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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
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Today in History

The revolt of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, against King Henry IV, ends with his defeat and death at Bramham Moor.
Philip V of Spain makes his ceremonial entry into Madrid.
Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested in Alabama for treason. He is later found innocent.
Rescuers finally reach the ill-fated Donner Party in the Sierras.
Russian Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom.
Smallpox vaccination becomes obligatory in France.
The Austria-Hungary government decrees a mandatory two year military service.
British and French warships begin their attacks on the Turkish forts at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of Gallipoli.
American troops are recalled from the Mexican border.
The First Pan African Congress meets in Paris, France.
President Calvin Coolidge proposes the phasing out of inheritance tax.
Dr. Lane of Princeton estimates the earth’s age at one billion years.
Port Darwin, on the northern coast of Australia, is bombed by the Japanese.
The U.S. Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin “Big Week,” a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.
Fourteen Vietnam War protesters are arrested for blocking the United Nations’ doors in New York.
Robert F. Kennedy suggests the United States offer the Vietcong a role in governing South Vietnam.
Britain slashes welfare spending.
The U.S. State Department calls El Salvador a “textbook case” of a Communist plot.
New York Governor Mario Cuomo declares that he will not run for president in the next election.

Nine of the Most Isolated Towns on Earth

Longyearbyen, Norway Have you ever good naturedly teased a friend who lives in an isolated area for "living in the sticks?" Or has anyone accused you of such a lifestyle? If you're in the latter category, take heed: the towns listed in the linked article are the perfect comeback to such a ribbing. There are the proverbial "sticks" and then there are these towns, that make the kind of isolated we have in mind look like it's for wimps.
Let's look at one interesting example, pictured above:
"The Scandinavian town of Longyearbyen is so far north that it’s closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo, Norway’s capital. The arctic location makes for chilly temperatures year-round and long winters of unbroken darkness. The houses there are built on stilts in order to keep the underlying permafrost from melting beneath them and becoming unstable.

Despite these harsh conditions, Longyearbyen attracts residents from around the world. Of the town’s fewer than 3000 inhabitants, nearly a third of them are foreigners. The community’s greatest appeal is likely its shockingly low crime rate, which is helped by the fact that it's illegal to live in Longyearbyen without a job or a permanent address. (It’s also illegal to die there, because it’s too cold for bodies to decompose.) And while crime is low, gun ownership is unusually high—but this is primarily to protect against the threat of polar bears. The danger is such an issue that the police enforce a law that anyone straying outside the city limits must carry a weapon and know how to use it."
Feeling lonely yet? A bit removed? Check out more of the most isolated towns on Earth at mental_floss.

Man Skipped Work for Six Years Unnoticed

Joaquin Garcia of Cadiz, Spain, was a civil servant assigned to supervise the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. By Garcia’s account, he was the victim of political bullying and found himself assigned to a job where there was nothing to do. As a result, he  went for at least six years without going in to work, and no one noticed, until he became eligible for an award for his long employment.
Spanish newspapers have dubbed him "el funcionario fantasma" - the phantom official.
The court heard that the boss of the water company had not seen Mr Garcia for years despite occupying an office opposite his.
The water company thought he was supervised by the local authorities and vice versa.
The deputy mayor noticed his absence when Mr Garcia became eligible to receive a plaque for 20 years' service.
When the water company found out about Garcia, they levied a fine of €27,000 ($30,000) against him. That’s about a year’s salary, and the legal maximum they could demand. A judge upheld the fine against Garcia, who has since retired from his “non-job.” 

Democrats May Save Oregon’s Middle Class From Wingnuts With New Wage Law

Democrats May Save Oregon’s Middle Class From GOP With New Wage Law
Wealthy wingnuts across the state are very upset that they can’t continue hurting and exploiting poor people.

Obama Designates Three New National Monuments In The California Desert

The Quest for a Unifying Theory of Time Travel in "Star Trek"

We’ve had the Star Trek universe for 50 years now, which includes 726 episodes of six television series plus 12 movies (soon to be 13). The concept of time travel has figured prominently in many of those stories, but it doesn’t always work the same way. In some tales, the theory is of a “consistent universe,” in which you can’t change the past. What has happened has always happened, and if you think you’re changing it, you’ll find that you’re just part of history. In other stories, the timeline of the universe is changeable. In fact, if you change the past and don’t like the results, you can go back and change it again. Then there are some episodes where both theories are present, or you might say, a hybrid of those theories.
The animated series (TAS) was one of the first to build on the ideas presented in “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The episode “Yesteryear” has the Enterprise return to the Guardian of Forever to monitor the past eras flashing across its surface. This causes a change to the timeline—without even going back to the past. Luckily the Enterprise still exists, but Spock has been replaced as First Officer by an Andorian. The change happened because Spock didn’t go back in time as he was supposed to. To repair the timeline, he must go back and visit his childhood self on Vulcan.
Consider: If Spock hadn’t failed to travel into Vulcan’s past, the timeline wouldn’t have been changed. If the timeline hadn’t been changed, he never would have had a reason to go into his past in the first place. (Janeway’s headache coming on yet?)
In a sense, this is an integration of both the consistent universe and the changing timeline models. And some of the episodes mentioned under the header of “consistent timeline” also show signs of belonging to both categories. DS9’s “Past Tense” has the Defiant crew experience their timeline changing around them even though the same time travel incident includes evidence of a “consistent universe” event. In many of these episodes, even if the crew’s actions do end up as part of the way things were “supposed” to happen, the crew still worries about damaging the timeline. They act as if their actions potentially could alter history.
If that wasn’t complicated enough, the crew of the Enterprise occasionally gets stuck in a time loop, Groundhog Day-style, until they can figure out how to stop it. Even more confusing, sometimes time travel splits the timeline in two parallel timelines, two alternate universes that exist without awareness of the other. Can all these theories ever be reconciled? Possibly; after all, Star Trek is fiction. Read about the different rules of time travel in the Star Trek universe, with examples and explanations, at Ars Technica.

Inside the Eye: Nature’s Most Exquisite Creation

Eyes have evolved in many different ways for the creatures that use them. From primitive cells with a sensitivity to light, they’ve branched out into the weird cluster eyes of the box jellyfish, the compound eyes of a fly, starfish eyes at the ends of their arms, and the sharp binocular vision of an eagle. Instead of looking at eyes as more advanced or less advanced, we should look at the way that animals actually use them. 
As they evolved, so did their eyes. All the basic visual structures that exist today were present during the Cambrian, but they have been elaborated in an extraordinary variety of ways—again for specialized tasks. The male mayfly looks like it has a huge compound eye glued on top of another smaller one, devoted to scanning the skies for silhouettes of flying females. The aptly named four-eyed fish has divided its two camera eyes in two, so one half sits above the water’s surface and examines the sky while the other looks out for threats and prey below. The human eye is reasonably fast, adept at detecting contrast, and surpassed in resolution only by birds of prey—a good all-around eye for the most versatile animal of all.
While our eyes may be more advanced than, say, a flatworm's, the worm's eyes work pretty well for their own purposes. An article by Ed Yong at National Geographic looks at the many different ways eyes developed for different uses, with fascinating pictures.

Ingesting Estrogen Without Realizing It

Spontaneous Snowballs

Snow rollers -- about a foot and a half wide and some of them hollow -- make a rare appearance in Idaho.

After 16 Weeks, The Massive Methane Leak In California Is Finally Plugged

The 1958 Frank Capra Film That Warns Of Global Warming

A Cold War Story Of Climate Science

Anti-LGBT Bullying Has Long-Term Mental Health Consequences

What A 19th Century Campaign To Declare Mormons ‘Non-White’ Tells Us About Modern Islamophobia

'Tampon Tax' Shows How Misogyny Is Legislated In America

Anti-Obama ESPN Hack Cuts Off Singer As He Begins Passionate Speech On Universal Healthcare

Anti-Obama ESPN Host Cuts Off Singer As He Begins Passionate Speech On Universal Healthcare (VIDEO)
Anti-Obama ESPN Hack Cuts Off Singer As He Begins Passionate Speech On Universal Healthcare
A line she should be ashamed of: “We’re talking about celebrity stuff, not politics.”

Copyright trolls who claimed to own "Happy Birthday" will pay $14M to their "customers"

For decades, Warner/Chappell Music claimed to own the rights to the Happy Birthday song, despite the reams of copyright scholarship and historical research showing they had no legitimate claim.
Still, businesses paid Warner millions as an alternative to costly litigation. Finally, a documentary film about Warner's ridiculous claims, sued and won.

Now Warner/Chappell has settled a claim brought by many of the companies that had paid it for a license over the years and years that they were running their fraud. The music publisher will pay $14 million in penalties and fees.

After the judge’s ruling, Warner and the filmmakers reached a settlement deal that would finally put the song back into the public domain where it belongs (even though Warner still contends it does not) and provide some measure of financial redress for people who were improperly charged for its use.

In a Feb. 8 court filing [PDF], Warner has agreed to set up a fund that will pay out claims totaling up to $14 million.

Of that amount, a maximum of $6.25 million is earmarked for claimants who paid to use the birthday song after mid-June 2009. The remainder of the money will be used to cover claims going back all the way to 1949. Claimants in either group should expect to only recoup a fraction of what they paid to Warner and the various other publishers of the song over the years. As usually happens in a class action, the named plaintiffs will likely receive more. In this case, they are asking for between $10,000 and $15,000.

But if the settlement is approved, it’s the lawyers who will come out with a real birthday gift on this one. The lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking $4.6 million from Warner to cover their costs of the case.

Delusional Lunatic Creationist Ken Ham: Evolution Is A 'Fairy Tale,' Creationism Based On 'Observational Science'

Ken Ham, the founder and president of the Young Earth Creationist group NoAnswers In Genesis, slammed cults that are participating in a series of discussions about faith and evolution, claiming that it is in fact the belief in evolution that is turning America into a theocracy. Ham joi... MORE
Seriously, dude take your Meds!

Nugent’s Latest Racist Rant May Cost Him The One Thing He Loves ...

Nugent is a mentally unstable man with almost as many insecurities as guns. His frequent rants run the gamut of violent and racist talking points....

Reality Star Of 'American Guns' Indicted For Selling Guns Without A License And Other Charges

Man urinated in store as he attempted to conceal trout in his pants

A man from Clarksville, Tennessee, was arrested on Wednesday after he urinated in Walmart while trying to put a package of trout in his trousers and then told a police officer that he wasn't concerned because his crimes were only "misdemeanors," according to an arrest warrant.
Clarksville Police were called to the store at 1:33pm. A worker told an officer that the suspect, David Wylie, was seen urinating on the sales floor near the alcohol while trying to put a package of trout in his pants and he then attempted to leave the store without paying.
The officer wrote that Wylie told him he indeed urinated on the floor but "was not concerned because it was a misdemeanor." He also said he had been consuming alcohol. He repeatedly stated to the officer that he was not concerned with being cited for either offense because they were misdemeanors.
"Wylie's statements as well as the detection of alcohol led me to believe that the offenses were likely to continue," the officer wrote. Wylie, 56, was arrested and charged with shoplifting, vandalism, indecent exposure and public intoxication. The warrant says the value of the items he attempted to take was $130 and the vandalism was estimated at $10. Wylie was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Suspected mountain lion turned out to be a cheetah archery target

Park rangers dispelled reports of a possible mountain lion sighting near the Turkey Creek Trail at Emma Long Metropolitan Park in in northwest Austin, Texas, when they discovered on Wednesday that the animal was actually a three-dimensional archery target from the nearby Austin Archery Club - of a cheetah.
It appears from the witness statement that the hikers wandered off the trail into an unauthorized and hiking-prohibited area,” said Shelley Parks, public information specialist for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Rangers investigated after several hikers reported spotting a large mountain lion at the park off City Park Road just after noon on Sunday. “It was huge. We thought it was a full-on lion at first,” said Michael Law, who was hiking with his wife and two dogs at the top of a mesa when they saw the creature.
“It was the biggest thing, like a Great Dane but twice as heavy.” Law said the animal had a long tail and light fur with darker patches. It was standing still and appeared to be looking at something else. “We both did a double take and slowly backed up and then ran for our lives,” he said. “I think we ran 4 miles at a 7-minute pace. It was nuts.” Law said they were hiking on a path and didn’t see any signs warning that they were near an archery range. “We were on a well-beaten path that looked like it was made for Turkey Creek,” he said. “It wasn’t like we were jumping through bushes and cobwebs.”

Austin parks officials investigating the reports found tracks, but were unsure whether a large dog or a mountain lion made them. They advised hikers in the area to stay alert, and to pick up small children and back slowly away if they spotted the animal. On Wednesday, they found the target. Mountain lions do live in Texas, but are rarely found in densely populated areas. They can measure up to 7 feet long. Males typically weigh 100 to 150 pounds; females weigh 55 to 100 pounds. They are generally secretive, and they are most active in the morning, evening and at night. A single male’s range can cover up to 200 square miles.

Goa Listing Peacocks As Vermin

The popular tourist state has ruffled a few feathers with its proposal to reclassify the country's national bird.

Flying Backward

When sand wasps leave home in the morning they capture snapshots of the landscape around their nest, a study using high-speed video has found.
national bird.
These guys give "Wrong-Way" Corrigan  a run for his money.

Let's Go to Orangutan Preschool

All aboard the school wheelbarrow! It's time for all little orangutans to go preschool.
International Animal Rescue operates an orangutan orphanage in Indonesia. It rescues orangutans that have been kept illegally as pets or have lost their mothers in the wild. On the 163-acre forested facility, young orangutans socialize with each other and learn essential skills that they'll need when they're grown up.
Without their mothers, orangutans don't learn what's safe to eat, how to climb trees, and how to survive in the wild. Human caretakers do their best to prepare their students for independent life.

Mouth organ-playing elephant amuses visitors at rejuvenation camp

A temple elephant has become the center of attraction at a 48-day elephant rejuvenation camp.
14-year-old Lakshmi, from the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, south India, has won the hearts of visitors at the camp.
According to its mahout’s command, Lakshmi plays a mouth organ and grooves to its tune.

The camp, that started on 7 February, is currently playing host to over 30 elephants.

Diver Frees Whale Shark from Rope

The whale shark is the largest fish known. This one got a fishing line caught around him and continued to grow while the rope tightened. Seeing the condition of the rope, it has most likely been there a long time. A diver takes the opportunity to free the shark.
You’d expect the big fish to either attack or swim away, but this one sits still long enough for the diver to do his work. A happy ending, for now!

Butt Ugly: Deep-Sea Assfish Is Aptly Named

Acanthonus armatus, the bony-eared assfish, is a bathypelagic species of cusk-eel found in tropical and sub-tropical oceans. The deep sea dwelling bony-eared assfish is as butt-ugly as a fish can get, has virtually no brain to speak of, and no doubt has a charming personality.

Animal Pictures