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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1792 The United States authorizes the minting of the $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins as well as the silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime.
1796 Haitian revolt leader Toussaint L'Ouverture takes command of French forces at Santo Domingo.
1801 The British navy defeats the Danish at the Battle of Copenhagen.
1865 Confederate President Jefferson Davis flees Richmond, Virginia as Grant breaks Lee's line at Petersburg.
1910 Karl Harris perfects the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber.
1914 The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announces plans to divide the country into 12 districts.
1917 President Woodrow Wilson presents a declaration of war against Germany to Congress.
1917 Jeannette Pickering Rankin is sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1931 Virne "Jackie" Mitchell becomes the first woman to play for an all-male pro baseball team. In an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, she strikes out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
1932 Charles Lindbergh pays over $50,000 ransom for his kidnapped son.
1944 Soviet forces enter Romania, one of Germany's allied countries.
1958 The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics is renamed NASA.
1963 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King begins the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, Alabama.
1982 Argentina invades the British-owned Falkland Islands.

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson Destroy Almost Every Pseudo Scientific Belief

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson Destroy Almost Every Pseudo Scientific Belief (VIDEO)
This is great.
What’s your favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quote?
Read more 

Wrong About Wright

Judging from what we’ve been told in history books, when the Wright Brothers invented powered flight, they were rewarded with parades, medals, and headlines. But that’s a lie. The truth is, the U.S. government insisted that one of the greatest technological achievements of all time simply hadn’t happened. Here’s the true story.
On December 8, 1903, Samuel Langley, head of the Smithsonian Institution and America’s foremost expert on flight, was ready to make his most important attempt at manned flight. Since 1891 he’d been flying unmanned models powered by internal combustion engines; the U.S. government considered his experiments so promising that they’ve given him $50,000 to continue. Now he planned to fly his gasoline-powered, manned flight off of a houseboat in the Potomac River. The press was on hand, waiting expectantly.
But it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, the launching device, which was supposed to hurl the plane into the air, snagged the plane at the last second instead… and it went into the water “like a handful of mortar.”

The New York Times, scornful of attempts at powered flight anyway, heaped abuse on Langley. They editorialized: “The ridiculous fiasco… was not unexpected. The flying machine might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanics in from one to ten million years.”
It didn’t take that long. Only nine days later, on December 17, two bicycle makers from Dayton, Ohio -Wilbur and Orville Wright- achieved the goal of all the world’s would-be aviators: powered flight. It was a revolutionary development in the history of humankind …but few people even noticed. Only a few papers carried the Associated Press story of the flight. Most editors considered the whole thing a scam. When the Wrights set up the world’s first airstrip outside Dayton in 1904 and flew daily all summer, only a few reporters came to see.

In fact, the first published eyewitness account of flight appears, amazingly enough, in a beekeeping journal called Gleanings in Bee Culture. And this almost a year after they started flying. The editor, A.I. Root, saw the Wrights make aviation’s first turn on September 20, 1904 and wrote:
I have a wonderful story to tell you, a story that in some respects outrivals the Arabian Nights fables… It was my privilege, on the 20th day of September, 1904 to see the first successful trip of an airship, without a balloon to sustain it, that the world has ever made… These two brothers have probably not even a faint glimpse of what their discovery is going to bring to the children of men.
The scientific press was also slow to acknowledge the Wrights’ accomplishment. As Sherwood Hayes writes in The First To Fly:
Scientific American had been skeptical of reports about the Wright Brothers long flights, its editorial board feeling that if the reports were true, then certainly the enterprising American press would have given them great attention. When the reports persisted, the magazine finally obtained confirmation by letter from many reputable people who had witnessed the actual flights. In its December 15 [1906] issue, the magazine stated its complete acceptance of the Wrights.
You’d think the U.S. government would leap to purchase one of the most revolutionary weapons ever. Not so. In 1904 after making flights of five minutes, the Wrights wrote their Congressman, Robert Nevin, offering to license their device to the government for military purposes. Their letter said they’d made 105 flights up to 3 miles long at 35 mph. The flying machine, they said, “lands without being wrecked” and “can be are of great practical use in scouting and carrying messages in time of war.” Interestingly enough, for many years the only use the Wrights could imagine for their creation was war.)
The War Department, under future president William Howard Taft, responded that they weren’t interested. They’d gotten many requests for “financial assistance in the development of designs for flying machines” and would only consider a device that had been “brought to the stage of practical operation without expense to the U.S. government.” But, they added, do get in touch “as soon as it shall have been perfected.”
In October 1905, the Wrights wrote that they’d built a better plane and made flights up to 39 minutes and over 20 miles. The War Department again declined in a letter with almost the same wording -a form letter! Obviously, either no one was reading their letters, or no one understood what they were saying.
Showing incredible patience, the frustrated Wrights politely wrote back again. This time they said they’d build a flying machine to any specifications the government would name. The War Department, still clinging to the obvious impossibility of powered flight, wrote back saying it “does not care to formulate any requirements for the performance of a flying machine …until a machine is produced with by actual operation is shown to be able to produce horizontal flight and to carry an operator” -even though they had already produced it. They were so dejected that they didn’t fly again for two and half years.
In 1907 a young balloon racer named Frank Lahm got a job with the Army Signal Corps office in Washington, DC. He knew all the early flight pioneers and had heard from them about the miracle achieved by the Wrights. That, finally, was the Wrights’ big break. Fred Howard writes in Wilbur and Orville:
Lahn wrote a letter to the Board of Ordnance and Fortification (of the Army Signal Corps), urging that the brothers’ latest proposal for the sale of a Flyer receive favorable action. It would be unfortunate, he said, if the U.S. should not be the first to take advantage of [the] unquestioned military value of the Wright Flyer. Lahm’s letter had the desired effect…

Wilbur decided a fair price for the Flyer would be $25,000. The Board only had $10,000… When Wilbur went to Washington to attend a formal meeting of the Board, his frankness of manner and self-confidence worked their usual magic and the Board assured him the entire $25,000 would be forthcoming by drawing on an emergency fund left over from the Spanish-American War.
Apparently nothing much has changed: Even though the Wrights were the only ones in the world making practical airplanes, the U.S. government still had to put a letter out for bids. So on December 23, 1907, it issued an “Advertisement and specifications for a Heavier-Than-Air Flying Machine,” capable of carrying two men at 40 mph and staying up for at least an hour, then landing without serious damage. Critics howled. The American Magazine of Aquatics wrote, “There is not a known flying machine in the world which could fulfill those specifications.” Amazingly, the Signal Corps got 41 bids, with price tags ranging from $850 to $1 million. One was from a federal prisoner who would build a plane for his freedom. Another had plans written on wrapping paper and a third bidder offered to build planes by the pound.
The Wrights, of course, got the contract.
Still, it was the French and British who first acknowledged the Wright Brothers’ feats publicly. Shortly after winning the government contract (but before they’d proved themselves by building the U.S. a plane), Wilbur went to France to demonstrate their machine. The French were avid aviators, and welcomed him enthusiastically… at first. Then, as he rebuilt his plane (it had been damaged in shipping), working long hours and living simply in a nearby room, they became suspicious. Why wasn’t he more flamboyant?
Why didn’t he attend the rounds of parties, like other celebrated French air pioneers?
Eventually, the French and British press decided he was a charlatan. But on August 8, 1907, they changed their minds. “To make a long story short,” recalled an American named Ross Browne, who was there to see Wilbur’s first European flight, “he got into the machine that afternoon, got into the air and made a beautiful circular flight. You should have seen the crowd there. They threw hats and everything.”
Finally, four years after the first flight, the Wright Brothers were heroes. But there was one final insult: The Smithsonian Institution insisted that the first manned flight had been Langley’s slam dunk into the Potomac. They didn’t want the Wright Flyer, so it sat in a shed in Dayton until 1928… when Orville finally gave it to the London Museum of Science. Only in 1942 did the Smithsonian bow to common knowledge, reverse its position, and humbly asked for the plane. The Smithsonian restored it and dedicated it in 1948, on the 45th anniversary of flight.

Walmart and 20 other companies are lobbying hard to gut workers' comp

One more thing to protest Walmart over.Many states have gutted workers' compensation laws in recent years, but that's not enough for a group of major corporations-including Walmart, Safeway, and, as a "sponsoring member," Whole Foods-that are trying to rewrite workers' comp laws around the country, Molly Redden reports:
The companies have financed a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers' Compensation (ARAWC), that has already helped write legislation in one state, Tennessee. Richard Evans, the group's executive director, told an insurance journal in November that the corporations ultimately want to change workers' comp laws in all 50 states. Lowe's, Macy's, Kohl's, Sysco Food Services, and several insurance companies are also part of the year-old effort. [...]
ARAWC's mission is to pass laws allowing private employers to opt out of the traditional workers' compensation plans that almost every state requires businesses to carry. Employers that opt out would still be compelled to purchase workers' comp plans. But they would be allowed to write their own rules governing when, for how long, and for which reasons an injured employee can access medical benefits and wages.
Workers' comp is supposed to take care of workers who are hurt on the job. But already, more than half of workers who might be eligible never even apply, and workers' comp pays for just a small share of the expenses injured workers face. That's still too much for these massive, highly profitable corporations, though. Already, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers' Compensation has helped write a bill in Tennessee:
The bill as introduced does not require employers to pay for artificial limbs, hearing aids, home care, funeral expenses, or disability modifications to a home or a car for injured workers. All of these benefits, notes Gary Moore, president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, are mandated under the state's current workers' comp system. [...]
Under the current system, employers must cover a worker's medical expenses for as long as he needs treatment. Green's bill would allow companies to stop paying lifetime benefits after three years or $300,000, whichever comes first..
Not a bad deal for employers! No matter how badly a worker is hurt on your watch, working to create profit for you, you know your expenses will be limited according to legislation you paid to have written. Not such a good deal for workers, though, who may be unable to find work without the prosthetic, hearing aid, or modified car they need, and who may be stuck with huge, ongoing medical bills long after the company responsible for their injuries has bailed. Not such a good deal for taxpayers, either-already, federal, state, and local governments bear nearly as much of the cost for workplace injuries as workers' compensation does. Under corporate-written laws, how long do you think it would take for taxpayers to be paying significantly more of the costs than the companies responsible?

Now They’re Trying To Claim The Pilot That Crashed The Lufthansa Plane Was Gay

Now They’re Trying To Claim The Pilot That Crashed The Lufthansa Plane Was Gay
The media is desperately trying to find a reason a white man would do something like that.

Indiana Religious Freedom Law Ushers In First Church Of Cannabis For Weed Worshipers

via THC FinderMarch Madness may be coming to Indiana, but so is reefer madness and the weed worshipers are ready to start rolling.

Man set house and car on fire following dispute over a picture

Police officers in Hardin, Kentucky, were dispatched to multiple fires early on Saturday morning. The first was reported as a vehicle that was stuck in a large creek bed fully engulfed in flames.
Officers met with members of the Hardin-South Marshall Fire Department at the scene. It was suspected that the vehicle had purposely been set on fire. While First Responders were on scene battling the vehicle blaze, another call came in of a structure fire nearby. The residence was occupied by a Connie Ham, of Hardin.
The vehicle ablaze in the creek bed was also registered to Connie Ham. Upon investigation by Deputies, it was determined that Ham's alleged boyfriend, Corey Glentz, had started both fires. Glentz was still at the scene of the house fire when deputies arrived. Glentz told deputies he had been in a dispute with Ham over a "picture."
Glentz told deputies he had set fire to the vehicle in the creek and returned to the house to set the house on fire. Ham and two juveniles were in the house at the time the blaze started. Everyone was able to get out safely. Corey Glentz, 22, of Wingo, Kentucky faces arson and criminal mischief charges.

Helicopter dispatched during police pursuit of suspected wine-drinking cyclist

A police helicopter was dispatched on Thursday afternoon to monitor events as a man was arrested on suspicion of riding a bicycle while drinking a bottle of wine in Llanelli, South Wales. The man was first seen cycling in the town center before being asked to leave by a PCSO. He cycled to a nearby car park before being arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said: "A PCSO was on patrol saw a male riding his bike in the centre, he was drinking from a bottle of wine. The PCSO asked him to leave the area and the make became aggressive.
"The male rode his bike to nearby car park where he threatened the officer and was then arrested. He is currently in custody. During the incident the police helicopter was in the area and monitored activity from the air. Several PCSOs and PCs attended the scene."

Police pursuit involved stolen car with 'We support our local police' written on back window

The driver of a stolen car in California with "We Support Our Local Police Dept." written on its back window did his best to evade Buena Park and Anaheim patrol officers while speeding through local streets on Friday afternoon.
At around 12:40pm, Buena Park police spotted a black Toyota Corolla that had been reported stolen in the Buena Park Hotel and Suites. Patrol officers waited for a man to get in the car with three passengers, at least one of whom was a woman, before they tried to pull over the unidentified driver, Buena Park police Lt. Rich Forsyth said.
The driver refused to pull over and started a chase from Buena Park to streets near Disneyland, sometimes traveling on the wrong side of the road and through red lights, authorities said. A patrol officer tried to stop the speeding driver several times using a PIT manouever but failed. Shortly after 1pm, the driver cut through a shopping center in Anaheim and crashed into several shopping carts.
He then bailed from the car and quickly surrendered by dropping to his knees and placing his hands behind his back. The three passengers placed their hands outside the car at the time of surrender, and all four were taken into custody. The driver was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and felony evading.

Cop Fired For Exposing Department Policy Where Officers Have Sex With Prostitutes, Then Arrest Them

A police officer in Arkansas recently lost his job after he exposed a massive scheme that allowed officers to have sex with prostitutes and then arrest them for servicing the undercover cops.
The way that Former Fort Smith Police Department Sgt. Don Paul Bales’ department had it set up, cops would “prove” that they weren’t really police officers, by having sex with prostitutes. The cop who had just broken the law himself would then follow up by arresting the women.
Now, a lawsuit that was obtained by local KFSM, reveal that an officer was fired for exposing the twisted police work.
The suit was just filed in Arkansas’s Sebastian County Circuit Court. The officer in question says he just wants his job back, as he did nothing but expose criminal activity among fellow officers.
This all started when Bales received a photo of an affidavit that had been filed back in April of 2014. That affidavit stated that an undercover cop in the “Street Crimes Unit” had engaged in what it termed “misconduct.”
The undercover officer, who was identified as “J.B.”, met a woman he thought might be a prostitute through the website Backpage.com.
The cop then set up a meeting with the woman at a motel where he later got her to agree to a rate of $150 an hour.
But the affidavit says that the undercover cop got disrobed, engaged in a sex act, and then arrested the woman on suspicion of misdemeanor prostitution.
The cop said that it was absolutely essential for him to do this “because he believed that such action was necessary to gather the proof needed to convict the person for violating the prostitution statute.”
When Bales saw this, he reported the misconduct to his superiors. He turned over the photo of the affidavit to his lawyer “just in case.”
But after an investigation, carried out by Fort Smith Police Department Chief Kevin Lindsey, it was decided that Bales was the one to blame. He had, Chief Lindsey still maintains, “violated department policy” when he allowed the officer’s name on the affidavit.
But Bales has maintained that any communication between himself and his lawyer is protected by attorney-client privilege.
The attorney published the affidavit some time later, but he redacted it to conceal the identity of the officer in question. So this department policy, both the lawyer and Bales maintain, was never in fact violated.
Now, the department is saying that Bales violated a full eight rules. Among them, Chief Lindsey says Bales was guilty of: not being truthful, giving false testimony, revealing confidential information, releasing a confidential report and not respecting his superiors.
Here’s where it gets really crazy… Lindsey says that the undercover officer in question was “in accordance with department policy” when he engaged in sexual relations with the prostitute who he later arrested.
Even worse, and adding insult to injury, the termination of Sgt. Bales has been upheld on appeal by the Fort Smith Civil Service Commission… twice.

Random Celebrity Photos

Adorable Bettie Page
Bettie Page

Tropics Getting Wetter

Large thunderstorms -- a long-predicted result of climate change -- are leading to increased tropical rainfall, finds a new study.

Atlantic Circulation Weaker

Climate change blamed for breakdown of currents that circulate heat, nutrients through the Atlantic.

Melting Two Weeks Early

The spring snowmelt comes more than two weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s in Wyoming's Wind River Range, a new study finds.

Interesting Facts About Butterflies

We all know butterflies are beautiful, but they're also totally fascinating. To celebrate their butterfly exhibit, the San Diego Zoo has created a great list of 19 cool butterfly facts all accompanied by beautiful pictures of the amazing insects.
For example, did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Or that a group of butterflies is a "flutter?" Find out more at the link!

Strange animal caught in trap turned out to be an unusual-looking raccoon

When an Oglethorpe County man made a call to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently to report he caught an animal he could not identify, it prompted a visit from a wildlife expert. “He described it to me (over the phone) and I couldn’t get a grasp on what he had,” DNR Wildlife Technician Nick Holbrooks said.
After noticing that an animal was making repeated visits to his trash can, the resident of the Salem community south of Crawford set out a live trap to catch whatever was getting into his garbage. After receiving the call, Holbrooks and Conservation Officer Sgt. Brian Carter stopped by to take a look at his captive. “There’s no doubt it was a raccoon,” Holbrooks said.
But this racoon didn’t have the bandit-face markings and the striped tail. This fellow had a coat of blonde fur giving it an almost fox-like appearance. The experts also ruled out the possibility of the raccoon being an albino. “This raccoon was not albino as it lacked certain traits of albinism,” Holbrooks said.
“I’m not sure whether to call this a recessive gene trait showing or just a rare occurrence,” he said. “I have heard of and seen mounted specimens, but this is the first live one I’ve seen.” Holbrooks and Carter marveled over the animal’s appearance and agreed it would make a coveted prize for a racoon hunter. The trapper took the raccoon to another rural section of the county and set it free, so for now the blonde one continues to roam through the night in Oglethorpe County.

Flight Plans

Bats on food runs have their own version of traffic rules to avoid high-speed collisions.

World's Worst Termites Mate

The hybrid child of Asian and Formosan subterranean termites has entomologists on edge.

Animal Pictures