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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.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Daily Drift

Editorial Note: "Wonderful article! We are linking to this great post on our site.Keep up the good writing." Just one of our latest comments we received yesterday and this one was for an article from 2013 - so people are reading old and new posts daily.
Also a reader using the screen name Atlantagossip wanted to know if there was an email contact for info about an article. Yes and no. The original email we set up for this blog was compromised by spammers back in the single digit years of this century - remember those "Nigerian Princes" - so we just ceased using that one. Now we have one that we only give out upon request and then only selectively. So if you truly need it just place a comment on the blog and we will check it out and let you know. Too many perverts, trolls and wingnuts lurk in the dark corners as it is and we have enough to do just filtering the comments of their offal to have an open email for them to clutter up with their foulness.
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Today in History

The Goths lay siege to Rome.
The peace of Rueil is signed between the Frondeurs (rebels) and the French government.
A new legal code is approved for the Dutch and English towns, guaranteeing religious observances unhindered.
The Daily Courant, the first regular English newspaper is published.
The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise.
Ned Ludd leads a group of workers in a wild protest against mechanization.
The U.S. War Department creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Seneca Indian Ely Parker becomes the first Indian to lead the Bureau.
Seven hundred Maoris led by their chief, Hone-Heke, burn the small town of Kororareka in protest at the settlement of Maoriland by Europeans, in breach with the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.
A Confederate Convention is held in Montgomery, Ala., where the new constitution is adopted.
Union troops under General Ulysess S. Grant give up their preparations to take Vicksburg after failing to pass Fort Pemberton, north of Vicksburg.
Union General William Sherman and his forces occupy Fayetteville, N.C.
A disastrous blizzard hits the northeastern United States. Some 400 people die, mainly from exposure.
British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury rejects the peace overtures offered from Boer leader Paul Kruger.
The Parisian subway is officially inaugurated.
President Teddy Roosevelt induces California to revoke its anti-Japanese legislation.
President Howard Taft becomes the first U.S. president to be buried in the National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
The German Air Force becomes an official organ of the Reich.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes the Lend-Lease Act which authorizes the act of giving war supplies to the Allies.
General Douglas MacArthur leaves Bataan for Australia.
The American navy begins inspecting Vietnamese junks in hopes of ending arms smuggling to the South.
Three men are convicted of the murder of Malcolm X.
Levi-Strauss starts to sell bell-bottomed jeans.
An FBI agent is shot at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
Mikhail Gorbachev is named the new Soviet leader.
Lithuania declares its independence from the Soviet Union.

How the "Sea Nomad" Children Can See Like Dophins

The Moken people of western Thailand are sometimes called the Sea Nomads because they live almost their entire lives in the shallow waters of the Andaman Sea. From a very young age, they can swim as well as walk and hunt and fish in the water for their food.
They see remarkably well underwater. How? In 1999, Anna Gislén of the University of Lund in Sweden decided to find out.
BBC Future explains the problem. When we put our eyes underwater, our vision necessarily gets blurry:
Light is refracted when it enters the human eye because the outer cornea contains water, which makes it slightly denser than the air outside the eye. An internal lens refracts the light even further.
When the eye is immersed in water, which has about the same density as the cornea, we lose the refractive power of the cornea, which is why the image becomes severely blurred.
But the Moken children are taught to narrow their pupils to compensate for this change:
“Normally when you go underwater, everything is so blurry that the eye doesn’t even try to accommodate, it’s not a normal reflex,” says Gislen. “But the Moken children are able to do both – they can make their pupils smaller and change their lens shape. Seals and dolphins have a similar adaptation.”
It's an impressive adaptation. But it isn't permanent. Gislén found that the Moken lost this ability as they reached adulthood.

Sixteen Statues That Were Polished By Tourists

You know how people sometimes rub statues for good luck? Well some sick people like to rub statues the wrong way, and the beautiful aged patina on some fine statuary has been ruined by tourists.
It seems some people can't keep their hands to themselves, thinking they're being funny and/or original when they grab the bull by the opposite end of the horns.
Their egregious groping has forever 'polished' these magnificent statues, and until we start dressing these statues up in spiked bras and codpieces the statue molestation will continue ... but where is the fun in that ...

The Inventor of the Windshield Wiper Gave up on Her Idea Because It "Had No Practical Value"

In 1903, Mary Franklin of Birmingham, Alabama was riding on a streetcar during a winter rainstorm. She noticed that the driver could barely see out the windshield because the rainwater adhered to the glass. That gave her an idea. The History channel tells the story:
Anderson began to sketch her wiper device right there on the streetcar. After a number of false starts, she came up with a prototype that worked: a set of wiper arms that were made of wood and rubber and attached to a lever near the steering wheel of the drivers’ side. When the driver pulled the lever, she dragged the spring-loaded arm across the window and back again, clearing away raindrops, snowflakes or other debris. When winter was over, Anderson’s wipers could be removed and stored until the next year. (This feature was presumably designed to appeal to people who lived in places where it did not rain in the summertime.)
Anderson tried to sell her invention, but no one bought it and her patent expired. But other inventors followed with other designs that were put to good use. You can read more about the history of their windshield wipers at Jalopnik.

Inside the Global Scotch Shortage

Oh dear, it appears that price of whiskey is climbing through the roof, mainly because the demand is high. The word “shortage” is enough to make some people panic. First it was bourbon, then other kinds of whiskey, and now the high demand has affected the supply of Scotch whiskey!
Booze-loving Cassandras have been warning of Scotch and other whiskey shortages for the past two years. In 2014, the main concern was bourbon; as the liquor experienced an uptick in popularity, distilleries began to struggle to keep up with demand. The problem was so severe that Buffalo Trace Distillery released a public statement outlining their efforts to address the shortage. Wood shortages for making aging barrels compounded the matter, leading some to call for legal changes to allow Tennessee whiskey barrels to be re-used; this in turn alarmed Scotch distilleries, who often purchase used bourbon and whiskey barrels for their aging processes. Prices for older bottles skyrocketed—according to a 2014 Esquire article, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 that went for $47 in 2007 cost a whopping $982 in 2014.
So what can be done about it? Distilleries are looking at a variety of ways to alleviate the shortages, to “ensure no glass remains empty.” Read about them, and the various reasons for the whiskey shortage, at Atlas Obscura.

Nazi TV

The Third Reich was big into the new medium of television, as we learn from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids.
On January 31, 1935, a minor panel within the British government made a routine announcement that had little impact in England, but sent the Germans into panicked frenzy. After half a year of inquiry and spirited debate, Britain’s Television Advisory Committee issued a report in which it determined that the BBC should start a regular TV broadcasting service. Those were still the very early days of television, but the decision would make the BBC the first national TV broadcaster in the world.
It’s not that the Germans particularly cared about television, but they did care about propaganda. The government had invested heavily in the message that its master Aryan race was more advanced in everything, particularly technological achievement. And so Germany’s Reich Broadcasting Corporation (RRG) suddenly came under pressure to set up its own broadcasting service before the British got up and running. That way, Germany would get the bragging rights that came with being the first nation to create its own TV network.
The British took their time and worked on creating a usable system, but the Germans had no such priorities. Instead, they rushed in to at least simulate that they were ready for prime time. On March 22, 1935, just over two months after the British announcement, the RRG presented a demonstration of its “first television program service on earth.” The program was all propaganda— it began with Reich Program Director Eugen Hadamovsky announcing that, no matter what the Americans and British claimed, television had really been invented by a German named Paul Nipkow way back in 1884 with his patent for an “electrical telescope.”
The claim wasn’t completely a lie. Nipkow had come up with a mechanical scanning wheel— a rapidly rotating disk with a spiral of holes in it that “scanned” images. But American Philo Farnsworth made that contraption obsolete when he invented all-electronic scanning in 1927. Nipkow —still alive in 1935, but somewhat senile— went along with the German myth-making, posing in front of TV sets and not objecting as the government created a legend around him. According to one story, Nipkow had invented TV one lonely Christmas Eve as a way for people to see their families from afar.
“Today, National Socialist broadcasting, in cooperation with the Reichpost and industry, starts regular television broadcasting, as the first broadcasting system on earth,” announced Hadamovsky in that March 1935 address. “In this hour, this broadcast will bring to fruition the largest and holiest mission: to plant in all German hearts the picture of their führer.”
However, there were problems with this “first” broadcast. First, it used equipment that was already obsolete because of the insistence that the technology had to include Nipkow’s spinning disk. As a result, the image was muddy and had few details compared to the all-electric video cameras the British were using. Furthermore, Germany’s “regular” broadcasts were just the same tests of old feature films and newsreels over and over again.
Plus, because the German technology required huge amounts of light in a small space, the danger of fire was a constant worry… that came to fruition in the summer of 1935, when the studio caught fire and destroyed most of the equipment. This turned out to be a blessing for the Germans because they closed everything down for six months and replaced the Nipkow disk cameras with modern all-electronic ones based on British and American designs. They also named the newly upgraded broadcasting unit the “Paul Nipkow Fernsehsender” (TV station).
Like many things, television was only interesting to the Nazi leaders as long as it was useful for propaganda purposes. Once they’d laid claim to the technological triumph, they weren’t particularly interested in providing TV sets for viewing or coming up with programs that would attract viewers. But that changed in the summer of 1936 when Berlin hosted the Olympics and mounting a few cameras pointing down at the field seemed like another good propaganda coup. The RRG also set up 28 public viewing rooms in Berlin, each big enough to hold about 40 people at a time. In all, about 150,000 Germans watched the events.
That triumph and the new viewing rooms spurred actual broadcasts. Most were upbeat films, but there were also variety shows, music and dance performances, and the occasional interview with party officials as the war progressed. Since so few people could actually watch the broadcasts, though, Nazi propaganda chief Paul Goebbels didn’t bother dictating too much of the content. As interested as he was in television, he still preferred radio as the mass medium for party propaganda.
The Nazis’ broadcast service began unraveling in late 1943. On November 23, Allied bombers destroyed its transmitter and knocked it off the air. Finally, on May 2, 1945, the Soviet army took over the German TV studios and “the world’s first broadcasting service” was gone for good.

'The Brainwashing of My Dad'

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Teen girls see big drop in chemical exposure with switch in cosmetics

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NYC Mayor de Blasio signs executive order expanding restroom access for trans residents

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Whoops! SCOTUS Going Anti-Discrimination All Of A Sudden

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Supreme Court overturns Alabama ruling on parental rights

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Fox Goes Full-Stupid ...

Fox Goes Full-Stupid: Planned Parenthood ‘Does Late-Term Abortions’ To ‘Sell Baby Parts’ (VIDEO)
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It's Not In Your Head: 'Trump Anxiety' Is A Thing

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Oklahoma 'missionary' gets 40 years in prison for sexually abusing children at Kenyan orphanage

Durham told Upendo personnel that he thought he had been possessed by an “evil spirit.”

JetBlue attendant doesn't like being stared at by Muslim women, calls police to take them off plane

Two Muslim women were reportedly escorted off a JetBlue flight in Los Angeles, because a flight attendant “didn’t like the way the two women were staring back at her.”

Man Falls off 11-Story Balcony, Lands in Swimming Pool

Mark Hefley of Greenwood, Indiana had the worst luck, followed immediately by the best luck.
He was helping a friend install tile in a condo in Panama City Beach, Florida. While taking a break, he leaned on a railing on the balcony. He leaned too far, though, and fell off. Hefley immediately realized the danger he was in and that he had to take action:
Frantically, he tried to grab something to catch himself. It was no use.
As his body plunged past the balcony railing on the floor below, Hefley said he reached and pushed himself as far as he could away from the building.
He knew there was a swimming pool down below. He just needed to get past the concrete and land the water.
Hefley hit the water in the 10-foot deep pool hard:
"Next thing I know I hit the water," Hefler said.
Hefler swam to the edge, pulled himself out and collapsed alongside the pool.
He said he screamed a little bit. A security guard approached and asked where he came from.
"I pointed up there," Hefley said.
Hefley not only survived the fall, but escaped with only bruises and a bloody nose. But he decided to cut his trip short anyway and go home to spend time with his 4 children. You can read more about his story at the Indianapolis Star.

Florida Man Somehow Survives Getting Sucked into Nuclear Power Plant

This is the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in Florida. Christopher Le Cun was recently scuba diving nearby. He saw three shadowy objects beneath the water and decided to investigate. They were water intake vents for the nuclear plant. Each was about 16 feet wide. When he got too close to one of them, it sucked him in.
For five minutes, the strong flow of the vent pulled Le Cun around the interior of the plant in total darkness. After a quarter mile journey, the vent spat Le Cun into a water tank used to cool the nuclear reactor.
Le Cun is now suing Florida Power and Light, which operates the plant. The New York Daily News reports that the company insists that it was diligent in protecting wayward Florida men:
However, the company claims that there was a sign telling potential visitors to “stay back 100 feet” to avoid getting sucked into an unwelcome James Bond-style thrill ride.
It also said that Le Cun intentionally swam into the intake pipe and got past equipment meant to prevent anything foreign from getting into the pipe.
So far, Le Cun has not developed superpowers. Presumably repeated exposures to nuclear energy are necessary for that effect.

Police Stop Car with Tree Wedged in the Front Grille

Police in Roselle, Illinois stopped a driver for driving while she had a large tree embedded in the front end of her car. The 15-foot tall tree was tightly wedged into the 2004 Lincoln.
Surprisingly, alcohol was involved. The driver failed sobriety tests and police cited her for driving under the influence. She told police that she had hit the tree at some point during her travels, but couldn't remember precisely where.

Naked woman snarls traffic on Houston highway after climbing atop truck

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Rare 2500-Year-Old Woman's Seal Found

The seal suggests the woman maintained her right to property and financial independence, even after marriage.

We Should Use Rainwater to Flush Toilets

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The Average Number of Tornadoes During Extreme Weather Has Been Increasing Since 1954 and No One Knows Why

Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated

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How rivers of hot ash, gas move when supervolcano erupts

Study suggests how rivers of hot ash, gas move when supervolcano erupts
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Supervolcanoes capable of unleashing hundreds of times the amount of magma that was expelled during the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980 are found in populated areas around the world, including the western United States. A new study is providing insight into what may...

Hurricanes, Brimstone and Noise

When faced with a lack of weather data, researchers look to shipwrecks to understand hurricanes in history.
Earth's inner core is partly light elements such as sulfur (or brimstone), hydrogen and silicon, finds a new study that could shed light on the planet's violent formation. 
New research finds that natural and human-created noises extend to the very bottom of the sea.

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