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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.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your big brain is showered with a huge dose of assertive energy as the universe helps you focus on work and responsibilities.
This new synergy is amazing to behold, but the potential for burnout is getting higher!
If you want to avoid it, keep your eyes open, and make sure not to overload on coffee.
Remember that your mind (and body) needs breaks every now and then, so make sure to stick to a schedule.
This way, you can make the most of your abilities without burning out.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, August 11, the 223rd day of 2010.
There are 142 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
There are none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Around 7,000 Fish Die In Lake Norman

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Thousands of fish have died in North Carolina's largest man-made lake.
Nearly 7,000 striped bass have been found floating on Lake Norman since July.
It is the third time in seven years the game fish have died en masse in the lake. About 300 stripers died last summer, while 3,000 died in 2004.
Fish biologists suspect the summer heat, a power plant cooled by lake water and nonnative fish dumped into the lake by fishermen more than a decade ago.
The state stocks the lake with 162,500 inch-long bass yearly.
Striper guide Gus Gustafson says about 16,000 normally grow to catch-able size each year, so the fish kill represents half a year's harvest. He believes even more dead fish sank to the bottom uncounted.

Fish are drowning in water

dead fish photo
Thousands of dead Menhaden fish washed ashore on a beach in Fairhaven, MA, a first for the residents living there. The cause, according to marine fisheries, is a lack of oxygen due to warmer waters. This type of fish is particularly sensitive to environmental changes such as these, and may have been dead for days before washing up on the beach. A video report after the jump.

Article continues: Thousands of Dead Fish Wash Ashore in Massachusetts As Warm Water Depletes Oxygen (Video)

Tanks dumped in Gulf of Thailand

A fleet of disused tanks and trucks have been dumped into the sea off the coast of Thailand in a bid to form an artificial coral reef. The unusual move is designed to boost the ecosystem in the Gulf of Thailand.

The rusting collection of trucks and 25 disused Army tanks are intended to form an artificial underwater structure to provide shelter for marine life and boost local fish stocks.


The vehicles were lowered into the sea off the Narathiwat coast by crane on Monday. A wide-ranging marine conservation policy is being enacted in Thailand to preserve fish stocks and keep the seafood industry afloat.

The fertile waters of the Gulf of Thailand are crucial to the nation’s fishermen, but overfishing has left the ecosystem depleted in recent years.


The shallow arm of the South China sea harbours many natural coral reefs and is a popular scuba diving destination.

The Government announced a three-month ban on fishing in parts of the Gulf of Thailand last year in an attempt to improve breeding and replenish fish stocks.

Real-life Donkey Kong plays with his Nintendo

Nintendo appears to have found a new spokesman for their game machines — a giant ape.

At the San Francisco Zoo Friday, it was a gorilla named Bawang, not Donkey Kong, who could be seen playing Nintendo's latest handheld gaming gadget — the super-sized Nintendo DSi XL.


Photographer Christina Spicuzza was watching the gorillas when a boy dropped his game machine into the gorilla enclosure. A gorilla named Bawang was quick to snatch up the device.

"The gorilla was very interested in trying to figure it out," Spicuzza said, explaining that the ape flipped it over and put it up to her eyes several times.


It wasn't long before a young gorilla named Hansai made a grab for the machine. But Bawang is Hansai's adoptive mother and the big ape apparently had no intention of letting the little one play video games at his young age. She kept the machine well out of her child's reach.

Spicuzza managed to shoot several photos of the gorillas with the DSi XL and a short video before her camera battery died.

There's another video here.

The World's Largest Possum

The spotted cuscus.
When first discovered, scientists believed that this was a kind of monkey due to its prosimian-like movements through the tropical rain forest canopy.
However, it is actually the largest possum on Earth. Males are always spotted but females are white or grey with a woolly coat (but no spots).

Oldest house in the U.K.

A re-play of a posting from yesterday from a different perceptive:
Archaeologists dig up the site of a distinctive circular home that predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years.
Also: 

Musée Picasso At Chateau Grimaldi Archaeological Site


The Chateau Grimaldi, constructed during the 12th century, acted as a fortress and was raised on the foundations of what was once the Greek town of Antipolis. The Chateau Grimaldi later became the residence of the Bishops of Antibes.

In 1945, Pablo Picasso visited Chateau Grimaldi to view a children's painting exhibition. Picasso was enthralled by the museum, a wondrous place full of inspiration. He was even asked by the curator for a 'little drawing for the museum' and also to use part of the museum as a studio.

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
marigold flowers photo
Image from the Atlantic
When your guests ask what's for dinner, you can say marigolds, primroses and violets. Just as the use of fresh herbs has come back into fashion and has proven to be more than a passing fad: edible flowers are all the rage.
The flowers are tasty, fresh and couldn't be more local: straight from the garden. There are some cookbooks out now which show how edible flowers on food are more than just pretty.

At your local Asian cafe


If you order a chicken, it's $3.70.
If you want a real chicken, it's $6.75.

Four go to prison for mailing pot

From the "Not the sharpest knives in the drawer" Department:
A federal judge in McAllen has sentenced four illegal immigrants to prison for using the U.S. Postal Service to mail marijuana.

Shoe

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How much do you really need to be rich?

For some people, even $1 million is not enough to be considered truly wealthy.
Also: 

The 'vultures' are back

Investors are buying up foreclosures and short sales for less than $100K in many cases.  
Also: 

It's a Plane, No It's A Bird, No It's SuperBug!

A gene that makes bacteria resistant to even last-resort antibiotics spreads from India to the U.K.  
Also: 

Dog food may be making children ill

Dozens of salmonella infections in toddlers have been traced to dry pet food, the first time human infections have been linked to dry dog and cat food, health officials say. The infections occurred from January 2006 through October 2008 in 21 states. More than 23,000 tons of pet food were recalled, affecting 105 brands, and the manufacturing plant, in western Pennsylvania, was shut in 2008.

The link between salmonella and dry pet food was described by health officials from several states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a paper published Monday on the Web site of the journal Pediatrics. Officials referred to the factory only as “Plant X.” Altogether, 79 people were infected, including 32 children age 2 or younger.


Scientists traced the uncommon salmonella strain, called salmonella schwarzengrund, to bagged dry dog food. Many of the infections occurred in homes where pets were fed in the kitchen, and the scientists recommended that children younger than 5 not be allowed to touch or eat pet food or pet treats and be kept away from pet feeding areas.

“The most important thing a person can do is to wash hands right after handling pet food or treats or cleaning up after their pets,” said the paper’s lead author, Casey Barton Behravesh of the C.D.C.

Dilbert

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Dachshund runs for help and saves owners life

A Salem man is alive and well, and he can thank his dachshund Missy for that.

Charlie Burdon had open-heart surgery just a month ago. When he collapsed the other day, he was virtually helpless but not actually helpless. That's because he had an unlikely hero in 11-year-old Missy. Normally she won't go anywhere without Charlie, but she had to get help. So she ran to a neighbour who instinctively knew something was wrong.


"I said, 'Missy, Charlie don't know you're here. You better go back home.' She just stood there and looked at me," said neighbour Charles Mitchell.

Missy wouldn't budge until the neighbour followed. The neighbour, also named Charlie, ran to Charlie Burdon's house and then called 911. Missy is so protective of Charlie, she wouldn't let the paramedics near him until Charlie's wife took her away.

Man has pea plant removed from lung

There was a problem sprouting in a Massachusetts man's lung. Doctors originally thought the new growth was a tumor, but when they looked closer, they got a big surprise. “I was told I had a pea seed in my lung that had split and had sprouted,” said Ron Sveden. It was not the diagnosis Ron Sveden was expecting. He had prepared himself to hear the words cancer and tumor, but a plant growing in his lung? “Probably about a half-an-inch, which is a pretty big thing of course,” said Sveden.

Ron had been sick for months. He was already fighting emphysema when his health took a turn for the worse. “I was not doing too well, a lot of coughing, I was very listless,” said Sveden. On Memorial Day Sveden’s wife called 911, and he was rushed to the hospital where doctors took x-rays and found his left lung collapsed. For two weeks they ran tests but they all came back negative for cancer, until one doctor found the plant growing in his lung.


“Whether this would have gone full-term and I’d be working for the jolly green giant, I don’t know. I think the thing that finally dawned on me is that it wasn’t the cancer,” said Sveden. Ron said he never felt anything growing in his chest, just a lot of coughing. Doctors suspect he had eaten a pea at some point in the last couple of months and it went down the wrong way, and then began to grow.

“One of the first meals I had in the hospital after the surgery had peas for the vegetable. I laughed to myself and ate them,” said Sveden. His wife Nancy was beyond happy with this strange twist of fate. “God has such a sense of humor. It could have been just nothing, but it had to be a pea, and it had to be sprouting,” said Nancy Sveden, Ron’s wife. Sveden continues to recover at home. In fact, friends and neighbors have had fun with this; they sent him pea seeds and canned peas all in good fun.

Australian judge rules 'N-word' not offensive

A Queensland judge has found the terms "nigger" and "sandnigger" are not offensive to a reasonable person. Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll made the ruling yesterday when he dismissed a case against a Gold Coast retiree charged with sending an offensive facsimile to a local politician. Denis Mulheron, 62, sent the fax to the office of Queensland lawmaker Peta-Kaye Croft on June 30 last year.

It called on the Labor Party to tighten immigration laws against "niggers" and "sandnigger terrorists", and Muslim women with circumcised genitals. Staff member Christie Turner, 28, told Southport Magistrates Court she was deeply offended when she read the one-page document, which also made reference to indigenous Australians as "Abos". Mr Mulheron, from the Gold Coast suburb of Labrador, told the court he had grown up with the slang terms for Arabs and black Africans and did not believe they were offensive.

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"I'm not a member of the cafe, chardonnay and socialist set ... to me that is everyday language," he said. He argued in court they were no different to calling a New Zealander a "Kiwi" or an American a "Yank". Mr O'Driscoll ruled that Mr Mulheron's words were not enough to invoke criminal sanctions.

"The words used were crude, unattractive and direct but were not offensive to a reasonable person," he said. But he made it clear the court in no way condoned Mr Mulheron's comments. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the use of the term "nigger" is highly offensive and has no place in modern Australia. The case comes after a judge in the Queensland city of Townsville ruled last Thursday that it was acceptable for people to tell police officers to "f*** off".

Woman forced to live in a tent after squatter takes over house

A charity worker has been forced to live in a tent by a squatter who took over her house while she was abroad helping homeless people. Suzy Butler and her son are camping in a friend’s garden after the 32-year-old’s former tenant allegedly refused to leave when they returned from Peru.

Ms Butler even required a police escort to get the tent from the home she has owned for five years – because of Carmen Nobre’s ‘squatter’s rights’. ‘I cannot believe my son and I are homeless while this woman is squatting in our house and there is nothing we can do about it,’ said Ms Butler.

‘She told me she had lost a lot of money on the stock exchange and she could not pay rent and would not be leaving. I spend my life helping people who have been made homeless but never thought it would happen to me.’

Ms Butler let the home to Ms Nobre on a short-term agreement in February, before leaving for two months with four-year-old son Bruno. She said the battle for the property in Hove, East Sussex, had cost her £1,000 in legal fees and the council and police had been unable to help. Ms Nobre, who lives at the house with her daughter, has now been given two weeks to leave – but she could remain for months if the matter goes to court.

Believe it or not

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New Company Lets College Students Make Bets on the Grades They Will Earn

It all started when Jeremy Gelbart, one of the founders of Ultrinsic, made a bet with Steven Wolf, the other founder, that he would make an A in a college class. After they graduated, they decided to see if this scheme could work on a larger scale:
Ultrinsic, currently in beta form, allows students at 37 colleges to gamble on their grades in each of the classes they take. The student hands over money to Ultrinsic–as well as access to his or her official school records–as a wager that they will attain a certain grade. If they get it, Ultrinsic pays out on a sliding scale.
A pilot scheme in place at both Penn and NYU over the last academic year had some takers, including one guy who won $150, although the serious money is to be made by high schoolers as they head off to university. Then, if you bet $20 on getting a 4.0 GPA, then you’ll walk away with $2,000 should you succeed. That, apparently, is what motivation looks like.

Every Rubik's Cube is Solvable in 20 Moves or Less

There are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible varying positions for the Rubik’s Cube. A team of mathematicians and programmers determined that all of them can be solved within 20 moves:
With about 35 CPU-years of idle computer time donated by Google, a team of researchers has essentially solved every position of the Rubik’s Cube™, and shown that no position requires more than twenty moves.
Every solver of the Cube uses an algorithm, which is a sequence of steps for solving the Cube. One algorithm might use a sequence of moves to solve the top face, then another sequence of moves to position the middle edges, and so on. There are many different algorithms, varying in complexity and number of moves required, but those that can be memorized by a mortal typically require more than forty moves.