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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.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This is funny ...

Iran has warned Switzerland of 'consequences' following the recent referendum there on minaret construction. Characteristic Ahmadinejadian subtlety!

But here's a thought: when scripted opprobrium flies around the world, it's usually between governments or other impersonal entities.

Given Switzerland's unusual direct-democracy, however, where people can enact laws even when the government is against them, doesn't this mean that the condemnations are, for once, aimed directly at a nation's public rather than the government that represents them?

This is funny!

Do deaf people hear voices when they hallucinate?

Summary: We’re not sure.

After a post we featured earlier this year on whether deaf people can hear hallucinated voices, I was sent an amazing study that attempted to distill the variety of ‘hearing voices’ experiences in deaf people.

It was published in the journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry in 2007 and attempted to avoid some of the pitfalls of studying auditory hallucinations in people with absent or limited hearing.

Some of the earlier research on deaf people who hear voices has been criticized for assuming that when a deaf person describes a ‘voice’ it automatically means they are having a similar experience to hearing people.

For example, when a deaf person describes the experience as ‘loud’ they may just mean it is particularly intrusive, rather than that it has specific auditory properties.

This later study used a sorting method, were a number of statements about what the experience could be like (some illustrated) were presented to deaf participants and they are asked to select the ones that best describe their experiences.

Mind Hacks: More on hallucinated voices in deaf people

Large moon of Uranus may explain odd tilt

A massive ancient moon that has since disappeared may be the reason Uranus now lies on its side.

Large moon of Uranus may explain odd tilt

French immigrants founded first British farms

Ancient Brits might have continued much longer as hunter-gatherers had it not been for innovations introduced by Gallic newcomers.

Climategate Looking More And More Like Watergate

From Crooks and Liars:

Photograph: Nick Rowe/Getty Images

As anti-science folks like Sarah Palin continue to make big noise over "Climategate," new evidence has emerged suggesting an organized effort to dig up dirt ahead of the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen.

From The Raw Story:

A series of repeated break-in and computer hacking attempts at a Canadian climate research institute are a sign of a "well-orchestrated campaign of harassment" against climate researchers ahead of the Copenhagen summit, several news sources report.

Employees at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, have revealed that the school's Centre for Climate Modelling has experienced at least two break-ins in recent months, as well as several attempts at hacking into the center's computer network.

The news comes a week after revelations that computer hackers stole thousands of emails from a climate research center at the University of East Anglia in the UK, some of which purportedly show attempts to cover up data that does not fit with claims about global warming.

There is much left to learn about how the "Climategate" e-mails were obtained, but these revelations suggest something more nefarious could be afoot. With cap and trade legislation on the horizon and billions of dollars at stake, it is not unreasonable to suggest that a person, organization or corporation would go to such measures to protect their interests.

Repugican mock of public option backfires as Democrats adopt idea

When Tom Coburn and David Vitter decided to make fun of Democratic efforts to pass health reform, they probably did not see this coming.

Repugican mock of public option backfires as Democrats adopt idea

Health bill survives first big test

Unflinching on a critical first test, Senate Democrats closed ranks Thursday behind $460 billion in politically risky Medicare cuts at the heart of health care legislation, thwarting a Republican attempt to doom President Barack Obama's sweeping overhaul.

Orphaned baby gorillas get new jungle home

Two baby gorillas left orphaned after a 2007 attack on a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been settling into their new home.

Manufacturing leads the way

Manufacturing leads the way

Areas that rely heavily on factory work are showing some of the biggest job gains in the country.

Stress Index

Easy ways to burn extra calories

Easy ways to burn extra calories

Use these tips to start adding a workout into your everyday life without ever going to the gym.

Secret stash of masterpieces seized

Secret stash of masterpieces seized

Police confiscate works by Picasso, Van Gogh, and others about to be sold secretively.

Biggest job interview blunders

10 biggest job interview blunders

Avoid these common missteps that career coaches say candidates are making.

Legal embarrassment for crashers

Legal embarrassment for crashers

A bounced check and debt spawn lawsuits for Michaele and Tareq Salahi.

Amanda Knox 'extremely disappointed'

Amanda Knox 'extremely disappointed'

She visits with her family after being sentenced to 26 years in prison for the murder of her roommate.


Obama aide under intense scrutinty

Obama aide under intense scrutinty

White House social secretary Desiree Rogers organized the party that two socialites crashed.

Tower of London guard's bad day

Tower of London guard's bad day

Tourists flock to this landmark to witness the military-like precision of the guards.


Historic storm slams Texas

Historic storm slams Texas

An unusual weather pattern blankets part of the state with up to four inches of snow.

Alabama overpowers the No. 1 Gators

Alabama overpowers the No. 1 Gators

The Crimson Tide earns a spot in the national championship game by crushing Florida.

That sensor above the traffic signal

That sensor above the traffic signal

People try to figure out if it's a camera, an ambulance traffic controller, or something else.

Chicken Stuffed With Cocaine Is Recipe For Arrest

Chicken Stuffed With Cocaine Is Recipe For Arrest

Customs inspectors have arrested a Guatemalan man who was carrying a cooked chicken stuffed with more than $4,000 worth of cocaine.

Chicken Stuffed With Cocaine Is Recipe For Arrest

Rain, winds, record heat on same day

A storm packing blustery winds and driving rain knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Northeast on Thursday before giving way to sunny skies and record high temperatures a ' all in the same morning.

Full Story

Holiday gifts women will flip for

Holiday gifts women will flip for

These inspired and affordable presents will make her happy without breaking the bank.

Saturday Jam

Today on the Saturday Jam: The Beatles

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Nowhere Man

And I Love Her

I'll Cry Instead

All My Loving

The early years of Beatlemania

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
Saturday, December 5, 2009

Every month since January, when I became your President, I’ve spoken to you about the periodic reports of the Labor Department on the number of jobs created or lost during the previous month; numbers that tell a story about how America’s economy is faring overall.

In those first months, the numbers were nothing short of devastating. The worst recession since the 1930s had wreaked havoc on the lives of so many of our fellow Americans. Yesterday, the numbers released by the Labor Department reflected a continuing positive trend of diminishing job loss.

But for those who were laid off last month and the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession, a good trend isn’t good enough. Trends don’t buy the groceries. Trends don’t pay the rent or a college tuition. Trends don’t fulfill the need within each of us to be productive, to provide for our families, to make the most of our lives, to reach for our dreams.

So, it is true that we, as a country, are in a very different place than we were when 2009 began. Because of the Recovery Act and a number of other steps we’ve taken, we’re no longer facing the potential collapse of our financial system or a second Great Depression. We’re no longer losing jobs at a rate of 700,000 a month. And our economy’s growing for the first time in a year.

But too many of our neighbors are still out of work because the growth we’ve seen hasn’t yet translated into all the jobs we need. Stung by this brutal recession, businesses that have kept their doors open are still wary about adding workers. Instead of hiring, many are simply asking their employees to work more hours, or they’re adding temporary help.

History tells us this is usually what happens with recessions – even as the economy grows, it takes time for jobs to follow. But the folks who have been looking for work without any luck for months and, in some cases, years, can’t wait any longer. For them, I’m determined to do everything I can to accelerate our progress so we’re actually adding jobs again.

That’s why, this week, I invited a group of business owners from across the country to the White House to talk about additional steps we can take to help jumpstart hiring. We brought together unions and universities to talk about what we can do to support our workers today and prepare our students to outcompete workers around the world tomorrow. We brought together mayors and community leaders to talk about how we can open up new opportunities in our cities and towns.

On Friday, I spent the day in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and met with workers and small business owners there. I stopped by a steel company called Allentown Metal Works, and spoke at Lehigh Community College. I visited folks at a job placement center, and stopped by a shift change at Alpo. The stories and concerns I heard mirrored the countless letters I receive every single day. And they speak louder than any statistic or government report. The folks in Allentown – and in all the Allentowns across our country – are the most dedicated, productive workers in the world. All they’re asking for is a chance, and a fair shake.

And that’s exactly what I’m working to give them. In the coming days, I’ll be unveiling additional ideas aimed at accelerating job growth and hiring as we emerge from this economic storm.

And so that we don’t face another crisis like this again, I’m determined to meet our responsibility to do what we know will strengthen our economy in the long-run. That’s why I’m not going to let up in my efforts to reform our health care system; to give our children the best education in the world; to promote the jobs of tomorrow and energy independence by investing in a clean energy economy; and to deal with the mounting federal debt.

From the moment I was sworn into office, we have taken a number of difficult steps to end this economic crisis. We didn’t take them because they were popular or gratifying. They weren’t. We took these steps because they were necessary.

But I didn’t run for President to pass emergency recovery programs, or to bail out banks or to shore up auto companies. I didn’t run for President simply to manage the crisis of the moment, while kicking our most pressing problems down the road. I ran for President to help hardworking families succeed and to stand up for the embattled middle class. I ran to fight for a country where responsibility is still rewarded, and hard-working people can get ahead. I ran to keep faith with the sacred American principle that we will deliver to our children a future of even greater possibility.

And my commitment to you, the American people, is that I will focus every single day on how we can get people back to work, and how we can build an economy that continues to make real the promise of America for generations to come.

Unusual Holidays and Celebrations

Today is

Bathtub Party Day


International Ninja Day

Daily Almanac

Today is Saturday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2009.

There are 26 days left in the year.

Today In History December 5

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia
Pecs, Baranya, Hungary
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany
Lampeter, Wales, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
Midland, Ontario, Canada
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Maidenhead, England, United Kingdom
Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom
Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada
Sofia, Sofiya, Bulgaria

as well as Brazil, and the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

You could be right in the middle of an interesting story in the morning paper when a totally unexpected and out-of-the-blue verbal spat practically knocks you off the couch.
Responding with anger and irritation is a sure way to escalate the conflict.
If you listen, though, you will soon discover what you initially perceived as an attack is simply this person's way of opening a dialogue about a situation that has very little to do with you.
You'd rather read the paper, but compassion will carry the day.

Oh, no.