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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're not sure what to do about your financial situation, especially when it comes to joint resources.
Since there's really no way for you to figure it out now, your best bet is to find the one person you know will be able to help, both because they're eminently trustworthy and because they have experience with joint financial matters.
In the meantime, sit tight.
Times like this aren't made for movement; they're made for carefully thinking things over.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Neu-Isenburg, Hessen, Germany
Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Garmany
London, England, United Kingdom
Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Almeria, Andalucia, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

as well as Brazil and in cities across the United States such as Palo Alto, Schertz, Overland Park, Hilo and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, October 15, the 288th day of 2010.
There are 77 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Grouch Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Teens nuts for texting ...

... lose interest in talking

In a way this isn't really news, as we already knew the trend: voice use is dropping, while SMS and email use is rising, in most age segments.

Cars that are most likely to get a ticket

One luxury convertible racks up four times the violations of an average car. 

Random Celebrity Photo

Katharine Hepburn as Amazon warrior princess Antiope & Colin Keith-Johnston as Theseus in stage production of The Warrior’s Husband (1932)

Great Rock And Roll Bloopers

Mistakes. We've all made them. Some of us more than others.

Rock stars are not immune to the embarrassment of a glorious clanger, and sometimes these little whoopsies, wonky notes and unwanted warbles can even make their way onto vinyl/tape/mp3 for all the world to hear.http://www.keithvaughn.net/paintings/skeletonband.jpg
Sometimes they make it through to the listener intentionally, and sometimes they sneak by purely by accident, but however they get to us they're part of what makes rock and roll so much fun.

Here are 10 of the greatest mistakes that made it to tape.

Funny and outright weird

American Law

In seventeenth-century Massachusetts, smoking was legal only at a distance of five miles from any town.

In Vermont, USA, it is illegal for women to wear false teeth without the written permission of their husbands.

A monkey was once tried and convicted for smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana.

Acting was once considered to be evil, and the actors in the first English play to be performed in America were arrested.

It's illegal to buy ice cream after 6 pm in Newark, NJ. unless you have a written note from your doctor.

In Texas, it is illegal to curse in front of or indecently expose a corpse.

In Michigan, USA, a man legally owns his wife's hair.

As late as 1932, jail-breaking in Texas was not a crime if the prisoner escaped without using a gun.

It's against the law to catch fish with your bare hands in Kansas.

In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry ice cream in your back pocket.

In Boston, it is illegal to take a bath unless one has been ordered to by a physician.

An old law in Bellingham, Wash., made it illegal for a woman to take more than steps backwards while dancing.

In Idaho, USA, the law states that all boxes of candy given as romantic gifts must weigh more than 50 pounds.

Mailing an entire building has been illegal in the US since 1916 when a man mailed a 40,000-ton brick house across Utah to avoid high freight rates.

In Texas it's legal for a chicken to have sex with you, but it's illegal to reciprocate.

In Tennessee, USA, a man must walk in front of any car driven by a women, while waving a red flag as a warning.

In LA, USA, a man may legally beat his wife with a leather strap, as long as it is less than 2 inches wide.

In Texas, it's illegal to put graffiti on someone else's cow.

French Lick Springs, Indiana once passed a law requiring all black cats to wear bells on Friday the 13th.

Apple Foo

An elementary school teacher may be inadvertently connected to the puzzling objects.

Lightning hits Statue of Liberty


Short Runner Disqualified for Using Stool to Climb over Hurdle

Sapolai Yao represented Papua New Guinea in the steeplechase event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Since he’s 4′10″, the hurdles were a bit much for him. So Yao used a potted plant nearby as a step stool to climb up on top of one hurdle, and then jump down. He was disqualified as a consequence:
Towards the end of the grueling race, the diminutive runner couldn’t quite muster the energy to get over the water jump.
Ao the resourceful Yao did what any other vertically-challenged individual would – using his surroundings to help him out.
Spotting the pots below the hurdle, Yao gave himself a leg up onto the beam, stopped for a quick breather, and then leapt over into the water.

Link Dump

When free shipping isn't really free

It may be tempting to sign up for an unlimited shipping club, but know what you're getting.  

Healthiest fast-food chains

A survey of the 100 biggest chains finds more nutritious fare than you might think.  



Joy for world's longest tunnel

The Swiss celebrate the completion of a $10 billion project 60 years in the making. 

This Mobility Scooter Can Reach 69 MPH

Colin Furze, a plumber in Stamford, UK, altered a mobility scooter. Thanks to a 125 cc motorbike engine, it can now go 69 MPH:
He added: ‘I was told by Guinness that I could modify the engine but I wasn’t allowed to change the appearance in any way so I couldn’t give it bigger wheels or make it more stable.
‘I initially tried experimenting with battery power but I only got to about 30mph and the batteries died really quickly so I knew then it would have to be petrol powered.
Furze’s next goal is to take the scooter up to 70 MPH on a racetrack.

Oregon trooper tickets 82-year-old going 110 mph

Oregon State Police gave an 82-year-old woman a ticket for driving 28 miles per hour over her age and twice the posted speed limit of 55 mph.

Paintings from Inside Cars in the Rain

Artist Gregory Thielker has composed several paintings that suggest that the observer is looking out of a car windshield while it’s raining. They’re remarkably realistic.

Thielker writes:
These paintings became a way to explore how driving in weather shifts and changes the views outside the car as well how the driving experience informs our basic interpretation of environment. We easily understand how painting can mold cultural perception, which in turn influences landscape design to become more like painting (view points, scenic routes, etc.).

The house that sparked foreclosure freeze

After Nicolle Bradbury stopped paying her $75,000 mortgage, a national frenzy ensued.

Free house; Delivery not included

A central Pennsylvania township is offering up a house to anyone willing to haul it away.

Unlikely champ

Even perennial fears of war don't put a dent in one of the fastest-rising markets on earth.  

Safest cities in America

A suburb of Dallas enjoys the lowest violent-crime rate among sizable U.S. cities.  

Liquid Scanner

Passengers may be able to bring soft drinks and big shampoo bottles on their flights again. 



Quote of the Day

Business doesn’t care.
They are all about the current quarter and their individual compensation, not the long-term survival of the US economy.
Deflation helps their personal bottom line, so why would they care about anything else?

Cut your energy bills

With higher heating costs ahead, these inexpensive projects could save you a bundle. 

What the $1 trillion deficit really means

The second-largest deficit in history has tricky implications for the president, the future — and you.

Wizard of Id


On The Job

These people are lucky enough to have top-rated professions that they also love.  

Five steps to retire when you want

The most important number to calculate is how much income your nest egg will generate. 

Social Security benefits freeze for 2011

The U.S. will announce that more than 58 million retirees will go another year without a raise.  

Japanese landlords sue families of suicide victims

Japanese landlords are demanding millions of yen in compensation from the families of suicide victims on the grounds that the properties are difficult to let after someone dies in them. Under Japan's strict laws on tenants' rights, a property owner is obliged to inform a potential tenant if the unit was the scene of an unnatural death.

As a result, many are imitating the tactics of Japan's railway operators, who charge the families of people who jump in front of a train around Y6 million (£46,114) for interrupting services. In one case, a landlord arrived at the funeral of a woman who killed herself in his property in Miyazaki Prefecture, southern Japan, and demanded Y6 million in compensation so he could have a priest carry out purification rites on the building. Too distraught to dispute the claim, the family paid up.

Some 32,845 people killed themselves in 2009 and the rate is likely to remain above the 30,000 threshold for the 13th straight year when the statistics for 2010 are released. In another case, the family of a 30-year-old man who killed himself, received a bill for Y2 million (£15,375) for "repairs" that needed to be carried out, as well as demand for another Y5 million (£38,439) for estimated losses in the future as the landlord would have to reduce the rent.

A Japanese support group called Sumireinokai has called on the government to enact laws that protect the families of suicide victims when they are faced by compensation claims. "Property owners should not be making these sorts of demands against the families of people who have just killed themselves," a spokesman for the organization said. "The families are already coming to terms with the death of a loved one and are vulnerable. These demands have no legal basis and landlords have no right to put pressure on these people."

Piglet seized to recover woman's debt

Court officers in far eastern Russia have seized a piglet from a woman who owes a bank 13,000 roubles ($432) and put it up for sale to recuperate some of the money, the regional branch of the Federal Bailiffs Service said on Thursday.

The woman had been given the seven-month-old piglet for safekeeping, but it was taken away after a court survey of her property found it to be her most valuable possession, the bailiffs service said in a statement. The piglet was seized after the woman failed to comply with a court order to pay off her debt within 10 days, it said.

Consumer debt in Russia has crippled local economies in some of the country's poor rural and industrial areas, which have been hardest hit by the economic crisis that followed nearly a decade of rising living standards.

A piglet could fetch around 10,000 roubles in Primorye, a Pacific Coast region whose capital is Vladivostok. "At the moment it is awaiting a buyer," the bailiff's service said.

A quiz for people who know everything!

These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters 'dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half o f them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.' 

Answers To Quiz:

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends ...Boxing

2. North American landmark constantly moving backwards Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons Aspargaus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside ...Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. (The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)

6. Three English words beginning with 'dw' Dwarf, dwell and dwindle .

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar. Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S' Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Charles Babbage's Early Computer May Finally Be Built

Or as he called an 'Analytical Machine'

In 1837, Charles Babbage designed an early computer. He called it the Analytical Engine. Unfortunately, Babbage died before he could build it. But there’s a campaign underway to make one using the original blueprints:
Elements of the engine have been built over the last 173 years, but this would be the first complete working model of the machine.
“It’s an inspirational piece of equipment,” said Mr Graham-Cumming, author of the Geek Atlas.
“A hundred years ago, before computers were available, Babbage had envisaged this machine.
“What you realize when you read Babbage’s papers is that this was the first real computer.
“It had expandable memory, a CPU, microcode, a printer, a plotter and was programmable with punch cards.
“It was the size of a small lorry and powered by steam but it was recognizable as a computer.”

Krupp Digging Machine

Taking over five years to design and manufacture along with $100 million, the Krupp Digging Machine is the largest trenching machine in the world.  This amazing machine is 700 ft long and weighs over 45,000 tons.  Take a look at more of the world’s largest machines at Oddee.

The Grass Roofs of Norway

Here's a nice little collection of rural Norwegian homes whose roofs have been given over to the traditional turf -- and even small forests.
Turf roofs in Norway are a tradition and you will see them everywhere. Roofs in Scandinavia have probably been covered with birch bark and sod since prehistory. During the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had sod roofs. In rural areas sod roofs were almost universal until the beginning of the 18th century. Tile roofs, which appeared much earlier in towns and on rural manors, gradually superseded sod roofs except in remote inland areas during the 19th century. Corrugated iron and other industrial materials also became a threat to ancient traditions. But just before extinction, the national romantics proclaimed a revival of vernacular traditions, including sod roofs. A new market was opened by the demand for mountain lodges and holiday homes. At the same time, open air museums and the preservation movement created a reservation for ancient building traditions. From these reservations, sod roofs have begun to reappear as an alternative to modern materials. Every year, since 2000, an award is also given to the best green roof proje

Nice Photo


For the Second Time in History, Humans Have Exterminated a Virus

Rinderpest is a virus that kills cattle. Scientists believe that, except for samples in controlled laboratory conditions, they have wiped it out of existence. If true, this will be the second time in human history that a virus has been destroyed. The first was smallpox. BBC News reports:
The eradication of the virus has been described as the biggest achievement in veterinary history and one which will save the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people in the world.[...]
Rinderpest is one of the most lethal cattle diseases known to science. Typically, seven out of 10 cattle infected with the disease would die. But in the 1960s, veterinary scientist Walter Plowright developed a workable vaccine, allowing the disease to be brought under control.
But to begin with there was little to no co-ordination. Individual countries and groups of countries would attempt to vaccinate cattle, suppressing the disease for a while. But it would then re-appear.
Progress was only made once large unified projects were established to tackle the disease.

More than a chicken, less than a grape

No one really knows all the genetic parts needed to make a human being. Exactly how many genes make up the human genome remains a mystery, even though scientists announced the completion of the Human Genome Project a decade ago. The project to decipher the genetic blueprint of humans was supposed to reveal all of the protein-producing genes needed to build a human body.

“Not only do we not know what all the genes are, we don’t even know how many there are,” Steven Salzberg of the University of Maryland in College Park said October 11 during a keynote address at the Beyond the Genome conference, held in Boston. Most estimates place the human gene count in the neighborhood of 22,000 genes, which falls between the number of genes in a chicken and the number in a grape.


Spherical Egg Discovered In England

James Church, a chef preparing breakfasts at a hotel a hotel in Newquay, UK, was left shell-shocked after discovering this perfectly round egg. He says he's cracked over 100,000 eggs in his eight years in the kitchen and never has he seen anything like it.

CT Scan of a 300-year-old Pocket Watch

The watch, retrieved from the wreckage of a warship that sank off the coast of Scotland in 1643, was a mass of corroded metal when brought to the surface, but computed tomography scans reveal the exquisite workmanship inside.
Any parts made of steel, including the watch’s single hand as well as the studs and pins that originally held the mechanism together, have corroded away. But most of the components are brass, and in excellent condition… The top and bottom plates are held together by square-section Egyptian tapered pillars, first used around 1640. Other parts of the mechanism are engraved with a floral design. The clockface itself is marked in Roman numerals with what appears to be a fleur de lys on each half-hour, and an English rose in the centre.
Here you can view a video “flythrough” of the serial CT images.




The scarab was of prime significance in the funerary cult of ancient Egypt. Scarabs, generally, though not always, were cut from green stone, and placed on the chest of the deceased. Perhaps the most famous example of such "heart scarabs" is the yellow-green pectoral scarab found among the entombed provisions of Tutankhamen. It was carved from a large piece of Libyan desert glass. The purpose of the "heart scarab" was to ensure that the heart would not bear witness against the deceased at judgment in the Afterlife. Other possibilities are suggested by the "transformation spells" of the Coffin Texts, which affirm that the soul of the deceased may transform  into a human being, a god, or a bird and reappear in the world of the living.

One scholar comments on other traits of the scarab connected with the theme of death and rebirth:
It may not have gone unnoticed that the pupa, whose wings and legs are encased at this stage of development, is very mummy-like. It has even been pointed out that the egg-bearing ball of dung is created in an underground chamber which is reached by a vertical shaft and horizontal passage curiously reminiscent of Old Kingdom mastaba tombs."

Possible Geoglyphs Spotted in Peru

A huge network of earthworks, or geoglyphs, is visible in satellite imagery of a large area around Titicaca Lake, a researcher claims.  
Aerial photographs of land around Peru's Titicaca Lake suggest ancient Andean people may have carved shapes.  

Just curious


Did the ferocious beast go after it's own?


Animal News

Mystery creature in Sagami Bay

Cameras aboard JAMSTEC's Hyper-Dolphin ROV have captured footage of something strange lurking on the floor of Sagami Bay, southwest of Tokyo.

Vet says horse is actually a dog

The Uffington White Horse has been caught up in an identity battle after it was suggested it could be a dog. Retired vet Olaf Swarbrick has said the ancient carving in the Oxfordshire hillside is not anatomically correct and has more canine-like features. But the National Trust, which said soil samples indicated that the figure dated back 3,000 years to the Bronze Age, has rejected Mr Swarbrick's ideas. However it admitted there were many theories about the carving.

Written records date back to the 12th Century but do not give proof of its exact age or why it was created. It used to be thought that the figure was constructed by the Saxons to celebrate a victorious battle of King Alfred's. This view is now mainly discredited. Mr Swarbrick wrote a letter to scientific journal the Veterinary Record appealing for his fellow professionals to cast their opinion on his claim. He said he believed the figure looked like a hunting hound at full stretch.

"Anatomically it's not a horse at all," Mr Swarbrick said. "It's too long and too lean and it has a long tail - horses don't have a tail the length of that stylized creature at Uffington." Mr Swarbrick joked that its name might have to be changed. "If I'm correct, it needs to have its horse removed - maybe the wolf hound of Uffington.

"The other thing about short-carved figures is that over the years they have had to be cleaned and refurbished and they do change in their shape over periods." Keith Blaxhall, from the National Trust, said he thought its shape suggested the figure was supposed to be a horse. "What you have to remember it's a stylized horse, almost like a stencil on the hillside, so it's not a complete figure of a horse, it's a suggestion. I would like to think it's frozen in perpetual canter across the downs."

Exercise Ball

Hey, nobody can use one of them thangs!