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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 14, 2017

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

In France, Louis VIII succeeds his father, Philip Augustus.
Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, is handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais.
Hungarians defeat the Ottomans at the Battle of Belgrade, in present-day Yugoslavia.
France and Portugal sign the Treaty of Lyons, aligning themselves against Spain.
The Bastille, a fortress in Paris used to hold political prisoners, is stormed by a mob.
The Sedition Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.
At Harrisburg, Mississippi, Federal troops under General Andrew Jackson Smith repulse an attack by General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
European Allies retake Tientsin, China, from the rebelling Boxers.
Nazi Germany promulgates the Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health–the beginning of the Euthanasia program.
Howard Hughes and crew set a new world record for an around-the-world flight.
A force of German bombers attacks Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.
Vichy French Foreign Legionaries sign an armistice in Damascus, allowing them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.
American battleships and cruisers bombard the Japanese home islands for the first time.
The George Washington Carver National Monument in Joplin, Missouri becomes the first national park honoring an African American.
The United States sends 600 more troops to Vietnam.

Fuck That- An Honest Meditation For Today's World

The more hippie dippie meditation courses always feature lots of appropriated Asian philosophy, imagery and music, which doesn't really speak to the modern Western mind and is therefore lost on many of us.So if you want to get a city dwelling English speaker interested in meditation you've got to learn to speak their language, and Jason Headley has cracked the code with his series Fuck That: An Honest Meditation.
Jason's meditation video, book and app use the many expletives other meditation courses are afraid to let fly in order to free our spirits from the grips of our modern lives, or some such bulls#@t.
Some claim it worked wonders for their frustrated minds, others say it sounds like an early Eddie Murphy routine. Click play, close your eyes and decide for yourself. (NSFW) Namaste!

The Strange and Righteous History of the Equals Sign

Robert Recorde was a polymath Welshman born in 1510. He became a university professor, then a physician, then a finance man running the mint. He wrote textbooks on astronomy, geometry, theology, and arithmetic. He wrote those textbooks in English, which made the knowledge available for the first time to scholar who didn't read Latin. But what Recorde did that was the most lasting contribution was that he invented the = sign.
Recorde's symbol didn't catch on at first. The language of Latin still held sway during the 16th century. Latin had a word for the concept, "aequalis," and if more concision was necessary, people could shorten it to "ae" or "oe." But aiding the popularity of the equals sign was Recorde's introduction, to English-speakers, of the German symbols "+" and "-". In combination, these signs allowed people to express, quickly and with a minimum of wasted ink, a mathematical equation in symbols. Instead of writing, "A factore added to a quantitie of thryeye is equalle to a dyffyrynte factore frome whyche is takene awaye a quantitie of foure," a mathematician could write: "x + 3 = y - 4".
That opened the door for math to have its own language, understandable by people all over the world. Read about the remarkable Recorde and his legacy at Ars Technica.

2.1 billion people Lack Access to Safe Drinking Water

There are more than 7 billion people living on planet Earth, and well over a quarter of them lack access to safe drinking water, according to a report released Wednesday by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Not only do 2.1 billion lack access to clean water, 4.5 billion people—over half of the world's population—lack properly managed sanitation, the report found.

Asylum seekers turned away at US-Mexico border sue US government

A group of asylum seekers fleeing gang and drug violence in Honduras and Mexico were improperly turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border by border patrol agents, a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government on Wednesday said.

Household Products Every Marijuana Lover Needs

The U.S. Needs to Decriminalize Drugs

Police Beat Black Teenager

Libertarians Laser Focused on Destroying Our Social Security System

Religio-wingnut 'christian' reality TV hack gets 40 years in prison for child rape

Toby Willis pleaded guilty to child rape.
Willis was the patriarch of TLC’s former reality show “The Willis Family.” On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment, People reported.

Hate crimes in America

“Go home. We need Americans here!” white supremacist Jeremy Joseph Christian yelled at two black women — one wearing a hijab — on a train in Portland, Oregon, in May. According to news reports, when several commuters tried to intervene, he went on a rampage, stabbing three people. Two of them died

Oregon man nailed for hate crime cries in court

An Oregon man has been arraigned on hate crime charges for threatening a Muslim couple only days after two men were stabbed to death in Portland after trying to stop an anti-Muslim rant.

The National Park That Was Stolen to Death

In the Cretaceous period, a landslide in South Dakota buried a lot of cycad plants. They eventually turned to silicate fossils, and gradually, erosion brought them back to the surface of the earth. As the American West was settled, people found them and thought they were pretty neat. One of those people was George Reber Wieland, who was so impressed with the fossil cycad he found in 1898 that he changed his career from paleontology to paleobotany to study the fossils. He spent years working to protect the South Dakota site, until Fossil Cycad National Monument was declared in 1922.
Unfortunately for Fossil Cycad, its official recognition as an American landmark came at a difficult time for the country overall. “It was a period of economic hardship,” says Santucci. “Fossil Cycad wasn’t really developed like other national parks and monuments were.” That meant no one was hired to watch over the land. While the superintendent of nearby Wind Cave National Park was put in charge of its overall management, “day-to-day surveillance was entrusted to local ranchers,” writes Santucci. The site’s only sign—a 15-inch carved wooden plank—abbreviated both “National” and “Monument,” but made sure to spell out “NO PROSPECTING.”
Despite this lack of amenities, tourists continued to swing by, and to take pieces of the monument home with them. “People reading in newspapers about the monument in the Black Hills would come,” says Santucci. Natural erosion meant that new layers of fossils were gradually exposed, creating more buzz and more foot traffic. Such was the Fossil Cycad catch-22: when there weren’t any visible fossils, it wasn’t much of a monument. But whenever there were enough to attract visitors, those same visitors meant they were quick to disappear.
And that is why you've never heard of Fossil Cycad National Monument. Read about the life and death of the national park at Atlas Obscura.

Wingnut groups urge lawmakers to gut climate programs in US military

A coalition of 14 wingnut groups urged U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to support an amendment to the House of Representatives’ annual defense bill that would prevent the Pentagon from implementing climate-change and green energy policies meant to save taxpayers money and protect the planet.

Flooding Cities

Almost a month after the U.S. announced its exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, a new study has come up with the list of cities that are likely to get affected in the next hundred years if immediate steps are not taken.
According to a study released Wednesday, cities along the Jersey Shore and in parts of North Carolina, South Louisiana, and neighboring areas that have been known as vulnerable from years are expected to be inundated by 2035.

Fish Farming Is So Filthy That Salmon Are Getting Lice

Scientists Discover the Secret Behind Incredible Ant Towers

Fire ants, when trapped, will build a tower of ants in order to escape. Researchers at Georgia Tech, instead of looking for ways to kill the invasive insects, studied the architecture of ant towers. David Hu and Craig Tovey observed how ants at the bottom supported the weight of those above, and how ants reaching to top of the tower stopped to let others crawl on top of them. They left a  video recorder on for an hour after the tower was completed and went to do something else. Later, not wanting to watch an hour of ants, they viewed the video at ten times the normal speed. That's when they discovered that the completed tower kept sinking, and had to be constantly rebuilt.
To confirm the sinking behavior, Tovey and Hu contacted experts at at Lawrence Livermore Labs and other institutes. They were told that the technology did not exist to track individual particles in the interior of a three-dimensional object, at the time and size scales of ant-made towers, without killing the insects. But when they talked to an expert at Georgia Tech, they were referred to Daria Monaenkova, a postdoctoral researcher working in Dan Goldman’s physics lab. Monaenkova, who would subsequently become a co-author of the new study, happened to be working on an x-ray technology that would enable the researchers to peer inside the ant tower itself.
And that's where the story gets really neat. They actually fed radioactive iodine to some of the ants in order to track them by X-ray in real time to confirm the sinking tower. They determined that it was because the ants at the bottom understandably got tired and left. You can read the story and see both the original video and the X-ray version at Gizmodo.

Horse slaughter may become legal in US again

The House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to reopen the practice of horse slaughter in the United States. The practice was banned by the Congress in 2007 in a bid to eliminate funding for inspection of the facilities where horse slaughter was carried out.

Animal Pictures