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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.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your wisdom when it comes to anything that involves dollar signs is legendary, whether it's for your own interests or someone else's.
If you've made a career of it, so much the better.
If you've made a career of it and you're still able to use your talents to help yourself, even better.
Regardless, keep in mind that the Universe, at the moment, is sending out some rather seductively confusing vibes.
Resist them.
Think logically, no matter how tough that happens to be.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes, France
Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Gent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

as well as Russia, Austria, Greece, Spain, India, Philippines and in cities across the United States such as Honolulu, Schertz, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, November 3, the 307th day of 2010.
There are 58 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Cliche Day
Sandwich Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Sorry America

With idiocy coming to the fore as it did yesterday:
If you thought the last two years of repugican obstructionism was horrid  ... causing our nation even further misery than they caused before just wait for the screwing we're in for for the two years to come until we can throw them out forever.

Hate and fear won't last for long.
Love and hope always win in the end.

U.S. elections stir economic jitters abroad

Hell, it's stirring economic nightmares here!
Countries worry the political shakeup may challenge the global economy.  

Easing of Gaza blockade leaves many smugglers idle

Israel's easing of its Gaza blockade has accomplished something Israeli bombing raids and an underground steel wall could not: It has devastated the Hamas-ruled territory's once thriving smuggling industry.


Gordon Duncan does ACDC's Thunderstruck on the pipes

They walk among us ...

I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the Highways Department to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.'

Gift return ... I don't think so

To prevent fraud, stores have dropped "anything, anytime" policies and may grill you.

Wizard of Id


Will Sesame Street's 'There's an App for That' segment attract Apple's ire?

Will Sesame Street's 'There's an App for That' segment attract Apple's ire? Apple is famous for protecting its intellectual property and has gone so far as to sue folks for things that have absolutely nothing to do with iPods, iPhones, or even music.

Gurning Champion Declared Ugliest Woman by Guinness World Records

“Gurning” is apparently a competitive sport in Britain that consists of contorting one’s face in ugly poses. Anne Woods, who’s been a local champion for 27 straight years, will now get a special mention in the Guinness Book of World Records:
Gurning involves contorting the facial features into ugly positions while draped in a horse collar and it is thought that the competition at Egremont dates back to the middle ages.
Mrs Woods said: “It feels absolutely wonderful to have been accepted. But this is not before time; I’ve won the competition 27 times now.
“I am considering retiring, but I know what I’m like. Come next year’s competition I’ll be itching to get on stage again.
“Whatever happens, I doubt my record will be broken.”
Anne started gurning when she was 30 after her brothers entered her into the competition without her permission.
She won and 33 years later Anne is still pulling her famous face.

Eleven Things You Didn't Know About Pinball History

The origins of pinball are intertwined with the history of many other games. Games played outdoors by rolling balls or stones on a grass course eventually evolved into games played by hitting the balls with sticks and propelling them at targets.

These games led to indoor versions that could be played on a table, such as billiards, or on the floor of a pub, like bowling. The tabletop versions of these games became the ancestor of the modern pinball machine.

Perfect timing

Wet t-shirt in 3 - 2 - 1

Chilean Miner to Compete in Marathon

Edison Pena, one of the Chilean miners who was trapped underground for 69 days, was known to the media as “the runner” because he ran long distances underground to keep physically fit. On Sunday, he’s going to compete in the New York City Marathon, according to Mary Wittenberg, the President of the New York City Road Runners Club:
Edison Pena, 34, was originally invited by the club, which organizes the annual marathon, to attend the event as a spectator. But Pena insisted on running in the 26.2-mile marathon, Wittenberg said.[...]
“To be out there whether running or walking is such an affirmation of the human spirit,” she said of the marathon.
Wittenberg said Pena will be traveling to New York with his wife.
The 12th miner to be rescued, Pena is a diehard Elvis Presley fan who, despite speaking little English, knows most of the words to Elvis classics and led the trapped miners in sing-alongs during their 69-day ordeal underground.

The Tallest Climbing Wall In The World

The tallest climbing wall in the world is located in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. It's called Excalibur and it's 37 meters tall (121 ft). The tower is slightly bended which makes it an even greater challenge to all climbers.

Ten Awe-Inspiring Roads Around The World

There are certain roads around the world that go above and beyond your average paved street. Tey're so scenic, so dangerous or at such high altitudes that traveling them is an adventure in and of itself.

Have a look at these 10 incredible highways that offer breathtaking views of mountains, lakes or rivers, or threaten drivers with anything from landslides and floods to hairpin turns and hijackers.

Ideas for unforgettable adventure travel

Relaxing on the beach is fine, but you could track snow leopards in Central Asia instead. 

Driving mistakes you probably make


Opting out of full-body scans

One traveler learns that "opting out" of a full-body scan can be very unpleasant.

When, not if, will full-body "naked scans" become mandatory in the USA?

Travel blogger Christopher Elliot has an informed post up about the odd timing of the latest terror scare, and a theory that this might be "just another cleverly-timed event that pushes us toward mandatory full-body scans at the airport," just like the underwear failbomber Richard Reid conveniently ended a lively debate about the privacy issues posed by "strip-search machines."
If you aren’t a conspiracy theorist, then last weekend’s foiled bomb plot will just strike you as an interesting coincidence. Which it certainly is.
No matter who you are, though, the happenings of the last two weeks, which include the Transportation Security Administration’s imposition of new enhanced pat-down procedures for passengers who refuse the full-body scans, the terrorism scare, and a pilot who refused to undergo the TSA’s new screening, all lead to the same question: When will the government force us to go through these new machines?
Probably a lot sooner than we think.

Bad Cops

Massachusetts cop arrested after brandishing a .380-caliber handgun in restaurant

Connecticut cop convicted of fabricating time cards

Wisconsin cop gets paid leave while after former employer claims he stole slabs of granite

Florida cop is fired after 11th disciplinary inquiry

Ex-cop in 2 Virginia police departments gets prison term on methamphetamine charge

Witness says Georgia cop shot with no warning

Fired ICE officer gets probation for smuggling (newspaper's headline says "importing") steroids

True Crime

Gun fired at Coast Guard station; latest in shootings at military buildings in DC area
At least one shot was fired overnight at a Coast Guard recruiting office in northern Virginia, police said Tuesday, the fifth case since last month of unexplained gunfire targeting military-related buildings in the Washington area.

Woman convicted in deadly Pa. collar bomb robbery
Barring appeals, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong will spend the rest of her life in federal prison for her conviction in a disjointed and deadly plot that killed a pizza delivery driver who was forced to rob a bank wearing a metal bomb collar that later exploded.

It's the suit that counts

Man wins right to give cops the finger
An Oregon man has settled a federal lawsuit over what he says was his First Amendment right to express himself by giving the finger to sheriff's deputies The Oregonian reports Robert Ekas settled the suit for $4,000. In his lawsuit, Ekas said that in July 2007, he flipped off a Clackamas County deputy while driving, and the deputy gave him tickets ...

Baby seized after mom ate poppy seed bagel
A lawsuit was filed Thursday in Pennsylvania after a mother's newborn was taken from her by child services after she ate a poppy seed bagel, skewing the results of a drug test.

Culinary DeLites

Sweet-potato chips satisfy a salt craving and add a boost of vitamin A.  

What the ... $140 turkeys?!

What the...$140 turkeys?!

What the ... $140 turkeys?!

Odds and Sods

No matter how committed you are to home cooking, everyone eats packaged foods once in a while.

Paul the Octopus' successor has made his public debut a ' but his keepers aren't yet promising deep soccer insight from the youngster.

How the Fed plans to boost economy

The Federal Reserve will unveil a strategy to lower loan rates and increase hiring.  

Squatters Spoil Dream Home With Fake Deed Claims

A Seattle couple were 10 days from closing on their new house when they discovered squatters had moved in who claimed they had seized "free land."

The folks chopped the realtor's lock box, changed the locks, and posted a deed on the window where they claimed to own the property.

"Whatever the bank is stating is in the land of fiction," one of the squatters told Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "(The previous owner) has eliminated the bank's interest in the property due to fraud." He added, "The machine that I'm fighting is the bankers. I'm just one of the little guys who's fighting that."

Now the couple that was buying the house is basically homeless. They already gave notice on their rental, and the bank has delayed the closing date on the new home because of the issues over the deed involving the squatters.

Nature abhors a vacuum. As foreclosed houses, the foam left on on the beach after the ebb tides of the housing bubble recede, sit empty across the nation, cockroaches are bound to move in. (Or bees).
Via: The Consumerist

Home Ownership At Lowest Level In A Decade

The nation's home ownership rate remained at its lowest in more than a decade, hampered by a rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing.

Indian toilet cleaners stage protest over conditions

Hundreds of Indian workers employed to manually clean non-flush toilets have protested in Delhi against their working conditions. They say that the authorities have failed to act despite declaring such work illegal, and should issue an apology for decades of discrimination. Government figures suggest that about 300,000 low-caste Dalits are still employed in such work.

They are estimated on average to earn less than $4 (£2.50) a month. The demonstrators began their protests a month ago by criss-crossing the country to highlight their demands. Manual "scavenging" - removing human excreta from dry or non-flush toilets - is a centuries-old practice in India.

It is mainly carried out by the Dalits, formerly known as the untouchables, who are at the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system. They go from house to house every morning to collect night soil, a euphemism for human faeces. Although manual scavenging is prohibited by law, some government departments still have such workers. These include the railways ministry, which employs people to clean railway tracks as most trains have open-discharge toilets.

Government figures show there are more than 300,000 manual scavengers in India, but unofficial estimates put the number at more than one million. The organizers of the protest say they want the government to completely eradicate the practice and rehabilitate those engaged in it. They say that there will be a countrywide protest from November if the government fails to meet their demands.

On The Job

Take-out pizza chain hiring. 
Aged over 18, no experience required. 
Uniform provided.

Money-saving tips from our elders

Money-saving tips from our elders
A reminder that previous generations endured hard times with serious ingenuity, these modern-day tips come from Depression-era folks who really know how to stretch their dollars.



Facts about the mouth

Bandages That Change Color when a Wound Is Infected

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Research Institution in Munich, Germany, have placed pH sensitive dyes in bandages. These change color when they come into contact with fluids that indicate that a wound is infected:
In creating the color control strip, the researchers had to ensure the dye remained chemically stable when bonded to the fibers of the dressing material or the plaster to ensure it doesn’t get into the wound. They also had to ensure the indicator showed a clear change in color and reacted sensitively in the right pH range.
The researchers have already produced a prototype of the dressing and they say initial tests have proved successful. They are now looking to take the idea further with plans to integrate optical sensor modules into the dressing to measure the pH value and indicate the results on a reader unit. This would allow the pH value to be read off precisely, providing information about how the wound is healing.

Is a Cure for the Common Cold in the Future?

Until very recently, biologists believed that once a virus enters a cell, a person’s immune system cannot combat that virus because antibodies cannot enter cells. But researchers at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, have uncovered evidence that antibodies can, in fact, enter cells. This opens up the possibility of attaching antiviral components to antibodies that can kill viruses inside cells:
Once inside the cell, the presence of the antibody is recognised by a naturally occurring protein in the cell called TRIM21 which in turn activates a powerful virus-crushing machinery that can eliminate the virus within two hours – long before it has the chance to hijack the cell to start making its own viral proteins. “This is the last opportunity a cell gets because after that it gets infected and there is nothing else the body can do but kill the cell,” Dr James said.
“The antibody is attached to the virus and when the virus gets sucked inside the cell, the antibody stays attached, there is nothing in that process to make the antibody to fall off.
“The great thing about it is that there shouldn’t be anything attached to antibodies in the cell, so that anything that is attached to the antibody is recognised as foreign and destroyed.”
Leo James, the lead researcher, speculated that this discovery could lead to effective treatments for cold viruses, among others.

Colonoscopy humor

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’
2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’
3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’
4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
5. ‘You know, in Arkansas , we’re now legally married.’
6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’
7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’
8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’
9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’
10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’
11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’
And the best one of all:
12. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’

Retinal implant allows blind to see

A ground-breaking retinal implant has allowed three blind patients to see shapes and objects for the first time since they lost their sight to an inherited disease.

Top 10 Important Blunders Of Ancient Science

Awesome Pictures

Niagara Falls
 April, 1840

Replacing the Kilogram

The official standard for the kilogram is a cylinder of platinum and iridium made in 1879 and kept in a vault in France. Scientists have made official copies and distributed them since that time, but many of those copies don’t equal each other in mass, and the original is undergoing decay. So now researchers are trying to come up with a new definition of the kilogram:
It’s a conundrum scientists need to solve because the kilogram is one of a few base units (like the second and the meter) that are used in the definitions of other, more complex units, such as those used to measure temperature, electricity or density. If the kilogram is off, even a little, critical measurements in science, engineering and commerce get messed up.[...]
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology is backing a definition based on the Planck Constant, a number from quantum mechanics. It’s a more complex definition than a simple cylinder, but it’s unlikely to change over the next century.

Great Sphinx's Walls Rise Again

According to legend, the wall was built after King Thuthmose IV dreamed that the mythical Sphinx was choking on the desert sand.  

Music of Ancient Sumer

Philip Neuman, Gayle Stuwe Neuman, and William Gavin are three  musicologists who have reconstructed music from ancient societies and  performed them in front of living audiences.  Their Ensemble De  Organographia, as the group calls itself, used remnants of Sumerian  musical notations to make the above recording.

Two-mile-high mountains discovered in Saturn's rings

Two-mile-high mountains discovered in Saturn's rings
At the edge of Saturn's B ring, the Cassini spacecraft has spotted a huge mountain range of debris stretching up over two miles above the ring plane. In this picture you can see the mountains' long shadows.



Police charge owner of fox wearing skeleton costume

The fox might have escaped notice, except for the costume it was wearing. It was a skeleton costume, but after all, Sunday was Halloween. On Sunday, Fairfax County police animal control officers seized the fox, named "Swiper," from its owner, Alayna Sitterson. Police said on Monday that Sitterson, 20, of the Herndon area, was charged with unlawful possession of wildlife after she was seen walking the fox about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at Reston Town Center.

The police said Swiper would be held at the county's animal shelter until it was determined whether Virginia's wildlife agency would issue what the police said was a required special permit. In an interview on Monday night, Sitterson said Swiper had just been returned to her. "I'm holding him," she said by telephone.

When she went to the shelter to pick him up, she said, Swiper ran to the door of his cage "and started wagging his tail." A spokeswoman for the county police said Swiper had been released, adding that more detailed discussions with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries cleared the way for Swiper's return.

Legal details were not immediately available, but Sitterson said she was certain that her ownership of Swiper, which she described as a silver cross fox, was completely lawful. Foxes, she said, have always been her favourite animals. When she decided this year to get one, she said, she "did it within the law." She said she got Swiper from a breeder in another state and has raised him since he was seven weeks old.

There's a news video here.

Cleaning the cat


Extraordinary Silver Beetle photographed In Costa Rica

They look like tiny toys you'd find in a Christmas cracker - but these incredible silver beetles are the real deal. The shell of this extraordinary futuristic-looking creature, which measure around an inch in length, dazzles in the stunning metallic colour.

The funny-looking beetles were snapped by professional French photographer Roland Seitre in the mountain region of Costa Rica, Central America.

Owl Talk


Mice Prefer Treats They Worked Harder to Get

In an article in The Proceedings of the Royal Society, two researchers described how mice in an experiment tended to get greater enjoyment out of rewards that were more labor-intensive:
Mice were trained to push levers to get either of two rewards. Press one lever, out comes a drop of sugar water. Press the other and they get a drop of different tasting sugar water.
Then things got interesting. For one of the treats, scientists gradually increased the amount of effort required for the payoff—from one lever-press to five, then 10, then 15. So by the end of the session, one type of sugar water cost 15 times more effort than the other.
The mice then retired to their home cage where both treats were freely available. And they showed a strong preference for whichever reward they’d worked harder to obtain. Based on how fast the mice sipped, they appeared to find the costlier sugar water more tasty.

Sex Hormones Absorbed by Bunny Food

Rabbit chow absorbs most estrogen found in a contaminated water sample, which could bode well for the future of cheap chemical cleanup.  
  rabbit food estrogen