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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.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Are you still in the mood for love?
If so, don't be afraid of roadblocks or delays that seem at first to be ruining your fun.
There's no reason you can't change your plans.
You may actually enjoy where you end up more than you'd have enjoyed your original destination, especially if you're with the right person.
If a flat tire or a last-minute schedule snafu leaves you two with time on your hands, you know what to do.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, August 22, the 234th day of 2010.
There are 131 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There is none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

I Am Awesome

I am awesome! Really, I am. I am absolutely awesome.
Don't believe me? See what this website has to say about it.

Russia In Color, A Century Ago

An extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II.

The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time - when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun.

Non Sequitur


Legal challenges hound WikiLeaks founder

Swedish prosecutors issue — then quickly retract — an arrest warrant for Julian Assange.  

Gunmen arrested after invading Brazil hotel

Thirty people are held hostage for several hours as street violence spills into a hotel.  

Dumb Crooks

Dumb Crooks
Cash falls from man's posterior during strip search
A man being booked into jail gained another charge when detention officers found dollar bills falling out of his posterior.

Nicholas Ryan Harris, 19, of 503 Wood Trail, was undergoing a strip search after being booked into Bay County Jail on charges of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia when “several dollar bills … fell from Nicholas’ buttocks area,” according to an incident report.

There were $45 total recovered. According to the report, Harris had been asked prior to the search if there was anything hidden on his body and he said no.

Officers added introducing contraband into a county facility to his charges.

Woman takes 5-year-old with her to rob German bank
A woman has taken her 5-year-old daughter on an attempt to rob a bank in the German city of Chemnitz, police say. The 34-year-old attempted two robberies and was arrested twice in one day, but did not have her child with her the second time round.

It was unclear why she was released after her first arrest, a police spokesman said. Nobody was injured during the incidents.

Police in the eastern German town were first called in the morning when the woman entered a bank with her daughter and threatened a clerk with a knife, demanding several thousand euros. When the officers arrived she gave herself up, police spokesman Thomas Knabe said.

The woman was briefly arrested and then released, only to try to rob a different bank in the same neighbourhood in the afternoon - this time without her daughter. Again she gave herself up when the police arrived. The police do not rule out that the attempted robberies were "an act if desperation", Mr Knabe said.

Cities in danger of a double-dip recession

The risk of a relapsed recession is particularly troublesome for these local communities.  


Ned was down on his luck in Las Vegas. He had gambled away all his money and had to borrow a dime from another gambler just to use the men's room. The stall happened to be open, so he used the dime in a slot machine and hit the jackpot. He took his winnings and went to the blackjack table and turned his small winnings into ten million dollars.

Wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, Ned went on the lecture circuit, where he told his incredible story.

He told his audiences that he was eternally grateful to his benefactor, and if he ever found the man he would share his fortune with him. After months of lectures, a man in the audience jumped up and said,

"I'm that man. I was in Vegas in 1992. I was the one who gave you the dime."

"You're not the one I'm looking for. I'm looking for the guy who left the stall door open!"

Wyclef Jean can't be president of Haiti

An election council ends the hip-hop artist's high-profile bid to lead the nation's reconstruction.  

College degrees that lead to top careers

Experts say grads with specific skills in niche areas are best equipped for high-paying jobs.  

Laura Dekker goes it alone

Laura Dekker dodges the media and critics who say she's too young to risk the oceans alone.  

Why men started wearing wigs

Hairpieces once were seen as a status symbol, but their ancient origins were more clinical.  

Peek inside

This 13,875-square-foot home features five bedrooms and a room devoted to vintage cars.  

Bizarre beaches around the globe

An English beach features 100 cast-iron human figures facing out to sea.  



Big quakes more frequent than thought on San Andreas fault

Earthquakes have rocked the powerful San Andreas fault that splits California far more often than previously thought, according to UC Irvine and Arizona State University researchers who have charted temblors there stretching back 700 years.

The findings, to be published in the Sept. 1 issue of Geology, conclude that large ruptures have occurred on the Carrizo Plain portion of the fault — about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles — as often as every 45 to 144 years. But the last big quake was in 1857, more than 150 years ago.

Astronauts as weak as 80-year-olds in space

Astronauts can become as weak as 80-year-olds after six months at the International Space Station, according to a new study that raises serious health concerns as NASA contemplates prolonged trips to asteroids and Mars.

Science News

Planet Earth

Planet Earth
Photo via The Montreal Gazette (STR, AFP/Getty Images)
A couple of weeks ago, Jaymi alerted us to the return of green turtles to Malaysian beaches. Threatened by poaching and habitat destruction, initiatives such as hatcheries and stricter conservation measures might help these turtles bounce back.
Now, there's even more cause for celebration as an even rarer beauty makes a surprising comeback: a leatherback turtle, dubbed "Puteri Rantau Abang" or Rantau Abang Princess, has shown up last week on one of Malaysia's beaches of the same name, after a 32-year absence.

Mysterious "Bearded" Antelope

Bearded Antelope Photo 
Photo by Paolo Torchio
Veteran wildlife photographer Paolo Torchio made a bizarre discovery while visiting Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve: a mysterious "bearded" antelope. While one expert suggests the animal might only be suffering from hypertrichosis, a condition once known as werewolf syndrome, Torchio's experience is the only known encounter with such an animal.

Torchio has lived and worked in Kenya for the past two decades and is intimately familiar with the wildlife that occupies the 600-square-mile reserve. He initially thought the animal was a dog and "was wondering, what is this dog doing?" he said. "And when it came out from the grass, that was a surprise."

Human versus Rat

Who can negotiate a maze faster, a human or a rat? Another round of lunacy from Tom Scott.

Star's first goal

Heralded New York newcomer Rafa Marquez hits a scorching screwball for his first score.  



Scratch-free remedies for mosquito bites

Items you may have in your kitchen can help decrease swelling and itching.  

Second hand smoke alters genes

... and not in a good way!

As if the growing number of smoking bans in restaurants, airplanes and other public places isn't sending a strong enough message, researchers now have the first biological data confirming the health hazards of secondhand smoke.
Scientists led by Dr. Ronald Crystal at Weill Cornell Medical College documented changes in genetic activity among nonsmokers triggered by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Public-health bans on smoking have been fueled by strong population-based data that links exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and a higher incidence of lung diseases such as emphysema and even lung cancer, but do not establish a biological cause for the correlation. Now, for the first time, researchers can point to one possible cause: the passive recipient's genes are actually being affected.

Is it possible to be fit and overweight?

A Harvard study finds that only a very small number of people are heavy but fit.



In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
photo: Sara Novak
You've likely heard about the latest salmonella scare. This time it revolves around eggs, 550 billion of them in all. Nearly 2,000 people in 17 states have already gotten sick as a result of the recent outbreak. Experts are saying that the outbreak is caused by rodents or tainted feed. But what exactly is salmonella and how does it get into our food, or in this instance, our eggs?

Psychedelics to treat depression

Maybe LSD in the water supply would be a good thing! New research published this week in the scientific journals Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Science suggest (once again) that psychedelic drugs have potential as a treatment for depression. Neuroscientists from the Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study where they gave rats small amounts of the powerful dissociative anesthetic ketamine (aka "Special K"). The drug apparently alleviated symptoms of depression in the animals and also regenerated damaged connections between brain cells. From a Yale press release:
 Files 07-38 047230429-Woman Smells Ketaset “It’s like a magic drug—one dose can work rapidly and last for seven to 10 days,” said Ronald Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale and senior author of the study. Ketamine traditionally has been used as a general anesthetic for children, but a decade ago researchers at the Connecticut Mental Health Center found that, in lower doses, the drug seemed to give patients relief from depression, Duman said. In these initial clinical studies, which have been replicated at the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 70 percent of patients who are resistant to treatment with all other forms of antidepressants were found to improve within hours after receiving ketamine. However, its clinical use has been limited because it has to be delivered intravenously under medical supervision and in some cases can cause short-term psychotic symptoms. It has also been used as a recreational drug, known as “Special K” or sometimes just “K.”
So Duman, colleague George Aghajanian and the Yale team set out to map the molecular action of the drug in the prefrontal cortex of rats that could lead to potential targets for a safer and more easily used drugs. "Yale Team Describes Secrets of ‘Magic’ Anti-Depressant"
Meanwhile, in this week's issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience, University Hospital of Psychiatry in Zurich researchers survey how the study of psychedelics, including LSD, could lead to news kinds of psychiatric drugs. From the abstract in Nature Reviews Neuroscience:
After a pause of nearly 40 years in research into the effects of psychedelic drugs, recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin and ketamine have led to renewed interest in the clinical potential of psychedelics in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Recent behavioural and neuroimaging data show that psychedelics modulate neural circuits that have been implicated in mood and affective disorders, and can reduce the clinical symptoms of these disorders. These findings raise the possibility that research into psychedelics might identify novel therapeutic mechanisms and approaches that are based on glutamate-driven neuroplasticity.

"The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders"
More on this in the Scientific American article "Psychedelic Drugs Show Promise as Anti-Depressants"

Top 10 Theater Superstitions

It is bad luck to have mirrors on stage.
Is it considered bad luck to wish someone good luck in a theater? Should you really say 'break a leg” instead?
Should there always a light burning in an empty theater to ward off ghosts?

The 5 Most Ridiculous Martial Arts Movies Ever

We don’t usually go see martial arts movies because of the plot, but there are a few that stretch credibility to its utmost limits. Cracked investigated these movies. Take, for example, Heart of the Dragon, one of two movies in this list about mentally-challenged martial arts experts.
…when we first meet Danny, he’s goaded into ordering all kinds of food from an expensive restaurant for his friends, none of which he can pay for. He’s embarrassed and wants to go home. This is a mentally challenged man who’s been taken advantage of by people he thought he could trust. Tragic.
At least, it would be if the staff at the restaurant didn’t respond by instantly kung fu-ing the ass of a clearly disabled man, complete with wacky sound effects–every punch to his stomach sounds like Moe beating up on Curly.

Wizard of Id