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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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to the Tuesday Edition of  Carolina Naturally.
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~ Samuel Grossman
Those were the days, my friend ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 205 countries around the world daily.   
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Today in History

1504 Michelangelo’s 13-foot marble statue of David is unveiled in Florence, Italy.
1529 The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman re-enters Buda and establishes John Zapolyai as the puppet king of Hungary.
1565 Spanish explorers found St. Augustine, Florida, the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States.
1628 John Endecott arrives with colonists at Salem, Massachusetts, where he will become the governor.
1644 The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam surrenders to the British fleet that sails into its harbor. Five years later, the British change the name to New York.
1755 British forces under William Johnson defeat the French and the Indians at the Battle of Lake George.
1760 The French surrender the city of Montreal to the British.
1845 A French column surrenders at Sidi Brahim in the Algerian War.
1863 Confederate Lieutenant Dick Dowling thwarts a Union naval landing at Sabine Pass, northeast of Galveston, Texas.
1903 Between 30,000 and 50,000 Bulgarian men, women and children are massacred in Monastir by Turkish troops seeking to check a threatened Macedonian uprising.
1906 Robert Turner invents the automatic typewriter return carriage.
1915 Germany begins a new offensive in Argonne on the Western Front.
1921 Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C., is named the first Miss America.
1925 Germany is admitted into the League of Nations.
1935 Senator Huey Long of Louisiana is shot to death in the state capitol, allegedly by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, Jr.
1944 Germany’s V-2 offensive against England begins.
1945 Korea is partitioned by the Soviet Union and the United States.
1951 Japanese representatives sign a peace treaty in San Francisco.
1955 The United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand sign the mutual defense treaty that established the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
1960 Penguin Books in Britain is charged with obscenity for trying to publish the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover.
1960 Eisenhower dedicates NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
1971 The Kennedy Center opens in Washington, DC with a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.
1974 Gerald Ford pardons former Richard M. Nixon for any crimes arising from the Watergate scandal he may have committed while in office.
1988 Wildfires in Yellowstone National Park in the US, the world’s first national park, force evacuation of the historic Old Faithful Inn; visitors and employees evacuated but the inn is saved.
1991 Macedonian Independence Day; voters overwhelmingly approve referendum to form the Republic of Macedonia, independent of Yugoslavia.
1994 USAir Flight 427 crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people aboard; subsequent investigation leads to changes in manufacturing practices and pilot training.

When Life Hands You Lemons ...

You're going to receive your share of lemons in life -- from bad cars to bad electronics to bad news -- so you may as well learn a few unexpected things you can do with them.

A Mudlarking Find Brings a World War I Soldier to Life

A mudlark is someone who looks through river mud to find interesting or valuable items. Through history, most mudlarks were poor and unskilled and searched through city sewage to make a living. The modern mudlark is more likely to use a metal detector for treasure hunting as a hobby. Nicola White was mudlarking and found a brass luggage tag with the name F. Jury on it, with an address. That was the beginning of the journey to find F. Jury.
Occasionally, a seemingly innocuous find in the River Thames such as this, can be compared to opening up a glorious story book. It is no secret that it is the hidden stories behind the items which I find washed out by the Thames tide, which fuel my passion for mudlarking.  With the help of a lot of people on twitter, (after I posted a picture of F. Jury's brass luggage tag last Thursday 27th August),  I was to find that this small, muddy object was to conjure up a whole family of people from the past, with their lives opening up before me like an intriguing novel.  These people and their very real dilemmas have lain forgotten for years (especially in this case, as there seems to be no living close relatives).  So here is a brief outline of the very worthy life of Frederick Jury, the owner of the luggage tag, discovered in the Thames mud on 27th August 2015 at Enderby Wharf Greenwich.
The luggage tag turned out to be older than he imagined. Frederick Jury was born in 1873. With help from strangers and historical records and resources, White uncovered his story. Not only is it a glimpse into the everyday lives of some turn-of-the-century British folk, but the account follows Jury through World War I and afterward. White even went to search for Jury’s gravesite. The story is not only fascinating, but well told. White makes us really care about one person, as well as his family, who lived and died so long ago.

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Islamic State

In this book, Daniel Byman explores global jihadism from its beginnings in 1979 to today, from the mujaheddin to the menacing Islamic State… islamic-state
Daniel Byman’s Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know, is one of those rare books that qualifies as an essential book. I say essential, and not only to those with a special interest in jihadist movements, or even for those who follow world affairs with a more than passing interest, but for everyone who follows politics, which given the role of terrorism in our lives since 9/11 ought rightly to be every adult American.
In other words, take Byman’s use of “Everyone” literally. Jihad is so much a part of our vocabulary today that it is inexcusable for anyone to remain uninformed on the subject. Worse, there is so much misinformation flying around that it is nearly impossible to avoid it, even while attempting to remain diligent, and far too few people make that attempt. Many of the rest are actively seeking disinformation on places like Fox News, where talking points are substituted for hard fact.
This book is eminently accessible. You don’t need a doctorate to read it. Any jargon and acronyms used are explained. It can be easily read – and understood – by any “intelligent reader” as the author puts it. Byman uses a Q&A format, where he poses a question and then answers it. He uses all sources available, speculates, analyzes, and gives the best answer he can, admitting uncertainty where it exists.
This unusual format means the book can be read front cover to back cover, or used as a reference, looking only for that information which interests you. Many of the questions he poses are likely questions you have asked yourself since 9/11. Others are questions you perhaps should have asked, and would have, had only the mainstream media given you reliable information to go on in the first place.
byman-danielByman is an expert on the subject, which is one of the reasons his book is so important. This is a man who is not a journalist, but someone who has followed these jihadist movements professionally for the CIA, for Rand, for Brookings Institute, and for the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. If anyone is qualified to untangle to immense skein of false trails for the facts at its center, it is Daniel Byman.
Another reason this book is important is found in a question he asks at the outset: Where does Al Qaeda begin and end? Americans are so woefully ill-informed about the situation in the Middle East that a book like Byman’s can only be a corrective to more than a decade of conflicting accounts of what, exactly, has transpired in the Middle East. And not just since 2001, when America entered the picture, but going back to 1979, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the formation of the mujaheddin.
There is necessarily some overlap and repetition, as some questions cover the same ground, for example, “How did Al Qaeda become a suicide bombing factory?” “Why do other Jihadists criticize Al Qaeda?” and “How does Al Qaeda justify killing civilians?” Nevertheless, they are all important questions and the format enables readers to seek answers to only those questions about which they are curious.
bymanThe reader will discover what form of Islam Al Qaeda embraces (Salafism), and what differences exist between Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Contrary to Fox News, there are plentiful and significant differences, not only between Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, but between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and other terrorist groups, like Hamas, which Byman says has repressed Al Qaeda-like groups in the Gaza Strip) and Hizballah (unlikely allies as they follow different forms of Islam).
Though the Islamic State is producing combat soldiers rather than terrorists along Al Qaeda lines, you will learn how your run-of-the-mill terrorists are trained (often very poorly), how they are radicalized into terrorism, and whether or not we should be worried about them – or simply laugh at their frequent ineptitude.
In a word, what Byman does here is de-mythologize Al Qaeda, stripping away by layers the mystique they have built up around themselves since 9/11, exposing them as porn addicts, hypocrites, ignorant of their own holy scriptures and armed with cherry-picked and misinterpreted verses instead. The reader will learn of opposition to Al Qaeda within Islam itself, and how their embrace of careless destruction has turned many of their own people against them.
It is significant in this regard that Byman dismisses the myth that moderate Muslims have not spoken out against Al Qaeda; he says they have “done so openly and repeatedly,” and not only in reaction to the 9/11 attacks. He points out that Muslim approval of Al Qaeda often drops in the wake of successful attacks. Of course, these facts are unlikely to discourage anti-Muslim ideologues in our own country, who, like Islamic radicals, do best when they ignore unwelcome facts.
For those most interested in the Islamic State, this terrorist organization is covered in depth in Chapter 8, though it receives mentions throughout the book where appropriate. Twenty-three pages are dedicated to discussions about what to call the group, who Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is, its origins, it’s opposition to Al Qaeda, it’s goals and its strength. Byman also looks at the Khorasan Group, which some readers may be familiar with, and asks whether the Islamic State is a threat to the American homeland, as some Republican politicians have contended.
The book concludes with a discussion of counterterrorism, that is, the national security instruments (e.g. military action, intelligence-gathering) used to fight these various terrorist organizations. This includes also the role of diplomacy (yes, diplomacy). We learn that other countries acquiesce to our activities, or even request them, then publicly condemn us to save face (even warning us they will do so).
Byman looks at legal systems both in the United States and abroad (and the possible consequences from the aggrieved terrorist cells), and military tribunals, including Gitmo, and rendition and resultant human rights abuses and their consequences. Byman discusses the use of drones (superior to air strikes, he says but still damaging to America’s claim to the moral high ground). Finally, he asks, how do we win the war of ideas? How do we counter radicalization? (A difficult task, he tells us).
Suggestions for further reading are found at the end of this tour de force. Some the reader might be familiar with, such as Peter Bergen (through his role at CNN). Others are more esoteric for the general reader. All such recommendations must be taken seriously, though if the reader takes his interest no further, he will still come away with a vastly improved understanding of global jihadism and therefore the situation in the Middle East as it exists today.
Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know, is published by Oxford University Press (2015). It can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers and is also available in e-book format (e.g. Kindle, Nook), which is perfectly usable here as the book’s 304 pages contain no maps or diagrams.

ISIL vs Turkey

After several deadly attacks and threats to its government, Turkey has officially declared war on ISIL. Is it possible Turkey could lose?

Russian Corruption

Bribery and corruption have become so commonplace in Vladimir Putin's Russia that one economist said it's "not a problem but a business." How did things get so bad? 

Chinese Infrastructure

With a move toward a mixed economy in China came a boom in infrastructure that was, unfortunately, coupled with lax regulations and increased corruption to get around the rules. 

Madame Tussaud

Thanks to the violent French Revolution, the real Madame Tussaud, Marie Grosholtz, walked an often bloody path on her journey to the forefront of wax sculpting. 

Man arrested for exposing his whopper in Burger King

A Florida man has been arrested after exposing himself at a Burger King in West Palm Beach, police said on Thursday.
A witness told police that she saw Jefferson King, 33, exposing himself in a seat near the restrooms inside the restaurant on North Dixie Highway.
When the woman made eye contact with King and asked him what he was doing he replied: "What? I'm playing with my penis!" The manager was informed of the incident and asked King to leave. The manager said that King refused and continued to "stroke his penis."
She then called West Palm Beach police. King told the officers that he did nothing wrong and that he did not know what they were talking about. King has been charged with indecent exposure and was taken to the Palm Beach County jail.

Wife stole police car while her husband was handcuffed in the back seat

An Alaska State Trooper vehicle was stolen while a suspect sat in the back seat. Big Lake resident Joshua Watford, 38, was arrested by troopers at around 2:30pm on Wednesday on an outstanding warrant after he was seen at a local pawn shop.
According to troopers, he was “cuffed and secured” in the back seat of a trooper vehicle when the arresting officer struck up a conversation with a passing motorist. As the officer spoke with the motorist, Amber Watford, 28, allegedly jumped into the vehicle and drove off with Joshua Watford still in the back seat.
The vehicle was stolen at around 2:45pm, according to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters. “We had a suspect detained in the back and another suspect was able to enter the vehicle and drive away,” Peters said. The trooper vehicle was located, “unoccupied and undamaged,” a short time in the Big Lake area.
A search of the area involving AST, a trooper helicopter, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and an Anchorage police K-9 unit was eventually called-off at 6:30pm on Wednesday. At around 7:30pm on Thursday, authorities found and arrested the couple at a Wasilla home on Alvin’s Alley. The Watfords were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and other charges, including hindering prosecution and criminal mischief.

Teenager obsessed with medical equipment admits stealing defibrillator from town center

A teenager with an “obsession” for medical equipment has been spared jail after he admitted stealing a town center defibrillator. Callum Howitt, 19, called the ambulance service on June 27 this year claiming someone had suffered a cardiac arrest before requesting the PIN to be able to access the life-saving equipment, worth £1,900, in North Walsham, Norfolk. Paramedics were sent to the scene but could not find anyone. They discovered the defibrillator, which had been paid for by money raised by the town council, businesses and organizations, was missing. Howitt was captured on CCTV at the time of the call and was with a young woman who received electronic messages from the defendant stating he had taken the defibrillator. Norwich Magistrates Court heard the woman, who did not realize he had stolen the equipment, was horrified. In her statement she said: “I think what Callum has done is really wrong. Defibrillators are there to save people’s lives and by taking the defibrillator he’s put someone’s life at risk.” Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, who described it as a “very unusual case”, said the consequences of Howitt’s actions could have been “tragic” adding that ambulance service time was also wasted in attending.
Mr Haswell said Howitt had acquired a “huge amount of medical paraphernalia” and had “some form of obsession with such equipment”. He said admissions were made to the defendant’s mother who contacted the police and has since looked to give back other items he had acquired. On Friday Howitt, of Lessingham, admitted stealing the defibrillator, which has since been recovered although is damaged. Rob Pollington, for Howitt, said his client had an “immense number of vulnerabilities”, was on the autistic spectrum and suffered from ADHD. He said: “He can’t give a valid, even a decent reason as to why he’s got here. He just can’t tell me why.”
Mr Pollington said it was “linked to his behavioral issues” and need to “seek out medical paraphernalia” that had led him down this path. He added he had been deeply affected by what he had done and and felt he had “let himself down and his family down”. District Judge Peter Veits, who said it was clear Howitt had “some sort of obsession with medical equipment” told him the offense “had the potential for disaster”. He said: “Defibrillators are there to try and save someone’s life.” Howitt was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £300 compensation for the damage. He was also given a £15 surcharge and made to pay £85 costs and a £180 court charge.

Clown doctors treat young hospital patients with humor therapy

Children in Australian hospitals are being administered a healthy dose of laughter by the clown doctors wandering their wards. The Clown Doctors are part of the Humor Foundation, which aims to ease some of the pain and boredom for sick children, many of whom are confined to their beds for months at a time. Embedding clown doctors into health units could change the culture of the hospital for the better, senior psychologist Dr Alan Headey said.
"We shift towards 'we need to care for the whole person here, not just their bodies'. And that's really crucial," he said. Dr Headey said clown doctors worked on three different levels. "First is making kids feel better. They make them feel happy, improve their morale and crucially when maybe bad stuff is happening they make them feel less anxious, less worried ... they forget about their worries for a little while which is just fantastic," he said.
"The second thing when parents see their kids laughing and playing and coming up with creative idea, parents feel better, they feel less stressed. When parents are less stressed and start joking with kids they're able to help their children in creative ways and that's really crucial. Parents are the people who calm us down when we're children ... they make the difference. So helping kids and parents together is fantastic. The third thing which is sometimes missed ... it has a really big effect on staff ... we feel less stressed, we feel happier and when we're less stressed we can play around with patients.

That helps them trust us better, they have better relationships with us, we can communicate more effectively." Dr Headey said previous studies have looked at what worked better at calming children down - interacting with clown doctors or preoperative anesthetics. "A clown doctor was more effective than a drug," he said. "One of the real questions is 'how does humor affect these children?' One of the things we know is it does seem to lower blood pressure ... it changes heart rate responses.Those physiological responses are telltale signs that anxiety is going down."

Mental Med Students

What's ailing the people who will one day care for us?

It's The Flu

Every year people who swear by them line up for their annual flu shot. And that's the drill, year after year. But new research is pointing the way toward one shot, one time, and you're done.
Despite the most up-to-the-minute data, in the end it’s only somewhat better than a shot in the dark. 

Harden Tissue Into Bone

Researchers have identified the process through which a specific gene mutates, causing the condition.

Unknown Cannabis

As cannabis becomes a legitimate, legal, and highly profitable crop, scientists are finally beginning to analyze and understand it

Madidi Moths

The Wildlife Conservation Society has released a dazzling gallery of images of some of the moths found during the Bolivian scientific expedition.

Mysterious blue-headed bear spotted in Canada

Aaron Smith always carries his camera with him on his commute through Mission, British Columbia, but the footage he captured earlier this week of a colorful bear has turned into something of a mystery. Smith was driving past Silvermere Lake on Tuesday when he noticed the bear and her cubs.
But he didn’t notice that the mama bruin had a rather unusual hue until he did a U-turn and picked up his camera. “It was only after I pulled over and pulled out my zoom lens I saw that something was wrong with the bear’s head,” he said. “It was pretty crazy. It’s a very blue head.”
Some people have suggested to Smith the bear could have set off a trap set with paint, or stuck its head into a Port-A-Potty treated with colored liquid. But conservation officers have another theory: They believe the curious bear dipped its head into a can of paint. “Being that I see there’s a clear line on the bear’s neck of a saturation of blue.

“It looks like he would have dipped his head in something,” said Chris Jones of Mission Animal Control. “I didn’t see speckling or anything from being sprayed or anything like that.” Jones says there are bear sightings in the area every few days, but this one is unlike any he’s ever encountered. “I don’t think anyone expects to see a blue-headed bear on their way home,” Smith added.

Animal Pictures