Welcome to ...

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.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It's the little things that matter the most, especially when it comes to partnerships.
(Who knew that your coworker's initially charming habit of whistling would become annoying?
Or that the way your sweetheart double-knots their shoes, which at first drove you mad, is now one of your favorite things about them?)
Remember how quickly impressions can change before you lose your temper and any chance for a long-lasting partnership.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Lucca, Toscana, Italy
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
London, England, United Kingdom
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

as well as Spain and in cities across the United States such as Budd Lake, Villa Park and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, October 4, the 277th day of 2010.
There are 88 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Ten-Four Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Welcome to the craft fair ...

Images by B. Alter: Barbara Keal
Origin: The London Craft Fair has almost 200 crafts people displaying their wares this year. So it is an eclectic and sometimes eccentric mix of things to see and buy.
Speaking of eccentric, and before anyone gets too excited, these are hats made out of Sussex wool and alpaca fleece which has been felted. These hairy animal hats in natural colors are inspired by the local sheep and imagined beasts. Welcome to the craft fair...

Article continues: Origin Craft Fair Shows Some Eccentric and Eclectic Wares

U.S. Strike Kills 5 German Militants In Pakistan

An American missile strike killed five German militants Monday in the rugged Pakistan border area where a cell of Germans and Britons at the heart of the U.S. terror alert for Europe - a plot U.S. officials link to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden - were believed in hiding.

More laptop users facing instances of 'toasted skin syndrome'

The age of the superpowered laptop has led to a surge in what's called "toasted skin syndrome." The condition, with the medical name "erythema ab igne," can be caused by prolonged exposure to heat or infrared radiation, and can be caused by overuse of heating pads ... and laptops.

Hackers Arrested

A group of students from the New York University were arrested in the USA on suspicion of 3 million dollars theft from American banks and 9.5 million from British ones.
One of the hackers deserves special attention and this is Kristina Svechinskaya - who has already been called the second Anna Chapman and the world’s hottest hacker.

Big Haul: 250-year-old, 1,000-pound New Hampshire rock marker stolen

Call it the mystery of the missing New Hampshire rock. 

A 1,000-pound chunk of granite believed to have sat on a corner in Amherst since the mid-1700s telling travelers "Bedford 7 M's" was stolen sometime last week, coinciding with the community's 250th birthday.

Man arrives at Maine police station with grenade

Police and firefighters in Southwest Harbor, Maine, blocked off the police department parking lot after a man arrived with a grenade, seeking advice on what to do with it.

California prison bans visitor hugging, kissing

A minimum security prison in California has banned hugs and kisses because authorities fear visitors are sharing a lot more than affection.

Non Sequitur


Brazilians vote clown into Congress

Voters the world over complain about having clowns for politicians, but Brazilians embraced the idea Sunday by sending a real one to Congress with more votes than any other candidate.
Clown Known as Tiririca Gets 1.3 Million Votes in Sao Paulo District, the Nation's Most Populous; May Be Illiterate Americans may feel that the nation is run by a bunch of clowns in Washington, but millions of citizens in Brazil went to the polls Sunday to elect an actual clown to congress.

Frank Rich: We're watching 'a billionaires’ coup'

Frank Rich has an interesting column that draws a nice line between the idiocy of Christine O'Donnell (our friend the Handmaiden) to the mega-billionaires who fund it, to what he calls a "coup" ... in print.

The column is excellent, a nice walk through the garden of logic that gets him from A to B to C. Do check it out. I'll leave you with just two quotes. The first:
Everyone knows that tax cuts for the G.O.P.’s wealthiest patrons must come out of Social Security and Medicare payments for everybody else.
And by the logic of post-election flim-flam, it all goes down in the lame duck session (or Lame Duck Session, since this will be a Lame Duck for the ages). Here we can watch both betrayals at the same time — the water will start to drain from the Social Security glass, straight to the Big Boy tax cuts glass. Voilà.

I plan to develop my list of good Dems–bad Dems after that session. The second quote, from Rich's final paragraph:
Christine O’Donnell, Tea Party everywoman ... just may be the final ingredient needed to camouflage a billionaires’ coup as a populist surge.
The whole close is strong, but I didn't want to hide the bomb. "A billionaires' coup." Score one for the good guys.

That explains it ...


Screwing you over

And you wonder why your arse is hurting?
A Wells Fargo executive has acknowledged that he verified only the dates on up to 150 foreclosure documents he signed daily.

Racial Housing

Shady tactics used in segregated neighborhoods played a central role in the collapse, authors find.  

Workday Recovery Kit

The weekend is over. We all have to go to work again. Well, not all of us. I'm retired! Just rubbing it in! But work is a necessary evil for most of us, and even those with an acutal work ethic frequently suffer burnout.

Offer a friend - or yourself - maximum relief from the monotonous daily grind with this all-new Workday Recovery Kit. It's guaranteed to turn your affliction into conviction! The tin box contains a 16-page remedy booklet, silicone bracelet, 5 affirmation cards, 5 healing bandages, recovery certificate, and a metal charm.

On The Job

On The Job
If your boss tells you to "take it offline" during a meeting, here's what she really means.  
If you feel bored or unappreciated, take these steps to switch fields and earn more money.

Geography Exam

These are supposedly answers to grade school and high school geography exams. Whether that's true or not, they are plenty funny!

Climate is caused by the emotion of the earth around the sun.
The people of Japan ride around in jig-saws.
The plains of Siberia are roamed over by the lynx and the larynx.
Lindberg is the capital of Germany.
The chief animals of Australia are the kangaroo, larkspur, boomerang, and peccadillo.
The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called Mummies.
Don Juan is a town in the West Indies.
Germany is an industrial country because the poor have nothing else to do, so they make lots and lots of factories.
Where is Alaska? Alaska is not in Canada.
Spain's national music is the cascarets.
What people live in the Po Valley? Po people.
In Pittsburgh they manufacture iron and steal.
In Athens there is a temple called the Pancreas.
The Alimentary Canal is located in the northern part of Indiana.
Georgia was founded by people who had been executed.
When we cross the Hudson River we come to the United States.
Where is the greater part of Europe? In New York.
The principal export of Sweden is hired girls.
The Indian squabs carry porpoises on their backs.
Among the enduring remains of Egyptian civilization are pyramids and obsequies.
The writing of ancient Egypt was called hydraulics.
Rome had a fine defensive position, being seven miles from the mouth of the Tiger.
The seaport of Athens is Pyorrhea.
The Greeks wore scandals on their feet.
In what general direction to the rivers of France flow? From the source to the mouth.
The general direction of the Alps is straight up.
Manhattan island was bought from the Indians for about $24, and now I don't suppose you could buy it for $500.
The United States are mostly populated by people.
The State of Virginia was named for the Virgin Mary, who afterward married Captain John Smith.
What is the sound west of the State of Washington? The sound of the ocean.
Canadians raise boll weevils for their wool.
Where is Cincinnati? First place in the National League.
Floods from the Mississippi may be prevented by putting big dames in the river.
Denver is just below the 'o' in Colorado.
They don't raise anything in Kansas but Alpaca grass, and they have to irritate that to make it grow.
The benefit of latitude and longitude is that when a man is drowning he can call out what latitude and longitude he is and we can find him.
Virginia is the mother of President Wilson and is also noted for her hysterical sights.
The chief products of the Hawaiian Islands is rainfall.
Philistines were inhabitants of the Philippine Islands.
The original tribes of Central America were the Axtecs, the Celts, and the Morons.
New Zealand is a democratic country. they passed a law there preventing women from sweating in the factories.
Malays are brown generally and inhabit Malaria.
The climate is hottest next to the Creator.
The Kaffirs of Africa are a very savage race. In times of war they beat their tum-tums and can be heard for miles around.
The American Indians travel in birchbark canoes on little streams of water that they make themselves.
The state flower of Colorado is the concubine.
The soil of Prussia was so poor that the people had to work hard just to stay on top.
The Mason line is the line running north of the Equator and the Dixon line is south.
In the west, farming is done mostly by irritating the land.
Oceania is a continent that contains no land.
There is a great deal of nothing in the center of Australia.
Asked to name six animals peculiar to Arctic regions, a boy replied, "Three bears and three seals."
Climate lasts all the time, but weather lasts only a few days.
Latitude tells how hot you are and longitude tells how cold you are.
The Menai Straits are crossed by a tubercular bridge.
Sienna is famous for being burnt.
The climate of Bombay is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
The sun never sets on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the east and the sun sets in the west.
The trade of Spain is small, owing to the insolence of the people.
The Eskimos are God's frozen people.
The sun sets in the west and hurries around to the east to be in time to rise the next morning.
Name three animals peculiar to frigid regions. The lion and the giraffe and the elephant are peculiar to frigid regions, but the polar bear and the seal and the walrus live there.
People go to Africa to hunt rhinostriches.
Glaciers spread a murrain over the land.
The highest peak in the Alps is the Blanc Mange.
The Equator is a menagerie lion running around the earth and through Africa.
Imports are ports very far inland.
Nearly at the bottom of Lake Michigan is Chicago.
The chief occupation of Perth is Dying.
The inhabitants of Moscow are Mosquitoes.
The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.
A mountain range is a cooking stove used at high altitudes.
An Indian Reservation consists of a mile of land for every five square Indians.
The only signs of life in the Tundra are a few stunned corpses.
Among the islands of the West Indies are the Pyjamas, noted for their toilet sponges.
Lipton is the capital of Ceylon.
The population of London is a bit too thick.
Persian cats is the chief industry of Persia, hence the word purr.
The Mediterranean and the Red Seas are connected by the Sewage Canal.
New York is behind Greenwich time because America was not discovered until very much later.
Henry VIII had an abyss on his knee which made walking difficult.
Certain areas of Egypt are cultivated by irritation.
Zanzibar is noted for its monkeys. The British Governor lives there.
A watershed is a shed in the middle of the ocean where ships shelter during a storm.

Double Lasers Shoot the Moon

Some guys have all the luck. September 18 marked the first ever International Observe the Moon Night (which is referred to as InOMN) which is set to become an annual event. Visitors at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center in Maryland were in for a treat.

They were able to watch as not one but two green lines pierced the sky above the Space Center. These lasers were aimed at the moon not to repel an alien invasion or to detect a battle fleet but the aim of the procedure was detection. The lasers were tracking our own spacecraft.

Florida student's message in bottle found in Ireland

A message in a bottle sent by a Florida high school student as part of his marine science class has come ashore in Ireland.

    Ancient Colorado river flowed backwards

    Geologists have found evidence that some 55 million years ago a river as big as the modern Colorado flowed through Arizona into Utah in the opposite direction from the present-day river.

    Disappearing glaciers enhanced biodiversity

    Biodiversity decreases towards the poles almost everywhere in the world, except along the South American Pacific coast. Investigating fossil clams and snails Steffen Kiel and Sven Nielsen at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) could …

    'Ground Zero ship' mystery slowly unfolds

    Experts piece together clues found in and around the intriguing 18th-century wreck.

    Science and Health Headlines

    American's Sex Lives Exposed by New Survey  
    Americans perform a variety of sex acts, but should use condoms more, according to a new survey on sexual behavior and condom use.

    Bedbugs Q&A: Everything You Need to Know (and More)  
    Louis Sorkin, an entomologist, talks about why bedbugs have come back to bite American cities and what it feels like to feed his collection.

    Details of 18th-Century 'Ground Zero Ship' Revealed   
    Mysterious ship offers up clues to its past, but much work remains.

    Gastric Bypass Surgery Poses Pregnancy Risks for Teens   
    Gastric bypass surgery in teens my pose risks for pregnancy.

    Depression and distress not detected in majority of patients seen by nurses

    New research from the University of Leicester reveals that nursing staff have ‘considerable difficulty’ detecting depression and distress in patients.
    Two new research studies led by Dr Alex Mitchell, consultant in psycho-oncology at Leicestershire …

    Strange phenomenon leads to tingling fingers

    Exposure to cold temperatures or a stressful situation can trigger a strange medical phenomenon. It's no ordinary tingle in your fingers. Susan Hendricks explains Raynaud's phenomenon.

    Bone chip removed from bear's elbow during surgery

    The first attempt at arthroscopic surgery on a bear at the N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine ran into complications that slowed the operation last week, but in the end it was successful.

    A Breed Apart

    Boning up on Man's Best Friend

    A 12,000-year-old grave in Israel has touching evidence of the long, close relationship between humans and dogs. The grave contains a human skeleton whose hand rests upon the bones of a small puppy. Through the centuries dogs have given people loyalty, aid, and companionship. So what did people do to get such understanding and helpful friends? Well, actually, they created them themselves.


    (Image credit: Flicker user ucumari)
    Scientists have discovered 400,000-year-old wolf bones mingled with human bones. But they believe that the man and the wolf relationship goes back hundred of thousands of years before that. Early humans probably first used wolves as food; but the wolves would have also been using humans, scavenging through their garbage dumps and over time moving closer and  closer to the center of camp and the human’s food source-the campfire. After a while, the gentler wolves were accepted by humans as part of the group.
    Wolf packs and early human tribes had a lot in common. They were both willing to follow a leader, cooperate, and work together to protect members of their group. So, a wolf-human cooperation was natural-especially when it came to hunting.
    Wolves began to follow humans when they went hunting. Wolves gave off cues when prey was around and humans soon figured out that wolves possessed a superior sense of smell and could detect prey at long distances. Man and wolf began to cooperate and eventually wolves became active participants and true partners with humans in the hunt for food.

    When selecting a wolf pal, humans naturally favored the most cooperative animals. They associated cooperative behavior with a puppylike appearance in an adult wolf and encouraged those animals to stick around. They also began picking out the most gentle, trainable puppies to raise.

    (Image credit: Flickr user Paul Moody)
    In effect humans replaced nature’s selection process with a man-made one. And after thousand of years of human meddling-about 14,000 years ago-a new animal evolved. Thanks to domestication and their diet, these animals had smaller brains, heads, and teeth than wolves. We call them dogs. As wolves evolved into dogs, they became even more important to humans because of their usefulness and their companionship.
    Dogs have always had a wide variety of size and body proportions, but about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, folks tinkered with Mother Nature in earnest to create specialized working and companion dogs. That’s when the difference in breeds really began to emerge.
    The Romans bred and trained working dogs and lap dogs. As breeding continued, dogs became more and more specialized. Herding dogs were bred to work with livestock. Sporting dogs were bred for bird hunting. Hounds were bred to hunt by scent or by sight.  Working dogs were bred to perform many tasks, including herding, hauling, and guarding. Terriers were bred to hunt rodents and other vermin. Toy breeds were bred to be companions and some of those were bred to be simply lap warmers.


    (Image credit; Flickr user United States Marine Corps)
    Alexander the Great was said to have helped develop a huge breed called Molossus, as a battle dog that could knock a man right off a horse. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors used kill-trained greyhounds and large Mastiff-type dogs against Native Americans and to assist in their conquest of the New World.
    During the Civil War, dogs were used for sentry duty, to guard prisoners, and to accompany troops as mascots. In World War I, dogs were used to detect enemy forces, carry messages, search battlefields for wounded soldiers, and evacuate wounded soldiers by pulling small ambulance carts. Dogs also cheered up soldiers at the front lines and those wounded in hospitals.
    During World War II, the United States really got serious about using dogs to protect its military and military-related property. Scout dogs were used to good advantage in Vietnam; they served double duty as security dogs. Mine-detector dogs and tunnel dogs were both trained during this conflict. Vietnam also saw the development of the tracker dog. Tracker dogs were used to hunt down the enemy.
    The modern canine soldier is trained to save lives, not take them. American war dogs help our troops avoid potentially deadly encounters. They work as sentries on sensitive military installations, or lead their handlers to hidden caches of weapons, explosives, and drugs.


    (Image credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk)
    The organized use of dogs in law enforcement for the apprehension of criminals was established in the early 1900s. Working German shepherds became so good at helping law enforcement personnel that they were nicknamed “police dogs”. The idea of using dogs for police work was largely brought about by the development of and organization of purebred dog clubs. The earliest examples of police dog programs were those in Germany, Belgium, and England.

    Dogs have been successful as a species because they have adapted well to the needs and desires of humans for loyalty, companionship, and assistance. Dogs and people communicate effectively through voice, body language, and facial expressions, though in many ways dogs are much better at understanding humans than humans are at understanding dogs.
    Dogs and humans have a relationship that is based on mutual support. Dogs have a greater difficulty surviving on their own and a dog’s dependence on humans make it a sensitive pal, cooperative and responsive to its owner’s moods. Dogs are wonderful companions, they help people make a living, and they save lives. Man’s best friend is even a healer, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
    Dogs may be mankind’s greatest accomplishment-the creation of a superior being. After all, a dog will never turn o you as long as you treat it right. The same can’t be said about people.

    Ireland's Newly-Studied Smooth-Hound Sharks Already Under Threat

    starry smooth-hound shark pup photo
    Photo via Edward Farrell
    The starry smooth-hound shark is considered an abundant species off the Irish coast, and they were thought to grow and reproduce quickly. However, new research shows that they actually take twice as long to mature as previously thought, and produce just one pup every two years. Knowing this, along with the fact that they're a sought-after species on the European continent, means conservationists have a new species to worry about.
    Article continues: Ireland's Newly-Studied Smooth-Hound Sharks Already Under Threat

    Marine census discovers new, often bizarre undersea life

    They set out to chart life in the world's oceans, but 10 years and $650-million later the scientists say it is impossible to describe it all.

    Ocean May Hold 750,000 Species Not Yet Discovered

    marine life census photo  
    Photo: MAR-ECO/Oystein Paulsen, Courtesy of the Census of Marine Life
    Sure, you've heard there are plenty of fish in the sea -- but according to biologists there may be even more than you ever imagined, many more. After ten years mapping the ocean's biodiversity in the most comprehensive marine life censuses ever undertaken, researchers have arrived at a humbling conclusion: they definitely didn't count them all -- not by a long-shot. Of the 250,000 marine species counted, researchers estimated that some 750,000 remain undiscovered. But if they're in hiding, it's hard to blame them. Human activity may mean many ocean species will go extinct before meeting the land lovers who caused their demise.

    Strawberry Cream




    Tipping Properly In Every Food Scenario

    Everyone knows we're expected to tip as our server politely clears away our meal at restaurants. We feel confident about what's expected in these situations (15% to 20%, in case anyone needs reminding). But what about today's alternative eating-out situations - beyond the confines of the standard sit-down restaurant?

    U.S. Wastes 2 Percent of Its Energy on Uneaten Food

    food gone to waste photo  
    For the folks who won't buy an electric car, put solar panels on their roof, or turn off the lights when they leave the room, there's a painless solution that can help us all reduce our carbon footprint -- stop wasting all that food! According to the latest research, the United States could save the equivalent of 350 million barrels of oil every year by not producing those tons of food which get tossed out every day.
    Article continues: U.S. Wastes 2 Percent of Its Energy on Uneaten Food



    UK claims mattress domino toppling record

    A new world record for human mattress dominoes has been set in Newcastle, organizers have claimed.

    Four hundred mattresses were toppled in under four minutes on Saturday morning. The previous record of 380 was set in New York City two weeks ago.

    The event at a warehouse in Newburn was organized by Palatine Beds and involved a line of volunteers falling back on mattresses like dominoes.

    The toppling is still to be verified by Guinness World Records.

    There are videos here and here.

    The 93-year-old Case of Tom Thomson's Death

    Artist Tom Thomson has been called “Canada’s Van Gogh”.  His death in 1917 remains Canada’s greatest mystery. But there is some new information in the case, thanks to CSI-style forensic analysis.
    The “truth” eluded Canadians for nearly a century, right back to July 16, 1917, when the missing painter’s body surfaced on Algonquin Park’s most famous lake – a bruise over his left temple, one ankle wrapped round and round with fishing line.That suspicious death – accident? murder? suicide? – and the subsequent question as to whether his body remained at Canoe Lake, where his friends had buried him, or had later been exhumed at the Thomson family’s request and taken to Leith, Ont., has made Tom Thomson Canada’s greatest enduring mystery, his famous works inextricably tied to his fate.
    In 1956, a body was unearthed at the Canoe Lake cemetery that some thought might have been Thomson’s, particularly because of the hole in the skull. Others said it was was a young aboriginal man who had undergone trepanation. Just this past year, modern technology was brought into the picture to determine just who the skull with the hole in it belonged to.

    Cat's Eyes


    Sixteen Innovative & Awesome LED Art Sculptures

    LEDs are the way to use tons and tons of lights and still use very little electricity. Artists, sculptors, and architects use LEDs to create stunning light displays, like this one found at the Italian Light Sculpture Festival in Nanjing, China. See more pictures from the festival and other LED art projects at WebEcoist.

    Will Ferrell and 1,580 People Break Guinness World Record for the Most Number of People Dressed as Superheroes

    As a publicity stunt for his upcoming movie Megamind, Will Ferrell gathered 1,580 people dressed as superheroes in order to break a Guinness World Record for that feat:
    A total of 1,580 costumed individuals showed up to the event, which was more than enough to break the record of 1,500 set by a New Hampshire children’s hospital way back in… August.[...]
    Then Ferrell majestically appeared on a rising stage platform, and Guinness spokesman Stuart Claxton verified the world record, to the sound of cheers. “Everyone in a Spider-Man outfit wins a new car!” joked Ferrell.