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.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You will be exposed to some advance knowledge or insider information today -- use it wisely.
This information could have a profound effect on a project you're involved with, and might mean the difference between your being a superstar and your being a backup singer.
Are you ready for the spotlight?
Hold on to what you know for a few days, and resist the urge to get a jump on the competition.
After all, how do you know that they don't also have this information?

Some of our readers today have been in:
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Surabaya, Jawa Timor, Indonesia
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Penang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands

as well as Slovakia, 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 La Pine, Waco, Memphis, Tucson and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, March 31, the 91st day of 2011.
There are 274 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Bunsen Burner Day
Mule Day
and
National "She's Funny That Way" Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

We did it!

 158,443
We did it!
Thanks to our readers - all 158,443 of them in the first three months of 2011.
When we first began this blog we had hopes of having one reader (beside the editor and staff) and we accomplished that straight away.
Now, a sort of unspoken goal of has been reached (we did the 150K in a year thing a while back), we had 150K plus readers in a quarter of a year.
Maybe we'll be the #1 blog in only 500 years or so instead of the 1000 years give or take we predicted way back when.

Did you know ...

And 100 out of 100 of them are teabaggers
All right maybe only 99 out of a 100 then, happy?!

All jokes aside - It is still appalling that there are so many adults in this nation who cannot read.

Americans have an unfavorable view of the teabaggers

From the "OK, tell us something we didn't know" Department:

 More Americans have an unfavorable view of the teabaggers.

Sean Duffy Appeals To The Common Man

Repugican congressman from Wisconsin, Sean Duffy, forgets who he's talking to and complains about his measly $174,000 annual salary:
Sean-Duffy I can guarantee you, or most of you, I guarantee that I have more debt than all of you. With 6 kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I’m living high on the hog, I’ve got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now. Would it be easier for me if I get more paychecks? Maybe, but at this point I’m not living high on the hog.
There's a video.
And then: repugicans Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet.
First the repugican party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (reptile-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet.
You may remember Sean Duffy from TV. He was on the tube back in 1997 on Real World: Boston.
***
Cry me a river and it still won't do you a damned bit of good - you should be unemployed as it is in the first place.

More repugican lies

Repugicans want you to believe that public sector workers earn so much more than workers in the private sector, but do they ever look at the facts?
Not hardly.
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This Modern World

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Libyan woman still missing

Eman al-Obeidy hasn't been seen since she accused Gadhafi troops of a horrible assault. 
Also: 

Pitfalls of arming Libyan rebels

The U.S. grapples with questions about who the opposition is and if it can defeat Gadhafi.  
Also: 

Struggle leads to exposure

An airline stewardess struggling to lift her bag at a German airport led to the discovery of a 6-million euro coin fraud.

Rev up your retirement fund

Free financial seminars and serious debt-cutting can help you get on track.  
Also: 

Non Sequitur

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Warmth and Competence

Do You Perceive Warm Person as Less Competent?
What’s more important to you, warmth or competence?
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School and colleagues did the study and found some interesting things:
This research concludes that by far the strongest influences that we have on one another result from a person’s perceived warmth and competence. These two dimensions help us understand how we think about and act toward others.
Some conclusions are that:
  • When assessing someone else, warmth plays a more important role than competence.
  • When assessing ourselves, we believe that competence (the capability of someone to carry out intentions) is more important.
  • Without knowing, we often assume that there is a "trade off" between warmth and competence in a person. These two dimensions help us understand how we think about and act toward others. We admire warm/competent people, envy (and sometimes scapegoat) those who are cold and competent, pity those who are perceived as warm and incompetent, and have contempt for the cold and incompetent.

Ziggy

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Inside look at five dirty jobs

These positions can be grimy and smelly — but they often pay well.  
Also: 

Hispanic Guilty: Hiring Illegal Aliens for Restaurants & Paying Low Wages

A man from Mexico pleaded guilty on Tuesday to harboring as many as 100 illegal aliens for commercial advantage.

Cities with the worst prospects

Prospects are dim in these metro areas with high unemployment and mortgage delinquencies. 
Also: 

Americans sour on economy

Most aren't convinced by optimistic talk of a recovery, new numbers reveal.
Also: 

Lemon Squeezing

The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (weight-lifters, longshoremen, etc.) but nobody could do it.

One day this scrawny little man came into the bar, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a tiny squeaky voice "I'd like to try the bet." After the laughter had died down, the bartender said OK, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man.

But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man "what do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, or what?"

The man replied "I work for the IRS."

Culinary DeLites

Choosing produce by its hue is an easy way to load up on nature's superfoods.  
Also:

French school students taken to hospital after eating hashish 'breakfast bars'

French police are investigating how a bag of hashish resin blocks, eaten by children who mistook them for breakfast cereal bars, came to be left in the grounds of a school.


The students told teachers that they found the package containing the "leafy-flavored breakfast bars" hidden between a bush and the school fence during recess on Friday.

One child from the school for six to 11 year olds in Tarentaize, near St. Etienne, in central France, was rushed to the hospital later that evening by his worried mother, along with a piece of the "leafy" bar. Tests confirmed the bar that contained cannabis resin, and the boy was sent home. None of the other children who ate the bars became ill.


The mother of the boy who got sick filed a police complaint against the school for the "admission of harmful substances." But Inspector of Schools Pierre-Michel Brunel said that the "school team responded with vigilance but could not assume that the children had eaten [cannabis]."

Does Tipping Result in Better Service?

Americans spend over $40 billion in tips every year, but are we getting better service for it? Not necessarily, according to this article at Smart Money:
What’s more, our tips don’t actually vary that much with the level of service we’ve received. While people claim in surveys that they tip almost exclusively based on the level of service, field studies in actual restaurants, such as those conducted by Michael Lynn of Cornell, find that better service is only partially correlated with bigger tips. A step up on a 1-to-5 rating scale of customer satisfaction translates into just a small increase (say, from 15 to 16 or 17 percent of the check).
So, what’s the secret of getting bigger tips?
A 2009 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that larger self-reported breast size among waitresses correlated with bigger tips. Similarly, a 2010 study in the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that waitresses’ use of makeup significantly increased their tips. Female servers can also increase their tips by drawing a smiley face on the back of customers’ checks (male servers, it turns out, can’t achieve the same with this tactic). 

Helpful Hints

When one woman's fridge stopped working, she nearly paid hundreds more for repairs than necessary.
Also: 

States with few disasters

Two western states and one in the east have each declared just eight disasters since 1953. 
Also: 

FAA: 2 killed aboard small plane that hits NC home

Authorities say two people are dead after their small plane crashed into a house in North Carolina.

Hero reveals Auschwitz feat

A 92-year-old hero reveals how he broke into the Nazi camp — twice — while a prisoner of war.  
Also: 

Doomed space mission revealed

A new book reveals Vladimir Komarov's acceptance of a suicide space mission to save a friend. 
Also: 

Back to the Future

A great photo project by Irina Werning: Back to the Future.
I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today... A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.
Here's Celine in 1987, and in 2010:
CECILE IN 1987 & 2010, France

American Ghost Towns

 

If you're asked to name America's most thriving towns, chances are you won't come up with Bodie, Cahawba or Centralia. But once upon a time, these areas were booming. Then their demise - brought on by economic downturns, pollution or other circumstances - led to their abandonment.

Here are 12 places that are now a shadow of their former selves.

Epic Fail

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Is 'blue petroleum' the fuel of the future?

Scientists may have cracked the puzzle of how to mimic fossil fuel creation in far less time.
Also: 

Can you see them

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Scientists Are A Step Closer To Conquering The 'Magic' Of Invisibility


Many earlier cloaking systems turned objects invisible only under wavelengths of light that the human eye can't see. Others could conceal only microscopic objects. But a new system, developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Center, works in visible light and can hide objects big enough to see with the naked eye.

The cloak is made from two pieces of calcite crystal stuck together in a certain configuration. Calcite is highly anisotropic, which means that light coming from one side will exit at a different angle than light entering from another side. By using two different pieces of calcite, the researchers were able to bend light around a solid object placed between the crystals. Whatever is put under this gap, it looks from the outside like it is not there.

Your name, destiny linked?

The theory that your moniker makes an impact on life decisions is tested in a new study.  
Also: 

Top Five Historic Hoaxes

trojan horse
From ancient times to modern day, these five hoaxes hold a place in history. 
Count 'em down for April Fools' Day! 

Baobab

Ancient find stirs bible intrigue

Could a trove of metal books found in a cave be "the major discovery of christian history"?
Also: 

Newly discovered natural arch in Afghanistan one of world’s largest

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have stumbled upon a geological colossus in a remote corner of Afghanistan: a natural stone arch spanning more than 200 feet across its base.

B.C.

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A 2,000-year-old organism found

An important part of the Gulf ecosystem that lives far below the surface faces a serious threat.  
Also: 

Oh, No!


So, what's a kid supposed to do then?

Live Animals Being Sold as Keyrings in China

turtle keyring photo  
Photo: Li Bo
Keyring ornaments are perhaps the most useless item you'll ever carry in your pocket or stuff in your purse -- but now, thanks to an increasingly popular item being sold in China, it can easily be the cruelest, too. For the price you might expect paying for some kitschy trinket, Chinese street vendors are selling live animals, permanently sealed in a small plastic pouch where they can survive for a short while as someone's conversation piece. Apparently, these unimaginably inhumane keyrings are actually quite popular -- and worst of all, it's totally legal.

Giant sea animal encounters

A boater's odd "catch" and a 300-pound stingray's startling landing create wild moments.  
Also: 

Stingray X-Ray


This is an x-ray image of a Heliotrygon gomesi, one of two new species of freshwater “pancake” stingrays discovered in the Amazon rain forest.

See more pictures at Amazing Planet.

David Livingstone letter reveals explorer ate elephant

A letter which describes how David Livingstone killed and ate an elephant during a African expedition has sold for £28,800 at auction. The Scots-born explorer wrote the 12-page missive to British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston in November 1861.

It tells how his party on the famous Zambezi expedition of 1858-1864 killed an elephant for food and then saw the rest of the herd apparently mourning. The letter fetched more than treble its estimated price at Bonhams in London.


In it, Livingstone reveals a series of incidents, including being robbed by "professional" thieves who struck just before dawn. He said the local people appeared to be afraid to kill elephants for the ivory, as the animals were "not disturbed by the presence of man".

"When we killed one for food the rest of the herd stood a mile off for two days," he wrote. "Elsewhere they would not have stood within 30 or 40 miles."

Egyptian "Dog Catacomb" Has 8 Million Mummified Dogs

In a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the Egyptian desert lies a truly remarkable catacomb containing the mummified remains of dogs and jackals.
Now, since this is Egypt, mummies aren’t exactly unusual – what made the Dog Catacomb so different is that it contains an immense amount of mummified puppies:
They estimate the catacombs contain the remains of 8 million animals. Given the sheer numbers of animals, it is likely they were bred by the thousands in puppy farms around the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, according to the researchers. The Dog Catacombs are located at Saqqara, the burial ground for the ancient capital Memphis.
"Our findings indicate a rather different view of the relationship between people and the animals they worshipped than that normally associated with the ancient Egyptians, since many animals were killed and mummified when only a matter of hours or days old," Nicholson said. "These animals were not strictly ’sacrificial.’ Rather, the dedication of an animal mummy was regarded as a pious act, with the animal acting as intermediary between the donor and the gods."

Animal News

Prehistoric Fossil May Have Inspired Greek Myths

wooly rhinocerous
The thigh bone of a huge extinct mammal was first recovered by the ancient Greeks and may have inspired a beast in classical mythology.  

Bones of Long-Dead Animals Conjure Ghosts at Yellowstone

They tell a story, these bleached bones that gleam in the sun in Yellowstone National Park. Bones on landscapes like Yellowstone may provide detailed accounts of how animal populations have changed [...]

Animal Pictures

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Mercenary ideas are suddenly interesting to you, and you might find yourself lingering over the newspaper's financial section.
You are on a quest to make more money with less effort.
Make a plan to educate yourself about ways to make your money last longer, or even grow faster.
As the month comes to a close, you're in a good spot to strategize your financial goals for the next few months.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk, Belgium
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Muscat, Masqat, Oman

as well as Slovakia, 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 Brick, Urbandale, Whittier, Lawrence and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, March 30, the 90th day of 2011.
There are 275 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day
and
Pencil Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur

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Bad in-flight behavior

Travel experts share tips on handling rude seatmates, loud kids, and stinky food.
Also: 

Mysterious bullet hole in plane

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A pilot's chance find in the fuselage of his 737 rattles nerves and stirs up big questions.
Also: 

Fake bomb undetected on cargo plane

An investigation is under way into how a fake bomb was transported on a cargo plane from the UK.

TSA Witch Fired

witchA good example of Wiccan persecution: Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA.
If you were the boss at a U.S. government agency and one of your employees complained that she was afraid of a co-worker's religious practices, what would you do?
Would it change your decision if the religion were Wicca, and the employee feared her co-worker because she thought she might cast a spell on her?
Here's how the Transportation Security Administration handled it: It fired the witch.
I know you had something else in mind, but ...

Bad Cops

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Maryland sheriff's deputy charged with child sex abuse

Indiana cop is charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct crimes

New Jersey police leave teens locked in van for 14 hours without heat or water

Florida jail guard accused of attacking school employee

Retired Pennsylvania cop gets 35 years in child sex assault

Curiously un-named Ohio corrections officer placed behind bars after inmate accuses him of sexual assault

Nebraska police officer convicted of harassing women

Texas police officer arrested for possession of marijuana

Fired Virginia sheriff's deputy is charged with trying to arrange sex with an 11-year-old girl

New Jersey cop charged with abuse after allegedly propositioning 16-year-old girl

"Dark day" for Colorado town's police department as 29-year veteran cop is charged with sexual exploitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Tennessee sheriff's lieutenant charged with theft

Why are these Texas police officers still on the street?