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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1430   Burgundians capture Joan of Arc and sell her to the English.  
1533   Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.  
1618   The Thirty Years War begins.  
1701   Captain William Kidd, the Scottish pirate, is hanged on the banks of the Thames.
1785   Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals.
1788   South Carolina becomes the eighth state to ratify U.S. Constitution.  
1861   Pro-Union and pro-Confederate forces clash in western Virginia.
1862   Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson takes Front Royal, Virginia.  
1864   Union General Ulysses Grant attempts to outflank Confederate Robert E. Lee in the Battle of North Anna, Virginia.  
1900   Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney becomes the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor, thirty-seven years after the Battle of Fort Wagner.
1901   American forces capture Filipino rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo.  
1915   Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.  
1934   Gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are killed by Texas Rangers.  
1945   Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi Gestapo, commits suicide after being captured by Allied forces.  
1949   The Federal Republic of West Germany is proclaimed.  
1960   Israel announces the capture of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.

People may sniff their hands for "chemosignals"

Why do people shake hands? A new Weizmann Institute study suggests one of the reasons for this ancient custom may be to check out each other’s odors. Even if we are not consciously aware of this, handshaking may provide people with a socially acceptable way of communicating via the sense of smell.
Not only do people often sniff their own hands, but they do so for a much longer time after shaking someone else’s hand, the study has found. As reported today in the journal eLife, the number of seconds the subjects spent sniffing their own right hand more than doubled after an  experimenter greeted them with a handshake...
Next, to explore the potential role of handshakes in communicating odors, the scientists used covert cameras to film some 280 volunteers before and after they were greeted by an experimenter, who either shook their hand or didn’t. The researchers found that after shaking hands with an experimenter of the same gender, subjects more than doubled the time they later spent sniffing their own right hand (the shaking one). In contrast, after shaking hands with an experimenter of the opposite gender, subjects increased the sniffing of their own left hand (the non-shaking one). “The sense of smell plays a particularly important role in interactions within gender, not only across gender as commonly assumed,” Frumin says.
At least we're more subtle than dogs.  More information here

Bronze Age Princess

An iconic Bronze Age girl who was buried in Denmark about 3,400 years ago came from a foreign land, a new analysis of her hair and teeth suggests.

Columbia President Refuses to Shake Rape Victim’s Hand at Graduation Ceremony

Columbia President Refuses to Shake Rape Victim’s Hand at Graduation Ceremony (VIDEO)
On top of all she has been through, the president of Columbia University wouldn’t even shake this brave victim’s hand at graduation.

Distraught man appeals for return of his father's ashes left in back of taxi following day in pub

A grieving son has issued a plea for help after he left his dad’s ashes in the back of a taxi after spending a day in the pub. James Rice was collecting his dad’s ashes from his aunt, who came up from London three weeks ago. The 23-year-old, from Craigie in Dundee, and his family were collecting the ashes in order to honor his father’s wishes to bury him with his mother at Balgay Cemetery. But, after getting a taxi home having spent a day in town with his family, James left his father’s ashes in the back of the cab, only to realize what he had done the next day.
He said: “When it happened I felt absolutely gutted, it completely slipped my mind when I stepped out of the taxi. I only realized I had left them behind the next morning after I had got up. I’m now desperate to get them back. We were collecting his ashes from all our family members so we could honor his last wishes and bury him with his mum in Balgay Cemetery. The ashes were in four little containers inside a purple floral bag and were left in a silver cab. The cab must have been private hire, as it didn’t have any logos on it.”
Brian Rice died aged 67 on February 16 and was cremated at the crematorium in Ardler the week after. His ashes were then shared between his family.Brian’s sister, Pearl, took the ashes in her possession back to London for a time before returning with them to Dundee so he could be buried with his mother, Catherine at Balgay Cemetery. On Friday April 24, James and members of his family collected his aunt Pearl from the train station, where she had arrived carrying some of his father’s ashes. On her return, the Rice family thought it would be right to celebrate Brian’s memory and went to the pub. At around 11pm, James admits his memory went a “bit blank”.
James said: “I was out with my aunt Pearl, my mum Alison and my two uncles, Rab and Ally. We met at the train station, then went to the Market Bar to celebrate the memory of my dad. He was a lovely father and was the type of person who would help anybody. After coming out of the pub, we went to a takeaway on the Nethergate, then over to the taxi rank in front
of the Steeple Church next to the Overgate. We just jumped into the first taxi at the front of the queue and went back home to Craigie. My mind must have gone blank after that because I just don’t know how I could have forgotten something like that. If anyone could help find my dad’s ashes and hand them in to the police station or to the taxi rank, it would be appreciated so much.”



Hostage negotiator called in to talk two men down from single story roof

Police chiefs called in a trained hostage negotiator to talk two men down from a rooftop just eight feet off the ground. A bemused passer-by captured the moment the hostage negotiator, more often seen at armed sieges, stood within touching distance of the men sitting on a porch roof. The two men, aged 27 and 21, spent 90 minutes on the tiles with their feet in the guttering during the stand-off at a community centre on Anglesey, North Wales. Police were called to a disturbance in the area at 7pm last Thursday after they climbed on the roof. North Wales Police officers called in a trained hostage negotiator after failing to get the men to climb down. The men were brought down after 90 minutes and arrested for using threatening language and causing a public nuisance. But Cllr Peter Rogers, of Isle of Anglesey County Council, questioned whether the response from the police was over the top.
He said there was some suggestion the men would only talk to a negotiator who could speak Welsh. Coun Rogers said: "I have full sympathy with the police and what they do. But I would question the need for a police negotiator for people on a relatively low roof." North Wales Police did not respond to the question of whether the negotiator was necessary. A spokeswoman said: "A trained negotiator was called and shortly after 8.30pm the men were brought to safety."
The 21-year-old man from Caernarfon, North Wales, has been charged with common assault, using threatening behavior with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence. The 27-year-old man from Newborough, North Wales, has been charged with criminal damage, using threatening behavior with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence and causing a public nuisance. Both are due to appear before Caernarfon Magistrates.

Plane steward who smuggled fake passports in his underpants jailed

An air steward who tried to smuggle fake passports into the UK by hiding them in his underpants has been jailed for five years. Shaukat Ali Cheema, a senior steward with Pakistan International Airlines, was arrested at Birmingham Airport in March.
Dozens of passports and driving licenses were found in his underpants. The 59-year-old admitted seven counts of possessing false identity documents at Birmingham Crown Court.
Border Force officers found the documents, which also included passport bio-data pages, in specially constructed pockets sewn into the lining of the underpants.
Dawn Cartwright, from the National Crime Agency, said they were intended for people based in Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Pakistan. She said fake passports and driving licenses were a serious concern, as they could be used by criminals to avoid detection.

Eight people injured by gun-toting elderly man in dispute over gate not being closed properly

A pensioner in Italy has wounded eight neighbors including three children, after shooting at them during a row over the gate to their apartment building.
Former security guard Marco Castiello, 76, opened fire with a hunting gun after discovering that the gate to the building in Afragola, near Naples, had been left ajar - despite years of pleas for it to be closed properly.
Three children aged seven, 11 and 16 were lightly wounded, as were two men aged 19 and 21 and three women between 26 and 55 years old.
"I'm in the right," Castiello told police who arrested him, while his nephew, who has the same name, said the shooting was "the result of exasperation after seven years of misunderstandings and arguments."
There's a news video in Italian here.

Tourist jailed after patting Dubai policewoman's shoulder while asking for directions

A holidaymaker, who denied molesting a policewoman when he patted her shoulder to ask her for directions to Dubai Mall, has been jailed for three months. The 49-year-old Kazakh tourist, K.B., molested the policewoman by touching her arm and assaulting two policemen at Burj Khalifa Metro station in December. “That is not true. I did not molest her. I only patted her on her shoulder as I wanted to ask her for directions to Dubai Mall … I had no criminal intention at all,” said the defendant when he entered an innocent plea.
On Sunday, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed K.B. for three months after he was convicted of molestation. Presiding judge Mohammad Jamal also fined the defendant Dh2,000 (£350, $550) over the assault charge. The accused will be deported following the completion of his punishment, according to Sunday’s ruling that remains subject to appeal within 15 days. When asked if he assaulted the two policemen, the defendant said: “I did not assault them.”
Prosecutors said the Kazakh molested the policewoman and assaulted two other policemen when they tried to arrest him. The 21-year-old policewoman testified that the defendant touched her arm while she was guiding the crowds of commuters at the Metro station. “Someone touched my shoulder. When I turned back, the defendant asked me for directions to the mall. I guided him and then asked him why he had touched me. I couldn’t understand his language.
“He touched my hand again. I pulled my hand away, then I asked him to escort me to the police office. He refused. My two colleagues presented their police IDs. He refused to go with them to the police office and, when they tried to take him, he assaulted them,” claimed the policewoman. The two policemen said the accused pushed them and did not want to be taken to the police office at Dubai Mall. The suspect told prosecutors that he patted the policewoman’s shoulder to ask her for directions to the mall as he is a tourist.

12-year-old boy in trouble after being enlisted by his drunk father to drive him home

A drunk father in France has landed his 12-year-old son in trouble with the law after he enlisted him to drive him home following a boozy fishing trip.
Realizing he was too drunk to drive, the 41-year-old father thought the next best option to getting behind the wheel himself would be to ask his 12-year-old son to drive him home. The police pulled over his vehicle on Saturday night in the Loiret departement in central France.
Inside, they found a 12-year-old boy behind the wheel accompanied by his worse-for-wear father slumped in the passenger seat. The father admitted that he had called in the family favor after realizing he had had too much to drink, with police measuring his blood/alcohol content at almost 0.2 percent - meaning he was almost four times over the legal driving limit. France's legal blood alcohol content for driving is 0.05 percent.
Exactly why he asked his pre-teen son to do the favor and not someone a little older, like a taxi driver for example, remains unclear. But his request has landed his son in trouble with the law. The son is under investigation on the suspicion of driving without a license and his father for various driving offenses. The police noted, on the plus side, that the boy appeared to have mastered the finer points of driving, and had even indicated correctly when pulling over to the side of the road.

Man assaulted cousin in disagreement over way she was cooking hard boiled eggs

A Florida man is facing a felony charge after allegedly assaulting a female relative because he “did not agree with the way she was cooking hard boiled eggs,” police report.
Cory Lee Shinkman, 23, was arrested last week following a confrontation in the St. Petersburg home he shares with the victim and other family members.
According to police, after Shinkman argued with his cousin about the boiled eggs, he followed her out the back door “and pushed her against a dresser and scratched her.”
When questioned by police, Shinkman reportedly “admitted the offense,” but said that his cousin “pushed him inside the house first.” A witness, however, contradicted Shinkman’s claim that the woman was responsible for escalating the incident. Shinkman, whose has a prior battery conviction, was freed from the Pinellas County jail after posting $1500 bond.

Bearded man dressed as woman robbed pharmacy

A bearded man dressed as a woman robbed a Walgreens pharmacy at gunpoint on the west side of Detroit, police said.
The armed robbery took place at around 10:50am on Monday. The man was wearing a black curly wig, a purple dress, white shoes and was carrying a brown purse and cane.
Police release surveillance footage on Tuesday of the man as he stood at the pharmacy counter. An employee filled the suspect's purse with an undisclosed amount of US currency before the suspect fled on foot.

The suspect is described by police as a black male, 30- to 40-years-old, approximately 6-foot and weighing 250-280 pounds. He has a full beard and mustache. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detroit police.

Non Sequitur


Hog droving

Before motorized trucks became common, nearly all livestock went to market on foot: cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, and geese... Hogs, though, ruled the road. Americans raised more pigs than any other type of animal, so naturally swine crowded out other beasts on the turnpikes. The best estimates suggest that in the antebellum South, five times as many hogs were driven as all other animals combined...
A few farmers from the Bluegrass region of Kentucky—pig country before the horses took over—walked their hogs through the Cumberland Gap and all the way to Charleston, South Carolina, a distance of more than five hundred miles...
The start of the journey was especially difficult, for during that stage loud noises could send pigs stampeding back toward their home farms. One solution was to sew up their eyelids: temporarily blinded, the pigs clumped together and kept to the road by feel. At their destination, the stitch was clipped and their vision restored. (The young Abraham Lincoln, charged with driving a recalcitrant drove of hogs aboard a riverboat, pulled out a needle and thread and started sewing.)...
Because pigs could walk about ten miles a day, inns—often known as wagon stands—sprang up at ten-mile intervals along the roads, offering drovers and their pigs food and a place to sleep...
The largest cattle drives, from Texas to Kansas, involved as many as 600,000 cattle a year, but they lasted just fifteen years or so. Hog droving, by comparison, involved hundreds of thousands of animals during peak years and on some routes lasted nearly a century.
Excerpts from Lesser Beasts

Canine-Human Bond

Two modern dog breeds share DNA with a prehistoric Siberian wolf, suggesting that the ancestry of today’s dogs runs much deeper than previously thought.

Craziest of 2015

A kinky fish and a cartwheeling spider are just two of the recently named top 10 new species for 2015.

Diverse Plankton

Many of the plankton found are new to science and give a unique snapshot of how tiny ocean critters co-exist. 

Animal Pictures