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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.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your focus is on one-on-one relationships for the several days -- much to your friends' or sweetie's delight.
You also should enjoy this time yourself, for presumably obvious reasons.
Be careful of one little thing: Don't let any disagreements over small stuff get bigger than it should.
This goes for everything from which club to visit to which candidate to vote for.
Concentrate on what you've got in common.

Today is:
Today is Friday, August 20, the 232nd day of 2010.
There are 133 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Virtual World's Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Bill Millin has piped his final note

Bill Millin braved enemy fire as he played for British troops landing on a Normandy beach.

The Bonny Land of Scotland

Scotland and North Carolina share not only a whole lot of Scots but the same ground we walk on as well.

The Appalachians of North Carolina and The Munros of Scotland are one and the same rock - tis nae wonder tha' th' Scots would settle here.

You might be surprised to find ...

You might be surprised to find that Vikings were cleaner than the people they conquered and even kept their hair neatly cut.

Ten Telephone Inventions That Failed Miserably

What did you do before the iPhone existed? I bet you wrote letters and listened to old classics on the gramophone, right? Well, before such a success reinvented society and made us feel like a new class of human because we have that smooth rectangular shape protruding out of our pocket, there were a few attempts at something similar.

And needless to say, they failed miserably. Here are the top 10 telephone inventions that failed miserably.

There Are Two ATMs in Antarctica

Widgett of Need Coffee interviewed a manager with Wells Fargo and confirmed that there are two ATMs at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. David Parker said that they were installed around the year 2000 and are largely maintained by the staff because Wells Fargo can only visit once every two years:
We do send a vendor down about once every two years to do some preventative hardware maintenance on both of the ATMs, to make sure they’re operational, change out the belts and that kind of stuff, provide new cartridges…anything else hardware-wise that we would need to make sure that it runs. But as you can imagine getting somebody down there is quite a feat.

The most isolated man on the planet

As civilization continues to close in on this anonymous fellow, officials create a protected zone.
The last survivor of an uncontacted tribe from the Brazilian Amazon lives alone. He is thought to be about 40 years old. He uses a bow and arrow, and once shot a man who was trying to communicated with him in the chest. He doesn't wear clothes, and he digs 5-foot-deep rectangular holes (which serve "no apparent purpose") in the thatch huts he builds. He grows vegetables, hunts for wild game, and collects honey from stingless(!) bee colonies.

He was first seen in 1996 and has been evading loggers ever since.

Monte Reel from Slate writes:
They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development.

Gypsies being expelled from France

Debate rages as a crackdown begins and Roma leave "on a voluntary basis."  

Things They Won't Tell You

Things They Won't Tell You
Even the best host can miss little things that make a visitor's stay uncomfortable.  

Teacher fired over Facebook posts

June Talvitie-Siple gets into hot water after private complaints about students become public.  

Students are feeling the budget crunch

Kids must deal with crowded classrooms, fewer teachers, and other cutbacks. 

The era of McMansions is over

Americans are moving away from huge homes that many consider tacky. 

Spike in layoffs feeds fears for recovery

Pink slips are back, bringing bad news to a fragile economy and cash-strapped consumers.



Check your carton for recalled eggs

Dates and codes on the end of the carton can tell you if the eggs should be returned.  

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Burger King's New Pizza Burger
Burger King has just released a new food item that will surely have purists (and perhaps normal people) seething in rage: the bastard child of the unholy mating of burger and pizza:
The New York Pizza Burger ($12.99) is a 9-and-a-half-inch wide burger made with four Whopper patties topped with pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and Tuscan pesto sauce.



Largest cut diamond in the world

The U.S. boasts the famous Hope Diamond, but Thailand claims the king of bling.  

The Vibrant Colors of Ancient Statuary

The examples of ancient Greco-Roman statuary that survive to this day may be bare stone and earthenware, but archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann argues that they were originally brightly painted:
Armed with high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, cameras, plaster casts and jars of costly powdered minerals, he has spent the past quarter century trying to revive the peacock glory that was Greece. He has dramatized his scholarly findings by creating full-scale plaster or marble copies hand-painted in the same mineral and organic pigments used by the ancients: green from malachite, blue from azurite, yellow and ocher from arsenic compounds, red from cinnabar, black from burned bone and vine.
Call them gaudy, call them garish, his scrupulous color reconstructions made their debut in 2003 at the Glyptothek museum in Munich, which is devoted to Greek and Roman statuary. Displayed side by side with the placid antiquities of that fabled collection, the replicas shocked and dazzled those who came to see them. As Time magazine summed up the response, “The exhibition forces you to look at ancient sculpture in a totally new way.”

Neptune to Complete Its First Orbit Since Discovery in 1846

In 1821, French astronomer Alexis Bouvard reasoned that the eccentricities in the orbit of Uranus might be caused by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet. 45 years later, that planet, Neptune, was directly observed for the first time. Because it takes 146 years for Neptune to complete one orbit of the Sun, its orbit has until now not been fully observed:
Although Neptune is oblivious of this special time in its orbit, next year will be a special year for astronomy. It will be the first time for nearly 150 years that a planet has completed its first full orbit after its discovery.
Uranus, a planet discovered by Herschel in 1781 — approximately 10 AU closer to the sun than Neptune — completed its first orbit after discovery in the year 1865 (it completes one orbit of the sun every 84 years). And Pluto, the newly designated dwarf planet discovered by U.S. astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 — approximately 10 AU further away from the sun than Neptune — won’t complete its first orbit for another 168 years. We’ll have to wait until 2178 to see Pluto complete its first 248 year orbit around the sun.

Black Hole Creates Galactic "Super-Volcano"

Galaxy M87 is an enormous collection of heavenly bodies, but astronomers who have studied the effects of its black hole see similarities to the recent volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, and have dubbed it a galactic super-volcano. We covered the shockwaves associated with the Earth mountain previously, and parallels can actually be seen in the distant galaxy.
In the analogy with Eyjafjallajökull, the energetic particles produced in the vicinity of the black hole rise through the X-ray emitting atmosphere of the cluster, lifting up the coolest gas near the center of M87 in their wake, much like the hot volcanic gases drag up the clouds of dark ash. And just like the volcano here on Earth, shockwaves can be seen when the black hole pumps energetic particles into the cluster gas.
“This analogy shows that even though astronomical phenomena can occur in exotic settings and over vast scales, the physics can be very similar to events on Earth,” said co-author Aurora Simionescu also of the Kavli Institute.
Chandra X-Ray Observatory has much more info on this and other astronomical wonders.
Full Story – and here’s the X-Ray version of the phenomenon.

Sorites Paradox: When Does a Heap of Sand Stop Being a Heap of Sand?

Philosophy, besides being a good major of choice for fast food workers (kidding! No hate mails please – those fries will get cold if you don’t bag them right away), makes for a pretty good blog reading.
You’d think that after a few thousand years of thinking, all philosophical problems would be solved, but that isn’t so. Road Tickle has a list of 4 unsolved philosophical problems for you to ponder. For example:
Sorites Paradox
What’s the problem? Language uses many poorly defined predicates. A fine example is measurement; assume that you define a heap of sand as having one-million grains. You then establish that taking away a single grain doesn’t unmake the heap and it is still defined as being heap. If you accept both of these as fact then what does your definition of a heap actually mean? When does it stop being a heap?
By not giving the heap an precise definition you are simply stating that the heap does or does not exist in some form. Meanwhile, you realize you’ve been sitting and counting individual grains of sand for the sake of a hypothetical question.
What’s the answer? Defining a change in the object require you to set specific boundaries. If you can say that a heap of sand is only a pile of sand if it contains nine-thousand or fewer grains then you can say that a pile is only a heap when it contains more than nine-thousand grains.
At least, that’s one answer. Sorites paradox is what’s referred to as an unsolved problem in philosophy, meaning there is no one method of approaching the question as to solve it universally. Because it’s hinged on definition and perception, the answer is going to vary from individual to individual without a commonly accepted answer overlapping.

New dictionary words

The prestigious Oxford dictionary's choices reflect how modern life is shaping the English language.  

Interview with a Retiree

How many days in a week?
6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

When is a retiree's bedtime?
Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Only one, but it might take all day.

What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
There's not enough time to get everything done.

Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
The term comes with a 10% discount.

Among retirees, what is considered formal attire?
Tied shoes.

Why do retirees count pennies?
They're the only ones who have the time.

What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?

Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

What do retirees call a long lunch?
Normal . . .

What is the best way to describe retirement?
The never ending Coffee Break.

What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

And, my very favorite....

What do you do all week?
Monday through Friday, NOTHING...

Saturday & Sunday, I rest.

On The Job

On The Job
These 25 emerging fields take advantage of new technology and the changing economy.  

Worst times to take a vacation from work

Most Americans don't get enough days off, but there are times when you should just stay put.  



Scientists find invisible Gulf oil plume

A major study refutes federal officials' contention that contamination from the spill is mostly gone. 

Mystery surrounds Atlantic garbage patch

Scientists have long puzzled over where a vast swath of plastic bits came from — and why it's not growing. 

Children taken from bug filled Georgia home

When police walked into the home, they found a 5-year-old girl weighing nearly 160 pounds, her teeth rotting, her skin covered in spider bites. Her 4-year-old sister was lying on a filthy mattress, wearing only a urine-soaked diaper.

Police were responding to a domestic dispute call at the Marietta, Georgia, house Monday when they encountered the shocking scene. They called in child abuse investigators and ultimately arrested the parents, James and Anne Cardona, charging both with second-degree child cruelty, Cobb County police spokesman Joe Hernandez said.

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Thieves in Mexico end up with, literally, peanuts

A bold truck-jacking in Mexico has yielded thieves ... peanuts.
Federal police say two suspects hijacked a truck containing 17 tons of peanuts at gunpoint on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Fugitive, fiancée captured after 3-week hunt

A park ranger's suspicions help bring an end to a national drama that drew hundreds of false sightings.

Terrorist Wants More Fiber In Diet

Let's all shed a tear, shall we, for Terry Nichols, who is not only serving a life sentence for conspiracy and manslaughter in the Oklahoma City bombing but is also subjected to a diet unconstitutionally low in fiber.
That's what Nichols argued, at least, in a lawsuit he filed last year alleging that the food at his current residence in Florence, Colorado, is so bad that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and, in an interesting twist, violates his right to free exercise of religion.
Nichols apparently contended that he was entitled under the First and Eighth Amendments to a diet rich in whole grains, fiber, and raw fruits and vegetables. According to the report, the free-exercise claim argued that the unhealthy food had forced Nichols to violate his own religious beliefs by "causing him to sin."
Now that is just a doggone shame, now isn't it.

Nasty People Have Higher Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

For all those internet trolls out there - 
Sorry, but you're gonna go young
cave troll lord of the rings photo
Cave Troll from Lord of the Rings via Wikipedia
Dan Blankenhorn of Smart Planet was thinking of his commenters when he suggested that "trolls die young", based on a study researchers of the US National Institute on Aging. They looked at 5,614 Sardinians from four villages, and found that "those who scored high for antagonistic traits on a standard personality test had greater thickening of the neck (carotid) arteries compared to people who were more agreeable. Thickness of neck artery walls is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke."
Article continues: Trolls Die Young: Nasty People Have Higher Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
This also explains why so many of those 'religious' whackos are dropping like flies - they aren't nice people.

Fallout from Target controversy spreads

A network rejects an anti-Target ad and investors call for changes after donation stirs a backlash.  

Wingnut Violence

Minneapolis and Capitol Hill police are investigating a shot that was fired at the condo of Senator  Al Franken (Democrat-Minnesota).
Nobody was home at the time of the incident, which was not reported until after the Senator and his wife returned home to Minneapolis after a two-day trip out of town on Tuesday and discovered the damage to their window facing the street.

Freedom From Religion

That's correct only white protestant 'christians' have freedom of religion ...
At least according to white protestant 'christians' that is ...

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

Senate Candidate David Malpass (retard-New York) says President Obama and Senator Gillibrand are destroying your way of life.
No, that would be the shrub and the cabal destroyed your way of life ... tell the truth.

Syphilitic Radio hatemonger Lush Dimbulb describes President as "Imam Obama".
More deluded syphilis yammering.

Senate candidate Roy Blount (reptile-Missouri) uses 9/11 video footage as campaign ad.
And he should be horse-whipped for it, too.

Faux's Dick Morris lies: Islamic hall blocks from WTC would be a "command center for terrorism".
Nope, that would be the rnc offices there Dick ol'boy.

Repugican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio (reject-New York) uses 9/11 video footage as campaign ad.
And the public flogging should commence immediately.

Congressional candidate Ron McNeil (refuse-Florida) says "Build the mosque underground so we can walk on it as Christians".
And you wonder why you're seen as an idiot?!


Stewart channels Beck on Faux News' 'Gift' of $1Million to Repugicans

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
News Corp. Gives Money to Republicans
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
Jon Stewart does it again.

Non Sequitur


Let's Show A Little Love for Piranhas

We fear piranhas and make jokes about them, but they have their place in the ecosystem. National Geographic sets us straight with some facts about the fish.
They’re good parents—at least initially. A mom may lay 600 eggs at once, dad promptly fertilizes them, and both parents guard the brood once it hatches. (Later, they might eat some of their young. But let’s not focus on the negative.)
Despite their scary looks, they’re actually cowards. Okay, that’s a bit unfair, but studies have shown that rather than congregating to hunt cooperatively, as was always believed, they join forces because they’re afraid of being eaten. They’re especially likely to band together—in schools as large as 1,000 fish— at times of year when predators such as caimans and dolphins are regularly present. Apparently, they’ve gotten the message (evolutionarily speaking) that there’s safety in numbers even if you yourself have really sharp teeth.
That’s just a sample of the things you might not know about piranhas. 

Southern Sudan unveils plans for animal-shaped cities

The authorities in southern Sudan have unveiled a $10bn (£6.4bn) plan to rebuild the region's cities in the shapes of animals and fruit. Elaborate blueprints for the new cities have already been drawn up.

The regional capital, Juba, will be relocated and designed in the shape of a rhinoceros. Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el-Ghazal state, is to be a somewhat unwieldy giraffe. Southern Sudanese are due to vote in a referendum on independence next year.

In Juba, the office of the regional president is situated where the rhinoceros's eye should be. In Wau, the sewage treatment plant is appropriately placed under the giraffe's tail.

There is talk that the town of Yambio will be shaped like a pineapple. The reason for these shapes is not entirely illogical - they match the symbols that appear on the flags of southern Sudan's states.

But how will the authorities raise the $10bn they say they need to make this plan a reality? They say they are talking to investors but it is all a bit vague. Although there is plenty of oil in southern Sudan, people there are extremely poor.

The United Nations says more than 90% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. The plans for the new cities perhaps reflect the heady optimism of a potential new independent South Sudan, but whether they will ever get beyond the drawing board is another matter.

Soldier jailed for stealing rare falcon eggs

A former special forces soldier was jailed Thursday for attempting to sneak out of Britain with a stash of 14 rare peregrine falcon eggs hidden in socks strapped to his body.Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, was trying to get to Dubai, where falconry is a national sport and such eggs can fetch 5,000 pounds each on the black market.

Contaminated Truffles Irradiating Wild Boars

wild boar closeup photo
Image credit: Subharnab/Flickr
When Chernobyl's reactor number four ignited in 1986, it sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the air that eventually spread across Europe. One place it settled was Germany. Now, nearly a quarter century later, that fallout is reappearing in wild boars with alarming frequency.

Rampaging bull injures 40 in Spanish arena

A bull has injured 40 people after jumping out of the arena at a Spanish bullring and marauding through the crowd. TV footage shows spectators trying to restrain the animal - one fan grabs its tail - as it careers through the stands.

Most of the injured were treated for cuts and bruises, officials in the northern town of Tafalla said. But nine people were taken to hospital in nearby Pamplona.

Among them was a 10-year-old boy who apparently suffered multiple bruising when the bull fell on him, and a 24-year-old who was gored.

The animal was brought under control after several minutes and was later killed. Analysts say bulls occasionally leap security fences at bullrings but they rarely make it into the crowd.

'Tame' bears guard Canadian marijuana farm

Police raiding a marijuana farm in western Canada were astonished to find black bears apparently guarding it. However initial alarm wore off when officers realised the 10 or so bears did not behave aggressively and were in fact docile and tame.

Police believe dog food was used to attract the animals onto the farm in British Columbia. But they say the bears may have to be put down if they have become accustomed to living around humans. Two people were arrested in the raid.

The five police who went to the farm near Christina Lake, close to the US border, to dismantle the marijuana plantation were amazed when the bears loped into view. "They were tame, they just sat around watching. At one point one of the bears climbed onto the hood of a police car, sat there for a bit and then jumped off," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant Fred Mansveld.

In Canada, feeding bears is illegal as it leads to bears associating food with humans and increases the likelihood of bears coming into towns and cities to look for food. Conservation officers are deciding the fate of the bears

Paul the octopus gets a new job

The creature that won renown for predicting World Cup games gets another gig in soccer. 

Fan's nonchalant foul-ball grab

A Phillies fan carrying food back to his seat stays perfectly cool when a foul ball suddenly appears.  

New photos of the Beatles in Hamburg

Previously unseen photographs charting The Beatles’ formative years will go on display at Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum next week.

The retrospective of more than 70 photographs by Astrid Kirchherr includes portraits of Paul MacCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, original drummer Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe - the band’s original bass player, known as “the fifth Beatle”-, at the start of their career.

German-born Kircherr met The Beatles in Hamburg in the early 1960s. She dated Sutcliffe, who left the band to pursue a career as an artist in 1961, and the pair became engaged just before his tragic death from a brain hemorrhage the following year.
More details (and photos) at The Independent.