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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, August 19, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It's not just your close friends who are happy with what you've been able to pull off recently -- it's also bosses, customers and more who have been watching to see if you're really ready for a big step up.
You've proven yourself worthy of the attention (and affection), so why not cut loose and celebrate a little?
You've been working hard for quite some time now.
Treat yourself to something nice for a change!

Today is:
Today is Thursday, August 19, the 231st day of 2010.
There are 134 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
"Black Cow" Root Beer Float Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Just the News

Just the News
Warren Buffett, Tavis Smiley, and others refuse to tie themselves to a mobile line.
Some of the world's richest people have promised to give away at least half of their fortunes.
Whiskey Bio-Fuel
It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "one for the road". Whiskey, the spirit that powers the Scottish economy, is being used to develop a new bio-fuel which could be available at petrol pumps in a few years.

Using samples from the Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian, researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have developed a method of producing bio-fuel from two main by-products of the whiskey distilling process – "pot ale", the liquid from the copper stills, and "draff", the spent grains.

Copious quantities of both waste products are produced by the £4bn whiskey industry each year, and the scientists say there is real potential for the bio-fuel, to be available at local garage forecourts alongside traditional fuels. It can be used in conventional cars without adapting their engines. The team also said it could be used to fuel planes and as the basis for chemicals such as acetone, an important solvent.

'Ground Zero mosque' leader's past work

Imam at the center of the debate on the controversial structure was asked to aid the FBI post-9/11.

The State Of The Nation

The State Of The Nation
Flash floods derail a train and damage areas still recovering from May's deadly storms.  
Residents in these areas bear the brunt of bad commutes, long work hours, and high unemployment. 
Hispanic immigrants have a more positive view of U.S. life than those born here, a poll finds.  
A group that controls two metal spans between Mexico and the U.S. says they aren't really "bridges."  

As The World Turns

As The World Turns
Kenyan held in albino sale sting
Police in Tanzania say they have arrested a Kenyan national who was attempting to sell an albino man. The arrest was made in a sting operation as police pretended to be businessmen buying albino body parts. Police say they struck a deal equivalent to more than $250,000 (£159,000) for the 20-year-old man.

Albino body parts are prized in parts of Africa, with witchdoctors claiming they have special powers. The Tanzanian government has promised to take action. According to the Tanzanian police a 28-year-old Kenyan man, Nathan Mutei, was arrested just outside the town of Mwanza as he attempted to sell an albino man. The regional police commander, Simon Siro, said that Mr Mutei had tricked a fellow Kenyan into believing he would secure a job in Tanzania as a truck driver's assistant.

But the police said Mr Mutei had secretly tried to find businessmen willing to buy 20-year-old Robinson Mkwama. The police commander said they had posed as potential buyers in order to make the arrest. Mr Mutei is due in court on Wednesday accused of human trafficking. In Tanzania, the body parts of people living with albinism are used by witchdoctors for potions which they tell clients will help make them rich or healthy.

Over the last three years more than 50 albino adults and children have been killed. The Tanzanian government promised to take action, and there have been some court cases. But justice is slow. So far, just seven men have been given death sentences. The number of albino killings has fallen, but the fear is still strong. African albinos are also under threat from skin cancer and for that reason they rarely live beyond the age of 40.

A downed plane in China raises questions about the possible illicit mission of its pilot.  
A U.S. boy's "peace forest" pitch gets a warm welcome in Pyongyang — with one big caveat.  
The Cuban leader showcases a popular idea about a shadowy group that's said to run global affairs.  

Woman Strangled Roommate Over Hamburger

A Minneapolis woman has been charged with allegedly strangling her roommate over a hamburger.

Non Sequitur


Entertain Us

The "True Grit" character that won The Duke his only Oscar is recast with a celebrated actor. 

A 1794 document found in Ike papers

A document written by a federal judge 216 years ago has turned up in an unlikely place: in President Dwight Eisenhower's archives in Kansas.

Popcorn? Blood? Bedbugs Hit NYC Theaters

Bedbugs have attacked a popular movie theater in Times Square as New York battles the persistent pests.

Squirrel Cherry Nut Poppin' Zippers Daddies

Put A Lid On It by the Squirrel Nut Zippers
Zoot Suit Riot by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
An outbreak of salmonella poisoning prompts an Iowa egg producer to issue a major recall.  
A new study shows that 1 in 5 teens is now affected — which can mean big problems later. 
Your Bra Can Kill You And Other Medical Myths
Medical myths are sometimes hilarious and sometimes they're downright dangerous information. No matter how often they're debunked, people will still believe them. Why? Because when you're told something is true throughout your entire life, it can be difficult to change your mind. That's how medical myths can spread.

Two common ways of falling asleep may put harmful stress on internal organs. 
Strange Bedfellows
Peculiar and unknown facts about shut-eye. Did you know sleep affects your memory, heart health, teeth, and more.


Food wars

A lawsuit claims that Springdale, Utah's prohibition of "formula restaurants" is unconstitutional. 
Burger lovers are abuzz over a pizza burger, a burger-doughnut combo, and the "Meat Beast."  
Declining sales blamed on confusing ads prompt some franchise owners to take action.  

All That's Trendy

Foot "gloves" are selling fast, but is it safe for runners to forgo shoes? 

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger
You and I know it as the Luther Burger, but now Krispy Kreme is selling cheeseburgers made with their distinctively sweet donuts in place of the bun at state fairs. For $5, you get one Krispy Keme cheeseburger that contains over a thousand calories!

Krispy Kreme chocolate-covered bacon can even be added to top it off for $1 extra. Thus far the reviews for this new burger have been positive. The fair vendors know that the attendees like to try different food and are not usually counting fat grams or calories. The instant heart attack was created by Nathan Morrissey of Machine Head restaurant. It was, apparently, an attempt to surpass last year’s fair delicacy, chocolate-covered bacon on a stick. They both sound pretty scary.
It’s not a true Luther burger unless it contains bacon, but chocolate-covered bacon? That may be going just too far!
Go beyond brown rice and add these six foods to meals you're already eating.  
The World's Largest Portable Barbeque
Jack Henriques, a British engineer, built what might be the largest portable barbeque pit in the world. It’s 16 feet long, 11 feet tall, and can cook three whole pigs or two cows and seven whole sheep at the same time:
Each of the seven coal trays is fixed to a custom-built scissor jack, which can be raised or lowered using a turning handle.
This ensures that the cooking temperature can be easily changed for each tray, without the difficulty of moving and disturbing the meat.
The cooker also features abattoir-style meat hooks on which whole animal carcases can be hung for cooking.
God-grilla – which can grill 500 burgers at once – was commissioned by the Stone Barn, a wedding venue in the Cotswolds village of Aldsworth, Glos.

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
So much money and energy is wasted on things you could be getting for free. 

People who field consumer gripes daily share the best ways to be heard.  

Walking on the Sun

Smash Mouth

Deficit Hawk Down


On The Job

On The Job
In a tough economy, it's more vital than ever to not blow it when the pressure is on.
You only need an associate's degree in one of these fields to land a great starting salary.

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
The non-partisan budget office predicts the second highest year ever for red ink.
U.S. consumers pick American Express as their favorite for the fourth straight year.  
Paying to double or triple your frequent-flier miles is usually a waste of money.  
Borrowing more than you can afford can send your monthly housing cost into the stratosphere.
The giant chain once struck fear into the hearts of independent booksellers, but is now up for sale.

Things They Won't Tell You

Things They Won't Tell You
Scammers say they capitalize on cheap technology and common consumer habits.

You've got to be kidding ...

Want to Talk to Strangers at the Mall? Get a Permit First!
Want to talk to strangers at the mall? Well, you better be talking about the mall itself or get a permit … at least that’s what the owners of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, California, want:
They even had rules to enforce that behavior, but a state appellate court has starkly declared that the mall’s attempt to regulate conversation is unconstitutional. [...]
The specific rule at issue prohibits a person in the center’s common areas from "approaching patrons with whom he or she was not previously acquainted for the purpose of communicating with them on a topic unrelated to the business interests" of the mall or its tenants.
The court struck down the shopping mall rule:
The appellate court’s opinion dealt one way or another with possible conversations that the rules would prohibit:
Weather is a no-no, unless one is intuitive enough to observe how it may be affecting the size of the crowd at the mall. Teenagers who use the common areas for social gatherings, not necessarily limited to contemporaries they already know, are out of luck. Should someone stop you and ask directions to Sutter-Roseville Medical Center, you would be well advised to blow them off, lest your humanitarian instincts lead you astray.

A message to all those religio-whackos out there

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."

-- Mark Twain

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

We should be worried

A biometrics firm plans to fill a city with iris scanners and revolutionize its way of life.  

TSA digs through woman's purse and flips out over $8,000 worth of checks

More from the "Twits, Snoops & Assholes":

Kathy Parker, a 43-year-old woman from Elkton, MD, is unhappy about the way she was searched and questioned by the TSA at the Philadelphia airport on August 8.
She says a TSA officer emptied her wallet and started going through the papers in it. When she asked the TSA officer what he was looking for, he answered, "Razor blades."
The TSA officer didn't find any razor blades, but he found a deposit slip and seven checks totaling $8,000. This discovery prompted him to call over another 3 TSA officers and two Philadelphia police officers.
201008190931 After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not. "It's an indication you've embezzled these checks," she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn't before that moment, she says.
She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. "That's my money," she remembers saying. The officer's reply? "It's not your money."
TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the reason Parker was selected for in-depth screening was that her actions at the airport had aroused the suspicion of a behavior detection officer, and that she continued to act "as if she feared discovery."

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
Otherwise know 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

Hate radio propagandist Lush Dimbulb lies: Obama is "our first anti-American president".
Nope, that was the shrub (aka: the pretender - the dry drunk psychotic sociopath) that we ousted in November 2008.

Whack-job Walter Williams lies that the 2nd Amendment permits taking up arms against Congress.
Wrong. But the fact that it clearly does not has no bearing to wingnuts.

Evil-charlatan Pat Robertson's CBN correspondent lies: "The gay subculture is one of the most violent subcultures out there".
You mean to say the wingnuts are gay? But then again we knew that already.

Wingnut media falsely warn of "racial quotas" in financial reform law.
They just out and out lie - par for the course.

America's "religio-wingnuts" repeatedly argue that freedom of religion is only for Christians.
Sorry, that is not the case.

After stoking fears about Muslim birth rate, Beck lies: we're on the "edge of the precipice," across which is "Dark Ages".
Nurse, more Thorazine it's getting worse by the second.


And I Quote

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
~ Socrates

Two Rocks Converse

Read more of Tom Gauld's comics here.

Planet Earth

Planet Earth
mangrove photo
photo: Tim Keegan via flickr
We've known the world's mangrove forests have been declining for some time, but new satellite imagery from the US Geological Survey and NASA shows that the situation is worse than we thought: More accurate mapping tells us there are 12.3% fewer mangroves than previously believed.
Article continues: Earth Has 12% Fewer Mangroves Than Previously Thought, New Satellite Data Reveals

Undersea Flora

purple coral 2 photo
The ocean is full of uncharted territory -- and of breathtaking natural wonders that look like they'd be more at home on Pandora than in the blue depths just off the beach where you spent your summer vacation. These stunning underwater plants offer an ethereal beauty hard to reproduce on land.
Stunning Underwater Plants on the Ocean Floor slideshow

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
archimedes death ray image
Image credit: Neddy's Palaver
Legends abound about the Archimedes "death ray", constructed from giant mirrors, which he allegedly used during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC to set Roman ships ablaze. Now Green Power Science—the folks who brought us videos on flash cooking eggs with a Fresnel lens, building your own solar space heater with discarded campaign signs and, most recently (to mixed reviews), how to build a solar shower—have set out to see whether the concept really works. So they decided to take on some pirates.
Article continues: Archimedes' "Death Ray" Really Works. On Pirates. (Video)
Giant woolly mammoths died out because they ran out of grass - not because they were hunted to extinction, according to scientists.
A mammoth
The mammoth was three meters high, with thick hair to help it cope with the cold

Until now, it was thought the huge relatives of modern elephants had been harried and hunted into oblivion by early man. Instead, global warming 21,000 years ago left the massive mammals with nothing to eat, a team of scientists from Durham University claimed. As the planet heated up and the weather got wetter, forests spread out, leaving large herbivores like mammoths with less to eat ...

From Amusing Planet:
The Megaliths of Great Britain

A megalithic monument, in archaeology, is a construction involving one or several roughly hewn stone slabs of great size; it is usually of prehistoric antiquity. These monuments are found in various parts of the world, but the best known and most numerous are concentrated in Western Europe, including Brittany, the British Isles, Iberia, South France, South Scandinavia, and North Germany, the highest concentration being at Great Britain. Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales together accounts for hundreds of megalith and stone circle sites. Here is a collection of some of the more popular ones.

extinct giant land turtle photo
Image of Meiolania platyceps, a relative of the newly discovered species, by Australian National Museum via Wired.
Hollywood isn't the only place where people and prehistoric creatures met: Just 3,000 years ago (a relative blink of an eye), humans on the small Pacific island of Vanuatu were still encountering half-ton turtles with armored club tails and horned heads, a species until recently thought to have gone extinct 50,000 years in the past. Things didn't go well for the turtles from there.
Article continues: Monster Turtle Species That Survived 50,000 Years Lasted Just 200 Years After It Met Humans
What you see here are coprolites—a fancy name for fossilized poops, which allows paleontologists to seriously discuss something that could otherwise end up eliciting a lot of immature giggles. Notice, if you will, the giant teeth marks in the coprolite on the left. Those were likely made by either a Physogaleus or a Galeocerdo, ancient, extinct sharks related to the modern Tiger Shark.
And, while it's pretty awesome that paleontologists can match tooth marks well enough to fossil anatomy to narrow the biter down to one of two species, the real thing we all want to know is, "Why the heck was a shark biting poop?"
Tiger Sharks have not been documented as poop-eaters. Plus, if the ancient sharks were trying to eat poop, you'd think they'd have succeeded. Instead, we have coporolites—un-eaten, but still bitten. It's a mystery. But, according to science blogger Brian Switek, researchers from Maryland's Calvert Marine Museum and the American Institutes for Research, have a theory. An awesome theory.
The pattern of the bite marks and the fact that the feces were not ingested is consistent with a reconstruction in which, during an attack on another animal, the shark either bit through the body wall and guts to leave the tooth impressions or bit the intestines after disemboweling its prey. Such an attack would have left tooth marks on the feces, which probably fell out of the intestine shortly afterward, hence "In this scenario, the shark chose not to eat the feces, which drifted away, settled out of sight, or otherwise avoided attention."
Image from "Shark-bitten vertebrate coprolites from the Miocene of Maryland" in the journal Naturwissenschaften

One of the galaxy's few "magnetars" challenges a core assumption about black holes.