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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 19, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
For inspiration, look at the bright green leaves fluttering on the trees and filtering the sunlight.
Stay flexible and flow with whatever forces are in power.
Hold firmly to what grounds you and connects you to nourishment.
Bask in the sunlight and spend as much time outdoors as you can, even if the weather doesn't cooperate.
Getting back in touch with earth, sky and water will help give you a calm escape from the conflicts in your life.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Sevilla, Andalucia. Spain
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway
Muscat, Masqat, Oman
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Petaling, Selangor, Malaysia
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Vantaa, Southern Finland, Finland

as well as Italy, Israel, Russia, Poland, Taiwan, China and in cities across the United States such as Van Nuys, Sequim, Loves Park, Brooklyn and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, October 19, the 292nd day of 2010.
There are 73 days left in the year.

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

However it is Evaluate Your Life Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Don't be a Goober


Buddhist monks to crawl 500 miles

A pair of Buddhist monks are to make a 500 mile journey on their knees to the religion's holiest shrines in China.

Must-do fall home projects

Keep moisture out and trap heat indoors with one powerful and inexpensive sealant.  

It's worth, what?!

The Patek Philippe 5078P model has what connoisseurs call the "ultimate complication."

Miners' 'pact of silence' starts to unravel

One miner speaks out to debunk rumors about what happened underground, while others are lured by money. 

Odds and Sods

A middle-school mom tried to intervene in a fight between her child and another student - but landed in jail instead.

Museum of Man Some strange bones: These are elongated heads that were an elite status symbol in parts of Peru and Bolivia.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had to nice, wouldn't it? In Alexandria, they're starting with the cabbies.

10 Completely Pointless Scientific Studies
The finest scientific minds in the world have worked round the clock to bring you these incredible studies.

Ita s one of the worst feelings in the world - lying awake in the middle of the night because you can't fall asleep.

Two people are in police custody following an unbelievable attempted jewelry store heist near El Paso, Texas.

A "meow" outside the door of an Atlanta home has turned into a labor of love for a dog.

Woman Who Says "I'm Too Rich to Go to Jail" Is Proven Incorrect

A woman at the Stoneybrook Country Club in Estero, Florida believed that she could not be arrested for getting into a fight:
When deputies placed Hincapie under arrest, she allegedly said, “You are in trouble because I am a New Yorker and my brother is CSI” and “My dad paid cash for my Toyota Corolla and I am too rich to go to jail.”
Even as she was being taken to jail, deputies say she continued to tell the deputy he was going to be in serious trouble for arresting her.

Arrested man thanks police for finding long-lost bong

A Bradenton man was arrested on Friday morning, but he still thanked deputies for finding a bong during a vehicle search that he thought he’d lost seven years ago, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report. Mark Fiasco and Matthew Hawley were pulled over at midnight for a license plate light being out. The report said the car had also been involved in a previous drug case in which an arrest was made.

When deputies first approached Fiasco, 23, he provided an address that was not listed on his license. He was then asked if there were any drugs in the car and he said no, according to the report. A search of the vehicle revealed about 29.3 grams of marijuana in the trunk, the report said; it also revealed a bong inside a plastic shopping bag.

After being read their rights, both Fiasco and Hawley, 23, admitted to knowing the marijuana was in the trunk and that they had purchased it earlier in the evening with the intent to smoke it later, according to the report. Fiasco then told deputies that he had been looking for the bong for the past seven years. In the report, he also said that he bought the bong for $150 and assumed a roommate had stolen it.

Fiasco has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to use and failure to change an address on a license. He is being held in Manatee County jail on a $1,240 bond. Hawley has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession with the intent to use. He is also in Manatee County jail on a $1,120 bond.

UAE court says men can beat wife if no marks left

Islamic sharia law allows a man to "discipline" his wife and children provided that he does not leave physical marks, according to a ruling by the supreme court in the United Arab Emirates. The judgment was made in the case of a man who slapped and kicked his daughter and slapped his wife, injuring both slightly. But the federal court in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, also said that their bruises were evidence that the father had abused his legal right. The case is likely to attract attention because of the large number of foreign expatriates living in the Gulf state, where there are occasional prosecutions of westerners as well as nationals for breaching public morality. Non-Muslims, however, will not appear before a sharia court.

Generally, the UAE has made progress in promoting women's education, entrepreneurship and political participation. It also has very liberal laws compared with neighboring Saudi Arabia. It has a civil law jurisdiction though Islamic law is applied to aspects of family law. The court upheld the right of the unnamed man from Sharjah – one of the seven emirates – to beat his wife and children to "discipline" them after he had exhausted two other options: admonition and then abstaining from sleeping with his wife. Scholars differ on what constitutes "beating" but agree it must not be severe.

In the case of the wife, it was the degree of severity that put the man in breach of the law. But his daughter was 23, and therefore too old to be disciplined by her father, the court said. He claimed he did not mean to harm either of them. The Sharjah court of first instance fined the father for abuse. The decision was upheld by Sharjah's court of appeals but he appealed against the verdict at the federal supreme court in Abu Dhabi. "Although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right," wrote chief justice Falah al-Hajeri in a ruling released on Sunday. "If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment."

Jihad Hashim Brown, head of research at the Tabah Foundation, said: "It's unlawful in sharia – if taken in its entirety – to injure one's wife. It's unlawful to insult the dignity of one's wife. That is if we look at the tradition as a whole: the Qur'an, the hadith and writings of Islamic jurists." Dr Ahmed al-Kubaisi, head of sharia studies at UAE University and Baghdad University, said that under sharia, beating one's wife was an option to prevent the breakdown of the family. It should be used only as a substitute to resorting to the police. Dr Jassim al-Shamsi, dean of the college of law at UAE University, said love and respect were more important among husbands and wives than any discipline.

Living the good life

A NATO official contends that the 9/11 mastermind is living like a folk hero in Pakistan.  



Today's Quick Hit

Anonymous cowards buy the US mid-term elections

Hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of right wing attack ads have been aired in this US mid-term election season, but for the most part, no one knows who is paying for these ads, as the payments are laundered through shadowy political organizations that are late (or negligent) in complying with disclosure rules.

Dan Gillmor has a proposal:
If I could be media czar for a day, I'd get every newspaper behind this project: * The first step would be, with the public's help, to visit every station, get a copy of every log of political advertising, and then compile numbers at local, state and federal levels.
* The next step would be to see who's benefiting from the spending, i.e. who's not being attacked, and disclose that.
* Then, see if the spenders are following the law in how they describe what they're doing with the money; as NPR observed, the gaps in the forms showed that the spenders were blatantly flouting even the minimal disclosure requirements.
* Then get every media outlet that cared to trumpet the results for their own regions and the nation.
That's the easy part, unfortunately. Learning how much is being spent, and on whose behalf, won't uncover the names and businesses of the anonymous cowards who are pouring so much cash into buying a new Congress. But perhaps, just perhaps, wider understanding of the vastness of this enterprise would generate sufficient public outrage to force some changes later on.

Wizard of Id


City stages vinegar drinking contest

A Chinese city staged a vinegar drinking competition as part of a bid to attract more tourists.

Falcons reveal spill impact

Researchers turn to a once-endangered species to gauge the level of toxins in the Gulf.  

Super Typhoon Explained

A powerful storm leaves behind dramatic scenes — and questions about what a "super typhoon" is.

How the Allies Used Math to Figure out Nazi Germany's Tank Production

During World War II, the Allies tried to estimate the number of tanks produced by Nazi Germany. But these estimates often contradicted each other. So they asked statisticians to come up with a solution. The statisticians noted that the Germans gave their tanks serial numbers, and guessed that they were given sequentially. This led to an accurate estimate, as described in this Guardian article from 2006:
The German tanks were numbered as follows: 1, 2, 3 … N, where N was the desired total number of tanks produced. Imagine that they had captured five tanks, with serial numbers 20, 31, 43, 78 and 92. They now had a sample of five, with a maximum serial number of 92. Call the sample size S and the maximum serial number M. After some experimentation with other series, the statisticians reckoned that a good estimator of the number of tanks would probably be provided by the simple equation (M-1)(S+1)/S. In the example given, this translates to (92-1)(5+1)/5, which is equal to 109.2. Therefore the estimate of tanks produced at that time would be 109
By using this formula, statisticians reportedly estimated that the Germans produced 246 tanks per month between June 1940 and September 1942. At that time, standard intelligence estimates had believed the number was far, far higher, at around 1,400. After the war, the allies captured German production records, showing that the true number of tanks produced in those three years was 245 per month, almost exactly what the statisticians had calculated, and less than one fifth of what standard intelligence had thought likely.

Wise Old Man

A wise old gentleman retired and purchased a modest home near a junior high school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then a new school year began. The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful, after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, beating merrily on every trash can they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. Stopping them, he said, "You kids are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favor? I'll give you each a dollar if you'll promise to come around every day and do your thing."

The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the trashcans.

After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. "This recession's really putting a big dent in my income," he told them. "From now on, I'll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans."
The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

"Look," he said, "I haven't received my Social Security check yet, so I'm not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?"

"A freakin' quarter?" the drum leader exclaimed. "If you think we're going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you're nuts! No way, dude. We quit!" And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

Infamous church fiscally as well as morally bankrupt

The crystal cathedral, famous for its "Hour of Power" televangelist show, is $43 million in debt.
From the "They've been toking on a number again" Department:

The Pedophile's (excuse me, the pope’s) official newspaper says TV’s famous doughnut-loving dad and his son are catholics.

Small town's big technology breakthrough

A community that once elected an animal as mayor celebrates a faster way to connect.  

The town that stimulus saved

The jobless rate in one Midwestern city plummets from over 20% to under 14%.  

Subtle indeed

A program designed to be subtle has succeeded — maybe too well.  

Poverty Rising

A new map spotlights the startling rise in poverty, but that's not the only bad news. 

How to sell a house that won't budge

Real estate experts say these 11 tactics work best to attract homebuyers.  

Wanna buy a house in Haiti?

A bizarre ripple effect means homes sit empty even as 1.3 million Haitians live under tarps.  

Bank Of America Resumes Foreclosures In 23 States

The pace of U.S. home foreclosures may not slow much after all.

We should expect the other banks to get re-started quickly also, though GMAC is already there.
Meanwhile, GMAC Mortgage, whose procedures helped prompt the controversy when one its executives testified that he had signed 10,000 documents in a month, is also proceeding with foreclosures.

“We announced a temporary suspension of evictions and foreclosure sales in the 23 judicial states several weeks ago so we could commence the appropriate review,” said Gina Proia, a spokeswoman for GMAC. “As cases are being reviewed and, when needed, re-mediated, the foreclosure process moves forward as appropriate.”

Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication, said: “This draws a line in the sand that the banks expect this problem will be over in relatively short order and it will be back to business as usual. If Bank of America can do it, certainly the smaller ones will follow suit.”

On The Job

It's often wise to mention things about you that may worry interviewers — but not always.  

How to get a perfect credit score

Adopting these four regular habits can help you attain an 850 score or at least get close. 

Payroll By Gender

In the USA, in 1970, 4% of women made as much or more money than their husbands. Today, 22% of wives out-earn their spouses. Still, even today, women make about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.  

In the not so distant future ...


Canadian Campbell's soup draws backlash

U.S. critics call a boycott over versions of the soups not even sold in America.  

Culinary DeLites

Cider lends a sweet-tart flavor to pork chops in this simple, tasty dish. 
Stores pack the aisles with processed foods, so shop the edges for healthier fare.
6 Poisonous Foods We Still Eat

Eating food that is known to be poisonous is like playing Russian Roulette. Some people believe the thrill of flirting with death is worth the risk. Then there are those foods that we all eat, but didn’t know they were poisonous -like almonds!
The poison is present only in a specific species of almond, namely the “bitter” ones, which are a broader and shorter version of the sweet almond. Although each bitter almond only contains tiny amounts of cyanide, the substance is dangerous enough that it is illegal to sell raw almonds in the US. Nowadays all almonds must be processed through heating in order to eliminate germs and render the poison harmless.

Three Doctors

Three physicians are out golfing - then, a sudden storm, a bolt of lightning, choir music in the background: you know the routine.

St. Peter says to the first of the trio: "You know the routine. Let's hear what you did with your life."

The first one says: "Uh, well, I graduated second in my class from Yale, and decided to devote my career to the prevention of lazy-eye blindness in children. I've written more than twenty papers on the subject, have lectured at every medical society in the world, and was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in recognition of my contributions, small as they were."

Peter looks at him and says: "Hey, I don't even need to call on you, I read some of your lectures myself. You're in!"

Sound of trumpets, gates open, angels carry him inside. "See you guys at the nineteenth hole!" he yells over his shoulder.

Peter says to the second of the trio: "OK, you're next. You know the routine. Let's hear what you did with your life."

Number two clears his throat and speaks quietly: "I, uh, didn't have the illustrious career of my fellow, but I can honestly say that I lived a good and productive life, and that I never cheated anybody or bent the rules to make my job easier. Come to think of it, I should also mention that I've spent one day a month at the free clinic for the past twenty-three years, helping to assure proper neo-natal and pre-natal care for disadvantaged mothers and children."

Peter looks at him and says: "Hmmm..." He picks up the gold plated telephone, says "Yes, sir", and listens for a moment: then nods, puts the phone down and says "The boss says the free clinic counts for a lot, and he'll let you slide on the affair with what's-his-name's secretary: you're in, too."

Sound of trumpets, yadda yadda, same routine. "See you at the nineteenth hole!" he yells over his shoulder.

"OK", says the Archangel, "third ones the charm. How about you?"

The last doctor straightens his back, looks him in the eye and speaks: "I realized very early on that my expertise was as a people manager, and I've made a solid career by forging proactive alliances between doctors, nurses, patients, and other health care professionals. I managed the Wall street Community Health Plan for seventeen years, and during my stay I formed the first Tiger teams in health care management, combining professionals from all areas of expertise to contain health care costs and establish realistic levels of care and service on a going forward basis. During my tenure at WCHP, the average cost of care per patient declined over sixty-four percent."

Saint Peter raises an eyebrow, and then the phone chimes: he lifts it slowly. "Yes, sir. Yes, sir, sixty-four percent". After a moment more, he smiles, and says "of course, sir, that's very fair."

"The boss says you can come in, too", he tells the much-relieved executive.

The gates slide open, the trumpets blare, the angels come out, and then Peter intones:

"Oh, by the way - the head guy only authorized a two-day stay."

Removing 2mm around breast cancer tumors prevents residual disease in 98 percent of patients

Removing an extra two millimeters around an area of invasive breast cancer is sufficient to minimize any residual disease in 98 per cent of patients.

Mount Sinai researchers discover why cocaine is so addictive

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered how cocaine corrupts the brain and becomes addictive. These findings — the first to connect activation of specific neurons to alterations in cocaine reward — were published in Science on October 15.



Ancient humans' eating habits

Grains found on 30,000-year-old utensils refute a long-held belief about prehistoric society. 
Cavemen Ground Flour, Prepped Veggies 
flourCavemen were grinding their own flour and preparing vegetables at least 30,000 years ago, suggests evidence.

Neanderthal Children Were Large, Sturdy

Neanderthal Baby TeethA Neanderthal infant was discovered alongside two adults, potentially representing a prehistoric family.  

The 21 Most Remarkable Natural Phenomena

Natural phenomena can be beautiful and sometimes remarkable.
Here are 21 unique natural phenomena to be found on Earth.
Many scientists are still looking for an explanation on some of the occurrences.

Don't Stand Under The Cannonball Tree

It is the case with a number of plants that they are given popular names which reflect how they look or what they do. So it is with the Cannonball Tree whose fruit is so large that they look like cannonballs. Not only that, when they fall to the ground a large noise is created similar to... you guessed it.

Old Military Planes to Drop 900,000 Tree-Bombs a Day

C-130 Hercules dropping something other than tree-bombs. 

I've always felt that planting trees was simply too much of a non-violent affair. Digging holes, lowering in saplings, filling them with soil -- yawn. Where's the action, the excitement, the military-grade aircraft? It's also time consuming. Granted, I don't have nearly the skills this guy does, but the last time I went out planting trees, the best I could do was one every few minutes. Thankfully, somebody has figured know how to plant trees right: By enlisting a fleet of a retrofitted C-130 military transport planes to literally aerial bomb forests with new trees, we could plant 900,000 of them in a single day.
Article continues: Old Military Planes to Drop 900,000 Tree-Bombs a Day

A Gallery of Exoplanets

It was only in 1995 that astronomers found measurable evidence of specific exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. Now we have actual images of some exoplanets, as well as artist renderings of the data collected.
We know of nearly 500 other planets orbiting other stars. However, the methods of finding these exoplanets  are indirect. We measure their affect on their parent stars, but we didn’t directly see the planets themselves… until 2005, when the first image of an actual world orbiting another star was announced.
As of October 2010, only 7 such planets have been imaged, but we’ll soon have more. This gallery shows the best of these images, including the first alien solar system to have its picture taken.
The picture shown here is the star HR 8799 with three planets revolving around it! See a much larger image in the gallery.

Bearly Zen

All is, Grasshopper.

Upping the cute factor



Want to know how you really stack up in the natural order of things  this image will help.
On the left, the skull of a blue whale. 
On the right, a human.
Any Questions?!

Unicorn sighting causes a stir in Canada

Amateur video depicting what could be one of the most elusive legendary creatures, the unicorn, has been captured on film by a Toronto resident. The video in question, shot by a local birdwatcher, Peter Hickey-Jones, shows what appears to be a white horse with a single horn on its head emerging from the trees in the Don Valley wetland.
Hickey-Jones brought the footage to the Ontario Science Center to be analyzed by experts. The Science Center is reviewing the footage frame-by-frame to determine whether Hickey-Jones’ claim is legitimate. With closer examination, Science Center staff is hoping to establish whether or not a genuine unicorn sighting has occurred.

In the meantime, the Science Center is asking the public to use caution if they think they see a unicorn. Do not make any sudden movements or attempt to use flash photography. Although legends of unicorns state that they are peaceful creatures, scientists worry that they may harm themselves or others if they end up on a road or highway. The Ontario Science Center has set up an emergency unicorn hotline for the public for further information on unicorns or to report any unusual or questionable sightings.

Unicorn Facts

•Unicorns tend to avoid eye contact with humans and prefer to remain unseen

•Unicorns are known in European cultures as being fiercely beautiful creatures whose horns have curative properties

•The Asian unicorn, described as being scaly coated with the body of a deer and a flesh covered horn, was last seen by the Chinese philosopher Confucius

•The 1620 edition of Historiae Animalium, a book describing all the animals living on Earth, included a description of unicorns

Chimp attends Gaza university lecture

Students at Al-Quds University in the Gaza Strip were surprised to see an unusual guest at their lecture room on Saturday – a chimpanzee who had escaped from a nearby zoo. University sources said the chimp entered the lecture hall through a window left open and even listened to the lecture.

One of the university workers said "We were very surprised to see the chimpanzee who escaped from the zoo right next to us. It entered the university lecture hall and jumped into the meeting room. It caused shock, but also surprise, among the students."

According to reports in Gaza, some of the university's female students screamed as they spotted the ape in the room.

The chimp will not be able to take any courses, however, after being captured by zoo workers with the help of the campus' security officers and returned to its cage.

Seven Skulls For Halloween Party Decoration