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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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
How To Be Happy ...!
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Today in History

1782 The British sign a preliminary agreement in Paris, recognizing American independence.
1838 Mexico declares war on France.
1861 The British Parliament sends to Queen Victoria an ultimatum for the United States, demanding the release of two Confederate diplomats who were seized on the British ship Trent.
1864 The Union wins the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.
1900 The French government denounces British actions in South Africa, declaring sympathy for the Boers.
1900 Oscar Wilde dies in a Paris hotel room after saying of the room’s wallpaper: "One of us had to go."
1906 President Theodore Roosevelt publicly denounces segregation of Japanese schoolchildren in San Francisco.
1919 Women cast votes for the first time in French legislative elections.
1935 Non-belief in Nazism is proclaimed grounds for divorce in Germany.
1945 Russian forces take Danzig in Poland and invade Austria.
1948 The Soviet Union complete the division of Berlin, installing the government in the Soviet sector.
1950 President Truman declares that the United States will use the A-bomb to get peace in Korea.
1956 The United States offers emergency oil to Europe to counter the Arab ban.
1961 The Soviet Union vetoes a UN seat for Kuwait, pleasing Iraq.
1974 India and Pakistan decide to end a 10-year trade ban.
1974 Pioneer II sends photos back to NASA as it nears Jupiter.
1979 Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope in 1,000 years to attend an Orthodox mass.
1981 Representatives of the US and USSR meet in Geneva, Switzerland, to begin negotiations on reducing the number of intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.
1982 Thriller, Michael Jackson’s second solo album, released; the album, produced by Quincy Jones, became the best-selling album in history.
1993 US President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (better known as the Brady Bill) into law.
1994 MS Achille Lauro, a ship with long history of problems including a 1985 terrorist hijacking, catches fire off the coast of Somalia.
1995 Operation Desert Storm officially comes to an end.
1998 Exxon and Mobil oil companies agree to a $73.7 billion merge, creating the world’s largest company, Exxon-Mobil.
2004 On the game show Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings loses after 74 consecutive victories. It is the longest winning streak in game-show history, earning him a total of over $3 million.
2005 John Sentamu becomes Archbishop of York, making him the Cult of England’s first black archbishop.

Pork Roast Toad-in-a-Hole

A toad-in-a-hole is a dish in which a hole is cut inside a slice of bread and then an egg is fried or baked inside that hole.
(Yes, I know from previous discussions that some people insist on referring to this dish as an "egg-in-a-basket" or other eccentric appellations. But I grew up in the South where I learned to speak the English language properly. I will continue to do so.)
Endless Simmer offers this unique take on the dish. Its chefs hollowed out spots on a pork tenderloin, then baked it. After it was mostly done, they cracked open 3 eggs and placed them in the holes. After 15 more minutes of baking, this was the delicious result.

5 Depressing Signs America Just Isn't the Country It Used to Be

Rules Of Life On The Road From The Hobo Ethical Code

People assume that someone who has chosen to be homeless and travel across the country must have no drive, no goals, and no code of ethics, but a happy wanderer wouldn't get far without a game plan.
This game plan surprisingly involved a spirit of cooperation shared between fellow Hobos, and when they worked together they created a vagabond network that spanned across the country.
Hobo networks were able to map out various aspects of society by using a symbolic code to communicate with each other, and before long their unification became official at the 1889 Hobo Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
It was there that the Hobo Ethical Code was established, to help a happy wanderer be all he or she could be, and much of it sounds like good advice for us all:
"When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts."
"Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other hobos."
"When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you."
"Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling."
"If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help."

Pre-Fame Roles of Celebrities

We've all watched an older movie and had that moment of "OMG, I didn't realize so-and-so was in that." That's why I love this great Flavorwire article featuring 50 actors in some of their early, pre-fame movie roles. From Zooey Deschanel in Almost Famous to Laurence Fishburne in Apocalypse Now, it's funny how many stars are in big-name movies without actually being remembered for those roles. Of course, even those that you remember in those roles are fun to remember.

Teaching Economics with Dr. Seuss

Comparative advantage is an economic model which holds that individuals, companies, and entire nations leverage particular advantages in productivity in order to increase profits. A Dictionary of Economics and Commerce defines it as the:
. . . measure of relative efficiency of resource use when the opportunity cost of production is taken into consideration. It is the basis of the specialization or division of labor and international trade.
Kenny Fennell explained it in a macroeconomics course paper modeled after the Dr. Seuss's famous book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. In Fennell's tale, the Gox, Mr. Gump, and Mike excel at particular skills. They thrive economically because they specialize in those skills instead of attempting to master each other's. You can read the entire story here.

Robots Learn to Disobey Humans

In an extraordinarily reckless act, programmers at the Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory at Tufts University have intentionally given robots the ability to disobey their orders. If a robot thinks that following an instruction will be dangerous, it will refuse.
In this demonstration video, a robot is told to walk forward. The robot, concluding that doing so will cause it to fall, says no. Gordon Briggs and Matthias Scheutz, who are the engineers responsible for this disaster in the making, published a paper about their naive intentions. The Daily Mail quotes it:
'Given the reality of the limitations of autonomous systems, most directive rejection mechanisms have only needed to make use of the former class of excuse - lack of knowledge or lack of ability.
'However, as the abilities of autonomous agents continue to be developed, there is a growing community interested in machine ethics, or the field of enabling autonomous agents to reason ethically about their own actions.'
This development will no doubt pair nicely with robots that can use human bodies for energy.

Fiery Words: Charles Dickens and Spontaneous Combustion

How Charles Dickens fueled a world of spontaneous combustion truthers.
The first thing they noticed was the smell—like someone frying rancid meat. The two men sat in their flat in central London, awaiting their midnight appointment with the old, alcoholic Mr. Krook, who lived downstairs. As they chatted uneasily, ominous sights and smells kept distracting them. Black soot swirled through the room. A pungent yellow grease stained the windowsill. And that smell!
At last, after midnight, they descended the stairs. Mr. Krook’s shop—crammed with dirty rags, bottles, bones, and other hoarded trash—was unpleasant even in daytime. But tonight they sensed something positively evil. Outside Krook’s bedroom near the back of the shop, a cat leaped out and snarled. When they entered Krook’s room, the odor choked them. Grease stained the walls and ceiling as if it were painted on. Krook’s coat and cap lay on a chair; a bottle of gin sat on the table. But the only sign of life was the cat, still hissing. The men swung their lantern around, looking for Krook, who was nowhere to be seen.
Then they saw the pile of ash on the floor. They stared for a moment, before turning and running. They burst onto the street, shouting for help. But it was too late: Old Krook was gone, a victim of spontaneous combustion.
When Charles Dickens published this scene in December 1852—an installment from his serialized novel Bleak House—most readers swallowed it as fact. After all, Dickens wrote realistic stories, and he took great pains to render scientific matters like smallpox infections and neurological disorders accurately. So even though Krook was fictional, the public trusted that Dickens had portrayed spontaneous combustion with his customary precision.
Most of the public, anyway. A few readers were outraged by the scene. After all, scientists had been laboring to debunk old nonsense like clairvoyance, mesmerism, and the idea that people sometimes burst into flames. And key discoveries about heat, electricity, and other phenomena provided strong support for their view, showing that the human body, far from being otherworldly, was subject to all physical laws of nature. But the science was still behind. And there were enough mysteries for old wives’ tales to retain a foothold. This only made both sides more desperate to prove their case, and within two weeks skeptics began challenging Dickens in print, inciting one of the strangest controversies in literary history. Leading the charge was George Lewes, a Victorian-era Richard Dawkins—always ready to attack superstitions. Lewes had studied physiology as a young man, so he understood the body. He also had a foot in the literary world as a critic and playwright and as George Eliot’s longtime lover. In fact, he counted Dickens as a friend.
But you wouldn’t know that from Lewes’s response to the story. Writing in the newspaper The Leader, he acknowledged that artists have a license to bend the truth, but protested that novelists can’t just ignore the laws of physics. “The[se] circumstances are beyond the limits of acceptable fiction,” he wrote, “and give credence to a scientific impossibility.” He accused Dickens of cheap sensationalism and “of giving currency to a vulgar error.”
Dickens swung back. Since he published a new installment of Bleak House each month, he had time to slip a rejoinder into the next episode. As the action picks back up with the inquest into Krook’s death, Dickens mocks his critics as eggheads too blind to see plain evidence: “Some of these authorities (of course the wisest) hold with indignation that the deceased had no business to die in the alleged manner,” Dickens wrote. To them, “going out of the world by any such by-way [was] wholly unjustifiable and personally offensive.” But common sense eventually triumphs, and the coroner in the story declares, “These are mysteries we can’t account for!”
In private letters to Lewes, Dickens continued his defense, mentioning several historical cases of spontaneous combustion throughout history. He leaned especially hard on the case of an Italian countess who had reportedly combusted in 1731. She bathed in camphorated spirits of wine (a mixture of brandy and camphor); the morning after one such bath, her maid walked into her room to find the bed unslept on. As with Mr. Krook, soot hung suspended in the air, along with a yellow haze of oil on the windows. The maid found the countess’s legs—just her legs—standing several feet from the bed. A pile of ashes sat between them, along with her charred skull. Nothing else seemed amiss, except for two melted candles nearby. And because a priest had recorded this tale, Dickens considered it trustworthy.
He wasn’t the only author to write about spontaneous combustion. Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and Washington Irving all had characters erupt as well. Much like the “nonfiction” accounts they drew from, most of the victims were old, sedentary alcoholics. Their torsos always burned completely, but their extremities often survived intact. Eerier still, beyond the occasional scorch mark on the floor, the flames never consumed anything but the victim’s body. The strangest part? Dickens and others did have some science backing them up.
Spontaneous combustion was linked to one of the most important discoveries in medical history, one that revolutionized our understanding of how the body worked—the discovery of oxygen. After chemists isolated oxygen for the first time in the late 1700s, they noticed that it played a role in both burning and breathing. With that, many scientists declared that breathing was nothing but slow combustion—a constant burning—inside us.
If slow fires burned inside us all the time, why couldn’t they suddenly flare up? Especially in alcoholics, whose very organs were dripping with gin or rum. (Plus, not to put too fine a point on it, we all pass flammable gases several times each day.) As for what sets the fires off, perhaps it was fevers or raging hot tempers.
Lewes, however, wouldn’t back down. He dismissed Dickens’s sources as “humorous, but not convincing,” noting that several were more than a century old. It didn’t help that Dickens enlisted the support of a celebrity doctor who promoted the fad pseudoscience of phrenology as well. Lewes also pointed out, rightly, that no factual accounts of spontaneous combustion had been written by eyewitnesses: They were all collected secondhand, from a cousin’s friend or a landlord’s brother-in-law.
Most damning of all, Lewes cited recent experiments in physiology that revealed how the liver metabolizes booze, breaking it down for elimination. As a result, the organs of an alcoholic aren’t soaking in alcohol. Even if they were, science had shown that the body is roughly 75 percent water, so it couldn’t catch on fire by itself. Not to mention, it was obvious to doctors by then that fevers don’t burn nearly hot enough to ignite anything.
Not surprisingly, Dickens dug in. His relationship with science had always been ambivalent: He couldn’t deny the marvels that science had wrought, but he was fundamentally romantic and thought science killed the imagination and undermined Christian life. He also detested society’s growing dependence on data and reductionism. Artistically, Dickens considered the scene with Krook so central to the novel (which involves a ruinous court case that consumes the lives and fortunes of everyone involved) that he couldn’t stand it being picked apart. And the more defensive Dickens got, the more disgusted Lewes became. They bickered for 10 months, before mutually dropping the matter when the final installment of Bleak House appeared in September 1853.
History, of course, has judged Lewes the winner here: Outside of the tabloids, no human being has ever spontaneously combusted. In reality, practically every “spontaneous combustion” case has found the person to be near a fire source like candles or cigarettes. They likely accidentally lit themselves on fire, and clothing, fat tissue, methane gas, and (if it’s built up from alcoholism) acetone kindled the unfortunate blaze. Still, Lewes and other scientists didn’t understand as much as they assumed. For instance, they believed that the combustion of energy inside us took place inside the lungs and not, as we now know, inside cells themselves.
Dickens’s popularity no doubt delayed the death of spontaneous combustion in the popular mind. (One medical text was still discussing claims of spontaneous combustion as late as 1928.) But Dickens was certainly right about one thing: that in human affairs, spontaneous combustion does happen. Friendships and reputations can ignite instantly and leave little in their wake. Dickens and Lewes eventually patched things up and seemingly never spoke of the matter again. But for much of 1853 the fires burned awfully hot.

World’s most ‘adorable drug kingpin’ is actually the daughter of Texas DEA head honcho

Owing to her privileged status, Sarah Furay has a very good chance to escape the ruinous punishment that would be inflicted on most defendants in her situation.

Saudi Arabia Pledges To Sue Anyone Who Compares Them To ISIL On Twitter

Saudi Arabia Pledges To Sue Anyone Who Compares Them To ISIS On Twitter
To prove they aren’t like ISIL, Saudi Arabia behaves like ISIL.
Read more 

Planned Parenthood Murders

Suspected shooter at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood taken into custody (Screenshot/CBS News)
Two people died in Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Police Lt. Buckley speaks to reporters (Twitter)
A gunman opened fire Friday afternoon at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

Abortion Opponents Insist The Planned Parenthood Murders Were Actually A Bank Robbery

Mississippi man guns down Waffle House waitress after she asks him not to smoke

Police said Mount then pulled out a 9mm handgun he had concealed under his shirt and shot the 52-year-old waitress in the head.

Gorgeous, Nature-Inspired Resin Jewelry Filled With Real Petals, Gold Flakes

If we have one nearly embarrassing obsession, it's pretty jewelry. Whether of the costume variety or the genuine article, it's no matter as long as it's beautiful. We've fallen for these pieces by Lyuda, whose Etsy store is called LivinLovin. These bracelets, earrings and rings are made of natural flower petals and buds encased in resin, and flecked with gold to lend interest and sparkle.
We featured another Etsy shop early this year that also encases natural materials in resin, but Lyuda's pieces are different in that they're more delicate, shimmery, and with decidedly feminine touches.
At these reasonable prices, checking out the inventory at Lyuda's Etsy Shop can give you one more thing to be thankful for: getting a holiday gift quite likely to put a smile on a beloved woman in your life

10 Planets That Could Potentially Sustain Life

In order for a planet to be habitable or hospitable for life, it needs to meet certain criteria. They have to be the right distance from a star, they have to be big enough to have a molten center, and the planet needs to have rock.
Exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system, may not only support life other than our own, but we could also consider these as oases in the universe in case we are ever forced to leave Earth. As of right now, obviously there is no way we can travel to these planets, but with changes in space travel and space colonies, we may get there one day.

Dog Catches Lobsters

Not all dogs love lobsters. Usually, lobsters are the natural prey of dogs in the wild. Or at least this dog, Lila, has been trained to dive into the water, swim to the sea floor, and bring back a lobster.
Alex Schulze, one of the founders of the ecologically-friendly company Devocean (Devoted to the Ocean), has trained one of his labrador retrievers to hunt lobsters. In this video, Schulze shows how he did it.

Spitting Contest with a Dolphin

John went to the Bahamas and took in one of those “swimming with dolphins” attractions in Nassau. There he met a dolphin who wants to be a comedian. Instead of a kiss, he spit water in John’s face!
Well John reacted naturally, and spit right back. Thing escalated from there until a trainer stepped in to break things up. The man and dolphin made up and a good time was had by all.

Goat Intended for Tiger's Lunch Becomes His Friend Instead

Zookeepers at the Primorsky Safari Park in Russia shoved a goat inside the tiger enclosure to be the tiger's food. But the tiger didn't hunt him. Instead Amur the tiger and the goat that zookeepers have named Timur are friends. They hang out together. Timur sleeps in Amur's hut and follows him around. The Daily Telegraph reports:
Then, to add insult to injury, Timur decided that the shelter which had been where Amur slept, would be even better accommodation for a weary goat, NBC reported.
Amur, who was banished to the shelter's roof, for the last four nights appears to have accepted this latest indignity with rather good grace and now the two animals are firm friends.
Timur follows Amur everywhere, oblivious to the potential risk.
Together, they've developed a great premise for a sitcom.

Animal Pictures