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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, July 29, 2016

The Daily Drift

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

  • 1588 The Battle of Gravelines - Spanish Armada damaged & scattered by the English fleet
  • 1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt - an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule put down by police
  • 1905 US Secretary of State William Howard Taft makes secret agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura agreeing to Japanese free rein in Korea in return for non-interference with the US in the Philippines
  • 1921 Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party
  • 1949 Moscow ends the blockade of West Berlin

Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to Significant Gene Discovery

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014? It was a viral sensation, designed to raise awareness of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and donations to the ALS Association. Seeing people dump buckets of ice over their heads was fun, but awareness campaigns often don’t lead to significant donations. This one did, to the tune of $115 million in a six week period! The association assigned funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge to Project MinE, an effort to sequence the genes of 15,000 people, which required the participation of scientists all over the world. That research has identified a new gene that contributes to ALS.
According to a paper published today in Nature Genetics, researchers part of Project MinE’s global gene sequencing effort, funded by The ALS Association through ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, have identified a new ALS gene, NEK1, which now ranks among the most common genes that contribute to the disease, providing scientists with another potential target for therapy development. This was the largest-ever study of familial (inherited) ALS, involved contributions from over 80 researchers in 11 countries, and was led by John Landers, Ph.D., of University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass. and Jan Veldink, Ph.D., of University Medical Center Utrecht, in The Netherlands.
The ALS Association’s latest awareness campaign is called Every Drop Adds Up, which is a salute to the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

10 Amazing Uses for Swim Noodles

You pick up a bunch of swim noodles, or pool noodles, and throw them in the pool. The kids will use them to stay afloat and hit each other. But if you play with your kids, you can show them how versatile these things really are! For example, you can use them as light and portable construction materials for your backyard obstacle course:
Even for parents that are not very crafty or good with tools can make this simple but fun outdoor activity set. The only materials you need are about 40 swim noodles, 3 rolls of duct tape, some yard stakes (less than 20), and soccer balls.
Create a tunnel crawling course by pushing a yard stake into the ground, placing a swim noodle over it (through the hole in the center of the swim noodle), ending the swim noodle to form a semi-circle, then pushing another yard stake into the ground and placing the other end of the swim noodle over it. Make several of these and voila! Your tunnel crawl course is complete.
You can read instructions for several other components of your obstacle course, plus other handy uses for swim noodles at Housely.

The Color-Changing Lake

Lake Urmia in Iran is suffering the fate of many lakes, and is shrinking. One factor is drought, and the other is all the water that is diverted for agriculture. As the lake shrinks, it becomes saltier, and that is causing it to actually change color during the year. NASA’s Aqua satellite captured the image on the left on April 23, and the image on the right on July 18. Rains and snowmelt bring fresh water to the lake in spring, but by July, that starts to change.
The fresh water in the spring drives salinity levels down, but the lake generally becomes saltier as summer heat and dryness take hold. That’s when the microorganisms show their colors, too. Careful sampling of the water would be required to determine which organisms transformed the lake in 2016, but scientists say there are likely two main groups of organisms involved: a family of algae called Dunaliella and an archaic family of bacteria known as Halobacteriaceae.
“Previous research suggests that Dunaliella salina is responsible for reddening of Lake Urmia,” explained Mohammad Tourian, a scientist at the University of Stuttgart. “In the marine environment, Dunaliella salina appears green; however, in conditions of high salinity and light intensity, the microalgae turns red due to the production of protective carotenoids in the cells.”
Read more about how Lake Uremia changes at NASA’s Earth Observatory.

America Has Got One Serious Case of Amnesia

The Confederate Town in Upstate New York

We read about various conflicted communities in which the locals did not side with the rest of their state during the Civil War, but Town Line, New York, was a puzzling outlier. This town is nowhere near the South- it’s near the Canadian border, just east of Buffalo. There weren’t any slaves or slaveholders there. The citizenry was almost entirely German immigrants. But for some reason, they voted in 1861 to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.
According to New York: A Guide to the Empire State (Federal Writers’ Project, 1940), the dissenting minority referred to the town as a “nest of Copperheads,” threatening them with arrest under charges of sedition and even lynching. Nonetheless, according to oral history, at least five members of newly-Confederate Town Line headed south to join the Army of Northern Virginia, even as twenty residents stayed put and fought for the Union Army.
There are few records about Town Line’s secession, and the names of those who voted for it were not recorded. Add to that the fact that the federal government dealt with Town Line mainly by ignoring it, and you’ve set up somewhat of a historical mystery. Read about the New York community that joined the Confederacy at Atlas Obscura.

39 Facts about the Middle Ages

We love to study the Middle Ages because Europe a few hundred years ago was such a weird and busy place. You’ve got the fall of the Roman Empire, early written English, the plague, crusaders and conquerers, myths and legends, and the stuff that we use for our fantasy pop culture these days. John Green gives us some fascinating tidbits to add to our store of knowledge about the Middle Ages, in the latest episode of the mental_floss List Show. 

Controversy over puppet chef making haggis with a condom wrapping

Parents in Sweden have complained after they sat down with their children to watch a television program only to watch a puppet character use a condom to make the Scottish delicacy haggis. The Scots dish is traditionally made from sheep's innards minced with onion, oatmeal and spices and wrapped inside the animal's stomach, although these days artificial skin is normally used.
But a children's television show took culinary creativity to a whole new level when the host, a puppet chef of French descent named Bon, instead decided to stuff the meat and juices in a condom. Explaining in the video that he does not have an animal stomach at hand, he reaches for a handbag, saying: "Grandma usually has things in her bag… perhaps there's something we can use. Balloons! That will work just as well."
Except what he attaches to the sausage-style haggis machine is clearly not a balloon, but a condom. "I'm watching Bon who is today making haggis and is using a CONDOM as a balloon because there wasn't a sheep's stomach. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?? Disgusting, unethical and highly inappropriate," one furious viewer said. SVT's head of children's television, Johanna GĂ„rdare, defended the condom haggis. "It's of course unfortunate if our content upsets the viewers, whether it's the target group or their parents. The purpose in this case was to entertain.
"I understand if you don't appreciate this kind of humor, but I can't see that it's inappropriate by definition to show a picture of a condom in a humorous show aimed at children in middle school," she said, adding that she had only received three complaints from parents. Asked if she was surprised by the reactions, she said: "Sometimes you get very surprised by what upsets people, because different things upset different people. Our intention is never to upset parents, but to entertain and deliver good content for the children (and parents). In my experience all content that touches at all on the area of sex gets more reactions than other content, so for that reason I'm not surprised."
You can watch the video clip here.

Scientists Think Cockroach Milk Could Be the Superfood of the Future

Got milk? That's good! It'll keep you strong and healthy. But you probably got it from a cow or a goat. For a new treat, try cockroach milk.
Cockroaches aren't mammals, so what they secrete isn't, technically speaking, milk. But that's what scientists are calling diploptera punctate, which is a protein crystal that roaches feed their live young. Researchers say that it's good for humans to eat. Science Alert reports:
"The crystals are like a complete food - they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India.
Not only is the milk a dense source of calories and nutrients, it’s also time released. As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate to continue the digestion.
"It’s time-released food," said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project. "if you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it."
Milking individual cockroaches is a chore, though. So Banerjee's research team is working on a way to artificially duplicate the roach milk production process in a laboratory setting. Sadly, it will be a while before you see roach milk on grocery store shelves.

This Woman Is Being Sued for $67,000 Because She Found a New Job

Prominent Feminist Writer Drops off Social Media After Rape Threat Against Her 5-Year-Old Daughter

The Upsetting Reason My Young Yoga Students Think I Should Be Married

Man who led police on 42-mile chase said he was too scared, high and drunk to stop

A driver led police officers in Boone County, Kentucky, on a 42-mile high-speed chase early on Friday.
Jeremy Carf, 37, from Aurora, Indiana, led officers from five different law enforcement agencies for 50 minutes to Corinth, Kentucky. During the pursuit, speeds varied between 40 and 90 miles per hour, deputies said. Authorities tried using “stop sticks” twice, but they were not successful.
While they were driving through Williamstown, Carf called the Boone County Dispatch and said he was scared to stop because he was high, drunk and just broke up with his girlfriend, deputies said. The dispatcher was able to convince him to stop near to Corinth.
Carf was charged with speeding, reckless driving, DUI, fleeing or evading, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating on suspended or revoked license and a Boone County flagrant non-support arrest warrant. He was being held in the Boone County Detention Center.

$3million lottery winner invested money in crystal meth enterprise

A man who won $3 million on a scratch-off lottery game last year in Waycross, Georgia, invested all of his winnings in a crystal meth trafficking ring, federal prosecutors say.
Ronnie Music, Jr, 45, plead guilty to federal drug trafficking and firearm charges during a plea hearing last week. Evidence presented in the case suggested Music worked with a group to gain access to and distribute methamphetamine throughout Georgia.
Some of Music's conspirators were caught trying to sell about 11 pounds of crystal meth, valued at more than $500,000. Music was revealed as the supplier during the investigation. Agents seized over $1 million worth of methamphetamine, a large cache of firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, multiple vehicles, and over $600,000 in cash.
"Defendant Music decided to test his luck by sinking millions of dollars of lottery winnings into the purchase and sale of crystal meth," United States Attorney Ed Tarver said in a press release. "As a result of his unsound investment strategy, Music now faces decades in a federal prison."

Fisherman had unexpected encounter with a snarling badger that jumped into his boat

A man from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, had an unexpected encounter with a snarling badger while fishing in the middle of a lake. Ron Lancour was alone in his boat on Sheridan Lake, enjoying a peaceful day fishing, when a fully-grown badger suddenly jumped on board.
"He was telling me to get out of that boat, because he was coming in there. I guess he was tired of swimming," Lancour said. "I grabbed my net. With the handle I tried to poke him back into the water, but he was gaining ground on me." Lancour said he then fought off the badger three more times with a wooden oar before he was able to push it back into the lake.
But the persistent badger then jumped back into the boat from a different side, and Lancour had to fight it off again. "I knew that I had to stun him somehow. I certainly didn't want to hit him across the head and kill him, they are a protected species in British Columbia," he said. Lancour says he finally managed to escape by speeding away from the animal.
Badgers are extremely rare in British Columbia. According to Parks Canada, there are only about 200 of them left in the province. A Badgers in British Columbia spokesperson said badgers are proficient swimmers, often crossing bodies of water to seek prey and explore new territory. According to the group, badgers are not particularly aggressive, unless they're out in the open.

Public warned not to approach ostrich family on the loose

A family of ostriches is on the loose around a village in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The Scottish SPCA said there had been several sightings of the adult bird in Patna last week. They have advised members of the public not to approach the adult ostrich which will be protective of its young and could become "extremely aggressive" if it believes it is being challenged.
It is unclear where the ostriches have escaped from. Animal Rescue Officer Alistair Hill said: "Anyone in the area who spots the ostrich or its young should call us as soon as possible so we can keep an eye on where these birds are.
"We are warning members of the public not to approach the adult ostrich and to especially avoid approaching its young as ostriches can be very protective and can become extremely aggressive."

Bull popped into high street bank during Spanish festival

Traditionally, it's china shops that fear a mighty bull entering the premises.
But one bull entered a different kind of establishment during the annual bull run at a festival in Cheste, Valencia, Spain.
The half ton beast took a break from chasing revelers to slip inside the door of a Bankia branch.

Several runners followed the bull into the building and held the door open so it could emerge onto the street and continue on its way.

Baby Owls Go for a Swim

The Snowy Owl family on the North Slope of Alaska needs to move toward a new home. Daddy Owl has already scouted out a new place to live. Since the baby owls can't fly yet, they have to walk. And when they get to a river, they have no choice but to swim across it.
As this scene from Nature illustrates, they're quite good at it! Even without swimming lessons, the baby owls figure out how to row across the water with their wings.

Animal Pictures