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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, January 29, 2017

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of  
Carolina Naturally
Today also happens to be Seeing-Eye Dog Day ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 210 countries around the world daily.   
Ol'Sourpus Hisself ... !
Today is - Curmudgeon's Day

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Today in History

Jane Austin publishes Pride and Prejudice.
Kansas is admitted into the Union as the 34th state.
William Quantrill and his Confederate raiders attack Danville, Kentucky.
The Supreme Allied Council meets at Versailles.
Violette Neatley Anderson becomes the first African-American woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Seeing Eye, America’s first school for training dogs to guide the blind, founded in Nashville, Tennessee.
Winston Churchill resigns as Stanley Baldwin’s aide.
German and Italian troops take Benghazi in North Africa.
The world’s greatest warship, Missouri, is launched.
Riots break out in Johannesburg, South Africa, over the policy of Apartheid.
Thirty-seven civilians are killed by a U.S. helicopter attack in Vietnam.
President Jimmy Carter commutes the sentence of Patty Hearst.
Reagan announces that he will run for a second term.
The Soviets issue a formal complaint against alleged U.S. arms treaty violations.
Iraqi forces attack into Saudi Arabian town of Kafji, but are turned back by Coalition forces.

Rush for 'Barbie' vagina surprises plastic surgeons and leaves medical professionals stumped

A rush of women going under the knife for designer genitals has taken even plastic surgeons by surprise and divided medical professionals on the ethics and benefits of “labiaplasty”.
In 2015, more than 95,000 women worldwide underwent the procedure, according to data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).
Most often, labiaplasty involves trimming back the inner “lips” or labia minora flanking the vaginal opening, in a procedure that is also known as nymphoplasty.
It was the 19th-most popular surgical procedure in 2015, followed by “vaginal rejuvenation” — usually tightening of the vaginal canal — in 22nd place with just over 50,000 procedures.
Rush for 'Barbie' vagina surprises plastic surgeons and leaves medical professionals stumped

Why LSD 'acid trips' last so, so long

An "emancipated dinnerbell"

A sundial cannon, sundial gun, noon cannon or meridian cannon, also noonday gun is a device consisting of a sundial incorporating a cannon with a fuse that is lit by an overhanging lens, concentrating the rays of the sun, and causing the cannon to fire at noon, when properly oriented along a north-south axis. The cannon sizes ranged from large to small depending on the location of their use. The household variety was used in estates to signal the time for the midday meal. Larger sizes were used in European parks to signal noon.
Note the lens is on an moveable frame so that it can be adjusted during the seasons.

How to make a realistic face mask

The embedded image is mask probably worn for a ceremonial dance for a Maya ruler, reconstructed from fragments found at an archaeological dig at the Maya capital city of Aguateca in Guatemala.
Although scholars have guessed that the masks were made of wood or other organic materials, the example from Aguateca is the first one ever found to reveal that at least some masks were created by soaking gauze-like textiles in clay and shaping them into the contours of a face. When the clay was fired, the textiles burned off, leaving a mask that was light and comfortable to wear.
From the archives of Archaeology Magazine.

The Three Deadliest Drugs Are All Legal

Farmers aren't allowed to fix their own tractors

As reported in Modern Farmer:
This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren't actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property. In fact, the craziness of this goes even further: In a 2015 letter to the United States Copyright Office, John Deere, the world’s largest tractor maker, said that the folks who buy tractors don’t own them, not in the way the general public believes “ownership” works. Instead, John Deere said that those who buy tractors are actually purchasing an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”..
But what this has meant is that tractor owners can’t repair their own tractors—and if they do, they’re in violation of the DMCA. So, if a machine stops working, its owner can’t pop the hood, run some tests, and find out what’s going on; he or she is legally required to take the tractor to a service center (one owned by the manufacturer, since that’s the only entity allowed to analyze the tractor’s issues). This can be expensive and time-consuming, and more to the point, unnecessary—at least according to farmers in several states, who are lobbying to force tractor manufacturers make their diagnostic tools available to independent repair shops and owners.

Are high school AP classes a scam?

One columnist at The Atlantic thinks so:
Interestingly, the evidence providing the clearest positive argument for AP participation is that high performance in AP courses correlates with better college grades and higher graduation rates, especially in science courses. But that's faint praise. It's the same as saying that students who do best in high school will do better in college and are more likely to graduate.

My beef with AP courses isn't novel. The program has a bountiful supply of critics, many of them in the popular press (see here and here), and many increasingly coming from academia as well (see here). The criticisms comport, in every particular, with my own experience of having taught an AP American Government and Politics course for ten years.
He goes on to argue that
  • AP courses are not remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate.
  • Increasingly, students don't receive college credit for high scores on AP courses...
  • Increasing numbers of the students who take them are marginal at best...
  • Large percentages of minority students are essentially left out of the AP game...
  • Schools have to increase the sizes of their non-AP classes, shift strong teachers away from non-AP classes...
  • The AP curriculum leads to rigid stultification.
I sent the link to two friends who have been high school principals.  Both of them disagreed with the premise.
"These were expensive to run because a teacher teaching five students sees fewer students in a day. One might make the case that this diverts resources from areas. But this does not only happen with AP courses."

"I never experienced students being encouraged to enroll in AP classes just so the class could reach an enrollment minimum."

 "(our) district went out of its way to recruit black students into the AP programs."

 "He doesn't like that many AP scores don't allow a student to earn credit, only exemption from a basic level course. My experience and opinion is that is not a big problem."

"In this day and age of whopping college costs, dual-enrollment fills for many kids a better, more intelligent slot than AP."
The arguments are fleshed out in more detail at The Atlantic and the links embedded there.

Mikhail Gorbachev's current worldview

Excerpts from a transcript of his speech at a recent ceremony, as reported by Time:
"The world today is overwhelmed with problems. Policymakers seem to be confused and at a loss. But no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. Stopping and reversing this ruinous race must be our top priority. The current situation is too dangerous...
While state budgets are struggling to fund people’s essential social needs, military spending is growing. Money is easily found for sophisticated weapons whose
destructive power is comparable to that of the weapons of mass destruction; for submarines whose single salvo is capable of devastating half a continent; for missile defense systems that undermine strategic stability.
Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war...
I recall a Politburo meeting in 1986 at which the defense doctrine was discussed. The proposed draft contained the following language: "Respond to attack with all available means." Members of the politburo objected to this formula. All agreed that nuclear weapons must serve only one purpose: preventing war. And the ultimate goal should be a world without nuclear weapons.
In modern world, wars must be outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be resolved by war — not poverty, nor the environment, migration, population growth, or shortages of resources."
Fulltext at the link.   Best comment I've seen: "The irony of it all if Gorbachev tells Trump to tear down that wall."

2017 Isn't '1984'

Anti-Choicer Supports Forced Birth For Pre-Teen Incest Victim

AM Joy Anti-Choicer Supports Forced Birth For Pre-Teen Incest Victim
This woman holds the same convoluted fundamentalist and misogynist deluded 'values' as our lovely Vice Pretender: that fetus must survive, to hell with the mother.
Anti-choice agitator admits to Joy Reid her ultimate goal is to make birth control illegal

The Real Reason Wingnuts Hate Obamacare

Man Sports Swastika on University of Florida Campus

Refugee Ban Echoes One of the Darkest Chapters in American History

Texas mosque goes up in flames hours after White House announces Muslim ban

Texas mosque goes up in flames hours after White House announces Muslim ban

GA wingnut recovering after being shot at adult cinema parking lot carrying thousands in cash

GA wingnut recovering after being shot at adult cinema parking lot carrying thousands in cash
This headline begs several questions ...
What was he doing at an 'adult' theater with 1000s in cash -
an illicit sexual encounter with a prostitute - a gay prostitute - a minor - an animal or might it be an illegal drug purchase, maybe accepting bribes or receiving payoffs ... and there are so many more possibilities.
None of those possibilities is a positive reflection on the wingnut. Then again, this is typical wingnut behavior.

States push anti-science bills to ‘belittle evolution’

A series of new legislative proposals in several states take aim at schools teaching evolution.

Incredible fact

This is hard to comprehend:
"It takes a million years for a photon moving at the speed of light to reach the sun's surface from its core."
Explained on the basis of Thomson scattering: "The mean free path of a photon in the interior of the sun is about 2 centimeters. This is the average distance it travels in between bounces. If you compare this length to the radius of the sun, you see why it takes so long for the photons to escape."
Additional discussion and clarification of the "bouncing" in this thread.

Animal Pictures