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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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
Our ninth Xmas Tree of the month ...!
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Today is - Weary Willie Day

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Today in History

536 Having captured Naples earlier in the year, Belisarius takes Rome.
1861 The U.S. Senate approves establishment of a committee that would become the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War.
1863 Major General John G. Foster replaces Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as Commander of the Department of Ohio.
1867 The capital of Colorado Territory is moved from Golden to Denver.
1872 P.B.S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of Louisiana.
1900 The Russian czar rejects Boer Paul Kruger’s pleas for aid in South Africa against the British.
1908 A child labor bill passes in the German Reichstag, forbidding work for children under age 13.
1917 The new Finnish Republic demands the withdrawal of Russian troops.
1940 The British army seizes 1,000 Italians in a sudden thrust in Egypt.
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt tells Americans to plan for a long war.
1948 The United States abandons a plan to de-concentrate industry in Japan.
1949 The United Nations takes trusteeship over Jerusalem.
1950 President Harry Truman bans U.S. exports to Communist China.
1950 Harry Gold gets 30 years imprisonment for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II.
1955 Sugar Ray Robinson knocks out Carl Olson to regain the world middleweight boxing title.
1960 The Laos government flees to Cambodia as the capital city of Vientiane is engulfed in war.
1990 Lech Walesa is elected president of Poland.
1992 U.S. Marines land in Somalia to ensure food and medicine reaches the deprived areas of that country.
2008 Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is arrested on federal charges, including an attempt to sell the US Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

A Brief History of Sending a Letter to Santa

Teaching your children to write letters to Santa claus is fun for the whole family. The kid learn to write letters, or write at all, and parents find out what their fondest wish for Xmas gifts are. But it wasn’t always that way.
Early versions of Santa Claus tended to depict him as a disciplinarian. The first image of St. Nicholas in the United States, commissioned by the New-York Historical Society in 1810, showed him in ecclesiastical garb with a switch in hand next to a crying child, while the earliest known Santa picture-book shows him leaving a birch rod in a naughty child’s stocking, which he “Directs a Parent’s hand to use / When virtue’s path his sons refuse.”
The earliest Santa letters are similarly didactic, usually coming from St. Nicholas, rather than written to him. The minister Theodore Ledyard Cuyler recalled receiving “an autograph letter from Santa Claus, full of good counsels” during his childhood in 1820s western New York. In the 1850s, Fanny Longfellow (wife of the poet Henry Wadsworth) wrote her three children letters each Christmas that commented on their behavior over the previous year and how they could improve it.
“[Y]ou have picked up some naughty words which I hope you will throw away as you would sour or bitter fruit,” Santa explained in an 1853 letter. “Try to stop to think before you use any, and remember if no one else hears you God is always near.” In an era before childhood was celebrated as a distinct period of a person’s life, gratifying kids’ imaginations was less important than teaching them manners that would speed them toward adulthood.
Well, we know that custom changed over the years. Postal rates fell, Santa Claus became a pop culture idol, and stores wanted to sell toys. Read the history of our custom of having children write letters to Santa Claus at Smithsonian.

Look What Happens When You Tell People They're Beautiful

Look What Happens When You Tell People They're Beautiful

Wage Growth Stagnated Even As November’s Job Growth Was Strong

'Christians' Hilariously Criticize Bible After Reading Verses They Think Are From The Quran

Image via ScreenshotIf 'christians' actually read their bibles, they would know that it is just as violent and misogynist as the Quran.

Transgender Actress Mya Taylor’s Journey From Unemployed Sex Worker To Oscar Contender

An Illinois School’s Odd Plan To Quit Sex Discrimination While Pretending Not To

Anti-Choice Agitator Admits Planned Parenthood Videos Were Designed To Destroy Organization

NY Times runs rare front-page editorial calling for end of ‘gun epidemic’ in US

The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

‘TREASON’: Father of reporter shot on live TV calls out politicians who refuse to act on gun control

Andy Parker and his daughter, Alison Parker
The father of a reporter who was shot to death on TV during a live broadcast is calling out politicians by name who oppose what he calls sensible gun laws.

Licensed Poster Boy For The NRA Shoots And Kills A 7-Year-Old Girl In Cold Blood

Licensed Poster Boy For The NRA Shoots And Kills A 7-Year-Old Girl In Cold Blood (VIDEO)This is where the argument between “good guy with a gun” and “mentally unstable” comes to an impasse.

The Gun Industry Has Systematically Demolished Regulators And Avoided The Fate Of Cigarettes

Man Driving Around With Loaded Assault Rifle And Body Armor Deemed 'Not Immediate Threat'

Man Driving Around With Loaded Assault Rifle And Body Armor Deemed 'Not Immediate Threat'

Police recover 145 guns from home of Michigan man after he attempted to shoot his wife

During a search of the home, police recovered 87 rifles and 58 handguns.

Cops Turn Off Body Cams Before Killing Man

Man accused of posing as a police officer discovered in doughnut shop

A man allegedly posing a police officer was arrested at a doughnut shop in Dickinson, Texas,on Thursday. The Dickinson Police Department says one of their civilian employees saw Robert Lee Parnell, 26, of Santa Fe, wearing a police-style jacket with Dickinson PD patches at a doughnut shop at around 8:45am. The Dickinson PD employee, not recognizing Parnell, questioned him. The employee claims Parnell said he was given the jacket and then tried to leave the doughnut shop. However, before he could, the Dickinson PD employee contacted dispatch and requested patrol officers. The employee told Parnell to take off the jacket.
He did, according to police, and left the shop. Police say they pulled Parnell over as he was leaving the doughnut shop. Police say they determined Parnell is not a licensed peace officer, has never been licensed as a peace officer and has never been employed with the Dickinson Police Department.
Parnell was arrested and charged with false identification as peace officer. He was booked into the Dickinson City Jail, awaiting transfer to the Galveston County Jail. Bond was set at $1,000. False identification as peace officer is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by 180 days confinement in jail and/or up to a $2,000.00 fine.

Woman arrested after her car called the police following hit-and-run incident

A Florida woman is under arrest in connection with a hit-and-run incident. Police responded to a hit-and-run in Port St. Lucie on Monday afternoon. The victim, Anna Preston, said she was struck from behind by a black vehicle that took off. Preston was taken to the hospital with back injuries.
At around the same time, police dispatch got an automated call from a vehicle emergency system stating the owner of a Ford vehicle was involved in a crash and to press zero to speak with the occupants of the vehicle. The person in the vehicle, Cathy Bernstein, told dispatch there had been no accident, that someone pulled out in front of her and that she was going home.
She said she had not been drinking and didn't know why her vehicle had called for help. Police went to Bernsteins's home and saw that her vehicle had extensive front-end damage and silver paint from Preston's vehicle on it. Bernstein's airbag had also been deployed. Police said Bernstein again denied hitting another vehicle, saying she had struck a tree.
After further discussions, police said Bernstein admitted to the hit-and-run. She also admitted that she had talked to someone at Ford and told them she had not been in an accident. It was later discovered that Bernstein had been involved in another accident prior to the one with Preston and was fleeing from that incident. Bernstein was arrested and taken to the St. Lucie County Jail.
You can hear the full call here and there's a news video here.

Woman stabbed at Florida art exhibition as bystanders stood by thinking it was performance art

After security rushed to the scene, police arrived and secured the area with crime scene tape — leading other attendees to believe it was also part of the show.

People who share inspirational quotes on Facebook are less intelligent

If you skew on the side of being irritated by such social media behavior, then science has some good news: people who share inspirational quotes are stupid.

Is Your Fake Xmas Tree Making You Sick?

fake christmas treeIs Your Fake Xmas Tree Making You Sick?
From lead to PVC, our Xmas d├ęcor may be harming our health. Here’s how to avoid them

Woman Demonstrates What It's Like To Have Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is one of those conditions people constantly joke about because they don't understand it at all, or they think "So you constantly take little naps, what's the big deal"
Well, according to this video by Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth that began as an accidental recording of a sleep attack, narcolepsy can be a really big deal since it shuts your body down, no matter where you are or what you're doing.
This video may give us a better understanding of what narcolepsy looks like, but it can never really explain how it feels to experience an uncontrollable sleep attack, which is clearly no laughing matter.

Our Future May Hold Less Food, Thanks To Climate Change

A Crack in the World

Without ever setting sail, Marie Tharp mapped the ocean floor and made a discovery that shook the foundations of geology. So why did the giants of her field dismiss her findings as "girl talk"?
Marie Tharp spent the fall of 1952 hunched over a drafting table, surrounded by charts, graphs, and jars of India ink. Nearby, spread across several additional tables, lay her project—the largest and most detailed map ever produced of a part of the world no one had ever seen.
For centuries, scientists had believed that the ocean floor was basically flat and featureless—it was too far beyond reach to know otherwise. But the advent of sonar had changed everything. For the first time, ships could “sound out” the precise depths of the ocean below them. For five years, Tharp’s colleagues at Columbia University had been crisscrossing the Atlantic, recording its depths. Women weren’t allowed on these research trips—the lab director considered them bad luck at sea—so Tharp wasn’t on board. Instead, she stayed in the lab, meticulously checking and plotting the ships’ raw findings, a mass of data so large it was printed on a 5,000-foot scroll. As she charted the measurements by hand on sheets of white linen, the floor of the ocean slowly took shape before her.
Tharp spent weeks creating a series of six parallel profiles of the Atlantic floor stretching from east to west. Her drawings showed—for the first time—exactly where the continental shelf began to rise out of the abyssal plain and where a large mountain range jutted from the ocean floor. That range had been a shock when it was discovered in the 1870s by an expedition testing routes for transatlantic telegraph cables, and it had remained the subject of speculation since; Tharp’s charting revealed its length and detail.
Her maps also showed something else—something no one expected. Repeating in each was “a deep notch near the crest of the ridge,” a V-shaped gap that seemed to run the entire length of the mountain range. Tharp stared at it. It had to be a mistake.
She crunched and re-crunched the numbers for weeks on end, double- and triple-checking her data. As she did, she became more convinced that the impossible was true: She was looking at evidence of a rift valley, a place where magma emerged from inside the earth, forming new crust and thrusting the land apart. If her calculations were right, the geosciences would never be the same. 
A few decades before, a German geologist named Alfred Wegener had put forward the radical theory that the continents of the earth had once been connected and had drifted apart. In 1926, at a gathering of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the scientists in attendance rejected Wegener’s theory and mocked its maker. No force on Earth was thought powerful enough to move continents. “The dream of a great poet,” opined the director of the Geological Survey of France: “One tries to embrace it, and finds that he has in his arms a little vapor or smoke.” Later, the president of the American Philosophical Society deemed it “utter, damned rot!”
In the 1950s, as Tharp looked down at that tell-tale valley, Wegener’s theory was still considered verboten in the scientific community—even discussing it was tantamount to heresy. Almost all of Tharp’s colleagues, and practically every other scientist in the country, dismissed it; you could get fired for believing in it, she later recalled. But Tharp trusted what she’d seen. Though her job at Columbia was simply to plot and chart measurements, she had more training in geology than most plotters—more, in fact, than some of the men she reported to. Tharp had grown up among rocks. Her father worked for the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, and as a child, she would accompany him as he collected samples. But she never expected to be a mapmaker or even a scientist. At the time, the fields didn’t welcome women, so her first majors were music and English. After Pearl Harbor, however, universities opened up their departments. At the University of Ohio, she discovered geology and found a mentor who encouraged her to take drafting. Because Tharp was a woman, he told her, fieldwork was out of the question, but drafting experience could help her get a job in an office like the one at Columbia. After graduating from Ohio, she enrolled in a program at the University of Michigan, where, with men off fighting in the war, accelerated geology degrees were offered to women. There, Tharp became particularly fascinated with geomorphology, devouring textbooks on how landscapes form. A rock formation’s structure, composition, and location could tell you all sorts of things if you knew how to look at it.
Studying the crack in the ocean floor, Tharp could see it was too large, too contiguous, to be anything but a rift valley, a place where two masses of land had separated. When she compared it to a rift valley in Africa, she grew more certain. But when she showed Bruce Heezen, her research supervisor (four years her junior), “he groaned and said, ‘It cannot be. It looks too much like continental drift,’” Tharp wrote later. “Bruce initially dismissed my interpretation of the profiles as ‘girl talk.’” With the lab’s reputation on the line, Heezen ordered her to redo the map. Tharp went back to the data and started plotting again from scratch.
Heezen and Tharp were often at odds and prone to heated arguments, but they worked well together nonetheless. He was the avid collector of information; she was the processor comfortable with exploring deep unknowns. As the years went by, they spent more and more time together both in and out of the office. Though their platonic-or-not relationship confused everyone around them, it seemed to work.
In late 1952, as Tharp was replotting the ocean floor, Heezen took on another deep-sea project searching for safe places to plant transatlantic cables. He was creating his own map, which plotted earthquake epicenters in the ocean floor. As his calculations accumulated, he noticed something strange: Most quakes occurred in a nearly continuous line that sliced down the center of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Tharp had finished her second map—a physiographic diagram giving the ocean floor a 3-D appearance—and sure enough, it showed the rift again. When Heezen and Tharp laid their two maps on top of each other on a light table, both were stunned by how neatly the maps fit. The earthquake line threaded right through Tharp’s valley.
They moved on from the Atlantic and began analyzing data from other oceans and other expeditions, but the pattern kept repeating. They found additional mountain ranges, all seemingly connected and all split by rift valleys; within all of them, they found patterns of earthquakes. “There was but one conclusion,” Tharp wrote. “The mountain range with its central valley was more or less a continuous feature across the face of the earth.” The matter of whether their findings offered evidence of continental drift kept the pair sparring, but there was no denying they had made a monumental discovery: the mid-ocean ridge, a 40,000-mile underwater mountain range that wraps around the globe like the seams on a baseball. It’s the largest single geographical feature on the planet.
In 1957, Heezen took some of the findings public. After he presented on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at Princeton, one eminent geologist responded, "Young man, you have shaken the foundations of geology!” He meant it as a compliment, but not everyone was so impressed. Tharp later remembered that the reaction “ranged from amazement to skepticism to scorn.” Ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau was one of the doubters. He’d tacked Tharp’s map to a wall in his ship’s mess hall. When he began filming the Atlantic Ocean’s floor for the first time, he was determined to prove Tharp’s theory wrong. But what he ultimately saw in the footage shocked him. As his ship approached the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, he came upon a deep valley splitting it in half, right where Tharp’s map said it would be. Cousteau and his crew were so astonished that they turned around, went back, and filmed again. When Cousteau screened the video at the International Oceanographic Congress in 1959, the audience gasped and shouted for an encore. The terrain Tharp had mapped was undeniably real.
1959 was the same year that Heezen, still skeptical, presented a paper hoping to explain the rift. The Expanding Earth theory he’d signed on to posited that continents were moving as the planet that contained them grew. (He was wrong.) Other hypotheses soon joined the chorus of explanations about how the rift had occurred. It was the start of an upheaval in the geologic sciences. Soon “it became clear that existing explanations for the formation of the earth’s surface no longer held,” writes Hali Felt in Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor.
Tharp stayed out of these debates and simply kept working. She disliked the spotlight and consented to present a paper only once, on the condition that a male colleague do all the talking. “There’s truth to the old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words and that seeing is believing,” she wrote. “I was so busy making maps I let them argue. I figured I’d show them a picture of where the rift valley was and where it pulled apart.”
By 1961, the idea that she’d put forward nearly a decade before—that the rift in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge had been caused by land masses pulling apart—had finally reached widespread acceptance. The National Geographic Society commissioned Tharp and Heezen to make maps of the ocean floor and its features, helping laypeople visualize the vast plates that allowed the earth’s crust to move. Throughout the 1960s, a slew of discoveries helped ideas such as seafloor spreading and plate tectonics gain acceptance, bringing with them a cascade of new theories about the way the planet and life on it had evolved. Tharp compared the collective eye-opening to the Copernican revolution. “Scientists and the general public,” she wrote, “got their first relatively realistic image of a vast part of the planet that they could never see.”
Tharp herself had never seen it either. Some 15 years after she started mapping the seafloor, Tharp finally joined a research cruise, sailing over the features she’d helped discover. Women were generally still not welcome, so Heezen helped arrange her spot. The two kept working closely together, sometimes fighting fiercely, until his death in 1977. Outside the lab, they maintained separate houses but dined and drank like a married couple. Their work had linked them for life.
In 1997, Tharp, who had long worked patiently in Heezen’s shadow, received double honors from the Library of Congress, which named her one of the four greatest cartographers of the 20th century and included her work in an exhibit in the 100th-anniversary celebration of its Geography and Map Division. There, one of her maps of the ocean floor hung in the company of the original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and pages from Lewis and Clark’s journals. When she saw it, she started to cry. But Tharp had known all along that the map she created was remarkable, even when she was the only one who believed. “Establishing the rift valley and the mid-ocean ridge that went all the way around the world for 40,000 miles—that was something important,” she wrote. “You could only do that once. You can’t find anything bigger than that, at least on this planet.”

Earth News

The eruption sent lava 3,000 feet into the air and spurred a thunderstorm.
We know that Earth's covered mostly in water, and for awhile now we've been thinking the refreshing liquid got here on meteorites from out in the cosmos. But a new theory posits something fascinating: Maybe it was always here.

Nazis Secretly Bred Angora Rabbits at Concentration Camps

The Nazis had plenty of side projects during World War II that got little notice compared to the genocidal system of extermination camps. One was Project Angora, Heinrich Himmler’s plan to raise angora rabbits to supply high-quality wool for the German military. At the camps.
By 1943, Project Angora had bred nearly 65,000 rabbits, producing over 10,000 pounds of wool. The photo albums shows sweaters produced for the German air force, socks produced for their navy and long underwear for ground troops. It’s hard to gauge whether or not the program was a success, but we do know that the coddled rabbits lived in close proximity to human prisoners.
The well-fed rabbits were housed in some of the Nazi regime’s most notorious concentration camps: Auschwitz, Dachau and Mauthausen, and nearly thirty more camps around central Europe. The contrast between the brutality of the camps, with their cruel disregard for human life, and the well-cared for rabbits is deeply unnerving. This jarring context makes the remnants of the program–the book found by Schultz–seem all the more sinister.
Not surprisingly, there was little evidence of the program after the war. When the SS fled the camps ahead of their liberators, evidence in the form of well-fed rabbits did not last long. Read what we know about Project Angora at Atlas Obscura.

This Fence Made of Bees Keeps out Elephants

Elephants can be beautiful and majestic, but they're also a nuisance when they trample crops. That's a problem in eastern Africa. Zoologist Lucy King developed a novel solution.
Elephants are afraid of bees because stings inside their trunks are very painful. When they hear bees, they run away. So King invented this fence that consists of a long string of wire with beehives every 10 meters. When elephants hit the wire, they rile up the bees, who leave their hives to swarm and attack. The sound of the bees drives away the intruding elephants. Edible Geography describes what is sometimes called the "honey fence":
A pilot honey fence in 2009 proved successful, deterring all but one bull elephant, and The Elephant and Bees Project has since spread to sites across Africa. Neville Sheldrick of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust told Africa Geographic that nearby farmers are sure the fence is working: “When I visit they proudly walk me around showing me the footprints of elephants that have walked up to and along the fence in several locations before turning back towards the park.”
By encircling a village with a cordon of hives, the village’s crops are protected, the elephants steered away from potential conflict, and, adds Carr-Hartley, “the farmers are able to garner some revenue from the harvesting of honey.” The result of truly delightful example of interspecies landscape engineering, jars of “Eleephant-friendly” honey are for sale at The Elephant and Bees Research Centre in Tsavo, Kenya.

Avian News

You can count on nature's high fliers to stand out in any crowd.
Only 9 per cent of migratory birds have adequately protected habitat across their range, a new study has found.
A creature known as the most beautiful bird in North America has been spotted in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

Animal News

The pygmy slow loris, which lives in Southeast Asia, has been documented using hibernation to save energy.
The area where they were discovered has been called an 'incubator' of new life forms.
A cat named Vincent with titanium-alloy rear legs is nearing the day when he can make the kinds of leaps to higher places that all felines enjoy.
Does your favorite purebred dog come from an ancient canine lineage? See if the breed made our list.

Animal Pictures