Welcome to ...

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, April 13, 2015

The Daily Drift

Cool ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Thomas Jefferson Presidential Portrait ... !
Today is  - Thomas Jefferson Day

You want the unvarnished truth?
Don't forget to visit:The Truth Be Told

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Campinas, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Henry Farm, Montreal and Ottawa, Canada
Bogota and Medellin, Colombia
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Mexico City, Mexico
Boaco, Nicaragua
Lima Peru
Catano, Puerto Rico
The Bottom, Sint Eustatius-Saba
Montevideo, Uruguay
Christiansted, Virgin Islands
Tirana, Albania
Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Vienna, Austria
Hadzici, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Horni Pocernice, Karlin, Prague and Stare Mesto, Czech Republic
Basingstoke, Chester, Leeds, London and Sheffield, England
Calais, Cerny, Ivry-sur-Siene, Paris and Rouen, France
Tbilisi, Georgia
Dusseldorf, Franfurt Am Main, Hamburg, Hurth and Rothe Erde, Germany
Athens, Greece
Reykjavik, Iceland
Frosinone, Milan, Prato and Ravenna, Italy
Riga Latvia
Almere Stad, Alphen aan den Rijn, Amsterdam and Den Haag, Netherlands
Gjerstad, Norway
Braga and Teixoso, Portugal
Bucharest, Romania
Ryazan and Saratov, Russia
Alford and Glasgow, Scotland
Belgrade, Serbia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, Spain
Gislovs Lage and Lulea, Sweden
Baar, Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland
Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Mandalay and Thanton, Burma
Chongging, China
Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Kolkata and Trichur, India
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tehran, Iran
Petah Tikva, Israel
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Pohang, Korea
Beirut, Lebanon
Johor Bahru, Kajang and Sandakan, Malaysia
Kathmandu, Nepal
Karachi, Pakistan
Doha, Qatar
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Chon Buri and Phang Khon, Thailand
Algiers, Algeria
Cape Town, South Africa
Lusaka, Zambia
The Pacific
Homebush and Sydney, Australia
Cebu City and Rodriguez, Philippines
Don't forget to visit our sister blogs Here and Here.

Today in History

1598 The Edict of Nantes grants political rights to French Huguenots.
1775 Lord North extends the New England Restraining Act to South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act forbids trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.
1861 After 34 hours of bombardment, Union-held Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederates.
1865 Union forces under Gen. Sherman begin their devastating march through Georgia.
1902 J.C. Penny opens his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
1919 British forces kill hundreds of Indian nationalists in the Amritsar Massacre.
1933 The first flight over Mount Everest is completed by Lord Clydesdale.
1941 German troops capture Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Jefferson Memorial.
1945 Vienna falls to Soviet troops.
1960 The first navigational satellite is launched into Earth's orbit.
1961 The U.N. General Assembly condemns South Africa because of apartheid.
1964 Sidney Poitier becomes the first black to win an Oscar for best actor.
1970 An oxygen tank explodes on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing and jeopardizing the lives of the three-man crew.
1976 The U.S. Federal Reserve begins issuing $2 bicentennial notes.
1979 The world's longest doubles ping-pong match ends after 101 hours.

When No Means Yes

You may have heard the joke about the English teacher explaining double negatives to a class of teenagers. He states that while we have various levels of positive/negative phrases, there is no case of two positives meaning a negative. To which one student responds, “Yeah, right.”
That neologism wasn’t so hard to understand, because parents and teachers are well-attuned to a sarcastic tone of voice. But now we have another language conundrum popping up that can be difficult to parse for some of us, whether it is spoken or written. It’s the phrase, “No. Totally.” Apparently it means “yes.”
“No, totally.” “No, definitely.” “No, exactly.” “No, yes.” These curious uses turn “no” into a kind of contranym: a word that can function as its own opposite. Out of the million-odd words in the English language, perhaps a hundred have this property. You can seed a field, in which case you are adding seeds, or seed a grape, in which case you are subtracting them. You can be in a fix but find a fix for it. You can alight from a horse to observe a butterfly alighting on a flower.
The blogger in me wonders how quoting people who use this will confuse a reader. The parent in me is glad to read about it so I can interpret what my kids are trying to say. Read about the new slang and how to deal with it at The New Yorker.

Fighting Fire with Data

Mary Putnam Jacobi: Fighting Fire with Data
In 1873, Harvard professor Edward Clarke published a book entitled Sex in Education; or, A Fair Chance For Girls. Despite a promising title, what he meant by “a fair chance” was to discourage higher education for women because,
"There have been instances, and I have seen such, of females... graduated from school or college excellent scholars, but with undeveloped ovaries. Later they married, and were sterile."
Clarke’s rationale was that a woman couldn’t menstruate and think at the same time, and trying to do so was dangerous. That was a wonderful way of keeping women out of colleges and universities because, see, it was for their own good. Then as now, a Harvard professor was considered an expert and few took exception to his opinions. One of those who did was Mary Putnam Jacobi, a medical doctor and an extraordinary woman of her time. Jacobi earned a medical degree at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in the 1860s, then went on to study at France’s École de Médecine, where she was the first woman ever admitted. Jacobi objected to Clarke’s views, but knew that her opinion wouldn’t matter a bit. Instead, she used research.
Jacobi challenged Clarke’s thinly veiled justification for discrimination with 232 pages of hard numbers, charts, and analysis. She gathered survey results covering a woman’s monthly pain, cycle length, daily exercise, and education along with physiological indicators like pulse, rectal temperature, and ounces of urine. To really bring her argument home, Jacobi had test subjects undergo muscle strength tests before, during, and after menstruation. The paper was almost painfully evenhanded. Her scientific method-supported mic drop: “There is nothing in the nature of menstruation to imply the necessity, or even the desirability, of rest.” If women suffered from consumption, scrofula, anemia, and neuralgia, it wasn’t, as Clarke claimed, because they studied too hard.
Jacobi’s work won awards and helped to break down barriers in women’s education. She also led a fascinating life, which you can read about at the Atlantic. 

The noise in the human brain

image.img.320.high (8)Study deciphers the noise in the human brain

By directly recording electrical activity from the human brain, neuroscientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that distinct, distant groups of brain areas that support memory retrieval […]

Long Distance Runners Are More Reproductively Successful

Previous studies indicate that men who have ring fingers that are longer than their index fingers tend to have higher sex drives and sperm counts. They have greater "reproductive potential." A new study finds that long distance runners--specifically marathon runners--tend to have longer ring fingers. The authors take this as evidence that runners have an advantage in mating.
The study measured 542 men at the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham, UK. The Daily Telegraph reports on the results:
They found that the 10 per cent of men with the most masculine digit ratios were, on average, 24 minutes and 33 seconds faster than the 10 per cent of men with the least masculine digit ratios, suggesting that those who were better runners also had increased fertility.
“The observation that endurance running ability is connected to reproductive potential in men suggests that women in our hunter-gatherer past were able to observe running as a signal for a good breeding partner,” said the study’s lead author Dr Danny Longman.
“It was thought that a better hunter would have got more meat, and had a healthier – and larger – family as a consequence of providing more meat for his family.

Tombs Filled with Dozens of Mummies Discovered in Peru

by Owen Jarus
Tombs Filled with Dozens of Mummies Discovered in Peru
Dozens of tombs filled with up to 40 mummies each have been discovered around a 1,200-year-old ceremonial site in Peru's Cotahuasi Valley.
So far, the archaeologists have excavated seven tombs containing at least 171 mummies from the site, now called Tenahaha.
The tombs are located on small hills surrounding the site. "The dead, likely numbering in the low thousands, towered over the living," wrote archaeologist Justin Jennings, a curator at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, in a chapter of the newly published book "Tenahaha and the Wari State: A View of the Middle Horizon from the Cotahuasi Valley" (University of Alabama Press, 2015).
Before rigor mortis set in, the mummies had their knees put up to the level of their shoulders and their arms folded along their chest, the researchers found. The corpses were then bound with rope and wrapped in layers of textiles. The mummies range in age from neonate fetuses to older adults, with some of the youngest mummies (such as infants) being buried in jars. While alive the people appear to have lived in villages close to Tenahaha.
Bits and pieces of mummies
The mummified remains were in poor shape due to damage from water and rodents. Additionally, the researchers found some of the mummies were intentionally broken apart, their bones scattered and moved between the tombs. In one tomb the scientists found almost 400 isolated human remains, including teeth, hands and feet.
"Though many individuals were broken apart, others were left intact," Jennings wrote in the book. "People were moved around the tombs, but they sometimes remained bunched together, and even earth or rocks were used to separate some groups and individuals." Some grave goods were smashed apart, while others were left intact, he said.
Understanding the selective destruction of the mummies and artifacts is a challenge. "In the Andes, death is a process, it's not as if you bury someone and you're done," Jennings told Live Science in an interview.
For instance, the breakup and movement of the mummies may have helped affirm a sense of equality and community. "The breakup of the body, so anathema to many later groups in the Andes, would have been a powerful symbol of communitas (a community of equals)," wrote Jennings in the book. However, while this idea helps explain why some mummies were broken up, it doesn't explain why other mummies were left intact, Jennings added.
A changing land
Radiocarbon dates and pottery analysis indicate the site was in use between about A.D. 800 and A.D. 1000, with the Inca rebuilding part of the site at a later date.
Tenahaha, with its storerooms and open-air enclosures for feasting and tombs for burying the dead, may have helped villages in the Cotahuasi Valley deal peacefully with the challenges Peru was facing. Archaeological research indicates that the villages in the valley were largely autonomous, each likely having their own leaders.
Research also shows that between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1000 Peru was undergoing tumultuous change, with populations increasing, agriculture expanding and class differences growing, Jennings said. At sites on the coast of Peru,archaeologists have found evidence for violence, with many people suffering cranial trauma (blows to the head), Jennings said. In some areas of Peru, scientists have found pottery containing drawings of fanged teeth and human trophy skulls (skulls that could have been taken in battle) the researchers note.
At Tenahaha, however, there is little evidence for violence against humans, and pottery at the site is decorated with what looks like depictions of people smiling, or "happy faces," as archaeologists referred to them.
Tenahaha may have served as a "neutral ground" where people could meet, bury their dead and feast. As such, the site may have helped alleviate the tensions caused by the changing world where these people lived, Jennings said. 
"It's a period of great change and one of the ways which humans around the world deal with that is through violence," Jennings said in the interview. "What we are suggesting is that Tenahaha was placed in part to deal with those changes, to find a way outside of violence, to deal with periods of radical cultural change."
Excavations at the site were carried out between 2004 and 2007 and involved a team of more than 30 people from Peru, Canada, Sweden and the United States.

This Lake is Pink

Yes, it’s really pink. All the time. No, Dr. Seuss didn’t fill it with pink ink, although that was the first thing that came to mind. This is one of many pink lakes, ponds, and lagoons in Australia, and there are actually quite a few pink lakes found around the world. Many of them can blame the color on an algae known as Dunaliella salina, which uses a reddish pigment for photosynthesis. Or they may be infested with Halobacteria, which also gives a pink hue. Yet another way a lake can turn pink is due to minerals in the surrounding rock that dissolve in the water, such as salt. You can see a roundup of pink lakes from all over at Scribol.

Earth's 'Little Sister'

The primordial planet believed to have smashed into baby Earth, creating a cloud of debris that eventually formed into the moon, was chemically a near-match to Earth.

Chemistry for Life

Scientists have found complex organic molecules in a planet-forming disk of gas, dust and ice swirling around a very young star, evidence that the building blocks for life may be common in the universe.

Brimming With Water

Glaciers beneath the dusty sands of Mars contain enough water to coat the planet with more than three feet of ice, a new study shows.

Watching the Sunsets of Mars

Transport yourself to Mars and stare in wonder at these stunning views of Red Planet sunsets through our robotic explorers' eyes.

Late To The Party

Astronomers have taken a census of distant spiral galaxies to help us understand what our Milky Way may have looked like in the distant past, also providing us with an invaluable look at the evolution of our own solar system.

Tyrannosaurs Were Violent Cannibals

Combat and cannibalism were no strangers to tyrannosaurs, suggest the remains of a tortured dino victim.

Rancher unhappy about being given ticket for riding horse to Taco Bell

Rick Braun from West Kansas has lived in Lucas, Texas, for 11 years. And over that time, he's been riding horses on his open ranch just east of Allen. "It's heck of a lot better than being in a car," Braun said. He finds peace in the saddle, but lately it's been more pain. He was recently cited by Allen police for 'riding animal on public street.' "It's horse country!" he said. "Everywhere you go, there's horses everywhere."
But that argument didn't register with Allen authorities after he and friends rode into that city from Lucas two weeks ago. They had stopped off at a Taco Bell. Braun said he's been going there by horse for years, often two to three nights a week. Allen police spokesman Jon Felty said officers had warned Braun repeatedly. "We've asked them, please don't do this," he said. Allen's city code, Chapter 3-18F, outlines the police point of view. It is unlawful for anyone to ride or drive an animal on a public sidewalk. It is unlawful for anyone to ride or drive an animal within any portion of the street or right-of-way of a heavily traveled street.
"You show me what roadway around here is not heavily traveled," Felty said. "They all are heavily traveled." But Braun maintained that his group was riding along a greenbelt nearly the entire way. He concedes there were a couple of streets they had to cross to make it to the restaurant, but that traffic was minimal. "At 5:30 in the afternoon? Yes. But at 10:30 at night? No!" Braun said. Police said they received complaints from residents about horse droppings, and even said Braun's darker horses are a safety issue. "These horses are not visible," Felty said. "They're riding along roadways, and they're not visible late at night."

Braun said he never heard one complaint over years of riding into town. It took the city four days to get back to them on the citation, which lists a $266 fine. "None of them knew what the ordinance said," Braun argued. "If they leave it the way it is, it's vague, and nobody knows." The riders plan to fight the citation in court next week. Beyond that, Braun and his friends are fighting for clarity, because they have every intention to continue riding their horses where it is deemed legal.

Surprise as six-foot long snake found on top of bathroom radiator in Rochdale home

A huge snake discovered by a terrified teenager in a bathroom was recovered by a real-life pet detective. Karen Marriott dialed 999 after her daughter Hannah, 16, spotted the six foot-long reptile curled up on a bath mat on top of a radiator. Craig Wallace, a detective based at Rochdale police station, overheard the control room call and offered to help as he has experience with keeping snakes. Det Con Wallace raced to the family’s home in Littleborough, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and managed to capture the snake in a pillow slip.
It was taken back to the station before being transferred into the care of the RSPCA. The reptile, white with black eyes, is believed to be a northern pine snake - and Det Con Wallace believes it may be a missing or escaped family pet which slithered into the house on Halifax Road during the recent warm weather. Mum Karen, 40, said she was forced to dial police for help at 7am on Tuesday morning as she couldn’t get hold of the RSPCA. She said: “Hannah was calm at first. She can’t even deal with spiders, but I don’t think she thought it was real.
“She’d been looking at it for a few minutes until it moved. She thought I was having a joke. I felt like a wally dialing 999 (That's 911 to those in the USA) but I didn’t know what to do. I’m frightened because I don’t know how it got in. It was like something out of a film. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Everybody needed a wee, but we couldn’t go.” Det Con Wallace said that although it wasn’t a police matter, he was concerned for the family who were too scared to use their own bathroom. He said: “I keep snakes so I know a lot about them. It was a northern pine snake.

“They can give a nasty bite, but they’re not venomous. If it did bite you, you would struggle to get it off. I put my hand through a pillow slip then got the back of it’s head and wrapped it up.” He believes the snake is a pet and had either escaped or been set free. DC Wallace added: “It’s been a nice few days with people leaving doors and windows open. It isn’t uncommon for them to go through the loft space or floorboards. He added: “I wanted to keep it as a station pet, but no-one would sit near me.” The RSPCA later attended Rochdale police station and the snake is now being cared for by the animal charity.

Less Honey Bees Dying

beeHoneybee die-off less severe this year

The honeybee population appears to have survived the winter in better shape than a year ago, but still faces several significant threats, a Purdue University honeybee specialist said. After the brutally […]

Birds and Economic Vitality

House_finch-375x224Common birds bring economic vitality to cities, new study finds

Is it worth having birds in the city? If you live in Seattle or Berlin, the answer is yes, to the tune of $120 million and $70 million a year […]

Malaria parasite hotbed

kingfisherStudy of African birds finds malaria parasite hotbed

When you think of tropical biodiversity, you may picture flocks of colorful birds flitting through lush foliage—but what you are less likely to imagine is the plethora of parasites and […]

Animal Pictures