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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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

756   Abd-al-Rahman is proclaimed emir of Cordoba, Spain.  
1213   King John submits to the Pope, offering to make England and Ireland papal fiefs. Pope Innocent III lifts the interdict of 1208.  
1602   English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold discovers Cape Cod.  
1614   An aristocratic uprising in France ends with treaty of St. Menehould.  
1618   Johannes Kepler discovers his harmonics law.  
1702   The War of Spanish Succession begins.  
1730   Following the resignation of Lord Townshend, Robert Walpole becomes the sole minister in the English cabinet.  
1768   By the Treaty of Versailles, France purchases Corsica from Genoa.  
1795   Napoleon enters the Lombardian capital of Milan in triumph.  
1820   The U.S. Congress designates the slave trade a form of piracy.  
1849   Neapolitan troops enter Palermo, Sicily.  
1862   The Union ironclad Monitor and the gunboat Galena fire on Confederate troops at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Virginia.  
1864   At the Battle of New Market, Virginia Military Institute cadets repel a Union attack.  
1886   Emily Dickinson dies in Amherst, Mass., where she had lived in seclusion for the previous 24 years.  
1916   U.S. Marines land in Santo Domingo to quell civil disorder.
1918   Pfc. Henry Johnson and Pfc. Needham Roberts receive the Croix de Guerre for their services in World War I. They are the first Americans to win France's highest military medal.  
1930   Ellen Church becomes the first airline stewardess.  
1942   The United States begins rationing gasoline.  
1958   Sputnik III is launched by the Soviet Union.  
1963   The last Project Mercury space flight, carrying Gordon Cooper, is launched.
1968   U.S. Marines relieve army troops in Nhi Ha, South Vietnam after a fourteen-day battle.  
1972   George Wallace is shot by Arthur Bremer in Laurel, Maryland.
1975   The merchant ship Mayaguez is recaptured from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge.  
1988   Soviets forces begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Worst Censorship

Countries with the worst human rights abuses tend to prohibit the publication of dissenting views. Only 14 percent of the world's population live in a country with a truly free press.

Chinese Company Gives More Than Half of Its 12,000 Employees a Vacation in France

To create a collegial atmosphere, some companies provide free coffee for the office coffee pot. Others don't dock your time for restroom breaks. Similarly, the Tiens Group gives its employees vacations in France.
The Chinese firm employees about 12,000 people. It recently gave 6,400 of them a vacation in France, including a mass tour of the Louvre in Paris before a visit to the lovely Riviera city of Nice. The Guardian reports:
A huge Chinese company, Tiens Group, is treating more than half of its 12,000 employees to a four-day holiday in France and has booked up 140 hotels in the capital Paris as part of the package, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.
According to Le Parisien newspaper, the trip by the 6,400-strong group includes a mass visit to the Louvre museum, and they are expected to spend €13m euros (US$15m) in total.
This is a forward-thinking move by billionaire company chairman Li Jinyuan that will no doubt enhance the performance of his employees and therefore massively increase profits. Surely other enterprising and visionary corporate leaders could do likewise to benefit their companies ...

Walmart makes over $600 for every $1 they spend on drought-stricken California water

Walmart sign and parched land - Shutterstock
Walmart makes over $600 for every $1 they spend on drought-stricken California water — and it’s legal

How Health Insurers Rip Off You And Your Employer

Court Case Shows How Health Insurers Rip Off You And Your Employer
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan added hidden fees to hospital claims

Towels covered in massage oils caused fire at launderette

Towels soaked in massage oils sparked a fire at a launderette in Crawley, West Sussex, last Saturday night.
Three fire engines were called to the launderette on Tilgate Parade at about 10.15pm. It is unclear exactly how the fire started but it is believed to have been accidental and caused by the towels combusting due to the oil becoming hot.
The crews used four sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reels to tackle the blaze before leaving the scene at 10.50pm. A spokeswoman for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said: "The circumstances of this fire are unusual, but certainly not unheard of.
"If materials with oil residue are heated and then left in a tumble dryer, or are folded into piles or stacks before they are cool, there is a risk of self-combustion. It is really important to wash materials that have absorbed oil at a high temperature and to use the right detergent."

Mother unhappy that daughter is required to perform naked in order to pass art class final

A professor at the University of California, San Diego, is having his students take their final exam completely in the nude, and he says he's been doing it for years. A mother of one student in the class is completely outraged that her daughter is asked to perform naked.
“It's just wrong. Is this the memory that my daughter's going to carry with her for the rest of her life? It bothers me. I’m not sending her to school for this. How terrible. This sucks. This is just wrong. And to blanketly say you must be naked in order to pass my class, it makes me sick to my stomach,” the unidentified mother says.
Students are required to create “a gesture that traces, outlines or speaks about your ‘erotic self(s),'” according to the Art Visual course syllabus. In the performance, all of the students are naked, along with the professor, Roberto Dominguez, who has taught the class for 11 years.

“It’s the standard canvas for performance art and body art,” Dominguez says. “It is all very controlled. If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the class.” Professor Dominguez adds that he has never before received a complaint.

Man compared neighbor's Hindu statue with Nazi swastika

A religious spat has broken out between two neighbors in rural Auckland, New Zealand, after one erected a 6.4m (21-feet) statue of the Hindu god Shiva. Ravin Chand says he installed the 30-tonne religious effigy so that he and his family could pray to it. But neighbor Bryce Watts, a Catholic, said the marble statue was "bizarre" and "offensive". "Religiously and culturally it's a bit insensitive to us and I can't believe they're able to do this. Part of our property looks at it and it's part of a religion we don't agree with," he said. "I don't see why we should have it poked down our throats in such a big way."
It took Chand more than a week to assemble the statue and he defended it saying it was part of Hindu culture. "It's just that the size is a bit bigger," he said. Asked why he had mounted the giant deity, Chand said: "Do you need a reason to pray? I don't think so." He would not reveal what the statue cost, saying only "it cost me an arm and a leg. I don't want to put a price on god", he said. Chand said he commissioned the carving of the marble statue from a sculptor in China in June last year. It arrived in New Zealand in April, and had been sitting in a container on his Clevedon property before being erected this week. It was so large it had to be mounted on solid concrete foundations.
Chand said the correct council consent and geo-technical inspections were completed beforehand. But Watts said he was not informed about the proposed statue, and said it was "bizarre" it could be erected without any consultation with neighboring properties. "They've let it go ahead to be built without consulting us, and we're probably the most affected here because everywhere we go on our property it's kind of there." Watts said he had complained to Chand but there was little else he could do because the Auckland Council had already consented to it being built. "I've been to the council and asked about it and evidently it was within their rights to do it and it doesn't need a permit, even though it's a 6.4m-high concrete statue.
"It's 10m from our boundary which is within the rules where you can build a building. It's like, 'bad luck, if you don't like it, it's your problem'. I find it really hard to believe in this day and age that this can happen." Chand said Watts had phoned his wife, but was the only person to complain. "Everybody else who has gone past has stopped and admired it," he said. "[Watts] compared it with 'me putting up a [Nazi] swastika next door to you'. I said, 'Well if you want to put it up, feel free to put it up. Nobody can stop you from doing that, it's your property.' I'm not bothered. I haven't got time for people like that. I think it's just because it's something different, that's why [Watts is complaining]. People aren't used to it," he said.
There's a short video here.

Man broke into home and ate family's chicken

George Leverous Bennett, 24, of Sylacauga, Alabama, is currently in the Talladega County Metro Jail on a charge of burglary in the second degree. According to Talladega police Chief Jason Busby, a patrol officer was transporting a prisoner to the jail on Tuesday when he spotted Bennett wearing only a pair of tennis shoes.
The officer notified the jail staff, who sent deputies to look for Bennett. As the deputies and police officers began looking, Bennett allegedly kicked in the back door of a residence and went inside. The residence was occupied by a woman and three children, Busby said.
Bennett allegedly made his way to the kitchen, where he ate Zaxby’s chicken valued at $13.98, according to the incident and offense report. The woman who lived in the house gathered up the children, called 911 and fled. By this time, probation officers and jail staff had also joined the chase. Bennett was eventually located and restrained without further incident. His clothes were recovered at a different location.
According to jail records, Bennett had been arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace the day before and had only been out of jail for about an hour when the chase began. The burglary charge stems from his breaking into the house. He has not been charged with any other offenses. Burglary in the second degree is a class B felony in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by two to 20 years in prison.

Mummy Incest

Incestuous marriages were common among ancient Egyptian royalty and now a study shows there's physical evidence of the practice.
The pharaohs believed they descended from the gods so inbreeding was seen as a way to retain the sacred bloodline. 

Has there ever been a women-only army?

The Ministry of Defense has long debated whether women should fight for the nation’s armed forces, but King Gezo of Dahomey had no such reservations
19th-century illustration of a Dahomey warrior
19th-century illustration of a Dahomey warrior
The Kings of Dahomey (modern-day Benin) had used women as palace guards back in the 18th century, but by 1850, Gezo had thousands of all-female regiments in his army. The Dahomeans were fighting enemies who greatly outnumbered them, so it was decided to bolster their forces with fierce female warriors, known as the Mino.
They were skilled and deadly opponents, thanks in part to their often brutal training. The Mino climbed thorn hedges to get used to pain, and executed prisoners in order to hone killer instincts.
Although they were equipped with firearms, their specialty was hand-to-hand combat and they went into action wielding razor sharp machetes. Their last battles were in the 1890s, when they found themselves up against the French who were colonizing West Africa.
The undoubted bravery of Dahomey’s soldiers, both male and female, was no match for the modern weaponry of the French and they were eventually, and bloodily, defeated.



Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise is accelerating, putting millions along the coast at risk of flooding.

Producing More Than Expected

The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

11 Super-Cool Science Photos From The Past Decade

This picture looks like some tube-shaped creatures caressing a ball. They are caressing, alright, but they aren’t even living things!
An electron microscope photograph shows self-assembling hair-like polymers around a polystyrene sphere, about two micrometers in diameter. It won first place in the National Science Foundation's 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.
Self-assembling plastic is a pretty far out concept, but the detail and color in a microscopic image is amazing in itself. This is just one of a collection of fascinating scientific images, one for each year going back to 2005, covering a wide variety of disciplines, at HuffPo. Some you' ve seen here before, but are worth a second look.

Mounted police officer hailed a hero after reviving dog with mouth to mouth

Pam Curry from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, can't describe how thankful she is that Mounted Patrol Sgt. Jon Levi saved and revived her dog, Abby, from their smoke-filled home on Wednesday. Abby, a Bichon, is owned by Timothy and Pam Curry. Abby was in her kennel inside the garage when smoke filled the home. Sheriff's deputies responded where Timothy's mother asked Sgt. Levi, who was backup supervisor, to rescue the dog inside the garage.
Sgt. Levi went inside to rescue Abby, who was unresponsive in her kennel. "The dog was seizing and couldn't breathe," Sgt. Levi said. "I grabbed the kennel and snatched the dog out of it. The dog was gasping. I grabbed the muzzle and gave breaths. I gave the dog more breaths," Sgt. Levi said. "She took a deep breath." Sgt. Pedigo and Deputy Nick Coble then put water on Abby to cool her down. "I gave more breaths," Sgt. Levi said, adding when Abby started panting he thought it was a good sign.
When Curry arrived, Abby was lying on the ground covered with soot and wet. "I was just glad I was there at the right time at the right place," Sgt. Levi said. "I would want somebody to do the same for me. I'm sure the dog is part of their family. I'm just glad it worked." The Currys took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. "If it wasn't for Sgt. Levi's fast actions, the animal would not have survived," Sgt. Pedigo said.
Pam Curry said she was happy Sgt. Levi revived Abby. "He didn't have to do what he did," she said. "I thank him so much. Words just can't express how thankful my family is." Sheriff Robert Arnold said Sgt. Levi did an "awesome job" in saving the pet. "Sgt. Levi has a great love for animals and he showed that by going above and beyond to save Abby," Sheriff Arnold said. Sgt. Levi will receive a Letter of Commendation for saving the pet.


Pit Bulls Now Have Their Own Political Action Committee Pit Bulls Now Have Their Own Political Action Committee
And no, “pit bulls” is not a euphemism. This PAC is for dogs.

Foolish tourists chased by bear and cubs after getting too close at Yellowstone National Park

Tourists in Yellowstone National Park got a little too close to the wildlife last week, and one mother just couldn't bear it. A watchful black bear sow sent the curious onlookers running after they crowded her three cubs in a section of the park in Montana.
"Keep going! Go! Go!" Yellowstone Park Ranger John Kerr is heard yelling as the tourists scatter in a video. "These tourists were absolutely in danger," Bob Gibson, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Communication & Education Program Manager, said. "Black bears are usually shy of people. But you put them with their cubs and they get really protective.
"But you put them with their cubs and they get really protective. You never want to be between a bear and its cub." The cubs in the video are about 13 months old. A black bear cub spends the first year or so of its life learning survival skills from its mother before going off on its own. The mother becomes less protective as the cubs get closer to leaving her den.

According to Gibson, this encounter could have been deadly. "Had they been the young of the year and 10 days old, the mom would have been all over the tourists." Gibson advises visitors to Yellowstone to stay as far away from the bears as possible, especially in the spring when cubs are born and in the fall when the bears are getting ready to hibernate and are more protective of their food sources.

Animal Pictures