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

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1453 France defeats England at Castillon, France, ending the Hundred Years’ War.
1762 Peter III of Russia is murdered and his wife, Catherine II, takes the throne.
1785 France limits the importation of goods from Britain.
1791 National Guard troops open fire on a crowd of demonstrators in Paris.
1799 Ottoman forces, supported by the British, capture Aboukir, Egypt from the French.
1801 The U.S. fleet arrives in Tripoli.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders to the British at Rochefort, France.
1821 Andrew Jackson becomes the governor of Florida.
1864 Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaces General Joseph E. Johnston with General John Bell Hood in hopes of defeating Union General William T. Sherman outside Atlanta.
1898 U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter take Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
1944 Field Marshall Erwin Rommel is wounded when an Allied fighter strafes his staff car in France.
1946 Chinese communists attack the Nationalist army on the Yangtze River.
1960 American pilot Francis Gary Powers pleads guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court.
1966 Ho Chi Minh orders a partial mobilization of North Vietnam to defend against American airstrikes.
1987 Lt. Col. Oliver North and Rear Adm. John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress regarding the Iran-Contra scandal.

Jobs, taxes, unions and poverty ...

A woman's mind is blown -- and not in a good way (Shutterstock)
Bernie Sanders realizes that runaway inequality is a critical issue. How come the other candidates don't?

The 'ABC After School' Special Appearances of Famous Actors

From October 1972 to July 1997, if a kid came home after school to have a snack and chill in front of the television for a bit, one TV rabbit hole possible to fall into was the ABC After School Special. The network made these cautionary tales more palatable to kids by starring young actors who looked as if they might be future movie heartthrobs.
Indeed, some of the stars of these specials went on to bigger and better things, as evidenced by the video clips included in the article linked below. See River and Joaquin (billed as Leaf) Phoenix in the video above, and check out the ABC After School Special debuts of Ben Affleck, Meg Ryan, Wil Wheaton, Viggo Mortensen, Marisa Tomei, Michelle Pfeiffer and more here.

This Guy Almost Sold a Bag of Air for $20,100

But not just any air. It was air from Williamsburg, a neighborhood of Brooklyn. Yes, that Williamsburg--the hippest, coolest place on earth. If you want to live inside Lena Dunham's TV show Girls, then you move to Williamsburg. If you want to put that interdisciplinary studies degree to surprisingly profitable use, then you move to Williamsburg.
Dan Ozzi lives there. He has access to the local air. You do not live in Williamsburg and therefore do not have access to that air. But Ozzi is (or was) willing to sell you a bag of premium Williamsburg air. In a very funny article on his experience, he explains:
Since my salary as a brandegizing synergist at a boutique marketing firm barely covers the maintenance fees at my loft as is, I decided to sell a few items on eBay—some rare shoegaze vinyl from Record Store Day at Rough Trade, an extra bike seat, an unopened mixology set. But then I thought: What could be cooler than owning a sample of air from the trendiest zip code on the planet? So on Monday night, I listed a sampling of Williamsburg’s finest oxygen on eBay.
He started the bidding at $39.99. As you might expect, a bidding war erupted immediately, driving the price as high as $20,100 before eBay's administration inexplicably shut down the auction and Ozzi's account.
So: no Williamsburg air for you.
But there is hope. Consider that Williamsburg, for all of its hipness, is aging. The spotlight is moving away. And I think that I know where. And I think that I know how to profit from that change. If you are interested in a bag of authentic air from Flatonia, Texas, let me know. If you have a shipping address, I have a PayPal account.

The Hands-Free Wheelchair

This is the Ogo, an electric wheelchair. What sets it apart from other wheelchairs is that it's not controlled with a joystick, buttons, or pedals. It's controlled with body direction, like a Segway. This means that users who lack hand movement ability can steer it.
Kevin Halsall, the inventor, built it for a friend, Marcus Thompson, who is a paraplegic. When Halsall used a Segway for the first time, he realized that its directional system offered a great option to people who use wheelchairs. Joel Maxwell writes in Stuff:
The moving seat made the acceleration and braking more responsive to movements from the rider's core muscles, he said.
His mate Thompson used the device to mow his lawns, and trialled it at his work as a teacher at Otaki College.
Halsall said the doing things like picking up items and moving round while holding them, and mowing lawns, sounded mundane to most people.
"But when you're in a wheelchair you just can't do it."
Thompson got a buzz out of mowing his lawns, Halsall said, because as a paraplegic he previously relied on others to do work like that.

Ten Black Sheep Of Famous Families

Rainer Hoess standing near the spot in which is grandfather, Nazi Rudolf Hoess, was hanged. 
The concept of the "Black Sheep" brings to mind stories of scandal and shame brought upon decent people by a lone, errant family member. But depending on who your family is, absolute rebellion and denunciation of them may just be a good thing. Take the case of Rainer Hoess, grandson of Auschwitz concentration camp commandant and high-ranking Nazi officer Rudolf Hoess. Rudolf, who lived in a stately home near the Auschwitz camp just a few minutes walk away from the gas chambers, killed 20,000 prisoners daily before going home to play the role of loving father to his family.
Rainer’s father Hans-Jurgen would play in the garden as thousands of people were simultaneously being killed just feet away. When Hans reached adulthood, he barred any of his family to say a single harsh word about Rudolf Hoess. Said Rainer, you had to “admire (my) grandfather like a hero.”
Despite his family's silence on the matter, by his teenage years, Rainer had learned the horrific truth that was his grandfather's legacy. Rainer's only sympathizer was his mother, who often bore the rage of her husband on the issue. At age 16, Rainer ran away from home, never to return. Since then, he's devoted his life to speaking out against extremism.
See a video of Rainer giving a tour of the Hoess house at Auschwitz below, and read about other black sheep of famous families here. 

Calm of the Isles of Scilly shattered after fake parking ticket stuck on golf buggy

On the remote and picturesque Isles of Scilly, dubbed the “land that crime forgot”, police have launched a manhunt for a bogus traffic warden. Officers leaped into action after a man went to the tiny police station on the archipelago’s main island of St Mary’s concerned that a parking ticket had been slapped on his hired golf-style buggy. There are no yellow parking lines where he stopped on Garrison Lane, alongside the Wesleyan Chapel wall, although stopping in that space did mean some motorists had a tight squeeze to get past. Police assured him that he had been parked legally and that the ticket was the work of a fraudster.
They have warned they consider the ticket a possible act of malicious communication, an offence that carries a maximum of six months in jail. Lying around 30 miles off the tip of Cornwall and surrounded by crystal-clear blue water, the Isles of Scilly are one of the more peaceful corners of the British Isles.
Sgt Colin Taylor said the recipient of the fake ticket had been caused “distress and anxiety” and was “visibly relieved” when he was told he was in the clear. Writing on the Isles of Scilly police’s Facebook page, Taylor said: “He cheered up when we said that we took a dim view of this and in the circumstances did not consider it a prank. He was even happier that we do consider it an act of malicious communication, an offense which is triable summarily with a maximum of six months imprisonment and or a fine.”

Firefighters rescued woman who got stuck under bar seat while trying to retrieve dropped phone

A night out in a Stockport, Greater Manchester, pub ended in embarrassment for a 35-year-old woman when she got trapped under a bar seat and was rescued by firefighters. Crews were called to the George Hotel on Sunday night.
The woman had been enjoying a drink when she dropped her phone under a seat that was fixed to the floor. But when she crawled under to retrieve it she could not get out again and a member of staff called 999.
Firefighters pulled a leg off the seat, which was fixed to the pub wall, and the woman was able to shuffle out to freedom. She was unhurt and was trapped for around 30 minutes.
Matt Rooney, watch officer at King Street station, said: “We have rescued people from various predicaments but never from a bar seat before. She was all right but a bit embarrassed. We had difficulty reaching screws under the seat so in the end we just pulled off the main leg that was obstructing her. If someone is stuck and they need our help then we will go and help.”

Man wakes up every day thinking it's March 14 2005 and he has to go to a dental appointment

For patient WO today is always Monday, March 14, 2005. He can remember everything up to that date. But since then the 38-year-old can only hold memories for 80 minutes. Then they are lost. But he has not suffered brain damage nor is he faking and his condition is baffling experts. Patient WO, referred as William, is the subject of a study by his doctor Gerald (Jerry) Burgess from the University of Leicester.
William is stuck in an endless loop of waking up and thinking he has a routine dental appointment to go to. He can recall everything until 1.40pm on the day, while serving in Germany a decade ago, when he was injected with anaesthetic before a root canal treatment. Dr Burgess believes his condition is unique and needs a new classification in the field of amnesia. He said: "He wakes up believing he should still be in the military, stationed abroad. "Every day he thinks it is the day of the dental appointment. Each morning he is prompted by his wife to check his computer, on which the family has listed, and keep updated, key facts he should be aware of.
"Some events that have occurred since the onset of his condition in March 2005 continue to elicit genuine surprise or astonishment." William's symptoms are similar to patients suffering from what's known as anterograde amnesia. This is when damage to the bilateral hippocampal or diencephalon regions in the brain cause short spans of awareness as well as complete and rapid memory loss. Typically it is brought on by a specific event or trauma and causes patients to loss the ability to create new memories after this event, while long-term memories from before the event are clear.
Without the presence of brain damage or changes, the experts believe the cause of amnesia in William could be a breakdown of protein synthesis in the brain. Another explanation is that he is faking it. But Dr Burgess, who has known William for 10 years, has dismissed that. According to Dr Burgess, William manages his daily life and generally remains oriented throughout the day through continuous access to an electronic diary and prompts. But Dr Burgess says William does not fit any current classification of amnesia. He said: "Overall, this brand of amnesia needs another diagnostic or classification category than any currently existing."

Man charged with stealing $48,000 hospital operating room bed

A 52-year-old Florida man has been charged with stealing a $48,000 hospital bed from Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
Lance James Sayre of Tampa is charged with grand theft and burglary of an occupied structure. He was arrested on Saturday and released after posting $15,000 bond.
Sayre, who was not a patient, hospital employee nor a vendor, entered the operating room area of the hospital just before 2pm on July 5, taking a Berchtold Operating Bed, valued at $47,945.97, according to Clearwater police.
He then wheeled it to the loading dock where he proceeded to load the bed into a white van.

Women in Vintage Ads Are Way Too Happy about Getting Appliances

Could it be? Is it really? Yes, it's a . . . toaster!
What is going to make you happy in life? Time-saving home appliances. Flashbak rounded up advertisements from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s showing women overcome with joy upon receiving or using new advanced vacuum cleaners, ovens, and refrigerators. As these paired ads from Toastmaster prove, the more pieces of toast that you can toast simultaneously, the happier you will be.

Diner Says Tipping Is ‘Contrary’ To Its ‘Staff-Oriented Model,’ Drops It In Favor Of Better Wages

The Urban Farming Trend That’s Taking Over Major League Baseball

4,000-Year-Old Floored Structure Found in Ohio

Clay Floor Ohio
A team led by Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is excavating a 4,000-year-old site in northeastern Ohio. So far, they have uncovered a three-inch-thick floor made from layers of yellow clay that was carried to the site. A basin was built into the floor, along with cooking pits and storage holes that held hickory nuts. Post holes show where hickory saplings were placed and then tied together to create a framework covered with cattail mats. “A small family would be very comfortable. They were well insulated, and sheltered under the tree canopy of oaks. Unlike at other sites, they’re going to the trouble to make floors. They’re here for months at a time,” Redmond told Cleveland.com. He thinks that these hunter-gatherers migrated to the area from the southeast to spend the fall and winter for a period of some 200 to 300 years. “There’s nothing like this anywhere in Ohio. It’s very significant, a much more significant site than we previously thought. These are house structures. This was like a village site,” he added. For more on an ancient culture that occupied Ohio some 2,000 years ago, go to "Who Were the Hopewell?"

Some Details Found on Pluto

As you probably know, the New Horizons probe completed its flyby of Pluto, and pictures are coming in to NASA as we speak. Randall Munroe at xkcd is way ahead of them, and has identified some of the more important features of the former planet already.
But the newest images are coming in now, and we excitedly await the latest from New Horizons. You can follow along with live reports at NASA TV.

North Korea Used Riley The Stoned Birthday Dog Meme in Anti-American Propaganda

In the ever-strange world of North Korean propaganda continually inflicted on its citizens in order to keep their behavior in check, a popular American meme has recently been employed. Remember the "stoned" birthday canine? Riley, shown in the photo above that launched the meme approximately five years ago, was photographed by the mother of his human at a birthday celebration in Riley's honor. His adorable, squinty-eyed smile caused some on the internet to think he was a perfect representative of the marijuana smoking population. Chill. Smiling. Ready to eat. Meme lovers also ate up Riley's stoner message.Recently, Riley's photo was snapped up by North Korea's state-run media KCTV to slam America for its income inequality. The photo supposedly illustrates a picture of American billionaires constantly having lap-of-luxury canine birthday parties. The YouTube video below is of North Korean talk show Today's World, which presented the narrative in this program footage.
According the The Guardian, KCTV also inexplicably used a picture of Giant George, the world’s tallest dog in the same report. Perhaps they were implying that Giant George was fed too much hifalutin' fancy food and it make him gargantuan?
Read more about this piece out of North Korea here. 

Koala Joey Gets a Checkup as Doting Mama Looks On

This sweet, nine-month old koala joey at the San Diego Zoo and Aquarium gets his weekly weigh-in and medical checkup with the help of a stuffed likeness. The stuffed animal was used by the staff to minimize the baby's separation anxiety from his mother, who watched closely during the exam. According to staff,
"The joey’s mother, Cambee, stayed nearby during his health check, keeping an attentive eye on her offspring. She quickly nurtured her joey when his exam was complete and resumed their daily routine of perching and mostly sleeping. While Cambee has occasionally allowed the joey to try eucalyptus, he is still nursing as his primary source of nourishment and will continue to nurse until he is around 14 months old."

Zooplankton Are Eating Plastic, And That’s Bad News For Ocean Life

Zooplankton are a base of the marine ecosystem, so that plastic is likely moving up the food chain, a new study has found.

Animal Pictures