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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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're always the person everyone comes to when they're after advice, counsel or a couple of dollars to pay the electric bill.
Does that mean it's the only type of relationship you're capable of having?
In fact, a long-distance lover could well be making plans to tiptoe subtly back into your life.
If you're game, don't be afraid to make the first move.
Make the call, and issue the invitation.
Just be sure they pay for the ticket this time.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Tychy, Slaskie, Poland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

as well as Singapore, Russia and in cities across the United States such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, Tempe, Washburn and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, October 12, the 284th day of 2010.
There are 80 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work (& School) Day
International Moment of Frustration Scream Day
International Top Spinning Day

It is also Free Thought Day
(but don't tell a repugican ... they are incapable of free thought so they can not enjoy the celebration)

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

On this date ...

On this date:
http://www.taxfreegold.co.uk/images/oktoberfest400.jpgIn 1810, the German festival Oktoberfest was first held in Munich to celebrate the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Attention-seeking author hurls his book at Obama

The incident isn't the only bizarre moment from a campaign rally in Philadelphia.

    In a Chilean Mine ...

    The first of 33 trapped miners will soon be lifted out, while their families keep vigil.
    Rescue crews plan to bring the first trapped Chilean miner to the surface late Tuesday.

    New York Hail

    The flash storm flooded roadways and pelted the city with quarter-sized ice rocks.  

    'Don't ask, don't tell' blocked by injunction

    A federal judge's order ends the military's controversial 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. 

    Russia inflates its military with blow-up weapons

    The Russian military has come up with an inventive way to deceive the enemy and save money at the same time: inflatable weapons. They look just like real ones: they are easy to transport and quick to deploy. You name it, the Russian army is blowing it up: from pretend tanks to entire radar stations. The decoys are a hundred times cheaper than the real thing, which means Moscow will save a lot of money by blowing up its own weapons.

    On the edge of Moscow, two men carry a black duffel bag into a field, then drop it on the ground. When they open the bag, they take out a large sheet of plastic. It looks like a tent or a tarpaulin. In fact, it's the Russian army's latest strategic weapon. It doesn't need ammunition - just air. On goes the pump, in goes the air and the plastic sheet begins to rise and take shape.

    A turret appears, then out pops a long plastic gun barrel. This is an inflatable Russian tank. When the men pump up their next piece of plastic, this one expands into a S-300 rocket launcher, complete with giant truck and inflatable rockets. It is a cross between a ballistic missile and a bouncy castle. And waiting to be blown up are inflatable MiG fighter jets - even entire Russian radar stations.

    These state-of-the-art stand-ins are among the most advanced military decoys in the world. What they lack in firepower, they make up for in flexibility: they are light and can be deployed quickly to deceive the enemy. They are also very realistic. They are made of a special material that tricks enemy radar and thermal imaging into thinking they are real weapons.

    Video. There's a large gallery of photos here.

    Aquarium home to 3 exotic lobsters

    Connecticut's Maritime Aquarium is the new home to three exotic lobsters, a colorful trio sharing the same tank at the Norwalk center.

    Culinary DeLites

    Kale is getting loads of attention as a superfood, but another veggie might be more deserving.  
    There may be no quicker way to swallow 100 calories than a fun-size Butterfinger.  

    Proof their 'food' is not fit for human consumption

    Photographer Sally Davies has kept a hamburger and fries on her shelf for six months.

    Employer demands mean some jobs go unfilled

    not hiring
    The total number of job openings does remain historically low: 3.2 million, down from 4.4 million before the recession. But the number of openings has surged 37 percent in the past year. And yet the unemployment rate has actually risen during that time. [...]
    Human resource specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren’t willing to settle for less. They’d rather wait and hold jobs vacant.
    HR specialists even have a nickname for the highly sought but elusive job candidate whose skills and experiences precisely match an employer’s needs: the “purple squirrel.”

    On The Job

    For high salaries and satisfying work, consider these top-rated professions.  


    One subject leaves just 26 percent of people "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their career paths.

    Credit score myths that could hurt you

    Getting your credit report or counseling won't lower your score, but other moves may.

    Avoid impulse shopping

    Watch out for these sneaky ways that stores and websites get you to spend.  

    Knockoffs that hurt

    Some knockoffs aren't worth the savings, and could even pose a danger.  

    The 100 Worst Things to Say to Someone Who's Depressed

    These platitudes won't help.

    “What’s *your* problem?” 
    “Will you stop that constant whining? What makes you think that anyone cares?” 
    “Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?” 
    “You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear.” 
    “But it’s all in your mind.” 
    “I thought you were stronger than that.”
    “No one ever said life was fair.”
    “As you get stronger you won’t have to wallow in it as much.” 
    “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” 
    “Do you feel better now?”(Usually said following a five minute conversation in which the speaker has asked me “what’s wrong?” and “would you like to talk about it?” with the best of intentions, but absolutely no under-standing of depression as anything but an irrational sadness.)

    Common breast cancer myths busted

    Getting the facts straight can protect your health and help you avoid needless worry.

    Diabetes gene linked to degeneration of enzyme involved in Alzheimer’s disease onset and progression

    Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have found that a gene associated with the onset of Type 2 diabetes also is found at lower-than-normal levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Six degrees to your sickness

    6 degrees to your sicknessWhat does Kevin Bacon have to do with the flu?

    Well, nothing – unless he sneezes around that one guy who works with your neighbor lady’s cousin.

    Here’s why scientists say studying friendships could be the key to tracking germs.

    Life's little pleasures

    12 shortcuts to a happy life
    12 shortcuts to a happy life
    Real happiness — the kind that leaves you feeling ridiculously giddy and radiant — is about the simple joys in life. Here are some things that are sure to leave you feeling sunny on a rainy day.

    How to feel better in two minutes

    US Drops to 49th in the world for life expectancy

    The numbers are really crappy for white Americans too

    Were number 49!

    There's a myth that all these "bad" US numbers for life expectancy and such are really the result of America being a "diverse culture" - meaning, "it's all those minorities who aren't doing so well, while we white folks must be riding pretty darn high in the international statistics!"

    Yeah, not so much. According to a new study, we white folk in America are doing pretty badly as well.  In fact, we seem to be doing worse than non-whites.

    For example, compared to 12 other comparable countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), here's how white men and white women in America ranked in terms of 15-year survival rates at the ages of 45 and 65:
    45 year old white men: ranked 11th of 13
    45 year old white women: ranked 11th of 13
    65 year old white men: ranked 11th of 13
    65 year old white women: ranked 13th of 13
    Oh, and here's a funny thing: The US numbers only get better when you INCLUDE non-whites.
    As a consequence, the relative survival gains of non-Hispanic American whites, compared to all residents of the comparison countries, ranked next to last or last for each of the sex and age groups over the full period—even worse than overall performance (note that not all data were available for all countries for all years). Contrary to the diversity hypothesis, including the experience of diverse groups in the US data improves the comparative performance of the United States, since the superior survival gains of other Americans relative to non-Hispanic whites boosts the overall performance of the United States relative to that of other countries.
    From Health Affairs:
    Click chart to see readable version
    In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands The last available measure of female life expectancy had the United States ranked at forty-sixth in the world. As of September 23, 2010, the United States ranked forty-ninth for both male and female life expectancy combined.
    Meanwhile, per capita health spending in the United States increased at nearly twice the rate in other wealthy nations between 1970 and 2002. As a result, the United States now spends well over twice the median expenditure of industrialized nations on health care, and far more than any other country as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP).
    We compared the performance of the United States to that of twelve nations that have populations of at least seven million and per capita GDP of at least 60 percent of the US per capita GDP since 1975. These nations are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

    Ear Scanning as a Means of Identifying People

    Mark Nixon, a professor at the University of Southampton (UK), believes that the unique shape of each person’s ears may provide a way of identifying dangerous people in airport security processes:
    Professor Nixon and his team tested 252 images of different ears and found the system was able to match each ear to a separate image held in its database with 99 per cent accuracy.[...]
    “Fingerprints are one of the best ways we have of identifying an individual at the moment,” said Professor Nixon. “But on some people, even they are not so effective. Bakers and brick layers tend not to have obvious fingerprints as the distinctive whirls rub off.
    “It is harder to do that with your ears, but there is one thing that can get in the way of the ears and that is hair. In reality, I expect there won’t be a single approach, but in fact a combination of different biometrics that can be taken simultaneously to identify an individual.”

    Bad Cops

    Proper Treatment

    Michelle Schreiner is a diabetic and her blood sugar was dangerously low, so a friend called 911.
    For some reason, dispatch sent a police officer as well as paramedics to her Gresham, Oregon, home.
    When they got there, Schreiner was holding a syringe filled with insulin and drifting in and out of consciousness.
    The officer ordered her to drop the syringe, and when she didn't, he Tasered her and handcuffed her before paramedics treated her.

    The city settled a lawsuit filed by Schreiner for $37,500.

    Mary Jane up front

    Most people growing marijuana illegally at least try to hide it from authorities.

    Cocaine found in box of chocolates at Sydney Airport

    An American woman has been arrested after allegedly smuggling cocaine into Australia in a box of chocolates.

    The 29-year-old was arrested at Sydney International Airport yesterday after customs officers found the cocaine in a box of round chocolates.

    The cocaine was concealed in plastic wrappings inside the chocolates, which weighed 5kg.

    "Further forensic testing will be undertaken to confirm the drug, its weight and purity,'' the Australian Federal Police and Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

    Company Head Arrested for Negligence in Hungary Toxic Sludge Disaster

    Photos: AP
    Would he have been arrested in the US?
    Last week in Hungary, toxic sludge burst out of its containment reservoir and into three nearby villages, killing 8 people and forcing hundreds to abandon their homes. The red mud was a byproduct of the aluminum-making process employed by MAL Zrt, the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company. The head of the company has just been arrested for criminal negligence, and faces 10 years in prison if convicted. The state temporarily wrested control of the company and installed a commissioner. Which is interesting, and stands in stark contrast to the responses to recent environmental disasters in the US -- what do you think would have happened if the disaster had happened here?
    Article continues: Company Head Arrested for Negligence in Hungary Toxic Sludge Disaster

    Friends write on body of teen dying after drinking game

    The family of an Onalaska teen who died in a drinking game said they are angry at the man accused of supplying alcohol to the boy and that his friends wrote in permanent marker on his body while he lay dying. The mother of 15-year-old Nick Barnes said she had no idea that when she sent her son to a birthday party, an adult at that party would furnish alcohol and do nothing while the teens played a deadly game.

    "(It's) very devastating, very devastating. My life is gone. Nicholas was my world, and I'll never have him back again," Rachel Smith said. Prosecutors said James Taylor supplied alcohol to Barnes and other teens at a party last year. Barnes and another teen at the party played a game called "a shot for a shot," prosecutors said. They drank at least 11 shots of vodka, then Barnes started drinking from the bottle. When he passed out and lay on the ground, dying of alcohol poisoning, his friends stripped off his clothes and wrote on his body with a permanent marker.

    "We had to bury Nick with black marker all over his body, people's names written on his behind. 'I love you Nick' (was) written on his chest," Smith said. Taylor pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of supplying the alcohol, failing to call for help and manslaughter in connection with Barnes' death. Barnes' family said Taylor needs to be held accountable.

    They said they hope nobody else ever plays the deadly drinking game that ended their son's life. "This is a very stupid, stupid game - horrible," said Smith. Barnes' parents said they were also devastated because they wanted to donate his organs after his death but because of the ongoing criminal investigation and the permanent marker on Barnes' skin, organ donation was not possible.

    The truth be told


    Gingrich was for food stamps before he was against them

    Make up your mind, Newt.
    Are you now saying that your previous praise for the program is suddenly wrong now that a Democrat is in the White House or are you wrong now?

    Think Progress:
    If there were a “party of food stamps,” however, it would certainly have bipartisan membership — including Gingrich himself. In 2002, the Bush administration sought to expand the food stamp program to all legal immigrants, who had previously been excluded by Congressional Republicans during the 1996 welfare reforms. The Bush proposal extended food stamps to 363,000 more people. The New York Times reported that the move was likely intended to curry favor with Hispanic voters, and while it wasn’t popular with many conservatives, Bush did find a strong supporter in Newt Gingrich:
    In an interview today, Newt Gingrich, the House speaker in 1996, said: “I strongly support the president’s initiative. In a law that has reduced welfare by more than 50 percent, this is one of the provisions that went too far. In retrospect, it was wrong. President Bush’s instincts are exactly right.”

    Why Are The repugicans The World's Only Political Party Denying Climate Change?

    GOP climate image
    "It is difficult to identify another political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the repugicans here."

    That's the pull quote from an important column in the National Journal today and it reveals an ugly, under-reported truth about American politics. Conservatives and conservative leaders the world over -- David Cameron's Tories in Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union in Germany, and so on -- do not shy from the science of climate change. In fact, there's only one democracy in the world where a political party has made it a point to deny climate science: The United States. But why?
    Article continues: Why Are The repugicans The World's Only  Political Party Denying Climate Change?

    Serial divorcé, and adulterer, Newt Gingrich goes birther

    Note how Gingrich says we aren't permitted to blame FAUX News, wingnut hate radio, and Lush Dimbulb for the fact that a tiny minority of Americans - probably all FAUX News viewers - think Obama is a Muslim.
    Oh, okay Newt, we won't consider the possibility that you guys are lying to your followers, and your mouth breathing followers being under-educated lemmings, believe you.

    Oh, and how's that third wife going?
    Former House Speaker and potential repugican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich used an appearance on Spanish-language television to sound off on questions surrounding President Obama's birthplace and religious faith, declaring the president has an "obligation" to figure out why so many Americans doubt his life story.

    "If I were the president, that would really concern me, not because of Fox News or talk radio or Rush Limbaugh, but what is there that he's doing that would let that many people be confused?" Gingrich said on Univision's "Al Punto," according to a report from The Hill.

    'Robo-traders' signed off on US mortgage evictions

    Fresh evidence is emerging in the United States of fraud and unethical behavior that helped trigger the subprime mortgage crisis.
    Some of the biggest names in American banking are accused of using false or unverified data to fast-track foreclosures on people who default on their mortgage payments.

    Is anyone surprised? Anyone?

    Eric Cantor supports bogus bank foreclosure documents

    Need more proof that the repugicans are completely owned by Wall Street bankers? 

    Why is it so hard to wait for valid documents before a foreclosure? If insisting that banks have legitimate documents before they destroy someone's life, Cantor and the repugicans may realize that yes, Americans do like government intervention. It's unthinkable that anyone could even suggest banks have the right to foreclose without correct paperwork. Of course consumers need to be responsible for themselves but the same should also apply for banks, no?

    More from Think Progress:
    On Faux News Sunday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) called for a nationwide moratorium on foreclosures, saying “it’s absolutely imperative that we keep people in their homes.” House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (retard-VA) disagreed strongly, however, saying he was “just perplexed” at Wasserman Schultz’s answer, and that “people have to take responsibility for themselves.”

    CANTOR: I’m just perplexed to that answer, Bret… what we’re seeing if you do that, if you impose a moratorium on foreclosures what you are telling people and institutions that lend money is they do not have the protection to take the risk they need to, to extend credit for people will get a mortgage. You’ll shut down the housing industry if that is the case[...]

    What we’re talking about, Debbie, you have 10 percent, if that, of the population who are now in a foreclosure situation or in a mortgage that they have been unable to meet the obligations… Now, come on, people have to take responsibility for themselves. We need to get the housing industry going again. We don’t need government intervening in every step of every aspect of this economy.

    Realization ...


    Jericho's Massive 1,200-Year-Old Mosaic on Display

    For this week only, Jericho invites visitors to gaze at the largest Middle Eastern carpet mosaic in the world's oldest city.  

    Sea mammal constellations light up sky

    This week brings both Delphinus the dolphin and its whale cousin into the view of sky watchers.  

    Earliest land plants discovered

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/49467000/jpg/_49467044_cryptospores.jpgPlants first colonized land more than 472 million years ago, according to a fossil discovery in Argentina.

    Tiny tubes point to ancient life

    Microbial tunnels in subseafloor meta-volcanic glass from the Hooggenoeg Complex of the Barberton Greenstone belt, South Africa (Grosch et al. 2009)
    Microscopic tubes thought to have been etched into South African rocks by microbes 3.3 billion years ago have had their great antiquity confirmed.

    Fossil Find Could Save One of Australia's Most Endangered Species

    australian alps photo
    Diminished annual snowfall in Australia's "Alps"—like on 5,922 foot Mt. Buller, seen here—has eroded the mountain pygmy possums' habitat.
    Image credit: thomasrdotorg/Flickr

    Snow, it has long been thought, is essential to the survival of the highly-specialized mountain pygmy possum, which burrows beneath the drifts to hibernate each year. Global warming, however, is shrinking this already limited habitat range to a few dangerously small patches.
    The fate of the possum, then, seems to be sealed but a new discovery in the fossil record suggests that there may be more hope for this species than anyone thought.
    Article continues: Fossil Find Could Save One of Australia's Most Endangered Species

    Hunter-gatherers cared for first known ancient invalid

    Too old to hunt, he probably needed a cane and suffered terrible back pain – and other early humans 500,000 years ago must have looked after him.

    Nasty, Brutish, and Short?

    Neandertals Died Young
    People today can live long enough for three and sometimes even four generations to interact. But did Neandertals know their grandparents? At a symposium Friday, Rachel Caspari of Central Michigan University argued that the answer is no.



    Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio

    In 2000, the US National Recording Preservation Act mandated the Library of Congress to conduct an in-depth study on the state of audio preservation and archiving. The Library has finished its study and one of its most damning conclusions is that copyright -- not technical format hurdles -- are the major barrier to successful preservation. Simply put, the copyright laws that the recording industry demanded are so onerous that libraries inevitably have to choose whether to be law-breakers or whether to abandon their duty to preserve and archive audio.
    "Were copyright law followed to the letter, little audio preservation would be undertaken. Were the law strictly enforced, it would brand virtually all audio preservation as illegal," the study concludes, "Copyright laws related to preservation are neither strictly followed nor strictly enforced. Consequently, some audio preservation is conducted." While libraries supposedly have some leeway in preserving audio recordings, they find it "virtually impossible to reconcile their responsibility for preserving and making accessible culturally important sound recordings with their obligation to adhere to copyright laws". The problem is that the current provisions in law for audio preservation are "restrictive and anachronistic" in our current digitial age.
    There are more problems. While the recording industry undertakes some preservation, they will only preserve those recordings from which they think they might profit in the future (what a surprise). For instance, consider a researcher working on vaudeville who may be interested in vaudevillian recordings on cylinders.
    "These performers may have been headliners in their time, but today their names are virtually unknown," the study details, "While scholarly interest in these recordings is high, their economic value to the property holder is negligible. However, legal restrictions governing access to a cylinder produced in 1909 are the same as those governing a compact disc made in 2009, even though it is highly unlikely that the 1909 recording has any revenue potential for the rights holder."

    BLIZZCON 09'

     Ozzy's Crazy Train - Featuring 9 year old guitarist Yuto Miyazawa

    Famed opera diva Joan Sutherland dies

    Luciano Pavarotti once praised the soprano as "the greatest voice of the century." 

    Bust a move

    Joe works an unusual form of audience participation into his quest for $10,000.