Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Let your curiosity drive all your decisions and you'll end up in some very interesting places.
There's no certain path or direction to follow, so toss out your usual routine and go adventuring as much as you can.
Even if you only have an hour to spare, wander off into new areas and explore a new restaurant, store or housing development.
It's time you checked out what's going on with the rest of the world.
You'll gain some bright ideas for new projects or travel.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Grimsby, England, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Duisburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Kuantan, Pahang, Malysia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giuli, Italy

as well as Denmark, Brazil, Kuwait, China, Russia, Slovenia and in cities across the United States such as Derby, Gowrie, Plano, Half Moon Bay and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, November 9, the 313th day of 2010.
There are 52 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
There are none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The Origin of the Internet

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader called Abraham of Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot of Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called 'Amazon Dot Com'.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, 'Why dost thou travel far from town to town with thy goods when thou can trade without ever leaving thy tent?'

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, 'How, dear?'

And Dot replied, 'I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale and they will reply telling you which hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS).' Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.

And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever moving from his tent.

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete (look it up, it means to hide) himself inside Abraham's drum and was accused of insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Siderites, or NERDS for short.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to the drum maker, one Brother William of Gates, who bought up every drum company in the land. And indeed did insist on making drums that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, 'Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others.'

And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or as it came to be known 'eBay'. He said, 'We need a name that reflects what we are.'

And Dot replied, 'Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.'

'YAHOO!' said Abraham. And that is how it all began.

Mr. Peanut speaks

A familiar suave celebrity will utter the mascot's first words since his 1916 debut.  

Amazing 'Wheel' puzzle win

A woman solves a seven-word "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle with only one letter as a clue.  

Twenty Awful Firsts With Your New Baby

Parents experience unbelievable joy at many of their baby’s accomplishments -the first smile, the first step, the first words. There are also many not-so-joyful firsts, as you’ll see in this list at NeatoBambino.
The first time they spit up on a friend who doesn’t have children. I’m convinced this is why some of my friends are still childless.  Really, I am so sorry.
The first time your newborn son pees in your face. Yes, it really does happen.  I finally got wise and started covering him up with a wash cloth while changing his diaper.
The first time they have massive diaper failure. I call these poo-splosions.  They typically occur when you are in a hurry, you have placed them in your favorite little outfit, or have somehow forgotten a change of clothes.
The First time they put something really gross in their mouth. Babies are like ninjas. They have stealth reflexes. They can grab and lick the bottom of a shoe faster than you can scream “NO!”
Experienced parents will laugh; others may run screaming after reading this list. 

Goodwill Auctions Purported Dali Print

A Colorado Goodwill store is auctioning off a purported lithograph of a Salvador Dali work that someone donated.

Experts Warn of a Looming Chocolate Crisis

chocolate gold coins photo  
Photo: Muffet / CC
In a world that takes for granted the availability of delicious and affordable chocolate, it's easy to forget that the popular product actually comes from trees -- not magical elves or free-flowing cocoa rivers, sadly. But, some experts are predicting that in a matter of decades a drop in production due to changing weather and agriculture incentives may make chocolate 'as expensive as gold'. "In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it," says one researcher. And if I know Joe as well as I think I do, this won't go over well.

Yes and No


Big changes to remote U.S. area

Beaver Island has 650 residents and is sometimes cut off from the rest of the U.S.  

Least stressed U.S. cities

Escape the rat race in these places where people work shorter hours and stay healthy.  

Mystery missile stokes intrigue

A TV crew's footage of a "spectacular" sight near L.A. catches even the Pentagon off guard.  

'Secret' NYC subway stop

Passengers willing to take a detour can view an underground marvel closed off for decades. 

The Abandoned Military Airbase at Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll is a US territory covering about 50 square miles of islands in the remote Pacific Ocean. From 1934 to 2003, it was under the control of the US Navy and was used as launch site for nuclear testing and super-secret experimental aircraft and who knows what else. The base was abandoned when the atoll was turned over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. See photographs from various phases of the base’s history at Urban Ghost Media here.

Volcano still pours smoke

Officials search for victims while villagers clean up as Mt. Merapi continues to spew volcanic materials.  

Queen Elizabeth II (or at least, the Monarchy) joins Facebook

Way back in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II joined YouTube, or rather, the British Monarchy did. In the same way, the British Monarchy, and their "global face" Queen Elizabeth II, have joined Facebook. 

EU proposing new online privacy laws

The EU is completely correct on this. The overreach into everyone's data keeps going too far. Why aren't we seeing US politicians insisting on the same? Personal data should remain private.
Users could sue websites for invading their privacy and would have a right to be “forgotten” online, under new proposals from the European Union. It has drafted potential legislation that would include new, unprecedented privacy rights for citizens sharing personal data.

Aimed in particular at the users of social networks such as Facebook and major sites such as Google, the move marks another step in the ongoing battle between information commissioners and major websites. Google in particular has been criticized recently by privacy groups around the world for collecting Wi-Fi data while it was mapping roads for its Street View service.

The proposed EU rules are called "A comprehensive approach on personal data protection in the European Union", and suggest that an online "right to be forgotten" and to privacy could be enshrined in criminal law.

Art targeted by Nazis found

Sculptures condemned as "degenerate" by Adolf Hitler's regime turn up in an unexpected place.

Dutch households issued with cannabis 'scratch and sniff cards'

Around 30,000 Dutch households are to receive marijuana-scented scratch cards in a bid to uncover illegal urban cannabis plantations. Authorities in Rotterdam and The Hague say they are distributing the cards to help people recognize what cannabis smells like. The cards also include a number to call to report suspected marijuana-growing. Dutch authorities turn a blind eye to citizens growing up to five marijuana plants for personal use.

"Citizens must be alerted to the dangers they face as a result of these plantations, and if they become aware of any suspect situations they must report them," said the spokesman for government-appointed working group to combat cannabis cultivation in the Netherlands, Arnie Loos. The green scratch card, measuring 20cm by 10cm (8in by 4in) reads "Assist in combating cannabis plantations". When scratched the card reveals its scent as well as a police number people can call if they suspect that a neighbor grows marijuana on a large scale.

The card also lists other indicators of urban cannabis cultivation, such as the buzzing sound of ventilators, suspicious connections to electricity supply points and curtains that are kept closed. "If people do in fact call the number on listed on the card, we could make this a national operation," Mr Loos said on Monday. Dutch authorities say that the plantations are a hazard, claiming they can cause fires or accidents because of the cables and lamps needed to maintain a cultivation temperature of 27C.

Authorities believe that there are 40,000 illegal cannabis plantations in the Netherlands hidden away in attics, apartments and warehouses. Each year, around 200 plantations are discovered in Rotterdam alone. Though it remains technically illegal, the Netherlands decriminalized the consumption and possession of under five grams (0.18 ounces) of cannabis in 1976 under a "tolerance" policy. Citizens may grow no more than five plants for personal use.

Activist Lori Berenson freed

Lori Berenson was accused of helping leftists plan an armed takeover of Congress.

Man Beats Robber with Squash

A man was arrested and charged with trying to rob a food store in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was unsuccessful because one customer beat him with a nearby squash:
The market’s owner said Cullen came in, displayed a threatening note, and verbally told her, “Give me your money, or you’re going to die.”
The owner said one of her neighbors walked in and she told him she was being robbed.
He sprung into action, forcing Cullen to the ground, as the store owner called police.
Witnesses said Cullen tried to get away but another man delivering food to the market picked up a large squash and used the fruit to hit Cullen over the head.



The Shredder

A young engineer who graduated with distinction, was leaving the office at 3.45 p.m. when he found the Acting CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.

"Listen," said the Acting CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document, and my secretary is not here. Can you make this thing work?"

"Certainly," said the young engineer. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

"Excellent, excellent!" said the Acting CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine, "I just need one copy."

Lesson: Never, ever assume that your boss knows what he's doing.

Narcissists Are Good for Business

Need to improve your team’s business pitch? The solution may surprise you: hire narcissists.
Psychologists Jack Goncalo and Sharon Kim of Cornell University and Francis Flynn of Stanford University paired up 76 college students and asked one person to develop and pitch a concept for a movie to the other. The ideas were not stellar; one of the more creative, Goncalo says, involved a mafia family run by a young woman. But when pitched by the most narcissistic students (as evaluated by a 16-item questionnaire called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory), the ideas impressed the person evaluating the pitch roughly 50% more than did those from the least narcissistic pitchers. (The researchers judged the response to the ideas by how strongly the evaluator agreed with statements such as "it is unlikely that anyone has come up with a movie idea like this before.")
But two independent raters were not so easily wowed. Having only seen the movie pitches in written form, they found the narcissists’ ideas to be about as creative as proposals from non-narcissists. The difference, the researchers say, was in the pitch itself: narcissists were more enthusiastic, witty, and charming—all traits, according to past research, that people associate with creativity.
Turns out, there’s an optimal number of narcissists to add: two. It seems like two narcissists tend to feed off each other and become even more creative. However, if you add more, then the team tends to devolve into ego fights.

Corporate America welcomes the repugicans

They are now looking forward to doing anything they damn well please.

Kiss net neutrality goodbye.
Kiss food safety bills goodbye.
Kiss food safety inspectors goodbye.

The repugicans are out to destroy everything in our country all to appease their corporate overlords.

Is the American Dream Over?

An article in DER SPIEGEL asks just that question:
The country is reacting strangely irrationally to the loss of its importance -- it is a reaction characterized primarily by rage. Significant portions of America simply want to return to a supposedly idyllic past. They devote almost no effort to reflection, and they condemn cleverness and intellect as elitist and un-American, as if people who hunt bears could seriously be expected to lead a world power. Demagogues stir up hatred and rage on television stations like Faux News. These parts of America, majorities in many states, ignorant of globalization and the international labor market, can do nothing but shout. They hate everything that is new and foreign to them.

But will the US wake up? Or is it already much too late?

Take Back America Tour

Darlene McBride
What is so funny/sad about this MadTV skit is it was so tragically prophetic ... the entire tea party 'platform' is laid bare in this video.

New ways for banks to snoop

One customer was flagged as a higher risk after his bank checked his home's value. 

Facebook firing leads to lawsuit

It's going to be interesting to see how this one turns out. Europe is starting to take a hard line in support of privacy though the US has not embraced the issue so far.
In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

The labor relations board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other things, of violating a policy that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

How to retire by 50

These prudent money habits plus the right job can help make the fantasy a reality.  

Credit score myths debunked

You can raise your credit score, but probably not the way you think you can.

Riskiest places for ID theft

Beware of giving out your number in these offices where security breaches often occur.

Cheap-shopping stigmas vanish

Habits that were once considered lowbrow are now seen as a frugal badge of honor.  

What's getting more expensive

Prices for many goods remain low, but these particular items are spiking. 

Why co-workers may earn more

Changes in the job market may explain the difference in some cases.  



Culinary DeLites

This spinach-and-sausage lasagna is cheesy, but with a lot fewer calories.
Superfood 'couples'
The lycopene in tomatoes is absorbed better when you drizzle skin-softening olive oil on them.
Burger King's NY Pizza Burger totals an astonishing 2,530 calories.  
Apples and spinach have compounds that break down the bulb's smelly sulfur.

Five common food label pitfalls

People trying to make healthier choices can ruin their diets if they're not careful.

New crops for poppy farmers

Afghan growers are banking on these purple flowers to replace questionable crops.  

Looking at Meat Calms Men

The sight of cooked red meat has a calming effect on men, Canadian scientists claimed.
Researchers at McGill University studied 82 men and found that the sight of meat appeared to make them significantly less aggressive, they said Monday.
At the start of the research, Frank Kachanoff, the psychologist who led the study, expected humans to react aggressively to the sight of meat -- but found the opposite to be true.
He said the calming effect could be traced back to the earliest humans, because cooked meat reminded males of mealtimes. “Our ancestors would be calm as they would be surrounded by friends and family at mealtime,” said Kachanoff.
The research team at McGill said the latest research was important because it examined ways society could influence environmental factors to decrease the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

Neanderthal Brains Retained Infantile Shape

A study using CT scans suggests that Neanderthal brains, like that of modern humans, grew steadily into adulthood. But unlike modern human brains, Neanderthal brains did not change shape as they grew. This may explain why Neanderthals had a similar brain size, but less intelligence:
Scientists have shown that Neandertal brains are about the same size as ours. Yet our Paleolithic brethren are not known for having been great scholars. To probe this cognitive conundrum, researchers took CT scans of 11 Neandertal brains, including one newborn. And they compared these images to those of modern humans.
They found that baby braincases are similar in size and shape, regardless of their parentage. All are elongated, most likely to smooth passage through the birth canal. But modern human baby brains grow more globular in the first year of life, changes that reflect a massive wave of neural development. That phase change is absent in Neandertals, whose brains retain that extended newborn shape throughout their lives.





Enormous Ice Age bison skull found

The skull of an Ice Age bison twice the size of modern bison is the latest fossil discovery coming out of Snowmass Village.

New bomb- sniffing dogs

The NYPD will deploy canines that can sniff out "vapor wake" to spot threats from blocks away.  

At 14 feet, boat-towing gator sets Florida record

A man who trapped and killed an alligator so big it pulled his boat around a lake has snared what authorities say is Florida's longest gator on record, exceeding 14 feet.

Baby dolphin rescued

After being found on a Uruguay beach, an injured river dolphin finds a new home at a marine reserve.