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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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Daily Drift

True, oh, so true ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 203 countries around the world daily.   
Tell, it  ... !
Today is - National Night Shift Workers Day

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Today in History

1607 English colonists land near the James River in Virginia.
1648 Margaret Jones of Plymouth is found guilty of witchcraft and is sentenced to be hanged.
1779 The War of Bavarian Succession ends.
1846 The United States declares war on Mexico after fighting has already begun.
1861 Britain declares its neutrality in the American Civil War.
1864 The Battle of Resaca commences as Union General Sherman fights towards Atlanta.
1888 Slavery is abolished in Brazil.
1912 The Royal Flying Corps is established in England.
1913 Igor Sikorsky flies the first four-engine aircraft.
1944 Allied forces in Italy break through the German Gustav Line into the Liri Valley.
1958 French troops take control of Algiers.
1968 Peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam begin in Paris.

Naked Is Better

Naked Gardening Day and World Naked Bike Riding Day are body positive celebrations of nudity -- but are there benefits to being bare according to science?

Life On Food Stamps

The food stamp, or SNAP, challenge asks people to live on $4.15 a day, or around $29 a week, but does this present a false picture of what life on food stamps is really like?

The Biggest Cheats

Did Tom Brady know or no? Regardless, the deflategate news reminds of other big sports cheats in the past.

The Lasting Effects Of Bullying

Kids who are bullied are more likely than those who are mistreated by adults to suffer from mental health issues, a new study finds.

Woman claims Verizon Wireless caused her to have a heart attack

Angela Hawkins called Verizon Wireless last year to straighten out a problem with her bill. The grandmother of four hoped to talk to a helpful customer service representative. Instead, according to a lawsuit, the rep and her supervisor treated Hawkins rudely and threatened to have her arrested. She claims the supervisor wrongly accused her of threatening to kill everyone in the call centre and caused her to have a heart attack. "I was just blindsided," Hawkins said. "What a horrible thing to accuse someone of." Hawkins sued Verizon Wireless on Wednesday for $2.35 million, claiming both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hawkins, 53, of Chesapeake, Virginia, said she called to ask for help with another Verizon Wireless representative's promise of a $60 account credit made several weeks before. During the Nov. 19 call, Hawkins spoke to a female customer service representative for at least 20 minutes. The 4-foot, 10-inch woman said she never raised her voice or threatened the rep because she's "not that type of person." The rep eventually suggested Hawkins speak with her supervisor. Hawkins waited on hold for several minutes, the lawsuit said. When the supervisor came on the line, the lawsuit said, he indicated that Hawkins had threatened his employee and that he was calling the police. Hawkins said she was shocked anyone would say something like that about her. She felt lightheaded and quickly got off the phone and sat on her couch.

She talked to her husband about what happened and checked her blinds several times in anticipation of police cars. Jeffrey Brooke, Hawkins' attorney, said the threat of arrest really shook his client. "She had visions of SWAT guys breaking her door down and putting her in leg shackles," he said. Hawkins said the supervisor called back about two hours later and apologized for the "miscommunication." "That was his word," she said. The supervisor explained he had listened to a recording of the original call and determined she had not threatened anyone, according to Hawkins. She said the supervisor didn't mention the $60 credit, and she didn't press the matter. "I'd already had a horrible experience," she said. "I wasn't going to subject myself to that again." The day after the call, Hawkins went to her doctor. She said an EKG revealed she'd had a heart attack.
Hawkins said her doctor personally drove her to a hospital, where she underwent surgery to place a stent in one of her arteries. She said she spent four days in the hospital. Hawkins said she had high cholesterol but no history of heart problems before the call. "She was in good health," Brooke said, noting that she took a stress test in 2013 and passed. "It was all found to be in good working order." Brooke said the hospital trip cost more than $60,000. Plus, he said, Hawkins will require special medication for the rest of her life at a cost of about $120,000. Hawkins said this is the first lawsuit she's been a party to. "I'm not one who believes in suing," she said. But Hawkins said she's seeking more than her $60 credit. She wants Verizon to realise "the representative did a wrong... a horrible wrong." "It's one thing to say I can't help you," Brooke said. "It's another thing to say I'm calling the police." A spokesman for Verizon Wireless declined to comment on the lawsuit filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court, citing the pending litigation.

Woman surprised to find cocaine in granola bar

The San Antonio Police Department has confirmed narcotics detectives are investigating how a small bag of cocaine ended up inside the wrapper of a granola bar eaten by a local woman. "It's a somewhat disturbing case," Sgt. Javier Salazar said. "You think of a child getting a hold of a package that's got interesting symbols on it, dollar signs in this case, and ingesting something like cocaine that could have a possibly dangerous effect, maybe even deadly on a child," added Salazar.
Cynthia Rodriguez reported the incident to SAPD on March 18, after the bag of cocaine fell from the wrapper of a Nature Valley granola bar. Rodriguez said she originally thought she won a prize. She called Nature Valley and a company representative told her to report the incident to her local police department. Rodriguez said an officer and a detective first tested the substance to see if it was heroin. The detective then tested it for cocaine. "He tried for cocaine and they both looked at each other and he goes 'oh my goodness, its high quality cocaine,'" said Rodriguez.
SAPD took the drugs, the wrapper and the box the granola bars came in as evidence. Salazar said detectives are trying to determine at what point the cocaine got inside the wrapper. "We're not sure if this was something added on purpose or if it was something that may have fallen out of someone's pocket on the assembly line," said Salazar. General Mills, the company that owns the Nature Valley brand, released a written statement on Wednesday: "We referred this to the police department in March, and are confident this did not happen in our facility."

When pressed for answers about why company officials feel this way, spokesperson Mike Siemienas said granola bars move quickly along its factory assembly lines and that it would be "difficult" for someone to place drugs inside a wrapper. Rodriguez said she's thankful one of her 11 grandchildren, three of whom live at her home, did not find the bag. "What if they thought it was sugar?" asked Rodriguez. Rodriguez said she was given several boxes of Nature Valley bars along with other snack products from a person who hands them out at as samples at San Antonio area stores. She said the larger box, the granola bar box and the wrapper itself did not appear to have been opened at any point before she got the products.

Machete-wielding man who tried to steal lawn chairs fought off by woman with garden hoe

A man from Bingham, Maine, was arrested on Sunday after allegedly threatening a woman with a machete when she confronted him as he was allegedly stealing lawn chairs from her property. Dwight Nathan Hart, 64, is charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and criminal trespassing, according to Chief Deputy James Ross of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. The woman, whose name was not released, told police that she saw a pickup truck pull into her yard at around 6:15pm, Ross said.
“A male got out, who was Mr. Hart, and he started taking her lawn chairs,” Ross said. He said the woman confronted Hart with a garden hoe and told him to put the chairs down. The two did not know each other, Ross said. They got into an argument. When the woman went to take the chairs out of the back of the truck, Hart pulled a large machete out of the truck and started swinging at her, Ross said. “He actually hit the hoe several times,” Ross said.
“The deputy actually saw machete marks on the hoe handle.” The woman was able to take the chairs back and Hart left, but not before the woman wrote down his license plate number and gave a description of the vehicle to police, Ross said. Deputy Wilfred Dodge of the sheriff’s office responded to the call and was able to locate Hart at his residence. Dodge was assisted by other members of the sheriff’s office and the Maine State Police.
There were no serious injuries, although Ross said the woman did hit Hart with the hoe handle. Ross said the property was posted against trespassing, and Hart admitted to having seen a “No Trespassing” sign. “I don’t know what prompted him to take the chairs, whether it was a crime of opportunity or something else,” Ross said. “The victim said she had never seen him before.” Hart is being held at the Somerset County Jail on $500 cash bail.

Bangladeshi authorities use signs in 'sacred' Arabic to deter men from peeing in public

Authorities in Bangladesh appear to be winning the battle to stop men from urinating in public by putting up signs in Arabic, which is regarded by Muslim Bengalis as a sacred language.
Although most Bengalis are not even able to read Arabic, the recent decision of the Religious Affairs Ministry to put up signs telling people not to pee in public seems to be working. Arabic is sacred because it is the language the Koran is written in. Similar signs in the Bengali language were having little effect.
A spokesmen for the religious affairs ministry said the campaign had been a success. “We took the initiative to erase the warnings in Bangla language against urinating in public and instead wrote the same message in Arabic, you can see the result yourself – it appears to be a successful campaign so far,” he said.

But it has received harsh criticism from Fariduddin Masud, a well-known cleric, who said it was running the image of Arabic. “Nobody has the right to use the language of the Koran for such a campaign. The people of the country respect Arabic but that does not mean that we’ll tolerate the use of Arabic to stop people from urinating [at street corners],” the cleric said.

Greece vs, Turkey

Since 1974 Cyprus has been divided in two: One part is ethnically Greek, while the other is Turkish. However, there are signs that the two sides may reunite soon. So why is Cyprus divided?

Captain Kidd's Treasure

Marine archaeologist Barry Clifford says he has discovered silver treasure from the infamous 17th-century Scottish pirate William Kidd.

Roman Temples and Medieval Secrets

Until now, little was known about Hosn Niha, a Roman-Byzantine village located in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

Clear-Cutting Romania

Logging Threatens One of Europe's Last Virgin Forests
by Nils Klawitter
Clear-Cutting Romania: Logging Threatens One of Europe's Last Virgin Forests
One of Europe's most beautiful forest areas is disappearing piece by piece in Romania's Carpathian Mountains. Some of the logging is illegal. The wood is then sold to make flooring or heating pellets that are sold in Germany and other countries.  More

Cerbera odollam

The "suicide tree"
The plant, whose scientific name is Cerbera odollam, is as infamous as it is ubiquitous in Kerala, India, where it grows wild along the southwestern coast. The thin-branched, flowering tree bears a deadly harvest: a softball-sized fruit with seeds so toxic they can stop a heart. In the 19th century in Madagascar, where the tree is also found, thousands of people per year died after consuming the seed in “trials by ordeal” believed to determine whether they were guilty of witchcraft or other crimes. And a 2004 study found that it’s responsible for roughly a death per week in Kerala, most of them suicides. Researchers believe that more people have taken their own life using othalanga than any other plant in the world. More information at the link, but I had to go to Wikipedia to find the pharmacologic basis of the toxicity:
The kernels of C. odollam contain cerberin, a potent cardenolide glycoside belonging to the cardiac glycoside family of toxins that includes digoxin. The poison blocks the calcium ion channels in heart muscle, causing disruption of the heart beat. This is most often fatal. Cerberin is difficult to detect in autopsies and its taste can be masked with strong spices. Therefore it is often used in homicide and suicide in India...
The seeds also have a long history as a poison in Madagascar. The poison was responsible for the death of 2% of the population (3000 people per year, 50,000 per generation) of the central province of Madagascar. The belief in the genuineness and accuracy of trial by ordeal using this poison was so strongly held among all, that innocent people suspected of an offense did not hesitate to subject themselves to it; some even showed eagerness to subject themselves to the test. On one occasion over 6000 people died in a single ordeal.
The toxin is therefore similar to the one incorporated into the bodies of Monarch butterfly caterpillars when they feed on milkweed.
And I'd bet it's been used for lots of murders.

Mixing With Andromeda

The Andromeda galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way, is sporting a massive halo of hot gas spanning a million light-years into intergalactic space.

Mom of the Year?

A desert spider lets her young eat her from the inside out as soon as they're born. Now that's dedication.

Carrying The Young

'Baby on board' takes on a whole new meaning for these super moms, who may carry anywhere from one to hundreds of babies on their backs.

Man and his dog are suing energy company over exploding manhole

A man who was hit in the head by an exploding manhole cover in Park Slope, New York, while he was walking his dog is suing Con Edison - and he's named his beloved pet as a plaintiff. Salvatore Grillo, 71, says the utility is to blame for an explosion that sent a cast iron manhole cover sailing into his head on Feb. 2, 2015, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Grillo suffered permanent "serious personal injuries" from the explosion and so did his dog, a black Lab named Abby, according to the lawsuit. The dog sustained multiple wounds, including singed fur and paws, the lawsuit alleges. Abby also suffered psychological damage that left her afraid to leave home, according to the lawsuit. The blast sent the manhole cover about 25 feet into the air and shattered windows in a nearby apartment building.
Abby was so spooked by the eruption that she ran into Prospect Park and was found about an hour later at a pharmacy. The dog was taken to Sean Casey Animal Rescue, which tracked down her relieved owners. Casey said that Abby's paws and nails were torn up from her run. Bloody paw pads are visible in a photo of the dog taken that day. The Feb. 2 manhole fire in Park Slope was one of hundreds that erupted on streets in New York last winter, when salt in melting snow seeped underground and damaged wires, sparking the blazes.
Grillo's lawsuit claims Con Ed was negligent in part because it failed to prevent wiring from eroding, didn't install a manhole cover that "would not fly during underground vault explosions," and didn't warn the public to stay away from the potential threat. There are 250,000 manholes in New York City, a Con Ed spokesman said. The covers are typically about 2 feet wide and can weigh up to 260 pounds, but most are lighter, the spokesman said. A spokesman for Con Ed declined to comment because the litigation is ongoing.

Animal Pictures