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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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your attention stretched thin for now, and many different demands are coming your way.
Of course, this is stressful, but if you don't let it surprise you, you ought to be able to handle it -- and even look good doing it.
Set new priorities, but make sure to keep them flexible so you can adapt as other things pop up.
Schedule time to decompress, and some extra time with your people -- these should be at the top of your list.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2010.
There are 162 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Penuche Fudge Day
Spooners (Spoonerism) Day
Rat-Catchers Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The First Bookmobile in the United States

This is a photograph of what is alleged to be the first American bookmobile. It was built in 1905 by the public library of Washington County, Maryland. Mary Titcomb, the librarian responsible for its creation, described its importance:
Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship? Would the upkeep of the wagon after the first cost be much more than the present method? Is not Washington County with its good roads especially well adapted for testing an experiment of this kind, for the geography of the County is such that it could be comfortably covered by well planned routes? These and other aspects of the plan were laid before the Board of Trustees – who approved of the idea, and forthwith the librarian began interviewing wagon makers and trying to elucidate her ideas with pen and pencil. The first wagon, when finished with shelves on the outside and a place for storage of cases in the center resembled somewhat a cross between a grocer’s delivery wagon and the tin peddlers cart of by gone New England days. Filled with an attractive collection of books and drawn by two horses, with Mr. Thomas the janitor both holding the reins and dispensing the books, it started on its travels in April 1905.
No better method has ever been devised for reaching the dweller in the country. The book goes to the man, not waiting for the man to come to the book. Psychologically too the wagon is the thing. As well try to resist the pack of a peddler from the Orient as the shelf full of books when the doors of the wagon are opened by Miss Chrissinger at one’s gateway.
The original wagon was hit and destroyed by a train in 1910, and replaced with a motorized version two years later.

The Ruins Of Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island lies off the coast of Georgia and is the largest of the state's barrier islands at just under 18 miles in length. Virtually no one lives on the island all year round these days but at the southern end of the island you will find Dungeness, once owned by the famously rich Carnegie family.

The house is now in ruins but perhaps if you listen closely you might hear the strains of a ghostly Charleston.

Lightning's striking facts and myths

An old childhood trick can determine the distance of an approaching electrical storm.  

Stonehenge's Second Henge

Archaeologists have found something at Stonehenge that is so exceptional that they’re calling it the most exciting find there in fifty years: a second, Neolithic henge.
The new "henge" – which means a circular monument dating to Neolithic and Bronze Ages – is situated about 900m (2,950ft) from the giant stones on Salisbury Plain.
Images show it has two entrances on the north-east and south-west sides and inside the circle is a burial mound on top which appeared much later, Professor Gaffney said.
"You seem to have a large-ditched feature, but it seems to be made of individual scoops rather than just a straight trench," he said.
"When we looked a bit more closely, we then realised there was a ring of pits about a metre wide going all the way around the edge.
"When you see that as an archaeologist, you just looked at it and thought, ‘that’s a henge monument’ – it’s a timber equivalent to Stonehenge.

Archaeology and the city

From plow furrows in Sheridan Square to the foundations of a 17th-century City Hall/local pub (man, wouldn't that make council meetings more fun?), this nifty map traces some of the most fascinating finds in New York City urban archaeology.

Bowls of Fingers, Baby Victims, More Found in Maya Tomb

Sealed "like Fort Knox," royal burial may be "gold mine of information."
Ceramic lid found among multiple bowls containing human fingers at newfound Maya royal tomb.

Bahamas' 'blue holes' reveal weird science

Scientists have been researching the bizarre locations for at least 30 years.  

The best adventure trips in the world

Travel by horseback, kayak, or bicycle on one of these once-in-a-lifetime journeys.  

Soccer News

One of England's top teams admits it is interested in acquiring the U.S. soccer hero.  
A playful defender on a Polish team is caught on camera mimicking the team's young cheerleaders.  

Russian spy leaves enigmatic trail online

The "femme fatale" of the spy ring finds ways to connect with the world from an undisclosed location.

Common typos spell-check won't catch

The most common error in the English language is one your computer will miss.  

Dieters embrace caveman eating habits

"Paleo diet" followers lose weight by dining on new versions of Stone Age fare. 

Fragments of Gluten that Trigger Celiac Disease Isolated

If you have an immune system disorder called celiac disease or are allergic to gluten (or know that someone who is), then you know that eating the wrong thing can lead to severe pain.
Even though the role of gluten in celiac disease has been known for 60 years, researchers have just pinpointed the peptide sequence in gluten that cause the body’s immune system to wreak havoc in your tummy:
Bob Anderson, a celiac disease researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Victoria, Australia, and fellow researchers recruited more than 200 celiac disease patients for their study. Participants ate servings of bread, rye muffins or boiled barley for three days. Six days after the experiment started, the researchers drew blood samples.
They tested the samples to see how strongly immune cells in the blood reacted to more than 2,700 different gluten peptides (relatively short chains of amino acids). Ninety of the peptides elicited some response, and three in particular generated the biggest reaction.
"The holy grail in celiac disease research has been to identify the toxic peptide components of gluten, and that’s what we’ve done," Anderson said in a statement. "These three components account for the majority of the immune response to gluten."

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Even healthy food can cause weight gain if it contains these compounds, research shows.  
Your body has different dietary needs during a crisis than in everyday life.

Things never to put in a dishwasher

The heat, high-pressure spray, and harsh detergent can doom many kitchen essentials.  

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
It might seem like a great deal when everything gets cheaper, but the effect can be disastrous. 
In much of the country, there are too many homes while demand is falling.  
Retailers are using strategies like more carpeting to drive shoppers deeper into stores. 

On The Job

On The Job
These five careers can take you from a modest starting income to six figures.
Places like Lincoln County, S.D., have experienced an employment boom in the past nine years.

Ranks of 'long-term unemployed' soar

A historic number of hard-hit job seekers highlights the depths of the current crisis.

Anger rises over 'flotels' for Gulf workers

Questionable conditions at floating hotel accommodations prompt fishermen to go on strike. 



The Long Game And The Breitbart Implosion

By Andrew Sullivan:

I have not been immune to feeling frustrated and depressed by the sheer power and energy of the Fox News/Drudge/Breitbart media onslaught against anything to do with Obama. As in the campaign, I've longed in my gut for the administration to lash back with as much vehemence as Fox lashes forward. I've also winced when the Obamaites have appeared totally craven in responding to the context-free narrative many on the denialist, angry right have been pushing. (But at least Vilsack apologized which makes him much more of a man than Breitbart.)
But I've learned over time to respect the canniness of this president's restraint. His gift is patience and perseverance and allowing his enemies to destroy themselves. And I suspect this Breitbart racial smear may be a moment when, once again, you see how Obama outsmarts his opponents. I mean: when you examine it, you see that a woman who actually exemplifies honesty about race and overcomes prejudice was cynically and recklessly used to create a false notion that this administration is racist toward whites, an old and disgusting canard devised by the Becks and Hannitys and Limbaughs in the tradition of Wallace and Atwater and McCarthy.
But - and here's the thing - to the credit of many on the right (and, of course, good old Shep Smith of Fox News), this episode has led to the first real rift in the lock-step of the right-wing noise machine. I know this was so egregious a smear it was indefensible. And I know, as David Frum has noted, that many conservatives tried to deflect blame onto Obama, and the media - led by the cynic Lloyd Grove - has joined the pack. But nonetheless, many on the right took Breitbart on, from NRO outward. This great injustice has, to anyone with a fair mind, deeply damaged Fox News, deeply discredited the Breitbart noise machine, and will render every new soundbite and video issued by FNC more suspect.
It was, in other words, an over-reach from hubris. And I suspect that this over-reach is not just in the rightwing media but in what's left of conservative political activism.

I do not believe, for example, that the blatant religious bigotry shown by Palin and Gingrich on the Cordoba complex near Ground Zero will wear well with Americans. George W. Bush rightly insisted in distinguishing all Muslims from the Jihadist mass murderers who claim to represent them. That distinction - a core element of basic fairness - is vital not just for domestic peace but for success in defanging Jihadist nihilism. And respecting the overwhelming majority of American Muslims who seek only to worship their God in a land dedicated to religious liberty is something, I believe, that will outlast the cheap demagoguery of the current far right that has captured the GOP.
The public may be frustrated by the lack of progress in the economy, and who can blame them? But they are still looking for solutions more than someone to blame. And most are fair enough to understand that Obama has no magic wand, that these problems are bone-deep, and that he has passed actual, substantive legislation that fulfilled clear campaign pledges in an election he won handily. Yes, they are queasy about government growth. So am I. But only government can rescue a free-market capitalist system that destroyed itself - and millions of jobs; deep recessions require short-term fiscal boosts; the health insurance reform was moderate and centrist and you have to have a heart of stone to sit back and watch so many suffer with such waste and cruelty; and there is a steadiness in Obama that no one should under-estimate. Here we have a black president presiding over 10 percent unemployment and his ratings, in a deeply polarized polity, are still above Reagan's at this juncture in a similar long-term economic crisis.
He avoided a second Great Depression. The bank bailout, however noxious, worked. GM may soon be returning a profit to the government. Health insurance reform will stick and, with careful oversight, could begin to curtail runaway healthcare costs. Financial re-regulation just passed. Two new Supreme Court Justices are in place after failed attempts at culture war demagoguery. Crime - amazingly - has not jumped with the recession. America is no longer despised abroad the way it was; torture has been ended; relations with Russia have improved immensely; Iran's regime is more diplomatically and economically isolated than in its entire history; even the Greater Israel chorus has been challenged. Moreover, if the House goes Republican this fall, it renders a second Obama term as likely as Clinton's became (how many Independents would want to hand over the government to Palin and the current GOP in Congress?). On the economy, the employment outlook remains bleak  - but not desperate if you look at the long run:
The Fed expects the economy to grow this year by 3 to 3.5 percent, picking up only slightly, to 3.5 to 4.5 percent, in 2011 and 2012. The unemployment rate is projected to drop to 7 to 7.5 percent by the end of 2012 — still far higher than the 5 to 5.3 percent that the Fed now considers to be full employment.
After the scale of the recession, this could be a lot worse. The whole pattern really does remind me of Reagan. And against this, what do the Republicans have to offer? They want to slash long-term spending, but Obama will have the initiative on this after the elections with his debt commission. Will they really obstruct debt reduction because any reasonable deal will need to increase revenues? Do they really want another war, this time with Iran? Are they really going to run on more commitment to Afghanistan? How much will they propose in slashing Medicare and social security? Do they have anything substantive to propose on ending our addiction to carbon energy?
I think the GOP has already doomed itself. I may be wrong and may be misreading an ornery public and the power of Palin-style demagoguery. But I think they have committed the same error in Obama's time in office as they did when he was running. They have mistaken tactics for strategy.
Meep, meep.

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

Wingnut website WingNutDaily repeats discredited lies about Obama, Kenya.
Repetitiveness doesn't make them true morons.

Prominent spokesman for John McCain (reptile-Arizona) appears on white supremacist program.
What a shock - the Nazis are finally beginning to be 'truthful' about their selves.

Obama administration wants "race riot", lies Faux's Glenn Beck.
No, that'd be you, you demented idiot.

Faux's Glenn Beck lies: "We are being ruled now" by those who have "contempt for our Constitution, for religion".
Wrong, that was the shrub and the cabal.


Batshit Crazies flock together

Repugicans in Congress line up to join new Tea Party Caucus started by Michelle Bachmann (retard-Minnesota) ...

Mosque protests on the rise

Plans for mosques have sparked opposition in communities around the country.

Things They Won't Tell You

Things They Won't Tell You
You could be chugging toxins in addition to the excess calories in these common drinks.

China spill crews battle spreading oil

The thick sludge coating 165 square miles of the Yellow Sea is overwhelming cleanup workers.  
Images via the Telegraph
Sadly, the BP Gulf spill (or whatever you want to call it) isn't the only major oil spill looming at the moment. In China, two major oil pipelines exploded, sending thousands of barrels into waters off the nation's northeastern shores. The oil has reportedly spread over 365 miles of ocean, and both the company responsible for the spill and the local authorities were evidently woefully unprepared to combat it -- reports surfaced that cleanup workers, desperate to fend off the crude, resorted to using their bare hands to contain the toxic oil.



Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Jihadi jerk who threatened "South Park" over Mohammed episode is arrested

Christ, what an asshole. Zachary Chesser, an unemployed 20-year-old man in Virginia who this year threatened South Park's creators over an episode featuring the Prophet Muhammad dressed in a bear suit, has been arrested on federal charges "after speaking openly to the FBI about his connection to a terror organization and his plans to travel overseas to fight with the group."
The organization, Al-Shabaab ("Movement of Warrior Youth"), is identified by the US as a terror group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Mr. Chesser was Jewish, but converted to a wacked-out, militant crazystrain of Islam that involves uploading jihadi videos to YouTube and invoking assassination unto the creators of Cartman and Butters.

From TSG:
According to the below affidavit sworn by FBI Agent Mary Brandt Kinder, Chesser, a convert to Islam, spoke at length with agents about his attempts to travel to Kenya and Somalia to join Al-Shabaab and his devotion to jihad, which has included his operation of web sites and a You Tube channel stocked with jihadi propaganda. Through the revolutionmuslim.com site, Chesser remarked in April that "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker would "probably end up" like a Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in retaliation for a film critical of the treatment of Islamic women. Along with focusing the public's attention on his extremist beliefs, Chesser's "South Park" threat resulted in fallout within his family. After his mother received death threats following the "South Park" remarks, Chesser told the FBI, "he was no longer on speaking terms with his parents." During one of his interviews with federal agents, Chesser explained how he came up with the YouTube user ID, LearnTeachFightDie: "learn Islam, teach Islam, fight for Islam, and die in the name of Islam."

Police make arrest in `bouquet bandit' case

A man dubbed the "bouquet bandit" because he held fresh flowers while robbing a Manhattan bank was arrested Wednesday at a home in Brooklyn, police said.The publicity generated by a security photo - including front-page headlines in the city's tabloids - led to tips naming 44-year-old Edward Pemberton, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

A 70-year-old Man Fights Off Intruder with his Cane

Charles Jenkins of Indianapolis, Indiana was awakened from sleep Tuesday morning by a loud crash. He found an intruder climbing through the living room window.
Jenkins said he grabbed his cane and hit the intruder in the head. That seemed to stun the would-be burglar, who quickly jumped back outside through the window.
Jenkins said the suspect ran to a truck out back behind the house, where he believes another suspect was waiting to drive them away.
Jenkins is 70 years old. Police are looking through recordings on his security cameras for evidence against the burglar.

Prisoners Escape after Guards Place Dummy in Guardtower Instead of an Actual Guard

From the "Duh?!" Department:
Police in Argentina are on the lookout for two escaped prisoners. Due to a manpower shortage, only two of the fifteen guard towers at a prison were manned. One had a crudely-made dummy inside which did not fool the prisoners:
A prison source said: “We’ve made a dummy out of a football and a prison officer’s cap, so that the prisoner see its shadow and think they’re being watched.”
“We named him Wilson, like in the film Cast Away, and put him in one of the towers,” the man told the Diario Rio Negro newspaper, referring to the Tom Hanks film in which his character invents a volleyball character for company.



Whale's jump catches sailors by surprise

Forty-ton whale lands on yacht during Cape Town sailing trip
A couple who took a yacht for a quiet sailing trip were stunned when a 40-ton whale crash-landed on their boat off Cape Town. The pair were enjoying calm seas off the South African coast when the animal flipped into the air and smashed into their mast.

Ralph Mothes, 59, and Paloma Werner, 50, were helpless as the beast thrashed around on their 33ft vessel before slipping back into the water. Miss Werner said: "It really was quite incredible but very scary. The whale was about the same size as the boat.

"We'd spotted it about 100 meters away and thought that was the end of it. Then suddenly it was right up beside us. I assumed it would go underneath the boat but instead it sprang out of the sea. We were very lucky to get through it, as the sheer weight of the thing was huge.

"There were bits of skin and blubber left behind, and the mast was wrecked. It brought down the rigging too. Thank goodness the hull was made of steel and not fiberglass or we could have been ruined." Moments before the animal leapt it had pounded its tail on the surface of the water in a 'lob-tailing' ritual to communicate with other whales.

The shaken couple, who are experienced seafarers with the Cape Town Sailing Academy, used their engine to get back to shore in Table Bay. Whales are a common sight in the Atlantic Ocean off the Western Cape coast at this time of year as they come near the shore to breed.

Thousands of tourists flock to the region's seaside resorts every year to spot the mammals during the South African winter from June to November. Hermanus, a popular destination around 80 miles east of Cape Town, employs a 'whale crier' to walk through the town announcing where whales have been seen.

Stunning images of a 40-ton whale's collision with a sailboat are captured off South Africa's coast.

Colorful grasshoppers

It's hard to believe these are real.  The top one appears to be a Painted Grasshopper (Dactylotum bicolor).

From a gallery of grasshopper photos at Space Ghetto.

Rare, reclusive leopards born at Paris zoo

The two female clouded leopard cubs, Parti and Jaya, are an unusual captive birth for the cats.  

Man casts line, lands in jail

Gone from fishin'
A Tennessee man on probation for a dozen hunting violations has been sent to jail for nearly two years after he was caught fishing under a false name in neighboring Georgia.

Fisherman lands a 130-pound catfish

Greg Bernal and his girlfriend needed half an hour just to lift the catch into the boat. 

Triple pincer clawed lobster caught

A Gloucester, Massachusetts, lobster dealer made an unusual discovery over the weekend.

Joey Ciaramitaro found a triple-pincer in a shipment that he received on Saturday at the wholesale business he owns with his cousin.

Lobsters usually have a crusher claw and a pincer claw. This lobster has an extra pincer. It's an unusual sight even for a veteran lobster dealer.

"We've seen blue lobsters, we've seen albino lobsters, and we've seen half-white lobsters split right down the middle of the shell, but I had never see one quite like this one," Ciaramitaro said.

Pug sings 'Batman Theme'

Pug sings 'Batman Theme'

The number that excites math geeks

One man recited digits for 16 hours — a mark worthy of Pi Approximation Day. 

Unlimited Urban Woods Pavilion

One tree + four mirrors = an entire forest! Step into a small booth and experience an infinite number of trees. This installation by DUS Architects was shown to folks in Oosterdokskade, Amsterdam last month.