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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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Try a fresh approach with an old problem.
It's important for you to apply wild, untried methods to solving this current conundrum -- after all, if it's back in your life, the old techniques must not have worked too well the first time!
Talk to strangers, go online or try randomly picking strategies to get you out of your current mindset and pick up a fresh outlook on whatever it is you're grappling with.
Some of our readers today have been in:
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Athens, Attiki, Greece
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
London, England, United Kingdom
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Debrecen, Hajdu-Bihar, Hungary
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

as well as Norway, and the United States in such cities as Coralville, Sandpoint, Rock Island, Jessup, High Point, Summerville and more

Today is Tuesday, May 11, the 131st day of 2010.
There are 234 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Eat What You Want Day

As The World Turns

As The World Turns
Airline passenger detained in Pakistan with circuits in shoes
The early reports out certainly sound suspicious though it's a positive sign that this was detected.
A passenger was detained by airport authorities in Pakistan after electrical circuits and batteries were found in the soles of his tennis shoes, an airport security official said today.

Officials were investigating what the components could be used for and why they were concealed. Similar materials can be used in the construction of bombs.

The man, Faiz Mohammad, was arrested at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport last night, said Munir Ahmed, a spokesman for the airport security force. The materials were detected by a scanner.
Afghan Girls Hit Again By Suspected Gas Attack

Dozens of schoolgirls in Afghanistan were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday after two suspected poisonous gas attacks on schools, officials said, the latest in a spate of similar incidents

Med students kill man, dissect body, then blame each other
Two Romanian medical students were sentenced to 16 years in prison after killing and dissecting a 65-year-old man with surgical instruments before trying to dispose of the pieces of his body.

The State Of The Nation

The State Of The Nation
Two stories about tornadoes
Violent weather sent cars flying off highways and flipped mobile homes.
Twisters in Oklahoma and Kansas bring hail the size of baseballs and leave thousands without power.  
Might it just be that Ma Nature is a bit peeved at the assholes in Kansas and Oklahoma for their idiotic and illegal immigration and abortion stances?

Local Hospitality

Local Hospitality
Pole Dance Maven Sues Former Partner
The founder of a chain of pole dance-based fitness studios says a former business partner misappropriated one of her outlets and swiped proprietary business information, including her "lap tease" routine, and the name for it.

Kelly Adams (pictured) claims in Mecklenburg County Court that when she started her business in August 2006, its primary activity was holding "traveling pole parties." It evolved into a three-studio chain called Pole Dance Charlotte Fun & Fitness Studio, offering dance pole sessions and other fitness classes.

Adams said she created the curriculum and all of its choreography by herself.

In November 2008, Adams said, defendant Raymond Wood approached her and encouraged her to open a fourth Pole Dance Charlotte studio as a tax deduction for the coming tax year.

Adams claims Wood incorporated the new studio as Pole Dance Charlotte at the Lake, and he and Adams shared its start-up costs. Adams says she oversaw all the details of the business.

In late 2009, Adams says, she hired defendant Judith Storey as a freelance teacher, then promoted her to part-time manager, but fired her in January this year for "irreconcilable differences."

Almost immediately, Adams says, Wood hired both Judith Storey and co-defendant Robert Storey to manage the studio, which he promptly converted to Pole Dance Cornelius Inc.

A week later, Adams says, she received a call from one of her instructors, who told her that the locks to the studio had been changed. The next day, Adams says, she received a Notice of Discontinuance for the lease of the studio and a letter from Wood, terminating their business relationship.

Adams claims the defendants conspired to usurp her interest in the studio, used her copyrighted material on their Web site, and are using her curriculum, methods, designs, techniques and traveling pole party format for profit.

She says they also tried to lure away her customers, inducing them to sign up with the breakaway business by offering one month's membership free.

Adams seeks injunctive relief, and treble and punitive damages on claims of conspiracy, unfair and deceptive trade practices, interference with actual and prospective economic advantage, and trading on her business's name.

She is represented by John F. Hanzel of Cornelius, N.C.

Upping the cute factor

Upping the cute factor today features the obscenely adorable photographs of In Cheryl Kim, a publicist for a zoo in Seoul, South Korea. Among them, images of a baby brown bear carousing with a stuffed teddy. For maximum cuteness, browse this subset of his photos with the tag "baby."

Zombie satellite

A satellite "goes rogue" and inexplicably begins stealing other communications signals.

Mass-marketed genetic kit

Mass-marketed genetic kit stirs controversy

An over-the-counter test gives shoppers an easy way to scan for disease risk.  

Clogged Disability

Claims have overwhelmed the Social Security system, leading to waits of more than two years.  

Interesting In General

Interesting In General
Physicist Stephen Hughes spots a definition that was likely wrong when it entered the O.E.D. in 1911.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe

Liars and Fools
Lush Dimbulb lies: Obama is "siding against the American people," playing "the race card," "dividing America".
Nope, that'd be you asshole - speaking into the mirror again I see.

Lush Dimbulb lies: Obama "looks at people of color as the genuine owners of the world's wealth who have been shut out of it".
The syphilis is acting up again folks.

Ann Cunlter lies: Liberals "always" root "for savages against civilization," including rooting for Nazis.
Another NAZI speaking into the mirror again.

Wingnut behind those illegal immigration laws

Many of the most controversial and illegal immigration laws are the work of one Kansas asshole. 

Tea Parties Rage as Taxes Hit Lowest Level Since 1950

Jon Perr posted this piece over at Crooks and Liars:
For almost a year and a half, furious Tea Party protesters have been chanting "Taxed Enough Already." But as it turns out, "taxed enough" actually means "at the lowest levels since 1950." That's the word from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which found that Americans paid the smallest overall tax bill since Harry Truman was in the White House. Of course, that inconvenient truth for Tea Baggers is tied to another: their plummeting payments are due in part to the tax relief delivered by President Obama.
USA Today summed up the BEA data debunking yet another right-wing myth:
Federal, state and local taxes -- including income, property, sales and other taxes -- consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.
"The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts," says Michael Ettlinger, head of economic policy at the liberal Center for American Progress.
That conclusion echoed a similar finding from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities last month. CBPP found
Middle-income Americans are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels, according to the latest available data. That's true whether it comes to their federal income taxes or their total federal taxes.
Several factors are fueling the reduced tax bill. For starters, the Bush recession has battered Americans' incomes and slashed sales tax revenue. New and expanded tax credits signed into law by presidents Clinton and Bush also lightened the tax burden for working families. And importantly, the $160 billion in tax cuts delivered by the Obama stimulus program helped refill Americans' bank accounts.
But you'd never know it, judging from the incendiary rhetoric flowing from the Tea Party movement and amplified by its media stenographers.
And in this case, ignorance is not bliss. While over 95% of working Americans received a tax cut thanks to President Obama and Congressional Democrats, a CBS poll found that Tea Party supporters literally didn't believe it:
Of people who support the grassroots, "Tea Party" movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up.
It's no wonder that despite their much publicized fury, 52% of Tea Party sympathizers "say their taxes are fair." Of course, when it comes to taxes, what Tea Baggers don't know is a lot.
In March, former Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett quantified the know-nothingness of proud if deluded anti-tax Tea Partiers. Among other findings in a survey of the assembled DC Tea Baggers on March 16:
Tuesday's Tea Party crowd, however, thought that federal taxes were almost three times as high as they actually are. The average response was 42% of GDP and the median 40%. The highest figure recorded in all of American history was half those figures: 20.9% at the peak of World War II in 1944.
"For an antitax group," Bartlett aptly concluded, "they don't know much about taxes."
So the next time the Tea Party repugicans masquerading as independents call Barack Obama a socialist fascist communist or worse, remember the two words they should express to the President.
Thank you.

Something Not Covered In Oil

underwater fish prize photo
During the coverage of the BP oil leak, we've been watching with our stomachs in knots over the damage being done to marine wildlife. To take a quick breather from the heartbreaking images of birds and shorelines covered in lethal black gook, we have an image that brings us back to how vibrant and beautiful ocean animals can be. The British Society of Underwater Photographers is a non-profit bent on finding the best of the best in underwater photography, and much of the time that means getting a shot of something rarely seen. Here, getting that shot won Arthur Kingdon top prize in the group's much-celebrated photography contest. It is a colorful and crystal-clear image of a rare black-faced blenny fish. It's one of the top eight stunning images submitted in this year's contest.
Article continues: Something Not Covered In Oil - Image of Elusive Fish Wins Top Prize

Rare gray whale sighting stuns scientists

Before the sighting off the Israeli coast, gray whales were thought to be extinct across the region.  

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Neanderthal and modern human
Professor Clive Finlayson looks at what the Neanderthal genome evidence really says about us

A new study of a 150 million year old fossil of an Archaeopteryx has shown that remnants of its feathers have been preserved.

Click to reveal

Fossil of earliest known bird contains remnants of the soft tissue of the animal, preserved for 150 million years

'Giant flying dinosaur fossil found'
Evidence of flying dinosaurs with a 9ft wingspan and more than 100 razor-sharp teeth that dominated the skies 95 million years ago has been discovered on a building site.
Newly caught specimens of the blind subterranean fish Stygichthys 
typhlops (picture courtesy of C. Moreira)
Blind, underground fish related to piranhas is rediscovered in Brazil

The whale was hunted to extinction outside the Pacific over 200 years ago – now a 13-metre-long specimen has been spotted in the Mediterranean

The health benefits of drinking tea

Tea has been shown to fight cancer, reduce heart disease risk, and prevent tooth decay.  

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health

A study of gene evolution looking back half a billion years could help uncover the genetic basis of many disorders, including Down's syndrome

Working overtime is bad for the heart

People working 10 or 11 hours a day increase their risk of heart attacks, new research shows.



Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Try serving this fresh and light salmon salad that's really easy to make.

From dump trucks filled with animal carcasses outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to intestine-wrapped goat organs in the Gobi desert, Andrew Zimmern's trip to Mongolia was filled with sights ...

Some lunch offerings make one hearty KFC sandwich look like a weight-loss entrée.

Nickels without actual nickel?

As the cost to mint coins rises, the Feds say it's time for a change — but not everyone agrees.  

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
Stocks soar around the world after a staggering $1 trillion rescue plan is announced.
A little patience goes a long way if you want to get the biggest benefit checks.
Sinking home values are changing the buying habits of Americans who once felt rich.
Some metro areas report double-digit gains, including a 100% rise for one city.  

On The Job

On The Job
With the right training and a careful plan, you can put yourself on track to a six-figure salary.
Diane Keng is still in high school, but she just launched her third tech startup. 

Worst-paying college degrees

Students who major in these subjects can earn much less than the average graduate.  

Racy Miss USA photos

Pageant organizers receive angry calls over provocative pictures of this year's contestants.  

Billionaire investor's priceless gift to son

Warren Buffett’s son Peter reveals the most valuable thing he received from one of the world’s richest men.

Earth near environmental 'tipping point'

Damage to rain forests, lakes, and coral reefs will soon be irreversible, the U.N. warns.  

Its Only The Environment After All

Its Only The Environment After All
Who's at fault for the gusher in the gulf? A Senate hearing seeks answers.  

South Pole Has Warmest Year Ever

The South Pole experienced its warmest year on record in 2009, according to newly released data from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
The average temperature at the South Pole last year was still a bone-chilling minus 54.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 47.9 degrees Celsius) 
in 2009, making it the warmest year on record since 1957, when temperature records began at the South Pole. 
The previous record high was minus 54.4 F (minus 48 C), recorded in 2002, according to Tim Markle, 
senior meteorologist at the South Pole Station in Antarctica.
Last year was also the second warmest year on record for the planet, according to NASA measurements of global surface temperatures 
released earlier this year. The global record warm year, in the period of near-global instrumental measurements since the late 1800s, was 2005.

Frank Frazetta 1928-2010

Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer
Frazetta’s agent has confirmed that the artist passed away yesterday.
Update: Check out this obit from Coilhouse

Who's real, who's not in 'Robin Hood'

Sherwood Forest is an actual place, though some of the story's characters are a merry myth.  

Non Sequitur


John Dillinger's wooden prison escape pistol sold at auction for $19,120

Is this the infamous wooden pistol that John Dillinger made to break out of prison in 1934? The person who paid $19,120 for it at an auction in December 2009 probably thinks so. I like that it has "Colt 38" carved into the side. The Great Escape prisoners also put markings (e.g., "Made in Stalag Luft III") on the escape tools they fabricated. A nice touch!
Probably the Single Most Iconic Item Associated with John Dillinger is the Legendary "Wooden Gun" He Carved and Used to Escape from the Crown Point, Indiana Jail, March 3, 1934. In reality there are three 'wooden guns', including this example, that can lay claim, all with some degree of credibility, to being the one Dillinger used is his remarkable escape. This example was part of the personal effects of Dillinger's younger brother Hubert, and has been in the possession of Frances Helen's family since his death in 1974. Another example is in the possession of the Dillinger Museum in Hammond, Indiana, while still another is in the possession of another branch of the family. While it will probably never be known which, if indeed any, of these three examples is the one he actually used, aside from it having a traceable lineage through the Dillinger family, this example exhibits several other details which lend strong credence to the family's belief that this is, in fact, the original specimen. 5.75" overall, the blackened finish is clearly affected by a dye, such as shoe blacking, rather than a paint and it does, indeed appear to have been fabricated from the leg of something such as a washboard. The general impression, based on the barrel form, is that of an automatic pistol. There are tiny brads in place on top at the front and back giving the impression of sights, with an incised line between them. A notched area at the back approximates a hammer. The front/muzzle has a .25" copper tube inserted to simulate a barrel. Crudely carved on the right side "Colt 38" and on the left, clearly in keeping with Dillinger's sense of humor and irony, "Pat Mar 3, 1934" the date of Dillinger's escape. Accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance and lineage from Frances Helen Thompson (Dillinger).

In Alabama: Salvia and K2 will be illegal on July 1st

 Saliva and KY will Be Next

Dildos are already outlawed...

On July 1, salvia and several legal herbs treated with K2 will become illegal in the state of Alabama, thanks to a bill passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Gov. Bob Riley (pictured) in April.

While some consider it a victory in the fight against drugs, others argue that it will only contribute to putting the products into the hands of teens.

"This is a very good day for the state of Alabama," said Deborah Soule, executive director of Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Kristi Fries, operations manager for Pleasures - an adult store in Huntsville that sells K2 and salvia, feels the opposite.

"We made it hard for teens to get, but this bill makes it easy," Fries said. The staff at Pleasures checks IDs a minimum of two times of people purchasing the products to ensure that only adults get them, she said.

When smoked, salvia - a leaf often found in Mexico - provides users with a trip, similar to what is experienced with LSD.

Fries said she has no problem with regulating salvia because it is a hallucinogenic.

"We support regulating salvia," she said. "It's a controlled hallucinogenic experience."

Legal herbs containing K2 - or synthetic marijuana - will also become illegal under the same bill. K2 is a chemical spray that mimics the effects of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, Soule said.

Alabama is now the second state to ban K2 and the 17th to ban salvia.

Fries argued that K2 doesn't contain any THC, only a mimicking spray, making it not dangerous. Soule said medical studies say the spray is a chemical compound with untraceable amounts of THC.

"We have control right now of who buys this," Fries said. "It's like control on alcohol and cigarettes."

"Now, it's going to go underground," she said. "People that still want it are going to get it from your average, everyday criminal, the same way they do with marijuana."

Fries said the two Pleasures stores will lose more than $200,000 in revenue from K2 products. She also said the state will lose tax money and more money will be spent to train law-enforcement officers on K2 products.

Soule considers the ban a victory because K2, or fake weed, is becoming an increasing trend among teens. Soule said she's received phone calls from parents concerned about the product.

The recently passed legislation means possession of the products will become a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, and selling the products will be a felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

The most ridiculed cars in history

From Yugos to Peels, here are 15 outrageous and questionable highway rides.  

Odds and Sods

Odds and Sods
In Cop News

Ad for new bed blanket that blocks flatulence odor a hit
An ad for a new blanket that absorbs flatulence odor is a huge hit on YouTube.

Russian policeman kills himself scratching nose with his gun
An armed 23 year old policeman in Moscow fell victim of his own carelessness. He decided to scratch an itchy spot on his nose with a gun and accidentally killed himself.

The tragedy happened in the court security facility. At 6pm the officer’s supervisor tried to connect with him over the phone to check on him. The sergeant did not answer his phone and the supervisor had to go see him with other officers.

The police found a locked door they had to break and the body of their colleague behind the door. The policeman’s body with a wound in the head was found under the desk. The investigation ruled out a murder. There was no note that would indicate suicide.

The victim had been serving in police since 2007. He was single and was not registered with the staff psychologist. He was reported to be in good spirits on the day of the accident. The sergeant allegedly scratched his nose with his gun and accidentally pulled the trigger.