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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.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Moving at great speed isn't your typical mode, but for now, you're getting somewhat ahead of yourself.
You're full of hot ideas and big schemes, and this is definitely good -- but you need to work on them some more before taking action.
It's not that they're impossible -- not at all -- but you need to keep pushing against adversity.
Take your time and you pick up some unexpected assistance.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, August 18, the 230th day of 2010.
There are 135 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Bad Poetry Day
Cupcake Day
Mail Order Catalog Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Man who struck legendary homer dies

Bobby Thomson hit what some have called the greatest home run ever.

The Beatles in Hamburg - 50 years ago today

An article at the Telegraph remembers when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe performed the first of their 281 concerts in Hamburg:
Their work rate was phenomenal – at one point in 1961 they played for 98 nights in succession, frequently starting at 7pm and going through until 7am. They learned how to survive on their wits, their flair for improvisation, their innate cockiness – and on a steady stream of uppers...

It is no exaggeration to say that it was in Hamburg that the Beatles properly learned how to play as a band ("It was our apprenticeship," Harrison said); it was in Hamburg where they made their first recording (as the backing band on a Tony Sheridan version of My Bonnie); and it was in Hamburg that John, Paul and George first played together with Ringo Starr (he was at the time the drummer with the rather superior Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and told the lads that they had better work on their act if they wanted to get him to join).

That first performance 50 years ago was at the Indra Club – a dingy little place that doubled as a strip joint in the Grosse Freiheit ("Great Freedom") on the fringes of Hamburg's Reeperbahn red-light district. The band had driven from the Hook of Holland in an Austin minivan and had been given digs in a couple of bleak storage rooms in the back of a nearby cinema, the Bambi Kino ("It was a pig sty," Lennon recalled later. "We were right next to the ladies' toilet.")...

At the new club they were asked to play long sets seven days a week – and to "mach schau" – or put on a show, something Lennon in particular liked to do (he once turned up on stage wearing nothing but his underpants – and a toilet seat around his neck; he frequently addressed his audience with the greeting "Heil Hitler".)

Hempel explains how they played right through the night with only short breaks and drew on every musical influence they could. They learned fast. As Lennon recalled: "Every song lasted 20 minutes and had 20 solos in it. That's what improved the playing. There was nobody to copy from. We played what we liked best and the Germans liked it as long as it was loud." 

Hot water killing Coral

At 93F the ocean is too hot
indonesian coral photo
Photos via Wildlife Conservation Society
Indonesia is home to stunning coral reefs, but the only thing stunning about them right now is that they're dying off at alarming rates after a sea surface temperature rise. The Wildlife Conservation Society just released a report detailing the wide-spread extent of the destruction that occurred in May at the northern tip of Sumatra, as their "Rapid Response Unit" of marine biologists investigated and discovered that over 60% of the corals were bleached.
indonesian coral photo
As the Wildlife Conservation Society explains, coral bleaching is a "whitening of corals that occurs when algae living within coral tissues are expelled - is an indication of stress caused by environmental triggers such as sea surface temperature fluctuations." Corals may or may not recover from bleaching. Bleaching has been common in other places from Florida to Malaysia. Stressors from a rise or fall in water temperatures to pollution can cause bleaching. But here in Indonesia, scientists found that 80% of some species have died already and more are expected to die in the next few months after surface temperatures in the Andaman Sea rocketed up to 34 degrees Celsius (4 degrees higher than usual) according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). If the bleaching occurs in other areas of the Andaman Sea, it's possible that this could be the worst bleaching ever recorded in the area.
"It's a disappointing development particularly in light of the fact that these same corals proved resilient to other disruptions to this ecosystem, including the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004," said WCS Indonesia Marine Program Director Dr. Stuart Campbell.

Corals can sometimes recover from bleaching if the right precautions are taken. This area was already undergoing improved management after the tsunami in 2004, and while this heat snap has wrought incredible damage, there is a chance that the corals can make a come back, albeit a slow one.
"This is a tragedy not only for some of the world's most biodiverse coral reefs, but also for people in the region, many of whom are extremely impoverished and depend on these reefs for their food and livelihoods," said WCS Marine Program Director Dr. Caleb McClennen. "Immediate and intensive management will be required to try and help these reefs, their fisheries and the entire ecosystem recover and adapt. However, coral reefs cannot be protected from the warming ocean temperatures brought on by a changing climate by local actions alone. This is another unfortunate reminder that international efforts to curb the causes and effects of climate change must be made if these sensitive ecosystems and the vulnerable human communities around the world that depend on them are to adapt and endure."
The impacts of global warming have been apparent among coral reefs for years. Unfortunately, the global community is doing little to limit carbon dioxide emissions, which has a double impact for reefs -- not only does that mean a rise in global temperatures which kills off reefs, but it also boosts ocean acidification, to which reefs also have difficulty adapting. While there are countless studies underway and multiple attempts at creating marine preserves where coral reefs can be protected as much as possible, there's little anyone can do when it comes to getting corals out of hot water.

The Gadget Hackwrench Religion

‘Fess up – who though that Gadget Hackwrench from the Disney TV series Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers back in the early 90s, was adorable? Well, a group of Russian fans thought that the pilot, mechanic and inventor mouse was much more than that – so they’ve decided to created a new religion around her:
Well, believe it or not, a group of Russian fans of Gadget Hackwrench have created a new religion, with the above mentioned cartoon character as the idol. They pray to posters of her, gather to talk about how incredibly great she is, compose songs about her, and spread stickers of Miss Hackwrench, wherever they go. It’s pretty unbelievable, but if Maradona has his own cult, why couldn’t Gadget Hackwrench?
Here’s what some of her worshipers think of their rodent goddess: “She is the divine being, the most untouched and perfect sibling of the great God on Earth”. “Why I love her? It’s a stupid question, how could I not love the Goddess?”. “She is strict, cute, optimistic and her level of technical knowledge is unachievable for a mortal being.”
And you wonder why religion has a bad name?