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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.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Daily Drift

Norma Jean ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1573   Henry of Anjou becomes the first elected king of Poland.  
1689   French and English navies battle at Bantry Bay.  
1690   In the first major engagement of King William's War, British troops from Massachusetts seize Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) from the French.
1745   French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army at Fontenoy.
1792   The Columbia River is discovered by Captain Robert Gray.
1812   British prime Minster Spencer Perceval is shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons.  
1857   Indian mutineers seize Delhi.  
1858   Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
1860   Giuseppe Garibaldi lands at Marsala, Sicily.  
1862   Confederates scuttle the CSS Virginia off Norfolk, Virginia.
1864   Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern.  
1960   Israeli soldiers capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires.
1967   The siege of Khe Sanh ends, the base is still in American hands

Non Sequitur


Atheism trending - even in the Arab world

Several years ago we bookmarked an article in The Telegraph which highlighted the rising number of atheists and Muslims in the United States.  Citing a Washington Post article, the author noted "how washed out and feeble Catholicism and mainline Protestantism have become."
So 40 per cent of people in Boston have no religion at all, and it's more than half in many counties. As for the 47 per cent of Bostonians who are catholic "participants" – well, there isn't much participation going on come Sunday morning. We're talking about 17 per cent Mass attendance these days... not even the Deist Jefferson would have been pleased to know that, in 2013, America's fastest-growing religious allegiance is "None" – that is, agnosticism shading into atheism... Let's put this simply: America is secularizing just like Europe...
We never posted the information at the time, but will do so now as a companion piece for an article in The New Republic about the rise of atheism in the Arab world.
While Arab states downplay the atheists among their citizens, the West is culpable in its inability to even conceive of an Arab atheist. In Western media, the question is not if Arabs are religious, but rather to what extent their (assumed) religiosity can harm the West...
Large numbers of individuals are tilting away from the rote religiosity Westerners reflexively associate with the Arab world. In 2012, a wide-ranging WIN/Gallup International poll found that 5 percent of Saudi citizens—more than a million people—self-identify as “convinced atheists,” the same percentage as in the United States. Nineteen percent of Saudis—almost six million people—think of themselves as “not a religious person.” (In Italy, the figure is 15 percent.) These numbers are even more striking considering that many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, and Yemen, uphold the sharia rule punishing apostasy with death...
Despite such draconian measures, the percentage of people who express some measure of religious doubt is higher in the Arab world (22 percent) than in South Asia (17 percent) and Latin America (16 percent). And that 22 percent is only an average; the percentage goes higher in some Arab countries, from 24 percent in Tunisia up to 37 percent in Lebanon...
Despite the risks and the social and political challenges they’re facing, all the atheist activists I interviewed said they were confident that the future of the Arab world belongs to secularism. Willoughby told me that “atheism is spreading like wildfire” in the Middle East. Brian Whitaker views it as “the symptom of a much bigger thing, which is the battle against oppression.” The booming Arab underground music scene is another example of the irresistible impetus for change that is quietly transforming the Middle East and North Africa. A full cultural revolution will probably take some time. Speaking about his country, Abdel-Samad said, “I think secularism is a certainty, not just a possibility, for Egypt’s future. All that remains unclear is what price the country will pay first. History tells me blood.”

The Day of the Century

How Germans Experienced End of WWII
The Day of the Century: How Germans Experienced End of WWII
In a multimedia special with historic videos, photos and interviews with witnesses, herein document the end of World War II on May 8, 1945, showing the suffering and upheaval experienced across Europe and Germany. More

Improve your eyesight college course cancelled after being described as pure quackery

An evening course that promised to teach students how to improve their own eyesight has been pulled by Sweden's largest adult education organization after ophthalmologists described it as "pure quackery". The course, which was scheduled to take place at a night school in Blekinge in southern Sweden, proposed that pupils could learn how to get better eyesight by participating in training exercises, including learning how to read upside down.
The teacher who was booked to teach it is an architect and has no previous training in ophthalmology. But she claimed to have "healed" previous students suffering from eye problems such as astigmatism. Jan Ygge, an ophthalmologist and professor at Stockholm-based university, Karolinska Institute, said that the idea was "pure quackery" based on "fake" science. "It's not that a course like this is dangerous but it is terrible to be offering something with no scientific evidence to back it up," he said.
"We have actually got some student research on similar courses coming up. Students took this kind of 'alternative medicine' class and found no difference whatsoever to their sight." The Blekinge college scheduled to run the course is part of ABF, which describes itself as Sweden’s largest adult liberal education association. When contacted, the organization said it was unaware of the locally-organized lessons. Hours later it had pulled the course from its online prospectus.
"The course has been cancelled, not because of the media attention but because the aim of the course obviously doesn't apply to our view of science or care," said Niklas Skeppar, a spokesman for ABF said. "Our local branch in Blekinge didn't have the proper information when agreeing to this study-circle ... but we are an organization that arranges some 65,000 lectures and 100,000 courses every year, so even if an error like this is a bad thing, seen in the broader picture, it isn't a big problem for us," he added.

Arkansas pastor’s wife turns him in after finding ‘tens of thousands’ of child porn files

Former youth pastor Tony Waller (KAIT)
An Arkansas youth pastor is facing child pornography charges after his wife reportedly found images of underage girls on his computer and turned them over to police.

Bewildered Florida Woman Sues State For Marking ‘Sexual Predator’ On Her Driver’s License

Photo with "sexual predator" incorrectly marked on Tammy Masters' drivers' license: Video screen grab/WFTV.Tammy Masters couldn’t figure out why she kept getting all these weird looks every time she showed her new Florida driver’s license.

Naked man in lawn chair threatened neighbors with AK-47

A man from Rowan County, North Carolina, was jailed under a $2,000 bond, charged with indecent exposure and communicating threats, and investigators say the man admitted to them that he committed both acts because of a dispute with his neighbor. Brian Tracy Carroll, 45, was booked into the jail just after 7:30pm on Saturday.
The incident was first reported to deputies on Saturday afternoon. A homeowner had called to say that his neighbor was sitting in the back yard totally naked, and that his chair was less than thirty feet from where the homeowner's teenage daughter was riding a horse. When deputies arrived, they found Carroll "completely naked" on the back porch of his home.
The report indicated Carroll had a towel around his neck. When asked why he was naked, Carroll, referring to his neighbor said "he pisses me off so I sat in that chair." Carroll allegedly told deputies that he wanted to be naked and wasn't going to put on any clothes, stating "I don't care."
Deputies asked Carroll if he had threatened his neighbors by saying that he had an AK-47 and "knew how to use it." Carroll said that he did make the statement, then laughed. Carroll, who is listed as "disabled" on the arrest report, was exposing his "private parts" and "other full frontal nudity." Carroll has a court date of June 18.

Man charged with stealing his own lawyer's mobile phone during court appearance

A man has been charged with stealing his own lawyer's mobile phone during an appearance at Bexley Magistrates' Court in south east London.
Bobby Heath, 25, allegedly took the phone at the court on May 1. Heath was appearing in court to plead guilty to charges of possession of cannabis and driving without insurance.
He was fined £65 plus a £20 victim surcharge for possessing cannabis and fined £100 plus £150 court costs and had his driving license endorsed with six points for the motoring offense.
Charges of driving a motor vehicle without the owner's consent, driving otherwise than in accordance with a license and riding a motorcycle without protective headgear were discontinued at court. He has been bailed to appear again at Bexley Magistrates' Court on June 2 regarding the alleged theft of the mobile phone.

Man charged following attack with frying pan

An man from Accord in Ulster County, New York, has been charged with felony assault after attacking an acquaintance with a frying pan, police said on Monday.
William H. Williams, 56, was charged after the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an assault, police said.
Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum would not specify the gender of the victim or what may have motivated the alleged attack on Saturday at a local residence, citing possible additional charges that may be filed.
"I will say it was not his wife," Van Blarcum said. Williams was charged with second-degree assault, a felony. Williams was arraigned in Marbletown Court and sent to Ulster County Jail without bail. He was ordered to stay away from the victim.
In further assault by frying pan news, Lisa Williams from DuBois, Pennsylvania, has been charged with hitting her father on the head with a frying pan.



Cocaine found in banana boxes at supermarket, again

More than $21 million worth of cocaine has turned up in banana boxes delivered from Colombia to supermarkets in Berlin, Germany. A police spokesman said, "Apparently there was a logistical mistake somewhere along the line." The same thing happened last January too.

Underwater fake skeleton tea party found by authorities

The La Paz County Sheriff’s Office and Buckskin Fire Department responded to a report of “found human remains” in the Colorado River in Arizona on Monday.
At approximately 10am, the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the area of Cienega Springs boat launch. The reporting person stated that he/she was out snorkeling when they noticed skeletal remains at the bottom of the river.
Sheriff’s Office personnel met with members of the Buckskin Fire Department who sent one of their divers down to investigate. The diver took an underwater camera and video recorded the footage as he saw it.

When Firefighter Foerstner located the alleged remains, he found it to be an underwater tea party with two fake skeletons sitting in lawn chairs. Although the call itself was resource intensive, both the Sheriff’s Office and Buckskin Fire were happy to find that the remains weren’t real and thanked the reporting party for making the call.

Cerne Abbas Giant censored and given new look for comic book

A comic character based on Dorset's Cerne Abbas Giant has had to be redrawn because it showed his genitalia. Eco Comics said it had been forced to alter the ancient naked chalk hill figure in its online comic because some outlets had refused to release it.
The comic said the Cerne Giant's "rather renowned region" would be fully concealed in an alternative version. The giant features in the comic's Englishman series alongside a superhero character based on St George.
A spokesperson for the comic said: "It seems a sad indictment of the times when a legendary landmark like the Cerne Giant - which any man, woman or child can visit any day of the week - must be covered up in a comic book. Through pressure, our hand has been forced. Outlets, particularly in the US, refuse any form of nudity in comic books," the spokesperson added.
The 180ft (55m) tall giant is owned and managed by The National Trust. Helen Mann, the trust's West Dorset general manager, said: "The Cerne Abbas Giant stands out as a unique character in the Dorset countryside and the National Trust has never censored images of him. We like him as he is."

Libyan Desert Glass

The so called Libyan Desert Glass is the purest natural silica glass ever found on earth. The glass is generally yellow in color. It can be very clear or it can be a milky, and even contain tiny bubbles, white wisps, and inky black swirls. Over a thousand tons of these glass are strewn across hundreds of kilometers of bleak desert. Most of these are the size of pebbles polished smooth by the abrasive action of the blowing sand. Others are chunks of considerable size and weight. The biggest piece ever found weighed around 26 kg...
The Libyan desert glass has been dated as having formed about 26 million years ago, which made scientists assume that the glass here was formed when a meteorite struck earth around this time, but the absence of an impact crater pose problems for this theory...
Local inhabitants in the Neolithic period made tools out of the glass, and later the Egyptians used it as jewel. A large piece of carved stone on the breastplate of the famous Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun was identified as none other than Libyan Desert Glass.. More info and photos at Amusing Planet.

Cave-Climbing Fish Found—Is It Evolution in Action?

Filmed shimmying up a cave wall in Ecuador, the catfish is likely a known species with a never before seen behavior, a new study says.
The catfish (seen climbing a 75-degree wall) likely uses water pressure and structures in their mouths and skin to stay attached.

This impressive climbing ability is due to "a number of modified structural elements of their fins, skin, and mouths," said Hoese, a naturalist and speleologist based in Austin, Texas.
"The thin film of water flowing over them as they climb likely provides pressure to help hold them to the wall, and these various structures help keep them from sliding down," he added. "They can then wriggle their way up, or also down, as you can see in the video."
Traveling Fish?
The puzzling thing about the new-found cave-climbing fish is that they don't appear to be adapted for underground life. These fish weren't colorless or blind, for instance, unlike other fish adapted to live in caves.
So what was C. microps doing down there in the darkness?
"This species is known to primarily eat algae, and as there's no sunlight in the caves, there's not much algae, so it seems unlikely that they are there to feed," Hoese said.
"The simplest explanation is that they simply occupy the fullest extent of the range they can reach," he added.
Picture of cave climbing fish 
Scientists suspect the cave-climbing fish is C. microps, a known species of suckermouth armored catfish.
Hoese noted the fish live in an Amazonian region where rivers are born in springs that issue from caves in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
Maybe the catfish "just continue up the streams and into the springs, and on into the caves," he said.
Going to the Dark Side
Many fish have a natural instinct to head upstream, in order to breed, for example.
Another possibility is that the climbing catfish mark the beginnings of an evolving species of permanent cave-dwellers.
"Evolution is a process that's constantly at work," Hoese said. "It's interesting to look at examples where there may be changes, such as here, where we have a surface fish exhibiting specific behaviors and occupying an unusual habitat."
A model for comparison is another suckermouth catfish that the expedition team recorded, Astroblepus pholeter. A colorless species with miniscule eyes, it's already made the transition to cave life.
Right now there isn't the evidence to suggest C. microps is going to the dark side, but, said Hoese, "It's an exciting possibility."  

Feeling of déjà vu for police officer who rescued dog in rowing boat for second time in 18 months

A police officer from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands could be forgiven for having a feeling of déjà vu. For the second time in 18 months he found himself jumping into a rowing boat to capture a fleeing felon with four legs, a wet nose and a wagging tail. On a warm afternoon the water at the city’s West Park proved far too tempting for Lexi the dog who decided to go for swim.
But the terriers’ doggy-paddling failed her and she soon got into difficulties. The dog’s plight had been witnessed by a visitor to the park who swam out to help the damsel in distress. But his brave actions left the duo stranded on the boating lakes’ island. So PC Ben Bates and PC Adrian Chandler commandeered a nearby boat to paddle out to pair.
Remarkably it was a similar tale back in October 2013 when PC Bates was called upon to do exactly the same thing, at the same park with the same dog. On that occasion he managed to coax Lexi into a boat before she jumped out and decided to give swimming another try, prompting PC Bates to take the plunge himself.
Thankfully this time Lexi remained on-board for the duration of the journey and she was soon back on the mainland with the man who had initially swum out to rescue her. "They say dogs are man’s best friend - and in the last year or so myself and Lexi have become close - too close for my liking. Thankfully for her on both occasions I have been patrolling nearby and been able to work with park rangers to rescue her," said PC Bates.

Lone dog doing doughnuts in dinghy rescued

A canine rescue service was launched on Tuesday after a dog was spotted doing doughnuts in a dinghy off The Strand in Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
The owner of the dinghy reportedly fell overboard at about 10am, but was quickly rescued by another boat.

This left his dog stranded on the dinghy, which was still running and spinning around in circles.

The dog's owner then used another boat to approach the out of control dinghy, before jumping aboard and rescuing his friend.
There's an additional video of the doughnut-spinning dinghy dog here.

Animal Pictures