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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.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

118 Hadrian, Rome’s new emperor, makes his entry into the city.
455 Avitus, the Roman military commander in Gaul, becomes Emperor of the West.
1553 Maurice of Saxony is mortally wounded at Sievershausen, Germany, while defeating Albert of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.
1609 Emperor Rudolf II grants Bohemia freedom of worship.
1755 General Edward Braddock is killed by French and Indian troops.
1789 In Versailles, the French National Assembly declares itself the Constituent Assembly and begins to prepare a French constitution.
1790 The Swedish navy captures one third of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Svensksund in the Baltic Sea.
1850 U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies in office at the age of 65. He is succeeded by Millard Fillmore.
1861 Confederate cavalry led by John Morgan captures Tompkinsville, Kentucky.
1900 The Commonwealth of Australia is established by an act of British Parliament, uniting the separate colonies under a federal government.
1942 Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the attic above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
1943 American and British forces make an amphibious landing on Sicily.
1971 The United States turns over complete responsibility of the Demilitarized Zone to South Vietnamese units.

Back in 2000, the CIA made 8 predictions on what life would be like in 2015

by Nicholas Carlson and Julie Bort 
Back in 2000, just before the shrub stole the presidency, the CIA published a 70-page report on what the world would be like in 2015. 
We're now halfway through the year and it turns out that several of these predictions were on the money.
Here's a rundown of some of the predictions, according to a December 2000 story from The Telegraph.
"International affairs are increasingly determined by large and powerful organizations rather than governments." Verdict: True, such as the rise of the Islamic State. On the other hand, there is also a new cadre of actors that cross the line between private actors and the state such as the Chinese hackers suspected of stealing information about millions of U.S. government employees, and the possibly-not-North Korean hackers who took down Sony last year.
"Between now and 2015 terrorist tactics will become increasingly sophisticated and designed to achieve mass casualties." Verdict: Definitely true. Sadly, this prediction became true quickly, on September 11, 2001.
"Iraq and Iran [will] develop long range missiles in the near future. Iran … could be testing such weapons by as early as the coming year, and cruise missiles by 2004." Verdict: Both true and false. Iran is definitely working on an ICBM and was expected to test it in 2015. But international sanctions on Iran has brought it to the negotiation table and diplomats say they are close to a comprehensive deal.
"The world population will grow by more than one billion, to 7.2 billion." Verdict: True. The world population is now about 7.3 billion.
"Energy resources will be sufficient to meet demand." Verdict: Nailed it. U.S. oil production has soared in recent years, and the US is poised to become a major exporter of liquefied natural gas in the coming years, too.
"China's economy will grow to overtake Europe as the world's second largest but still behind the United States." Verdict: True-ish. By some measurements, China's economy is now larger than the US economy but by other measures, it is not quite as large as the EU.
"Europe will not achieve fully the dreams of parity with the US as a shaper of the global economic system." Verdict: Not quite true. The CIA report was very bullish on the European economy, which had been sluggish at the start of the year, but has recently picked up steam.
"Aids, famine, and continuing economic and political turmoil means that populations in many [African] countries will actually fall." Verdict: False. Africa's population rose from 800 million in 2000 to 1.1 billion in 2014.

School Paints Lockers as Book Spines to Create an "Avenue of Literature"

Biloxi Junior High School in Biloxi, Mississippi has a row of 189 lockers along its eighth grade English hallway. For security reasons, they've remained unused for over 15 years. Now they're back in service. This time, they will promote reading.
During the summer, teachers and volunteers have been repainting the lockers to look like book spines. The book selections reflect a wide variety of reading levels and interests. Their hope is that this project will inspire students to read more. WLOX quotes teacher Elizabeth Williams:
We want students to come back to school in August and walk on the hallway and be absolutely amazed with what we've done and be curious. We want that to be the driving spark for reading in our classrooms," said Williams. "Seeing it in person is a completely different experience, and that's what we're hoping for the students. We're hoping the students come and they become completely immersed in a collection that we feel is the best of the best of every genre."

This Giant "Royal Flush" Water Slide Will Surely Put You in the Mood for Summer!

Ready for summer? Here's a video clip by AJ Aguirre and Ben Hammer of Round III Media that'll surely put you in the mood for summer!
Aguirre and Hammer went to BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas, and filmed people having fun sliding down the park's "Royal Flush" giant slide. The video clip has everything that a viral video should have: beautiful women in bikinis, athletic guys doing athletic things, and did we mention a giant water slide? As of today, the video clip has been viewed over 14 million times. Now if that isn't a royal flush, we don't know what is.

How Japanese Bathrooms Are Different

Japanese household bathrooms are very different from what you might find in a typical American home. They are far more multi-functional and high-tech. For example, the bathroom is divided into three sections: there's a shower/bath area and a toilet area, which are separately accessible from a sink and vanity area. Consequently, three people can use the same bathroom at the same time!
The shower and bath area is a thing of wonder. There's a deep bathtub that is heated continuously with controls that can be activated from different parts of the house. I want one of those!
In this video, a young girl shows how the different parts of the bathroom function. It's part of a series of videos in which she introduces Westerners to Japanese bedrooms, toilets, and kids' homework, among other aspects of modern Japanese life.

Judge Rules Hulk Hogan Allowed One Plain Bandana During Trial

You can file this story under G for “Gee, thanks for sharing”
Hulk Hogan is going to trial with his lawsuit against Gawker Media for posting exerpts of his sex tape, and a judge has ruled he’s allowed “One plain headband”.
Phew! That would have been one messed up courtroom appearance for the Hulkster if he couldn’t don his signature scarf headed swagger!
Hulk is hoping to teach the gossipers at Gawker a lesson about invading his privacy, and the judge had one thing to say about the whole affair- "This is not going to be a carnival".
Of course not, it's going to be Hulkamania!

The Candy Bomber Flies Again

From 1948-49, West Berlin was blockaded by the Soviet Union, which hoped to force the three Western occupying powers out of the city. In response, the air forces of the Western powers delivered essential supplies, including food and fuel, by air. The year-long Berlin Airlift kept West Berliners alive and free.
One of US Air Force pilots who participated in the deliveries was Lt. Gail Halvorsen. He wanted to provide some joy for the beleaguered children of West Berlin, so he began secretly dropping pieces of candy from tiny, handmade parachutes over the city, just before landing. Thus Halvorsen became known as the Candy Bomber.
That was 67 years ago. Halvorsen is now 92. He still flies now and then, including on Friday afternoon, when he dropped 1,000 chocolate bars on children in a park in Orem, Utah.
The airdrop was made as part of a 3-day celebration for the Fourth of July. Halvorsen was a guest of honor at that celebration. When asked what the holiday means to him, Halvorsen replied, "The Fourth of July reminds me that if you want happiness in life, you serve others."

Vintage Postcards from the Great American Road Trip

Before the interstate highway system caused travel services to be clustered around exit ramps, American roadways were a lot kitschier. Anyone with roadside real estate and imagination could compete for tourist dollars just by being strange and different -and by giving out postcards to spread the word. Hundreds of these vintage postcards are collected at Cardboard America. You can spend your weekend looking through their archives, or see an overview of the best at Messy Nessy Chic.

Watch The Navy's Catapult Launch 4-Ton Sled Off An Aircraft Carrier

In the Navy you get to do all kinds of fun things, like watch fighter jets come in for a landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier or launch heavy stuff off that same deck.

 photo 1302849747149271440_zpsmfxyn4ls.gif
U.S. Ford-class aircraft carriers are now going to be equipped with a railgun-catapult hybrid, which is an "electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher", which they'll use to launch aircraft from the deck of a carrier.
But in this case the Navy crew aboard the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford were just showing off their sweet new EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System), demonstrating how easy it is for the EMALS to launch a 4 ton sled.

Ten-month-old baby rescued after drifting 1km out to sea when parents forgot about her

A ten-month-old baby girl who drifted a kilometer out to sea was rescued by the Coast Guard off the Turkish coast on Friday.
The Turkish Coast Guard have released a video showing the rescue operation as it unfolded.
It shows Melda Ilgin, floating in an inflatable crib, after drifting from the shore in the town of Ayvacik.
Melda's parents forgot they had left her in the crib, and said they were not aware of what had happened until other sunbathers at the beach warned them. Onlookers applauded as the baby was brought back to shore and handed back to her mother.

Search for 92-year-old woman called off after it was discovered she'd absconded with her lover

A search for a 92-year-old woman who vanished from a old people's home in Norway has been called off after it turned out she had absconded with her Swedish lover.
The management at Vilberg old people's home in Eidsvold, north of Oslo, alerted the local police when nurses discovered the 92-year-old’s walking frame abandoned in the car park.
She was later found to have driven to Stockholm along with her Swedish boyfriend, who at 87, is five years younger than her. “This is really a touching love story,” Janka Holstad, who runs the home, said. “Imagine not being able to go on a romantic holiday just because you’re past 90.
"The lady did nothing illegal, but she caused some uneasiness for us, because she never announced she was leaving.” The elderly lady has now spent ten days at her boyfriend's house just outside Stockholm. According to Holstad, she has maintained a relationship with the man since before she entered to the home. She plans to return to Vilberg at the weekend.

Car crashed through roof of house

A car has flown off a road and smashed through the roof of a house in South Africa's coastal city Durban, emergency services firm ER24 says.
The driver said he drove over a ramp, and this led him to crash into the house in Kwamakhutha township, it said.
He escaped injury, while a person sleeping in a room next to the one where the car landed was also unhurt, ER24 added.
"It's really kind of miraculous," ER24 spokesman Pieter Rossouw said. South Africa has a high fatality rate from road accidents caused mainly by bad driving and alcohol abuse.

Police warn that bubble vandals may force removal of town's fountain

A town center fountain is under threat after repeated attacks by 'bubble vandals', police have warned.
Pranksters reportedly keep pouring soap into the water feature in Market Square, Dover, causing the normally clear water to foam up and running up hundreds of pounds worth of cleaning bills.
Kent Police - Dover have now tweeted, asking the vandals to stop targeting the water feature as the cost of repair may force removal. It comes after Dover District Council’s Asset Maintenance Team were called out several times to clear up an overload of foam and suds.
A spokesperson for the district council told said: “Each time the fountain is ‘foamed’ it costs around £80 to have it cleaned, and after three occasions the system has to be drained and fully cleared, costing around £250 a time.” The act of vandalism is a criminal offense. The council has urged anyone who sees such activity to contact the police immediately.

Giant pig hot air balloon crashed after tangling with a cowboy-shaped one

A pig-shaped hot air balloon crashed into a tree and caught fire at a balloon festival in Utah, cutting the pilot’s face. Paul Warner, a festival executive, said the licensed pilot of the fallen balloon also suffered minor facial burns.
He was treated at the scene and released. Various balloons entered in the festival were rising at a field near downtown Provo when the top of the pig crashed into the basket of a cowboy balloon.
The collision ripped a hole in the nylon fabric of the pig balloon and a piece of plastic caught fire as it descended. The fire was not extensive, said Christopher Liechty, a spokesman for Bank of American Fork, which sponsored the balloon representing Seymour, its piggy bank mascot.

The pilot, Erwin Oertli, was the only person in the balloon and suffered minor burns from melted plastic that dripped on to his face, the bank said in a statement. “What saved my bacon was that the head of the pig held a lot of hot air and helped the balloon to descend at a safer rate,” Oertli said.

Part of beach cordoned off after mystery hole that sent snails shooting into the air appeared

A large mystery hole which spurted "big plumes of water" and sent plants and snails shooting into the air has appeared on a beach. The coastguard at Exmouth beach cordoned off the 15ft (4.6m) by 15ft hole on Thursday afternoon.
The hole, which was "bubbling" with water, has since been filled in by the incoming tide. East Devon District Council said it was trying to find out what caused the hole and a cordon remains at Orcombe Point. When the coastguard team arrived they said the surrounding sand was soft and fresh holes were appearing.
Kite surf instructor James Dart said: "I looked over and there were big plumes of water coming out of the beach it was all bubbling up much like a geyser, it was probably going about a foot above the beach - it was quite tremendous sight. I got closer and saw plant matter coming up and a few snails coming out too."
It is thought there could have been a chamber underneath the hole, about 10ft (3m) to 15ft (4.6m) deep. Council officials said engineers would "continue to monitor the situation over the weekend and between tides". They added: "The beach is very popular with dog walkers and bathers who are being advised to avoid the cordoned off area. Heavy rain yesterday may be the cause of the hole - a natural phenomena - to have opened up, but is still a bit of a mystery."

Orphaned eagle found lying beside eagle lawn ornament

An orphaned, emaciated juvenile bald eagle is recovering after someone discovered it lying beside a bald eagle lawn ornament in Issaquah, King County, Washington. "It's at an age where we expect the parents should still be taking care of it," said Dr. Bethany Groves.

Snowball Dances to Queen

This may be an old clip of Snowball the Cockatoo, but there's no mystery as to why it's making the rounds again. The way this bird dances, head bangs and puts on a show in perfect time to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" is beyond cute.

Babbler Bird Calls "Convey Meaning"

The chestnut-crowned babbler bird (Pomatostomus ruficeps) is a small bird native to Australia. Researchers think that its chirps and calls are radically different from those identified in other birds. The babbler bird vocalizes words. The BBC reports:
Co-researcher Dr Andy Russell from the University of Exeter said: "It is the first evidence outside of a human that an animal can use the same meaningless sounds in different arrangements to generate new meaning.
"It's a very basic form of word generation - I'd be amazed if other animals can't do this too."
Dr. Russell and his colleagues found that the chestnut-crowned babbler makes two distinct sounds, dubbed A and B. Combinations of A and B in different orders seemed to express concepts that other members of the species could understand:
In flight, they used an "A-B" call to make their whereabouts known, but when alerting chicks to food they combined the sounds differently to make "B-A-B".
The birds seemed to understand the meaning of the calls.
When the feeding call was played back to them, they looked at nests, while when they heard a flight call they looked at the sky.

Animal Pictures