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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.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Errands and other types of shopping tasks will present you with a lot of temptation today -- use your critical eye to see through the sales pitches, and be willing to do some legwork.
Put off immediate gratification and you will be able to save a great amount of time in the long run.
Money worries will start to disappear as you realize there's nothing you can do right now.
Accept your situation and you'll have no worries for quite a while.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Lyon, Rhone-Alpes, France
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Delhi, Delhi, India

as well as Kuwait, Scotland, Spain, Poland, Russia, Germany, Singapore and in cities across the United States such as Dahlonega, Dunkirk, Endicott, Vail and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, November 6, the 310th day of 2010.
There are 55 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Sadie Hawkins Day
Saxophone Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 6, 2010
This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard.  And your message was clear.

You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery.  So am I.

You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results.  I do too.

So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  But now, the campaign season is over.  And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach.

That’s why I’ve asked to sit down soon with leaders of both parties so that we can have an extended discussion about what we can do together to move this country forward.

And over the next few weeks, we’re going to have a chance to work together in the brief upcoming session of Congress.

Here’s why this lame duck session is so important.  Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.

What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.

But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families.  For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas.  They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession.  They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet. They are the ones who need relief right now.

So something’s got to be done.  And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.

Let’s start where we agree.  All of us want certainty for middle-class Americans.  None of us want them to wake up on January 1st with a higher tax bill.  That’s why I believe we should permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year.  That’s 98 percent of the American people.

We also agree on the need to start cutting spending and bringing down our deficit.  That’s going to require everyone to make some tough choices.  In fact, if Congress were to implement my proposal to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years, it would bring this spending down to its lowest level as share of the economy in 50 years.

But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.

I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here.  But I want to make my priorities clear from the start.  One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges.  And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love.


Leaf Piles

Hey, what else did you think they were for?

Conjoined twins with shared brains can pass sensory information to one another

Conjoined twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan share part of their brain, and, seemingly, can pass sensory impressions and thoughts between each other:
Adding to the conundrum, of course, are their linked brains, and the mysterious hints of what passes between them. The family regularly sees evidence of it. The way their heads are joined, they have markedly different fields of view. One child will look at a toy or a cup. The other can reach across and grab it, even though her own eyes couldn't possibly see its location. "They share thoughts, too," says Louise. "Nobody will be saying anything," adds Simms, "and Tati will just pipe up and say, 'Stop that!' And she'll smack her sister." While their verbal development is delayed, it continues to get better. Their sentences are two or three words at most so far, and their enunciation is at first difficult to understand. Both the family, and researchers, anxiously await the children's explanation for what they are experiencing.

Wizard of Id


Boehner refuses to ban earmarks, like the Teabaggers asked for

Civil war's a comin'.
BAIER: The guys in line to be Chairman [of the Appropriations Committee], they're big fans of earmarks.

BOEHNER: There's gonna be an earmark moratorium, it's pretty clear.

BAIER: Why not an outright ban?

BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn't classify as an earmark to the American people.
This is going to be good!

Crutchfield Dermatology of Minneapolis claims copyright in everything you write, forever, to keep you from posting complaints on the net

From the "That's Bull Shit" Department:
An anonymous reader writes,
Crutchfield Dermatology, in the Minneapolis area, requires its patients to give them the copyright for everything they write on the Internet, in exchange for service. The provision is in an agreement called: "No Show and Cancellation Policy, Patient Satisfaction Agreement, Privacy Protection and Assignment of Copyright Policy." Basically, the company doesn't want its patients saying bad things about it on the Internet. So it demands: "In consideration for your medical care and the additional patient protection, described above, by signing this document you or your legal ward agree to refrain from direct or indirect publication or airing of commentary about Crutchfield Dermatology and Dr. Crutchfield's practice, expertise or treatment except in the manner provided in the preceeding Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You recognize that Crutchfield Dermatology has made significant investments to develop Crutchfield Dermatology's practice and reputation for outstanding care, and that published comments on the internet or through mass correspondence may severely damage Crutchfield Dermatology's practice. By this agreement, you grant all copyright ownership in any and all published statements, comments, blog postings, and any other communication made by you outside of the Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You further agree that Cruthfield Dermatology is entitled to equitable relief to prevent the initiation or continuation of publishing or airing of such commentary regarding Crutchfield Dermatology's practice, expertise, or treatment."
Giving them copyright over things I write about them is bad enough; giving them copyright over everything I write turns me into an indentured servant. And, of course:
"Crutchfield Dermatology reserves the right to modify any policies without notice."
Crutchfield Dermatology

They must be horrid at what they do and/or just plain incompetent about it to think that any one would  or could give them the 'copyright' to anything much less everything they may write.

And as for them not wanting 'bad press' well, sorry charlie but you blew that with your insane attempt at censorship.
As the news of this idiocy spreads across the net faster than a fart dissipates in a windstorm.

While we are not patients of this (Mal)practice - and we never will be, thankfully - this kind of stupidity galls the living hell out of us.

Florida high school cancels production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

A Florida high school production of a play based on Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer prize-winning novel about racial conflict, To Kill a Mockingbird, has been canceled.
At the center of the controversy that prompted the cancellation was the historically necessary use of the word “nigger”.

The reason “nigger” is a word that carries such painful weight, of course, is due to a history of racism, to which books like To Kill a Mockingbird testify. That history is evoked every time the word is used, even today. But history will not be erased even if we delete the word from every play, novel or historical document about racism.

A play like To Kill a Mockingbird will help a younger generation understand the brutalities of racism and the hatred that accumulates in words. Indeed, we cringe at the use of the “n-word” today – as well we should – precisely because we are aware of its history and of the degradation and tragedy racism has caused.

“Protecting” children from history will only keep them ignorant.

We have come a long way since the events described in To Kill a Mockingbird thanks to an open and often heated debate on civil rights issues, a debate made possible by our national commitment to the free circulation of ideas.

It’s a lesson that we forget at our peril.

Young Asian refugee claimant sneaks onto Air Canada flight from Hong Kong disguised as old white guy

A young Asian man wearing a mask that made him appear to be an old white man boarded an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Toronto. Midway through the flight, he removed the disguise, and when he landed, he claimed refugee status.
"The subject initially claimed to be in possession of one bag; however, flight crew approached the BSOs with two additional pieces of luggage which were believed to belong to the subject. One bag contained the subject's personal clothing items while the second contained a pair of gloves. The third contained a 'disguise kit' which consisted of a silicone type head and neck mask of an elderly Caucasian male, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan." The man put on the disguise for the officers who "noted he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person. The subject admitted at this time that he had boarded the flight with the mask on and had removed it several hours later," according to the alert.

It has been said in jest on more than one occasion ... 'that traveling nude while flying is the way of the future'.
Well, it may not be said in jest much longer ...

When airport security agents get bored


Police say man stabbed himself in the back

A 63-year-old man who told authorities he was stabbed in the back by an intruder late on Tuesday actually stabbed himself, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday. Eric Ackerman told deputies on Tuesday that he went outside his home with a handgun to investigate a noise, when someone stabbed him and ran. Ackerman said he fired at the suspect, whom he only described as a white man.

Deputies had previously been called to Ackerman’s North 66th Street home on another report that he’d been stabbed by a prowler, that time in the arm, sheriff’s Cmdr. Rick Brough said. That report, on Sept. 30, came three days after Ackerman reported that someone broke into his garage and slashed all four of his car’s tires.

Ackerman admitted he had stabbed himself both times after investigators determined physical evidence from Tuesday’s incident didn’t support his story, Brough said. For example, he said, there were no footprints where Ackerman claimed the intruder had been.

The Sheriff’s Office is consulting with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether to file criminal charges against Ackerman for false reporting to authorities or prohibited use of a weapon, Brough said. “They have to look at his mental state and criminal culpability,” Brough said.

A Good One

The Texas State Troopers are cracking down on speeders heading into Dallas .

For the first offense, they give you 2 Dallas Cowboy tickets.

If you get stopped a second time, they make you use them.

Nine spices that boost health and energy

A little cinnamon in your oatmeal may improve blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Couch Potato Kids Causing a Rickets Resurgence?

rickets health vitamin d deficiency kids nutrition photo
Photo: Foxtongue
Rickets is a disease that had for the most part vanished in most parts of the world, but now doctors are warning that it may be seeing a resurgence within some ethnic groups. The culprit is a lack of Vitamin D, which doctors warn is caused by kids not spending enough time outside.
Article continues: Couch Potato Kids Causing a Rickets Resurgence?

Odds and Sods

For anyone worried they can't chew bacon fast enough, J&D foods and Jones soda have teamed up to find a liquid solution.

Non Sequitur


On The Job

About half of all new positions are filled before they ever get posted online.

Key traits of self-made teen millionaires

A strong work ethic isn't the only thing young successful entrepreneurs have in common.  

Ten steps to a happy financial life

10 steps to a happy financial life Kimberly Palmer, author and personal finance expert, shares how a positive approach to money matters can lead to financial security, a happy thing.

Avoid impulse purchases

Before you buy a big-ticket item, take time to call a friend for a second opinion.  

Affordable, surprising places to retire

These unexpected towns offer everything you'd find in popular retirement locales except the cost.

All-inclusive resorts that are exceptional

When you check into Dolphin Island, the seven-acre Fijian retreat is all yours.  

How to take amazing cell phone photos

Start with these basic steps to get great shots that don't look like they came from a phone.  

Better Math Ability Through Electricity

Psst! Wanna be better at math? The answer may be shockingly simple: just give your noggin a little jolt!
The electricity generated by a 9-volt battery might be all there is between you and the mathematical brilliance of a Newton or an Einstein.
OK, we can’t guarantee you’ll be that smart, but, amazingly, British scientists have now shown that low voltage current applied to the right part of the scalp can spark changes that boost the brain’s math abilities. What’s more, that mild jolt can lock in your improved mathematical prowess for as long as six month, according to new research published in this month’s issue of Current Biology.
The findings come too late for those of us who already suffered through middle school algebra, but maybe future generations will benefit.
The researchers, led by Roi Cohen Kadosh from the University of Oxford, suspected that a little electricity directed at the right parietal lobe – a brain region at the top of the head and known to play a role in numerical calculations – might juice up a person’s math ability.

A Quantum Leap for Solar Power?

After two decades of research into alternative energy, engineer Lonnie Johnson has developed an energy-producing device called the JTEC, which could double our current efficiency in converting solar power into electricity. The concept has scientists, research centers, and the US Air Force excited about its potential. One scientist called the JTEC “a very clever way to extract energy from a heat engine … It’s incredibly elegant.” Here’s a partial explanation of how it works:
Johnson’s latest JTEC prototype, which looks like a desktop model for a next-generation moonshine still, features two fuel-cell-like stacks, or chambers, filled with hydrogen gas and connected by steel tubes with round pressure gauges. Where a steam engine uses the heat generated by burning coal to create steam pressure and move mechanical elements, the JTEC uses heat (from the sun, for instance) to expand hydrogen atoms in one stack. The expanding atoms, each made up of a proton and an electron, split apart, and the freed electrons travel through an external circuit as electric current, charging a battery or performing some other useful work. Meanwhile the positively charged protons, also known as ions, squeeze through a specially designed proton-exchange membrane (one of the JTEC elements borrowed from fuel cells) and combine with the electrons on the other side, reconstituting the hydrogen, which is compressed and pumped back into the hot stack. As long as heat is supplied, the cycle continues indefinitely.
Besides efficiency, the advantages of such a machine are durability, as it has no moving parts, and the absence of polluting waste products. Lonnie Johnson already made a name for himself as the inventor of the Super Soaker. His biography (included in the article) is almost as fascinating as his latest invention.

Downwind faster than the wind

Blackbird sets a record
Blackbird wind cart. Photo: Steve Morris

"Is it possible to build a wind-powered vehicle that travels directly downwind, faster than the wind, powered only by the wind, continuously?" Wanting to settle this question, Rick Cavallaro embarked on a series of experiments and cart-builds to find out, culminating with this really cool wind powered vehicle that he and his colleagues tested on the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed in southern California. In July, it achieved a downwind speed 2.8 times faster than the wind.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No it's Jetman

A Swiss adventurer says he's "very happy" after performing two loops with a winged jetpack.  

Radio Controlled Flying Shark

To be more precise, it’s a flying, radio controlled scale model of shark. Sadly, it’s not actually a shark that flies that you can control at will.
The Flying Shark from Nitro Planes has as a 33 inch wingspan and can fly at full power for four minutes. You can watch a video at the link.

Brooklyn to New York via the Brooklyn Bridge 1899

A Thomas Edison film from 1899
(transferred to video)

Oh, and don't go monkeying with your volume control ... it's a silent film.

New relics from the Titanic on display

Recently recovered items are part of an effort to map the entire wreckage site for the first time.

Photos of volcano's wrath

Shocking photos show the devastation as Mount Merapi unleashes a deadly wrath. 

In the Richest Area of Paris, a Subsidized Housing Development Is Under Fire

paris empty lot
The empty lot in the 16th arrondissement of Paris that is the proposed site for a subsidized housing development.  
Photo: Alex Davies
In the 16th arrondissement of Paris, around the corner from the Villa Montmorency, the super-chic gated community home to both Carla Bruni and CĂ©line Dion, stands an empty lot. 14,000 square meters large, the space, empty since 1985, is on of four proposed sites for subsidized housing apartment buildings. The problem? Many of the area's residents have rallied against the plans of the Paris city council, armed with arguments ranging from rational to xenophobic, and some even ecological.
Article continues: In the Richest Area of Paris, a Subsidized Housing Development Is Under Fire

The Russian Village Of Paris And Its Eiffel Tower

You've heard of Paris, France? And Paris, Texas. What about Paris, Russia?
The Cossack village of Paris appears after a rough ride through the grass-covered plain along Russia's border with Kazakhstan. It even has its own version of the Eiffel Tower.

In 1815, Cossacks returning from the Napoleonic Wars established a village in what is now the Chelyabinsk oblast of Russia. They named it Paris, and their descendants later erected a miniature Eiffel Tower. At the link, you can view several pictures of the site.

Ancient Temples Carved From Rock

The Ajanta Caves

Two thousand two hundred years ago work began on an extensive series of cave monuments in Maharashtra, India. Over a period of hundreds of years, thirty one monuments were hewn piece by piece from the rock face.

Then, some speculate around the year 1000AD, they fell in to disuse. Dense jungle grew around, hiding the caves away from human eyes.



Well, Hello


Upping the cute factor

Those adorable squeaking noises you hear aren't coming from the plastic doll.  

Tasmanian Tiger Pelt Found at Garage Sale

What do you do with the pelt of an extinct animal? Get it appraised, of course! Bill Warren of Fallbrook, California picked up an unidentified animal skin at a garage sale for $5, and found that it belongs to a Tasmanian tiger, or Thylacine (seen in the video below), which was declared extinct in 1936.
Most of the known skins reside in museums and universities. All of which makes a pelt extremely valuable for private collectors.
“They’re a very rare item to come across,” said Andrew Snooks from Armitage Auctions in Australia.
Snooks said the auction house is negotiating with Warren to obtain the pelt. After the house confirms that the pelt is indeed a Tasmanian tiger, it will go up on the auction block.
Snooks said the last Tasmanian tiger pelt sold at the auction house went for $68,000, and a rug made from eight pelts sold for $260,000.
But the pelt cannot be sold because the Thylacine is still on the endangered species list from the US Fish and Wildlife service.
“It’s like putting a Brontosaurus on the endangered species list,” Warren said. “It’s driving me nuts.”
For now, Warren is applying for an exemption and hoping for the best.
This is video from 1933 of the “last Tasmanian tiger,” the thylacine. Thylacines, now extinct, were carnivorous marsupials that inhabited Tasmania until they were wiped out by a human campaign of extermination that lasted through the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries, although thylacines were never a threat to anyone. You can learn more about them at the Thylacine Museum.

Brutus, The Pet Grizzly Bear

Brutus, an 800 pounds grizzly bear, is Casey Andersons best friend. Casey, a naturalist, and Brutus are inseparable from the day Brutus was a 2 weeks old cub. Casey saved the bear from an overpopulated wildlife park, and raised him with lot of attention, love and respect.
Brutus is living in a sanctuary that Casey built so he can freely live a life which a grizzly bear is supposed to live. Being around Brutus is not dangerous because he is comfortable around people, but Casey is still not letting anybody have physical contact with Brutus but himself. He is not afraid that the bear will ever attack him because he knows and predicts his every movement.