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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, December 22, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
Our twenty-second Xmas Tree of the month ...!
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Today in History

Stephen of Blois is crowned the king of England.
Esek Hopkins takes command of the Continental Navy — a total of seven ships.
Congress passes the Embargo Act, which halts all trading completely. It is hoped that the act will keep the United States out the European Wars.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opens the first passenger railway line.
The last of the food restrictions, enforced because of the shortages during World War I, are lifted.
Soviet troops leave Manchuria after a truce is reached with the Chinese over the Eastern Railway dispute.
Japanese troops make an amphibious landing on the coast of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, the Philippines.
The Soviets drive German troops back 15 miles at the Don River.
During the Battle of the Bulge, General Anthony McAuliffe responds to a German surrender request with a one word answer: “Nuts!”
The United States recognizes Tito’s government in Yugoslavia.
The EF-105F Wild Weasel makes its first kill over Vietnam.
The United States announces the allocation of 900,000 tons of grain to fight the famine in India.
The Romanian government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown, ending 42 years of communist rule.
The division of East and West Germany effectively ends when the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin reopens for the first time in nearly 30 years.
What became known as the Archives of Terror are discovered in a police station near the capital of Paraguay, records detailing tens of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly imprisoned, tortured and / or killed by the security services of several South American governments.
Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes his disputed title of President of Somalia, an important step toward reconciliation in the country.
President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, takes over an interim government.
A passenger on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris, Richard Reid, unsuccessfully attempts to destroy the plane in flight by igniting explosives he’d hidden in his shoes.
Some 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry flood part of Tennessee after an ash dike breaks at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, in the eastern part of the state.
US President Barack Obama signs a law officially repealing the 17-year-old policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; the new law permits homosexuals to serve openly in the US military.

Non Sequitur


Flags of the Galaxy

New Zealand artist Scott Kelly is a true Star Wars fan (not to be confused with astronaut Scott Kelly, who is also a Star Wars fan). He created flags that represent the planets of the Star Wars universe, using information gleaned from Wookieepedia and traditional flag design principles. Kelly says,
As a child the two most important posters on my wall were my Flags of the World poster and my map of the Star Wars Galaxy.

15 years on, now as an art director, I begun the process of putting those two worlds together. I started designing a flag for every planet in the Star Wars universe. This not only included those featured in the films, but comic books, animated series and video games. As of writing this, I have completed 103 flag designs - those who know Star Wars well, will know I have a good few more planets to finish.
See all the flags at at Kelly’s website dedicated to the project and read how some of them were designed here.

This Clock Rotates Backwards While Its Hands Move Forward

While walking through Central Park in New York City, Scott Beale of Laughing Squid spotted this unusual clock. It looks like an ordinary street clock of antique design, but it's not. The face rotates backwards while the second hand remains pointed straight up at all times. Despite the unusual movement, it tells the correct time.
Alicja Kwade, a Polish artist who built the clock, calls the work Against the Run. The Public Art Fund explains:
Our understanding of how a clock should run is second nature, making this variation almost impossible to read, even as it continues to tell the right time. Kwade’s whimsical clock captures her interest in the systems we invent to make sense of our lives and the world. In doing so, it prompts us to see “reality” from a new perspective. 

Why TV News Has Gotten So Awful

CNN’s Debate on ‘Terror’ Omitted the Kind That Kills the Most Americans

Sikhs post sign reminding bigots they aren’t Muslims in the wake of anti-Muslim backlash

Members of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Buena Park, California discuss vandalism (ABC7/Screenshot)Sikhs post sign reminding bigots they aren’t Muslims in the wake of anti-Muslim backlash

70-year-old man becomes town’s first black Santa 50 years after cops detained him for wearing costume

Merlin Kennedy as "Santa Claus" at the Santa Station in Normal, Illinois (WYZZ/screen grab)70-year-old man becomes town’s first black Santa 50 years after cops detained him for wearing costume

Texas authorities fear ‘affluenza’ teen who killed 4 and got probation may have fled country

Ethan Couch [WFAA-TV]
He's 18 years old, but the wealthy Tarrant County teen who killed four people when he drove drunk in 2013 is still a juvenile as far as the legal system is concerned.

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli arrested on federal securities fraud charges

The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG became known as the most hated man on the Internet after buying the rights to a life-saving medication and jacking up the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Off-duty NYC cop attacks lesbian couple for no reason — and then lies to get them arrested

A Brooklyn woman said a New York City police officer hurled homophobic slurs before attacking her and falsely arresting her.



Is mental illness contagious?

Philosophers and literary scholars can choose to interpret facts within “the most convincing perspectives, assumptions and causal frameworks,” as Harriet A. Washington explains in the opening chapter of her latest book, Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We Catch Mental Illness.

Turns out cancer isn’t just a big game of chance

New research from Stony Brook University in New York suggests that only 10 to 30 percent of cancer is influenced by matters completely out of our hands. The remaining 70 to 90 percent are the result of environmental factors or behavioral choices.



Can We Eat Meat and Still Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

The Seaweed Harvesting Horses of Prince Edward Island

Irish moss is a cash crop that grows wild in the waters off Prince Edward Island, Canada. When storms uproot it and send it washing into the surf, farmers hook up horses to dredges and scoop it up. Brian Barth describes the process in Modern Farmer. He talked to 60-year old Joe Dorgan, a lifelong resident of the island:
I asked Dorgan what I thought was an obvious question: Why horses? When the tradition started on PEI in the 1930s, draft horses were still commonly used in agriculture, so it makes sense that their strength would be harnessed to pull heavy clumps of seaweed ashore. But surely a more efficient mechanized approach would have been devised by the time the industry hit its peak in the ’70ss. Dorgan’s answer wasn’t particularly scientific: “The horses don’t mind the water, and they’re good workers, and that’s just been the way it was,” he says. “Our ancestors done it that way and it’s still done that way today.”
I suspect that the problems associated with using motorized machinery in saltwater, like accelerated rust and corrosion, may have been a practical obstacle. But perhaps the industry was never big enough to warrant R&D investment anyways—a $6 million industry can hardly be called an industry.

Pups Joyfully Unwrapping Their Xmas Gifts

As it turns out, the dogs in my family aren't the only ones with a habit of ripping open their wrapped gifts (although these dogs don't appear to be sneaking them out from under the tree early, as ours do). This compilation of dogs vigorously tearing the wrapping paper off of gifts with joyful abandon and their obvious pleasure in finding the toys inside makes for lighthearted, amusing viewing.

Animal Pictures