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.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Double your fun today by making sure you get your favorite people in on the action.
You're all set to have a good time, no matter what you do, but things are even sweeter if you have all the right folks along for the ride.
It should all go especially well if you make a serious effort to contact someone you haven't seen in far too long -- you should catch up with each other and have a great time.
Some of our readers today have been in:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Pakan Baru, Riau, Indonesia
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Rio De Janiero, Rio De Janiero, Brazil
London, England, United Kingdom
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt

as well as the Netherlands, Scotland, Belgium, and the United States in such cities as Montreat, Van Wert, Spokane, Dubuque and more

Today is Tuesday, July 6, the 187th day of 2010.
There are 178 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There is none.
However the Earth is at Aphelion.

It's a matter of location, location, location

Cloud Nine gets all the publicity, 
but Cloud Eight is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view.

Bamboo Charlie

Homeless man builds toy-filled refuge
"I love the expression on people's faces when they come here," says "Bamboo Charlie" Walker in this Los Angeles Times profile. "A homeless man with toys? Whoa!"
For the better part of 18 years, Charles Ray Walker, a homeless man from Houston, has made his home near the junctions of the 5, 10, 60 and 101 freeways in Boyle Heights, on a plot with a shock of green bamboo trees. There, he grows nectarines, peaches and strawberries and displays a collection of found objects.
Here's video, here's a photo gallery of his amazing abode and meticulously arranged found object collection, and here is the interview.

Concrete Sofa - what every home needs

This couch is a solid block of concrete. It was made by the British firm Grey Concrete as a demonstration of their new, precise molding techniques:
The sofa is made by taking a mold from a real Chesterfield, which is then used to make a glass textile reinforced casting. The cushions are a part of the casting. Before making the mold, the padding inside the cushions was replaced with a rigid foam which was modeled to make “bum prints.” The molding techniques used by Gray Concrete pick up detail really well so the concrete sofa really looks leathery. There’s even a concrete 50p piece stuck down behind one of the cushions to complete the realistic effect.

Vieuxtemps Guarneri set to be most expensive musical instrument ever

Made in 1741 by Guarneri del Gesù, the violin has an asking price of $18m (£12m) at Bein & Fushi of Chicago
In the rarified world of old violins, the Stradivarius is commonly thought of as the very best. But for many connoisseurs and concert performers, the pinnacle is the work of a craftsman from Cremona in Italy known as Guarneri del Gesù.

When insults had class ...

Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. 
I'll waste no time reading it.

The Typewriter

Performed by Martin Breinschmid with the Strauß Festival Orchestra.

Stamps up by 2

The post office wants to increase the price of a stamp by 2 cents to 46 cents starting in January.

How much having a queen costs

Hard times in Britain mean the publicly funded monarchy is running on less money. 

World Cup Soccer

Soccer legend Diego Maradona offers an unconventional view on why the biggest names fell short. 
Uruguayan star Diego Forlan has found a longtime friend in a soccer legend from another country. 
The octopus says Spain over Germany.
Could be, but it will be the first match that has the potential to be a thing of beauty in this World Cup tourney.
In the Uruguay - Netherlands game, it could go either way. Neither team expected or was expected to be this deep into the tournament - in fact the Dutch are 'homeless' now having not booked rooms in their hotel for this late in the tourney.
As everyone here knows I have said since April that it would be a team that no one thought to win the Cup that would be the one to do so. I had thought it would have Ghana even then ... and they should be in the semi-finals and would be but for the horrendous officiating and blatant cheating of this tournament ... but that's an entirely different story in and of itself.
I still hold that it will be a team no one thought of as winning the Cup will be the team ending up lifting the Cup ... and being that it is Uruguay or the Netherlands that have not been thought of as winning the Cup - the winner of their match will be the tournament champion barring any more of that horrendous officiating and/or blatant cheating that has sourly marked this tourney thus far in the final match with the winner of the Spain/Germany match.
Update: Looks like the Netherlands will be the Cup winners having bested Uruguay 3 - 2.
The official who missed a World Cup goal says he "could sense" soon after that something was wrong.  

Upset woman gave neighbor's trailer away on Craigslist

A Pasco County, Florida woman has been charged with grand theft for reportedly giving away her neighbor's trailer on Craigslist .

Fibs your contractor could tell

Beware of these attempts by some contractors to maximize profit and minimize hassle.  

Confused Say ...

Confused Say ...
... Bite tail of Lion - fastest way to next Life

Rolling Stone hires Ozzy Osbourne as new health columnist

Rolling Stone hires Ozzy Osbourne as new health columnist ...

A Massachusetts biotech firm says Ozzy Osbourne has asked it to analyze his DNA for his new health column.

Beauty Under Seige

Forests and development threaten the lush, winding garden that entices millions of drivers every year.
Ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Planck's first image of space, past and present

The European Space Agency today released the first image of space obtained by the Planck mission. Shown above, the image includes emissions from dust in our own galaxy and faint ripples of the cosmic microwave background that is light left behind from The Big Bang. This is the first all-sky map from the spacecraft, which will complete four surveys before its mission ends in 2012.

A good explanatory article here on SpaceFlight Now.

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Why did the Egyptians create the Zodiac of Dendera, and what was it intended to represent?

Hot rock moving beneath the Earth's crust may have led to Scotland rising and falling by hundreds of metres about 55 million years ago

It's not just our country of ancestral origin that our DNA can show – the villages our ancestors lived in may also be determined

Curry spices could hold the key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists have claimed.

Close encounters with giant eagle

Juvenile harpy eagle
Among a series of close encounters with a family of giant eagles, a BBC film crew survives a flyby attack.

There's Jellyfish and then there's Jellyfish

Smithsonian magazine takes a closer look at nine of the 20,000 species of jellyfish that populate the world’s oceans. Some are tasty. some are lethal, and some are just plain strange, like this specimen of Bathykorus bouilloni.

Mullets and Spikes Banned In Iran

So what they're banned everywhere by all sane and rational people.
Now the insane and irrational are joining in the ban on bad taste.
In an attempt to rid the country of “decadent Western cuts”, Iran’s culture ministry has produced a catalog of haircuts that meet government approval.
The list of banned styles includes ponytails, mullets and elaborate spikes. However,quiffs appear to be acceptable, as are fashioning one’s hair in the style of Simon Cowell or cultivating a 1980s-style floppy fringe.
The fashionistas are on to something here ... for once.

The Rise Of ‘Transplant Tourism’

polycystic kidney
How much is your kidney worth?
In Turkey the prized organ fetches around €2,300, an Indian or Iraqi kidney enriches its former owner by a mere €800, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the going price on the black market to be about €4,000.
But when you consider that wealthy clients will later pay well over €100,000 for the kidney, this massive profit margin would appear to guarantee a lucrative future for the international trade in human organs if it continues unchecked.
Should organ sales be legalized and regulated instead of relying on voluntary donations?

Battle over billionaire's bridge heats up

A growing drama puts the fate of North America's busiest commercial border crossing in limbo. 

On The Job

On The Job
Irritating habits, like always showing up late, may not get you fired.  

Signs you're headed for debt disaster

The first step in cutting debt for good is figuring out whether you're already in trouble.  

Barney Frank and Ron Paul on the need to 'make substantial cuts' in Pentagon spending

Voices from opposite ends of the political spectrum agree on something -- the need to cut defense spending:
As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree.

By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts. For decades, the subject of military expenditures has been glaringly absent from public debate. Yet the Pentagon budget for 2010 is $693 billion -- more than all other discretionary spending programs combined. Even subtracting the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending still amounts to over 42% of total spending.

It is irrefutably clear to us that if we do not make substantial cuts in the projected levels of Pentagon spending, we will do substantial damage to our economy and dramatically reduce our quality of life.

Justice Department will sue Arizona over SB1070

Well, we were hoping to hear this news -- and figuring it was likely -- but later this afternoon, it will become official:
Feds to file lawsuit over Arizona immigration law
The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigrants, setting the stage for a clash between the federal government and state over the nation's toughest immigration crackdown.
The planned lawsuit was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Justice Department official with knowledge of the plans. The official didn't want to be identified before a public announcement planned for later Tuesday.
The lawsuit will argue that Arizona's new measure requiring state and local police to question and possibly arrest illegal immigrants during the enforcement of other laws, like traffic stops, usurps federal authority.
The Washington Post:
The lawsuit, which three sources said could be filed as early as Tuesday, will invoke for its main argument the legal doctrine of "preemption," which is based on the Constitution's supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. Justice Department officials believe that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility, the sources said.
But the filing is likely to have a civil rights component as well, arguing that the Arizona law would lead to police harassment of U.S. citizens and foreigners, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not announced its plans. President Obama has warned that the law could violate citizens' civil rights, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has expressed concern that it could drive a wedge between police and immigrant communities.
The law is obviously unconstitutional. But then, if the latest poll numbers are right, a large majority of Arizonans don't care what the Constitution says.
At least, when it says things they don't like. Bet they all love watching those Glenn Beck shows on the Founding Fathers, though.

George Carlin tells the truth

George Carlin telling the truth

TSA to Block "Controversial Opinion" on the Web

The US Transport Security Agency has joined with other defenders of liberty, such as the governments of Iran and Syria, and has added a censorwall to its network that blocks "controversial opinion." Apparently the TSA's crack operatives are impressionable, easily gulled types who are at danger of becoming jihadis, polys, or possibly even liberals if they are exposed to "controversy."
The email does not specify how the TSA will determine if a website expresses a "controversial opinion." There is also no explanation as to why controversial opinions are being blocked, although the email stated that some of the restricted websites violate the Employee Responsibilities and Conduct policy.
The TSA did not return calls seeking comment by publication time.

Man bought rifle to stop alien invasion

A Fairfield man was arrested on Thursday morning after buying a high powered rifle to stop an alien invasion, police said.

Fairfield Police Sgt. James Perez said Dane Eisenman, 57, responded to a classified advertisement for a .30-06 rifle about a month ago. While filing out the paper for the rifle, police said, he mentioned to the seller what he would be using the weapon for. "He said he was going to use the weapon to kill aliens," Perez said.

The seller was unsure if Eisenman was referring to space aliens or illegal aliens, Perez added. Sgt. Perez said Eisenman told the seller of the rifle every 36,000 years, aliens who live under the sun come to Earth to kill humans, and he needed to be prepared because "They're going to be coming soon."

After the sale of the rifle, the man reported Eisenman to police. Sgt. Perez said Eisenman, who is a convicted felon, is legally prohibited from buying or owning a hand gun or rifle. Eisenman turned himself into police on Thursday morning and was charged with charge of criminal possession of a firearm. He will be arraigned in Bridgeport Superior Court on July 9.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.

Liars and Fools
Lunatic Michael Savage predicts that illegal immigrants will "flood the voting booths" and tip election for Democrats.
Newsflash: non-citizens can not vote, asshole.

Tim LaHaye lies: Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan secretly yearns to usher in one-world government.
It's already here moron and don't let your corporate bosses tell they're not.

Faux News guest plugs website suggesting Democratic leaders are Nazis.
Of course they would ... that's what Nazis do - accuse everyone else of being Nazis.


Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
These spicy black bean cakes are filling enough to make into a main course.  

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
This versatile fruit's juice helps tighten facial pores and fights household odors.

Broom Hilda

Broom Hilda

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
The first stage is expected to provide coverage to about 1 million uninsured Americans by 2011.

Homeopathy defies the laws of science, not to mention common sense. But rigorous studies show it just may work.

Man Allergic to Sunlight Dies of Summer Heat in Russia

A 45-year-old man died as a result of a rare disease known as photocontact dermatitis at the height of summer heat in Russia.

Real works of genius

And today's award for a "Real work of genius" goes to the mope that thought this set up was a good idea.

Scorching heat descends on East Coast

What do you mean 'descends' it's been here for over a month!
Temperatures will soar to 100 degrees in some states — and then not budge.
An intense heat wave along the East Coast threatens to push utilities usage to record levels.  
And it's only going to get hotter

Biggest natural-disaster risks for homes

Homeowners need to be particularly wary of water and wind damage. 

Prehistoric Humans Caused Climate Changes, Too?

flintstones opening scene image  
Image via elisson1
It's almost quaint to think that our ancient ancestors, living some 10,000 years ago, may have altered the planet's climate, just like us. Though unlike today, a time when our thirst of fossil fuels is heating up the planet, a new study suggests that our distant relatives' hunger for mammoth meat could have played a hand in ancient climate change, long before the wheel was even invented.
Nice going, great-(x400)-grandpa.

Irreversible Changes in Oceans Leading to Global Mass Extinction

ocean beach person photo
Photo by coolmikeol
It feels like reading a tabloid headline when we see reports about irreversible damage to ocean systems and the worldwide mass extinctions that could result. Unfortunately, it's an all too real possibility. Renowned marine scientists Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of The University of Queensland's Global Change Institute, and Dr John F. Bruno, an Associate Professor at The University of North Carolina, have completed a comprehensive study pulling together information from the most recent oceanographic research. Their findings show that we're very close to irreversible damage to the health of the oceans, which means we're "well on the way to the next great extinction event."

It's Only The Environment After All

It's Only The Environment After All
"This is the worst oil we've seen yet"
National Geographic News photo editor Chris Combs has filed a report from the Louisiana shoreline, after Hurricane Alex pushed oil onto already cleaned beaches. This time, he reports, there's no one around to clean them up:
"This is the worst oil we've seen yet, and...this is the absolute worst time for the oil to be here," said Wayne Keller, executive director of the Grand Isle Port Commission. The Grand Isle Port Commission's Keller supervises some of the efforts to clean oiled beaches on nearby Elmer's Island National Wildlife Refuge, off Grand Isle, where beach access has been cut off by high waters from Hurricane Alex.
"We can't stop it. There's no skimming, booms aren't working in the heavy surf. It's a mess right now. And "the largest [oil] plumes we've seen yet are offshore."

Tar balls on a Texas beach are the first evidence that the oil spill has reached all the Gulf states.
It's Not Like We Don't Have Another One

Photographer arrested by police, BP security and DHS

Apparently taking photographs of BP refineries that are allegedly pumping out toxic waste is now a crime. Is there a reason why the federal government is going along with this game of delaying a story and protecting BP? Everyone gets the national security aspect but it sounds like that was overplayed. It's not as though BP has a clean history of refineries so it's understandable that the media - in this case the independent media - was doing something about it.

A photographer taking pictures of a BP refinery in Texas was detained by a BP security official, local police and a man who said he was from the Department of Homeland Security, according to ProPublica, a non-profit news organization in the U.S.

The photographer, Lance Rosenfield, said he was confronted by the officials shortly after arriving in Texas City, Texas, to work on a story that is part of an ongoing collaboration between PBS and ProPublica.

Rosenfield was released after officials looked through the pictures he had taken and took down his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information, the photographer said. The information was turned over to the BP security guard who said this was standard procedure, ProPublica quoted Rosenfield as saying.

China sentences U.S. geologist to 8 years

Xue Feng's case highlights China's vague line between business work and state secrets. 

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Cop At Home Has Persistent Census Worker Arrested

Census worker Russell Haas has come to expect a little resistance when he goes door to door to count the residents of the rugged communities near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.

Points of Interest

Finland makes broadband a legal right for every citizen ...

Pennsylvania law banning blasphemy is overturned ...

  American Civil Liberties Union sues Wal-Mart for firing employee who legally used medical marijuana ...

Budget airline Ryanair finds a way to make air travel even more awful — vertical seating ...
http://www.drsputnik.com/sputnik/img/25/sput-57902.jpgGoldman Sachs pioneered "food derivatives" — speculation on food prices — that caused mass starvation in the world's poorest countries ...

Speed readers may wish to avoid e-books

Already do! Some things are better left to their original state.
Speed readers, beware.
A recent study seems to show that reading an e-book takes longer than reading a printed version.
Full story

Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School

Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School and other weird book titles at Abe Books

Suburbs fed up with Hollywood stereotypes

A movement is afoot in suburban America to shake its second-class status. 

Bacon Marmalade

Chef Ross Hutchinson has captured the collective culinary consciousness with the creation of a spreadable porky condiment he calls bacon marmalade. He discovered what is basically pig jam when he burnt a batch of bacon and tried to cover it up by adding sugar. It is now selling so well that Hutchinson has given up his day job to produce the condiment full-time.