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

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Daily Drift

Yeah, what he said ...!
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Today in History

408   Theodosius II succeeds to the throne of Constantinople.  
1308   King Albert is murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.  
1486   Christopher Columbus convinces Queen Isabella to fund expedition to the West Indies.  
1805   The state of Virginia passes a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.  
1863   The Battle of Chancellorsville begins as Union Gen. Joe Hooker starts his three-pronged attack against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.  
1867   Reconstruction in the South begins with black voter registration.
1877   President Ruthoford B. Hayes withdraws all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.  
1898   The U.S. Navy under Dewey defeats the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines.  
1915   The luxury liner Lusitania leaves New York Harbor for a voyage to Europe.  
1927   Adolf Hitler holds his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.  
1931   The Empire State Building opens in New York.
1934   The Philippine legislature accepts a U.S. proposal for independence.  
1937   President Franklin Roosevelt signs an act of neutrality, keeping the United States out of World War II.  
1941   The film Citizen Kane–directed and starring Orson Welles–opens in New York.  
1944   The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, makes its first flight.  
1945   Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escapes the Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army advances on Berlin.  
1948   North Korea is established.  
1950   Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry called Annie Allen.  
1960   Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane is shot down over Russia.  
1961   Fidel Castro announces there will be no more elections in Cuba.  
1968   In the second day of battle, U.S. Marines, with the support of naval fire, continue their attack on a North Vietnamese Division at Dai Do.
1970   Students from Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, Ohio, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.  
1986   The Tass News Agency reports the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.
2011   Osama Bin Laden is killed in Abbottabad Pakistan by US Navy SEALS in Operation Neptune Spear. 

The Apparently Immoral Shoulders of My Five-Year-Old Daughter

by Jef Rouner
HOU_ART_04222015_RainbowDress_JefRouner.JPG Last Monday morning was a little colder than I expected, so I made sure that there was a warm change of clothes in my daughter's backpack in case she wanted to change. She'd had her heart set on wearing her rainbow sun dress since the weather warmed up so I finally acquiesced and let her. Still it wasn't too surprising to me to see her walk out of school that afternoon with her T-shirt on over the dress and her jeans on under it. "Did you get cold, sweetheart?" I asked her.
"No," she said a little crestfallen. "I had to change because spaghetti straps are against the rules."
I'm not surprised to see the dress code shaming come into my house. I have after all been sadly waiting for it since the ultrasound tech said, "It's a girl." I didn't think, though that it would make an appearance when she was five years old.
Five. You get me? She's five. Cut her hair and put her next to a boy with no shirt on and she is fundamentally identical. I guess you could argue that a boy would not be allowed to wear a shirt with spaghetti straps either, but the day they sell anything like that in the boys section of a Target I will happily withdraw my objections.
Have you ever stopped to think how weird a school dress code really is? I went and checked out the one for my daughter's school district and it's amazing in how hard it tries not to say what it actually means. There are literally no male-specific guidelines anywhere on that list. I mean prohibitions against exposing the chest or torso could hypothetically apply to boys except that they don't. Not really. They don't sell boys clothes that do that. There's nothing that is marketed to boys that is in anyway comparable to a skirt or a sun dress. Essentially, a school dress code exists to prevent girls from displaying too much of their bodies because reasons.
I didn't pick up my daughter's dress at My First Stripperwear. It's not repurposed fetish gear from a store for very short people. It's a dress from a mall chain store in her size. It covers everything but her shoulders and a small section of her upper chest and back. She's worn it to cult, and in the growing heat she was looking forward to wearing it a lot because it's light and comfortable.
You know what really grills my cheese about it? It's not even the shirt they made her put on over her top, it's the pants they made her wear underneath. It's a full-length dress that she has to hold up to keep from getting wet in uncut grass. She even had a small set of shorts underneath because it was gym day. But because the top part of her dress apparently exposed the immoral sinfulness of her bare shoulders she also had to pull on jeans even though her legs remained completely covered as part of her punishment.
This is still going in 2015. It really is. We still live in a country where someone can decide the shoulders of, and I can't stress this enough, a five-year-old girl are so distracting that they must be sent away and decently hidden. God knows what could possibly happen to her if not. I'm not so old that I've forgotten being a teenager and rolling my eyes at adults who went on and on about the "slutty" dress of my female classmates. I didn't have the term "rape culture" back then but I understand it now. The continued fascination of people that a girl with too much skin showing, or who develops breasts early or any number of other things is somehow opening the door to everything from commentary about her purity to outright assault is in no danger of going away. But I swear to God and all his Alf pogs I really didn't think that I would have to face that particular dragon before she even entered a numbered grade. Now I have this child, the one that argues scientific points about everything from the top speed of land animals in Africa to the classification of the planets with me endlessly, wordlessly accepting that a dress with spaghetti straps, something sold in every Walmart in America right now, is somehow bad. Wrong. Naughty. And most importantly that the answer is to cover up.Make no mistake; every school dress code that is not a set uniform is about policing girls and girls alone. The only time I've ever seen it go the other way around was when I was fighting the battle for my long hair throughout middle and high school. That was last century, but I had a friend go through the same thing with Needville ISD less than a decade ago with her son. And why? Because long hair belongs on girls. There's literally no other possible reason to force a boy to cut his hair if he doesn't want to.
Part of me very much wants to go buy a nice dress for myself and drop her off at school in it for the rest of the year to prove a point. In the meantime I think I'll employ the greatest weapon a five-year-old possesses; the question "Why?" The next time the kid wants to wear her dress I'm going to let her, and I'm going to tell her that there's nothing wrong with it or her because she is dressed in a perfectly normal manner and cute as a button to boot. I'm going to tell her that some people think a girl who shows too much skin is wrong or dangerous, but that those people are, for want of a better term, lackwitted thugs living in a bad place. And if anyone tells her to change I'm going to advise her to ask why and to keep on asking that person "Why?" until she gets an answer she likes.
And if she doesn't... well, I look ruggedly darling in blue.

12 Unusual City Slogans on Welcome Signs

This is the sign that welcomes you to the small town of Rennie, Manitoba. The village authorities who came up with this certainly had a sense of humor -and aspirations of someday having something worth bragging about. The people of some small towns are really good at poking fun at themselves, making you want to visit for that reason alone. Years ago, I commuted between Jackson and Paris, Tennessee, every day for a few weeks, which is a good hour’s drive each way. I’d pass the sign welcoming drivers to the town of Henry that said, “If you lived in Henry, you’d be home now.” It always made me think about moving to Henry, even though you could barely tell there was a town there. Oddee has a roundup of a dozen such memorable signs that riff on the town’s name, personality, or even its (lack of) size.

27 Places in the U.S. That Some Foreign Travelers are Wild About

Whitaker Point, Arkansas
When we who live in the United States make U.S. travel plans to visit places we've never been, we inevitably make them based in part on our preconceived notions. Whether they are drawn from media, word of mouth or other sources, our many impressions guide us.
Yet people from other countries generally don't have as many preconceived opinions from state-to-state as U.S. citizens, because naturally, they are more lacking in information via word-of-mouth testimonials and geography-based cultural stereotypes. Such a lack of information can be liberating. One who travels with an open mind is the one who most benefits.
In that vein, take a look at these 27 places in the United States that foreign travelers favor. Some of them might not be places that immediately come to our minds as travel destinations, but they are filled with gorgeous natural attractions that everyone can enjoy, no matter their nationality or life experience.

Watkins Glen State Park, New York

Stained Glass Art Made from Melted Gummy Bears

Back in 1998, Spanish artist Merta Alonso Yebra wanted to experiment with stained glass. But she didn’t have the specialized equipment necessary to melt and manage glass. She discovered an alternative: gummy bears. They melt at a much lower temperature than glass and can be poured and shaped using ordinary kitchen implements.
Yebra melts the gummy bears, then pours them in successive layers, creating what she calls “a wall full of colors.” In addition to being pretty, they smell nice—which is another advantage over glass. 

A Gourmet Meal on the London Underground

When you’re in London and you want the finest food served in the classiest ambiance, where do you go? To the Tube, of course! There you can a butternut velouté with crushed cumin and a crispy arancini. But you’ll have to go to one spot in particular for food like this: the Basement Gallery.
It’s a supper club that chef Alex Cooper created in an old car first used on the London Underground in 1967. Cooper uses a kitchen in what was a Victorian-era waste pumping station to prepare the food, then waiters deliver it to the train car. Guests eat on fine silverware and pristine white tablecloths. You can see more photos at Messy Nessy Chic.

Man who stabbed colleague with steak knife in onion ring row spared jail

A man who stabbed a colleague in a row over an onion ring was spared jail on Monday. Diamond drill specialist Mark Lawson flew into a rage and stabbed the victim with his steak knife for taking an onion ring instead of a potato chip during the food fury attack in a restaurant. A court heard that Lawson saw red at a staff Christmas party when he offered his chips to colleagues but they started taking his onion rings instead. Lawson lost his temper and in a fit of rage stabbed work colleague Simon Myers, who was sitting next to him in the Wetherspoons public house in Newbury, Berkshire, through the leg with a steak knife. Prosecuting Simon Blackford told the court that the 44-year-old father had been drinking with his colleagues at a work Christmas party when he ordered a burger, chips and onion rings. “The defendant was drinking at an event which was financed by his place of work,” he added.
“The defendant ordered a burger and chips and onion rings and some of his colleagues, including Mr Myers, took an onion ring and that gave rise to a somewhat explosive reaction. The defendant said ‘don’t you come between me and my onion rings’ and there was clearly some talk about that,” said the prosecutor. Mr Blackford told the hearing at Reading Crown Court that after giving away some of his chips at the Diamlond Tap public house, Lawson flew into another fit of rage when they joked about taking more of his onion rings. “One or two colleague, not Mr Myers, started making as if to take another one of his onion rings,” he said. “The defendant again reacted in a very loud way to what was happening and he pulled up his fist and brought it down on the thigh of Mr Myers sitting next to him and his fist was holding a steak knife.” The knife tore into Mr Myers’ leg, causing a nasty and bloody wound nearly two inches deep, in front of a pub full of horrified revelers in December last year.
However, John Simmons, defending, said that Lawson, of Thatcham, had been battling a drinking problem, visiting Alcohol Anonymous to help him get sober. Mr Simmons said that his client had thought about not going out on the night in question because he had been clean for six months and now regrets his decision to drink. “This is an incident that started out as a joke but didn’t end up that way,” he added. “He had abstained from alcohol for six months so this was a one-off. He hasn’t drunk from that day to this.” Appealing for a suspended jail sentence Mr Simmons told the court that Lawson had apologized to Mr Myers and the two had been very mature about the bizarre attack. “The victim in this case was someone who worked with Mr Lawson,” he added. “The potential for bad blood was ever present. Thankfully neither the victim nor Mr Lawson has taken this incident to heart. Both men are regarding it absolutely as what it was - an odd one-off. If he is committed to immediate custody then he loses his job.”
Mr Recorder Patrick Hamlin accused Lawson of putting his steady job and working life in jeopardy by drinking too much and carrying out the “bizarre” food fury attack. “You lost your temper with a fellow employee over a bizarre issue - the stealing or a joke about stealing the onion rings from your plate. You were incensed by that conduct and you stabbed your fellow employee in the leg.” However Mr Recorder Hamlin told a visibly relieved Lawson that he could spare him jail and sentenced him to a six month prison sentence suspended for a year as well as a 12-month curfew. “I am not regarding this as a case, that happens unhappily so often, when someone goes out armed and for a fight,” he added. “This is a case where you had a knife in your hand simply to eat your meal. It is an unusual case, you acted out of character.” The Recorder also ordered Lawson to pay £250 in compensation to Mr Myers and £350 towards prosecution costs.

700 loaves of bread stolen by armed men in bakery van hold-up

Police are appealing for information after three men, believed to armed with a handgun, held-up a delivery van containing 700 loaves of bread. The incident happened in the early hours of Monday in the Malpas area of Newport, South Wales.
Detectives say a bakery driver was making a delivery when the men, described as black and wearing dark clothing, walked out in front of the vehicle. One of the men, who was brandishing what appeared to be a gun, demanded that the driver give them the van.
The driver complied, and the men drove off in the vehicle. The white van contained 700 loaves of bread. Police say the delivery driver, a 38-year-old man from Ebbw Vale, was uninjured but shaken by the incident.
A spokesman for Gwent Police said: "There haven't been any other incidents like this in the area, police patrols have increased and anyone with any concerns is encouraged to contact their local officers. If anyone has information about the crime that could assist the investigation they are asked to call Gwent Police."

Jail sentence for man caught drunk driving four times in 30 hours

John Lourenco, 53, was arrested four times for DUI in September 2014 - three times in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and once in Providence.
All of those incidents took place in a little more than 24-hours. The judge sentenced him on Monday to four-years in prison. He'll be required to serve two of those, and the rest will be suspended with probation.
On top of alcohol counseling and prison time, Lourenco, who lives in Cumberland, is also facing a fine of more than $3,000 and a two year loss of license for each of the four incidents once he's released. At his sentencing, Lourenco said he's has taken steps to address his addiction.
News video from the time of Mr Lourenco's initial arrest.

Lourenco told the court he's now been sober for more than seven months. "I'd like to offer my deepest apology to the family and lives that I affected in September when I relapsed and went into a blackout for 30 hours,” he said. “And I thank the Lord nobody got hurt." Once he eventually gets his license back, he'll have to use an ignition interlock device in his car for another five years.

Finnish Man Gets $58,000 Speeding Ticket

A man in Finland was recently presented with a €54,024 (approximately $58,000 USD) speeding ticket for driving approximately 64 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone. The man, a millionaire named Reima Kuisla, was given a ticket in that amount because Finnish fines are calculated based on a person's income.Kimmo Kiiski of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications told the New York Times that if Kuisla was driving three kilometers per hour slower, his ticket would have been around $100.
Read about Kuisla's angry response, exactly how Finnish tickets are calculated and the debate as to the Finnish system's merit at the New York Times.  Weigh in with your opinion on this mode of ticketing in the comments.

Motorist charged with driving car without doors, windows, license plates and insurance

An man Ontario, Canada, is facing several charges after being pulled over while driving a car without doors, windows and license plates. The driver was pulled over in St. Catharines, Ont. at 10am on Monday, during a distracted driving enforcement exercise. Niagara Regional Police were monitoring traffic when an officer's attention was drawn to an non-plated green 2000 Dodge Caravan.
As the vehicle approached, the officer noticed it had no sliding side doors, the rear windows were missing and several items were sticking out of the open doors. A wooden stool was strapped to the car's roof, and a triangular slow moving vehicle sign was tied across the back of the van where the license plate should have been.
Police stopped the vehicle, and said its 66-year-old driver told them his license was suspended. There was also no insurance on the van. Upon investigation, police realized the man had been stopped driving the same vehicle on the same road in neighboring Fort Erie two weeks earlier.
As a result of the incident, the driver has been charged with driving while under suspension, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, driving a motor vehicle without license places and failing to surrender a permit for the vehicle. He is also charged with failure to apply for an ownership permit, operating an unsafe vehicle and prohibited use of a slow moving vehicle sign.

Two men arrested for stealing surface from road

In a literal case of highway robbery, two thieves in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China, illegally stripped the top layer off a 410-metre stretch of road.
The men managed to get the job done in a matter of days, and had just sold the concrete slabs before their scheme was foiled by police. The rural road in Nantong city was constructed in 2008 and was still in perfectly good condition. That's why villagers were surprised to discover that the surface of the road had been removed.
Seeing as the village committee hadn't approved a plan to remove the road, police got down to business to discover how, exactly, the road could've seemingly disappeared almost overnight. Actually, it was two days. That's how long it took for two men, identified as Gu and Yang, to dig out more than 630 tones of concrete slabs with an excavator and truck without anybody noticing.
They'd sold the slabs to a quarry for more than 12,000 yuan (£1,250, $1,950) and were just about to split up the spoils when they were tracked down police, who'd spotted a farm vehicle transporting the concrete on footage from roadside cameras. Gu later confessed to masterminding the plan, saying: "As this road was not often used, I thought I might as well dig out some stuff and make some money." Gu has been detained since his arrest and Yang is out on bail.



Famous image shows planets forming

An unknown physical mechanism on the Sun

Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun The famous sunspots on the surface of the Earth’s star result from the dynamics of strong magnetic fields, and their numbers are an important indicator of the state of activity […]

90-Year Old Tortoise Now Moves Faster on Wheels

View image on Twitter
BBC Wales News @BBCWalesNews
Tortoise's new life in the fast lane: http://bbc.in/1JKKtsX  Rat attack reptile is mobile again with a set of wheels

Mrs. T is a pet tortoise in Pembrokeshire, UK. She’s about 90 years old. During the past winter, she was hibernating in an outdoor shed. Rats chewed her front legs off. She had lost too much to use prosthetic feet. So her owner, Jude Ryder, and his son, an engineer, came up with this solution: wheels.
They’re from a toy airplane. The axle is fixed onto her shell with resin. Mrs. T quickly learned how to use the wheels. In fact, according to Ryder, Mrs. T can now move even faster than ever before!

Dogs and drones deployed in battle to save avocados

South Florida university researchers are using dogs and drones to sniff out a disease that’s killing the region’s avocado trees. The Florida International University researchers are sending Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois into avocado groves to locate trees infected by the lethal laurel wilt disease, which is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle. Detection is a major problem and trees can start to wilt within two weeks.
By the time infected trees are detected, the fungus has likely spread to nearby trees via root grafting, said DeEtta Mills, a biological sciences professor. She and Kenneth Furton, a university provost and forensic chemist, are leading research that trains and deploys five dogs into Miami-area groves. Drones flying above the groves can detect symptomatic trees, which signal researchers to direct the dogs to infected areas. The dogs run through the groves and with their powerful noses, have been 90% accurate in locating infected trees, Mills said.
The drones provide higher accuracy and can better cover larger areas because running the dogs too long can overheat them and wear them out, Mills said. Their heavy panting can dull their sniffing senses so after about 20 minutes, the researchers return them to kennels in air conditioned vans, Mills said. The dogs are trained with diseased wood and infected tree samples detected by the dogs are sent to researchers who examine DNA to verify contamination, she said. “These dogs, they love to do this and it’s amazing to watch them,” Mills said.

 “These ‘girls’ come out of the kennels of the van and ask us where we would like to send them and what we would like them to do. They’re extremely highly-driven dogs.” Florida growers have lost about 4,000 of nearly 800,000 trees and the disease has spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic and into Mississippi. If it travels farther west, the dogs and drones detection system could also help growers in California and Mexico protect their much larger production, she said. The Miami university is also working with University of Florida researchers and growers.

Pancake the Cheetah Cub Paired With Dayo the Ridgeback Pup, All is Right With Their World

A cheetah cub born on February 28th at Wildlife Safari in Oregon is being hand raised by staff due to her mother not being able to produce enough milk to sustain her. The female cub was named "Pancake" due to cheetahs' ability to flatten themselves when they lie down.
As is common practice at zoos and wildlife facilities with cheetah cubs who are not being raised by their parents, cubs are paired with canine puppies. Pancake met her match on April 15th in a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy who shares her birth date. The ridgeback is named "Dayo," meaning "joy arrives."
Dayo has lived up to his name, becoming inseparable with Pancake, who likes to sleep, play and cuddle with him. The pair will live out their lives in each others' company.
Learn more and see additional pictures at Zooborns.

Animal Pictures