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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Try to avoid taking much of anything at face value right now.
Instead, try looking beneath the surface and get at someone else's motives.
This is particularly smart if a deal seems too good to be true, or the person on the other end seems just a bit too anxious for you to agree then and there with no time for questions.
Just smile and tell them you need time to think, and then decide later.

Today is:
Today is Monday, August 9, the 221th day of 2010.
There are 144 days left in the year.
Today In History August 9

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
There are none.

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Courting Three

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggests that women add a measure of civility to the court's work. 

United States cozies up with Vietnam

The former enemies stage a joint military operation amid growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Tasters said these store-bought brands have the right amount of smokiness and tangy flavor.  

Insect Sushi

Japanese chef Shoichi Uchiyama has developed a line of sushi recipes that use insects, rather than fish, as the primary source of protein. He believes that carefully-selected insects are not only healthy and tasty, but can help feed a growing world population.

From a 2008 article in The Daily Telegraph:
“In order to get 1 kg of beef, we have to raise cows on huge areas of land and give them many more kilos of fodder before they are ready to be slaughtered,” he said. “Insects eat the things that humans don’t and can be kept in much smaller spaces.
“Most importantly, insects are very nutritionally balanced, have little fat and are the perfect food source.”

Gulf seafood industry battles a new crisis

Convincing consumers that Gulf seafood is safe to eat is the latest challenge for hard-hit businesses.  

Colin dissipates as it passes by Bermuda

From the "Good News" Department:
Colin has weakened even further to a remnant of a tropical depression as the storm passed by Bermuda.
Colin's maximum sustained winds were about 30 mph Sunday. The storm's center steered clear of a direct hit to Bermuda.
A tropical storm watch was canceled for the British territory, but forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Bermuda could see 1 to 2 inches of rain and wind gusts.
The storm was about 60 miles northwest of Bermuda and is moving north around 12 mph.
Maybe those beach plans aren't so in jeopardy after all.
Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Estelle is weakening with top sustained winds of 45 mph. The storm poses no immediate threat to land.

'Trackers' lie in wait for campaign goofs

These political watchers, armed with video cameras, have derailed numerous candidates.  

Levi Johnston may finally come clean about Sarah Palin

British bankers party like recession didn't happen

Over 1,000 bankers have been quaffing champagne like the recession never happened at the largest City party since the economic crash of 2007. Representatives from major banks including Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, and HSBC, toasted the green shoots of economic recovery with pricey Laurent Perrier Champagne.

The event, billed as "a festival for bankers", was to celebrate City magazine The Square Mile's 50th issue. The atmosphere was buzzing with little sign of the austerity facing the rest of the country.

One City banker joked about how the recession had affected him. "It's been a very hard few years. I have had to survive on my bonus and only one Maserati - that's how it is."

On the controversial subject of bankers' hefty bonuses, the guests all agreed that they were well deserved. "You want to see bankers getting large bonuses, as it means the banks are over-achieving and doing really well," said one City trader.

On The Job

On The Job
Despite the brutal job market, salaries in some fields have stayed pretty stable.  

Secrets to maximizing Social Security

These little-known strategies can boost your household income by thousands of dollars a year.

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
Expert penny pinchers share bold ways to cut costs, and in some cases even earn money.  

Fitness myths to ignore

Thinking that all calories are created equal could be holding you back from your health goals.  

As we were - As we are

Scientists find a link between grownups' level of intellect and how they acted in grade school. 

Non Sequitur


Two young boys and woman struck by same bullet

Idaho State Police are investigating what appears to be an accidental shooting that involved three people, including two young boys.

Capt. Steve Richardson says around 7:30 a.m. on Friday, an adult female, a 3-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy were injured at a home in rural Gem County after a 9mm handgun discharged one bullet. He would not say who pulled the trigger.

All three victims were driven in a private vehicle to Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett. The woman and 3-year-old boy were treated and released from the hospital. The 2-year-old was treated and then taken by a private vehicle to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise for additional treatment. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Richardson says they are thankful the outcome was not any worse. Investigators say the 9mm handgun belongs to an off-duty Emmett Police officer. Idaho State Police are continuing to investigate and will forward their report to the county prosecutor for review.

A British couple were shot dead in an apparent 'honor killing' in Pakistan

Concerns have been raised for Britons engaging in arranged marriages abroad after a couple were shot dead in an apparent "honor killing". Taxi driver Gul Wazir and his wife Begum, from Alum Rock, Birmingham, were shot dead in Pakistan after they tried to back out of their daughter's arranged marriage.

Medical Workers Murdered In Afghanistan

The team of 10, including 6 Americans, treated hundreds of patients in remote villages.  

Winnie the Pooh leads to gangster's arrest

One of Italy's most wanted mafia godfathers has been arrested after seven years on the run after police traced him to his wife's mobile registered in the name of Winnie the Pooh. Vittorio Pirozzi, 58, who was on Italy's 100 most wanted mafia gangsters list, had been a fugitive from the Italian police since 2003, during which time he allegedly ran drug-trafficking operations in Spain and Belgium. He remained in close contact with his wife but changed the SIM card in his mobile phone every two weeks in order to avoid his location being traced.

His wife, however, was not so prudent, calling and texting her husband on a mobile phone which was registered under the alias of AA Milne's character. Police managed to crack a code that Pirozzi used when he called his wife's mobile at a fixed time on the same day every two weeks. After intercepting calls, they followed his wife to Brussels this week and discovered that Pirozzi, a senior member of the Naples-based Camorra mafia, was living in a modest apartment in the centre of the city.

Police and Interpol agents raided the flat on Wednesday night, apprehending Pirozzi on an international arrest warrant issued by Italian judges. Police said he was not armed and did not put up any resistance. He appeared in a court in Brussels and will be extradited back to Italy, where he will serve a 15 year prison sentence after being convicted in absentia on drug trafficking charges in 2003.

The Naples police chief who led the operation, Vittorio Pisani, said Pirozzi had divided his time on the run between Brussels and Malaga, in Spain. "Both are international crossroads for the stockpiling and importing of drugs to Europe," he said. Italy's interior minister, Roberto Maroni, welcomed the arrest. "This is another great state success against the Camorra and adds to a long list of previous arrests."

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Lunatic Fringe

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

Liars and Fools

Un-American Anti-Family Assholes spokesman Bryan Fischer lies: Gays are just like murderers, liars, thieves, and slave traders.
And don't forget the sugarplum fairy and little Bo Peep as well ... sheeesh, that idiot is really stupid.

Faux's Glenn Beck lies: Obama's presidency is "like the damn Planet of the Apes!"
Glenn, ol'boy, you have to stop yelling into the mirror like that.

Religio-wingnut Pat Robertson lies: homosexuals want to destroy the church and destroy marriage.
Even if it were true it wouldn't be a bad thing if either were destroyed now would it.

Faux's Glenn Beck lies to listeners that they are "fighting a power" greater than elected officials, warns that the "gates of Hell will open up".
Full on dementia. Time to put'em down.

Faux News website engages in gay baiting re Prop 8 decision.
And this is news, how?

Nutcase Cal Thomas lies that Muslim mosque near Ground Zero is a terrorist plot.
This is what you get from snorting to much printers ink ... brain dead.

Wingnut hate radio rabblerouser Lush Dimbulb lies: "Everybody on the left wanted" oil spill "to advance their anti-capitalist agenda".
True to form he has it exactly opposite from reality. Syphilis will do that to you, you know.




Plant used for poisonous Amazonian arrowheads found in English garden

A tropical hallucinogenic plant used to make poisonous Amazonian arrowheads has been found in an English garden. Sharon Nowell, 36, thought the green shoots appearing in her parents' garden were the beginnings of a marrow or possibly a common weed at first.

But after a bit of research she soon discovered that the plant – which has grown by four feet in a month – was something far more exotic. Internet searches showed that the plant was actually a rare datura stramonium – commonly known as the Devil's Trumpet for its distinctive horn-shaped flowers. The green plant, which resembles a large rhubarb, is more commonly found in hotter climates and has been used by American Indians for centuries in traditional ceremonies.

Despite being highly toxic and potentially lethal if ingested, the seeds in the plant's pods are often used as a mind-bending drug sold as jimson weed online for as little as £6. Experts believe its appearance in the garden in Coventry, West Midlands, originated from the droppings of migrating birds flying from the Atlantic.

Miss Nowell, who lives with her parent's Anne and Norman, searched for the plant online and discovered it is more commonly found in America and southern Europe. A friend then posted a photo of it on an online forum and was soon inundated with messages confirming it was the highly poisonous Devil's Trumpet. During her search, she was also contacted by companies in the US who sell the seeds as recreational drugs.

Real Unicorn Found

This isn't a deer with one horn missing - this deer has a single horn in the center of its head.  
The video comes from 2008.

Robot to explore mysterious tunnels in Great Pyramid

For 4,500 years, no one has known what lies beyond two stone doors deep inside the monumenthttp://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00427/pyramid_427937s.jpg
For 4,500 years, the Great Pyramid at Giza has enthralled, fascinated and ultimately frustrated everyone who has attempted to penetrate its secrets.

Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved

Computer studies of ocean floors around the world, particularly the area known as The Bermuda Triangle, reveal evidence of massive methane explosions in the past. For years, believers in the paranormal, aliens, and other outlandish theories pointed to the the disappearance of ships and aircraft as an indicator of mysterious forces at work in the “Devil’s triangle.” Scientists have finally pointed the rest of us to a more plausible cause.
The presence of methane hydrates indicates enormous eruptions of methane bubbles that would swamp a ship, and projected high into the air- take out flying airplanes, as well.
Any ships caught within the methane mega-bubble immediately lose all buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the ocean. If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning. Aircraft falling victim to these methane bubbles will lose their engines-perhaps igniting the methane surrounding them-and immediately lose their lift as well, ending their flights by diving into the ocean and swiftly plummeting.

Massive ice island 4x size of Manhattan separates from Greenland glacier

Andreas Muenchow, an oceanographic researcher from the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, reports that an "ice island" four times larger than Manhattan has separated from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland (shown in the photo above from 2009). This "calving" is the largest single ice chunk loss in the Arctic since 1962. Snip from press release:
Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf. Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service discovered the ice island within hours after NASA's MODIS-Aqua satellite took the data on Aug. 5, at 8:40 UTC (4:40 EDT), Muenchow said. These raw data were downloaded, processed, and analyzed at the University of Delaware in near real-time as part of Muenchow's NSF research.
Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean.
The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building.
“The freshwater stored in this ice island could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years. It could also keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days,” Muenchow said.
Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD scientist reports (udel.edu) A related report in USA Today notes that last month, other scientists on a Greenpeace ship predicted the calving—and that a total of 1.1 trillion tons of ice would soon crumble from the glacier.

Ancient bison kill site uncovered in Montana

Archaeologists working on the Blackfeet Indian reservation in northwestern Montana say they have uncovered a vast former hunting complex where bison were stampeded over a cliff at least 1,000 years ago.

The Valley of the Whales

Paleontologist Philip Gingerich looks for sea monsters in the Egyptian desert. He assembles fossils of ancient whales that died there when it was covered by an ocean. One such whale is the Basilosaurus, which had small hind legs.
“Complete specimens like that Basilosaurus are Rosetta stones,” Gingerich told me as we drove back to his field camp. “They tell us vastly more about how the animal lived than fragmentary remains.”
Wadi Hitan—literally “valley of whales”—has proved phenomenally rich in such Rosetta stones. Over the past 27 years Gingerich and his colleagues have located the remains of more than a thousand whales here, and countless more are left to be discovered.
Researchers hope that whale fossils can help them understand how a land mammal evolved into an aquatic form that became our modern whales.

Surfers Rescue Beached Great White Shark

Surfers in Australia found a 10-foot great white shark stranded on a beach. They carefully dragged it back into the ocean. Photographer Ruth Fahey reported:
“As it was threshing about, they tried first to dig the sand away beneath it to refloat it but ended up man-handling it back into the water. It was still very sluggish when they got to knee deep water so the surfer waded it out until he was waist deep.”
“The shark slowly swam away… much slower than the surfer exited the vicinity.”

Walleye Bones Can 'Hear' the Sound of Overfishing

photo walleye teeth 
A university study on Lake Erie walleye may help scientists spot rivers that are at risk of overfishing. Researchers at Ohio State analyzed chemicals found in walleye ear bones, and were able to figure out which fish returned to their hatching site to spawn, and which ones went elsewhere, creating some rivers that are vulnerable to overfishing. The fish seem to be saying, "Can you hear me now?"



Opera Houses

The most beautiful theaters in the world are captured in photographs by David Laventi in a series called Opera.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

There have been about 200 reported cases of spontaneous human combustion reported in history, in which a person was killed by a fire that could not be explained otherwise. What happened?

And is there a scientific explanation for these cases?
The earliest case of SHC that we know of today comes from a Danish anatomist named Thomas Bartholin who in 1663 described an occurrence in Paris where a woman was burnt completely to ashes in her sleep while the straw mattress upon which she was laying remained unmarred by the flames that had consumed her. Since the reporting of this case of spontaneous human combustion to the whole of the European community, many others have been recorded in history. Yet, they tend to have a similar pattern in the resulting accounts. The victim is generally found almost completely consumed by a then died out fire in his or her home or place of residence.

How a US Ghost Town Got in the Heart of the Amazon

fordlandia photo  
Traveling through the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, one might expect to run across many strange and fascinating things -- but an American ghost town probably wouldn't be one of them. Yet deep in the world's largest rain forest lies the abandoned remnants of Fordlândia, a remote US-style factory town built by Henry Ford in the 1920s, intended to be an American utopia in the middle of the Amazon. Needless to say, things didn't work out too well.

World's most spectacular pools

A view of three countries and hand-cut tiles are some of the incredible features of these watery retreats.

Neighborly Gardening

Well, not so neighborly after all
Nurse gets restraining order for 'obsessive hedge cutting'
A nurse who made her neighbors' lives hell by her "obsessive hedge cutting" has received a restraining order. For three years Susan Sheldrick, 45, tormented her wealthy neighbours with a bizarre campaign of manic gardening that went on from dawn until dusk. Over the years she reduced the height of the dividing front hedge by five feet and the back one by six, shouting: "We can see you now!"

Sheldrick and her businessman husband Nigel, 49, were found guilty of harassment after shattering the peace in the neighborhood where they lived in a £425,000 detached house. Magistrates heard how a dispute with their next door neighbors, company boss Justin Jackson and his wife Heather, culminated in Sheldrick using strimmers and shears to lop down the hedge, inch by inch, in the middle of the night.

The campaign of harassment also included Nigel Sheldrick and their sons vacuuming the family car at 1am, shouting abuse and Mrs Sheldrick singing loudly under their neighbors' window late at night. Tension between the well-to-do residents in Harrogate, North Yorks, began when the Jacksons applied to extend their five-bedroom bungalow to build an orangery.

Harrogate magistrates' court heard that things turned uglier after the Sheldricks' giant schnauzer escaped into the Jacksons' garden and pinned their daughter to her front door. The couple were handed an indefinite restraining order, forbidding the Sheldricks from harassing their neighbors - and limiting hedge cutting to once a month between 8am and 4pm. They denied causing a problem and will appeal. They also plan to move to a small-holding in Lincolnshire.

Painting garden fence leads to criminal damage fine
A couple who painted their side of a garden fence have been handed an £80 fine by police for "criminal damage", after a neighbor complained. Officers turned up at the home of Kay Balsdon and her partner Chris Bates and threatened them with prosecution if they refused to accept the on-the-spot fine. A next-door neighbor had claimed that Mr Bates' paint job, in a shade called "Forest Green", had ruined the finish on her side of the 6ft fence which was painted a different color.

Mrs Balsdon, 47, said: "When the police turned up at my door I thought it was a prank. I just couldn't believe it - I was expecting Jeremy Beadle to pop out at any moment." The petrol station cashier from Aldershot, Hants, added: "The fence was getting a bit dry and starting to warp so we thought we'd paint it green to match the rest of the fences in our garden. We were very careful and used a brush rather than a sprayer, but a little bit had got through the fence.

"The woman next door got very upset and started banging on the door and creating a scene. "She called the police who said they were going to issue a fine, and warned us that if we didn't pay we would end up going to court and end up paying a lot of money. So we just paid." Mr Bates, 29, a postman, said: "I'm amazed that there was such a waste of police time over something so petty.

"When the police arrived I was speechless for 20 minutes. And when it had finally sunk in I felt angry that I was being punished for something so stupid." Hampshire Police said it had decided to refund the fine. A spokesman said: "The officers gave this a lot of consideration and decided that this was the best way to deal with it. However, we have now reviewed the case and the fine will be rescinded and refunded."

Albino Peacocks

Albino Peacock Photo
Photo by Yvonne Ayoub
Within the plumage of a peacock lies a complex architecture that's continuously changing color. Or so it seems. Though the colors of a peacock are revered, it is just as stunning--if not more so--without them. Often referred to as an albino peacock, it is nothing of the sort. It's technically a white peacock which is a genetic variant of the Indian Blue Peafowl.