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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Daily Drift

Capturing that perfect moment ...!
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Today in History

1461 The armies of two kings, Henry VI and Edward IV, collide at Towton.
1638 A permanent European colony is established in present-day Delaware.
1827 Composer Ludwig van Beethoven is buried in Vienna amidst a crowd of over 10,000 mourners.
1847 U.S. troops under General Winfield Scott take possession of the Mexican stronghold at Vera Cruz.
1867 The United States purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.
1879 British troops of the 90th Light Infantry Regiment repulse a major attack by Zulu tribesmen in northwest Zululand.
1886 Coca-Cola goes on sale for the first time at a drugstore in Atlanta. Its inventor, Dr. John Pemberton, claims it can cure anything from hysteria to the common cold.
1903 A regular news service begins between New York and London on Marconi's wireless.
1913 The German government announces a raise in taxes in order to finance the new military budget.
1916 The Italians call off the fifth attack on Isonzo.
1936 Italy firebombs the Ethiopian city of Harar.
1941 The British sink five Italian warships off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean.
1951 The Chinese reject Gen. Douglas MacArthur's offer for a truce in Korea.
1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I opens on Broadway starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner.
1952 President Harry Truman removes himself from the presidential race.
1961 The 23rd amendment, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote for president, is ratified.
1962 Cuba opens the trial of the Bay of Pigs invaders.
1966 Leonid Brezhenev becomes First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He denounces the American policy in Vietnam and calls it one of aggression.
1967 France launches its first nuclear submarine.
1971 Lt. William L. Calley Jr. is found guilty for his actions in the My Lai massacre.
1973 The last U.S. troops withdraw from South Vietnam.
1975 Egyptian president Anwar Sadat declares that he will reopen the Suez Canal on June 5, 1975.
1976 Eight Ohio National Guardsmen are indicted for shooting four Kent State students during an anti-war protest on May 4, 1970.
1986 A court in Rome acquits six men in a plot to kill the Pope.

New Zealanders gear up for teapot racing

They may be short and stout, with a handle and a spout, but a bunch of New Zealand teapots now also lay claim to wheels. Splendid Teapot Racing will feature at the CubaDupa festival on Saturday, the first racing of its kind to be held in Wellington.
Teapot racing originated in Dunedin and had its first public outing at the 2014 Steampunk NZ Festival in Oamaru. A new favorite sport for Steampunk enthusiasts, it consists of radio-controlled vehicles with teapots attached being timed while individually navigating an obstacle course.
Capital! Steampunk founder Leslie Craven (aka Colonel Julius Hawthorne) says teapot racing is harder than it sounds. "You really have to take it slowly and gently and it's quite tense because you're against the clock." Craven, a business analyst from Hataitai, describes Steampunk as Victorian-influenced science fiction.

"It encompasses a lot of things, but is inspired by some of the first Steampunk authors who used Edwardian settings with technology they didn't have at the time." Ten converted teapots from various Steampunk groups around New Zealand will tackle the obstacle course at Thistle Hall on Saturday. Racing is from 10am to midday and is free for spectators.

ISIL Activity Making Travel to Tunisian 'Star Wars' Sets Questionable

Earlier this month we wrote about 21 Abandoned Movie Sets That Everyone Can Visit. One such site was the complex of buildings in Tunisia that served as the set for Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine. Yet recent developments have led government officials in countries including Britain and the United States to caution tourists against visiting a number of areas in Tunisia, including some relatively near destinations with remnants of Star Wars sets.
It seems that the Tunisian city of Tataouine has become a "way station" transit point for terrorists looking to enter Libya to join ISIL. The city Tataouine, the name of which inspired the name Tatooine in the film, is some 60 miles from the Libyan border. The United States Embassy warns travelers to stay away from border areas. The British government cautions against "all but essential travel" to a large expanse that includes Tataouine as well as the sites of a number of Star Wars film locations, including Nefta, the location of the exterior scenes representing Luke Skywalker's childhood home.
Recently ISIL has been overtaking and controlling territories with intent to establish a caliphate (islamic government). It is estimated that the terrorist organization controls one third of Syria and is quickly making gains in Iraq. Read more on the story here.

Random Celebrity Photos

Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow

An exoneration happens every three days in America

According to the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan, 1,569 men and women in the United States, most of them African American, have been completely exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. The number of people exonerated for wrongful convictions actually broke a record high in 2014 with 125 exonerations, including six people who were actually on death row awaiting execution.Less than every three days in our country, some man or woman is released back into society after spending a tragic portion of their life behind bars for a crime they never committed. Few injustices can compare to the horror of spending one hour in prison for something you didn't do.
Ricky Jackson of Ohio spent 341,640 hours, or 39 years, behind bars before he was exonerated. Just a teenager when he was convicted, he was nearly a senior citizen when he was released.
Jonathan Fleming was serving the 25th year of a 25-year sentence when he was finally exonerated after a wrongful conviction.
Glenn Ford, on death row for 30 years in Louisiana, was 64 years old when he was released and was exonerated. Stricken with lung cancer, he was only expected to live a few more months.
One study determined that nearly 10,000 people are likely to be wrongfully convicted for serious crimes annually. Another study estimates that as many as 340 people are likely to have been executed in the United States before they were properly exonerated.
This is a travesty. Anyone who says otherwise is sick.

Deaf man who called police officer ‘pig’ in sign language given conditional discharge

A man with a hearing disability from Kendal, Cumbria, was arrested after saying 'pig' in sign language to a police officer, a court heard.
South Cumbria Magistrates Court was told that police were called to McDonalds on Stricklandgate after reports of a man 'causing difficulties'. Linley Hassan, 25, of no fixed address, refused to leave the restaurant and became 'confrontational' with the police.
Peter Kelly, prosecuting, said: "He was making a sign that the officer, who understood sign language, knew to mean 'pig'." In mitigation, John Batty said Hassan had had a volatile existence of late and had been going to great lengths to reduce his alcohol intake.
Hassan pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly. He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and a £30 contribution towards court costs.

Psychotic Samurai sword-wielding man dressed as Shaolin monk injured six police officers

Six police officers in Vienna, Austria, were injured by a psychotic man dressed as a Shaolin monk and wielding a Samurai sword on Monday.
Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said that the drama started when a woman in an apartment in Kudlichgasse, in the Favoriten district, heard a loud knocking on her door at 2:00am. She opened the door to find a bald-headed man she had never met before dressed in an orange monk’s robe, and armed with a large sword. He pushed his way into her home, and she ran out and called the police.
Three police officers arrived at the building shortly afterwards and found the 39-year-old man in the stairwell. They surprised him with pepper spray and managed to knock the sword out of his hand but all three officers were seriously injured in the scuffle. As the man seemed to be suffering from mental illness they took him to the Rufolfstiftung psychiatric hospital.
However, he managed to escape from the hospital just hours later and was spotted in Meidling cemetery wearing a white hospital gown. When three police officers arrived he karate kicked and punched them. Again, they had to use pepper spray to subdue him and then took him back to hospital.

Police officers that warn someone could be killed after plastic wrap stretched across road

Deputies are searching for those responsible for stretching plastic wrap across Interstate 90 near Wallace, Idaho.

Couple arrested for theft of car, shrimp and underpants

Police in Arlington, Virginia, arrested two people for stealing a car and said that they had also stolen a significant quantity of shrimp and gentlemen’s underwear. Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman, said that Terry Walker, 53, and Alonda Hoe, 41, confessed to the thefts.
They said they had taken the merchandise, at least 10 packages of frozen shrimp, some fresh shrimp, and at least four packages each containing five pairs of men's underwear, from a Walmart in Fairfax County. They had stolen shrimp from Walmart before, the suspects claimed when interviewed by police, and then resold it to Chinese restaurants in the area, authorities said.
They said they planned to do so again, Sternbeck said. Instead, they were stopped by police at 4:36 p.m. on Tuesday. Police had noticed that their licence plate matched that of a car that had been reported stolen, Sternbeck said. That is when police saw the shrimp and underpants inside the 2006 Chrysler Pacifica.
Police said that Walker and Hoe were both under the influence of crack cocaine and alcohol at the time they were arrested. Hoe, of Indian Head, Maryland, was charged with habitual petit larceny. Walker of Arlington was charged with crimes including grand auto larceny, possession of cocaine and driving while intoxicated.

Call for return of top inch of England's highest mountain that was 'stolen' by artist

Cumbrians are demanding the return of a crucial piece of England’s highest mountain, which an artist has admitted taking. Tourism bosses said they want Ecuadorian artist Oscar Santillan to give back the small stone taken from Scafell Pike. The rock features in an exhibition at the London gallery Copperfields, and is described by the exhibition organizers as the uppermost inch of the highest mountain in England.
It forms part of Santillan’s The Intruder, which has the stone embedded in a pedestal. A description of the exhibition says: “The exhibition ultimately draws out the obscure. Unexpected events occur: the dance of a dead philosopher is unveiled, a piece of land is taken, nature and culture collide. Departing from the tradition of land art in making often major modifications to the natural landscape, The Intruder presents an inch of stone carefully removed from the English countryside.
“At a glance it is seemingly insignificant and yet the material is carefully presented. Scaling the 3,028ft Scafell Pike in the Lake District, the artist has taken the uppermost inch of the highest mountain in England. An entire nation’s height is modified and its landscape redefined by means of a single precise action. The artist explores the way in which human categories are imposed on nature: the largest, the tallest, the most powerful.”
Ian Stephens, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “We are all aware that Cumbria’s landscape has long inspired generations of artists. These include international greats like JMW Turner, Ruskin, Schwitters and Li Yyan-chia, considered to be one of the founding fathers of Chinese abstract painting. These individuals have all taken a piece of this landscape away in the figurative sense. This is taking the mickey and we want the top of our mountain back. At the very least we would like to see the piece returned to the county it has been removed from.”

The Remarkable Story of the First Corned Beef Sandwich in Space

This is not the actual sandwich. This corned beef sandwich sealed in acrylic is a memorial to a particular incident on the Gemini 3 spaceflight. 50 years ago this past Monday, pilot John Young snuck a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft, which was then launched into Earth orbit. This was contraband, but Young as a practical joker.
This joke, though, was a bad idea. When he bit into the sandwich, Young learned something important: corned beef sandwiches fall apart easily--especially in zero gravity. Crumbs floated around the cabin. It got him into trouble. Discovery reports:
"A couple of congressmen became upset, thinking that, by smuggling in the sandwich and eating part of it, Gus and I had ignored the actual space food that we were up there to evaluate, costing the country millions of dollars," Young wrote in his 2012 memoirs, "Forever Young."
Nonetheless, Young got to claim the title of having eaten the first corned beef sandwich in space. He also got to eat corned beef in space again when he commanded the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981. This time, he ate it in the form of cubes.

After 11 Years, Martian Rover Completes a Full Marathon

Clocking in at 11 years and 2 months, it's a truly awful marathon time. But it's the first marathon ever completed on the surface of another world. On Tuesday, NASA's Opportunity rover crossed the 26.219 mile mark during its sojourn across the red planet.
The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's lunar rover Lunokhod 2, which traveled 23 miles in 1973.
Opportunity landed on Mars on January 25, 2004. It's spent the past 4 years crossing the 14-mile wide Endeavour crater. NASA planned to use it for at least 3 months. Despite breakdowns, Opportunity continues to explore Mars and relay data back to Earth.

Ain't That Life ...


Bacteria Superbugs

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Antibiotic resistance is poised to spread globally among bacteria frequently implicated in respiratory and urinary infections in hospital settings, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in […]

Superswarms in South Florida

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Chicken on the Sea

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It may sound like the makings of a joke, but answering the question of how chickens crossed the sea may soon provide more than just a punch line. Michigan State […]

New lobster-like predator found

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What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes […]

The secret life of pandas


Reclusive giant pandas fascinate the world, yet precious little is known about how they spend their time in the Chinese bamboo forests. Until now. A team of Michigan State University […]

Animal Pictures