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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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
Thought for the day ...! 
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Today in History

The jesuit poet Robert Southwell is hanged for “treason,” being a catholic.
Michael Romanov, son of the Patriarch of Moscow, is elected Russian Tsar.
The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.
As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.
Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.
The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed, both in English and in the newly invented Cherokee alphabet.
In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough’s well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.
The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico.
The world’s first telephone book is issued by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company containing the names of its 50 subscribers.
The Washington Monument is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War, begins.
The Battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.
The Germans begin construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.
Nicaragua and Costa Rica sign a friendship treaty ending hostilities over their borders.
The U. S. Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.
A grand jury in Montgomery, Alabama indicts 115 in a Negro bus boycott.
Havana places all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcom X) is assassinated in front of 400 people.
Richard Nixon arrives in Beijing, China, becoming the first U.S. president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the U.S.
A report claims that the use of defoliants by the U.S. has scarred Vietnam for a century.

Town seeks hairdresser after years without one

It's a situation that people in Norman Wells, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, call "desperate." It's threatening relationships, creating messes and, worst of all, it's making for some really bad haircuts. The town hasn't had a permanent hairdresser in years. "Whenever I get out of town, that's like the first thing, 'Oh my! I'm going to get my hair done!'" laughs Nicky Richards, the economic development officer for the town of about 800 people. It's a unique, small-town problem, something people in Norman Wells say they took for granted when they had a permanent hairstylist. Richards says she's going public with their plight, in hopes of attracting the right person, and improving local 'dos.
"We have a couple of shaggy people around here for sure," she says. "I cut my boss's hair all the time. We had a friend that lived out in the bush that every time he'd come in I'd cut his hair. I cut my husband's hair. But I mean, it's just with the clippers, I'm not a hairdresser, so everybody's got the same kind of buzzed haircut!" According to Richards, most people wait months to deal with their shaggy manes when they travel south. Otherwise, they're doing it themselves, or handing the scissors to trusted friends. "Especially women, they turn to trying to dye their own hair with the box dyes," Richards says, "which is usually a mess and nobody ever wants to do that. "Everybody likes to go to their hairdresser and get their hair done," she says.
Syrah Ball, who works for the Town of Norman Wells, says she's thankful she can trim her own long locks without too much risk. "I know a lot of the guys in town have tried their own clippers on their hair. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," Ball laughs. "I've tried to do it for them sometimes too, but I don't feel comfortable," she says. "I don't want to be responsible for that if it turns out bad." Ryan Spurrell is one such friend. Ball watched him take matters into his own hands last spring. "I was in desperate need of a haircut," Spurrell laughs. "So we just did it in Syrah's front yard there, down by the parking lot, with a pair of sheep shears and some scissors." But not having a regular hairdresser doesn't seem to faze him as much as the others. "It was fine by me, I really didn't care."
Richards says the town has a spot that a hairdresser could walk right into, at the Yamouri Inn, complete with a chair, mirror and sink. The coiffure would just have to pay a reasonable monthly rent. "I know that the hairdressers that were here before, on a long-term basis, were always busy," Richards says, because they also service the surrounding communities of Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope, Deline and Tulita. "When anybody from the whole region needs their hair cut, they come here," she says. Richards has been spreading the word and encouraging other townspeople to do the same. "Whoever's doing my hair [down South], I'm like 'gee you should come to Norman Wells,'" she laughs. Richards says it would be a great opportunity for someone to come for a year or two, but until then, she'll have to wait until her next trip south to get her hair done. "I'm going to have six months worth of roots that needs to be done!"

How Full Employment Means Working Fewer Hours

Seasonal Affective Disorder Doesn't Exist

In a Dramatic Shift!

'My Life Is Basically Over'

The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood

by Lydia Mulvany
The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood The cheese police are on the case.
Acting on a tip, agents of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.
They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.
One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
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German brewers protect their reputations with Reinheitsgebot, a series of purity laws first drawn up 500 years ago, and Champagne makers prohibit most vineyards outside their turf from using the name. Now the full force of the U.S. government has been brought to bear defending the authenticity of grated hard Italian cheeses. Which is good news for Neil Schuman.
For years, Schuman has been a one-man Reinheitsgebot, insisting that the fragrant granules Americans sprinkle on their pizza and penne ought to be the real thing; if not, the label should say so.
The stakes are 100 percent real for him. Schuman’s Fairfield, New Jersey-based company, Arthur Schuman Inc., is the biggest seller of hard Italian cheeses in the U.S., with 33 percent of the domestic market. He estimates that 20 percent of U.S. production — worth $375 million in sales — is mislabeled.
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“The tipping point was grated cheese, where less than 40 percent of the product was actually a cheese product,” Schuman said. “Consumers are innocent, and they’re not getting what they bargained for. And that’s just wrong.”
How serious is the problem? Bloomberg News had store-bought grated cheese tested for wood-pulp content by an independent laboratory.
Cellulose is a safe additive, and an acceptable level is 2 percent to 4 percent, according to Dean Sommer, a cheese technologist at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin. Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.
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“We remain committed to the quality of our products,” Michael Mullen, a Kraft Heinz Co. spokesman, said in an e-mail. John Forrest Ales, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said he questioned the reliability of testing a single sample and that Wal-Mart’s “compliance team is looking into these findings.”
Jewel-Osco is also investigating, spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco said in an e-mail. “We pride ourselves on the quality of products we deliver for our customers,” Trucco said.
“We strongly believe that there is no cellulose present,” Blaire Kniffin, a Whole Foods Market Inc. spokeswoman, said in an e-mail, adding that it could have been a false positive. “But we are investigating this matter.”
According to the FDA’s report on Castle, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “no parmesan cheese was used to manufacture” the Market Pantry brand 100% grated Parmesan Cheese, sold at Target Corp. stores, and Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese and Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, sold by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which along with its subsidiaries supplies 3,400 retail stores in 30 states. Instead, there was a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and cellulose, according to the FDA.
Castle has never been an authorized Target vendor, according to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder. “We are investigating the information provided in the report,” she said in an e-mail. Jeff Pedersen, an executive vice president of Associated Wholesale Grocers, had no comment.
DairiConcepts, a Springfield, Missouri-based cheese maker that’s a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, said on its website that in a test of 28 brands, only one-third of label claims about protein levels in grated parmesan were accurate. The company blamed fillers such as cellulose.
Until recently, there was little incentive to follow labeling rules. Criminal cases are rare. That’s because the FDA, which enforces the country’s food laws, prioritizes health hazards, said John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University. But civil lawsuits abound. A Jan. 29 complaint accuses McDonald’s Corp. of selling pure mozzarella sticks that contain starch, considered a filler, a claim the company denies.
Cheese makers commit adulteration because it saves money.
Marty Wilson, chief executive officer of New York-based Sugar Foods, which buys cheese from Schuman and supplies major pizza chains with to-go packets of parmesan, said whenever his contracts come up for renewal, competitors peddling ersatz cheeses surface. And he has lost business to them. “We’re constantly battling cheap imitators across all of our product lines,” Wilson said.
Bob Greco of Cheese Merchants of America said competitors hawking bastardized products have underbid him by as much as 30 percent. “The bad guys win and the rule-followers lose,” Greco said.
The FDA regulates what can legally be called Parmesan or Romano according to standards established in the 1950s to ensure that manufacturers wouldn’t sell cheeses wildly different in composition.
Americans love their hard Italian cheeses. Last year, U.S. Parmesan output rose 11 percent from 2014 to around 336 million pounds, while Romano production grew 20 percent, to 54 million pounds, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Italian producers, however, aren’t loving it as much. The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, a trade group based in Rome, asked the European Union in December to protect its manufacturers against U.S. companies that were using the names of their cheeses and Italian flags on their packaging. “A deceit” is how the organization’s president, Giuseppe Alai, characterized Americans’ use of Italian names and symbols.
Of all the popular cheeses in the U.S., the hard Italian varieties are the most likely to have fillers because of their expense. Parmesan wheels sit in curing rooms for months, losing moisture, which results in a smaller yield than other cheeses offer. While 100 pounds of milk might produce 10 pounds of cheddar, it makes only eight pounds of Parmesan. That two-pound difference means millions of dollars to manufacturers, according to Sommer.
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania-based Castle produced mainly imitation cheeses for nearly 30 years. The company, whose factory was adorned with crenelated battlements and curved archways to look like a medieval castle, had $19 million in sales in 2013.
The trouble started in 2010 when it began making what it called 100 percent grated Parmesan. A plant manager designed flawed recipes, and after Castle fired him in 2012, he alerted the FDA, the company said in a December 2012 letter to the agency, obtained through the FOIA.
The FDA accused Castle Cheese of marketing as real grated Parmesan what was in fact a mixture of imitation cheese and trimmings of Swiss, white cheddar, Havarti and mozzarella. After the probe, Castle stopped production of the problematic cheeses and dumped inventories. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
A lawyer for Michelle Myrter and Castle Cheese didn’t respond to requests for comment. In the 2012 letter to the FDA, Castle said there was inadequate documentation, and the FDA could note only the potential that the products weren’t 100 percent pure.
Lauren E. Sucher, an FDA spokeswoman, said the agency couldn’t comment on pending legal cases. “The FDA takes economic fraud very seriously,” she said in an e-mail.
The FDA’s investigation may be the spark that changes things, said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
“The industry wants to be known for a wholesome, safe, honest product — it’s what’s kept the industry growing for 100 years,” he said. “The wholesomeness of dairy products is a treasured part of our story.”

Tractors in Cuba

Alabama company gets US permission to build tractors in Cuba

Grave Inequality

Cyber thieves making millions in profits

Cyber thieves making millions in profits
Cyber thieves making millions in profits
Cyber thieves who steal credit and debit card numbers are making millions of dollars in profits, fueling a global criminal enterprise marked by the high-profile data breaches of major companies such as Target and Home Depot. Thomas J. Holt, Michigan State University...

NC wingnuts scramble to defend ‘racial gerrymandering’ after counting on Scalia to side with them

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2010 (Stephen Masker/Flickr)
NC wingnuts scramble to defend ‘racial gerrymandering’ after counting on Scalia to side with them

Texas mayor demands Homeland Security investigate Valentine’s Day flag that says ‘Love’ in Arabic

The so-called “Arabic flag” sent local leaders looking for help from federal law enforcement.

SEAL who shot bin Laden stuns Fox hack

Fox Business host Stuart Varney speaks to Rob O'Neill (screen grab)SEAL who shot bin Laden stuns Fox hack: ‘Are you telling me you are OK with a woman by your side?’

How good government made fools of Cliven Bundy and his self-styled revolutionaries

If they weren't seeking martyrdom exactly, at the very least they wanted to provoke a stark display of force – to show the world images of jack-booted FBI tactical teams storming the compound

Lawyer says 2nd Amendment protects gun owners’ right to accidentally shoot their neighbors

Deputies arrested Harold Lanham, of Naples, and charged him with shooting a missile into a dwelling after his errant gunshot wounded 14-year-old Deborah Ledesma.

Patriot’s ‘Stand For Freedom’ Thwarted By Evil Socialist Ceiling Fan

WATCH: Patriot’s ‘Stand For Freedom’ Thwarted By Evil Socialist Ceiling Fan (VIDEO)
WATCH: Patriot’s ‘Stand For Freedom’ Thwarted By Evil Socialist Ceiling Fan
Stupidity hurts, doesn’t it?

Someone shot up a cop’s home in an Oregon county whose sheriff won’t enforce gun safety laws

Police are seeking a suspect who fired several shots about 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the law enforcement officer’s Klamath Falls home and vehicles.

Little boy killed by gun-shaped barbecue

A 4-year-old boy was tragically killed by a barbecue shaped like a giant revolver in Liberty County, Texas, last week. Bryan Jara pulled the large structure over and was pinned beneath it, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

Man arrested for hitting his mother with a bible after prayer session

A New Mexico man is facing a battery charge after police said he repeatedly hit his mother with a bible following a prayer session. Ryan M. Dailey, 28, has been charged with battery on a household member, a misdemeanor, after he allegedly used a Bible to hit his mother on Saturday.
He was arrested after the alleged incident on their home and released on Monday from the Doña Ana County Detention Center on his own recognizance, after a video arraignment before Magistrate Judge Richard Jacquez. Dailey's mother told police she and her son were praying at their home in Las Cruces. Dailey began yelling at his mother, asking her who her soul belonged to, according to Magistrate Court documents.
When Dailey's mother tried to leave, Dailey allegedly held the front door shut with his foot and began hitting his mother with a bible. Court documents stated Dailey's mother was hit several times in her back and head. Dailey's mother also told police her son kept yelling at her, asking her in an apparent angry manner who her soul belonged to. Dailey's mother said she tried to leave through the back door, but was grabbed and fell down. While on the ground, Dailey allegedly struck his mother again with the bible.
The woman was eventually able to walk to a neighbor's residence and call police. Among the conditions Jacquez placed on Dailey's release from jail, is that he cannot have contact with the victim. A pretrial hearing before Jacquez is scheduled for March 23. In August 2011, Dailey filed to run for a seat on the Las Cruces City Council. However, he was disqualified when he failed to provide enough valid signatures on a petition he was required to submit to the Las Cruces City Clerk's Office. At that time, Dailey was a strong supporter of public safety.

A Graphical Look At Presidents’ Environmental Records

Global Water Shortage Risk Is Worse Than Scientists Thought

Athena Image

Mystery 'hobbits' not humans like us

by Marlowe Hood

The remains of Indonesia's hobbit-sized humans (L) and modern human (R) are displayed at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on November 5, 2004
Diminutive humans that died out on an Indonesian island some 15,000 years ago were not Homo sapiens but a different species, according to a study published Monday that dives into a fierce anthropological debate.
Fossils of Homo floresiensis -- dubbed "the hobbits" due to their tiny stature -- were discovered on the island of Flores in 2003.
Controversy has raged ever since as to whether they are an unknown branch of early humans or specimens of modern man deformed by disease.
The new study, based on an analysis of the skull bones, shows once and for all that the pint-sized people were not Homo sapiens, according to the researchers.
Until now, academic studies have pointing in one direction or another -- and scientific discourse has sometimes tipped over into acrimony.
One school of thought holds that so-called Flores Man descended from the larger Homo erectus and became smaller over hundreds of generations.
The proposed process for this is called "insular dwarfing" -- animals, after migrating across land bridges during periods of low sea level, wind up marooned on islands as oceans rise and their size progressively diminishes if the supply of food declines.
An adult hobbit stood a metre (three feet) tall, and weighed about 25 kilos (55 pounds).
Similarly, Flores Island was also home to a miniature race of extinct, elephant-like creatures called Stegodon.
But other researchers argue that H. floresiensis was in fact a modern human whose tiny size and small brain -- no bigger than a grapefruit -- was caused by a genetic disorder.
One suspect was dwarf cretinism, sometimes brought on by a lack of iodine. Another potential culprit was microcephaly, which shrivels not just the brain and its boney envelope.
Weighing in with a new approach, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, a pair of scientists in France used high-tech tools to re-examine the layers of the "hobbit" skull.
More precisely, they looked at the remains of Liang Bua 1 (nicknamed LB1), whose cranium is the most intact of nine known specimens.
-- Mystery solved? --
"So far, we have been basing our conclusions on images where you don't really see very much," said lead author Antoine Balzeau, a scientist at France's Natural History Museum.
Joining forces with Philippe Charlier, a palaeopathologist at Paris-Descartes University specialised in solving ancient medical mysteries, the researchers secured high-resolution images recently generated in Japan to compute maps of bone thickness variation.
"There is a lot of information contained in bone layers of the skull," Balzeau told AFP.
The results, he said, were unambiguous: "There were no characteristics from our species" -- that is, Homo sapiens.
And while they found evidence of minor maladies, there was nothing corresponding to the major genetic diseases other researchers had pointed to.
But if one part of the mystery may be solved, another remains intact.
For while the scientists could not exclude the possibility that the "hobbit" was a scaled-down version of Homo erectus, which arrived on the neighbouring island of Java some million years ago, nor could they be sure that H. floresiensis was not a species it its own right.
"For the moment, we can't say one way or the other," Balzeau said.

Miners Unearth Spectacular 404-Carat Diamond In Angola

The gem could be worth $14 million
by Lee Moran

The 404-carat gem is 2.7 inches long and weighs 2.8 ounces.
A $14 million diamond has been unearthed in Angola.
The 404-carat gem is 2.7 inches long and weighs about 2.8 ounces. It was mined from the Lulo diamond field in the African country's northeastern Lunda Norte province by the Perth, Australia, based Lucapa Diamond Company.
The spectacular rock smashes the previous record set for a diamond found in Angola, according to a press release. A 217.4-carat diamond was discovered there in 2007.
The gem, discovered by the Lucapa Diamond Company in Angola, could be worth $14 million.
Lucapa chairman Miles Kennedy told ABC Australia the find was a "wonderful vindication of eight years of pretty hard work."
"When we first looked at the property, 3,000 square kilometers (1,864 square miles) of untouched ground, 700 kilometers (434 miles) inland from the coast, you are talking about a very, very remote area," he said.
When asked how much the diamond was worth, he was unsure, but said slightly smaller diamonds tend to be worth $20 million in Australian dollars, or about $14 million U.S.
"We're not used to valuing 400-carat diamonds," Kennedy told ABC. 
After the Lucapa Diamond Company announced the discovery of the diamond on Monday, its shares soared by 29 percent, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
News of the discovery sent shares in the mining company soaring.
Lucapa is partnered with Angola's national diamond company Endiama and local business Rosas & Petalas on the diamond field.
Endiama chairman Carlos Submula said in the statement that it was "a significant day" for the country and the diamond industry as a whole.
"The Lulo diamond field is an example of what we would like to showcase to the world to encourage international investment in Angola's diamond mining industry," he added.

Trapped in Amber

Trapped in Amber: Botanist Names New Flower Species
Trapped in Amber: Botanist Names New Flower Species
A Rutgers scientist has identified a flower trapped in ancient amber as belonging to a species completely new to science. Lena Struwe, professor of botany in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, has discovered that two flowers found encased amber for...

Speculation that the Loch Ness monster may be lurking under flooded racecourse

Strange geyser-like eruptions at Worcester's flooded race course have led some people to speculate that the Loch Ness monster has taken up residence.
Passers-by stopped to watch the strange phenomenon exploding from various locations, asking 'is it a whale or is it a drain?'
One woman said: “I think it’s the Loch Ness Monster. They’ve been looking for it for years and it turns up here on Pitchcroft!”

However, others think it was something far more mundane including a drainage problem on the racecourse. Gulls were circling the spot, leading some to speculate that it was a porpoise or a seal.

Triceratops Causes Traffic Jam

A 20-foot-long triceratops blocked traffic on High Street in Godshill on the Isle of Wight Friday night. The beast, named Godshilla, was supposed to be home at Island Gems, but was taken on an unapproved outing.
It belongs to Martin Simpson of Island Gems, who said: "It must have taken five hefty lads to move it.
"It's great people are talking about it, but I wouldn't want to encourage anybody to cause a hazard for traffic."
Many believe alcohol may have been involved. The dinosaur has been returned to its home.

UA Researcher Discovers New Species of Tortoise

UA Researcher Discovers New Species of TortoiseUA Researcher Discovers New Species of Tortoise
Shakespeare’s Juliet once famously pondered “what’s in a name,” and the answer would be $100,000 in the case of the recently discovered Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise (or Gopherus evgoodei in the Latin), a species native to the area of...

Dogs really can recognize human emotions ...

Dogs really can recognize human emotions -- but don't quite understand what they mean

Animal Pictures