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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, September 30, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Just because others are losing their heads doesn't mean that you have to take the same tack.
So before you start running around and yelling about how the sky is falling, take a deep breath -- and then take a good, long look at the situation.
You might just find that things aren't quite so bad as everyone is making them out to be.
Once your cooler head prevails, others might be able to see the same thing as well.

Some of our readers today have been in:
London, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Kristiansand, Vest-Adger, Norway
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Sorrento, Campania, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

as well as Singapore and in cities across the United States such as Lodi, Dayton, Mesa, Durham and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, September 30, the 273rd day of 2010.
There are 92 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The New and Improved CN

Look for new things tomorrow.

College tragedy sparks outrage, protests

A "heinous" online incident that ended in a freshman's death leaves Rutgers University reeling.

Sixth grade cheerleader stands up to bullies

Tyler Wilson refuses to quit the squad after two classmates break his arm in a fight.

Non Sequitur


Five banned books you should read

This week (September 26-October 2) commemorates our right to read what we want. Over the years, there has been censorship of controversial, yet important, books that should not be left to gather dust. Whether challenged or banned from schools and libraries, Banned Books Week is the time to pull them out. Here are five books or series that you should dust off and celebrate your right to read!

1. Harry Potter: Banned from schools and libraries for the use of witchcraft. The themes throughout these books of friendship, good vs. evil and the possibility of redemption are what make them endure, not the witchcraft. If you haven't read them yet, give it a try...you might be surprised what you learn.

2. To Kill A Mockingbird: Banned and challenged for language. Set in Alabama during the 1930s, the story is told from the eyes of Scout Finch, the youngest daughter of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who takes on a controversial racial case. Harper Lee was essentially telling the story of the community she knew. If she had not used the language, an essential part of the story would have been lost.

3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl: Challenged for homosexual themes and sexual content. Besides being one of the most poignant histories of the Nazi atrocities in World War II, it is also the truth. People hiding for their lives, then forced to the concentration camps where they were abused, tortured and dying from disease or the gas chambers. We cannot hide from our history, no matter how dark, lest we repeat it.

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: This book has been attacked more than 80 times over the years, primarily for racial content and offensive language. The premise of the book is that young Huck helps a slave escape down the Mississippi River to freedom--thus, racial content will certainly be involved. The language is true to the time period; it carries all the prejudices and fears we have about those different from ourselves.

5. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary: Challenged and under committee ruling from a parent's complaint about a child reading "oral sex" in the dictionary. Most words, even words long out of use, are in the dictionary. If you are worried about having to explain something too soon to a child, hand him an age appropriate book instead.

White House already picks Christmas tree

The quest to find the most majestic tree in the nation requires five officials and an early start.  

America's most expensive ZIP codes

They're clustered in three states and you've probably never heard of the priciest one.  

The world's most remote hotels

Guests scuba-dive 21 feet to reach their room at Florida's Jules Undersea Lodge.  

Tourism bosses in 'another fine mess'

Tourism bosses made a 'fine mess' by printing 50,000 copies of a brochure claiming comedian Stan Laurel was born in their county. County Durham tourism office claimed he was born in Bishop Auckland when in fact he was born Ulverston, Cumbria. Bosses have now apologized for the blunder but said they cannot correct the mistake on the leaflet and map because of funding restrictions.

Depending on stocks and funding, an updated version will not be reproduced until around autumn next year. The leaflet says: "Bet you didn't know that Bishop Auckland was the birthplace of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel." Stan has a bronze statue in Bishop Auckland town center celebrating the fact he lived there in early life after leaving Ulverston as a child, where he had been born in 1890. Stan, who became famous as one half of comedy double act Laurel and Hardy with Oliver Hardy, moved to America in 1910.

A copy of Stan's birth certificate proving his Ulverston heritage is displayed in the Laurel and Hardy Museum. Craig Wilson, Visit County Durham marketing manager, said it was an honest mistake, and added: "It seems that urban myth has perpetuated an error in the Bishop Auckland town visitor map. Stan Laurel was baptized at St Peter's Church and schooled at King James Grammar in Bishop Auckland.

"His parents also ran the local theater, but he was of course born in Ulverston. I guess Bishop Auckland is as proud of its connections with Stan as Ulverston is passionate about it being his birthplace. We're obviously both trying to lay claim to some of the Laurel and Hardy magic. Hopefully this will allow us to make it clearer about Stan's early years and allow both Ulverston and Bishop Auckland to share some of Stan's limelight."

Awesome Pictures


Wingnut agitator tries, and fails, to "punk" CNN

Wingnut agitator James O'Keefe has attempted to trick CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau into a video where she'd be surrounded by sex toys, porn, and other "incriminating" stuff on a boat. He failed. O'Keefe is most infamous for the ACORN 2009 undercover video controversy. In the CNN case, Boudreau was tipped off on the way to the boat by Izzy Santa, exec director of O'Keefe's Project Veritas.
"I have a problem on my hands that I think has the potential for unnecessary backlash," Santa wrote (to a financial donor to Project Veritas). "Today, James is meeting with a CNN correspondent today on his boat. She is doing a piece on the movement of young conservative filmmakers. "She doesn't know she is getting on a boat but rather James' office. James has staged the boat to be a palace of pleasure with all sorts of props, wants to have a bizarre sexual conversation with her. He wants to gag CNN."
She wrote that "the idea is incredibly bad" and "the more I think about it we should not be doing this."
O'Keefe had also instructed Santa to print a "pleasure palace graphic" on a large poster, according to an e-mail.
CNN later obtained a copy of a 13-page document titled "CNN Caper," which appears to describe O'Keefe's detailed plans for that day.
"The plans appeared so outlandish and so juvenile in tone, I questioned whether it was part of a second attempted punk," Boudreau said.
But in a phone conversation, Santa confirmed the document was authentic. Listed under "equipment needed," is "hidden cams on the boat," and a "tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine."
Among the props listed were a "condom jar, dildos, posters and paintings of naked women, fuzzy handcuffs" and a blindfold.

Ecuador's chaos grows

As the government declares a state of siege, policemen pelt President Rafael Correa with tear gas.

Three people killed, 37 injured as spectators storm bullfight in Colombia

A Colombian tradition turned tragic on Sunday when a bullfight spun out of control, leaving three people dead and at least 37 injured. The local bullfight in the Andean community of Sabanalarga is known as the "corraleja", bringing together bulls and local residents in a party-like atmosphere.

Sunday's event, however, took a violent turn as onlookers spilled into the ring and found themselves being chased and gored by bulls. A 20-year-old man was killed during the event, but the other two fatalities, both men in their forties, occurred in the hospital as a result of their injuries.

Doctor Jaime de la Hoz treated one of the victims. "The others who were injured had been penetrated at the level of their abdomen and their thorax. The one with the thorax had to be sent to another facility, and the one with the abdominal injury was treated here," he said.

Sabanalarga mayor, Carlos Roca, said this particular corraleja turned tragic due to drunkenness among the participants, but he did not say if any measures would be taken to avoid such incidents in the future.

Repugicans aren't trusted ...

... By anyone least of all Latinos ...
An ex-housekeeper's claims against California candidate Meg Whitman add to a negative perception.

Retro Photo

Not the Dog, too!

The financial situation is so bad in one western Pennsylvania city that even its police dog has been laid off.

Follow the money ...

Then North Carolina coach John Blake had financial transactions with an NFL agent, records show.   

Foreclosures Stopped

Accusations of errors, fraud, and "foreclosure mills" lead some banks to temporarily stop the process. 

Spending cuts you might not even notice

These tricks could raise your income or reduce expenses without affecting your quality of life.

Sued over 'Cookies'

The latest innovations in online-tracking technology have prompted a flurry of legal challenges.  

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Dumb Crooks

A man accused of shooting at a Longmont police officer trying to arrest him says he did so because he thought he was being chased by a zombie.
Three men may be wishing they'd thought of a better hiding place when they led police on a foot chase straight to their marijuana warehouse.

Airlines want to bump air marshals to coach

The anti-terrorist agents flying incognito almost always sit in first class.  

Common targets for identity thieves

Criminals can find your personal, identifying information in some unlikely places. 

X-ray vans hit the streets, raising concerns

The high-tech vehicles are being used at sporting events to scan for bombs and contraband.  

Scientific 'gold rush' in the Gulf of Mexico

With $500 million and publicity up for grabs, researchers are flocking to areas hit by the oil spill.  

Goldilocks Planet Found

Not too hot and not too cold, the first-time discovery offers conditions with rare potential.

Intriguing find holds big clue to Stonehenge

A skeleton known as "The Boy with the Amber Necklace" helps prove a key theory about the site.

Cloning Neanderthals

Should we clone a neanderthal? No, really, should we? Recently, Archaeology magazine considered the scientific, legal, and of course ethical challenges of doing just that. Researchers from Roche's 454 Life Sciences and genetics firm Illumina are collecting bits of Neanderthal DNA to sequence the genome of a 30,000-year-old Neanderthal woman from Croatia. Once the genome is complete, making a clone is no easy task. But as the article explains, it's within the realm of possibility. And what happens if there's success?

From Archaeology:
 Wikipedia Commons Thumb E E0 Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis.Jpg 470Px-Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis Bernard Rollin, a bioethicist and professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, doesn't believe that creating a Neanderthal clone would be an ethical problem in and of itself. The problem lies in how that individual would be treated by others. "I don't think it is fair to put people...into a circumstance where they are going to be mocked and possibly feared," he says, "and this is equally important, it's not going to have a peer group. Given that humans are at some level social beings, it would be grossly unfair." The sentiment was echoed by Stringer, "You would be bringing this Neanderthal back into a world it did not belong to....It doesn't have its home environment anymore." There were no cities when the Neanderthals went extinct, and at their population's peak there may have only been 10,000 of them spread across Europe. A cloned Neanderthal might be missing the genetic adaptations we have evolved to cope with the world's greater population density, whatever those adaptations might be. But, not everyone agrees that Neanderthals were so different from modern humans that they would automatically be shunned as outcasts.
"I'm convinced that if one were to raise a Neanderthal in a modern human family he would function just like everybody else," says Trenton Holliday, a paleoanthropologist at Tulane University. "I have no reason to doubt he could speak and do all the things that modern humans do."
"I think there would be no question that if you cloned a Neanderthal, that individual would be recognized as having human rights under the Constitution and international treaties," says Lori Andrews, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law. The law does not define what a human being is, but legal scholars are debating questions of human rights in cases involving genetic engineering. "This is a species-altering event," says Andrews, "it changes the way we are creating a new generation." How much does a human genome need to be changed before the individual created from it is no longer considered human?



German shepherd accepts lamb as his own

They say a dog is a man's best friend, but in this case it is a lamb's best friend. Snowdrop the lamb and Quanto the dog were brought together in New Zealand at a time of chaos. Born in the midst of one of Southland's heaviest snowfalls on September 19, Snowdrop is lucky to be alive.

Otatara resident Brogan Campbell said when the lamb was born at her grandparents in Tisbury, she brought it inside out of the snow in a hypothermic state. While the lamb warmed up in front of the fire, the household pet, a 5-year-old male German shepherd, cared for the lamb, cleaning her and treating her like his own, Miss Campbell said.

When the lamb was back on her feet, she was taken outside to her mother who rejected her instantly, most likely because of the dog's smell, Miss Campbell said. "Her mum rejected her so she got hypothermia again and had to be brought back from the brink of death."

The dog took the lamb under his wing, and they followed each other like they were joined at the hip, she said. "Quanto thinks he is the lamb's mother and Snowdrop is quite happy to accept that as well." The unusual pair will be together for a while longer until the lamb could handle it back in the paddock, she said.

Dolphins attempt common language

When two dolphin species come together, they attempt to find a common language, preliminary research suggests.

Coffee Processing Civet Family Splits in Three

asian palm civet photo
No one likes to see a family pulled apart, but in this case the result is two new species: Scientists studying the genome of Paradoxurus hermaphroditus have decided that, in fact, the Asian palm civet is three distinct species.

Ten Unusual Animal Hybrids

Some animal hybrids are born in the wild due to environmental factors, while others are bred by humans for profit or scientific curiosity. Whatever the reason for their creation, new and interesting species are out there due to mixed breeding.

From the groler bear to the dzo, here are 10 hybrid species that are relatively new to the animal kingdom.

Ancient giant penguin unearthed


Scientists unearth a fossil in Peru of a giant penguin that lived some 36 million years ago, offering an insight into the birds' evolution.
Some ancient penguins may have been twice as big as today's Emperor penguin but they lacked the dashing tuxedo.

Plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs were warm-blooded

Sea-dwelling reptiles hundreds of millions of years ago were warmblooded, according to a new study led by Lyon University. It’s the clearest sign that some ancient reptiles, unlike modern ones, had a metabolism similar to that of mammals. Oxygen atoms in fossil teeth show plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs (ten-foot-long Stenopterygius quadriscissus) had internal temperatures of 95 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even in chilly water.



The best foods to fuel your workouts

Turkey has more protein and iron than chicken, and kale trumps spinach on vitamin C.

How popular candy bars got their names

The creators of Baby Ruth originally claimed Babe Ruth wasn't their inspiration.  

Hotel 'Death Ray'

A design quirk at a swanky new tower leaves some guests with unsettling souvenirs.

Historic audio recordings are fading fast

The records of key U.S. historic events and early radio shows are at risk of being lost forever.

Origins of the peace sign

Actually they get it wrong - the origins go back to the Norse and their symbol/alphabetic character for 'Protection'.
The symbol actually spells out "N" and "D" using a code once employed by ships at sea.  

US Army to End Bayonet Training

The use of the bayonet has been part of basic training since the beginning of US military history. Although its use in combat has becoming increasingly less common, US Army trainers had kept it in place for psychological reasons:
“Traditionally in the 20th century – certainly after World War I – bayonet training was basically designed to develop in soldiers aggressiveness, courage, and preparation for close combat,” says Richard Kohn, professor of military history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Bayonet training is, in short, used to undo socialization – to “basically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other,” Mr. Kohn says. It is one of the challenges in US or Western society “where we have such reverence for the individual, where we socialize our people to believe in the rule of law, and all of that,” he adds. “What you’re doing with young people is trying to get them used to the highly emotional and irrational and adrenaline-filled situations in which they are liable to find themselves whether they are within sight of the enemy or not – and the reluctance to take a life.”
Nonetheless, the US Army has decided to eliminate bayonet training from its basic training program and to use that time developing other skills.

The Fighter Pilot Who Shot Himself Down

On 21 September 1956, test pilot Tom Attridge was flying Grumman’s new F-11F-1 Tiger. He fired a burst from his 20mm cannon while diving and accelerating. The cockpit was then struck by an outside object. Attridge immediately radioed that he was returning to base. While attempting to land, the jet lost power and crash-landed on the runway. Attridge, thankfully, escaped safely. A subsequent examination found three bullet impacts and one intact 20mm bullet in the plane. Attridge had managed to shoot his own fighter down:
How did this happen? The combination of conditions reponsible for the event was (1) the decay in projectile velocity and trajectory drop; (2) the approximate 0.5-G descent of the F11F, due in part to its nose pitching down from firing low-mounted guns; (3) alignment of the boresight line of 0° to the line of flight. With that 0.5-G dive, Attridge had flown below the trajectory of his bullets and, 11 seconds later, flew through them as their flight paths met..

Chinese Bullet Train Sets New Speed Record

A commuter train between Shanghai and Hangzhou set a new speed record yesterday. It reached 258.86 MPH during its journey:
“The new record of 416.6 km per hour shows that China has achieved a new milestone in high-speed train technologies,” Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways, was quoted as saying.
The rail service has been largely unsuccessful in attracting customers due to high ticket prices. Its managers hope that this new record will counteract that problem.

Giant, Drive-able Radio Flyer Wagon

Fred Geller and Judy Foster of Anchorage, Alaska, needed a retirement project. They settled on building a giant version of the classic Radio Flyer toy wagon. It’s built on the chassis of a 1976 Mazda pickup truck, so it can move under its own power.
Fred Keller and Judy Foster worked on the car for 11 months, and finished in August of this year, and their ride has been turning heads.[...]
The wheels are made from hub caps and detergent bottles, and the steering wheel is the actual wheel from a wagon. The handle rises eight feet high.
At the photo gallery link, you can view eight pictures of the wagon under construction.

Ten Archetypes of Movie Swords

Geekosystem categorized types of swords seen in Hollywood movies into 10 archetypes.

Starting the list is the Ancestral Sword:
The ancestral sword is usually a gift (or yours by birthright), something that you take because, well, it’s dangerous to go alone. Maybe it’s been in your family for generations. Maybe you pried it from the cold, dead hands of your loved one and swore to avenge his death with the very same blade. Whatever floats your boat.
It’s very likely that the weapon’s significance will be so great that it will be destroyed as part of the 2nd act climax and your eventual replacing of it will be used to symbolize that you have come into your adulthood and stepped out of the shadow of your parent.

World's most dizzyingly scary bridges

The cedar planks of Canada's Capilano footbridge bounce on their steel cables as you walk across.

Rednecks and other assorted weirdos

Rednecks and other assorted weirdos
My wife and I went to a birthday party and I got a piece of cake and she got herpes too.

Redneck Haiku 
Naked in repose
Silvery silhouette girls
Adorn my mudflaps

A painful sadness
Can’t fit big screen TV through
Double-wide’s front door

Unemployment’s out.
Hey, maybe I can get on

Distant siren screams
Dumb-ass Verne’s been playing with
Gasoline again

A New Moon
Flashlights pierce darkness
No nightcrawlers to be found
Guess we’ll gig some frogs

Joyous, playful, bright
Trailer park girl rolls in puddle
Of old motor oil

Seeking solitude
Carl’s ex-wife Tammy files for
Restraining order

Damn, in that tube-top
You make me almost forget
you are my cousin

Tonight we hunger
Grandma sent grocery money
To Jimmy Swaggert

Set the VCR
Dukes of Hazzard Marathon
At 9 O’Clock

In Wal-Mart toy aisle
Wailing boy wants ’rassling doll
Mama whups his ass

No Signal
White noise, buzzing static
Call Earl; satellite dish
needs new descrambler

Sixty-five dollars
And cyclone fence keeps me from
My El Camino

In early morning mist
Mama searches Circle K for
Moon Pies and Red Man

Grinning, he displays
The nine hundred beer cans
Filling pickup bed