".

Real-life pirate with live parrot on shoulder pulled knife on guard on set of Pirates of the Caribbean

A man dressed as a pirate has threatened a security guard with a knife on the set of the Pirates of the Caribbean film, which is being shot on the Gold Coast in Australia. A member of the public raised the alarm at about 12:30pm on Tuesday.
Police officers were told a man dressed like a pirate with a live parrot on his shoulder threatened a guard on the Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie set at Arundel. No-one was injured and the man ran into nearby bushland.
The dog squad and police officers searched the local area for the man. "Police are looking at CCTV footage to determine the identity of the man," a Queensland Police Service media release said. One man who claimed to be the film's location manager said he did not want to comment on the matter.

"It's in the hands of the professionals. We can leave it to them," he said. An Arundel local said the situation was not too unbelievable given the high number of people he had been seen attempting to take photos of the set. "I expect lots of people try to get in," he said. Another local said it was a "desperate and dumb" move.

Windermere Cay apartments in Florida are so awful they will fine residents $10,000 for negative reviews

Windermere Cay apartments in Winter Garden, Florida makes its residents sign a "Social Media Addendum" agreement that stipulates a $10,000 fine for "publishing or airing negative commentary" about Windermere Cay.
The agreement also stipulates that residents must transfer copyrights of written or photographic works about the Windermere Cay to the owner so the "owner will have the right to notify the website to take down any such online posting pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
Ars Technica:
Not only is such a contract unenforceable, but it could expose anyone promulgating it to legal repercussions, Santa Clara University Law Professor Eric Goldman explained.
"It would be a terrible idea to enforce this in court. A judge is going to shred it," Goldman said in an interview. "If a person posts an Instragram photo of them having a party in their apartment, the landlord is saying they own that as well. The overreach reinforces that this clause is bad news, and it may be actionable just to ask."

This 5-Story Apartment Building Is a Huge Urban Treehouse

There are 150 trees built into and around this building!
It's as close as you can come to living in an Ewok village in the middle of a city. Luciano Pia designed 25 Verde, an apartment building in Turin, Italy. It's designed so that the difference between inside and outside is blurred. There are 63 units in the 5-storey structure. The 150 trees provide shade and, the designer claims, help clean the air. You can see more photos of it at Colossal.

The Glory of Gardens

Winter starts off exciting, with plenty of holidays, but it ends with all of us tiring of snow, ice, and cold temperatures- 2015 more than most. But spring is just around the corner and it’s time to dream of nature’s yearly renewal and blooming flowers and those lovely green spaces we call gardens. And just in time for those dreams, Roads Publishing presents Reflections: Gardens by Andrew Grant. 
Gardens are our connection to the earth, a restorative place to relax and contemplate the wonder of nature. The great gardens of the world are a each reflection of the culture that created them, a theme explored in the book Gardens.  
See more featured images over at Spotlight

Mysterious Jade

A mysterious corncob-shaped artifact has been discovered underwater at the site of Arroyo Pesquero in Veracruz, Mexico.

Neanderthal Jewelry

Some 80,000 years before our species arrived in Europe, Neanderthals there were making eye-catching jewelry.

Random Photos

Lemon bath
Lemon Bath

Big California Quake Risk

The risk of a major earthquake hitting California in the next 30 years has risen dramatically, according to improved forecasting techniques.

Artificial Photosynthesis

Scientists have discovered a missing link in the development of artificial photosynthesis, a possible way of creating liquid solar fuel. 

The Corrugated Galaxy

The corrugated galaxy -- Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimatedThe corrugated galaxy — Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. […]

Teenagers arrested for stealing goat to ask girl to prom

Police in Milton, Georgia, arrested several teenagers and charged them with theft for stealing a goat. Police were called out to Bethany Church Road on Saturday night after a man reported suspicious activity outside his home.
The man told police his dog started barking and he saw two unknown vehicles parked on the side of the road. He then noticed four males near his home. The man said he confronted them and told them he had a shotgun.
The man says as the boys jumped into their trucks and took off, he noticed one carrying something large and loading it into the truck as well. Police stopped a white truck matching the description down the road and found a goat inside the vehicle.
The man told them the goat belonged to his neighbor. One teen told police he stole the goat because he thought he would ask a girl to prom by saying “will you goat with me to prom.” The goat’s owner arrived, picked up his goat and told police he wanted to press charges. All four boys were charged with theft of livestock.

More Myth Than Reality

A politician is spinning a tale about big bad wolves, but a fact check finds that people have a greater chance of being killed by an elevator than a wolf.

Amur Tiger Family

For the first time, conservationists have spotted an Amur tiger dad leading his family along a snowy trail in Russia's Far East forests.

Missing dog rescued from middle of icy river

Police and firefighters helped rescue a dog trapped on the ice on the Charles River in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning.
Jared Bartels, the dog's owner, was hiking with his dog, an 8-year-old golden retriever poodle mix named Cooper in Elm Bank on Saturday afternoon. At some point, the dog got spooked and ran off.
Bartels and his friend searched for Cooper on Saturday night and resumed Son unday morning, passing out fliers. A person who saw one of the fliers called 911 and reported Cooper was approximately 40 feet out in the Charles River.

Three firefighters wearing waterproof suits went into icy water to rescue the dog. The rescue took approximately 15 minutes. Authorities said the dog was shivering and scared. Bartels said he was relieved to be reunited with the family dog. He said his three children would have been heartbroken if Cooper was lost.

Antarctic Song

A team of Australian and New Zealand researchers has tracked scores of blue whales off Antarctica, as the world's largest animals began their songs.

A True Blue Blood

Being a blue blood in the Antarctic turns out to be a very good thing, especially if you're an octopus.

7-Foot-Long 'Sea Monster'

Today's tiny shrimp had gigantic ancestors that were easy-going creatures, making today's predatory shrimp look like bullies by comparison.

Animal Pictures