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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

Jerome of Prague is burned as a heretic by the cult.
Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by the English.
The University of Marburg is founded in Germany.
Hernando de Soto lands in Florida with 600 soldiers in search of gold.
The first American daily newspaper, The Pennsylvania Evening Post, begins publishing in Philadelphia.
The First Treaty of Paris is declared, returning France to its 1792 borders.
William Young patents the ice cream freezer.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise.
The Piedmontese army crosses the Sesia River and defeats the Austrians at Palestro.
Union General Henry Halleck enters Corinth, Mississippi.
Memorial Day begins when two women place flowers on both Confederate and Union graves.
The brassiere is invented.
U.S. Marines are sent to Nicaragua to protect American interests.
The First Balkan War ends.
The U.S. Navy transfers the Teapot Dome oil reserves to the Department of the Interior.
The Royal Air Force launches the first 1,000 plane raid over Germany.
NASA launches Mariner 9, the first satellite to orbit Mars.

Legend of an Australian Pirate Ship in Japan Confirmed

Convicts in Australia hijacked the British ship the Cyprus in 1829. When they were eventually captured, William Swallow, leader of the pirates, and some of his men were put on trial. They gave an account of sailing to Japan in 1830, but no one believed them. Almost 200 years later, the story was considered a legend -until now. Nick Russell searched through 19th century Japanese writings and found and translated an account from samurai Makita Hamaguchi that confirms a Western ship showed up at Shikoku island on January 16, 1830.
Hamaguchi wrote of sailors with “long pointed noses” who were not hostile, but asked in sign language for water and firewood. One had burst into tears and begun praying when an official rejected an earlier plea.
A skipper who looked 25 or 26 placed tobacco in “a suspicious looking object, sucked and then breathed out smoke”.
He had a “scarlet woolen coat” with “cuffs embroidered with gold thread and the buttons were silver-plated”, which was “a thing of great beauty, but as clothing it was gaudy”.
Hamaguchi’s watercolor sketch of the coat has what Russell said may be a telling detail on the sleeve: a bird that could be a swallow, the skipper’s own stamp on a British military officer’s jacket taken as a souvenir in the mutiny.
The skipper gave instructions to a crew that “in accordance with what appeared to be some mark of respect” followed orders to remove their hats “to the man, most of them revealing balding heads”.
They “exchanged words amongst themselves like birds twittering”.  
Japan was isolationist at the time, so a few days later, orders came down to repel the foreigners. After some cannon fire, the ship left. Read more of how the Japanese saw the strange foreign pirates at the Guardian.

George Takei scorches racist Star Trek critics

"These trolls carry on without knowing what they’re talking about and knowing even less about the history of what they’re talking about," Takei said before adding, "And some of these trolls go on to be presidents of nations.”

Star Wars Is a Fantasy Film Firmly Based on America’s Real Conflicts

The Stormtrooper Who Banged His Head in "Star Wars"

It was only a split second shot in the most famous space movie of all time. A stormtrooper follows his commander through a corridor and bangs his head against the ceiling. It was a moment that actor Laurie Goode thought would be edited out, but it wasn't. When Star Wars was released in 1977, so many people watched it so many times that he became anonymously famous.
I remember after the first two takes, we were told to hold our guns in our left hands as opposed to our right. So I believe the head bang happened on the fourth take — whatever number of takes we did, the head bang happened on the last take. When it first happened, that day I told my fellow actor on the film, Mark Kirby, that I hit my head, but we didn't go for another take.
Afterward, nobody believed him when he said he was that stormtrooper. It turns out that quite a few people claimed to be the one. He even wrote a song about it. Goode tells the whole story of what happened on that day of filming and why he wasn't quite on his mark in an interview at The Hollywood Reporter.

Wish You Could Own a Castle in Italy?

Here's Your Chance
Want to own a medieval castle but don't want to spend the cash? Well, you're in luck! Now you can own a castle, post office or other historical building in Italy and all you have to do is revitalize it -well, technically, you have to submit a plan for revitalizing your histoical building and have it approved by the Italian government. Either way though, if you're approved, that building is yours for free and you have nine years to implement the changes you proposed. The plan is a clever way to help improve a number of historic buildings located across Italy and drive tourism back to those destinations, so it's a win/win for the government and new property owners.
You can read more about the program on Travel and Leisure and you can see the available properties here (though the site is in Italian)

Interlocking Wooden Blocks Make It Easy To Build A Wall Or A Tiny House

People have come up with some pretty brilliant ways to help solve humanity's problems, helping people in need by inventing ways to ensure they have clean water, food, clothing, medicine and shelter.And since viable shelter is one of the most important problems to solve and the problem with the most solutions it's not surprising so many inventors have focused on this problem.But so far I've yet to see a semi-permanent housing solution that works as well as Brikawood- the weatherproof, fully recyclable and extremely durable interlocking wooden brick system that makes building shelter a snap.

Student loan debt in the US is so high that many aren't even paying it

Though you'd think the bubble would've burst by now, college costs are still on the rise, and as a result, student debt is at an all-time high. Among 2016 graduates who took on student loans, the average student debt load is more than $37,000, up 6% from the previous year. All told, more than 44 million Americans carry student debt to the collective tune of $1.4 trillion.
 The problem has gotten so bad, in fact, that many graduates are resorting to drastic measures to address their crippling debt. Specifically, they're not paying it. A new report from progressive think tank Demos found that almost 40% of student loan borrowers are either in default or more than 90 days late on their payments. What's even more disturbing, however, is that those owing less than $10,000 in loans have virtually the same default rate as those who owe more than $100,000.

Why working robots in the future might pay taxes

Capitalism works reasonably well as an economic system - provided that human beings are required to do effectively all of the labor. It worked far better than previous systems (slavery most notably).
But capitalism has a long list of grievances, not the least of which is that human labor has slowly become devalued over time. 50 years ago in Detroit, an unskilled laborer could make a living wage on the assembly line. The reason for that was simple: the assembly line, and the company that made its profits off of it, needed those workers. There was a need, and the car companies were more than willing to pay workers to fill those needs. The workers won, the company won, it was a positive sum game.
But that game is changing, thanks to robots.

US Navy skydiver killed in parachuting accident at New York Fleet Week festival

A member of the U.S. Navy’s elite skydiving demonstration team plunged to his death on Sunday when his parachute malfunctioned while performing in an aerial exhibition as part of New York Harbor’s annual Fleet Week festival. U.S. Coast Guard personnel pulled the parachutist from the water near the mouth of the Hudson River moments after the accident, witnessed by thousands of spectators watching the show from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The skydiver, a Navy SEAL commando performing as a member of the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, was pronounced dead at the Jersey City Medical Center, Rear Admiral Jack Scorby told a news conference outside the hospital.

The CIA’s secrets about JFK, Che and Castro

In the early 1960s, Antonio Veciana was the CIA’s man in Havana. With a senior position in the Cuban government, he wreaked havoc on Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, firebombing the capital’s largest department store and plotting to kill Castro with a bazooka.

John F. Kennedy at Prep School

Portrait of a Troublemaker
When young Jack Kennedy entered Choate, the prestigious boarding school in Connecticut, he was following in the footsteps of his older brother Joe. Joe was an excellent student and a standout athlete. Jack was not, and didn't even pass the entrance exams. But he was admitted anyway, and made mediocre grades. His energies went into pulling pranks.
Aided by the sons of America’s most influential families, young Jack—then a student at Choate—had successfully snuck firecrackers onto his elite boarding school’s Wallingford, Connecticut campus, and headed straight for the bathroom. That morning, during the obligatory daily assembly, long-suffering headmaster George St. John held up the defenseless victim—a badly injured toilet seat—for all to see.
St. John railed against “the muckers,” as he labeled the culprits, which Jack took to heart, though not in the way the headmaster likely intended. Inspired, the future president named his band of first-class troublemakers “The Choate Muckers Club.”
The school administration didn't think much of John F. Kennedy, but his classmates saw leadership. Read about Kennedy's boarding school days at Town & Country.

Massachusetts Charter School Backs off Exclusionary Hair Policies —for Now

The Horsemen of Our Apocalypse

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: A White Feminist’s Dystopia

Life is Getting Much Worse for the Poor

Utah Mom Stuffed Kids in Trunk While Shopping

A 39-year-old woman in Utah is facing child abuse charges in what witnesses are describing as an appalling incident: Tori Lee Castillo is accused of locking her two children, ages 2 and 5, in the trunk of her car while she left to shop at a local Walmart. The Riverdale City Police Department got a call Thursday after a witness reported seeing Castillo put her kids in the trunk. "The small children ... began making noise and moving frantically, causing the vehicle to shake," Utah police tell CNN.
"Several good Samaritans observed this and came to the aid of the children." Those good Samaritans coached the 5-year-old on how to open the trunk using an emergency latch.
"I was shocked, I was shaken, and I was mad," a witness tells CNN. "And there's two kids there, tears coming down their face. Bawling. They were scared." Castillo was arrested after returning to her car, per the AP.

US might ban laptops on all flights into and out of the country

The United States might ban laptops from aircraft cabins on all flights into and out of the country as part of a ramped-up effort to protect against potential security threats, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Sunday.

Animal Pictures