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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, October 8, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Ready for the pace of life to change?
To pick up, considerably?
Good, because that's what's happening.
It will, however, be fun, mostly because it's going to be your doing -- whether you know it or not right now -- but also because you've really been itching for a change for a long time.
So if a higher-up comes to you with what seems to be a totally unexpected shift in your schedule, think for a second.
Weren't you really begging for this?

Some of our readers today have been in:
Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Delhi, Delhi, India
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Vienna, Wien, Austria
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

as well as Belgium and in cities across the United States such as Chico, Mesa and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, October 8, the 281st day of 2010.
There are 84 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Pierogy Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Chinese human rights dissident Liu Xiaobo

The award given to the imprisoned Liu Xiaobo ignites a furious response from China.

Perhaps now China will release him from prison.  

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident who is serving an 11-year prison term.

Liu was sentenced in 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. He's the co-author of Charter 08, a call for political reform and human rights, and was an adviser to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Norwegian Nobel Committee head Geir Lundestad said 199 individuals and 38 organizations had been nominated for this year's prize.
The Chinese government "warned" the Nobel committee that they'd better not dare give Liu the prize.
The Chinese foreign ministry had previously warned the Nobel committee not to give Liu the prize, as they said that it would be against Nobel principles.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency later carried a report saying that awarding Liu Xiaobo the prize blaspheme (褻瀆) Alfred Nobel's purpose of creating this prize and "may harm China-Norway relations". The spokeperson added that Liu had broken Chinese law and his "actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize." News of the award was censored in China, with television reports carrying the ceremony going black and a media blackout across Chinese media. Despite being blocked to discuss the news in forums based in the Mainland China, the term blaspheme has stirred up an internet meme in China and has been used to satirize the government's response.
More from Wikipedia:
Liu Xiaobo (simplified Chinese: 刘晓波; traditional Chinese: 劉曉波; pinyin: Liú Xiǎobō; born December 28, 1955) is a Chinese intellectual, anti-communist and human rights activist in China.

He has served as President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003. On December 8, 2008, Liu was detained in response to his participation with Charter 08. He was formally arrested on June 23, 2009, on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power." He was tried on the same charges on December 23, 2009, and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights on December 25, 2009.

During his 4th prison term from 2009 to 2020, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and, subsequently was informed by his lawyer , that on October 8, 2010, he was named the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Liu Xiaobo is a human rights activist who has called on the Chinese government to be accountable for its actions. He has been detained, arrested, and sentenced repeatedly for his peaceful political activities, beginning with his participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and on four other occasions since.
UPDATE: Matt Browner Hamlin has an excellent post at Huffington about the significance of this award:
Today is a great day in the cause of freedom and human rights. People often ask me whether or not freedom can ever come for Tibetans. I've always believed that for change to occur in Tibet, there must be change in China first. Liu Xiaobo is one of the leading advocates for democracy in China whose work makes the very possibility of a resolution to the Tibet question a likelihood. It is dissidents like Liu, Wang Lixiong, and blogger Han Han who are going to bring meaningful political change in China, a likely precondition to freedom in Tibet. I can't think of anyone more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than Liu Xiaobo, a truly courageous man of principle whose belief in democracy and freedom has the power to shake one of the largest countries in the world to its core.

The piglet who thinks she's a dog

Meet Coco, the pint-sized porker – who seems to think she’s a dog. The lonely piglet was handed in to St Francis Animal Welfare shelter in Fair Oak by a family who could no longer care for her. But within days of settling in at her new home, she amazed staff by starting to behave more like a pooch – in an echo of the hit film Babe.

As in the classic 1995 movie in which a young pig takes on the role of a sheepdog, Coco shows similar characteristics to canines and seems to enjoy their company. The scenario arose after a giant German Shepherd at the center, called Jay, took the 19-week-old “Kune Kune” pig under his paw. Coco is so taken by her new “nanny” that she nuzzles up to him like a puppy and follows other dogs around.

Center manager Sueltan Day said: “It is quite funny to see them together. I genuinely think she believes she’s a dog, as she copies what they do. Jay likes to run around and protect her, especially when they’re all running around in the field. Jay is as good as gold and has always been like a nanny at the center.

“German Shephards have a bad reputation but you could put Jay in with anything and he will be gentle with it.” Sueltan said it was common for pigs to enjoy the company of other animals – but staff have been taken aback by the new little and large friendship unfolding in their animal yard.

Jack O'Lantern goes nerd

Spooky faces and jagged teeth make fine Halloween pumpkins, but some people take it to another level. 

Couple aims to be the world's tallest

Wayne and Laurie Hallquist have high hopes that they'll soon gain Guinness book status.

The most anticipated 2011 cars

A few head-turners are tiny and one Ford SUV boasts a 30% boost in its fuel economy.  

Four gone

A string of tragedies in a lakefront town shows how toxic high school taunts can be.  

Lennon's legacy marred by merchandise

Some critics are frowning upon the commercialization of the man who sang "imagine no possessions." 

Cap'n Jack goes to school

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star fulfills one young British student's wish.  

Random Celebrity Photo

Demi Moore wearing a ring and paint.

Prank sparks outcry over Facebook feature

A stunt that claimed even CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a victim prompts worry and confusion.

Man Bitten by Police Dog Bites Back

When a man in West Haven, Connecticut was bitten by a police dog after attacking an officer, he bit the dog back.

Police: 18 Pounds Of Marijuana Found In Trunk Of Car

Ramirez, Soto, Cheek, Mendoza

Three people were arrested and one man is wanted after a drug investigation. Randolph County Sheriff's Office, along with Asheboro Police, searched a home on Old Humble Mill Road. Investigators found 670 grams (1.5 pounds) of marijuana, two guns and drug paraphernalia.

While detectives were at the home, two people arrived at the home. When officers told the vehicle to stop, the car drove away. It was found wrecked near Avanti Drive.

The driver ran into the woods and wasn't found. The passenger/owner of the car was arrested. Detectives searched the car and found nearly 18 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.

The following people were arrested and charged:

Claudio Ramirez -- Charges: Felony Possession of Marijuana; Possession With Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana;
Manufacture Marijuana; Maintaining a Dwelling Place for Controlled Substance; Possess Drug Paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $75,000 bond.

Shanequia Breanne Cheek -- Charges: Felony Possession of Marijuana; Possession With Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana;
Manufacture Marijuana; Possess Drug Paraphernalia. She was jailed under a $20,000 bond.

Francisco Vazquez Soto -- Trafficking in Marijuana (2 Cts); Maintaining a Vehicle for Controlled Substance. He was jailed under a $150,000 bond.

Investigators are still looking for Franco Mendoza. He is wanted on two counts of Trafficking in Marijuana.

Dumb Crooks

Dumb Crooks
Police in suburban Cincinnati arrested a woman after she flagged an officer down and asked if there were any warrants out for her arrest.



How the foreclosure mess hurts buyers

As lenders halt planned home sales, some prospective purchasers find they can't move in.  

How to boost Social Security checks

You could start getting them at 62, but there's a way to double the size of your benefits.

Meet America's top debt-fighters

Don and Carole Carroll had 13 credit cards and owed $88,000, but now they're debt-free.  

The truth be told


When it's budget cutting time, maybe repugican whip Cantor can start with the $7000 chocolates

Seriously, folks. $7,451 on chocolate.

US domestic terrorist is a big fan of Glenn Beck

Well, now isn't that just so surprising.
This past summer, as the SF Chronicle reported at the time, a convicted felon named Byron Williams "loaded up his mother's Toyota Tundra with guns, strapped on his body armor and headed to San Francisco...with one thing in mind: to kill workers" at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation, hoping to "start a revolution."
MEDIA MATTERS: When you talk about how conservative values have been lost in this country you were talking before about the liberal media. You were saying maybe Fox was the exception. You think Fox is worthwhile?

BYRON WILLIAMS: Well, I'm not gonna say anyone is worthwhile. But [unintelligible] I would've never started watching Fox if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
Otherwise known 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
Sharron Angle tells supporters that Islamic law has taken hold in two American cities.  
Need we say more?

Sarah Palin popularity down to 22%
22% - I think that would be the FAUX News crowd. We need to keep reminding ourselves that the crazies running the repugican party, like Palin, are only liked and listened to by one-fifth of the country. Stop treating her, and them, as if they represent most of America - they don't.

Deconstructing America

Killing the 2nd rail tunnel to Manhattan
Paul Krugman has the goods:
The Erie Canal. Hoover Dam. The Interstate Highway System. Visionary public projects are part of the American tradition, and have been a major driver of our economic development.
Yes, but that was so pre–Billionaires' Coup. Krugman again:
But American politics these days is anything but rational. Republicans bitterly opposed even the modest infrastructure spending contained in the Obama stimulus plan. And, on Thursday, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, canceled America’s most important current public works project, the long-planned and much-needed second rail tunnel under the Hudson River. ... We are no longer the nation that used to amaze the world with its visionary projects. We have become, instead, a nation whose politicians seem to compete over who can show the least vision, the least concern about the future and the greatest willingness to pander to short-term, narrow-minded selfishness.
Krugman's bottom line:
And why not? After all, this seems to be a winning electoral strategy. All vision of a better future seems to have been lost, replaced with a refusal to look beyond the narrowest, most shortsighted notion of self-interest.
The Professor is one dot shy of a connected path. The causal trail includes ideology and a "winning electoral strategy," but it doesn't end there. That winning electoral strategy is more importantly the path to personal riches and aggrandizement on the part of the Right's political retainers (our highly propaganda-supported "elected politicians").

And who will supply those riches? The Barons of the New America, of course, the billionaires who are financing the coup that will win them their robes and crown. Politicians like Gov. Christie are retainers, a means to an end, not much more.

Or in Emperor Tiberius' immortal words, speaking of the Roman Senate of his day: "These are men fit to be ..." Well, I'll let you complete the quote.

The truth be told (Part Deux)


Solar surprise for climate issue


The Sun's influence on modern-day global warming may have been over-estimated, a study suggests.

'Mini-Pompeii' Found in Norway

mini pompeii

Archaeologists in Norway stumble across a site that remained buried for 5,500 years.
Read more

Ride the Solar Wind

A Purdue University student has transformed an old motorcycle into a solar-powered bike with a top speed of 45 mph.

Amazing Space Pictures

The amateur duo sends a weather balloon, video camera, and note into the stratosphere.

Astronomical News

The frozen surface of the dwarf planet Eris looks a lot like that of its smaller neighbor Pluto, new research has found.
Saturn's rings may have formed when a large moon with an icy mantle spiralled into the nascent planet.

My Generation

The Who on the Smothers Brothers TV Show

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Leave the Crock-Pot on, and come home to bread pudding and chocolate cake.  

Heart Healthy Diet

Low Fat or Low Carbs?
Losing weight, especially among adults who are very heavy to obese, is a good way to prevent the onset of atherosclerosis, the artery-thickening condition that leads to potentially deadly heart disease. A diet that is low in either fats or carbohydrates can help reduce weight. But which one is the more heart-healthy?

Childhood adversity may lead to unhealthy stress response in adult life

Seemingly healthy adults, if they were abused or neglected during childhood, may suffer physiological consequences decades later. In research published online last week by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

In case you didn't know ...

Fit men have an athletic advantage over fit women: They sweat more easily, according to a study.

Non Sequitur


World's Smallest Apartment Is up for Sale

An apartment in Rome that measures 55 square feet may be the smallest in the world. And it could be yours for about $68,000.
The flat consists of a ground floor bathroom with a shower, sink and lavatory and a ladder leading to a sleeping platform just big enough for a single bed. There is a single window, but to open it you have to climb over the bed.

Luxury underground community

Bomb-shelter meets gate-guarded condo

Terra Vivos is a 135-person bomb shelter in the Mojave, a "Luxury Underground Community" that is the first of several to be installed in driving distance of major cities. I always wonder if the people who decide to secede from their neighbors' society at the first sign of disaster (on the ground that they can't trust their neighbors) ever think that, just maybe, the "bug-out" mentality will do more to harm us than any disaster could? Every disaster I've been in or near has been primarily characterized by people helping each other, doing their best to avoid the Mall Ninjas who are convinced that Mad Max is around the corner. See, for example, the people selflessly rescuing their neighbors after Katrina, while shoot-to-kill Blackwater roughnecks herded them into a sports stadium where there was insufficient food, drink, and sanitation.

Buyers are drawn to Vivos for a variety of reasons. Jason Hodge, a 40-year-old former mechanic, says the promised air-filtration system was a major attraction: "I live 123 miles from Los Angeles, and I'm on the windward side of town. If a dirty bomb goes off in L.A., the fallout's hitting my neighborhood within a couple of hours." Steve Kramer, a 56-year-old respiratory therapist from Palos Verdes, California, is more concerned about post-apocalyptic raiders. He made his deposit, he says, after inspecting the bunker's hardened-steel doors, which are strong enough to repel a tank blast. Building the Vivos society requires complicated engineering too. Vicino says he has 5,000 additional applicants on file but that he is being selective in order to create a balanced community. "You wouldn't want 200 doctors in one facility and no plumbers," he says. "If the toilet breaks, that could be a real disaster." People can bring guns, but they must check them at the door. If someone misbehaves, the security staff will lock him in a detention center. Vicino is also thinking about survival of the species, not just his customers. He plans to stock each Vivos bunker with a freezer full of DNA samples of as many species as he can collect. Whether it's preserving humanity or reseeding a scorched planet, he asks, "don't you want to be one of the guys repopulating the Earth?"

Mysterious Crack Forms Across Upper Michigan

A crack is forming across the peninsula that is Upper Michigan, close to the Wisconsin border. It’s about 200 yards long, 5 feet deep, and growing:
Heider and neighbors heard an explosion-like sound Monday morning. Heider found the nearly 200-yard-long crevice, which measures five-feet deep in parts, Tuesday.
“I was sitting in my recliner and the recliner started to vibrate,” said Heider. “And it’s not electric.”
Trooper Paul Anderson with Michigan State Police was the first to check it out. He said he ruled out a gas line leak, but could not determine much more.
“This would be a first,” he said. “You don’t learn that at the academy.”
Anderson said he called some geological experts. So far none have come to look at the crevice.
There have not been any reported earthquakes in the area.

Bizarre 1950s Mechanical Horse

Presenting a horse from the 1950s that ran on gas.

Believe it or not