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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.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
While it's tempting to give as good as you've gotten lately, you need to think twice before stooping to a certain someone's level.
If they cut in line, you need to firmly (but politely) take your place back instead of resorting to an equally rude maneuver in order to make a point.
Remember your long-range goals instead of focusing on revenge, and you should find that things work out right.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, August 7, the 219th day of 2010.
There are 146 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Mustard Day
Lighthouse Day
Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Washington, DC
Forty-five years ago, we made a solemn compact as a nation that senior citizens would not go without the health care they need.  This is the promise we made when Medicare was born.  And it’s the responsibility of each generation to keep that promise.
That’s why a report issued this week by the Trustees who oversee Medicare was such good news.  According to this report, the steps we took this year to reform the health care system have put Medicare on a sounder financial footing.  Reform has actually added at least a dozen years to the solvency of Medicare – the single longest extension in history – while helping to preserve Medicare for generations to come. 
We’ve made Medicare more solvent by going after waste, fraud, and abuse – not by changing seniors’ guaranteed benefits.  In fact, seniors are starting to see that because of health reform, their benefits are getting better all the time.
Seniors who fall into the “doughnut hole” – the gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage – are eligible right now for a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescriptions.  Now, I know for people facing drug costs far higher than that, they need more help.  That’s why we negotiated a better deal with the pharmaceutical companies for seniors.  So starting next year, if you fall in the doughnut hole, you’ll get a 50-percent discount on the brand-name medicine you need.  And in the coming years, this law will close the doughnut hole completely once and for all.
Already, we have put insurance companies on notice that we have the authority to review and reject unreasonable rate increases for Medicare Advantage plans.  And we’ve made it clear to the insurers that we won’t hesitate to use this authority to protect seniors. 
Beginning next year, preventive care – including annual physicals, wellness exams, and tests like mammograms – will be free for seniors as well.  That will make it easier for folks to stay healthy.  But it will also mean that doctors can catch things earlier, so treatment may be less invasive and less expensive. 
And as reform ramps up in the coming years, we expect seniors to save an average of $200 per year in premiums and more than $200 each year in out of pocket costs, too. 
This is possible in part through reforms that target waste and abuse and redirect those resources to where they’re supposed to go: our seniors. We’re already on track to cut improper payments in half – including money that goes to criminals who steal taxpayer dollars by setting up insurance scams and other frauds.  And we won’t stop there.  Because by preventing the loss of these tax dollars, we can both address the runaway costs of Medicare and improve the quality of care seniors receive – and we can crack down on those who prey on seniors and take advantage of people. 
So we are no longer accepting business as usual.  We’re making tough decisions to meet the challenges of our time.  And as a result, Medicare is stronger and more secure.  That’s important.  Because Medicare isn’t just a program.  It’s a commitment to America’s seniors – that after working your whole life, you’ve earned the security of quality health care you can afford.  As long as I am President, that’s a commitment this country is going to keep. 
Thank you.

Health Care Reform has extended life of Medicare

The new health care law has significantly improved the prognosis for Medicare, extending the life of its trust fund by 12 years until 2029, and thereby delaying any need for dramatic changes in benefits or revenues, according to a new report. The annual check-up from government actuaries overseeing the nation's two central safety-net programs also found that Social Security continues to be much less of a problem than Medicare, and will remain in strong financial shape at least through 2037.'The financial outlook for the Medicare program is substantially improved as a result of the far-reaching changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,' concludes the Medicare report -- although the trustees warned that the improvements depend on the successful implementation of the law.

Diabetic News

Beads That Glow with Glucose Levels
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed what they call “Life Beans”. These are fluorescent beads that are implanted inside the human body. They glow with varying intensity subject to the glucose level of the patient:
Researchers tested it in the ears of a mouse, and watched as the ear fluoresced at different intensities depending on the mouse’s blood sugar.
The researchers think it would be possible to develop devices that manage diabetics’ blood sugar without them noticing it.
One difficulty with the current design is that the patient’s immune system attacks the beads and dims the lights.

Contact Lenses That Change Color To Alert Diabetics of Glucose Levels
Jin Zhang, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, is developing contact lenses that change color with the user’s blood sugar level. This could allow diabetics to monitor themselves without frequent blood samples.

The technology:
…uses extremely small nanoparticles embedded into the hydrogel lenses. These engineered nanoparticles react with glucose molecules found in tears, causing a chemical reaction that changes their color.

Picasso's Biggest Work Goes On Display After 80 Years

It's so big it has had to spend the best part of 80 years in storage. But now, Pablo Picasso's largest work was unrolled in all its glory at the Victoria and Albert Museum, England.

Stretching over more than 34ft by 38ft, the canvas was created for Russian ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev.

The Final Sentence

"There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind."

The sentence above is the last one from which work of literature?
Click here to find out.

Ten Million Hits

An oh-so-dated heavy metal music video garners over 10 million views on YouTube. 



Nuclear powers attend Hiroshima memorial

The U.S. sends a representative to the anniversary ceremony for the first time.  

Smog blankets Moscow

Moscow is now Los Angeles it seems.
Raging wildfires cast a pall over the city, with visibility limited to just a few yards at times.

Ma Nature is pissed

Magnitude 7 earthquake shakes Papua New Guinea
A magnitude 7 earthquake shook Papua New Guinea on Thursday, U.S. Geological Survey said.

A cloudburst followed by flash floods hit a Himalayan desert region in Indian-controlled Kashmir, sending rivers of mud down mountainsides and killing at least 112 people and injuring another 400, officials said Saturday.

Ma Nature is pissed and she is showing her displeasure with these increased earthquakes, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions. We must heed her admonishments or we risk losing the survival game!

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Muppets

600K for a dog!

Tibetan mastiffs aren't just massive in size — they grow to nearly 200 pounds — they also go for a hefty price. 

The strongest housing markets for 2014

Forecasts predict a four-year increase in median home prices, especially in these cities.

There's a limit, folks

There's a limit, folks and these Bozos passed it ...
A county official in Oregon has apologized after a 7-year-old's business venture was soured because health inspectors shut down her lemonade stand.

Top 10 Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago

When I grow up, I want to be...a vertical farmer?

Ways you could be ruining your retirement

Not accounting for inflation or insurance costs now could tarnish your golden years.  

Cool Pictures


Archaeology News

The Confederate sub Hunley has a safe place in history, but no one knows why it sank.
Neanderthal's Cozy Bedroom Unearthed
Even though it isn't wired for broadband, this prehistoric domicile does have beds and even a fireplace. Read more 

Archaeologists Claim To Have Found Remains Of John The Baptist

Bulgarian archaeologists excavating an ancient monastery on the Black Sea, claim to have found the remains of St John the Baptist. The artifacts were found on St Ivan Island near the town of Sozopol. Local media reported that fragments of a human skull, hand and tooth were found inside a reliquary in the altar of a church dedicated to John the Baptist.

Further tests on the fragments are due to be carried out. But Popkonstantinov is convinced the relics belong to John the Baptist because of a Greek inscription on the reliquary referring to June 24, the date when christians celebrate John the Baptist's birth.

The Joshua tree

“Nothing the desert produces expresses it better than the unhappy growth of the tree yuccas. Tormented, thin forests of it stalk drearily in the high mesas, particularly in that triangular slip that fans out eastward from the meeting of the Sierras and coastwise hills where the first swings across the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The yucca bristles with bayonet-pointed leavesdull green, growing shaggy with age, tipped with panicles of fetid, greenish bloom. After death, which is slow, the ghosty hollow network of its woody skeleton, with hardly power to rot makes the moonlight fearful...”
– Mary Austin on Joshua trees, from The Land of Little Rain, 1903.

The shadow of the earth

Explanation: From central Australia, this serene 360 degree panorama follows a clear horizon as twilight began on May 28. At left, a bright western sky is still illuminated by the setting Sun. But sweeping right, toward a view centered on the countryside's dominating sandstone formation called Uluru or Ayers Rock, the sky takes on progressively darker hues and subtle colors. Behind Uluru is the shadow of planet Earth itself, a dark blue arch rising in the east. Cast through the dense atmosphere and still close to the horizon, Earth's long shadow is bounded above by a pinkish glow or antitwilight arch. Known as the Belt of Venus, the lovely color of the antitwilight arch is due to backscattering of reddened light from the setting Sun. On that night, a nearly full Moon also rose above Earth's shadow in the eastern sky.



Ancient 'cat-like' crocodile had bite like a mammal

Pakasuchus kapilimai, artist's drawing  
Long ago, crocodile-like creatures might have hunted dragonflies
Palaeontologists working in Tanzania have unearthed fossils of a tiny crocodile-like creature with teeth resembling those of mammals.
The animal, Pakasuchus kapilimai, lived between 144 and 65 million years ago - during the Cretaceous - in what is now sub-Saharan Africa.
Scientists say the find shows that crocs were once more diverse than they are today.

Lab rights ALWAYS pick saccharin over cocaine.

Sodium Saccharin
Sci at Neurotic Physiology writes about a study with some surprising findings: lab rights ALWAYS pick saccharin over cocaine. Sci notes a few minor issues with the study, but highlights the broader implication:
Well, this could be a bug, or a feature, of self-administration in rodents. If it DOES turn out that saccharin is more rewarding than cocaine in rats, and this is not the case in humans (you could probably test parts of thing in some humans, which would be interesting), well, this could be a difference between humans and rats. It could ALSO be an issue with the self-administration model itself. Some people have criticized drug self-administration in rats, because it doesn’t lead to the rat banging on the lever constantly in desperation or other things we would assume are associated with addiction. This could be just that rats aren’t in for that sort of thing. It could ALSO be that there are problems with the doses we give the rats, the schedules they can administer drug under, or even the environments the drug is administered in.



Seafood has low risk for carrying oil dispersant, says FDA

'Low' is still more than "No" ...
The Food and Drug Administration says chemical dispersants used to break up oil in the Gulf of Mexico have a low potential for accumulating in seafood, and do not pose a public health concern.

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Spicy, sweet, or paired with waffles, the nation's best chicken is at these eateries. 
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
This is National Farmers' Market week in the U.S. and it's the perfect time to get acquainted with your local market if you haven't already. If you are a market regular, take a friend who's never been before. Buy a vegetable you've never tried and be adventuresome. Have a chat with the farmer who is selling her wares and ask her about the farm. Discover the joy of eating local and seasonal food that has just been picked. Take cash and cloth bags. Ask the farmers how they like to prepare the vegetables you are buying.

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
These no-name items are identical to their branded counterparts, except for the price.  
These four poses target your abs as well as your chest, shoulders, and back.  

Olympic superstar upset by American

Tyson Gay stuns world-record holder Usain Bolt in a tense 100-meter duel in Stockholm.

Language barrier's negative impact

Latino students lag behind despite an increase in English-immersion classes, a new poll says. 

It's all shits and giggles, then ...

From the "They walk among us" Department:
Moron 'dances' in traffic and gets what he deserves.
It's all shits and giggles, then ...

Dumb Crooks

An east Texas woman who allegedly was trying to set up a drug sale turned out to be mistakenly texting law officers.

Burglar caught breaking into house a 2nd time, claims he was leaving a thank you note
A serial burglar fresh out of jail went back to a Sarasota home he robbed last year to hit it again, this time with a 'thank you note,' authorities said. Gerald Maxwell, 39, was arrested at the Chippewa Place home on Tuesday night, reportedly telling police, "I was going back in there to leave a thank you note because I'm the guy who burglarized this place last year. I just got out of jail."

Maxwell has a long record of burglaries, according to the Sarasota Police Department. In addition to the most recent arrest and his boast of burglarizing the home a year ago, Maxwell was busted in December 2007 for burglarizing the same home, and has eight total burglary arrests in the area since November 2006. This time, according to arrest reports, Maxwell went to the home in the 2200 block of Chippewa Place around 10:30 p.m Tuesday, pried open a window and crept inside. That triggered a motion-sensing alarm in the home, and a pair of Sarasota police officers responded to the scene.

The two officers approached the home's front door, which opened halfway and then slammed shut, reports said. They then split to cover the front and rear of the home and prevent escape, with more officers and the police department's helicopter called to the scene. Police quickly spotted Maxwell inside the home and ordered him out, reports said. As Maxwell did, he was taken into custody, uttering his "thank you note" line.

Inside the home, investigators found a stack of jewellery they said Maxwell had gathered in his heist attempt, along with a crack pipe left near the pile of jewellery. Maxwell was taken to the Sarasota County Jail. He was charged with burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia, along with four counts of probation violation.

Woman vows to kill police, throw feces and have abortion following arrest
A Millville woman was charged with robbing a New Jersey Transit bus driver and kicking out a police cruiser’s window on Sunday afternoon. Natalie M. Tice, 21, of Millville’s Oakview Apartments, allegedly punched the 63-year-old bus driver in the head and took $48 from him. The robbery occurred at the Vineland Transportation Center, located at 106 W. Landis Ave. It was reported at 4:26 p.m.

The bus driver told police he attempted to prevent Tice from boarding the bus, as she had earlier caused a disturbance while riding on his bus. Tice ignored his request and boarded the bus, then allegedly turned around and punched him, causing a cut to the left side of his head. After Tice was placed under arrest for the robbery, she was put in the rear of a police cruiser as police continued their investigation.

Police pepper-sprayed Tice after she ignored an order to stop kicking the cruiser’s rear, passenger-side window. The pepper-spray reportedly had little impact in calming Tice, who kicked out the window a few moments later. Police estimated the damage to the cruiser at $600. Tice allegedly made several threats to kill the police officers involved in the investigation, both during her arrest and while being processed at police headquarters.

She also screamed that she was going to defecate in an interview room and hurl faeces at the officers, and also indicated she was going to have an abortion so she could claim she had a miscarriage due to the way she was handled following her arrest, according to police. The police report did not indicate if Tice was pregnant. Police recovered $50 from Tice, who was taken to South Jersey Healthcare-Regional Medical Center for evaluation. Tice was charged with robbery and criminal mischief, with bail set at $100,000.

Bad Cops

 A Texas Police officer Grant Jones went over the line in trying to apprehend a vehicle speeding in Diboll, Texas.

I Give Up

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Jon Stewart does it again!

And now a word from our Founding Fathers


Annoy a repugican


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 loudmouth Lush Dimbulb lies: "our own government has become the enemy".Nope, it was during the dark years of the shrub and the cabal that the government was the enemy.

On Glenn Beck's Twitter feed, he "favorites" White Nationalist's post.
Nazi's supporting each other ... Bless their little hearts.

Batshit crazy wingnut Pam Geller lies: the Muslim Brotherhood has "infiltrated senior levels" of the Obama administration.
And little green men wearing purple tutus are riding pink elephants on the ocean, too. Pam, you gotta quit smoking that stuff, girl.

Faux's Glenn Beck lies: Obama does not believe that all men are created equal.
Actually, that'd be you Glenn and yammering into the mirror is no way to go through life

Sharon Angle (reptile-Nevada) lies: Democrats are idolators, in "violation of the First Commandment".
This bitch is starting to make Michelle Bachman look sane and that takes a heap of doing.

Faux's Glenn Beck suggests that progressives think "the state" should "decide ... who lives and who dies".
Wrong, that was your cadre of mendicants and sycophants and we ousted them. 

Dan Maes, repugican candidate for Governor in Colorado, says bike lanes are part of a plot to put Denver under United Nations rule.
The air in Colorado is thin but this idiot isn't even trying to breathe and the lack of oxygen has destroyed what he used to call his brain.


Wizard of Id


Animal News

crab on beach photo
Photo by nukeit1
In normal conditions, marine animals are well equipped to fight off infection from the plethora of bacteria and viruses lurking in the oceans. However, that means having a hearty immune system that can react quickly if they get hurt. Researcher are finding that areas with low oxygen, such as within and around dead zones, and high carbon dioxide can wreak havoc on coastal animals' ability to ward off disease. They are finding that for animals living in polluted areas such as these, it takes only half as much bacteria to be lethal.
Article continues: Changes in Ocean Oxygen Levels Means Coastal Creatures Can't Fight Illness

Radioactive boar on the rise in Germany
As Germany's wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007. It's no secret that Germany has a wild boar problem. Stories of marauding pigs hit the headlines with startling regularity: Ten days ago, a wild boar attacked a wheelchair-bound man in a park in Berlin; in early July, a pack of almost two dozen of the animals repeatedly marched into the eastern German town of Eisenach, frightening residents and keeping police busy; and on Friday morning, a German highway was closed for hours after 10 wild boar broke through a fence and waltzed onto the road.

Even worse, though, almost a quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, a good chunk of Germany's wild boar population remains slightly radioactive - and the phenomenon has been costing the German government an increasing amount of money in recent years. According to the Environment Ministry in Berlin, almost €425,000 ($555,000) was paid out to hunters in 2009 in compensation for wild boar meat that was too contaminated by radiation to be sold for consumption. That total is more than four times higher than compensation payments made in 2007.

The reason for the climbing payments, of course, has more to do with Germany's skyrocketing wild boar population than with an increase in radioactive contamination. "In the last couple of years, wild boar have rapidly multiplied," a spokesman from the Environment Ministry said. "Not only is there more corn being farmed, but warmer winters have also contributed to a boar boom." Numbers from the German Hunting Federation confirm the population increase. In the 2008/2009 season, a record number of boar were shot, almost 650,000 against just 287,000 a year previously.

Many of the boar that are killed land on the plates of diners across Germany, but it is forbidden to sell meat containing high levels of radioactive caesium-137 - any animals showing contamination levels higher than 600 becquerel per kilogram must be disposed of. But in some areas of Germany, particularly in the south, wild boar routinely show much higher levels of contamination. According to the Environment Ministry, the average contamination for boar shot in Bayerischer Wald, a forested region on the Bavarian border with the Czech Republic, was 7,000 becquerel per kilogram. Other regions in southern Germany aren't much better. Wild boar are particularly susceptible to radioactive contamination due to their predilection for chomping on mushrooms and truffles, which are particularly efficient at absorbing radioactivity. Indeed, whereas radioactivity in some vegetation is expected to continue declining, the contamination of some types of mushrooms and truffles will likely remain the same, and may even rise slightly - even a quarter century after the Chernobyl accident.

Bombs and ...

Reports of explosives on the hull of the damaged ship shed new light on the bizarre incident.  
For 15 years, Adnan Shukrijumah lived among Americans — now the FBI fears he's targeting them.
Justice Department says 14 charged with supporting terrorism in Somalia
Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that 14 people are being charged with providing support for the Somalian terrorist group al-Shabab. Holder said the charges reflect a disturbing trend that leaders in Muslim communities in the United States are helping law enforcement agencies to address.

Dead man gets ticket for parking too long in 2-hour zone

A Seattle parking enforcement officer ticketed a man on Tuesday who authorities say was likely dead hours before the ticket was issued. At about 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the parking enforcement officer marked the man's car in a 2-hour parking zone. The woman returned a few minutes after noon and found the car hadn't moved.

"The PEO rapped on the window twice in an attempt to wake the man," police spokeswoman Renee Witt said in a statement. "When she was unsuccessful she concluded that the individual was simply a sound sleeper. The PEO left the ticket on the windshield and continued her patrol." She later learned he was dead. About 40 minutes after the man was fined $42 for parking too long in the 2-hour spot, his girlfriend found the car with a GPS device.

Medics were dispatched at 12:47 p.m., but the man was unconscious and unresponsive when they arrived, Fire Department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen said. The driver was Derek Michael Eldridge, 36, according to the King County Medical Examiner's Office. The office is waiting for tests before releasing his cause and manner of death, though police say there was no sign of homicidal violence. Eldridge's exact time of death was not released.

Parking enforcement officers have radios and a reasonable expectation to call for help in an emergency. But police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said it's not uncommon for parking enforcement officers to find people asleep in their cars. The woman, a 29-year parking enforcement veteran, did nothing wrong in the circumstances, he said. The ticket issued was Eldrige's first parking ticket in Seattle Municipal Court, records show. The ticket was voided about an hour and a half after he was pronounced dead.

Ukranian man eats grandmother alive

A 26-year-old Ukranian man has allegedly eaten his grandmother alive. Computer programmer, Sergei Zhmaryov, has been accused of gouging 60-year-old Lydia's eyeballs before eating her.

He allegedly used a shard of broken mirror to carve the grandmother's face while she was still conscious. It is believed Zhmaryov cut her tongue out to stop her screams for help, and then ate it.

He also allegedly cut off her lips and ears. The woman died at the scene. Ukranian authorities believe it may have been a ritualistic killing.

Zhmaryov was found in his underpants, holding a cross and chanting prayers. He could face up to 20 years in prison on murder charges.



Did you know ...

Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia is actually 137 miles long!

There Are 129,864,880 Different Books in the World

Google, which is engaging in extensive book digitization projects, recently set out to determine the number of distinct print books currently in existence:
After some intensive analysis, we’ve come up with a number. Standing on the shoulders of giants—libraries and cataloging organizations—and based on our computational resources and experience of organizing millions of books through our Books Library Project and Books Partner Program since 2004, we’ve determined that number.
As of today, we estimate that there are 129,864,880 different books in the world. That’s a lot of knowledge captured in the written word! This calculation used an algorithm that combines books information from multiple sources including libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. And the actual number of books is always increasing.

Canadians swear more than Americans and Brits

Canadians drop more "f-bombs" and other curse words than people in both the US and Britain, a new study suggests. While Canada prides itself on being a polite, reserved society, 56 per cent of Canadians admit they use foul language regularly while talking with friends. In Britain, a country known for its proper manners, 51 per cent of those surveyed said they frequently or occasionally used swear words.

Meanwhile, though Americans are often stereotyped as being loud and outspoken, only 46 per cent surveyed said they regularly curse during informal conversations. According to the study, nasty language is more prevalent at Canadian offices, too, as only 32 per cent of those surveyed in this country said they avoided swearing while on the job. That is compared with 46 per cent of Americans and 33 per cent of Britons who reported that they never swear at work.

Even at home, the numbers show a similar trend. 33 per cent of Britons and 32 per cent of Americans said they don't swear in front of family members. Only 27 per cent Canadians reported that they abstain from cursing around family

Despite the range in responses, respondents in all three countries share similar points of view when it comes to language in the public realm. According to the survey, more than 70 per cent in all of the countries believe it's not okay for doctors, lawyers, police officers and politicians to swear in public. A smaller amount, between 60 and 67 per cent, said it's not appropriate for athletes to curse while in the spotlight.

What about the Antipodeans? I suspect the result would be different should some of them have been involved.

40 Seriously Funny Print Ads

Print ads need to get a message across with a single image and without the recourse of interactivity that we find today on the Internet. For any company trying to get their product or service out in print format, the task is ever more challenging and difficult.

Humorous ads remain one of the few effective ways to engage an audience in a very saturated advertising market. This is an area where the audience is far more receptive and still willing to pay attention.