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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, September 24, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Over the past few days, you've done more in six hours than most folks do in six days -- no, in six weeks.
Yep, you've been busy, and you've done all your work well, too.
So, are you due for some serious R and R or what?
You bet you are, and you know it.
Go all out and indulge yourself and your loved ones.
You might start with a bubble bath, hot tub or massage.
Oh, and don't forget the candles.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sao Paulo, Sao, Paulo, Brazil
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Suwon, Kyonggi-Do, Korea

as well as Italy, Romania and in cities across the United States such as Durham, Anniston, Granite City, Spring Grove and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, September 24, the 267th day of 2010.
There are 98 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Love Note Day
Punctuation Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Harvest Moon on First Day of Autumn a Rarity

According to a NASA astronomer, Wednesday night's Full Harvest Moon won't appear again on the same day as the start of Autumn (or autumnal equinox) until the year 2029.
It was a once-in-a-generation event.
Here are some photos of the first sunrise of Autumn.

Urban foragers

Urban foragers across the US are picking fiddlehead ferns, plums from public trees, and even edible flowers sprouting from sidewalk cracks. Researchers from the Institute for Culture and Ecology studied the old but growing practice, focusing on several dozen Seattle foragers.

From National Geographic:
 Blogs Thegreenguide  2

This tiny group of foragers--just a small percentage of the people in Seattle who gather wild plants--together picks a whopping 250 different species of plants, year-round. Some have been gathering in Seattle for over 60 years. Most act as caretakers for their favorite spots, which they return to year after year. Foraging can be a risky business: in some municipalities, it's not allowed in public parks. Earlier this year, the New York Times' urban foraging columnist suggested that would-be gatherers pick day lily shoots from Central Park; the Times had to quickly post a clarification that picking plants from city parks was against the law.
"If 15 people decide to go harvest day lilies to stir-fry that night, you could wipe out the entire population of day lilies around the Central Park reservoir," Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told the Times.
There's another risk: chemicals. "Most of the foragers we have talked to are expressing concerns about toxicity," Poe said. Public park managers aren't necessarily interested in preserving the edibility of the wild things that grow there--don't even start on whatever might grow in a median or alley. Park managers and city planners could make it easier for foragers, Poe suggested, by minimizing the chemicals sprayed or, at the very least, putting up signs to alert would-be foragers when pesticides are at their most potent.

The best big cities in America for walkers

Safer intersections and miles of footpaths make these locales ideal for walkers. 

Awesome Pictures


Seven beaches to see before they're gone

The 26 low-lying atolls of the Maldives are among the pristine sands threatened with extinction.  

Seeing Green

An 840-pound gem's murky journey from Brazil to Las Vegas sparks claims of trickery and betrayal.  

What are you trying to say

What are you trying to say - exactly!

Turning back the clock

Living like you did in your youth could affect how you feel, an experiment finds.  

MLB history found in Bing Crosby's cellar

A rare telecast of one of the greatest World Series games ever isn't gone for good after all.

One hundred years ago

One hundred years ago - over the counter medicines were a wee bit different than they are today.

Got a toothache?

Try some cocaine drops..

If they don't work,try Bayer's Heroin pills.

Nothing comes between her and her Calvins

The 45-year-old actress was 15 when she did the famous Calvin Klein ads, but she says the jeans still fit.  

Eddie Fisher dies at 82

Fisher's marriages to Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor overshadowed his music career.  

Elvira returns

Recent Boing Boing guestblogger Liz Ohanesian alerts us to an LA Weekly cover story on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
"Karina Longworth, our film editor, wrote the story," explains Liz. "It's about Elvira's new Movie Macabre. The show is syndicated and will debut on September 25. It's a pretty lengthy story, and a really good read."

Read: Elvira's World

Steven Colbert Stumps Capital

A Congressional hearing turns surreal fast as the comedian makes his case in character.  

Texting while driving will kill you

Auto fatalities among drivers distracted by their cell phones have soared, a new report reveals.  

How do you forget a 14Grand pen?

A man left behind a $14,000 pen at a Hyannis art gallery. Nancy Lyon, the gallery owner and artist, said a neatly dressed Australian man signed the guest book and accidentally left the pen behind.

Woman kills rabid fox with bare hands

A woman in Eastern Pennsylvania had to think fast after being attacked by a fox.

Mom eggs on fight goes to jail

The incident was captured on camera and posted on YouTube .
Investigators said a mom can be heard cheering her daughter on as the girl got into a brawl with a classmate.

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Why China's Environmental Laws Have Been Useless in Stopping Pollution

great wall pollution photo
photo: Charlotte Marillet via flickr
It's no secret that China's economic growth has contributed to massive environmental problems in the nation; it's also fairly well known that China has actually enacted some pretty strict laws trying to stop that degradation, in fact some are stricter than in the United States. The effectiveness of those laws is, in the words of Peking University's law professor Wang Jin writing in China Dialogue bluntly "useless". Here's why.
Article continues: Why China's Environmental Laws Have Been Useless in Stopping Pollution

There's one in every crowd


On The Job

On The Job
Many resumés aren't relevant to the job and then fail to grab the attention of employers.

Crushed by debt

Angela Moore racked up $92,000 in loans, but holds the same job she had in college.

How to be rich and poor at the same time

Even wealthy doctors can rack up debt and struggle to make ends meet.  

Breaking Free

Not a statue you see every day.

Prison for three in Texas mailed-pot plot

From the "What Morons" Department:
Three men who mailed more than half a ton of packaged marijuana through a South Texas post office have been sentenced to federal prison.

And to think - they're DUMBING DOWN the education system in Texas!

Saudis may soon need a 'license to blog'

This isn't a good idea:
007 needs a " License to Kill ." Soon, Saudi Arabian bloggers made need a license, as well.

Military-grade cyberworm

Experts say the software could be a weapon aimed at a real-world industrial target. 

Drag Racer Powered By Six Circular Saws

Barry Lee built a drag racing car that is powered by six Makita circular saws. He entered it into an annual contest in Britain in which participants build racing vehicles from household tools:
DIY fans from around the world are strapping themselves into the speedy cars powered by the engines from everyday tools such as leaf blowers, disc cutters and chainsaws.
The mini dragsters can reach speeds of up to 112kph (70mph) on a 100m (320ft) strip because of their lightweight bodies.

Spanish Flea

Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass

17th Century Letter Reveals Lost Andean Language

An archaeological dig at a 17th Century site in Peru has uncovered a letter that contains words from a previously lost language. The language appears to be related to Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andes still spoken today. Jeffrey Quilter, a Harvard archaeologist, proposed a possible origin for the language:
He said it could also be the written version of a language colonial-era Spaniards referred to in historical writings as pescadora, for the fishermen on Peru’s northern coast who spoke it.
So far no record of the pescadora language has been found.
The letter, buried in the ruins of the Magdalena de Cao Viejo church at the El Brujo Archaeological Complex in northern Peru, was discovered in 2008.[...]
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many languages were spoken in pre-contact times,” Quilter said. “Linguistically, the relationship between the Spanish conquistadors and the indigenous was very complex.”

Banknote Vignettes

Before the dollar bill we all know and use today, paper money in the United States used to have amazingly detailed art called banknote vignettes (they’re detailed not necessarily for the sake of art, but mainly for security measures by making them harder to counterfeit).
BibliOdyssey has many wonderful examples of these banknotes vignettes, though my favorite is the angels and cherubs joyously caressing the "20" in the 19th century paper money above (and so they should caress that twenty – it’s purchasing power must be something like a few hundred bucks of today’s dollar!)

Smuggling technology, 1932

Thanks to its shared border with Canada, the Detroit River was notoriously hard to control. Historians estimate that up to 75 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States during the Prohibition was transported by ordinary people (not just gangsters!) between Windsor, Canada, and Detroit. One of the more elaborate bootlegging devices was an cable tunnel that ferried submarine "torpedoes" filled with alcohol across the river. While customs guards focused on people smuggling alcohol under their clothes, this ingenious contraption quietly reeled in forty cases of liquor an hour.
Via Popular Science, where there is a gallery on The Science of Prohibition, 1919-1933.

Atomic Clocks Measure Relative Time

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tested Einstein’s theories about relative time in a physical setting. Time goes faster at higher elevations, and slower for moving objects. The experiments involved a comparison of two identical atomic clocks.
The NIST experiments focused on two scenarios predicted by Einstein’s theories of relativity. First, when two clocks are subjected to unequal gravitational forces due to their different elevations above the surface of the Earth, the higher clock—experiencing a smaller gravitational force—runs faster. Second, when an observer is moving, a stationary clock’s tick appears to last longer, so the clock appears to run slow. Scientists refer to this as the “twin paradox,” in which a twin sibling who travels on a fast-moving rocket ship would return home younger than the other twin. The crucial factor is the acceleration (speeding up and slowing down) of the travelling twin in making the round-trip journey.
NIST scientists observed these effects by making specific changes in one of the two aluminum clocks and measuring the resulting differences in the two ions’ relative ticking rates, or frequencies.
In one set of experiments, scientists raised one of the clocks by jacking up the laser table to a height one-third of a meter (about a foot) above the second clock. Sure enough, the higher clock ran at a slightly faster rate than the lower clock, exactly as predicted.
The second set of experiments examined the effects of altering the physical motion of the ion in one clock. (The ions are almost completely motionless during normal clock operations.) NIST scientists tweaked the one ion so that it gyrated back and forth at speeds equivalent to several meters per second. That clock ticked at a slightly slower rate than the second clock, as predicted by relativity. The moving ion acts like the traveling twin in the twin paradox.
So if you want to age more slowly, you should run as fast as you can on a beach or a valley below sea level. The time you gain would not offset the difference in the time you put in, but you might live longer due to the benefit of the physical exertion.

Weird Superstitions

We're surrounded by superstitions every day -- don't walk under a ladder, don't step on a crack, avoid black cats -- but where do these beliefs come from and why do we follow them? More importantly, are superstitions the real deal or just real silly?

The Dean

An angel suddenly appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean of the college that, in return for his unselfish and exemplary behavior, he will be given his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom or beauty.

Without hesitating, the dean selects infinite wisdom. "Done!" says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning.

Now, all heads turn toward the dean, who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light.

At length, one of his colleagues whispers, "Say something wise."

The dean looks at them and says,

"I should have taken the money."

Neandertals were 'keen on tech'

Neanderthals, art work

Neandertals were 'keen on tech'

Neanderthals were keen on innovation and technology and developed tools all on their own, scientists say.

Time to rebrand the stegosaur?

Like brontosaurs before it, Stegosaurus could be about to lose its iconic name.

Woman says flying fish almost killed her

It's a fish tale that Jenniffer Herrin of Nesbit, Mississippi admits may sound almost unbelievable. Herrin said, "It was unbelievable. It was like fish, fish! People wouldn't believe a fish could do that to you." She and her family were at Tunica Lake inner-tubing behind a boat when the unthinkable happened.
Herrin said, "All of a sudden we got to one area of the lake when hundreds of fish started jumping out the water everywhere." In what seemed like a scene from a horror movie, hundreds of Asian Carp went on the attack damaging the family's boat and hitting Herrin. Herrin said, "I remember going under water and trying to get back to the top to get a breath and I couldn't get to the top. The fish kept me under water and I remember thinking this is it. This is my last breath."

It was also frightening for her husband and son. Herrin said, "He was screaming to his son I don't see her. I don't see her and finally the fish moved and my life jacket floated to the top of the water and they spotted my life jacket." Her husband jumped in to save her because she wasn't breathing and her collarbone was broken. Herrin said, "The action of him swimming and his arm going up against his stomach so hard pushed some of the water out and started choking and started spitting water back up and actually came back to."

Jenniffer Herrin says she won't ever get back into the water again at Tunica Lake and warns others to be careful. Herrin said, "I wouldn't swim. I wouldn't tube or ski and if you're out there just be very, very cautious." Herrin also says she hopes the Mississippi Wildlife and Fishery agency will eventually place warning signs at Tunica Lake to let people know what might be in the water.

Herd of cows fight bear

A rancher in Burns caught a fight between a black bear and a cow on camera. Experts say it's incredibly rare for someone to capture it on camera when something like this happens. During an evening check of the herd, the rancher saw a small black bear making his way across his ranch. The bear ended up going straight for one of his cows.
"I've seen maybe a similar thing, but not with a bear. But similar things where cows will get together and defend themselves and they can get aggressive," said Bill Hoyt, Rancher in Cottage Grove. At first the cow seemed to have things under control, but the fight turned. The bear began to gain the upper hand, something the cow's nearby friends noticed as well. "You know the old western movies you see them circle the wagons? Cattle will do the same thing, and it's a natural instinct to protect themselves in a group from predators," Hoyt said.

A second cow stepped in and headbutted the bear off its feet. The two cows then squished the bear between their heads. Hoyt says the whole thing likely only even happened because of the young cattle in the background. "They're more likely to fight when they have calves at side. And so the mother, the instinct of a mother is a lot stronger than the flight response," Hoyt said. But as is always the case with wild animals, knowing what motivates them to act is anyone's guess.

"It could have been just passing through there and the cows were trying to defend their young, or it could have been testing to see if it could take a chance at a calf," said Brian Wolfer, Oregon Dept. Fish & Wildlife. Wolfer says he doesn't think the bear was trying to attack the cow. He says this young bear could have been running from the photographer or just been curious.

Why lions and tigers roar and wildcats meow

 Tiger growling (E. Kilby)

Fossil flower 'clue to daisies'

A fossilized flower found in South America offers clues about the origins of daisies, dandelions and sunflowers.

The Elephant Shrew Is Always On The Go

What looks like a mouse with a twitchy nose of an elephant and the speed of a race car? 

Meet the Sengis:
This is the Sengis – otherwise known as the Elephant Shrew – for obvious reasons once you see its startling and always twictching proboscis.
This animal has such a high metabloic rate that it is always hungry. So it creates for itself an amazing serious of paths networked to give it full access to its terrritory. It also gives it some natural escape routes from the lizards that prey upon it.

Hungry & Gorgeous

Via Dark Roasted Blend:

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
You can use one-third less butter in the dough by stirring in some applesauce.  
Use your hands and fingers to size up meals and control calories and fat.  
"Fruit juice concentrate" is an alias for added sugars — and empty calories.

'Funny Honey'

More and more states are hoping to nab sellers of products masquerading as real honey.  

Mexican Coke a Winner with Fans

It is the Coke from Mexico which is not so bad for you. Mexican-made Coca-Cola is proving to be a hit in the U.S. market, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, thanks to a special ingredient and its glass bottle

Caffeinated Brownies

Allison Nelson has opened “A Smack in the Face” — a bakery in Des Moines, Iowa that specializes in caffeinated goods. Each brownie that she sells contains 200 milligrams of pure caffeine:
“It’s exactly what grandma used to bake – no high-fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated soybean oil,” Nelson told the newspaper. “We’re not wrapping up caffeine in a health bar here. We’re wrapping it up in a home-baked treat. Isn’t it about time you have caffeine and it tastes good?”
Nelson and her husband, Wes, originally started out with 400 milligrams of caffeine in their brownies, according to the paper, which is about the equivalent of a large cup of Starbucks-brewed coffee. But that amount proved to be a little too potent.
“I’m lying there, staring at the ceiling at 2 a.m. and saying, ‘I think that’s too much,’ ” Wes said.

Eight myths about being single

It's not true that the unmarried are less happy or less healthy, says one expert.
A key health benefit of singledom