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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

The Edict of Nantes grants political rights to French Huguenots.
Lord North extends the New England Restraining Act to South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act forbids trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.
After 34 hours of bombardment, Union-held Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederates.
Union forces under Gen. Sherman begin their devastating march through Georgia.
J.C. Penny opens his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
British forces kill hundreds of Indian nationalists in the Amritsar Massacre.
The first flight over Mount Everest is completed by Lord Clydesdale.
German troops capture Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Jefferson Memorial.
Vienna falls to Soviet troops.
The first navigational satellite is launched into Earth’s orbit.
The U.N. General Assembly condemns South Africa because of apartheid.
Sidney Poitier becomes the first black individual to win an Oscar for best actor.
An oxygen tank explodes on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing and jeopardizing the lives of the three-man crew.
The U.S. Federal Reserve begins issuing $2 bicentennial notes.
The world’s longest doubles ping-pong match ends after 101 hours.

The Effects of LSD on Brain Scans

An experiment from a team at at Imperial College London studied the effects of LSD on the brain by giving the drug to 20 experienced volunteers and then scanning their brains. You might wonder why this hasn’t been done before. Imperial College neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, the lead researcher, explained how difficult it is to get approval for LSD research. Even in the UK where such research is legal, it can only be done as long as the aim is not therapeutic. The resources for this particular study was raised by crowdfunding. So what did they find?
In one study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences we looked at blood flow in different parts of the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, and electrical activity using magnetoencephalography. We found that under LSD, compared to placebo, disparate regions in the brain communicate with each other when they don’t normally do so. In particular, the visual cortex increases its communication with other areas of the brain, which helps explain the vivid and complex hallucinations experienced under LSD, and the emotional flavour they can take.
On the other hand, within some important brain networks, such as the neuronal networks that normally fire together when the brain is at rest, sometimes called the ‘default mode network’, we saw reduced blood flow — something we’ve also seen with psilocybin — and that neurons that normally fire together lost synchronization. That correlated with our volunteers reporting a disintegration of their sense of self, or ego. This known effect is called ‘ego dissolution': the sense that you are less a singular entity, and more melded with people and things around you. We showed that this could be experienced independently of the hallucinatory effects — the two don’t necessarily go together.
There were other results you can read about at Nature. Scientists hope to someday run clinical trials to see if LSD can be use therapeutically for conditions such as PTSD, addiction, and treatment-resistant depression.

Burning Herbs Cleanse Your Space

Climate Change Is Drying Up Islands

That honeymoon hike through tropical forests of Maui or Tahiti may become a memory of the past.

Man who went to dentist to have four teeth removed unhappy after waking up with none

A man from Columbus, Indiana, says he went to the dentist to have four teeth pulled, but when he woke up all his teeth were gone. Now, the man’s family is looking for answers. In March, Donny Grigsby says he went to White River Dental expecting to have four teeth removed.

The Contrived Generational Conflict

North Carolina Passes Anti-LGBT Law So This Porn Site Blocked The Entire State

North Carolina Passes Anti-LGBT Law So This Porn Site Blocked The Entire State
Uh-oh North Carolina is about to have some very dissatisfied voters on their hands.

Food Stamp Cutbacks Hit Needy, Pantries Across U.S.

John Oliver destroys credit reporting agencies

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver -- (HBO screen grab)
John Oliver destroys credit reporting agencies in his greatest prank yet: ‘Those fuckers are evil’

The Biggest Threats to the Global Economy

From the migrant crisis to Dumbass Trump, world events can shape the global economy.
What are the biggest threats to the world economy?

Goldman-Sachs Hit With $5 Billion Fine For Its Part In Subprime Mortgage Collapse

Goldman-Sachs Hit With $5 Billion Fine For Its Part In Subprime Mortgage Collapse
But there is FINE PRINT ...

SEC charges wingnut Texas attorney general Paxton with security fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed the charges Monday in a Sherman-based court. They are similar to the allegations Paxton faces in a pending indictment handed up by a Collin County grand jury last year.

Indiana man bragged about brutally beating Afghanistan veteran to death for being gay

Jabreeh Davis-Martin
Prosecutors said Davis-Martin returned and found Henderson lying outside his home in a fetal position, and he stomped on the injured man until he was pulled off by friends.

Naked man arrested after sneaking into home through doggie door to do laundry

A naked man was arrested after breaking into a north Georgia home through a doggie door, authorities said. A resident in Woodstock called police when he saw a man jump his neighbor's fence and crawl through the back doggie door. Police arrived and were able to get the homeowner on the phone. He gave deputies the garage door passcode so they were able to gain entry.
When deputies, along with a K9 officer, entered the home and announced their presence, a naked man came around the corner. According to the police report, the man later identified as 28-year-old Jarrod Lemming "was completely naked". Deputies told him to put his hands up, but he didn't. His left hand was busy covering his privates. "I pointed my duty weapon at Jarrod and gave him one loud command to 'PUT YOUR HANDS UP NOW!'. Jarrod then complied," the responding officer said.
He complied and was handcuffed. When asked why he was naked, Lemming said he was washing his clothes because they smelled like gas. He told police he used to live at the residence and snuck in to do laundry, take a shower, and use the wifi. He told police he knew the homeowner, but didn't notify him because he "did not want to bother him". He also told deputies he entered through the garage using a passcode, but the neighbor identified Lemming as the man he saw jumping the fence and squeezing through the doggie door.
Investigators said evidence at the scene didn't support Lemming's story. There was no clothing in the washing machine and the shower hadn't been recently used. They also found dog hair and scuff marks on his shirt and hoodie, suggesting gained entrance through the doggie door. The homeowner confirmed Lemming's story that he did stay with him in the past, but did not have permission to be there since he moved out last year. Lemming was charged with burglary in the first degree.


In the mid-19th century, the British and French navies developed armored, steam-powered warships as a response to the rising use of explosive shells, which could burn through wooden-hulled ships.
With the outbreak of the American Civil War, the Union and Confederate navies rushed to build ironclad ships to counter each other. On March 9, 1862 the ironclads met in battle for the first time at Hampton Roads, Virginia. By the end of the war, the age of naval warfare between wooden ships was at a close.

Coming to America Through Beringia

Twelve thousand years ago, if humans or animals felt like walking from Asia to North America, all they had to do was head over the Bering Land Bridge. (It’s a little harder now.)
From the edge of Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, Siberia is just 53 miles away. And at a point just south of the Arctic Circle, the two continents are separated only by a narrow channel of water that links the Arctic Ocean to the Bering Sea. That channel is called the Bering Strait, and scientists long wondered if primitive people used it to cross from Asia to North America.
But frequent, severe storms and massive ice floes would have made it difficult for primitive people to make their way across the Bering Strait by boat. And so, for centuries, archaeologists speculated that perhaps there had once been a piece of land that stretched across the strait. If so, people could have walked from one continent to the other in less than three days.
The idea first appeared back in 1590, when a Jesuit priest named Jose de Acosta noticed a resemblance between the native people of South America and those of Asia. He was the first to propose that the first people in the Americas had traveled there from Asia— he just didn’t know how. In the 1800s, archaeologists expanded that hypothesis, saying that at least some of the indigenous people of North and South America had migrated from Asia to America over the Bering Strait, walking on a bridge of land that was above sea level. They called the theoretical region the Bering Strait Land Bridge, or “Beringia.” And unlike many early theories of how the world worked, the land bridge idea has held up against modern scientific examination.
Beringia existed during the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from about 2.5 million years ago to 11,500 years ago. At times during the Pleistocene, the earth was going through ice ages, and its water was frozen in massive glaciers. Since the planet has always had the same amount of water on it, what was trapped in glaciers meant there wasn’t as much in the oceans. Water levels during the Pleistocene were about 300 feet lower than they are now, and the Bering Strait is only 165 feet deep at its lowest point. So when there were large glaciers on the continents, the bottom of the Bering Strait was well above sea level, and it connected Alaska to Siberia.
Beringia is called a “land bridge,” but it wasn’t a narrow path. The ocean around the Bering Strait is so shallow that when water levels fell, they exposed a landmass with a width of about 1,000 miles, almost the distance from San Francisco to Denver.
Russian and American scientists have studied the Bering Strait shoreline and dated sea cores (long cylinders of sediment) from the ocean floor. Traces of pollen, plant material, and insects in the cores help them date when Beringia existed as dry land. That happened at various times for more than two million years, and the land bridge stayed above water for thousands of years at a time. During one of the more recent appearances, the land bridge popped up about 30,000 years ago, staying above water for at least 15,000 years. It was during that time that humans living in Siberia had the opportunity to walk over into the Americas.
The sea cores also give clues about what Beringia was like: flat, dry, treeless tundra, where the soil was frozen much of the year. It had little rain, bitterly cold winters, and a thin cover of snow that melted in the cool, dry summers. Since it was too dry to have glaciers (which covered much of North America at the time), Beringia would have seemed like a comparatively good place to live. It was cold and harsh, but it still had grasses, herbs, and shrubs that could support wildlife. Caribou evolved on the land bridge, and woolly mammoths and mastodons grazed there… so did some yaks, musk oxen, bison, deer, rabbits, camels, and horses. Predators followed the grazing animals, and soon saber-toothed tigers, bears, and wolves were also living and drifting between the two continents. And humans would likely have followed the animals.
Research shows that many indigenous peoples in North and South America share DNA, physical characteristics (a similar formation of teeth and jaws), culture, and even language with Siberian natives of northeastern Asia. Instead of a mass migration, though, it’s likely that small bands of hunters and their families followed prey animals from Asia into Beringia and then onto the North American continent. Then when the climate began to change and the water rose, access to Asia disappeared and the people who had crossed the bridge were “stuck” in America.
Or so the scientists believe. Studies of the first humans in the Americas are still ongoing, and so far, only sparse evidence exists about their migrations. There are also some pretty big problems the migrants would have had to overcome. For one thing, when the land bridge was exposed, much of what’s now Canada and the United States were covered with glaciers. People would have had trouble actually moving into North and South America. However, there were two ice-free “corridors” that might have provided pathways for migration southward. An inland corridor ran from Alaska along the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies to Montana. And a coastal corridor lay in the Pacific Northwest. When one corridor was iced over, the other was usually open. So most archaeologists believe that the first people in the Americas traveled along the West Coast and continued south, always looking for new opportunities in various parts of the new continents.
The human mysteries may still be hard for archaeologists to piece together, but they do know that Beringia was important to wildlife. Many animals— including dinosaurs, rabbits, and bears— moved from continent to continent, making each a more diverse place. And when it came to saving wildlife from extinction, Beringia made a big difference. For example, camels, which have adapted so well to the deserts of the Middle East, had forebears that lived in North America. Most of the animals that made their way across Beringia came from Asia to America. But the camels went the other way— from America into Asia and then to the Middle East. In the Americas, camels became extinct. Only the ones that crossed into Asia survived.
Horses also evolved in North America, and they also went extinct on that continent. Had prehistoric horses not crossed the land bridge into Asia and kept traveling until they reached the plains of Mongolia, the animals might never have survived to become human companions.

26-Foot-Long Python in Malaysia May Be Biggest Ever

Island construction workers come upon a giant reticulated python.

Rescue dog has donated blood to help save kittens' eyesight

Kittens found dumped in a yard in Sacramento, California, and in desperate need of medical care are fighting for their lives and the ability to see. But they’re getting help from Jemmie the dog. Jemmie's human, Sarah Varanini works at the Sacramento SPCA and that's how they found each other. They like to take walks together, and Jemmie has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. But her biggest trick of all is helping to save a life.
"We had a family come in with two kittens that they had found in their backyard, stray kittens that just showed up; they were the only two that were alive," said Varanini. The tiny kittens had some very big problems. "One had two eye ulcers in his eye, so basically eye infections that are really, really bad, squinty, couldn't see," she said. It was so bad, veterinarians believed that at least one eye would have to be removed.
Now there's an all out effort to save the other eyes using antibiotics and a special serum. That's where Jemmie comes in. She donates the blood to help save their lives. "In order to get the serum, we need a good amount of blood, we get that from Jemmie here and basically we spin in down until we get the serum on top and that's all the good stuff in blood and then we use that as eye drops for the little kitten," she said.

Because it's not a blood transfusion, she says mixing dog blood with the kittens isn't a problem, and it's been a successful procedure used many times at the Sacramento SPCA. For at least one of the kittens, the prognosis is good. "It looks a little better; the kitten is able to open it just a peep, and so hopefully we'll be able to save it," she said. After donating her blood, Jemmie gets a special reward - spending time with her favorite furry friends. "She came from here," she said. "She's giving back to kittens and there's nothing she loves more in life than kittens so I know she would love to do it if she could talk."

Animal Pictures