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

Monday, June 8, 2015

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Today in History

452 Attila the Hun invades Italy.
632 Mohammed, the founder of Islam and unifier of Arabia, dies.
793 The Vikings raid the Northumbrian coast of England.
1861 Tennessee votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.
1862 The Army of the Potomac defeats Confederate forces at Battle of Cross Keys, Virginia.
1863 Residents of Vicksburg flee into caves as General Ulysses S. Grant’s army begins shelling the town.
1866 Prussia annexes the region of Holstein.
1904 U.S. Marines land in Tangiers, Morocco, to protect U.S. citizen.
1908 King Edward VII of England visits Czar Nicholas II of Russia in an effort to improve relations between the two countries.
1915 William Jennings Bryan quits as Secretary of State under President Wilson.
1953 The Supreme Court forbids segregated lunch counters in Washington, D.C.
1965 President Johnson authorizes commanders in Vietnam to commit U.S. ground forces to combat.
1966 Gemini astronaut Gene Cernan attempts to become the first man to orbit the Earth untethered to a space capsule, but is unable to when he exhausts himself fitting into his rocket pack.
1967 Israel airplanes attack the USS Liberty, a surveillance ship, in the Mediterranean, killing 34 Navy crewmen.
1968 James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., is captured at the London Airport.
1969 President Richard Nixon meets with President Thieu of South Vietnam to tell him 25,000 U.S. troops will pull out by August.
1995 U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady is rescued by U.S. Marines in Bosnia.

How World War II Made America Literate

Before World War II, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby was out of print and almost unknown—a forgotten work of a previous generation. Then, in 1945, it was republished for distribution to American soldiers. Now The Great Gatsby is regarded as a treasure of American literature.
World War II had a profound impact on American culture, including what Americans read and that they read at all. In an article in Commentary, Terry Teachout describes how government programs to provide books to soldiers massively increased American reading habits and middlebrow culture. The US government saw providing interesting books to soldiers as essential to maintaining morale:
The solution was to distribute paperbacks, which had been introduced to the United States by Pocket Books in 1939. At a time when most hardbacks cost two dollars or more—$33 in today’s dollars—Pocket Books printed 38 million 25-cent paperbacks in 1943 alone. Its success persuaded other publishers that it would make commercial sense to work with the military on a program to print books for soldiers, the assumption being that to do so would create a new market for inexpensive paperback reprints after the war. Thinking along closely similar lines, Time, the New Yorker, and other magazines created miniaturized “pony editions” for servicemen.
Thus, the Armed Services Editions, which were published by a civilian organization called the Council on Books in Wartime—compact, oblong, two-column-wide paperbacks that were designed to slip easily into the pockets of a uniform. They were sold to the military for six cents per volume.
These Armed Services Editions (ASEs) altered the thinking and literary experiences of a generation of American men:
Witness, for instance, the testimony of a G.I. who wrote to Helen MacInnes, the author of the espionage novel While Still We Live, long after the war. According to MacInnes: “He had read little until [the ASE edition] got him enjoying literature. From there, he read constantly, and after his service went to college. He ended with a Ph.D. and sent me a copy. It was dedicated to me, the writer of the novel that started his reading.” […]
No less suggestive was the experience of the New Yorker, whose wartime “pony edition” jumped in circulation from 20,000 in 1943 to 150,000 in 1944. The magazine’s domestic circulation, which had been 171,000 in 1941, reached 325,000 a decade later, a leap that the editors attributed to the fact that so many servicemen had read it for the first time in the pony edition. Most important of all, commercial mass-market paperback reprints—not just of mysteries but of every possible kind of book, lowbrow and highbrow alike—became ubiquitous after 1945, undoubtedly because of the popularity of the ASEs among returning servicemen.

State Lottery Offers a 20-Year Supply of Bacon

The state-operated lottery of Indiana is offering a jackpot prize of 20 years of bacon.
Well, that’s what officials are saying, anyway. The prize is actually 20 years of bacon paid in $250 annual installments, so that’s actually more like 20 months of bacon for a normal person.
One can only hope that the state would also offer a lump sum payment. Not all of us can wait 20 years for that much bacon.

The Mercado Central

With hundreds of stalls selling fruits, veggies and meats, Valencia's Mercado Central (or Mercat Central) is among the largest fresh food markets in Europe. And although it has one of the city's principal tourist attractions, it remained popular among locals as well, many of whom do their everyday shopping here.
The Mercado Central dates from 1918, and while climbing the stairs to its main entrance, it's nearly impossible not to stop and admire the facade. Ceramic tiles are set above the arches, framing a massive circular window which bears Valencia's coat of arms.

Store apologizes for 'unfortunate' coconut typo

New Zealand supermarket chain Countdown has apologized for an "unfortunate case of human error" that led to an embarrassing typo on one of its in-store signs.
The sign advertising Griffins Krispie Toasted Coconut Biscuits misspelled the word coconut, turning it into an offensive expletive.
The mistake happened at Countdown's Meadowbank store in Auckland. A Countdown spokeswoman said a customer alerted store staff to the mistake on Tuesday.
The sign was taken down immediately and no formal complaints were received, she said. "This was simply an unfortunate case of human error and we apologize for any offense this has caused our customers."

Woman attacked boyfriend after he refused to get cuddly

A Florida woman is facing a domestic violence charge for allegedly biting, scratching, and hitting her live-in boyfriend when he declined to kiss and cuddle with her, police report. Danielle Houle, 39, was arrested last week for the alleged 2:30am attack inside the Vero Beach home of Jacob Burns, whom Houle has dated for about a year.
According to police reports, Houle “wanted to be affectionate and attempted to kiss” her 42-year-old beau, who declined. Burns’s sister told a sheriff’s deputy that Houle tried to get “cuddly” with Burns. In response to her amorous advances being rebuffed, Houle allegedly attacked Burns.
A deputy reported observing dried blood on Burns’s shirt, scratches on his head and neck, and a “large bite mark on the back of his upper left arm which was red, yellow and bruised.” Houle subsequently told an investigator that she "had been drinking and could not recall what had occurred” on May 25.
Houle was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery (she spent a day in jail before being released on $1,000 bond). She is also facing a probation violation charge since she is currently serving a five-year probation term stemming from a felony conviction for a drunk driving accident causing serious injury. Houle spent five years in prison on that prior case.

Brewery boss fired for drunk driving

Till Hedrich, head of the German subsidiary of the world's largest beer brewing company, has lost his job just five months in after he caused a traffic accident while under the influence.
Hedrich may not have organized a piss-up at his own actual brewery to celebrate his new job, but he definitely got drunk somewhere. In fact, in late April he got so drunk that he ended up causing a traffic accident while driving under the influence.
The company, which produces globally-known brands such as Beck's and Hasseröder, said that it had fired Hedrich after he reported the incident himself . "Our internal policy treats alcohol at the wheel with zero tolerance," a spokesperson for AB Inbev said.
"It emphasizes professional consequences for ignoring it. Alcohol is not a drink which has a place before driving a vehicle. That's why the company was shocked by Hedrich's actions. In his position he's expected to be a role model."

15 Capsules For Off-Grid Living

Why stay tethered to the grid in a fixed location when you could live in a compact mobile pod that can be transported to the location of your choice?
These modern capsules are what 21st-century off-grid dreams are made of, ranging from spacious self-sustaining retreats to accordion-like expanding shelters that are lightweight enough to tow behind a bicycle.

Blackbeard's Ship Confirmed Off North Carolina

After 15 years of uncertainty, a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, USA, has been confirmed as that of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, state officials say.
The Queen Anne's Revenge grounded on a sandbar near Beaufort in 1718, nine years after the town had been established.
Blackbeard (real name Edward Teach) and his crew abandoned the ship and survived. After a comprehensive review of the evidence, officials are sure it's the ship sailed by one of history's fiercest and most colorful pirates.

The Most Well-Designed Gardens In The World

Amazing flora is an important draw for some garden visitors, but for many others, the design of the space is the main attraction. In the book 'Reflections: Gardens' readers get a taste of incredible designs from around the world, both classic and modern. Together, they present a picture of the vastly different and uniquely stunning approaches to these ubiquitous natural places.

Does The 'True Face Of Shakespeare' Appear In Botany Book?

A 400-year-old botany book contains what could be the only known portrait of Shakespeare made in his lifetime, according to an academic expert. Botanist and historian Mark Griffiths cracked an 'ingenious cipher' to identify the playwright in an engraving in the 16th-Century work.
But Professor Michael Dobson, director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, said he was 'deeply unconvinced' by the theory. He says: 'One has seen so many claims on Shakespeare based on somebody claiming to crack a code. And nobody else has apparently been able to decipher this for 400 years.'

Scientists Figure Out Why 11 Billion Gallons of Water Disappeared in 90 Minutes

Supraglacial Lake of the Greenland Ice Sheet
When 11 billion gallons of water drained out of a glacial lake perched atop the Greenland Ice Sheet in less than two hours, scientists were left scratching their heads.
The scientific community believed that the weight of such a massive lake was too much for the glacier to handle, and that the ice buckled under the pressure, leaving the lake's contents to drain through giant cracks. They weren't sure, however, why only a random smattering of lakes drained so quickly, while others of equal size drained slowly.
After several years of investigation, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington have finally determined what exactly causes the selective cracks: movement of massive ice sheets.
Over three consecutive summers, the team used GPS technology to track the movement of the large sheets of ice before, during and after similar large-scale lake drainage events. In the hours leading up to the drainages, ice sheets shifted upward and slipped horizontally. The movement resulted in small vertical shafts in the ice, through which the lakes began to slowly drain, resulting in a pocket of water below the ice sheet.
Subject to pressure from both the actual lake above and the accumulated water below, the ice sheet suddenly cracks, figuratively opening the floodgates through which the lake drains at a remarkable speed.
"Ordinarily, pressure at the ice sheet surface is directed into the lake basin, compressing the ice together. But, essentially, if you push up on the ice sheet and create a dome instead of a bowl, you get tension that stretches the ice surface apart. You change the stress state of the surface ice from compressional to tensional, which promotes crack formation," remarked Laura Stevens, an MIT graduate student who authored a new study on the glacial lakes.

New Horned Triceratops Relative Nicknamed “Hellboy”

Regaliceratops peterhewsi When Dr. Caleb Brown first saw a nearly intact skull of a newly discovered Triceratops relative, he instantly knew that he was dealing with something special.
Discovered in Alberta, Canada, the Regaliceratops peterhewsi specimen sports a distinct frill, comprised of a crown-like arrangement of pentagonal plates radiating from its head. R. peterhewsi is also equipped with two "comically small" horns over its eyes, prompting Brown and his team to nickname the specimen "Hellboy", after the famous horned comic book character.
"Many horned-dinosaur researchers who visited the museum did a double take when they first saw it in the laboratory," said Brown.
Perhaps more importantly, R. peterhewsi is also giving researchers an unprecedented look into the evolutionary history of horned dinosaurs. There are two different classifications of horned dinosaurs: Chasmosaurines and Centrosaurines. Although officially classified as a Chasmosaurine, R. peterhewsi exhibits some characteristics of a Centrosaurine.
According to Brown, R. peterhewsi represents the first example of evolutionary convergence, a process through which two different groups independently developed similar features.
"This discovery also suggests that there are likely more horned dinosaurs out there that we just have not found yet, so we will also be looking for other new species," he added.

Crime-fighting children foiled goat-nappers

Crime-fighting children from Batchelor in Australia's Northern Territory came to the rescue over the weekend when two would-be thieves tried to goatnap popular local goat, Billy. Batchelor Butterfly Farm owner Chris Horne said two cars, a red Mitsubishi and a Red Toyota ute pulled over when Billy was grazing near the road. “We let him out occasionally, to much on some fresh grass,” he said.
Mr Horne said the two cars pulled up next to the Butterfly farm. “The Toyota had a dog cage on the back, and the two blokes were trying drag him away,” Mr Horne said. “I just saw these fellas trying to take Billy away and I thought: ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me!’ “They didn’t have much luck though, he’s a big boy.” Mr Horne said a number of local children came running, yelling at the men. “They were yelling, ‘they’re trying to take Billy’,” he said.
“All the local kids know him from the petting zoo.” Mr Horne said if the thieves had succeeded, Billy’s three wives would have been left to raise Billy’s growing family alone. “He’s got a son and a daughter at the moment, and two of his wives are pregnant too,” he said. Billy’s daughter is Ruby, and his son is Conan the Barbarian. “Can you imagine having to tell Conan the Barbarian that his father was gone?”
The attempted theft has left Mr Horne confused and worried. “I’m thinking of hiring a security guard,” he said. “But it’s still a bit strange. Who tries to steal a goat? It’s like they’ve said to each other, ‘let’s go down to Litchfield Park for the day and bring back a goat’.” Mr Horne said he left a message with local police, but is yet to hear back. “I want to know what the penalty is for stealing a farm animal,” he said. “I hope it’s still hanging.”

Pigeon laid egg in man's frying pan

A man's unhappiness at discovering that a pigeon had flown through a window and defecated all over his kitchen turned to laughter when he found an egg in his frying pan.
When Stian Fjelldal, from Oslo, Norway, returned to his flat after a day away on Monday, what he found was disgusting: a pigeon had entered in through an open window, leaving feathers and bird droppings strewn across the flat. “It was of course terrified when it saw me and started flapping around in the kitchen," Fjellstad said.
"It was chaos and a lot of feathers. My first thought was to get it out. As I have had doves inside before, I thought, this time I’ll document this." Fjellstad filmed as he shooed the dove out the window and then surveyed the devastation afterwards. Then suddenly he noticed a nest and egg in a frying pan on the cooker.

”I had to clean, the kitchen was a total mess. I noticed two doves on the window-sil looking at the egg. I almost felt a little guilty,” he said. Fjellstad thinks the egg may contribute to science . ”I work at the Norwegian Enviroment Agency. I may take the egg into work so we can take some samples. We may find traces of pollutants, in that way the egg will come to some use,” he added.

Stolen fish found lurking at bottom of owner's pond

Ornamental fish reported stolen from their pond in Scotland have been found lurking at the bottom of the water. Police launched an investigation after 16 orange goldfish, black and orange Koi and large orange carp were reported stolen from the pond in Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfries and Galloway.
It had been thought the fish, worth £400, had been stolen overnight between Sunday and Monday.
However the fish have now been found at the bottom of the pond by their owner.

Drug dealer suspected of using snapping-turtle to guard stash in trunk of his car

People who don't want their drugs stolen may have a new line of defense: a guard snapping turtle.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation - Game Wardens, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers and Tulsa police officers were attacked by a snapping turtle found in the trunk of a car involved in a hit-and-run accident. After officers found drugs in the car, they opened the trunk and immediately slammed it closed in fear after the turtle jumped aggressively at them.
Police believe the turtle was in the trunk "to deter 'friends' of the suspect from stealing his stash of drugs." Authorities initially were searching the car after the vehicle matched the description of one involved in a hit-and-run accident on the Muskogee Turnpike. The suspect drove 10 to 15 more miles with a wrecked car, officials said.
The driver reportedly was driving from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Dallas, but ended up in Tulsa. Officers believe the suspect wound up in Tulsa because he was too intoxicated to know where he was. The suspect was arrested and booked into the Wagner County Jail, and charges are pending.

City employs border collies to chase geese off beach

Two dogs may be the solution to geese problems in Sandpoint, Idaho, said city officials on Monday.
Officials have hired border collies Oakie and Nicky to chase the birds away, and they have been more effective than anything else the city has tried. "They're trained to go run them off and move them out," said owner Randy Curless.
According to officials, the geese numbers are down 80 percent since the two dogs started their work. Sandpoint's beach has had prolonged issues with the geese and what they leave behind. hey said goose population reached 150 at one point.

In the past, city officials said they have tried scaring the geese away with fireworks and ATV's, but nothing was as successful as the dogs. "Just looking at it, there's been more people here at the beach as a result and using the park than what we had before," said Curless. He said he plans to keep the dogs working at the beach through the summer and fall.

Animal Pictures