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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 23, 2015

The Daily Drift

Word ...!
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Today in History

1627 Sir George Calvert arrives in Newfoundland to develop his land grant.
1637 King Charles of England hands over the American colony of Massachusetts to Sir Fernando Gorges, one of the founders of the Council of New England.
1664 Wealthy, non-cult members in Massachusetts are given the right to vote.
1793 The French garrison at Mainz, Germany, falls to the Prussians.
1803 Irish patriots throughout the country rebel against Union with Great Britain.
1829 William A. Burt patents his "typographer," an early typewriter.
1849 German rebels in Baden capitulate to the Prussians.
1863 Bill Andeson and his Confederate Bushwackers gut the railway station at Renick, Missouri.
1865 William Booth founds the Salvation Army.
1868 The 14th Amendment is ratified, granting citizenship to African Americans.
1885 Ulysses S. Grant dies of throat cancer at the age of 63.
1894 Japanese troops take over the Korean imperial palace.
1903 The Ford Motor Company sells its first automobile, the Model A.
1944 Soviet troops take Lublin, Poland as the German army retreats.
1962 The Geneva Conference on Laos forbids the United States to invade eastern Laos.
1995 Two astronomers, Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona, almost simultaneouly discover a comet.

Tracing Back To The World's Oldest Known Cello

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a special summer guest: the world's oldest known cello. Known as the Amati 'King' cello, the 16th-century instrument is on loan from the National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota.
Andrea Amati constructed the instrument in Cremona, Italy. He influenced all of the violin makers up to this day. He is credited with being the father of the modern violin. Before him there were all sorts of shapes and sizes. He standardized things and also made templates so he could produce the instruments a bit faster.

Haphazard and Uninspired

Why Berlin Is World's Most Boring Museum City
by Ulrike Knöfel
Haphazard and Uninspired: Why Berlin Is World's Most Boring Museum City
As far as major cities go, few other places are in possession of so many treasures that are so poorly exhibited as Berlin. It's as though cultural institutions here go out of their way to keep people from visiting.  More... 

The New Mass Extinction: Solar Energy Is In Trouble Unless Progressives Act Now

By Pujanak (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRepublicans do not want to let this economic growth continue.

Normandy Secrets

Forgotten Nazi Arms Caches a Bonanza for Historians
by Frank Thadeusz 
Normandy Secrets: Forgotten Nazi Arms Caches a Bonanza for Historians
For decades, a vast network of Nazi arms caches and supply depots in the forest of Normandy lay forgotten. Now, research shows the extent to which the Wehrmacht sought to defend itself against the impending Allied invasion. More...

Web of Surveillance

East German Snitching Went Far Beyond the Stasi
by Peter Wensierski
Web of Surveillance: East German Snitching Went Far Beyond the Stasi
Everyone knows about the Stasi and the extent to which it spied on the East German populace. But that was only a small part of the informing that went on. New research shows that snitching was vastly more common than previously thought. More... 

There’s a cancer epidemic in Central Appalachia

Hungry girl nibbles on a breakfast bar (Shutterstock)
Cancer in central Appalachia is itself like an invasive tumor, and restoring health to the region means excising a tangled knot of issues with roots that extend far beyond the mountain range and into the very heart and soul of America.

Widespread Panic fan dead after Mississippi cops hogtie him and place him face-down on stretcher

Troy Goode (Facebook)
A Mississippi man died Saturday evening after police hogtied him and placed him face-down after he became unruly on his way home from a concert.

Man Previously Convicted Of Racist Hate Crime Attacks Again, Leaving Victim In Serious Condition

An Illinois man is facing multiple charges following an attack on a South American immigrant inside a Chicago bar on July 17. According to the Chicago...
Michael Groh - Chicago Police Dept.
A Chicago man with a history of hate crimes was arrested once again after going on a racist rant at a local bar and shooting a man he believed was an illegal immigrant in the face with a pellet gun while claiming to be a police officer.

Human News

Did your parents ever tell you that listening to angry and aggressive music is bad for you? This study proves them wrong.
Obama wants to cut the number of people in jails, curb solitary confinement and end mandatory minimum sentences, all this year.(Got to make room for all the wingnuts that will be heading to prison shortly)
Following the financial crisis in Greece, some wonder if digital currency might be a better option than euros.
The "flower men" of Saudi Arabia are members of a tribe known for wearing wreaths of dried flowers and fiercely defending their land.
Car alarms, wailing babies and other screams share traits that lead us to pay attention and often trigger fear.

Link Dump

Archaeology News

shipwreck-580Centuries-Old Shipwreck Discovered Off NC Coast
Scanning sonar from a scientific expedition has revealed the remains of a previously unknown shipwreck more than a mile deep off the North Carolina coast. Artifacts on the wreck indicate […]

The 3-Billion-Year-Old Klerksdorp Spheres Of Ottosdal

In the small town of Ottosdal in South Africa, miners working in pyrophyllite mines have been digging up mysterious metal spheres known as Klerksdorp Spheres. Some of these dark reddish brown spheres have three parallel grooves running around the equator.
The most striking examples have the uncanny appearance of being something manufactured but these metallic objects have been dated to 3 billion years old, a time when the Earth was too young to host intelligent life capable of creating these spheres. Klerksdorp Spheres, however, aren't out-of-place. Neither they are mysterious.

Earth News

The annual State of the Climate report confirms 2014 was the warmest year on record, along with warming oceans and sea ice decline.
Only about a quarter of precipitation ends up in the oceans. Where does the rest go?
Weak solar activity could slowly fire up the ocean circulation mechanism, increasing the amount of warm water and air flowing to Greenland.

Mysterious ancient star chart shows foreign skies

Mysterious ancient star chart shows foreign skies
The astronomical chart on the ceiling of the Kitora Tomb.
The Kitora Tomb, located near the village of Asuka in Japan's Nara Prefecture, is known for gorgeous, colourful paintings at the four cardinal points of the compass. A black tortoise guards the north of the ancient tumulus, which has been standing since the seventh or eighth century. A red phoenix stands at the south, a white tiger at the west and a blue dragon at the east.
The ceiling of the tomb is decorated differently, with a map of the night sky, charting 68 constellations, with the stars picked out in gold leaf. Three concentric circles are drawn with vermilion, showing the movement of celestial objects, one of which is the sun.
According to Kazuhiko Miyajima, a professor at Doshisha University who studied the chart after the tomb was discovered in 1998, this makes it possibly the oldest astronomical chart of its kind in the world. It has designations for the horizon, equator and ecliptic circles, as well as recognisable patterns of stars.
While older depictions of the skies have been found in the west (the 17,300-year-old Lascaux cave painting, for example, shows Pleiades, Taurus, Orion and Aldebaran), most do not contain recognisable star patterns, or diagrams of astronomical phenomena.
One thing that has baffled researchers, however, is the area of sky the chart depicts.
The chart as annotated by University of Iowa research fellow Steve Renshaw
Researchers Mitsuru Soma, an assistant professor of astronomy at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, and Tsuko Nakamura, a researcher of modern astronomy with Daito Bunka University's Institute of Oriental Studies, teamed up with Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs and Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties to calculate the location, reports The Asahi Shimbun.
The two researchers worked separately, and determined that the sky as depicted in the Kitora Tomb chart was seen from China, from locations such as modern-day Xi'an and Luoyang. They also determined that the chart showed the sky as it would have appeared several hundred years before the construction of the Kitora Tomb -- although they didn't agree on the number of years. Soma said that it shows the sky as it would have appeared between 240 and 520, while Nakamura said it would have appeared so between 120BC and 40BC.
Miyajima believes differently, extrapolating that the chart shows the sky as it would have appeared in 65BC, either from Pyongyang or Seoul, the capitals of North and South Korea respectively. In his 1999 lecture, he had said that the chart had probably come from Korea, but showed the sky in China.

Scientists Discover The Universe Grows Like A Brain

We often speak of the universe being a reflection of ourselves, and point to how the eye, veins, and brain cells mirror visual phenomenon in the natural universe. As above so below right? Well check this out. How about the idea that the universe is a giant brain? The idea of the universe as a ‘giant brain’ has been proposed by scientists and science fiction writers for decades, but now physicists say there may be some evidence that it’s actually true (in a sense).
The Study
According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain - with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies. The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” – the way that systems evolve – are the same for different kinds of networks – whether its the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.
When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.
“The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks”, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston. “”For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” says Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego.
As summarized by the original study:
“Here we show that the causal network representing the large-scale structure of spacetime in our accelerating universe is a power-law graph with strong clustering, similar to many complex networks such as the Internet, social, or biological networks. We prove that this structural similarity is a consequence of the asymptotic equivalence between the large-scale growth dynamics of complex networks and causal networks.”
What does this mean?
The universe has a built-in mechanism that is designed to expand and evolve in a way that encourages novelty and an increase in coherence.   Our minds are microcosms of what is happening within the expansion of galaxies and celestial bodies, since our minds themselves are activities of the universe and the laws that govern it.
We are more interconnected to the universe and its evolutionary process than we have realized.  When you look up to the stars and their formations, you are looking at the same intelligent process that is responsible for creating the eyes you are looking through and the neural networks that are interpreting the data.  We literally are the universe.

Astronomical News

Scientists with NASA’s New Horizons mission are puzzling over how a world that never gets more sun than Earth at twilight is reshaping its surface, filling in craters, cracking its crust and building towering mountains and smooth hills.
In a new portrait, imaged shortly before NASA New Horizons punched through the dwarf planet's neighborhood on Tuesday, Pluto and largest moon Charon hang serenely in the dark.

Animal News

A 75,000-acre reserve will protect rare lemurs, aye-ayes, frogs, flying foxes, the 'Tarzan chameleon' and other strange but endangered animals from logging and mining pressure.
Super shark Megalodon has a new claim to fame: its teeth were largely comprised of ultra-strong fluoride.
Nessie is a giant catfish, says a man who has hunted it for 24 years, though he hopes it's something more exciting.
Hong Kong is the third-largest ivory smuggling hub, after Kenya and Tanzania, according to a new report.
A fish too deep for science

Coryphopterus curasub: A fish too deep for science
Drs. Carole Baldwin and Ross Robertson from the Smithsonian Institution discovered a new small goby fish that differs from its relatives not only in its size and colors, but also […]

Animal Pictures