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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Daily Drift

True, oh, so true ...!
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Today in History

1588   King Henry III flees Paris after Henry of Guise triumphantly enters the city.  
1641   The chief advisor to Charles I, Thomas Wentworth, is beheaded in the Tower of London  
1780   Charleston, South Carolina falls to British forces.  
1851   The Tule River War ends.  
1863   With a victory at the Battle of Raymond, Mississippi, Union General Ulysses S. Grant closes in on Vicksburg.  
1864   Union General Benjamin Butler attacks Drewry's Bluff on the James River.
1865   The last land battle of the Civil war occurs at Palmito Ranch, Texas. It is a Confederate victory.  
1881   Tunisia, in North Africa become a French protectorate.  
1885   In the Battle of Batoche, French Canadians rebel against the Canadian government.  
1926   The Airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.  
1932   The body of Charles Lindbergh's baby is found.  
1935   Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio by "Bill W.," a stockbroker, and "Dr. Bob S.," a heart surgeon.  
1940   The Nazi conquest of France begins with the crossing Muese River.  
1942   The Soviet Army launches its first major offensive of the war, taking Kharkov in the eastern Ukraine.    
1943   Axis forces in North Africa surrender.
1949   The Berlin Blockade ends.  
1969   Viet Cong sappers try unsuccessfully to overrun Landing Zone Snoopy in Vietnam.
1975   The U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez is seized by Cambodian forces.

Spectacular Sunrise At Lake Bled In Slovenia

Check out more photos here.

Vigilantes locales luchan cárteles

In Mexico cartels are kidnapping scores of innocent people. With no help from the government, the latest incident in Cocula, prompted armed locals to set out and find their abducted neighbors.

U.S. troops stealing millions of dollars

Charboneau contributed to thefts by U.S. military personnel of at least $15 million worth of fuel since the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And eventually she became one of at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a comprehensive tally of court records by the Center for Public Integrity...
Additional crimes by military personnel are still under investigation, and some court records remain partly under seal. The magnitude of additional losses from fraud, waste, and abuse by contractors, civilians, and allied foreign soldiers in Afghanistan has never been tallied, but officials probing such crimes say the total is in the billions of dollars... those who investigate and prosecute military wrongdoing say the convictions so far constitute a small portion of the crimes they think were committed by U.S. military personnel in the two countries...
So far, officers account for approximately four-fifths of the value of the fraud committed by military personnel in Iraq, while in Afghanistan, the ratio was flipped, with enlistees accounting for roughly the same portion, according to the Center’s tally. The reasons for the difference are unclear. But Sopko said he expects more officers to be investigated for misconduct in Afghanistan as the U.S. military mission there continues, so the ratio could change. Soldiers who had little or no prior criminal history, like Charboneau, say the circumstances of their deployments made stealing with impunity look easy, and so they made decisions that to their surprise eventually brought them prison sentences ranging from three months to more than 17 years... More depressing reading at the Center for Public Integrity.

Skeletons of the Past

Helping Europe's War Dead Find a Final Resting Place
by Alexander Smoltczyk
Skeletons of the Past: Helping Europe's War Dead Find a Final Resting Place
With excavations of Europe's killing fields still unearthing the mortal remains of thousands of fallen soldiers, World War II still isn't over for the people who find them, identify them and give them a proper burial.  More

Non Sequitur


The Disastrous Pitfalls of Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

Not teaching teenagers the proper use of birth control doesn't prevent them from having sex; it creates a serious public health issue.

Chocolate "Fat bloom"

An article at Chemistry Matters explains that chocolate tastes better if it is kept in a refrigerator.
This is all to do with a phenomenon known as polymorphism, which is the ability for a solid to exist in more than one crystal structure. Each crystal structure is called a polymorph, and each polymorph has its own set of distinct properties. The main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa butter, has six polymorphs which can be distinguished between each other by measuring their melting points...
...at room temperature, the fatty molecules in polymorph V have enough energy to slowly (days/weeks scale) convert to polymorph VI. This transformation in in the crystal structure is facilitated by the vibrational energy stored in the molecules which allow the molecules to wriggle about and realign with each other. This can be stopped by keeping your chocolate in a cool, dark place... Next the "fat bloom" is described
The change in crystal structure is usually accompanied by something called ‘fat bloom,’ which is where the chocolate begins to look dusty, and pale spots appear on the surface... It’s off putting, but still safe to eat. It happens because of partial melting in the solid which cases the fats within it to rise to the surface.

Burning Trash

Sweden is able to recycle 99 percent of their trash, some of which they burn. Why isn't this practiced in the United States?

Why Cheat?

A cheating scandal involving teachers raises questions about what motivates people to cut corners and whether anyone is immune.

Fracking chemicals detected in drinking water

An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.
The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply.
“This is the first case published with a complete story showing organic compounds attributed to shale gas development found in a homeowner’s well,” said Susan Brantley, one of the study’s authors and a geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University. You couldn't ask for the results to be in a more scientifically rigorous publication.  An industry spokesman offered the expected meaningless rebuttal:
"...saying that it provided no proof that the chemical came from a nearby well."
More at the New York Times.

Water Power and Volcanic Eruptions

Lots of water leads oceanic crust to melt, giving some volcanoes the potential to erupt explosively.

'Suicide Tree'

One teenage girl died and three others were in critical condition after consuming fruit from a tree.

"Hollow Heart" watermelon

Hollow heart can happen due to poor pollination causing the watermelon to develop cracks internally. Cutting a watermelon, affected with hollow heart, across the body will reveal a well defined structure that may surprise those who aren’t familiar with the condition. Hollow heart is not a disease and the internal cracking has no negative impact on the watermelon’s taste or quality, and is entirely safe to consume.  Many more pictures at Amusing Planet.

"Human-shaped" mushrooms

A newly discovered species of fungus with an uncanny resemblance to little humans has been found on the roadside in Norfolk.
With fleshy heads, arms and legs, the mushrooms, discovered by Jonathan Revett in Cockley Cley, Norfolk have just been classified as a new species... The mushrooms have been named as geastrum britannicum to reflect them being unique to the UK.

Brain Evolution

Which came first: heads or brains? One of the oldest brains ever discovered is helping to answer that question and more.

Just Like Jenga Blocks

The micro mechanics behind the fire ants' keen tunneling ability could be tapped for designing search-and-rescue robots.

Matching Hormones

Dogs connect so deeply to people that their hormones synchronize with ours.

Animal Pictures