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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to the Wednesday Edition of  Carolina Naturally.
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Today in History

1071 Turks defeat the Byzantine army under Emperor Romanus IV at Manzikert, Eastern Turkey.
1429 Joan of Arc makes a triumphant entry into Paris.
1789 The Constituent Assembly in Versailles, France, approves the final version of the Declaration of Human Rights.
1862 Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson seizes Manassas Junction, Virginia, and moves to encircle Union forces under General John Pope.
1883 The Indonesian island of Krakatoa erupts in the largest explosion recorded in history, heard 2,200 miles away in Madagascar. The resulting destruction sends volcanic ash up 50 miles into the atmosphere and kills almost 36,000 people–both on the island itself and from the resulting 131-foot tidal waves that obliterate 163 villages on the shores of nearby Java and Sumatra.
1920 The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is officially ratified, giving women the right to vote.
1943 The United States recognizes the French Committee of National Liberation.
1957 Ford Motor Company reveals the Edsel, its latest luxury car.
1966 South African Defense Force troops attack a People’s Liberation Army of Nambia at Omugulugwombashe, the first battle of the 22-year Namibian War of Independence.
1970 A nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality, led by Betty Friedan on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment calls attention to unequal pay and other gender inequalities in America.
1977 The National Assembly of Quebec adopts Bill 101, Charter of the French Language, making French the official language of the Canadian province.
1978 Albino Luciani elected to the Papacy and chooses the name Pope John Paul I ; his 33-day reign is among the shortest in Papal history.
1978 Sigmund Jähn becomes first German to fly in space, on board Soviet Soyuz 31.
1999 Russia begins the Second Chechen War in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade.

Two people were in the news last week who represent the opposite extremes of public life in America

One is a profoundly decent man, deeply modest, humble and soft-spoken, who for years has worked quietly to improve human kind and achieve a more humane world, helping the poor, and shunning publicity. 
The other -- well, let's just say he doesn't share these same traits. 

The Strange Saga of George Washington’s Bedpan

Due to his role in the birth of the United States, George Washington was regarded as an almost mythical character even before his death in 1799. His possessions, even today, are revered relics of history. That even includes a bedpan. It had nothing to do with the Revolutionary War, or even his presidency, but it belonged to the Washingtons, and is therefore a cherished piece of history.   
An 18th-century bedpan isn’t all that different from one today. Then, it was round and made of pewter with a handle. In an era before plumbing and bathrooms, the bedpan could be gently heated and slipped under the covers of a sickbed. The elderly, ill, and women recovering from childbirth could use the bedpan without having to risk further injury by leaving their bed.  While healthy adults could use a chamberpot, which might be kept in a cabinet or attached beneath a hole in a chair seat, the bedpan was designed for the immobile.
This particular bedpan was made by a New York pewterer named Frederick Bassett in the late 18th century. It was most likely used by either or both George and Martha Washington at the end of their lives. Because of the meticulous records kept by the family, we can trace the journey of this lowly item through the19th century and up to its return to Mount Vernon in 1936. Why was it kept, and who could possibly have wanted it?
The story of the bedpan is the story of all of George and Martha’s household belongings. They come down to us through Martha’s descendants, with meticulously recorded provenance. However, somewhere along the line, the exact purpose of the bedpan was mislabeled. Read the story of one object and how it represents the legacy of the Father of our Country at Smithsonian. 

Art Exhibit Escapes from Museum, Rampages through City

The RedBall Project is a giant rubber ball measuring 15 feet across. Kurt Perschke, the artist who conceived it, takes it around the world. He often shoves it into tight spaces, like alleys.
Perschke has been doing this for several years. Perhaps he's become complacent. Perhaps he's forgotten that he's trying to control a wild ball--an enormous, dangerous predator.
The people of Toledo, Ohio learned that recently. Perschke took his RedBall to that city, planning to display it at the Toledo Museum of Art. But during transit, the RedBall broke free and rolled down the open streets. The Daily Mail reports:
A video of the incident shows the ball rolling around a corner before picking up speed and partially running over a car.
Museum staff and bystanders can be seen running after it before eventually catching up, grabbing hold of the ball and stopping it safely.
According to The Blade, spokesman for the Toledo Museum of Art Kelly Garrow said that the ball became dislodged by strong winds and a brief downpour.
It was also reported that the ball sustained damage in some areas during the escape and needed to be patched up.
No one died from the RedBall--this time.

Beautiful Swirling Stone Walls

Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettl aren't just stonemasons. They're refined artists who can create vibrant images by arranging smooth stones into walls. They say that their "inspiration flows directly from nature and the pure simple forms and rhythms that are inherent within the creative forces of the Earth." You can see more of their amazing works at the Ancient Art of Stone. You can watch a video of them at work here.

In China, Pretty Girls Are Hired as Cheerleaders for Computer Programmers

Trending in China reports on an innovative approach some tech companies are taking to enhance employee morale: in-house cheerleaders. These are pretty young ladies who are hired to flirt with the engineers and programmers in order to make the work environment more appealing. The premise is that the workers will be more productive as a result.

IRS Getting Pressured To Crack Down On Televangelists Following John Oliver’s Segment

The IRS is getting pressured to begin cracking down on televangelists following a John Oliver segment on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight.”
Oliver blasted televangelists this past Sunday for what he called “seed faith,” where they tell donors they will reap the rewards by giving money to them.
“They preach something called the prosperity gospel which argues that wealth is a sign of dog’s favor and donations will result in wealth coming back to you. That idea sometimes takes the form of seed faith – the notion that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest,” Oliver said in the segment.
He continued, “The argument is ‘sow your money into the ground, you will reap returns multiple times over,’ except as an investment you’d be better off burying your money in the actual ground because at least that way there’s a chance your dog may dig it up and give it back to you one day.”
People have donated millions to televangelists through the “prosperity gospel,” believing by giving money, dog will help them.
“They keep trying to send more money, more money, more money so they can get healed,” Trinity Foundation president Ole Anthony, whose group investigates religious fraud, told CBS News.
Anthony explained to CBS News that televangelists are able to receive millions because the IRS has turned a “blind eye” to their tax-exempt cults.
“A few years ago, the IRS named Scientology a cult. Since that happened, anybody can call themselves a cult,” Anthony said.
CBS News reports the IRS only conducted three cult audits from 2013 to 2014 after suspending them completely from 2009 to 2013.
“You are always going to find abuses and excesses in the non-profit community, and even in the church world,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erik Stanley told CBS News.
He added, “There is no surer way to destroy that free exercise of religion than to begin to tax it.”
Oliver set up his own cult called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption” to prove his point.
“Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption will not be able to accept donations from Cult supporters from the states of Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina. We apologize for any inconvenience. Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption may choose to wind down and dissolve in the near future,” the website states. “Upon dissolution, any assets belonging to the Cult at that time will be distributed to Doctors Without Borders, a non-profit charitable organization that is tax-exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN: 13-3433452) and which provides emergency medical  aid in places where it is needed most.”

Psychopaths Don't Catch Yawns

Yawns are contagious. Or at least they're supposed to be.
So here's a quick test: yawn. If the person next to you--whether a stranger of someone you've known and loved all of your life--doesn't yawn, then he might be a psychopath.
That's how I'm misinterpreting a new study by researchers at Baylor University. They found a positive correlation between people who don't yawn when other people do and scores on questionnaires for psychopathic characteristics. Shaunacy Ferro writes for Mental Floss:
The higher the participants rated on measures of cold-heartedness, the less likely they were to catch another person’s yawn. Granted, people are less likely to feel empathy with a stranger they’re watching in a video than with someone they know, and the sample size was pretty small, so Baylor University probably isn’t full of a bunch of raging psychopaths. And not yawning when others do it doesn’t mean you should run off for a psych evaluation. "But what we found tells us there is a neurological connection—some overlap—between psychopathy and contagious yawning,” study author Brian Rundle says.

This Cop Throws A Huge Hissy Fit, Threatens A Group Of Teens For SMILING

This Cop Throws A Huge Hissy Fit, Threatens A Group Of Teens For SMILING (VIDEO)This Texas cop just threw a huge hissy fit, all because these teens were SMILING. Then, he threatened to do this…..

Our Food System Is A Racist, Ecological Nightmare

The New Mass Extinction: Our Food System Is A Racist, Ecological Nightmare
Find out what people are doing to fight this injustice.
Read more 

Racists Flip Out Over Town’s Plan To Rename Road ‘President Barack Obama Highway’

Racists Flip Out Over Town’s Plan To Rename Road ‘President Barack Obama Highway’ (VIDEO)
A proposal to rename a section of highway in a Florida town after President Obama is not going over too well with some.

Foo Fighters Hilariously Troll Hateful Westboro Baptist Cult At Concert

Image via screen captureThere are several amazing ways to counter-protest the Westboro baptist cult haters. The Foo Fighers are masters of one of them.

‘Random guy’ in Josh Duggar’s OkCupid profile considering legal action

Josh Duggar (Facebook)
The “random guy” whose image the embattled Josh Duggar used on his alleged OkCupid account is “considering his legal options,” and accuses Duggar of 'defamation of character."

Anti-Gay Evangelist 'Christian' Vlogger Caught With Ashley Madison Account, Says Dog Forgives Him

Image from Borderless News and Views. http://borderlessnewsandviews.com/
The one good thing about the Ashley Madison hack is that we all get to see just how hypocritical religio-wingnut “christians” are, and this douchebag is no exception.

Florida priest has 200 ‘inappropriate’ pictures of parish children on computer

Stephen Pohl (Screenshot/WHAS)

Second Woman Claims Subway Knew Jared Fogle Was A Pedophile

http://news.softpedia.com/news/subway-severs-ties-with-jared-fogle-during-fbi-investigation-486334.shtml “Eat Fresh” sandwich chain Subway may not be out of the woods regarding the recent revelations that their obviously creepy now-former spokesman...

This Is What The Center Of Our Galaxy Looks Like

Astronomers take an unprecedented, x-ray view of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
Headshot of Jacqueline Howard by Jacqueline Howard
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="color: #031e31; font-family: verdana, arial; font-size: 12px; background-color: #ffffff;">The central regions of our galaxy, the Milky Way, seen in x-rays by ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory.</span></span>
This new, unprecedented image of the Milky Way shows that our galaxy's core is a pretty tumultuous place.
The compiled image of photos taken by the European Space Agency's x-ray satellite XMM-Newton (above) spans 1,000 light-years in the center of the galaxy, and shows dying stars, powerful winds, hot gas and, most notably, a supermassive black hole.
The galactic black hole, dubbed Sagittarius A*, and its surrounding emission are located in the brightest central region of the image.
Black holes don't emit light. But as the objects that surround Sagittarius A* in the Milky Way's center are pulled in by the black hole's strong gravitational grasp, the interaction emits light at various wavelengths, including x-rays.
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="font-size: 15px;">This magnification shows the central 100 light-years of the galaxy's violent core. Here, only soft x-ray emissions are shown.</span></span>
This magnification shows the central 100 light-years of the galaxy's violent core. 
Here, only soft x-ray emissions are shown.
After analyzing the image, an international team of astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has not only concluded that the center of the galaxy is a dramatic place, but that Sagittarius A*  may be partly to blame for the tumult. 
The black hole is so ginormous that it has a mass a few million times that of our sun. The new image of our galaxy's center may provide important insight into how our Milky Way and its black hole are evolving.
A paper describing the new image was published online in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on August 19, 2015.

Don't freak out, but scientists think octopuses 'might be aliens' after DNA study

Not to send you into a meltdown or anything but octopuses are basically ‘aliens’ – according to scientists.
Researchers have found a new map of the octopus genetic code that is so strange that it could be actually be an “alien”.
The first whole cephalopod genome sequence shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified – more than in a human.
Not only that, the octopus DNA is highly rearranged – like cards shuffled and reshuffled in a pack – containing numerous so-called “jumping genes” that can leap around the genome.
“The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities,” said US researcher Dr Clifton Ragsdale, from the University of Chicago.
“The late British zoologist Martin Wells said the octopus is an alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien.”
The scientists sequenced the genome of the California two-spot octopus in a study published in the journal Nature.
They discovered unique genetic traits that are likely to have played a key role in the evolution of characteristics such as the complex nervous system and adaptive camouflage.
Analysis of 12 different tissues revealed hundreds of octopus-specific genes found in no other animal, many of them highly active in structures such as the brain, skin and suckers.
The scientists estimate that the two-spot octopus genome contains 2.7 billion base pairs – the chemical units of DNA – with long stretches of repeated sequences.
And although the genome is slightly smaller than a human’s, it is packed with more genes.
Reshuffling was a key characteristic of the creature’s genetic make-up. In most species, cohorts of certain genes tend to be close together on the double-helix DNA molecule.
A gene is a region of DNA that contains the coded instructions for making a protein.
In the octopus, however, there are no such groupings of genes with related functions. For instance, Hox genes – which control body plan development – cluster together in almost all animals but are scattered throughout the octopus genome.
It was as if the octopus genome had been “put into a blender and mixed”, said co-author Caroline Albertin, also from the University of Chicago.

Animal Pictures