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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.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Among the many admirable qualities on your list, you're famous for your integrity and your never-ending sense of responsibility.
That goes especially for people from the past -- the ones you've never stopped loving.
Before you take them back -- and you certainly will have that chance -- you'd better at least talk it over with someone you trust.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Neuwied, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

as well as South Africa, Lithuania, China, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark and in cities across the United States such as Missoula, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, October 21, the 294th day of 2010.
There are 71 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Editorial Comment

Just wanted to say thanks to all our readers in the 179 countries who regularly drop by and rad what we have to say.

Second Scare

A second tragedy nearly hit in the hours after the president's assassination, a new book reveals.

Photo Op Not

India's Golden Temple lures many visitors — but in a change of plans, not the president.  

President Obama will appear on the TV show Mythbusters

We've posted this before but it bears repeating ...

President Obama will appear on the TV show Mythbusters, airing December 8th.
A small preview has been leaked.



America's Top Interior Designs

America's top decorators show off their talents by decorating one room each in a Manhattan mansion.

Missed it by that much

An angler reels in an 800-pound marlin at a tournament, only to have his catch disqualified.

Spectacular romantic Islands

Whether you want all-out luxury or sand-between-the-toes casual, there's a perfect spot for you.  

More Jews live in the US than in Israel

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) and the University of Connecticut (UConn) have published a 2010 report on the American Jewish population, as part of a new North American Jewish Data Bank Report ...

Dramatic riots in France

Students and workers take to the streets over plans to raise the retirement age.  

Student named Mexican top cop

Marisol Valles GarcĂ­a, 20, was a town's only applicant after a spate of public official killings.

Boy in custody after 2 joy rides in 2 days

Police in South Carolina say an 11-year-old boy is in custody after allegedly taking two joy rides in two days, the first in a fire department pickup and the second in an SUV.

Man breaks into home, then falls asleep

Police say the man made himself at home - taking off his clothes and going to bed

Police Say Burglar Brought Her Daughter On Job

Police say it was "bring your daughter to work" day for a woman they said took her 2-year-old girl with her when she broke into a western Michigan home.

Bad Cops

Wisconsin jail guard gets long prison term after conviction on a dozen charges of sex crimes against children

Seven un-named Chicago cops are placed on paid leave after street surveillance camera records "alleged" police brutality

New York jail officer is charged in inmate assault

Colorado cop is arrested "for allegedly committing four misdemeanors and two felonies in September"

Smaller police departments are unlikely to conduct internal investigations of cop misconduct

Connecticut trooper gets home confinement for mortgage fraud scheme

Fried Georgia deputy is charged with killing his wife and a day laborer

No details released about Utah cop who's suspended with pay, except that "he's a very good officer"

Fired Wisconsin cop is charged with battery, sexual assault and intimidating a victim

Arizona police officer faces charges in assault at Scottsdale bar

California cop shoots unarmed man in the face for approaching him while he was Tasering the man's wife

Two Connecticut cops are placed on paid leave in connection with a criminal probe into missing police union funds

Pennsylvania police chief is convicted of theft, forgery

Homeowner calls 9-1-1 assuming the thugs who kicked down his door must be criminals, gets prison sentence for shooting at cops in no-knock raid

Drunk cop hits girls, ambulance runs over one

A drunk police officer hit three girls with his car and one was killed after being run over by the ambulance sent to treat them.

Close My Eyes Forever

Lita Ford and Ozzy Osborne

Dad’s weight and diet linked to offspring’s risk of diabetes

Medical researchers at the University of New South Wales have for the first time shown a link between a father’s weight and diet at the time of conception and an increased risk of diabetes in their offspring.

Healthy dollar or less foods

At just 52 cents per serving, fiber- and protein-packed canned beans are a great value. 

'Start-Up Fever' is spreading

Katie Shea and Susie Levitt's dorm-room company is now importing 70,000 shoes from abroad. 

Things They Won't Tell You

The fee to switch to a no-interest card could wipe out your potential savings.  

Odd Requests Made by Hotel Customers

The hotel chain Best Western released a list of the oddest requests made by customers over the past year.

Here’s are a few examples:
Another customer, who had been tasked with arranging a lawnmower convention, enquired about the possibility of mowing the grounds of the hotel, so guests could try out the various models on display.
One group of animal-lovers requested reiki classes for their pets, and another asked for a host of twin rooms, so guests and their dogs could each have their own bed.
A support group for sex addicts, meanwhile, demanded a selection of single rooms, and a member of staff to ensure each delegate made it to bed alone.

Law Firm Opens Drive-Through Window

The Kocian Law Group in Manchester, Connecticut bought an old Kenny Rogers restaurant to use as an office. The building has been renovated to look like any other law office, except for the drive-through window:
“We have drive-thrus for ATMs and we have that customer convenience. Why not a law firm?” attorney Nick Kocian asked.
Kocian wanted to make things convenient for customers to easily drop off and pick up documents. He has been told this is the first drive-thru legal service in Connecticut and possibly the country.
“We represent a lot of injured people,” Kocian said. “If you have somebody who’s in a wheelchair or somebody who’s hurt, it’s convenient.”

The Lumberyard

Jeb and Jethro live in the hills, about 5 miles outside of town.

Jeb asks Jethro to go in to town to pick up some lumber. Jethro walks the 5 miles to town to the local lumber yard.

"Jeb says we're gonna need some 4 x 2's" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Do you mean 2 x 4's?" asks the yardman.

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

"Jeb says we're gonna need 2 x 4's" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Now, how many 2 x 4's will you need?" asks the yardman."

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb." says Jethro, and again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

"Jeb says were gonna need about 40 of 'em" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Now, how long will you need them?" asks the yardman.

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and yet again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

Upon returning Jethro says to the yardman, "Jeb says you better give 'em to us for a while . . . we're gonna build a barn."

Faux News is going down

More people are finally waking up ... Faux News ratings down double digits.

New insurance rules moving forward

And good news on the health care reform front:
Brushing off a last-minute lobbying push by the insurance industry, state insurance officials on Thursday finalized new rules requiring insurance companies to dedicate more revenues directly to healthcare costs.
The new healthcare reform law requires large employer plans to dedicate at least 85 cents of each premium dollar to actual medical treatments or other activities that improve care. (The threshold for individual and small group plans is 80 percent.) Plans that don't meet those thresholds are required to give rebates to their customers, beginning in 2012.

Are we better off now than we were two years ago?

Could we have been even better off with a little courage from the President and the Congress?  Yes.
Most everyone is frustrated with the state of the economy today.

But compared to two years ago? It's not even a contest.
Yes. But no. People don't "feel" an impending depression. They do "feel" what it's like to have their salaries plummet and lose their jobs. The first was remedied, but we never felt it. The second still plagues us, and we feel it. So it's hard to explain to people without jobs that things are better, even if it is true.

The Future of Social Security

To protect the program, higher taxes, an older retirement age, or both will likely be required. 

Say goodbye to traditional free checking

Bank of America, the nation's biggest bank, announces a dramatic shift in how it does business.

Strong turnout for Democrats in early voting

Some good electoral news:
Election Day is already over for more than 3 million Americans, and a large number of them are Democrats.

Repugicans are gaining a little (very little but a little) ground in turning out early voters compared with their showing two years ago, but figures from the first batch of states that offer clues about 2010 early voting patterns still give Democrats an edge in a number of states and big counties.

"If people thought the Democrats were just going to roll over and play dead in this election, that's not what we're seeing," said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who tracks early voting nationally. "They've got to be feeling a little bit better with the numbers that they're seeing."

Wingnuts' Big Hypocrisy: Turning Women Candidates (Who Are Anti-Sex and Anti-Woman) into Sex Symbols

Wingnuts are happy with 'sexy' female candidates so long as they don't demand abortion rights, maternity leave, equal pay and equal sexual pleasure.

The truth be told


The oldest thing in the universe

Scientists say they've seen a galaxy so ancient that it dates back to the infancy of the universe.

Hormones raise cancer risk

A large study finds breast cancer deaths were more likely among hormone users. 

Experimental Drug Prevents Age-Related Memory Loss

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have conducted tests on a compound that slowed age-related memory loss in mice. An enzyme called 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 generates glucocorticoids, a class of hormones, that enhance memory formation:
The Edinburgh team showed that knocking out either one or both copies of the gene for this enzyme in mice preserved the animals’ memory into old age. To determine whether blocking the enzyme could improve memory in already aged animals, researchers then developed a compound designed to cross into the brain and inhibit the enzyme. Just 10 days of treatment in two-year-old mice–the maximum lifespan for a typical lab mouse–was enough to improve the animals’ performance on a test of spatial memory.

Akrotiri: Proposed Site Of The Famous City Of Atlantis

Atlantis is a mythical island continent said to have existed in the Atlantic Ocean in ancient times. The earliest mention of Atlantis is found in Plato's two dialogues Timaeus and Critias, from which it emerged as a topic of fascination and speculation over the centuries.

There have been dozens of locations proposed for Atlantis, to the point where the name has become a generic concept, divorced from the specifics of Plato's account. This is reflected in the fact that many proposed sites are not within the Atlantic at all.

Like many other locations in Greece, Akrotiri was believed to be the site of the fabled city of Atlantis. Although Plato's stories invoke true skepticism by scholars, others believe there's some truth and may have been inspired by true events in Akrotiri.

What Americans throw away

A lot of table scraps get tossed, but one product makes up a whopping 31% of trash.  

Batteries Smaller Than a Grain of Sand

DARPA-funded research is developing batteries to power nano-scale machinery. The largest of these batteries will be the size of a grain of sand. UCLA researcher Jane Chang explained:
“We’re trying to achieve the same power densities, the same energy densities as traditional lithium ion batteries, but we need to make the footprint much smaller,” says Chang.
To reach this goal, Chang is thinking in three dimensions in collaboration with Bruce Dunn other researchers at UCLA. She’s coating well-ordered micro-pillars or nano-wires — fabricated to maximize the surface-to-volume ratio, and thus the potential energy density — with electrolyte, the conductive material that allows current to flow in a battery.
Using atomic layer deposition — a slow but precise process that allows layers of material only an atom thick to be sprayed on a surface — she has successfully applied the solid electrolyte lithium aluminosilicate to these nanomaterials.

The Tex Avery Laws of Cartoons

Cartoon Law I -Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.

Cartoon Law II -Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.

Cartoon Law III -Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.

Cartoon Law IV -The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.

Cartoon Law V -All principles of gravity are negated by fear. Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth's surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.

Cartoon Law VI -As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once. This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled.

Cartoon Law VII -Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.

From Smiling Seals to Exploding Landscapes

Photographers Journey to Earth's Most Dangerous Places For "Extreme Exposure"
male walrus photo
Image credit: Paul Nicklen
When a photograph captures a moment of action—like this male walrus sending a warning to a creeping photographer—it seems to freeze time, preserving something astonishing that has long since passed.
"Extreme Exposure," a group exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography, features arresting imagery from five unique photographers who work on the edge of wildlife, climate and environment. Clyde Butcher, Paul Nicklen, Michael Nichols and Donna & Stephen O'Meara have made careers documenting rarely seen moments in the life of our planet.
From Smiling Seals to Exploding Landscapes, Photographers Journey to Earth's Most Dangerous Places For Extreme Exposure Slideshow

British Angler Catches an Elusive Giant Piranha

goliath tigerfish photo  
Photos via River Monsters
British fisherman Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet's River Monsters, made quite a rare catch on a remote stretch of the River Congo. As one might expect from looking at this prehistoric-looking goliath tigerfish, measuring in at around 5 feet in length with 32 razor-sharp teeth, reeling in the 100 pound fish was not without its risks. "It is, for all intents and purposes, a giant piranha. It is quite a beast," said the brave angler. "The teeth on it are incredibly sharp and are about the same length as a great white shark."
Article continues: British Angler Catches an Elusive Giant Piranha

Misunderstood Jellyfish

Rising conflicts between jellies and humans spark fears they are overrunning Earth's oceans.

Cirrate octopus swims through the ocean

Filmed in the Taney Seamounts, west of San Francisco, it's part of a branch of the octopus family that is very elusive—preferring deep, dark waters far from the coastline—very rare—they only make up about 15% of all octopus species—and very, very old. In fact, what is thought to be the oldest octopus fossil yet found is a cirrate, dating around 296 million years old.
Cirrate octopuses are also very weird. We don't know a whole lot about their anatomy and physiology, but we do know that they lack "typical" octopus features, like ink sacs and the ability to move around by jet propulsion. Instead, cirrates swim using those fins on the sides of their heads. As for the eponymous "cirra", those are little filaments, similar to the cilia that line your nose, which are paired up with every sucker on a Cirrate octopus' arm. Nobody knows exactly what they do, but they may be involved, somehow, in trapping and handling of food.



Artist begins month-long stay in museum

A Chicago theater artist is set to begin her month-long stay at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Legend of Cora the witch still haunts Hatteras Island

On the Outer Banks of North Carolina , folks there still whisper lurid tales about a weird woman and her unholy child.

Dancer becomes surprise tourist attraction

To win $10,000, Michelle doesn't have to just dance on a bus — she has to dance on top of it.  

One hundred year old Indian man gopes back to school for his PhD

An Indian man of 100 has gone back to university, saying you are never too old to learn. Bholaram Das had his birthday last week - and to mark the occasion enrolled on a PhD course in north-east Assam state. "If my son can get a PhD at the age of 55, why can't I do it at 100?" said Mr Das, possibly India's oldest student.

He was imprisoned for opposing British rule in 1930 and went on to work as a teacher, lawyer and judge in Assam before retiring in 1971. He said he was delighted to return to his studies after so many years. "I have had this in mind since I did my post-graduate in commerce from Calcutta University in the late 1930s, but could not pursue it then. I became actively involved in politics, went to jail, then had to take up a job."

The doctoral program he has embarked on involves field trips, interviews and finally writing a thesis. But the centenarian is not daunted by the challenge - in fact his ambitions have not diminished over the years. He says that he is very keen to have the prefix "Dr" before his name. His family say his bid to enter Guwahati University - where he registered to study for his two-year PhD - was received coolly.

"The university didn't want to approve the synopsis of his thesis. But he fought it out with the academics. Later they had to review their decision," his son BK Das said. "Now that he has started gathering research material, I, my brothers and other family members have taken up the responsibility to help him." For his doctorate, Mr Das plans to study a subject close to his heart - the spread of neo-Vaishnavism, a liberal stream of Hindu religion credited with breaking down social divisions in Assam.

Odds and Sods

Some don't like it hot. A Steak 'n Shake restaurant in Cleveland, Tenn., was sued by a couple who claimed it served a hot sauce that sent their son to the hospital.

Police said a man using a fake gun in a San Fernando Valley stickup was beaten with the prop weapon when the would-be victim took it from him.