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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 29, 2015

The Daily Drift

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

1197 Emperor Henry VI dies in Messina, Sicily.
1399 Richard II of England is deposed. His cousin, Henry of Lancaster, declares himself king under the name Henry IV.
1493 Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain, on his second voyage to the new world.
1513 Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.
1789 Congress votes to create a U.S. army.
1833 A civil war breaks out in Spain between Carlisists, who believe Don Carlos deserves the throne, and supporters of Queen Isabella.
1850 Mormon leader Brigham Young is named the first governor of the Utah Territory.
1864 Union troops capture the Confederate Fort Harrison, outside Petersburg, Virginia.
1879 Dissatisfied Ute Indians kill Agent Nathan Meeker and nine others in the "Meeker Massacre."
1932 A five-day work week is established for General Motors workers.
1939 Germany and the Soviet Union reach an agreement on the division of Poland.
1941 30,000 Jews are gunned down in Kiev when Henrich Himmler sends four strike squads to exterminate Soviet Jewish civilians and other "undesirables."
1943 Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf is published in the United States.
1950 Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev repeatedly disrupts a UN General Assembly meeting with his violent outbursts over intervention in the Belgian Congo, US U2 spy planes, and arms control.
1960 General Douglas MacArthur officially returns Seoul, South Korea, to President Syngman Rhee.
1962 Canada launches its first satellite, Alouette 1.
1962 The popular Argentinian comic strip Mafalda beings publication, in the weekly Primera Plana; focusing on a six-year-old girl (Mafalda) and her friends, it has been called the Argentinian Peanuts.
1966 Chevrolet introduces the Camaro, which will become an iconic car.
1971 Oman joins the Arab League.
1979 John Paul II becomes the first pope ever to visit Ireland.
1990 The YF-22, later named F-22 Raptor, flies for the first time.
1992 Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached for corruptions; he was the youngest president in the nation’s history, taking office at age 40 in 1990.
2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 777.68 points in the wake of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual bankruptcies, the largest single-day point loss in Wall Street history.
2009 An 8.1 earthquake causes a tidal wave that claims 189 lives in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga.

If You're Going To Sit For A Long Period Of Time, It's Better To Fidget Around

Autumn's Colors

Autumn's upon us, so journey around the globe for the most stunning fall foliage.


The equinox may herald the arrival of fall, but summer is very much going to be in effect for most of the U.S. through the end of this month.

How a Concentration Camp Survivor and an American Huckster Created the Magic Crystals of Miracle-Gro

We are surrounded by everyday consumer products and rarely think about how they came about. Some of the origin stories behind them involve people with fascinating histories, but you’d never know until someone digs into their background. Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer was brought to market by Otto Stern and Horace Hagedorn.
But first, Otto Stern had to escape Nazi Germany. Stern, a German Jew, had been arrested during Kristallnacht, deserted by his non-Jewish wife, and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He held on, dreaming of a post-war life. When he was released from the camps after Hitler's downfall, he left Germany, bouncing from Cuba to America and finally ending up in Geneva, New York. If Gloversville was a glove town, and Danbury a hat city, Geneva was (and is) a plant capital, home to federal and state agricultural agencies, and a capitalist Eden of for-sale trees, flowers and other green stuff. There, Stern began to grow a new life for himself, starting up his own nursery and setting it apart with what was then a novel idea: order from his shop, and he would ship the plants anywhere in the country. You could come home to find a rosebush waiting for you on your porch.
Stern also sold fertilizer to go along with his mail-order plants. But his business didn’t really take off until he met a radio adman who wanted to grow bigger tomatoes. They spent a lot of time together because Stern had such a thick accent that he was uncomfortable talking on a phone, and their conversation often veered from advertising into their mutual interest in gardening. The story of how that led to to phenomena of Miracle-Gro is told at Atlas Obscura

Why a Looming Fight for Syrian Border Town Could Be Game Changer for ISIL's Grip on Power

Kurdish plans to recapture a vital town on Syria's border with Turkey could transform the fight against the jihadists.
Syrian Kurdish leaders plan to capture the last border crossing point between Syria and Turkey held by Isis, making it impossible for jihadist volunteers from Europe and elsewhere to reach Isis-held territories.
The seizure of the frontier town of Jarabulus on the Euphrates River is certain to anger Turkey, which is already alarmed by the rise of a Syrian-Kurdish state-let in northern Syria, aided by US air strikes and fielding strong military forces.
The loss of Jarabulus would isolate Isis, bringing to an end its ability to bring in thousands of fanatical Islamic fighters who have been crossing from Turkey into Syria without significant hindrance over the last four years. ISIL has frequently used these foreign volunteers as suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives as an essential element in its military strategy.
“We have plans to liberate Jarabulus,” said Idris Nassan, the vice-minister for foreign affairs of Kobani, the Kurdish enclave where the YPG (People’s Protection Units) defeated ISIL, told The Independent. He pointed out that “Jarabulus is the last Daesh [Isis] border crossing with Turkey” since the YPG seized its only other border crossing point at Tal Abyad, east of Kobani, in June.
Mr Nassan quoted the overall commander of the YPG, General Sipan Hamo, as saying the attack on Jarabulus would “be in coordination with the US because we are part of the international coalition. They fight in coordination with us”. This may present the US with a dilemma because in July it did a deal with Turkey whereby it uses Incirlik airbase in Turkey for air strikes against Isis. But the Turks want to stop the YPG advancing west of the Euphrates. The Syrian Kurds already control half of Turkey’s 550 mile-long border with Syria.
The Syrian Kurds are confident they can defeat Isis, which dominates the rest of eastern Syria, after they withstood a four-and-half-month siege of Kobani by ISIL that ended in January. The success of the YPG came because its fighters fought ferociously against the Islamic militants and, since October last year, its commanders have been able to call in US air strikes.
It was the support of some 700 US air strikes that helped the YPG win the battle for Kobani, though it reduced this small city to a seascape of shattered concrete where buildings have been pounded into rubble by the force of the bomb blasts. In between the ruins there are individual shops and houses that survived intact, but 70 per cent of the city is destroyed and construction workers are only slowly making an impact.
Victory at Kobani boosted the self-confidence of the YPG, which is the only ground force in Syria or Iraq that has regularly defeated Isis. After the end of the siege, the YPG won back the rest of Kobani canton, including 380 villages. And in June it captured the border town of Tal-Abyad which Isis had held for more than two years. This linked up the two main Kurdish cantons. Its capture was also important because it is only 100km (62 miles) north of Raqqa, the Isis de-facto capital in Syria.
Important though Tal Abyad was to Isis, it did not commit many fighters to holding the town, having apparently decided that it was indefensible. YPG forces were advancing from west and east towards the road linking it to Raqqa. A 21-year-old YPG fighter called Misro Munzer, hit in the knee by a machine gun bullet in a later battle and interviewed in a military hospital in Kobani, said that he had fought at Tal Abyad where “Daesh [Isis] did not fight hard”.
He explained that the more battle-hardened Isis men had retreated leaving only a remnant of 25 men without much combat experience who were demoralised and confused by US air strikes.
There is no doubt that YPG light infantry backed by US air power are highly effective and ISIL cannot hold fixed positions against a combination of the two. ISIL suffers heavy casualties when it tries to do so. But this does not mean that it cannot hit back as became evident on the drive east from Kobani, on what was meant to be an entirely safe road going to al-Qomishli, the capital of the largest Syrian Kurdish enclave.
There were some early signs that the road was not quite as secure as we had been told. As we entered an Arab village called Qayyil, 15km west of Tal Abyad, we were stopped by a large detachment of YPG troops who said they were conducting a search. One of them told us that “we have information that four or five Daesh [ISIL] fighters have penetrated the village and we are looking for them”. Other YPG fighters were guarding crossroads and entry points into Qayyil.
We drove on to Tal Abyad, a town which locals said had once had a population that was half-Arab and half-Kurdish, Turkoman and Armenian. Three months ago it had been in the hands of Isis. We wanted to look at the closed border crossing with Turkey and the police agreed to take us there.
But, as we followed a police vehicle down the street, a Kurdish woman in a black robe rushed out of a house shouting that she needed the police and our escort stopped to help her. She said that she and her daughters had been sitting in the courtyard of her house when “a man dressed in black with a beard who looked like Daesh had climbed over a wall and run past us”. The police said that there were still Isis hiding in the many abandoned houses in Tal Abyad.
These two incidents were not too surprising since Tal Abyad and nearby villages had only recently been captured by the Kurds. But the next town on our route, Ras al-Ayn, had been held by the YPG for two years. But, soon after we had entered, there were two bangs that sounded like gunshots close together, but then we saw a cloud of dense smoke rising from a checkpoint just ahead. Kurdish security men blocked the road in front of us within a couple minutes, turning back vehicles and news soon spread that there had been a suicide car bomb which killed at least five people.
It also emerged that there had been a suicide bombing just behind us at a checkpoint at the entrance to Ras al-Ayn that we had just driven through. A man on a motorbike had blown himself up but had failed to kill or injure anybody.
These incidents are all probably an attempt by Isis to show that it is still to be feared despite its recent defeats. In June it sent a detachment into Kobani disguised in Kurdish and Free Syrian Army uniforms that killed over 200 men women and children.
ISIL has in the past launched diversionary raids to keep its enemy’s troops dispersed before the main assault on a single target. But if the YPG tries to capture Jarabulus and cut ISIL’s last exit to the outside world, the Islamic militants will probably have to fight.

Trans inmate taunted and held in solitary for 66 days while prison decided whether she was female

A trans woman named Sandy Brown spent 66 days in solitary confinement at a Maryland detention facility, during which she was subjected to taunting and humiliation by the staff.

Tennessee school won’t allow gay teen to bring another boy to homecoming dance for ‘logistical reasons’

An all-boys Tennessee school won’t allow a gay student to take another boy to his homecoming dance.

Alabama Valium

In Alabama, anti-drug fervor and abortion politics have turned a meth-lab law into the country’s harshest weapon against pregnant women.



'Witchcraft' Island

A Stone Age site where cave rituals may have been performed some 9,000 years ago has been discovered in Sweden.

Oldest Decapitation

The 9,000-year-old skull was recovered in Brazil with two severed hands covering the face.

Intoxicated man celebrating his birthday didn't realize he'd been shot twice until returning home

Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are looking for the person who shot a passenger in a car on Monday night. Police said the victim was intoxicated after celebrating his birthday.
He didn't realize he'd been shot until he arrived home with his brother and friend and discovered the pain in his left shoulder was actually a gunshot wound.
They called police who found two bullet holes in the car he'd been riding in, one in the rear window and the other in the trunk. The victim, who was not identified, was taken to a Tulsa hospital to be treated for the wound.
Doctors located a second gunshot wound with a bullet lodged in the victim's buttocks. The victim and the two others in the car told officers they heard multiple "popping" noises while driving on I-44 and saw a maroon Toyota Camry exit at Highway 75. Police said the victim was not seriously injured.

Demons burning down the house

A man from Ephrata Township, Pennsylvania, who testified that demons and aliens were responsible for burning down his family’s home, will spend up to 20 years in prison. Judge Donald Totaro on Monday sentenced Joshua A. Witman, 34, to 5 to 20 years in state prison for setting fire to the house on June 15, 2014, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office. Witman lived at the home with his mother. He was also was ordered to pay $91,000 in restitution for costs to rebuild the home.
Witman told police at the time there were aliens living in walls of the home and a portal for demons in the basement, where he ignited a box of chopped firewood with a lighter and transmission fluid, according to testimony. First Assistant District Attorney Christopher Larsen said Witman endangered the lives of every firefighter who worked to extinguish the blaze.
Witman has a history of heroin abuse and a criminal record that dates to 1999, Larsen said. He was seen riding a bicycle away from the home, minutes before neighbors saw smoke billowing from it. Totaro convicted Witman of a felony arson charge after a one-day, non-jury trial. The fire seriously damaged the home’s basement and first floor. It also killed a cat. Witman had lived in the home for 25 years. His mother wasn’t home at the time of the fire.

Highway Landings

A small plane with an instructor and student pilot made an emergency landing on a street in Irvine, California, last Wednesday evening.
The Piper Cherokee aircraft landed at 6:18pm near John Wayne Airport during rush-hour traffic.
The plane is based at the airport, but is owned by Orange Coast College. No injuries or damage to the plane was reported.
Because the plane’s wings do not fold up, the plane was parked outside the airport until Thursday morning, when it was taken inside through a wider gate. The Federal Aviation Administration are to conduct an investigation.

Launch Sites

Launch pads could end up underwater due to sea level rise, officials warn.

Scientists Show How Parallel Universes Overlap And Affect Our Own

parallel worldsThe idea of parallel universes has been the baseline of many science fiction films and series for decades, but this idea has been a challenge for theoretical astrophysicists who try to explain the nature of subatomic particles, atoms and planets.
Now a group of cosmologists, who study the early universe, believe that they have found a way to find those signs that definitely prove the existence of other multiverses. Experts say that parallel universes basically inhabit the same physical space as we do and when they collide, they leave behind traces in the cosmos which we can detect.
After looking at the background echo radiation of the microwaves, which exists from the beginning of the universe, researchers have found unusual holes or “hot spots” that could be indicative of a disruption caused by “friction” with other universes.
Dr Eugene Lim, a lecturer in theoretical particle physics and cosmology at King’s College London, explained that other universes exist in the same physical space as ours.
He said: ”Indeed, they inevitably must collide, leaving possible signatures in the cosmic sky which we can try to search for. The exact details of the signatures depend intimately on the models – ranging from cold or hot spots in the cosmic microwave background to anomalous voids in the distribution of galaxies.
Nevertheless, since collisions with other universes must occur in a particular direction, a general expectation is that any signatures will break the uniformity of our observable universe”
Dr Lim said that the idea of ??”multiple universes” appeared as part of a theory to unify quantum mechanics and gravity.
Experts believe that the ‘hidden dimensions’ are curled or ‘compactified’ and are too small to be detectable, occurring in an infinite number of ways.
But what about the Big Bang? Experts believe that after the Big Bang there was a period of rapid expansion of the universe known as the “cosmic inflation”. However, the generally accepted theory claims that some parts of the universe are still growing rapidly.
parallel universes
“This means that the universe is eternally inflating.
Some parts can therefore end up becoming other universes, which could become other universes [and so on]. This mechanism generates an infinite number of universes.
By combining this scenario with string theory, there is a possibility that each of these universes possesses a different compactification of the extra dimensions and hence has different physical laws,” Dr Lim explained.
If scientists are able to identify specific signatures in the Cosmic Microwave Background, it would be possible to discover the form that these universes have.
Dr Lim added: ”These signatures are actively being pursued by scientists. Some are looking for it directly through imprints in the cosmic microwave background, and others are looking for indirect support such as gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time as massive objects pass through.
Such waves could directly prove the existence of inflation, which ultimately strengthens the support for the multiverse theory.
Whether we will ever be able to prove their existence is hard to predict. But given the massive implications of such a finding it should definitely be worth the search.”

Selfies More Deadly than Sharks

So far this year, Mashable has counted 12 selfie-related deaths and 8 shark-related fatalities.

Animal Pictures