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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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Daily Drift

True, that ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1539 Emperor Charles V reaches a truce with German Protestants at Frankfurt, Germany.
1689 Residents of Boston oust their governor, Edmond Andros.
1764 The English Parliament bans the American colonies from printing paper money.
1775 The American Revolution begins as fighting breaks out at Lexington, Massachusetts.
1782 The Netherlands recognizes the United States.
1794 Tadeusz Kosciuszko forces the Russians out of Warsaw.
1802 The Spanish reopen New Orleans port to American merchants.
1824 English poet Lord Byron dies of malaria at age 36 while aiding Greek independence.
1861 The Baltimore riots result in four Union soldiers and nine civilians killed.
1861 President Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.
1880 The Times war correspondent telephones a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel, the first time news is sent from a field of battle in this manner.
1927 In China, Hankow communists declare war on Chiang Kai-shek.
1934 Shirley Temple appears in her first movie.
1938 General Francisco Franco declares victory in the Spanish Civil War.
1939 Connecticut finally approves the Bill of Rights.
1943 The Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi rule begins.
1960 Baseball uniforms begin displaying player's names on their backs.
1971 Russia launches its first Salyut space station.
1977 Alex Haley receives a special Pulitzer Prize for his book Roots.
1982 NASA names Sally Ride to be the first woman astronaut.
1989 The battleship USS Iowa's number 2 turret explodes, killing sailors.
1993 The FBI ends a 51-day siege by storming the Branch Dividian religious cult headquarters in Waco, Texas.
1995 A truck bomb explodes in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

16 Wonderful Barbecue Styles Around The World

Texas-style barbecue is, of course, the finest in the world. The best of this emerges from my father-in-law’s backyard pit.
But other barbecue methods, with the exception of Memphis-style, are edible, if not enjoyable. Among them is the asado style of the southern cone of South America. Barbecue dinners in this style, When on Earth informs us:
. . . consist of embutidos (chorizos, black puddings, and the like) and varieties of meat grilled over charcoal made of native trees. The meat cooked for asado is not marinated but only salted.

Non Sequitur


Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”

Knowing a Van Gogh painting when you see it is one thing, but understanding it is quite another.
In order to truly see and appreciate a van Gogh piece such as “The Starry Night,” you have to be able to look at it with a fresh eye (not an easy task for something you’ve probably seen seen 100 times before). Can you forget about the famous artist behind it and the stories you’ve heard about his life? Can you forget that you’re looking at a work of art that’s valued at well over $10 million? Can you forget that you’re viewing  one of the most famous paintings in the world?
Take all that away, and “The Starry Night” is a simple, small oil painting, 29 in. by 36 in. It portrays a landscape consisting of a village tucked in among some hills, a night sky with stars and an exaggerated crescent moon, and a tall tree. There is no activity, no people, and no animals. Described like this, you would hardly think the picture was worth a second look. So what makes it so special?
In a nutshell, the most extraordinary feature of “The Starry Night” is not what was painted, but how it was painted. Van Gogh has divided the picture so that all the activity and interest is focused in the upper two-thirds of the piece. There, in the night sky, the paint is so thick that it sits like a crust on the canvas, manipulated into strange and unnatural shapes. If you let your imagination go, you can begin to imagine all sorts of possibilities and explanations in those swirls. This is a painting meant to conjure images and emotions in the viewer, not the artist’s definite representative of them.
Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was originally from Holland, but spent much of his young adult life traveling around Europe, jumping from one unsuccessful career path to the next. It was not until he was 27 years old that he decided to become a painter. He studied art at various academies for nearly a decade and although he was incredibly prolific, he only sold one painting during his lifetime.
By the late 1880s, van Gogh’s mental health began a steep decline. On Christmas Eve 1888, with a razor, he famously cut off part of his own ear. His devoted brother, Theo, tried to take responsibility for Vincent, but the frequency of his mental breakdowns required more serious attention. The painter was voluntarily admitted to a St. Rémy mental asylum near Arles in the south of France. In was here, in June 1889, that van Gogh painted “The Starry Night.”
In May 1890, van Gogh left St. Rémy and moved to Auvers-sur-Oise (just north of Paris), where he could be near Theo. There, he experienced a final surge of creativity during which he completed an astounding 70 paintings in roughly 70 days. But soon thereafter, van Gogh succumbed to his depression, shooting himself in the chest with a pistol. Mortally wounded, he died two days later in the arms of his brother (who himself never recovered from the stress, passing away six months later).
Van Gogh’s work had a distinct purpose. His career attempts, including art dealing and the church, ended in disaster, as did his relationships with other people. So when he took up painting, it offered him an outlet for his tormented energy and his desire to succeed at something. He longed to communicate, but he didn’t seek to impose his troubles and unhappiness on others. Rather, he wanted his art to be a consolation for the stresses and strains of modern life, something that people could relax with, and through which they could move out of themselves into a better and happier existence.
Although he considered himself a failure in his own lifetime, he nonetheless fulfilled his mission beyond his deepest hopes. Van Gogh’s influence and legacy have been enormous. He showed people that painting could be an intensely expressive activity. Color, paint, and simple subjects, handled with boldness, directness, and uncompromising honesty, could express the artist’s deepest emotions and communicate them with equal forthrightness to others. Van Gogh proved that art didn’t have to have an elaborate theoretical and intellectual framework to convey a profound message. That may sound obvious now, but at the time it was a revolutionary idea. In fact, fellow artistic legends Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse owned works by van Gogh in order to learn from his example.
One of van Gogh’s trademarks in this painting is that he uses color and shapes symbolically rather than as an exact transcriptions of visible things. He described this best himself when he said, “Instead of trying to reproduce what I see before me, I use color in a completely arbitrary way to express myself powerfully.” Note that van Gogh uses an ample amount of yellow paint in this portrait of nighttime. Generally, yellow is symbolic of sunlight and happiness, but he employs it here to express the stillness of evening. “It often seems to me,” van Gogh once said, “that the night is still more richly colored than the day, having hues of the most intense violets, blues, and greens.”
Although van Gogh didn’t belong to any specific art movement, he was greatly influenced by Impressionism and Japanese woodblock prints. He was also heavily influenced by English literature, particularly the novels of Charles Dickens. He liked the way Dickens endowed inanimate objects with human personalities, which is a distinct quality you can see in paintings such as “The Yellow Chair” and “The Bedroom at Arles.” He also enjoyed the poetry of Walt Whitman, which was what he was reading at the time he was planning “The Starry Night.” Whitman’s poem "From Noon to Starry Night" was published in France in 1888, and Whitman’s “Song of Myself” contains references to night, stars, and the moon that parallel the imagery in van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”
Notice that the paint is thick, and the brush strokes are very obvious. You don’t have to be a painter to figure out that this small picture was developed very rapidly, and the paints were squeezed directly from their tubes. This is the work of a man who is in a hurry, but also a man who is absolutely certain of what he is doing. He loves the subject of his piece and the activity of putting paint onto the canvas and moving it around.
For all its simplicity, “The Starry Night” actually grows and improves with acquaintance, which is a rare quality found only in the greatest works of art. With most paintings, the longer you look, the more you become aware of defects and limitations. But not here. Van Gogh intentionally creates conflicting emotions within the piece. The bright, pure colors and energetic brushstrokes bring to mind cheerfulness and optimism. But the lack of any living creature and the sense of silence depict a sense of loneliness and melancholy.

The American Nightmare

Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row
by Clemens Höges and Antje Windmann
The American Nightmare: Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row
Debbie Milke, born in Berlin, was placed in solitary confinement Arizona for 22 years after being falsely convicted of conspiring to kill her son. Following her acquittal, she discusses her experience in prison and a life destroyed by a miscarriage of justice. More



92-Year Old Woman Rams Mugger with Her Mobility Scooter

Margaret Seabrook is 75. Eileen Mason is 92. They live in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Both of them use mobility scooters. The two ladies were returning home from a lunch club meeting when a mugger tried to grab Seabrook’s possessions in the basket of her scooter.
Ms. Mason said, “Oh, no you don’t,” throttled her mobility scooter, and rammed the mugger as hard as she could. The Daily Telegraph reports what happened next:
The would-be thief was knocked to the ground before the great-grandmothers, both of Swindon, Wiltshire, sped off. […]
"Something in me just told me to turn so I squeezed the accelerator and turned and he went flying. He was so evil looking. We go to the lunch club every week on our scooters and nothing like this has ever happened before.
"We went through the war and all the bombings. We won't let a weasel like that hold us back. I would stand up for myself again if I needed to, but hopefully I won't need to. We will carry on as normal though - he hasn't put us off."

103-Year Old Woman Graduates from High School

Marie Hunt of Spring Green, Wisconsin was supposed to graduate from high school in 1928. But she had to drop out of school after the eighth grade in order to take care of her younger siblings. Later, she worked as a store clerk, a childcare provider, and owned a business with her husband.
The high school diploma remained unfinished business. She wanted it. And on Friday, River Valley High School awarded Ms. Hunt one in a ceremony at the assisted living facility where she lives.

Writer's Block

Check Out The New Jurassic Park Trailer

Last July, Alex shared the gorey image of Steven Speilberg sitting beside one of his newest kills. Animal activists were rightly outraged by the killing of such a rare and beautiful creature. As if that wasn't bad enough, now one Redditor has shared these images of a poor, bound T-rex being towed down the road as though it's just a big hunk of plastic.
Will the madness ever stop?!? End dinosaur cruelty!



Science News

Western lifestyle may limit the diversity of bacteria in the gut

Western lifestyle may limit the diversity of bacteria in the gut
Bacteria that naturally reside in the gut are important for health, but recent studies consistently show that a modern lifestyle depletes the gut’s collection of microbes. How lifestyle affects the […]


Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?
A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, according to laboratory experiments by researchers at McGill University. The findings, which will be published in the […]

The First Man to Descend into Turkmenistan’s Door to Hell

The Darvaza Crater in Ahal Province, Turkmenistan, is known as the “Door to Hell.” The story goes that Soviet petroleum engineers created the hole in 1971 while looking for gas. The collapsed crater spewed dangerous gas, so they ignited it, thinking the gas would soon burn off. Over forty years later, the crater is still burning.
In 2014, explorer George Kourounis descended to the bottom of the crater, protected by a fireproof suit. Even he was surprised by the heat of the crater. Kourounis didn’t stay long, but he brought back biological samples from the bottom. Kourounis talked to Scribol about the adventure, and shared dozen of pictures from the expedition.

Awesome Pictures

Earth News: Today's Edition

Climate scientists are wondering why the U.S. has been locked in a 'warm West, cold East' pattern.
Alex Bellini will spend up to 12 months clinging to a piece of drifting ice off the coast of Greenland to witness the last phase of the iceberg’s long life.
The global warming hiatus and western U.S. drought both have roots in the Pacific according to recent research.
The Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. produces more methane than any other part of the nation, and scientists want to find out why.

Earth News: Yesterday's Edition

Carbon dioxide drastically affected Earth's climate in the distant past.
A new study shows Earth’s temperature plunged to 40 degrees below zero – in Florida, Egypt and other lands near the planet’s supposedly warmer equatorial regions during a radical climate shift known as 'Snowball Earth.'
The jostling of the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn in the solar system’s early days may have delivered a Mercury-type building block to baby Earth, providing the planet with the chemistry to heat its convecting, liquid metal core to this day

Ghostly Ice

A ghostly apparition has long been known to follow Saturn moon Enceladus in its orbit around the gas giant. But until now, scientists have had a hard time tracking its source.

Animal News


Genetics Provides New Clues about Lionfish Invasion
New genetic data suggest the red lionfish invasion in the Caribbean Basin and Western Atlantic started in multiple locations, not just one as previously believed, according to a new study […]

To learn more about these brainy creatures' locomotion, researchers watched videos, frame by frame, of octopuses crawling around water-filled tanks.
Adoring looks from a dog affect owners to their very depths, causing them to release a love hormone.
Two baby gorillas, just three months old, were allowed in their public enclosure for the first time.
Once thought to be extinct, the distinctive creature with an upturned nose is being reintroduced to its native waters as part of a long-term recovery strategy.
The creatures, which still exist today, feasted on prehistoric reptiles more than 100 million years ago, a new study finds.
Our species often struggles to accept female leaders, but for certain animals, ruling females are the norm and not the exception.

Animal Pictures