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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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Today in History

1303   A peace treaty is signed between England and France.  
1347   Cola di Rienzo takes the title of tribune in Rome.  
1520   Hernando Cortes defeats Spanish troops sent against him in Mexico.  
1690   England passes the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.  
1674   John Sobieski becomes Poland's first king.  
1774   Parliament passes the Coercive Acts to punish the colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior. The acts close the port of Boston.  
1775   North Carolina becomes the first colony to declare its independence.
1784   The Peace of Versailles ends a war between France, England, and Holland.  
1799   Napoleon Bonaparte orders a withdrawal from his siege of St. Jean d'Acre in Egypt.  
1859   A force of Austrians collide with Piedmontese cavalry at the village of Montebello, in northern Italy.  
1861   North Carolina becomes the last state to secede from the Union.  
1862   President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, providing 250 million acres of free land to settlers in the West.  
1874   Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.  
1902   The U.S. military occupation of Cuba ends.  
1927   Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York for Paris.  
1930   The first airplane is catapulted from a dirigible.  
1932   Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman fly solo across the Atlantic.  
1939   Pan American Airways starts the first regular passenger service across the Atlantic.  
1941   Germany invades Crete by air.
1942   Japan completes the conquest of Burma.  
1951   During the Korean War, U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara becomes the first jet air ace in history.   
1961   A white mob attacks civil rights activists in Montgomery, Alabama.  
1969   In South Vietnam, troops of the 101st Airborne Division reach the top of Hill 937 after nine days of fighting entrenched North Vietnamese forces.  
1970   100,000 people march in New York, supporting U.S. policies in Vietnam.

The Story Behind the "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" Ad

The TV series Mad Men aired its final episode last night, and the 1971 Coca-Cola ad called "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" featured prominently. While fans of the show are debating the meaning of how it was used, the man who actually came up with the ad tells us the story behind his inspiration. Bill Backer was the creative director at McCann at the time.
See, my moment came out of truth and emergency. I had to come up with a commercial, we were getting sent to record in London and were stuck in Ireland.

I had to come up with something. I was stuck in an airport. I had a studio rented and paid for, lots of actors and producers. I looked around people were sitting there together having a coke. So I wrote that on the back of a napkin: “I’ve got to teach the world to sing. I’d like to buy the world a coke and furnish it with love.” That’s what the product was doing at the time. It just felt like I heard a voice from somewhere saying, “I’d like to be able to do this for the whole world.”
In the interview, Backer explains what his job was like in the ‘60s and how it differed from the Mad Men version. Be warned it contains a video of the final scene in the series, in case you are avoiding spoilers

How Far Did Frodo and Sam Travel in The Lord of the Rings?

From their homes in the Shire to Mount Doom where they destroyed the One Ring, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee traveled about 1,350 miles. That's the same distance as from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California.
Redditor Isai76 created a series of helpful maps that illustrate the distances in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. How far was the journey of the Fellowship from Rivendell to Moria? 175 miles, which is the same distance between London and Manchester. Isai76 has helpfully laid out each leg of the journey of the Fellowship. So start marching.

32 Products Perfect for Book Lovers' Homes

Book stair decals | Etsy.com | Name your title and the Etsy shop owner custom makes it for youThose who love to read are kindred spirits, and few things are more attractive to them than the thought of enlarging their personal libraries. This collection of 32 items that are linked to literary life is full of gifts for the book lovers in your circle, even (or especially) if that person is yourself.

Get Ready for the Crazy Foods of This Fair Season

Fair season is almost upon us and if you're dying to see what's in store to fill your heart with cholesterol and your veins with sugar, then you'll be excited to hear that some of the new food selections at one of our favorite fairs, The San Diego County Fair, have been announced. Among this year's more interesting selections are:
  • Chocolate-Covered Pork Rinds
  • Pig Trough -three pounds of pig skins topped with pulled pork and cheese
  • Wasabi Bacon Bombs –spicy pork with wasabi wrapped in dough and bacon and deep fried
  • 10 feet of Bacon-on-a-Stick
  • Deep-Fried Starbucks -whole Starbucks coffee beans and chocolate chips in sweet pastry dough, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, rolled in sugar and served with whipped cream
  • Deep-Fried Slimfast Bar (presumably for the dieters)
  • Deep-Fried Peanut Butter Pickle – a hollowed out pickle filled with peanut butter and then deep fried.
Personally, I'm looking forward to some chocolate-coverd pork rinds this year. If you live in San Diego, you can stop by and enjoy these treats for yourself between June 5 and July 5, but if you aren't in the area, you can be sure a local fair will be swinging your way sometime this summer carry some of these strangely wonderful treats.

New epidemic decimating Italian olive trees

Across the stony heel of Italy, a peninsula ringed by the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean, olive trees have existed for centuries, shaping the landscape and producing some of the nation’s finest olive oils. Except now many of the trees are dying.
Sprinkled among the healthy trees are clusters of sick ones, denuded of leaves and standing like skeletons, their desiccated branches bereft of olives. The trees are succumbing to a bacterial outbreak that is sweeping across one of Italy’s most famous olive regions, as families that have manufactured olive oil for generations now fear ruin, even as officials in the rest of Europe fear a broader outbreak.
“It is devastating,” said Enzo Manni, director of ACLI-Racale, an olive cooperative in the heart of the outbreak area. “It is apocalyptic. I compare it to an earthquake.”
Today, scientists estimate that 1 million olive trees in the peninsula, known as the Salento, are infected with the bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, a figure that could rise rapidly. The bacterium steadily restricts water flow from the roots of a tree to its branches and leaves.
More details at the StarTribune. The bacterium "is believed to have arrived with plants imported from Costa Rica and has destroyed citrus trees in Brazil and vineyards in California."



The Real Reason Republicans Hate Welfare And Food Stamps

by Ben Madison
These days, it seems that the majority of wingnuts tend to view the world through a very simplistic scope that allows little room for discussion, interpretation, or compromise. We have reached a point where any questioning of unregulated capitalism automatically gets you labeled as a socialist, communist, Marxist, or Fascist because those are all interchangeable right?
When President Obama became the Democratic nominee in 2008, conservatives unleashed a vicious tornado of attacks labeling him a Kenyan born dictator who supported redistribution of wealth, taking from those who have, and giving it to those who do not. They were right about part of that. He does believe in redistribution of wealth but guess what? So do most Americans.
If your children go to a public school, if your streets are patrolled by the city or county law enforcement, if your garbage is picked up by city workers, if you have ever dialed 911, if you or anyone in your family has worked in the public sector, if you’ve ever claimed deductions on your taxes, and if you’ve ever driven on a public road, not only have you condoned redistribution, you have supported it.
The modern day wingnuts are led to believe that all government is bad, and that they don’t need government in their everyday lives. We have reached a point of insanity where an average Joe making 30,000 a year drives on a public road, to drop his kids off at a public school, all while listening to wingnut hate speech radio tell him how evil every aspect of government is. This disconnect from reality is unreal.
The truth is, many of the services that Americans rely on are rooted in redistribution. Social Security, Medicaid, public safety services, and emergency services are just a few of the redistributive services that all Americans enjoy, while never even realizing that they are a form of democratic socialism.
Why then do wingnut Americans freak out when a family needs food stamps to eat, or when a young mother needs WIC, or TANF to survive? The answer is racism.
I’ve had friends over the years that took advantage of public assistance services for their families such as WIC or Food stamps. The truth of the matter was, they really didn’t need them, but in their minds, they earned the right to use these public services since they worked and paid taxes. The problem was, they were all white, and they all shared a disdain for minorities that receive public assistance. You see, when white people use public assistance, they are getting back what they’ve paid in – but when black people or other minorities use public assistance, they are lazy and entitled. Sadly, that’s how wingnuts think.
The Republican Party has done a wonderful job of getting everyday, white Americans to look down upon, and demonize minorities for doing the same thing that they do, all while being oblivious to the fact that they are being robbed blind by the billionaires behind the Republican party money machine. In the South, there is an understood but subtle racism among many white people that is rarely talked about, but always present. Just delve into any comment section of a local news story on virtually any city in a southern state that involves the subject of an African American, and those dog whistles turn into sirens very quickly.
You see, it all goes back to looking at a very complex world through a very simplistic lens. It doesn’t work. Modern day wingnuts truly believe that everyone is given the same exact opportunity to succeed regardless of their race or where they come from, and that is just not true. Study upon study proves that African Americans and minorities have a much harder path to success than their white counterparts, yet when they look to take advantage of the same public assistance services that many white people enjoy, they are demonized, they are called lazy freeloaders, they are made into the punch lines of jokes, and they are ridiculed beyond belief – all because of an obvious double standard that is rooted in white privilege.

A White Man And A Black Man Open Carry An AR 15: Guess Who Gets Arrested?

A White Man And A Black Man Open Carry An AR 15: Guess Who Gets Arrested? (VIDEO)
On May 6,  a white man and a black man conducted a high-risk experiment. The two pro-gun, open carry supporters walked the streets of their neighborhoods with the exact same type of gun — an AR 15 — slung over their backs. They both live in places where it’s legal to open carry, and they both got stopped by police.
That’s where their similarities end. It’s awfully strange how the NRA-sponsored GOP loves open carry — and law enforcement tolerates it — but not when black people do it.
The two men each went on their open carry strolls as someone followed with a video camera. The videos — which they spliced together and shared on Live Leak — show encounters with police that are disturbingly different.
The video first shows the white man — who hails from the state of Oregon and posts lots of YouTube videos of his open carry adventures under his Marked Guardian handle — getting approached by a cop. The police officer clearly dislikes the AR 15, demands Marked Guardian’s I.D., and asks a few questions. Marked Guardian refuses to give the officer his ID, explaining that open carry is perfectly legal in their state. And that’s it.
If you search “Open Carry” on YouTube, you’ll see oodles of tense but ultimately peaceful interactions like this, because these mostly white people often record their walks and their interactions with police. What we don’t see as often is what happens to black people who open carry.
The video switches over to the black man sauntering down the street with his perfectly legal AR 15. When the police come, they don’t bother asking him any questions, they just pull out their guns and order him to drop his weapon and lie prone on the ground or they’ll shoot.  Who cares if open carry’s legal, they’ll arrest him anyway. Seconds later, there are two police cars and three cops with guns drawn as the fourth takes the black man into custody.
Now, this writer harbors a strong revulsion towards the open carry movement and guns in general. Nonetheless, this black man was open carrying an AR 15, which is LEGAL in his state and which he was not pointing at anyone or waving around threateningly or doing anything different than what the white man was doing. Yet the cops threatened him with their guns, forced him to the ground, called another squad car for help, and then illegally arrested him.
There’s something seriously wrong with open carry being legal, but there’s something even more seriously wrong with black open carry activists getting abused and detained illegally while their white counterparts walk away Scot-free.
Watching this video is almost enough to make you wonder whether open carry is justified in some communities, and that’s a scary thing. You’d think that communities of color would have more reason to fear police and embrace open carry than white folks, but try explaining that to a bunch of paranoid white tea baggers.
This is not the first time cops discriminated against black open carry activists.
White liberal folks (including this writer) love to tar the open carry movement with the viscous brush of racism, but in some cases, it’s more complicated than that. Last September Hell’s Saints, a mixed-race open carry group from Michigan, raised a hullabaloo after a black member got arrested for open carrying in Detroit. Naturally, he was the only one who got arrested. At the time, this writer was unable to get the standard police report information because Detroit’s GOP-run “Emergency Manager” has privatized all the record-keeping and not only requires a fee (which this writer would have paid), but requires you to come to the Detroit Police Dept.’s main office in person.
Here’s the video with the sharp and disturbing contrast between the white and the black open carry activists’ encounters with police in Oregon — a state in which open carry is perfectly legal.
Note: This experiment is not exactly scientific, as some commenters have pointed out. The incidents shown happened in different locations, and others pointed out that the position of the black man’s AR 15, slung alongside his hip instead of over his back, may have provoked the police officer. Still, given what we see in the news headlines every day, it is hard to see how an encounter between police and a black man open carrying could have ended any differently than this.
Correction notice: An earlier version of this post lumped law enforcement in with the “NRA-sponsored GOP” that “loves “open carry. Obviously, that is not true. Anyone who has watched the numerous open carry videos showing confrontations with police (as this writer has) knows that people in law enforcement do not seem fond of open carry at all, though they are forced by law to tolerate it. In February, the Dallas News reported that a survey of 200 police officers in Texas — ground zero for the open carry movement — revealed that 75 percent oppose open carry. This writer regrets the error.

This Woman Was Born, Married, and Buried on the Same Day of the Year, Each of Which Was a Monday

This is the grave of Julia Nathalie Graham Forsythe. She rests in the Gillespie Evergreen Cemetery in Transylvania County, North Carolina. Three of the biggest events of her life occured on same day of the year--May 14--each of which was a Monday. I've verified this with an online date calculator.
Well all have days like that.

When It's the End of the World As We Know It -You Won't Feel Fine

There are a lot of post-apocalyptic stories out there ranging from zombie attacks (The Walking Dead) to diseases (12 Monkeys). While the end of the world is a fascinating story setting, the reality would be more depressing than practically any of us could remember -that's because nuclear disasters, fire, floods, disease, malnutrition and more would actually leave everyone dead within a short span of time. Survivor stories aren't exactly all that interesting when there aren't any survivors and this TopTenz article explains why there's a good chance that any disaster on this scale would wipe out all humans -not just most of them.

Men jailed for shaving off half of fellow motorist's hair, beard and mustache in driving dispute

Two Gulf nationals were sentenced to one year in prison each by a Qatari court for shaving half the head, beard and mustache of an expatriate driver to punish him. The court in the capital Doha said the two men were guilty of attacking and humiliating the Asian driver. The driving license of the Gulf driver will be revoked for three months, the court also ruled.
The defendants said they were forced to react after the Asian driver overtook their car in a reckless manner that almost caused them to hit the pavement of a major road in Qatar. They claimed they were driving calmly when they were almost hit by the Asian driver who wanted to move ahead of them without any signal or warning. In his declaration, the driver said that he was driving his car normally on a public road when the driver of another car signaled him to pull aside.
He said that he opted to ignore the signal and kept on driving his car. However, after being chased for some time, he decided to stop on a side road and inquire about the motives of the two people in the other car. When he stopped, he was confronted with insults from the two men who accused him of putting their lives at risk through his reckless driving. “The two defendants held me and tied me up on the back seat of my car,” the driver said. “Then, one of them took out a shaver and shaved off half of my head, beard and mustache.
“They eventually untied me and sped away in their car. I alerted the police and an investigation was launched,” he said. The two men were arrested and referred to the public prosecution for questioning before they were put on trial. They admitted they abused the victim, but insisted they wanted to teach him a lesson for putting people’s lives at risk through reckless driving. The court issued the jail sentence, but turned down other requests from the victim’s lawyer. The nationalities of the defendants and the victim were not revealed.



Parents warn of man wearing surgical gloves driving through neighborhood

Two 12-year-old girls were walking in the Glen Tara neighbourhood of Chesterfield County, Virginia, last Sunday when they said a man driving a red Chevy low-rider truck crept by them.

Concern expressed over mural of female feeding purple beaver apple on wall of adult bookstore

Some residents of Richmond, Virginia, expressed concern when they spotted a mural being painted on the side of an adult bookstore. The vibrant, cartoonish work depicts a female feeding a purple beaver an apple. But some fear the colorful creation may attract children. Jason Sears has nothing but praise for the mural, but questions where it was installed.

Lucky iron fish can help make people stronger

When Canadian science graduate Christopher Charles visited Cambodia six years ago he discovered that anemia was a huge public health problem. In the villages of Kandal province, instead of bright, bouncing children, Dr Charles found many were small and weak with slow mental development. Women were suffering from tiredness and headaches, and were unable to work. Pregnant women faced serious health complications before and after childbirth, such as hemorrhaging. Ever since, Dr Charles has been obsessed with iron. Anaemia is the most common nutritional problem in the world, mainly affecting women of child-bearing age, teenagers and young children.

In developing countries, such as Cambodia, the condition is particularly widespread with almost 50% of women and children suffering from the condition, which is mainly caused by iron deficiency. The standard solution - iron supplements or tablets to increase iron intake - isn't working. The tablets are neither affordable nor widely available, and because of the side-effects people don't like taking them. Dr Charles had a novel idea. Inspired by previous research which showed that cooking in cast iron pots increased the iron content of food, he decided to put a lump of iron into the cooking pot, made from melted-down metal.
His invention, shaped like a fish, which is a symbol of luck in Cambodian culture, was designed to release iron at the right concentration to provide the nutrients that so many women and children in the country were lacking. The recipe is simple, Dr Charles says. "Boil up water or soup with the iron fish for at least 10 minutes. That enhances the iron which leaches from it. You can then take it out. Now add a little lemon juice which is important for the absorption of the iron." If the iron fish is used every day in the correct way, Dr Charles says it should provide 75% of an adult's daily recommended intake of iron - and even more of a child's. Trials on several hundred villagers in one province in Cambodia showed that nearly half of those who took part were no longer anemic after 12 months.

Around 2,500 families in Cambodia are now using the iron fish and the Lucky Iron Fish company has distributed nearly 9,000 fish to hospitals and non-governmental organizations in the country. What pleases Dr Charles most is the fact that villagers appear to have accepted the smiling iron fish, which is 3in (7.6 cm) long and weighs about 200g (7.1 oz). The World Health Organization estimates that two billion people - over 30% of the world's population - are anemic, mostly due to iron deficiency. It says stopping iron deficiency is a priority - for individuals and countries. However, there are other forms of anemia. It can also be caused by vitamin B12 and A deficiencies, parasitic infections, such as malaria, and other infectious diseases.
There's an additional news video here.

It’s Raining Spiders in Australia

Ah, Australia: where big spiders explode into hordes of little ones and cobwebs cover entire towns. It is the continent where, more than anywhere else, Nature is trying very hard to kill you in creative ways.
For the residents of Goulburn, New South Wales, that means spiders. Millions of them appear to be raining down from the sky. Now you may argue, “John, that’s not how the water cycle works.” To which I will reply, “But: Australia.” And that reasoning will prevail.
Scientist Martyn Robinson suggests that what’s happening is that baby spiders are engaging in the “ballooning” migration technique. They build streamers of silk which catch the air and carry them away—sometimes as high as 3 kilometers off the ground. Those silks cover buildings and fields in a phenomenon called “Angel Hair.” The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Robinson:
"They can literally travel for kilometers … which is why every continent has spiders. Even in Antarctica they regularly turn up but just die," he said.
"That's also why the first land animals to arrive on new islands formed by volcanic activity are usually spiders."
In some years, the mass migration of baby spiders means "you can have entire fields and paddocks and trees festooned with this gossamer or Angel Hair, as some people call it," he said.
Just be glad that Australia’s snake population doesn’t migrate this way (to the best of my knowledge).

Beaver made shopping trip to hardware store

A beaver wandered into the parking lot of the Lowe's construction and home improvement store in Fairbanks, Alaska, at about 7am on Friday, triggering the automatic doors and strolling inside. Once inside the store, the beaver made its way to the plumbing department, where store employees attempted to provide assistance to the wild animal. A cellphone video of the incident shows employees asking the beaver if there is anything they can help it find in the store.
However, the beaver seemed to prefer to wander aimlessly through the store instead of asking for help. One witness in the video observed that the beaver appeared to be injured. Eventually, employees were able to trap the beaver under a cardboard box until a technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game could arrive to remove the animal from the store and bring it to wildlife biologist Tony Hollis, who had received a wake-up call about the beaver from the Alaska State Troopers dispatchers.
"Often it's usually something like there's a bear in town or an ornery moose or something, but this was a little different," Hollis said. Hollis took the beaver for a ride down to the Chena Pump Boat Launch, where he released it into the Tanana River. He said he chose the location because it seemed like a place at which the beaver wouldn't become too much of a nuisance. It's not exactly clear where the beaver came from since there is no open water in the direct vicinity of the Lowe's store, but Hollis guessed it may have come from the wetlands several blocks to the north and come south across the Johansen.
The beaver was about the age where it would typically be kicked out of the house and head out to build its own lodging, according to Hollis. "I'm not really sure what he was thinking, but he was the age class that's dispersing out of the house," Hollis said. "Whether he got confused or who knows what happened in his mind that he ended up at Lowe's." According to Assistant Store Manager Adam Vanhoveln, this is the first time an animal has triggered the store's automatic doors. Vanhoveln said the beaver didn't cause too much of a disruption to the store's operation.
There's a short video here.

Animal Picture