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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.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

The Spanish explorer Cortes is driven from Tenochtitlan and retreats to Tlaxcala.
The catholic states in Germany set up a league under the leadership of Maximillian of Bavaria.
The British crown claims New Hampshire as a royal colony.
Persian ruler Nadir Shah is assassinated at Fathabad.
The statue of King George III is pulled down in New York City.
In support of the American Revolution, Louis XVI declares war on England.
Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th president of the United States following the death of Zachary Taylor.
Wyoming becomes the 44th state.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful open-heart surgery, without anesthesia.
The trial of Tennessee teacher John T. Scopes opens, with Clarence Darrow appearing for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution.
Germany begins the bombing of England.
General Carl Spaatz becomes the head of the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
American and British forces complete their amphibious landing of Sicily.
U.S. carrier-based aircraft begin airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion.
Armistice talks between the United Nations and North Korea begin at Kaesong.
Belgium sends troops to the Congo to protect whites as the Congolese Bloodbath begins, just 10 days after the former colony became independent of Belgian rule.
The satellite Telstar is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, beaming live television from Europe to the United States.
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” becomes the Rolling Stones’ first No. 1 single in the USA.
Singer Bobbie Gentry records “Ode to Billie Joe,” which will become a country music classic and win 4 Grammys.
In Seveso, near Milan, Italy, an explosion in a chemical factory covers the surrounding area with toxic dioxin. Time magazine has ranked the Seveso incident No. 8 on its list of 10 worst environmental disasters.
Coca-Cola Co. announces it will resume selling “old formula Coke,” following public outcry and falling sales of its “new Coke.”
Boris Yeltsin is sworn in as the first elected president of the Russian Federation, following the breakup of the USSR.
Kenyan runner Yobes Ondieki becomes the first man to run 10,000 meters in less than 27 minutes.

Organized Religion To Blame For Rise In Mental Health Problems

‘Religious Trauma Syndrome’
Organized Religion To Blame For Rise In Mental Health Problems: ‘Religious Trauma Syndrome’
“Religious indoctrination is hugely damaging…”
Read more

This Teen With Aspergers Took Down His Bullies In The Best Way Possible

This Teen With Aspergers Took Down His Bullies In The Best Way PossibleThis remarkable young man teaches some despicable bullies a lesson they won’t soon forget.

Nine-Year-Old Girl Builds Shelters, Grows Food For The Homeless

Featured image credit: video screen capture, KOMO News It may seem hard to believe, but nine-year-old Hailey Fort began helping the homeless in her community when she was just five years old. According to her...

Healthy Boost to the Bottom Line

fast_food (1)Study: Healthier menu options can boost bottom line for carryouts

Mom-and-pop carryout restaurants in Baltimore saw profits rise when they tried out healthier menus, according to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers. Through a pilot program, a small […]

A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods: Why nature walks are good for your mental health

A Universal Flu Vaccine

Sex On The Beach

The City of Batman on the Batman River in Batman Province

There's a town in eastern Turkey called Batman. It's located in a province named Batman. A river that flows through the province and near the town is called the Batman River.
Are the inhabitants die hard fans of Gotham City's caped crusader? No. A "batman" is an ancient unit of measurement equal to about 16.96 pounds. But the mayor of the city nonetheless accused Warner Bros. of ripping off the name of the town for the 2008 film The Dark Knight Rises. Nothing came of the accusation, especially because the town of Batman was called by a different name until 1957, long after Batman was an established comic book character. You can read more about the town and its strange name in Condé Nast Traveler.

Why Some War Between The States Soldiers Glowed in the Dark

by Matt Soniak
By the spring of 1862, a year into the War Between the States, Major General Ulysses S. Grant had pushed deep into Confederate territory along the Tennessee River. In early April, he was camped at Pittsburg Landing, near Shiloh, Tennessee, waiting for Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s army to meet up with him.
On the morning of April 6, Confederate troops based out of nearby Corinth, Mississippi, launched a surprise offensive against Grant’s troops, hoping to defeat them before the second army arrived. Grant’s men, augmented by the first arrivals from the Ohio, managed to hold some ground, though, and establish a battle line anchored with artillery. Fighting continued until after dark, and by the next morning, the full force of the Ohio had arrived and the Union outnumbered the Confederates by more than 10,000.
The Union troops began forcing the Confederates back, and while a counterattack stopped their advance it did not break their line. Eventually, the Southern commanders realized they could not win and fell back to Corinth until another offensive in August (for a more detailed explanation of the battle, see this animated history).
All told, the fighting at the Battle of Shiloh left more than 16,000 soldiers wounded and more 3,000 dead, and neither federal or Confederate medics were prepared for the carnage.
The bullet and bayonet wounds were bad enough on their own, but soldiers of the era were also prone to infections. Wounds contaminated by shrapnel or dirt became warm, moist refuges for bacteria, which could feast on a buffet of damaged tissue. After months marching and eating field rations on the battlefront, many soldiers’ immune systems were weakened and couldn’t fight off infection on their own. Even the army doctors couldn’t do much; microorganisms weren’t well understood and the germ theory of disease and antibiotics were still a few years away. Many soldiers died from infections that modern medicine would be able to nip in the bud.
A Bright Spot
Some of the Shiloh soldiers sat in the mud for two rainy days and nights waiting for the medics to get around to them. As dusk fell the first night, some of them noticed something very strange: their wounds were glowing, casting a faint light into the darkness of the battlefield. Even stranger, when the troops were eventually moved to field hospitals, those whose wounds glowed had a better survival rate and had their wounds heal more quickly and cleanly than their unilluminated brothers-in-arms. The seemingly protective effect of the mysterious light earned it the nickname “Angel’s Glow.”
In 2001, almost one hundred and forty years after the battle, seventeen-year-old Bill Martin was visiting the Shiloh battlefield with his family. When he heard about the glowing wounds, he asked his mom - a microbiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service who had studied luminescent bacteria that lived in soil - about it.
“So you know, he comes home and, 'Mom, you're working with a glowing bacteria. Could that have caused the glowing wounds?’” Martin told Science Netlinks. “And so, being a scientist, of course I said, ‘Well, you can do an experiment to find out.’”
And that’s just what Bill did.
He and his friend, Jon Curtis, did some research on both the bacteria and the conditions during the Battle of Shiloh. They learned that Photorhabdus luminescens, the bacteria that Bill’s mom studied and the one he thought might have something to do with the glowing wounds, live in the guts of parasitic worms called nematodes, and the two share a strange lifecycle. Nematodes hunt down insect larvae in the soil or on plant surfaces, burrow into their bodies, and take up residence in their blood vessels. There, they puke up the P. luminescens bacteria living inside them. Upon their release, the bacteria, which are bioluminescent and glow a soft blue, begin producing a number of chemicals that kill the insect host and suppress and kill all the other microorganisms already inside it. This leaves P. luminescens and their nematode partner to feed, grow and multiply without interruptions.
As the worms and the bacteria eat and eat and the insect corpse is more or less hollowed out, the nematode eats the bacteria. This isn’t a double cross, but part of the move to greener pastures. The bacteria re-colonize the nematode’s guts so they can hitch a ride as it bursts forth from the corpse in search of a new host.
The next meal shouldn’t be hard to find either, since P. luminescens already sent them an invitation to the party. Just before they got got back in their nematode taxi, P. luminescens were at critical mass in the insect corpse, and scientists think that that many glowing bacteria attract other insects to the body and make the nematode’s transition to a new host much easier.
A Good Light
Looking at historical records of the battle, Bill and Jon figured out that the weather and soil conditions were right for both P. luminescens and their nematode partners. Their lab experiments with the bacteria, however, showed that they couldn’t live at human body temperature, making the soldiers’ wounds an inhospitable environment. Then they realized what some country music fans already knew: Tennessee in the spring is green and cool. Nighttime temperatures in early April would have been low enough for the soldiers who were out there in the rain for two days to get hypothermia, lowering their body temperature and giving P. luminescens a good home.
Based on the evidence for P. luminescens’s presence at Shiloh and the reports of the strange glow, the boys concluded that the bacteria, along with the nematodes, got into the soldiers’ wounds from the soil. This not only turned their wounds into night lights, but may have saved their lives. The chemical cocktail that P. luminescens uses to clear out its competition probably helped kill off other pathogens that might have infected the soldiers’ wounds. Since neither P. luminescens nor its associated nematode species are very infectious to humans, they would have soon been cleaned out by the immune system themselves (which is not to say you should be self-medicating with bacteria; P. luminescens infections can occur, and can result in some nasty ulcers). The soldiers shouldn’t have been thanking the angels so much as the microorganisms.
As for Bill and Jon, their study earned them first place in team competition at the 2001 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

8 Creepy Internet Characters that Became Urban Legends

At one time, creepy tales were told around the campfire and at slumber parties, but outside of your circle of friends, you pretty much waited to retell them to your kids many years later. The internet changed all that, making audiences much bigger, including more gullible readers, and adding the ability to include images. Terror-inducing tales can spread like wildfire, and the scarier the story, the faster it spreads. One of those tales grew into the legend known as Slenderman.
Created on the Something Awful forums in 2009, Slenderman has since become a modern legend. His story is the very stuff of nightmares. Appearing across the world, his motivations are unknowable, his mission a mystery. All we can say for sure is that, wherever Slenderman goes, chaos and madness goes with him. And once he’s after you, there’s no escape.

Beyond that, the character is almost impossible to describe. Like his form, Slenderman’s legend is fluid, constantly metamorphosing to suit the tale. In some versions, he’s known to stalk and kill those who find out about him. In others, he’s simply a distant, unnerving presence: a shadowy figure watching the world from the edges of the daylight. He can disrupt electrical signals. He can turn unwitting people into his puppets. He can teleport and read minds. He can make you into a killer.
That’s just one of the 8 Creepy Internet Characters that Became Urban Legends you’ll learn (or relearn) about at Urban Ghosts. 

NYPD and NYC attorneys accused of destroying proof that cops are writing bogus tickets to hit quotas

NYPD officers (torbakhopper/Flickr)
In an exclusive report by the New York Daily News, the NYPD and city attorneys have been accused of colluding with each other to cover up evidence that New York City cops have been writing thousands of bogus tickets after being pressured by their superiors to hit quotas.
Deny all they want but it is one of the worst kept secrets there is that cops are required to meet quotas in all police departments across the country ... bogus tickets are nothing new.

Shoplifter undone by his 6-year-old daughter

A man accused of shoplifting from Walmart was undone by his 6-year-old daughter, police said. Police said Scott Birk, 31, of New Berlin, Wisconsin, was caught red-handed and his claims of innocence were shot down by his own child.
Surveillance video of Birk at the Walmart store last month shows him in the jewellery department, where security said he broke into a case, took some earrings, put them on and threw out the packaging. A security guard shadowed him in the store, later telling police he listened as Birk's "6-year-old daughter told him several times to stop breaking into the jewellery case."
Later, security followed Birk into the toy area, where according to the complaint, Birk "put sets of toys that he had in his cart into his shorts." He was stopped as he left the store, but his daughter wasn't quite finished. Officers asked Birk how they got to the store since he doesn't have a driver's license.

He told them they walked. But, according to the complaint, his daughter corrected him again, telling police they drove and pointing out the car in the parking lot. Birk is charged with theft and bail-jumping, both misdemeanors, but because of a previous drug conviction, he faces up to five years in prison, if convicted. He's scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Warned About Alligators, Man Yells 'Fuck The Alligators!'

Guess What?

Old World Brain

3Dbrain_SmallOld World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain

The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the first time. The creature’s tiny but remarkably wrinkled brain supports the idea that brain […]

Spider Web Art

Rob from the What Is It? blog was walking in the park this morning and found a spiderweb that’s a bit unusual. It has a stabilimenta shaped like a person! Wait, what’s a stabilimenta? It’s a decoration that a spider adds to its web, for several possible reasons, like camouflage or mate attraction. We all know it can also be used to save a pig’s life.
But what’s this one for? Could it be a warning to other spiders that humans are near? Or maybe an attempt to communicate with us? It’s most likely a case of pareidolia, but if the spider who made it is named Charlotte, all bets are off.

Evolving Gills

While slow-moving fish could get away with absorbing oxygen through their thin skin, more active fish tended to be thicker-skinned so they had to find more effective ways to get their oxygen.

Shark 'Highways'

Welcome to the shark highway, where rest stops include 'The White Shark Café' in the Pacific and a mid-Atlantic 'truck stop.'

Animal Pictures