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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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Some big-time changes are coming your way.
Thankfully, right now you're actually able to appreciate what's going on -- or at least the outcome.
The path along the way might not be all that much fun, especially if you have to say goodbye rather abruptly to someone or something, but the ends definitely justify the means.
You've never been afraid of change, though you do prefer to stick with what you know when possible.
Some of our readers today have been in:
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, Ontario, Canada
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Bolton, England, United Kingdom
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands
Molde, More Og Romsdal, Norway
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belguim
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

as well as Singapore, and the United States in such cities as Murfreesboro, Bridgewater, Orland Park, Chippewa Falls, Van Nuys, Moyock and more

Today is Monday, May 31, the 151st day of 2010.
There are 214 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
What You Think Upon Grows Day

Local Hospitality

Local Hospitality
The true cost of fossil fuels is getting harder to ignore. It's time to level the playing field for cleaner energy by redirecting federal energy subsidies away from coal and oil and toward renewable energy.

Rampaging Agatha

Landslides and flooding from Agatha lead to deaths in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Hurricane season looms over oil spill

Tropical storms may save marsh wildlife from the gulf oil spill — or make things much, much worse. 

Big Oil's other spill zone disaster: Nigeria

Being outside of the media spotlight for the rich countries, Nigeria doesn't receive the same media attention.  The ExxonMobil example is only one of many.
On May first of this year a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in the state of Akwa Ibom spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. Local people demonstrated against the company but say they were attacked by security guards. Community leaders are now demanding $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of livelihood they suffered. Few expect they will succeed. In the meantime, thick balls of tar are being washed up along the coast.

Within days of the Ibeno spill, thousands of barrels of oil were spilled when the nearby Shell Trans Niger pipeline was attacked by rebels. A few days after that, a large oil slick was found floating on Lake Adibawa in Bayelsa state and another in Ogoniland. "We are faced with incessant oil spills from rusty pipes, some of which are 40 years old," said Bonny Otavie, a Bayelsa MP.

This point was backed by Williams Mkpa, a community leader in Ibeno: "Oil companies do not value our life; they want us to all die. In the past two years, we have experienced 10 oil spills and fishermen can no longer sustain their families. It is not tolerable."

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
Surgery works best for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.

Scientists encouraged by breast cancer vaccine
This would be wonderful news if the vaccine turns out to be as successful as they believe it will be.
American scientists say they have developed a vaccine which has prevented breast cancer from developing in mice.

The researchers - whose findings are published in the journal, Nature - are now planning to conduct trials of the drug in humans.

But they warn that it could be some years before the vaccine is widely available.

On The Job

On The Job
In the post-recession economy, you could land a job that pays as much as $94,520.

Call #%@&! Centers

A new bill would make companies tell customers when calls are transferred out of the U.S.  

Wizard of Id


Latvian blonds hold festival to beat recession blues

Hundreds of blond Latvian women have been marching through the capital Riga to try to bolster the national spirit in time of recession. Most of the participants dressed in pink and wore high heels.

The blond parade began last year and was planned as a one-off but it is back by popular demand and is now a two-day festival.

Latvia has been hit badly by recession. Its economy shrank by 18% in 2009 and it has Europe's highest unemployment. Marika Gederte, president of the Latvian Association of Blonds, said the idea came out of the economic gloom.

"I was so tired, you know, every day opening the computer and reading the newspapers and just reading about problems. We decided... let's do something nice. And I asked myself the question: what can I do for my country? And this is what I did... We are very proud to be blond."



Stay connected despite a busy life

Planning a weekly movie night or daily meal with friends can give your life more meaning.  

Video Boot Camp

A new generation of less active recruits may need the Wii Fit, says the Navy's surgeon general.  

You retiring?

A retirement town with year-round fun — mountain biking, skiing, and fishing — is cheaper than usual.  

Crow only attacks blond joggers

Women joggers are under attack from a vicious crow with a long memory and a grudge against blonds. Five runners in the space of ten days have fallen victim to the bird which has been diving down from the heavens to peck at their heads. But Colin Jerwood, who runs the cafe and clubroom at Eltham Park South where the crow lives, claims it only has an eye for blond females, attacking just one brunette so far.

He said: “At first I thought it was just a one off. But then it started attacking another blond girl who was just running along. The rest of the time it just sits there looking menacing.” So far the bird has only left one jogger with a minor scratch, but Mr Jerwood is concerned it could cause more harm.

He said: “It could really hurt you if it scratched your eyes.” Park staff been trying to lure the crow down from its tree by making bird noises but so far the tactic has failed. Mr Jerwood admitted: “It didn’t even bat an eyelid.”

Tim Webb from the RSPB charity said a recent American study shows crows have a long memory. He said: “If they’re disturbed or upset by any person they’ve encountered, the image will stay in their minds. “At some point in the past this crow may have had a bad experience with a blond female.” 

Midges ‘prefer big targets’

It may not rank among the world’s most illuminating discoveries but scientists have found that fat and tall people are more likely to be bitten by midges — because they present a bigger target. This less-than-sensational finding has come from a wide-ranging study into the feeding habits of the Highland midge. It follows similarly questionable scientific revelations, such as that men with body odor are less attractive to the opposite sex, and people with low self-control tend to be fatter.

The research, partly funded by the Scottish government, set out to identify those at greatest risk from the midges plaguing our countryside. Academics from Aberdeen University and Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire asked 300 people in the Highlands how often they had been bitten, and information was also gathered about their health and lifestyle. All the women who were overweight or obese had been bitten. There was no such correlation between fat men and the frequency of bites.

Among men, height was the main factor. Of those who were taller than 6ft, 90% had been bitten, compared with just 70% of those under 5ft 8in. The study, published in the journal BioMed Central Public Health, concluded: “Midges are known to rest in trees after they have emerged from pupae and are found in greater numbers with increasing height. It is, therefore, possible that midges searching for a suitable host would be descending from above and would encounter taller people, within a group, first. Additionally, larger people would provide a more substantial visual target for host-seeking midges as well as greater amounts of heat, moisture and attractant chemicals such as carbon dioxide.”

While the findings may seem obvious to lay observers, the scientists behind the study believe it could help them develop an effective repellent for midges and mosquitoes. “This helps us understand how midges interact with us and gives us clues about how to find people who are naturally repellent,” said Dr James Logan, an honorary research fellow at Aberdeen University and lead author of the study. Contrary to popular belief, people who consume alcohol, garlic, chili or onions are no less likely to be bitten. Smoking, exercise and diet were also ruled out as factors.

Non Sequitur


Shark Egg "Window" Proves Even As Babies They're Scary

shark egg window photo  
Photos via Galileu
In hopes of better understanding the stages of fetal development in sharks, researchers from Brazil's Guaruja Aquarium have literally opened a window into the once elusive world of shark eggs. For researchers, this new, un-obscured peek into the humble beginnings of sharks may offer insights into how best to preserve them, many of which are threatened with extinction. For the rest of us who may only be acquainted with full-grown version, it just goes to show that the ocean's most fearsome predator started out as, well, one mean-looking little shark baby.

No Third Runway But Here's an Architectural Bunker to Block It

parven bunker photo
Images from makeshift
Much to the joy of environmentalists, in its first week the new coalition government in the UK announced that the third runway at Heathrow Airport was being canceled.
Last autumn, unaware of this twist of fate, Greenpeace held an architectural competition asking architects to design an impregnable fortress to block the runway. Despite the fact that it won't be built, the winner has been announced: London architects Alastair Parvin and Lukas Barry.