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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, January 31, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Right now there are no insurmountable problems in your life.
Sure, there may be conflicts or challenges that make it tough for you to stay smiling all the time, but in reality, they aren't that bad.
Try to see the silver lining in all the clouds that have been hovering over your head lately -- if you try, you can do it.
Open yourself up to the idea that things happen for a reason ... and trust that you'll know what the reason is in good time.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
London, England, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, malaysia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Torino, Piemonte, Italy
Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

as well as Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Maldives, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Walkerton, Lakewood, Fairfield, Charlotte and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, January 31, the 31st day of 2011.
There are 334 days left in the year.


Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
and
Inspire Your Heart With Art Day.
 
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

World's newest country voted in

Residents of Southern Sudan vote to secede, ending two decades of civil war.
Also: 

Calls and Meetings

Amid demands for his resignation, President Mubarak meets with military officials.  
Also: 
Nobel winner and democracy advocate Mohamed Elbaradei says Obama must support the Egyptian people. 'A farce' 
Also: 

Active and Young

Anonymous free speech advocates step in to help Egyptians communicate.  
Also: 
At the core of the upheaval sweeping the region is a harsh and uneven economic reality facing its young.  
Also: 

Riots and Treasures

Tut Family Mummies Damaged in Egypt Riots?

Two mummies vandalized at the Egyptian museum might be those of King Tut's great-grandparents.  
tut grandparents
Egypt's Tombs, Temples Under Siege

Egyptian residents are banding together to protect their country's rich cultural heritage, but gangs of looters are targeting unguarded tombs.
tut tomb egypt riots unrest

Non Sequitur

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Sleazy repugican congressman wants records of everyone's FOIA requests

NYT:
Darrell Issa calls it a way to promote transparency: a request for the names of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, business executives, journalists and others who have requested copies of federal government documents in recent years.

Mr. Issa, a California repugican and the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he wants to make sure agencies respond in a timely fashion to Freedom of Information Act requests and do not delay them out of political considerations.

But his extraordinary request worries some civil libertarians. It “just seems sort of creepy that one person in the government could track who is looking into what and what kinds of questions they are asking,” said David Cuillier, a University of Arizona journalism professor and chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee at the Society of Professional Journalists. “It is an easy way to target people who he might think are up to no good.”
He's a repugican congressman and a known wingnut sleaze, there is no way he's not on a fishing expedition to use this records request as a backdoor method of spying on American citizens he doesn't like.

Daily Comic Relief

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Richest towns in America

They all have median home values over $2 million, and three are in one state.  
Also: 

The Execution

Two prisoners, sentenced to die in the electric chair on the same day were led down to the room in which they would meet their maker.

The priest had given the last rites, the formal speech had been given by the warden, and a final prayer had been said among the participants. The warden, turning to the first man, solemnly asked, "Son, do you have a last request?"

To which the man replied, "Yes sir, I do. I love dance music. Could you please play "The Macarena" for me one last time?"

"Certainly," replied the warden.

He turned to the other man and asked, "Well, what about you, son? What is your final request?"

"Please," said the condemned man, "KILL ME FIRST."

Global Warming Uncovers Corpses Frozen in Time

scientists study inca child photo  
Five hundred years ago, three Inca children were left to freeze high in the cold Argentinian Andes as a religious sacrifice. In time, their bodies mummified, having been swallowed in snow and entombed within the glacier, lost to time. But centuries later, in a warmer world, their perfectly-preserved corpses were discovered beneath the melting snow -- an increasingly common sight. Experts say that as glaciers continue to recede throughout the world, more of their long-guarded secrets will be revealed in the warm grip of a changing climate.

The Global Impact of Protecting One Turkish Lake

lake yenicaga bolu turkey photo
Yeniçağa Lake. Photo: Yeniçağa Belediyesi (Municipality).
Once a popular swimming spot, Yeniçağa Lake in the northwestern Turkish province of Bolu has become too polluted even to sustain the healthy fish populations once found there. But thanks to an international restoration effort, the lake is slowly recovering, to the benefit not just of the local environment, but the global fight against climate change.

Is Mango Wood the New Bamboo?

mango trees photo
Cluster of mango trees pre-harvest. Photo by Sapiens Solutions via Flickr
From bikes and floors to sheets and t-shirts, bamboo is well-known as a popular green choice because as a fast-growing grass, it's a renewable material. Hemp is also considered environmentally smart for a variety of products including its wood. Mango trees are also fast-growing and another sustainable source of timber -- once they stop bearing its sweet delicious fruit.

Holy Saguaro


The French naturalist and historian Leon Diguet made six scientific expeditions in Mexico between 1893 and 1913 ... this picture offers a spectacular example of a species of cacti: the Giant Cardon, about 8 meters high and about 10 tons.

Jodhpur


Why the population of the fortress city – the Blue City as it is universally known – took to painting their houses in various shades of blue is not completely certain.  Yet most believe it is to do with the prevailing caste system in India.
Read the full story and see more photos at Kuriositas.

Elspeth Beard, Motorcycle Mama


A quarter of a century ago Elspeth Beard rode around the world on a used 1974 R 60/6 flat-twin that had 30,000 miles on it before the trip began. The twenty-four year old Elspeth began her journey in New York. She had several accidents, her things were stolen, and she got hepatitis and dysentery before her trip ended in London three years later . She lost 53 lbs on the trip and added 48,000 miles to her R60’s odometer. The bike is remarkably still in running order.  Ms Beard is one of a very small number of women to have circled the globe on a motorcycle and was the first British woman to do so.

City Calls In Chicken Chasers

The city of Lakeland, Florida is clucking mad over its feral chicken problem. Squeal Deal Animal Control has been called in to rescue the residents from the more than 600 free roaming chickens. The problem is chicken chasing is no easy task.
The chickens are pretty smart and fast so they are hard to catch, according to some of the chasers.
“The chickens, this is their woods,” chicken chaser Clayton Keene said. ”They go underneath houses and cars and in trees. They know where to escape from you.”
What happens to the chickens once they are caught?
Some will be donated to schools for agriculture projects and others may be donated to charity organizations so they can be used for food.

Library Vending Machine

The Polk County Library system in Florida has introduced library vending machines. The machines are placed in areas where there is no local library. People can go to the machine, swipe their library card and check out  a book.
The machines are similar to Red Box movie rental machines. One of the machines has DVDs in it, and the other has best selling books.

Ziggy

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New laws to blame for dirty dishes

Dirty dishesA growing number of consumers are reporting that their dishes are not getting clean in their dishwashers.
Recent state laws have limited the amount of phosphates that dishwasher soap manufactures can have in their soap. After 16 states adopted such laws, manufactures changed the formulas that they sell nationwide.
Dennis Griesing, of the American Cleaning Institute, explained how the phosphates help to clean dishes: “Phosphorus likes to bind to things. It’s a very sociable element. It would hold soil from plates and glasses in suspension in the water and prevent redeposition.”
Without the phosphates, dishes just aren’t getting clean.
Consumers are often reporting that their dishes are covered with a thin white film after washing. The film is generally a combination of magnesium, calcium and aluminum, the elements that make water ‘hard’. The film is very difficult to remove.
 ”Some are tossing out sets of dishes and replacing their dishwashers – only to find the gunk appear again in a few days, reported tbo.com.
Appliance repairmen are reporting an increase in calls related to dishwashers not getting dishes clean.
The news laws are intended to protect the environment. Phosphate is a fertilizer. With each load of dishes washed, phosphates would wash down the drain and eventually end up in lakes and oceans. It’s suspected that this leads to huge algae blooms, which are detrimental to sea life.
While dishwasher soaps appear less effective than they once were, other products are stepping up to the (dirty) plate. Consumer related forums often mention products such as Lemi Shine as a way to get dishes clean. Lemi Shine is used in an empty dishwasher first, to clean the washer. Afterwords it is used in the main dispenser, with regular dishwasher soap in the secondary dispenser, during each wash.

Helpful Hints


Best dips for Super Bowl

Tasters dunk into 34 kinds of dip and decide on the best and worst.  
Also: 

Future for lab-grown meat

One biologist believes a process that doesn't need cows could solve the rising global food crisis.  
Also; 

B.C.

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Animal Pictures

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Get ready to become a bigger part of your community -- either at work, in school or in your neighborhood.
You're about to assume a larger role, and this is something you've been waiting for (whether you realized it or not).
Step up and volunteer -- your ideas or your time.
Making an impact is very much required for you to get the respect and opportunities you deserve.
Keep in mind that the bigger your efforts, the bigger your impact.
Now is not the time to look for excuses.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Temuco, Araucania, Chile
Brisbane, Queensland. Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Athens, Attiki, Greece
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
San Luis, Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France
Pinneburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
Kamen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Johannesburg, Gautent, South Africa
Cario, Al Qahirah, Egypt

as well as Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Maldives, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Plain City, Glen Flora, San Luis Obispo, Mesa and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, January 30, the 30th day of 2011.
There are 335 days left in the year.


Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
Inane Answering Machine Message Day.


Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur

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And I Quote

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Egyptian army doing little to stop protests

NYT:
Late  Saturday, it was still unclear whether the military was defying orders  to crack down or simply had not been issued them yet. But at least some  troops seemed to be sympathizing with the protesters. In the most  striking instance, four armored military vehicles moved at the front of a  crowd of thousands of protesters in a pitched battle against Egyptian  security police officers defending the Interior Ministry.

Protesters  there crouched behind armored trucks as they advanced on the police  line surrounding the building, then darted forward to hurl rocks or  Molotov cocktails and to set abandoned cars on fire.
Everywhere  in Cairo, soldiers and protesters hugged or snapped pictures together  on top of tanks. With the evident consent of the soldiers, protesters  had scrawled graffiti denouncing Mr. Mubarak on many of the tanks in  downtown Cairo. “This is the revolution of all the people,” read a  common slogan. “No, No, Mubarak” was another. In Alexandria,  demonstrators took tea to troops.

The loyalty of the military —  the country’s most popular and respected institution — will be crucial  to determining whether Mr. Mubarak can remain as the president of his  country, a leader in the Arab world and perhaps America and Israel’s  closest ally in the region. A change in leadership here would threaten  to upend the established order throughout the Middle East.

Actually the army intervenes to protect protesters from the police ...


Things are getting rough in Egypt.

Protests continue in Egypt as officials close Al-Jazeera bureau in Cairo

The uprising continues in Egypt today. Al Jazeera is reporting "breaking news" that "Jet fighters and military helicopters fly low over Cairo as more army trucks appear in central Tahrir square."

And, a recent report:
Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square are standing their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them.

The show of defiance came as Egypt entered another turbulent day following a night of deadly unrest, when looters roamed the streets in the absence of police.

There were also reports of several prisons across the country being attacked and of fresh protests being staged in cities like Alexandria and Suez.
And, Egyptian officals have shut down the internet, cell phones...now, they're going after Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera has been providing excellent coverage of the uprising in Egypt. Apparently, for Egyptian officials, it was too much. Earlier today, Egyptian officials closed the network's Cairo bureau.

From the live blog of events in Egypt:
11:40 am: Al Jazeera issues a statement denouncing the closure of its bureau in Cairo.
"The Al Jazeera Network strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The Network received notification from the Egyptian authorities this morning.

Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said that they would continue their strong coverage regardless:

"Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.

"Al Jazeera assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events unfolding in Egypt. Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparalleled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt."

Sun Yat-sen's granddaughter dies in Taiwan

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Nora Sun, a former U.S. trade consul and granddaughter of the founder of Asia's first republic in China, has died in Taipei from injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 72.
Taiwan's government-owned Central News Agency reported that Sun died Saturday, quoting Shin Kong Memorial Hospital Superintendent Hou Sheng-mou. Hou could not be reached for comment Sunday, but another hospital official confirmed Sun's death.
That official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the press.
Sun is the granddaughter of Sun Yat-sen, who led a revolution to topple China's Qing dynasty and establish the Republic of China.
Sun Yat-sen's efforts were followed decades later by a bloody civil war between his follower Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong's communist forces. Chiang's Nationalists resettled in Taiwan in 1949 following their defeat.
Nora Sun was born in Shanghai in 1938, spent her youth in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and moved to the U.S. in 1962.
She began a career in the U.S. diplomatic service in the late 1980s, serving as a U.S. trade consul at different times in Ghougzhou, Shanghai and Paris. She quit her diplomatic career in 1994 to start her own trade company in Hong Kong, helping U.S. and European companies invest in China.
In recent years, she split her time between Shanghai, Hong Kong and the U.S.
She was in Taiwan for the centennial celebrations of the 1911 Chinese revolution led by her grandfather when she was involved in the Jan. 1 car accident.
She is survived by three sons.

Awesome Pictures

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Are the Mob scavenging used refrigerators ??

Over the last several months, 22,741 New Yorkers contacted the city’s Department of Sanitation and arranged for the pickup of refrigerators, air-conditioners and freezers. In more than 11,000 instances, the machines vanished before sanitation workers arrived in their white trucks to pick them up...

Deepening the mystery, these were neither the latest Sub Zero behemoths, sleek Bosch nor stylish retro Smeg refrigerators. They were garbage, quite literally — discarded appliances left at the curb for pickup by the Sanitation Department...

Behind those losses, some in the industry — by some accounts an $85 billion annual business in 2008 — see the hand of organized crime, although no one can point to hard evidence. New York’s enduring and resourceful mob families have long played a role in both the recycling and scrap industries and have a knack for turning up where the money is.
The rest of the story is at the New York Times.

Forty Train Robbers vs. 1 Gurkha

Gurkhas, the Nepalese elite soldiers in the service of Britain and some of its former colonies, sometimes fight with their traditional kukri knives (pictured). One retired Gurkha was carrying his knife when a train in India that he was riding was robbed by forty men. The robbers unwisely chose to not immediately surrender. The ex-soldier then killed three, wounded eight, and drove off the rest:
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha– who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting–was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.
“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
The poor train robbers never stood a chance.

Mom Brought Kids On Armed Robbery Trip


A Georgia woman, her teenage son and two other teens were arrested Friday after robbing a bank together, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Illegal farting law causes big stink

Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country. The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders 'who foul the air' in a bid to 'mold responsible and disciplined citizens.'

But locals fear that pinning responsibility on the crime will be difficult - and may lead to miscarriages of justice as 'criminals' attempt to blame others for their offense. One Malawian told the website Africanews.com: 'My goodness. What happens in a public place where a group is gathered. Do they lock up half a minibus?


'And how about at meetings where it is difficult to pinpoint 'culprits'? Children will openly deny having passed bad air and point at an elder. Culturally, this is very embarrassing,' she said.

Another said: 'We have serious issues affecting Malawians today. I do not know how fouling the air should take priority over regulating Chinese investments which do not employ locals, serious graft amongst legislators, especially those in the ruling party, and many more.' The crime will be enforceable in a new 'Local Court' system which will also have powers to punish a range of other crimes in the bill set to be debated in the country's parliament.

Fire Chief Ticketed While Aiding Injured Woman

Fire Chief James Allen is used to saving lives.  What he isn’t used to is being ticketed by state police while trying to be of aid in an emergency. James  received a  ticket on Wednesday for blocking the right lane of traffic.  He was in his department vehicle and was responding to a serious accident.
“He stopped me from going to take care of the patient and asked me for license and registration,” Allen told PIX 11 News. ” I immediately gave him my license out of my pocket went and took care of the patient.”
The woman in this car was seriously injured. Her vehicle was in the center lane of the parkway, the same lane the trooper stopped in.

Climber Survives 1,000-Foot Fall

A mountain climber in Scotland fell a thousand feet down a nearly vertical slope on a mountain called Sgurr Choinnich Mor. When a Royal Navy rescue helicopter arrived on the scene, its crew found him alive and well:
Lieutenant Tim Barker, the crew’s observer, said: ”We began to hover-taxi down the slope and spotted a man at the bottom, standing up.
”We honestly thought it couldn’t have been him, as he was on his feet, reading a map. Above him was a series of three high craggy outcrops.
”It seemed impossible. So we retraced our path back up the mountain and, sure enough, there were bits of his kit in a vertical line all the way up where he had obviously lost them during the fall.
”It was quite incredible. He must have literally glanced off the outcrops as he fell, almost flying.”

Sluggo Has Nothing

sluggoleaks
The very first word out of Nancy's mouth is a typo. 
It should either be hay or hi
As a result, Nancy #161 is worth about $350,000.

Flight canceled?

Get free stuff
If your flight is canceled, here's how to get a cot, food, a shower, and the next plane out. 
Also: 

How To Get Relatives To Leave

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Give them this bed to sleep in.

Table, wine turn up on now-famous Miami sandbar

First, a baby grand piano mysteriously showed up on a Miami sandbar. A day after it was removed, a small table with two chairs, place settings, a bottle of wine and a chef statue appeared on the now-famous strip of sand.

Haw Par Villa

An Unusual Singapore Theme Park
 

In 1937 two brothers from Singapore had a dream - they wanted to help people to learn, remember and pass on traditional Chinese values as expressed through myth, legend and the tenets of Confucianism.

They already had a small venue - the Tiger Balm - but wanted to broaden the appeal to a wider audience. So was born the idea of extending the place to incorporate a garden - Haw Par Villa - in which Chinese legends would come to life.

Revolver Fires 28 Gauge Shotgun Shells


Brazilian armsmaker Taurus caused a stir when it released “The Judge” — a revolver that fires shotguns shells in addition to handgun cartridges. The Judge shoots .410 gauge shells as well as .45 Long Colt cartridges. “The Raging Judge”, pictured above, goes even further in this approach, firing the much larger 28 gauge shell.

Beowulf Socks Are Written in Anglo-Saxon


These socks by The Sanguin Gryphon contain untranslated passages of the 8th Century poem Beowulf:
Thus begins the immortal tale of the hero Beowulf, the bard summoning the attention of his audience. And so begin these socks, which give the text of the first page of the surviving manuscript, a copy dating to around 1000 CE. The writing flows from one sock to the other, so that you may read it uninterrupted.

Iconic outfit's mysterious fate

The iconic suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day her husband was assassinated isn't in a new exhibit. 
Also: 

Lichtenstein Castle


Historically there has been a castle on the site since around 1200. It was twice destroyed, once in the Reichskriegs war of 1311 and again by the city-state of Reutlingen in 1381... The romantic Neo-Gothic design of the [current] castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff [in 1840-42].

Town Fountain

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OK, Clown Town

Modern homes are firetraps?


A Canadian wire-service article claims that modern composite materials used in house construction drastically accelerates the pace of house-fires when compared with traditional solid wood and other materials.
What that means for firefighters is the amount of time they can safely be inside a house on fire has dropped from about 17 minutes to three minutes or less. That's when flashover happens -- the moment when a room or building is fully engulfed in flames...
[Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier] said unlike 30 years ago, when homes, furniture and appliances were made of solid wood and steel, modern day versions are made with glue, plastics and synthetic materials.
Such synthetics not only burn faster but produce carcinogenic emissions as they burn.
"One of the biggest examples is floor joists," said Messier, who himself dabbles in home renovations.
"They used to be 2x8s and 2x10s, and now we're looking at composite materials which for the most part are made of wood particles, mixed in with glue. They're cheaper, which is probably why the industry is using these products."

Best cars for your money

As carmakers shift to offering better value, some surprising top vehicles emerge.  
Also: 

Moving where taxes are low

One couple estimates they've saved $15,000 a year by moving from New Jersey to New Hampshire.
Also: 

Options for your tax refund

You can now have the money that Uncle Sam owes you sent to several accounts.  
Also: 

Lower the Thermostat to Lower 60s, Lose Weight!

thermostat photo
Photo: Flickr/C Jill Reed
Super-sized meals and sedentary living don't seem to be the only contributing fat-factors present in American and UK lifestyles. New research published in the journal Obesity Reviews points to a link in increasing average indoor temperatures over the last several decades-- and similarly rising rates of obesity.

Frankly put by TIME:
Keeping your house too balmy may be making you fat.