Welcome to ...

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, May 15, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You know deep in your bones that the only way to real success is through practice, practice and more practice.
You can see that you need to shape up a bit more today, too.
You might ask a perfectly straightforward question only to get a weird non sequitur in reply.
Look beneath the surface and draw on your experience to find some very good advice.
Some of our readers today have been in:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Salisbury, England, United Kingdom
Bourges, Centre, France
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Doha, Ad Dawah, Qatar
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Karlskrona, Blekinge Lan, Sweden
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France
Turku, Western Finland, Finland
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan

as well as Hungary, and the United States in such cities as Germantown, Baton Rouge, Flanders, Saugus and more

Today is Saturday, May 15, the 135th day of 2010.
There are 230 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Chocolate Chip Day
National Pizza Party Day
Nylon Stockings Day
Straw Hat Day

The 135th Annual Preakness is also run today.

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Weekly Address
Washington, DC
On Thursday, I paid a visit to a small business in Buffalo, New York, a town that’s been hard hit in recent decades. I heard from folks about the struggles they’ve been facing for longer than they care to remember. And I talked with them about what my administration is doing to help our families, our small businesses, and our economy rebound from this recession.
Jumpstarting job creation in the private sector and fostering a climate that encourages businesses to hire again is vitally important – and I’ll continue working hard to make sure that happens. But my responsibility as President isn’t just to help our economy rebound from this recession – it’s to make sure an economic crisis like the one that helped trigger this recession never happens again.
That’s what Wall Street reform will help us do. In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of back and forth about the reform bill currently making its way through Congress. There’s been a lot of discussion about technical aspects of the bill, and a lot of heated – and frankly, sometimes misleading – rhetoric coming from opponents of reform.
All of this has helped obscure what reform would actually mean for you, the American people. So, I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about why every American has a stake in Wall Street reform.
First and foremost, you have a stake in it if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a credit card company, misled by pages and pages of fine print, or ended up paying fees and penalties you’d never heard of before. And you have a stake in it if you’ve ever tried to take out a home loan, a car loan, or a student loan, and been targeted by the predatory practices of unscrupulous lenders.
The Wall Street reform bill in Congress represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history. You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you. We’ll help stop predatory practices, and curb unscrupulous lenders, helping secure your family’s financial future.
That’s why families have a stake in it. And our community banks also have a stake in reform. These are banks we count on to provide the capital that lets our small businesses hire and grow.
The way the system is currently set up, these banks are at a disadvantage because while they are often playing by the rules, many of their less scrupulous competitors are not. So, what reform will do is help level the playing field by making sure all our lenders – not just community banks – are subject to tough oversight. That’s good news for our community banks, which is why we’ve received letters from some of these banks in support of reform.
What’s true for our community banks is also true for small businessmen and women like the ones I met in Buffalo. These small businesses were some of the worst victims of the excessive risk-taking on Wall Street that led to this crisis. Their credit dried up. They had to let people go. Some even shut their doors altogether. And unless we put in place real safeguards, we could see it happen all over again.
That’s why Wall Street reform is so important. With reform, we’ll make our financial system more transparent by bringing the kinds of complex, backroom deals that helped trigger this crisis into the light of day. We’ll prevent banks from taking on so much risk that they could collapse and threaten our whole economy. And we’ll give shareholders more of a say on pay to help change the perverse incentives that encouraged reckless risk-taking in the first place. Put simply, Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on Main Street.
The stories I heard in Buffalo this week were a reminder that, despite the progress we’ve made, we need to keep working hard, so we can build on that progress and rebound from this recession in the short-term. But even as we do, we also need to lay a new foundation for growth and shared prosperity over the long-term.
Next week, we have a chance to help lay a cornerstone in that foundation. The reform bill being debated in the Senate will not solve every problem in our financial system – no bill could. But what this strong bill will do is important, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible, so we can secure America’s economic future in the 21st century.

As The World Turns

As The World Turns
China school attacker sentenced to death
A Chinese court sentenced a man to death today for an attack on a school that left 29 children and three kindergarten teachers hurt last month.

Violence continues in Thailand
From the BBC:
Thai troops are clashing with anti-government protesters in the capital Bangkok, on a third day of violence that has killed at least 16 people.

Plumes of smoke are rising from sections of the city centre, where the protesters, who want the prime minister to resign, are barricaded in a camp.

Authorities have ruled out negotiations with the red-shirt protesters.

The State Of The Nation

The State Of The Nation
Illegal immigrant student hopes case helps reform
When Jessica Colotl, an illegal immigrant college student, got arrested for a minor traffic violation at her suburban Atlanta campus, she became an accidental poster child for immigration reform.

Mystical Albino Alligator Comes To South Carolina

I had a chance to see my first albino alligator last week because the South Carolina Aquarium welcomed the species for the first time. I stared into the tank without even a blink to discern for myself if the creature was even real. The gator floated atop the water motionless until a sudden twitch proved the bright pink eyed lizard was no premonition.
Article continues: Is it Real? Mystical Albino Alligator Comes To South Carolina

Broom Hilda


U.S. Rights Group Sues To Protect Right To Swear

An American rights group is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets, which carry a jail sentence, to people for swearing.

Mom threw tot in NY river out of spousal spite

An unhappy mother hurled her toddler daughter into the chilly Hudson River and then jumped in herself in an apparent murder-suicide attempt intended to spite her husband, prosecutors said Friday.

Wizard of Id


Video Killed The Radio Star

The Buggles

Brain illness leaves woman unable to recognize anyone's voice except Sean Connery

A 62-year-old woman is providing new insights into how the human brain works after becoming the first person to be diagnosed with a condition that leaves her unable to recognize voices. The successful British businesswoman, who is normal in every other way, is the first known case of someone being born with developmental phonagnosia, which leaves her unable to recognize even the voices of her own family. Her condition is so profound that she often avoids using the telephone and struggles to identify people speaking on the radio. Neuroscientists have now performed a series of tests and brain scans while asking her to listen to a range of recorded voices.

They found that while she was perfectly able to understand what was being said, she was unable to identify a speaker as someone she had been listening to a few minutes earlier. Researchers are finding that her condition goes beyond a simple inability to remember voices, as she even has difficulty discriminating between two voices played back to back. Brain scans taken as she listened to voices showed her brain reacted differently from most people's, suggesting it is unable to process information from voices about speaker identity.

Professor Belin has been working with Dr Brad Duchaine, from University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who was the first to recognize that the woman, identified only as KH, suffered from phonagnosia. She came forward after reading about work that Dr Duchaine had been doing on prosopagnosia, a condition where people are unable to recognize and remember faces. The woman, who is a management consultant, agreed to take part in a series of tests and has now undergone brain scans in Glasgow.

She revealed that she has struggled with recognizing voices all her life and even has difficulty recognizing her daughter. She avoids using the telephone and only answers calls that have been booked in advance so she knows who she is talking to. In one embarrassing incident, KH was speaking with a group of colleagues at a meeting when someone came up behind her and began speaking. As she did not recognize the voice, she did not turn around to acknowledge the person. She later realized, however, that the person was an important colleague and feared that her failure to acknowledge their presence could be interpreted as a snub.

In one test, KH was unable to identify the voices of a series of well known and distinctive celebrities, including Joanna Lumley, David Beckham and Margaret Thatcher. She did however manage to identity the Scottish accent of Sir Sean Connery. Another test showed how she could not distinguish between two individual speakers when their voices were played one after the other.

Scans revealed that a part of her brain known as the temporal voice area was far less active on the right hemisphere of her brain while she had normal activity in the left. The finding suggests that in the human brain, the right side is more important in voice recognition while the left is used to understand words.

Non Sequitur


Brain Physicals

How would you like to be more productive? Some people are taking enormous mental leaps just by getting their brain power checked, and it's really paying off. 

Gulf Oysters & Wild Shrimp Leaving US Menus Fast - Other Seafood Not So Much

fresh gulf shrimp
Texas Gulf-caught Shrimp. Image credit:Alcoholian, Sautéed Texas Gulf Shrimp
I was surprised to learn from the LA Times that most (83%) of the seafood consumed in the USA is imported and that the Gulf of Mexico supplies only about 2% of all seafood consumed here. When distributors say 'not to worry' about the Gulf oil spill, they are factually correct. As a nation, our seafood consumption is already so unsustainable you'll barely notice a change resulting from the BP gusher...unless, of course, you heart locally produced oysters and wild-caught shrimp (as pictured).
Article continues: Gulf Oysters & Wild Shrimp Leaving US Menus Fast - Other Seafood Not So Much



Bear Foot

A man was bitten as he was trying to take a picture of a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but the injury was minor and did not require medical attention.The National Park Service said in a release the unidentified man suffered a small puncture wound on his foot after he was bitten on the Laurel Falls Trail to the south of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on Wednesday.
Wildlife biologists captured a 60-pound female bear that visitors reported seeing near the trail. As a matter of park policy, bears that have contact with or injure people are euthanized.
The park service said it is likely the bear had been eating food left behind by visitors.

Three British men on a bouncy castle cross Italian lake

A dream trip for a trio of young men was paddling across Lake Garda in a bouncy castle.

The three, paddled and sometimes just let the following wind carry them on the 8km (five-mile) trip.

And if the Londoners hadn’t already turned enough heads in their tailor-made red and yellow castle, they managed to gatecrash an international sailing regatta during their attempt.

Trainee solicitor Jack Watkins, 25, and engineers Chris Hayes, 24, and Dave Sibley, 25, all from Clapham, south London, are now the first ‘sailors’ to cross the lake on such a vessel.

Great Britain has such a great tradition as a seafaring nation and we really feel we have played no role at all in adding to this,’ admitted intrepid waterman Mr Hayes. ‘That said, it was possibly the most fun we have ever had and we really never believed this most frivolous of dreams would ever be realised,’ he added.

Their bizarre journey was made possible as part of carmaker Honda’s Live Every Litre project. The manufacturer has given people a chance to live their dream trips.

Odds and Sods

Odds and Sods
Global warming has been blamed for an increase in caterpillar infestations which can leave people with severe allergic reactions