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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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Daily Drift

Yep, sure do ...!
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Today in History

1543   Nicolaus Copernicus publishes proof of a sun-centered solar system. He dies just after publication.  
1607   Captain Christopher Newport and 105 followers found the colony of Jamestown at the mouth of the James River on the coast of Virginia.  
1610   Sir Thomas Gates institutes "laws divine moral and marshal, " a harsh civil code for Jamestown.  
1624   After years of unprofitable operation, Virginia's charter is revoked and it becomes a royal colony. 
1764   Boston lawyer James Otis denounces "taxation without representation," calling for the colonies to unite in opposition to Britain's new tax measures.
1798   Believing that a French invasion of Ireland is imminent, Irish nationalists rise up against the British occupation.  
1844   Samuel Morse taps out the first telegraph message.  
1846   General Zachary Taylor captures Monterey.  
1861   General Benjamin Butler declares slaves to be the contraband of war.  
1863   Bushwackers led by Captain William Marchbanks attack a Federal militia party in Nevada, Missouri.   
1878   The first American bicycle race is held in Boston.  
1930   Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to fly from England to Australia.  
1941   The British battleship Hood is sunk by the German battleship Bismarck. There are only three survivors.  
1951   Willie Mays begins playing for the New York Giants.  
1961   Civil rights activists are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

Army Captain in Captain America Shirt Rescues Two People from Fire

Captain Steve Voglezon, US Army, was in Chatham County, North Carolina on Sunday when he saw a horrible head-on car collision. The cars caught on fire while two people remained inside, trapped and unable to escape.
Most people run away from fires, but Captain Voglezon ran toward the burning cars. He didn’t have a vibranium shield, or even a firefighter’s protective clothing—just a Captain America shirt. He used a fire extinguisher to smash open a car window, then dragged the two occupants to safety.
You can see the dramatic rescue in this video.
I would like to see a Chris Evans, the actor who plays Captain America, wearing a Captain Voglezon shirt.

Huge Insurance Company Cites Climate Change As Reason For Divesting From Coal

AXA is the first global financial institution to divest from investments in coal companies.

16 Household Uses for Mason Jars

Mason jars are handy for canning and storing food, but they can also be used for all kinds of handy household purposes. Over at Homes and Hues, we rounded up 16 cool hacks for using mason jars around your home.
From storage systems to lighting options, it's amazing what you can do with a simple jar.
See more of these handy tricks for using your old mason jars over on Homes and Hues: 16 Mason Jar Hacks for Your Home

Hot Dog Dishes From Around The World

Hot dogs are popular yet polarizing, tasty yet terrible on the stomach, kosher yet made of lips and...you know the rest.
Whether you call them tube steak, bratwurst, frankfurters, polish sausages or weenies there's one thing all cylindrical meat products have in common- people around the world just can't get enough!
The hot dogs we scarf down at sporting events or while waiting in line at Costco today are thought to have originated in Germany during the 1800s in their original weiner and frankfurter forms.
Since then the hot dog has evolved into a fun handheld food product people the world over enjoy in their own unusual way.
The Brazilian hot dog, which is topped with carrots, corn, Parmesan cheese and french fries, may seem strange to those who like nothing more than relish and mustard on their dog.
Then again, Brazilians find it strange that American men rarely wear swim briefs to the beach so I guess strangeness is relative!

Popular Song Lyrics Are Written at a Third-Grade Reading Level—And Are Dropping

Are you more literate than a third grader? If your vocabulary is limited to the most popular songs on the Billboard charts for the past 10 years, then that’s in doubt.
Andrew Powell-Morse of the data blog SeatSmart compiled the lyrics from 225 of the most popular songs in the pop, country, rock, and hip-hop genres. He analyzed them with the Flesch-Kincaid grade index to generate reading level scores. On average, songs that were popular over the past 10 years were written at the third grade level, but that’s been steadily dropping over time. You can see more charts here, including ones that show gender and genre differences, as well as the grade levels of specific singers, such as Kanye West and Justin Timberlake.

Vintage Photographs of Native American Life

The Night Medicine Men
Vintage Everyday attributes this compelling collection of 17 Native American photographs to famed western historical photographer Edward S. Curtis. These images are said to be part of Curtis' The North American Indian, captured between 1907 and 1930. The photos were an ethnographical study of numerous tribes that Curtis believed to be vanishing peoples in their last days whom he felt were incredibly important to document. See more images from this grouping at Vintage Everyday.

The Altar
The Drying Mummy

Classical Paintings Photoshopped Into Modern Settings

Have you ever wondered what the subjects of classical paintings would look like when placed in a modern setting?

I've wondered how people would handle seeing a naked person walking around town like they do in classical paintings, but Venus on the half shell in a modern setting has been artistically done to death.
However, I can’t recall seeing composited images of classical paintings in the modern world that are as compelling, or entertaining, as the works of Alexey Kondakov.
Alexey uses precise figure placement and an appropriate urban backdrop to sell the fact that the Madonna and child would ride the subway home, and bacchanalian revelry would take place under a highway overpass.

Man's enlistment of stuffed owl as defense attorney proved to be unsuccessful

Charles Abbott arrived at court in Aspen, Colorado, on Tuesday with a stuffed owl and placed it on the defense table in front of him. “He’s a very sensitive guy, has law degrees from Yale, Harvard and Stanford,” Abbott told Pitkin County Court Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely. “I think he’ll be able to represent me before a public defender comes online.” But the fluffy horned owl that Abbott called “Solomon,” had no influence on the hearing’s outcome. Fernandez-Ely casually ignored its presence when Abbott introduced it, and she moved along with the court’s business. Abbott’s court appearance was to address a protection order that took effect after he was accused of assaulting his former roommate, Michael Stranahan, at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on May 9. Authorities again arrested Abbott, 67, on Saturday on suspicion of violating the court order by going to Stranahan’s home to collect some belongings.
Stranahan said he had previously thrown Abbott out of his place. Abbott told Fernandez-Ely it was a misunderstanding; Stranahan said Abbott took some of Stranahan’s possessions. “I was pretty clear that Mr. Abbott was not to go there,” the judge said. Fernandez-Ely asked Stranahan, 75, if he wanted to modify the protection order so that the two can undergo mediation to patch up their differences. Stranahan declined. “I want it to remain in place because I don’t feel safe about being in close proximity to Charles Abbott,” Stranahan said. Stranahan said he was out of town on Saturday when Abbott’s friend, Eric Nilan, called to ask if he could collect some of Abbott’s possessions. Nilan, who recently was released from jail after being sentenced to four years of supervision for felony stalking, asked Stranahan if Abbott could join him, Stranahan told the judge.
“I said Mr. Abbott cannot go to my house because of a little piece of paper (the protection order),” Stranahan said. But at 8:30 that night, Stranahan received a call from Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Crider, who said Abbott was in his house. “He asked if that was OK, and I said it was not OK,” Stranahan said. He added, “I think it would have been OK if Eric had gone by and got what he needed, but he didn’t do that, and I feel a violation of trust. So there you have it - I don’t know what to do.” Stranahan also said he doesn’t want Nilan to be involved as a conduit between him and Abbott anymore. “I think it puts undue pressure on Mr. Nilan,” he said. Abbott had hoped the Rev. Nicholas Vesey of Aspen Chapel could bring the two estranged friends together. Vesey told the judge he knows both men and that they attend his church.

“To me, it’s tragic to see them at odds with each other,” he said. Vesey said he normally doesn’t get involved in domestic disputes but that Abbott had asked for his help. Even though a protection order is in place, Abbott can still attend church when Stranahan is there. But he isn’t allowed to have any contact with him, the judge said. After Abbott learned that Stranahan didn’t want to make up, he accused his ex-friend of numerous misdealings. He also alleged Stranahan was wearing his L.L. Bean flannel shirt. “I’d like to point out that Mr. Stranahan is wearing one of my shirts, the blue one,” he told the judge. “That is not his shirt; that is mine.” Fernandez-Ely told Abbott his remarks were out of scope with the hearing and that if Abbott wants to retrieve his belongings from Stranahan’s home, he needs to make sure there’s a deputy on the scene.

Jealous woman assaulted 82-year-old boyfriend with hacksaw and model plane

A woman from Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, is accused of attacking her 82-year-old boyfriend. State police at Rockview were called to Mount Nittany Medical Center on Friday morning after getting a report of a man receiving treatment after an assault. They arrived and interviewed the man and Bonnie Treaster, 46, who told troopers that an unknown person entered the man’s home and assaulted him, according to police.
But on Monday, the man was released from the hospital and met with state police at his Potter Township home, where he told them a different story. According to court documents, the man told police that Treaster assaulted him in “an outrage of jealousy.” The man reported that Treaster first slapped him in the face, began throwing things through the house and punched him in the eye, according to police. The man said he then ran from the house to a detached garage, and Treaster followed, threw him on the ground and was on top of him “to the point he could hardly breathe,” according to police.
He also reported that she struck him on the head with an exhaust clamp, grabbed a hacksaw and tried to pull down his pants. He said he ran from the garage in the hopes someone would see him when he noticed a badly bleeding groin wound, police said. Treaster followed him in a pick-up truck and he got in and they went back to the home. He reported that once they got back in the house, she began yelling again and struck him in the mouth with a wing tip of a model airplane, according to police.
The man said he and Treaster fabricated the story about the unknown assailant on the way to the hospital. He sustained lacerations that needed stitches on his head and finger, a black and blue left eye, an injury to his genitals and a minor brain bleed, according to court documents. A bloody hacksaw was found in the garage Treaster is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault and a summary harassment charge. She was arraigned on Tuesday morning before District Judge Carmine Prestia, who set bail at $75,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 27.

Four Home-Schooled Brothers Plead Guilty In Rape, Assault Of Sister

Four Home-Schooled Brothers Plead Guilty In Rape, Assault Of Sister
We're probably going to hear a lot about this.

Sign language interpreter left little doubt about unparliamentary language from sweary politician

New Zealand Member of Parliament Ron Mark uttered a barely audible swear word in the House, but viewers watching Parliament TV's sign language interpreter were left in no doubt about what was said.
The NZ First MP appears to have momentarily forgotten the cameras were pointed his way when he decided to tell the jeering Government benches to "shut the f*ck up".
Anyone who could lip read could easily catch what Mark muttered, but for those left wondering they need only watch the interpreter making a guest appearance as part of Sign Language Awareness Week.

The faux pas went unnoticed by Speaker David Carter at the time, but Mark voluntarily apologized at the end of Question Time, later saying he did not know it was audible.
Many thanks to Daniil, whose friend is the sign language lady.

How to Swear Like a Brit

In this twenty-ninth episode of Anglophenia, current host Kate Arnell gets down and dirty, teaching us Yanks to swear like Brits. From show promo:
"Swearing ranks up there with taking tea and discussing the weather as a British pastime. If you’re uninitiated in the colorful world of British swearing, Anglophenia’s Kate Arnell offers you a master class in the latest episode of our YouTube series. Don’t worry: we won’t turn the air blue with the naughtier terms, but here’s a good start if you want to slide in a “bloody hell” or two into your daily conversation."

Natural Gas Report

“Breaking wind,” as the English so politely call it, is a natural and inevitable part of life. So it’s not surprising that farts occasionally make it into the news.
In June 2012, a 72-year-old New Jersey man named Daniel Collins was arrested and charged with assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and making terrorist threats, when he pointed a .32-calibre revolver at his neighbor and threatened to shoot him in the head. What got Collins so worked up? According to police, he and the neighbor were involved in an ongoing dispute over noise. The feud escalated to its breaking point when the neighbor walked past Collins’s front door and farted so loudly that Collins could hear it from inside his apartment. Collins was later released on his own recognizance without having to post bail. (No word on whether, if convicted, he’ll have to spend time in the can.)
Scientists have long known that the farts and burps released by livestock are a significant source of greenhouse gases. But precisely how significant has been difficult to say because it’s almost impossible to accurately measure the emissions of animals out in the fields. In the summer of 2011, scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory announced plans to develop a system for “auditing a herd’s collective flatulence” by shooting laser beams around the animals as they graze (and fart and burp) in their pastures. “We use lasers to interact with the gas,” researcher Alan Brewin told the Daily Telegraph. “The way the light is absorbed tells you what gas there is, how much of it there is, which direction it is flowing, and how fast.”
In November 2012, Britney Spears’s former bodyguard, 29-year-old Fernando Flores, sued the singer, alleging that she paraded around her home in the nude, made “repeated, unwanted sexual advances,” and farted “unapologetically” in his presence. Flores asked for more than $ 10 million in compensation for “psychological trauma, anxiety attacks, depression and insomnia,” despite the fact that he’d worked for Spears for less than six months. “He’s a liar,” a spokesperson for the star told reporters. The case was settled out of court.
In July 2012, scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland published a study that found that hydrogen sulfide, the gas that gives farts their rotten egg smell, also lowers blood pressure in mice. Researchers in the United States and China are now studying whether farts— making them or perhaps just smelling them— might one day be used as a therapy to help lower the blood pressure of humans. “The effective dosage could prove difficult to establish due to the difference in size between humans and mice,” said Yao Yuyu, a researcher at Zhongda Hospital in Nanjing.
Not long after the president of Malawi introduced legislation in 2011 to reform the African nation’s court system, Justice Minister George Chaponda told a radio interviewer that the bill also contained language that would make farting in public a misdemeanor. “Just go to the toilet if you feel like farting,” the minister said, adding that public tooting had been on the rise since the country transitioned from dictatorship to democracy in the early 1990s. So did Malawi really try to outlaw farting in public? Nope: Turns out that the legal language in question actually dealt with air pollution, not farting, but Minister Chaponda didn’t know that because he hadn’t read the bill. By the time he retracted his statement, Malawi’s so-called “fart ban” had made embarrassing headlines all over the world. Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga told the BBC, “How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the prohibition to criminalizing farting in public is beyond me.”

Man faces charges for trying to shoot raccoon that had been stealing his dog's food

A Florida man faces weapons charges for reportedly trying to gun down a sticky-fingered raccoon on his property.
Joseph Perugia, 55, of Palm Coast, was charged with two counts of reckless or negligent discharge of a firearm on residential property, use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was released from custody on Tuesday morning after posting $4,000 bail.
According to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office incident report, deputies responded to Perugia’s home just after 9pm on Monday following reports of gunfire. Perugia appeared to be armed when deputies arrived and he initially refused to drop his gun and come out from behind his gate.
When he did, officers noted he slurred his speech and appeared unstable on his feet as if he was drunk. Perugia said he used a .357 Magnum to shoot at a raccoon that had been stealing his dog’s food. Officers recovered the weapon from his property and determined he had fired two shots.

War of words over whether animals can suffer verbal abuse

A case of alleged animal abuse in the far west of New South Wales, Australia, has led to debate about whether sheep can comprehend human speech. It began in September last year, when the New South Wales branch of the RSPCA received a tip-off about the alleged mistreatment of sheep, including verbal abuse, that were being shorn at Boorungie Station, 130 kilometers from Broken Hill. The complaint was lodged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had apparently obtained footage and testimony from an undercover operative working at the station. For Ken Turner, who operates Boorungie Station, the complaint itself suggests the sheep could at least understand English. "The basis for the concerns was the rights of the animals, that they might have been harassed by viewing things they shouldn't have seen or verbal abuse by people using bad language," he said. "To my knowledge, there was no actual cruelty on the job.
"The allegation was that bad language was used by an employee on the property in front of the sheep, and that they could have been offended by the use of bad language." Steve Coleman, CEO of NSW RSPCA, said the war over the words began when it was decided, for reasons that remain unclear, that the video footage was not legally usable. "We felt the footage was inadmissible and therefore we relied on what oral evidence came from both parties," he said. "It was conflicting and on that basis we were unable to continue. The evidence that was available basically came down to one person's word against another." While Mr Coleman did not deny that verbal abuse was a factor, he insisted the complaint contained more concerning issues than just bad language. "Certainly there were other concerns well beyond yelling at sheep," he said. While describing claims about verbal abuse of animals as "rare", Mr Coleman said the RSPCA took such allegations seriously.
"If there is an allegation that puts at risk an animal that would cause it unnecessary suffering and distress, we would investigate it," he said. "I don't know if it matters what language is used. An animal is not going to understand it." But Nicolah Donovan, president of Lawyers for Animals, said animals did understand. "I think it is conceivable that verbal abuse of an extreme nature against an animal, whether it be human, sheep or otherwise, could constitute an act of violence," she said. "We have accepted that domestic violence can certainly be constituted by acts of extreme verbal abuse, particularly when the victim of the abuse is especially vulnerable - if they have a low fear threshold or they lack understanding that the verbal abuse isn't going to proceed to a physical threat against them. This might be the case with children or farm animals, and the level of abuse needn't be that extreme to cause that kind of fear in an animal."
Lynda Stoner, CEO at Animal Liberation NSW, agreed. She said animals did not need to understand language in order to comprehend that a human speaker was frustrated or angry. "I'm not sure all animals can understand different dialects," she said. "I don't think they're getting the nuances someone is using. What they will be getting though is the threat inherent in the way that voice is used. I believe they can absolutely comprehend emotion. We all know that animals feel pain and suffering, we know animals remember what's been done to them, and we know they can anticipate brutality if it's come before. I don't think that's placing human emotions on animals. It's simply that all animals, all species, are capable of feeling pleasure, pain, suffering and all those feelings we feel." As for Ken Turner at Boorungie Station, the experience has been an eye opener, but he is not about to watch his words in future. "It made me ask a lot of questions of myself about what we're allowed to do and not allowed to do," he said. "I believe we do things properly. We'll continue as normal."
There's an audio interview with Ken Turner here.


Christian LeBlanc of Vancouver is an exchange student in Bangkok. He visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and was feeding bananas to the elephants when one of the pachyderms grabbed his camera! the result was a selfie taken by an elephant, or an “elphie.”
"I see a sign that for 50 cents you can feed the elephant. So my girlfriend and I go and buy a basket of bananas and we start feeding the elephant," LeBlanc told CBC News.

"The elephant loves the bananas, so it kind of gets a bit nosy — it grabs at your hands, it tries to take all the bananas. And once we ran out, next thing I knew it was it was grabbing the GoPro."
LeBlanc had turned on the time-lapse feature on his GoPro camera, so it automatically took a picture. As you can see, elephants don’t need a selfie stick because they carry their own extension around all the time! You can see more pictures of LeBlanc’s Thailand adventures at Buzzfeed.

Beautiful New Crawfish Species Looks Like It’s Ready to Go to a Rave

)This is the Cherax pulcher. The latter term is related to the Latin adjective for “beautiful.” And indeed it is!
This delicious-looking crawfish has been only recently classified. A German scientist named Christian Lukhaup found it in Hoa Creek, West Papua, Indonesia. It grows up to 12 centimeters long and is noted for its coat of many colors, including shades of blue and purple. There are at least 19 known Cherax species. This one has shown up at local markets since about the year 2000.
I’ll take 5 pounds—extra spicy, please.

Animal Pictures