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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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Daily Drift

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

1515 King Francis of France defeats the Swiss army under Cardinal Matthias Schiner at Marignano, northern Italy.
1549 Pope Paul III closes the first session of the Council of Bologna.
1564 On the verge of attacking Pedro Menendez’s Spanish settlement at San Agostin, Florida, Jean Ribault’s French fleet is scattered by a devastating storm.
1759 British troops defeat the French on the plains of Abraham, in Quebec.
1774 Tugot, the new controller of finances, urges the king of France to restore the free circulation of grain in the kingdom.
1782 The British fortress at Gibraltar comes under attack by French and Spanish forces.
1788 The Constitutional Convention authorizes the first federal election resolving that electors in all the states will be appointed on January 7, 1789.
1789 Guardsmen in Orleans, France, open fire on rioters trying to loot bakeries, killing 90.
1846 General Winfield Scott takes Chapultepec, removing the last obstacle to U.S. troops moving on Mexico City.
1862 Union troops in Frederick, Maryland, discover General Robert E. Lee’s attack plans for the invasion of Maryland wrapped around a pack of cigars. They give the plans to General George B. McClellan who sends the Army of the Potomac to confront Lee but only after a delay of more than half a day.
1863 The Loudoun County Rangers rout a company of Confederate cavalry at Catoctin Mountain in Virginia.
1905 U.S. warships head to Nicaragua on behalf of American William Albers, who was accused of evading tobacco taxes.
1918 U.S. and French forces take St. Mihiel, France in America’s first action as a standing army.
1945 Iran demands the withdrawal of Allied forces.
1951 In Korea, U.S. Army troops begin their assault in Heartbreak Ridge. The month-long struggle will cost 3,700 casualties.
1961 An unmanned Mercury capsule is orbited and recovered by NASA in a test.
1976 The United States announces it will veto Vietnam’s UN bid.
1988 Hurricane Gilbert becomes the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, based on barometric pressure. Hurricane Wilma will break that record in 2005.
1993 The Oslo Accords, granting limited Palestinian autonomy, are signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House.
2007 UN adopts non-binding Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
2008 Five synchronized bomb blasts occur in crowded locations of Delhi, India, killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 100; four other bombs are defused.
2008 Hurricane Ike makes landfall in Texas; it had already been the most costly storm in Cuba’s history and becomes the third costliest in the US.

Patriots Accused Of Institutional Cheating In ESPN Story

Patriots Accused Of Institutional Cheating In ESPN StoryDuring games, Adams sat in the coaches' box, with binoculars and notes of decoded signals, wearing a headset with a direct audio line to Belichick.

Autumn Approaches

As the weather cools, get the latest tips on what to eat, see and do.

Science Confirms That EVERY Weekend Should Be A 3-Day Weekend

by Samantha Maffucci
Does that mean I can take off every Monday?
weekendNow that Labor Day has come and gone, I'm sure you're finding yourself yearning for another coveted three-day weekend. Since these weekends only come a few times a year, they're basically a saving grace for those of us who work over 8 hours a day, and have to answer an endless stream of emails.
And now, science has confirmed that three-day weekends should happen EVERY weekend, as they actually improve work ethic, efficiency, and generally make you a better person (probably).
How exactly would three-day weekends benefit you (aside from the additional sleep and extra time for shenanigans)?
1. You'll improve your health.
One meta-analysis of multiple studies, published in The Lancet, looked at the link between heart disease and being overworked in 600,000+ Americans, Europeans, and Australians, both men and women. Researchers discovered that employees who work more than 55 hours per week were 33 percent more likely to have a strong risk of stroke than those who worked less than 40 hours per week.
Not only that, but the overworked employees were 13 percent more likely to develop heart disease. Another meta-analysis found that labor workers in particular had a 30 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
2. You'll be less of an asshole.
Another study published on sleep deprivation found that people are more likely to misread and confuse other people's emotions, even the most obvious ones (like feeling happy or sad). Overtired people also start more fights in their relationships than those who get enough rest.
Instead of taking out your aggression on your partner because you're not sleeping enough, why not take Monday off?
3. You'll be more effective at your job.
A survey conducted by Harvard Business School researchers put this notion to the test. In an experiment, researchers had employees from a consulting firm take a day off in the middle of the workweek. This experiment continued for five whole months, after which the firm's clients reported an improvement in service from those employees who took time off.
Obviously, having a three-day weekend every weekend isn't probable for most jobs. But it's nice to think that maybe, just maybe, in the near-distant future, we can all have a blissful 4-day work week.

No More Insulin -- Diabetic Woman Benefits From Cell Transplant

No More Insulin -- Diabetic Woman Benefits From Cell Transplant

The Next Generation Of Solar Panels May Be Inspired By Ancient Japanese Papercraft

This Is What the World Will Look Like After Climate Change

Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists

Rupert Murdoch, the new boss of National Geographic.
Rupert Murdoch, the new boss of National Geographic.
1888-cover1The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that has ended. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family's Fox media empire is the world's primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society's mission includes giving grants to scientists.
Or had you forgotten? Here's a refresh for you, a fun little interview with Murdoch on his climate change views.
Deal coverage in WaPo:
The partnership, which will also include the National Geographic cable channel and the National Geographic Society’s other media assets, will be called National Geographic Partners. Fox will own 73 percent of the partnership, and Washington-based National Geographic Society will own the balance. Fox will pay $725 million to the Society for its stake in the partnership. This will push the Society’s endowment to more than $1 billion.
Let the “National Geographic Covers Designed by Rupert Murdoch” Photoshop Wars begin.
More coverage: New York Times, Variety.
20-year Nat Geo vet Declan Moore becomes CEO. Gary Knell, president-CEO of the Society, will serve as the first chairman. Buried in the press announcement:
“The value generated by this transaction, including the consistent and attractive revenue stream that National Geographic Partners will deliver, ensures that we will have greater resources for this work, which includes our grant making programs that support scientists and explorers around the world,” Knell said. “As media organizations work to meet the increasing demand for high quality storytelling across multiple platforms, it’s clear that the opportunity to grow by more closely aligning our branded content and licensing assets is the right path. We now will have the scale and reach to continue to fulfill our mission long into the future. The Society’s work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It’s a virtuous cycle.”
So Rupert Murdoch will be to some large extent controlling a $1 billion organization whose stated mission includes giving grants to scientists.
Rupert Murdoch is a raging asshole, but he is also a very much on-the-record climate change denier. A climate change denier with now even more power and influence over science grants in the United States.

The Truth Be Told


If Insurance Companies Were Honest

Let’s face it, insurance companies wouldn’t be in business if they weren’t making a profit. And the fact that car insurance is a legal requirement gives them carte blanch to make more and more profits any way they can. Also because of the legal requirement to have insurance in order to drive, they don’t even have to be good at what they do- they only have to be slightly more attractive in some way than the next company.
Cracked follows up their parody ad If Car Commercials Were Honest with another transportation nightmare we’ve all been through. With, of course, the same smooth pitch man.

Krampus is Coming

Right on schedule, as soon as Labor Day is over, we get the first trailer for a Christmas movie. And this year, it’s a horror film!
Krampus is coming to ruin Christmas, opening in theaters December 4. I can’t wait to see what our European friends will say about the American horror interpretation.

Weatherman Nails the Longest Place Name in Europe

The people of Britain need to know the weather they're facing when going out in the morning. If you live in the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlll­lantysiliogogogoch in northwestern Wales, then you'll have sunshine and warm temperatures.
At 58 characters long, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlll­lantysiliogogogoch is the longest place name in all of Europe. Can you pronounce it? Liam Dutton, a weatherman with Channel 4 News, can. Watch it pour off his tongue with ease in this weather report. Dutton told the Daily Mail that he even pronounced it correctly on the first try.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlll­lantysiliogogogoch might be easy for Dutton. Perhaps he should next try the longest place name in the entire world:  Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand. That's 85 characters long.

Galactic Trash: These Unofficial Star Wars Products Are So Wrong

Some superfans will buy practically anything related to their franchise. "Practically" is the key word there. For in a galaxy far, far away from the right far, far away galaxy exists a galaxy that is Very Wrong. That is apparently where these unofficial Star Wars items are designed. And, naturally, there's a Tumblr for that.
Visit the Galactic Trash tumblr to see this charming and well-conceived collection. Talk about being proud to display items on your collectibles shelf!

Random Celebrity Photos

Marilyn Monroe

Prudish Tennessee Twit Wants Book Discussing Cervical Cancer Banned For Being ‘Too Graphic’

Image via screen captureComprehensive sex-ed and health classes could solve a lot of this poor woman’s problems.

I Had to Be High to Work at Hooters

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ashley Madison Scandal

Kentucky couple says Kim Davis ‘tainted’ their wedding

David Ermold and David Moore (Daily Mail)
A gay Kentucky couple said they never thought it would be legal for them to marry — but once the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that right, Kim Davis “tainted forever” what they had hoped would be a special memory.



Quick Hits

New implant stops cancer from spreading
Brothers who violently assaulted gay man get jobs working with students at University of Texas
Accused Russian agent pleads guilty in US over tech smuggling scheme
Calif. man and daughter busted for swindling Chinese immigrants in wedding scam
Federal prosecutors: Minneapolis youth targeted by 'intense' Islamic State recruitment
Ex-tennis star James Blake says NYPD attacked him in botched identity theft bust
Philadelphia woman gets life in prison for trapping disabled people and stealing their benefits

Colorado man ticketed for broken windshield in parking lot of auto glass repair shop

Nick Berlin (KUSA)

Arizona Authorities On The Lookout For Highway Serial Sniper, Possible Nine Shootings In 10 Days

(Image courtesy of Flickr)Director of Arizona’s Department of Public Safety, Colonel Frank Milstead, is calling the shooter a “domestic terrorist.”

Private Prison Company Is Getting Rich Locking Up Kids

Houston cops shoot unarmed black patient in hospital — and then charge him with assault

Alan Pean is a 26-year-old biology student with no criminal record and history of violence. But on August 27th, he was shot in the chest by an off-duty Houston police officer.



The Last of the Granny Witches

by Anna Wess
We are a peculiar breed. Our roots grow deeper than the cedars, and yet we don’t know precisely where or who it is that we grew from. We are a mystery as old as these hills themselves, and it doesn’t take much figuring to know that we are enigmas of intentional design and destiny.
gw1Dog knows our names.
We are not Northerners — damn Yankees, the men folks’ Confederate influence called them — and this we know without a doubt. I myself was always preened into believing I was a Southern child, born out of notions of gallantry and romance, but the fact is, I ain’t a low country belle and I’ve never picked a shred of cotton or been to a debutante ball.
We are not peaches.
And these mountain women before us were not delicate flowers or distressed coquettes. In these old heirloom hills, the women are as tough as the men, and then some. There was only one person Papaw was leery of, and that was Mamaw. No, you are not a peach, never mind how long you’ve thought you were or the times your daddy said so. No, you’re not. You are not easily bruised fruit. The blood in our veins is laced with old magic and the secrets of the noble savants before us.
We are the last of the granny witches.
The old ones, the original Appalachian queens, were daughters of the Celts and the offspring of Druids and medieval mavens and the natives of the old world craft, and we are their children. And although we are indeed as mysterious as these old hills, we still have that Celt and Cherokee elder magic in our bones.
I have beheld divination in my grandmother’s kitchen as she would foretell future events spelled out in the remnants of black tea or coffee grounds on the bottom of a common porcelain cup. With my own eyes I have witnessed warts and scars blown clean off the skin with nothing more than a believing breath and a skyward nod towards The Maker. Those magic women, those healers of wounds and tellers of fortunes and hex casters never considered themselves anything but noble and proud and dog-fearing, and it didn’t bother them to be called a granny witch or a bee charmer or a medicine woman. These were gifts to them from the Divine.
And I recall bed sheets over mirrors in rooms where some tired soul had just given up the ghost. Nobody wants to be haunted forever, not even by somebody they once loved, and so they cover up the mirror so the spirit won’t see themselves and linger around. Ain’t a’ one of us needs a specter in the house. That’s why Sister Brown paints her ceiling haint blue. You just never know and can never be too sure. Some folks don’t know when to leave, even after they’re dead. And the horseshoe hanging upright above the front door won’t do a thing for the spirits, but at least your luck won’t ever run out.
And you do such things yourself, too, and likely have never spent a juncture of a thought as to why, or from where or who, or for what consequence. I would wager you’d never pick up a coin that’s face down or cross the path of a black cat without blessing yourself (or at least thinking that you’re not superstitious anyway and you convince yourself there’s no need give that cat a second thought), and your very blood will chill when a broken clock starts a tick-tick-ticking again, for you already know what that means, and it’s not to tell the time.
There once was many more of us, back in the old days when it seemed like dog was sleeping somewhere over on the mountain and the old ones ruled the land and fended for themselves. But that time has long gone. We must work harder to preserve our magic, for it is fading into the background noise of technology and naysayers and law men that tell us we are common simple folk and feed us pills and poverty to quiet us. I fear that we are truly the last of the granny witches, the last tellers of tales, and that will be the end of our magic.
Some of us have already lost it.
But that old blood still courses through my veins, and perhaps you can feel it, too, when the sparrow smashes against a window or the cow moos after dark. What we send out into the yonder surely comes back home to us, eventually. It always has.
Send out your magic. Don’t be the last of your kind. We are the daughters of the Celts and the offspring of Druids and medieval mavens and the natives of the old world craft. And yes, dog knows your name. Tell your tales and bewitch history, just like the mother mountains with her ages of charm and mystery, where peaches have never grown.

England: Construction Workers Discover Skull of William Wallace

by Barbara Johnson
England: Construction Workers Discover Skull of William WallaceA team of construction workers employed at demolishing an old pub last month in the Bermondsey district of the London borough of Southwark, have discovered an ancient and badly damaged wooden crate containing three pierced human skulls, presumably the severed heads of criminals or traitors that had been impaled on pikes and displayed at the southern gatehouse of the Old London Bridge. The remains, which were sent to the Ireland to be analyzed by a team of archaeologists associated with the National Museum of Ireland, have turned out to be those of 14th Century rebel heroes of the Wars of Scottish Independence, including that of the former Guardian of Scotland, William Wallace.
All three heads have visibly been dipped in tar and boiled for preservation, before being pierced by pikes or spears. According to the various tests and analysis realized on the three heads, two of the skulls have been proven by DNA, to belong to the brothers, John and Simon Fraser, while the third is strongly believed to have belonged to William Wallace. All three men were indeed condemned to being executed in 1305 and 1306, and many contemporary writers describe how the head of the three men were exposed at the same time atop the London Bridge, starting a tradition of gruesome dissuasion that was to continue for another 355 years . The Bermondsey district was less densely urbanized at the time and it is quite possible that after their period of public exposure, the heads were simply buried near the foundation of the bridge.
Two of the skulls, turned out to have very similar genetics suggesting they were siblings. DNA comparison with descendants of John and Simon Fraser of Oliver and Neidpath, have confirmed that these were indeed the remains of the famous rebel knights banneret.
All three rebels were in fact separately condemned to being hanged, drawn and quartered, an exceptionally cruel, long and bloody method of public execution. Convicts were fastened to a hurdle, or a wooden panel, and drawn by horse to the place of execution, where they were hanged almost to the point of death, but released while still alive. They were then emasculated, eviscerated and their bowels were burnt before them, before they were finally beheaded. Their bodies were then cut into four parts, to be exposed like the head, in different parts of the Kingdom.
In the case of William Wallace, contemporary chronicles state that his preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge while his limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle upon Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling, and Perth.
Sir William Wallace (from the Gaelic Uilliam Uallas) was a Scottish member of the lesser nobility who became one of the main leaders of the rebels during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297, and was appointed Guardian of Scotland by an assembly of noblemen. He commanded the Scottish army until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298, when he resigned from his function. He was captured in August 1305 in Robroyston, near Glasgow,  after the betrayal of the Scottish knight John de Menteith, and was handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him tortured and killed for high treason and crimes against English civilians. He is depicted in the very inaccurate but award-winning historical drama Braveheart, directed by and starring Mel Gibson, that was released in 1995.
According to most experts, the historical William Wallace most likely wore chain and plate mail and looked more like a medieval knight than a painted Celtic warrior with a kilt.
According to most experts, the historical William Wallace most likely wore chain and plate mail and looked more like a medieval knight than a painted Celtic warrior with a kilt.
The remains of the three men will be sent to Scotland in a few weeks, after the scientists have gathered all possible information from the bones. They should then be placed in the crypt of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, a Roman catholic cult located in Edinburgh.

Bones in South African cave reveal new human relative

by Lynsey Chutel and Malcom Ritter
This March 2015 photo provided by National Geographic …Scientists say they've discovered a new member of the human family tree, revealed by a huge trove of bones in a barely accessible, pitch-dark chamber of a cave in South Africa.
The creature shows a surprising mix of human-like and more primitive characteristics — some experts called it "bizarre" and "weird."
And the discovery presents some key mysteries: How old are the bones? And how did they get into that chamber, reachable only by a complicated pathway that includes squeezing through passages as narrow as about 7½ inches (17.8 centimeters)?
The bones were found by a spelunker, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Johannesburg. The site has yielded some 1,550 specimens since its discovery in 2013. The fossils represent at least 15 individuals.
Researchers named the creature Homo naledi (nah-LEH-dee). That reflects the "Homo" evolutionary group, which includes modern people and our closest extinct relatives, and the word for "star" in a local language. The find was made in the Rising Star cave system.
The creature, which evidently walked upright, represents a mix of traits. For example, the hands and feet look like Homo, but the shoulders and the small brain recall Homo's more ape-like ancestors, the researchers said.
Lee Berger, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg who led the work, said naledi's anatomy suggest that it arose at or near the root of the Homo group, which would make the species some 2.5 million to 2.8 million years old. The discovered bones themselves may be younger, said Berger, an American.
At a news conference Thursday in the Cradle of Humankind, a site near the town of Magaliesburg where the discovery was made, bones were arranged in the shape of skeleton in a glass-covered wooden case. Fragments of small skulls, an almost complete jawbone with teeth, and pieces of limbs, fingers and other bones were arrayed around the partial skeleton.
Berger handed a skull reconstruction to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who kissed it, as did other VIPs. Berger beamed throughout the unveiling.
The researchers also announced the discovery in the journal eLife. They said they were unable to determine an age for the fossils because of unusual characteristics of the site, but that they are still trying.
Berger said researchers are not claiming that neledi was a direct ancestor of modern-day people, and experts unconnected to the project said they believed it was not.
Rick Potts, director of the human origins program at the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum, who was not involved in the discovery, said that without an age, "there's no way we can judge the evolutionary significance of this find."
If the bones are about as old as the Homo group, that would argue that naledi is "a snapshot of ... the evolutionary experimentation that was going on right around the origin" of Homo, he said. If they are significantly younger, it either shows the naledi retained the primitive body characteristics much longer than any other known creature, or that it re-evolved them, he said.
Eric Delson of Lehman College in New York, who also wasn't involved with the work, said his guess is that naledi fits within a known group of early Homo creatures from around 2 million year ago.
Besides the age of the bones, another mystery is how they got into the difficult-to-reach area of the cave. The researchers said they suspect the naledi may have repeatedly deposited their dead in the room, but alternatively it may have been a death trap for individuals that found their own way in.
"This stuff is like a Sherlock Holmes mystery," declared Bernard Wood of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study. Visitors to the cave must have created artificial light, as with a torch, Wood said. The people who did cave drawings in Europe had such technology, but nobody has suspected that mental ability in creatures with such a small brain as naledi, he said.
This photo provided by National Geographic from their …
Potts said a deliberate disposal of dead bodies is a feasible explanation, but he added it's not clear who did the disposing. Maybe it was some human relative other than naledi, he said.
Not everybody agreed that the discovery revealed a new species. Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley, called that claim questionable. "From what is presented here, (the fossils) belong to a primitive Homo erectus, a species named in the 1800s," he said in an email.
At the news conference in South Africa, Berger disputed that.
"Could this be the body of homo erectus? Absolutely not. It could not be erectus," Berger said.

Animal Pictures