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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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
There's nothing quite like good, hard, honest work to remind you of the value of a dollar.
Today requires you to go through a lot of effort, and the payoff might leave you less than thrilled.
But the actual work will be very enjoyable and could introduce you to some new people, who in turn could introduce you to some new opportunities.
Put another way, your efforts won't get rewarded with money -- you'll be paid in much more valuable ways.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Wesel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Amman, Amman, Jordan
Turnhout, Antwerpen, Belgium
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

as well as Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Sri Lanka and in cities across the United States such as Lincoln, Cranston, New Britain, Paris and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, November 15, the 319th day of 2010.
There are 46 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Bundt (Pan) Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Thanks to our readers

Thanks to all those readers who have made Carolina Naturally one of the most popular blogs on the web. Right now we sit at 14,162nd place (out of 1.2 million blogs on the web) in popularity. Not bad, maybe we should revise our estimate for when we would reach the number one spot ... say 500 years in lieu of the next millennium.

Six things city dwellers miss

A "dark-sky site" like Nevada's Great Basin Desert reveals a dazzling display.  

Japanese version of the TSA

You do not need to know Japanese to understand this.



Original Apple Computer Up For Sale

The first ever Apple computer that company founder Steve Jobs sold from his parents' garage is up for sale. It originally cost $666.66, but is expected to fetch $242,000. There were about 200 examples of the original 'Apple-1' that were launched in 1976 and only a few survive today.

This computer will be the first ever to be sold by a major auction house when it goes under the hammer at Christie's of London. It comes with the original packaging, instruction manuals and a signed letter by Steve Jobs.

Non Sequitur


Sleep makes your memories stronger

As humans, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. So there must be a point to it, right? Scientists have found that sleep helps consolidate memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them later.

Who Owns Antarctica?

It stretches 5.4 million square miles, it's freezing, inhospitable. And devoid of any native residents. Why then is the continent at the center of such contentious wrangling?

Antarctica was first explored in the early 1800s, and although there are no permanent settlements, many countries have made territorial claims. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, signed by 12 nations, prohibited military operations on the continent and provided for the interchange of scientific data.

The Myth Of The McDonald's Burger That Just Won't Rot

(image credit J. Kenji Lopez-Alt)
Back in 2008, Karen Hanrahan, of the blog Best of Mother Earth posted a picture of a hamburger that she uses as a prop for a class she teaches on how to help parents keep their children away from junk food... The hamburger she's been using as a prop is the same plain McDonald's hamburger she's been using for what's now going on 14 years. It looks pretty much identical to how it did the day she bought it
You may have heard this story about the McDonald's hamburger that does not decompose. There are several theories of why this phenomenon occurs. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats gives a scientific explanation.

Twelve things you can get for free

No-cost financial advice, gym access, and even health care is available to those who know where to look.

Worst things mechanics say

These problems may sound minor, but they can sock you for $10,000 or more.  

Six tax breaks to save money

Make a few smart moves by year's end, and you can slash your 2010 tax bill.  

On The Job

Jobs are plentiful in these industries, and getting hired doesn't always require a degree.  

What never to say at work

These gaffes could embarrass your co-workers and even put your job on the line.  

Child Labor In America 1908 - 1912


During the Industrial Revolution, children as young as four were employed in production factories with dangerous, and often fatal, working conditions. By 1900, there were 1.7 million child laborers reported in American industry under the age of fifteen. The number of children under the age of 15 who worked in industrial jobs for wages climbed to 2 million in 1910.

A series of 69 photographs of child labor in America taken between 1908 and 1912.

Couple freed by pirates

The retired couple's release ends one of the piracy epidemic's most drawn-out hostage situations.  

Sri Lankan maid allegedly forced to swallow nails by employer in Jordan

Sri Lanka is probing allegations that one of its nationals employed in Jordan was forced to swallow nails, in the third case involving alleged torture in three months, an official said Sunday. A housemaid identified as D. M. Chandima has told the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in Amman that her employer forced her to swallow six nails, an official at the Foreign Employment Bureau of Sri Lanka said. "We are awaiting a full report from doctors," the head of the bureau, Kingsley Ranawaka, said adding that the authorities would decide on the next steps after looking at the medical evidence.

The report came as another Sri Lankan housemaid who had been working in Kuwait accused her employer of driving 14 wire nails into her body as punishment for failing in her work. The woman, identified only as Lechchami, 38, underwent surgery to have the nails removed after returning home to Sri Lanka, the director of the hospital in the northwestern town of Kurunegala said on Saturday.

The doctor said the woman had told surgeons that her Kuwaiti employers drove the nails into her hands and left leg - some as long as 3.5 centimeters (1.5 inches) - when she asked for her salary after working for six months. Police said the case was under investigation. In August, another housemaid complained her Saudi employer drove 24 nails into her arms, legs and forehead as punishment. Most of them were removed by surgeons in Sri Lanka.

The Saudi government and private sector officials in Riyadh have questioned the credibility of the woman's allegations. Some 1.8 million Sri Lankans are employed abroad, of whom 70 percent are women. Most work as housemaids in the Middle East while smaller numbers work in Singapore and Hong Kong, seeking higher salaries than they would get at home. Non-governmental organizations report frequent cases of employer abuse of maids who work abroad.

Vanity Plate on getaway car ... not a good idea

 From the "One of the best and brightest, I see" Department"
Police say a New Hampshire woman charged with robbing a pharmacy wasn't hard to find: Her name was on the license plate of the getaway car.

Burglar caught after leaving plaster cast from broken leg behind

Most criminals wouldn’t even leave fingerprints at the scene of the crime – but the blue plaster cast dumped by serial burglar Paul Hammond was a dead giveaway. Hammond, 21, was wearing the distinctive blue cast on his leg when he broke into a house in Campden Road, Cheltenham, in September. Among the property he took from the house was a set of keys to the owner’s silver Peugeot car, which he took.
Prosecutor David Maunder told Gloucester Crown Court that Hammond, of Bramley Road, lost control of the car a few miles away in Churchdown and crashed into a fence. Fearing that his cast would slow him down, Hammond cut if off and left it at the scene as he hobbled away, Mr Maunder said. But the limping figure of the burglar was seen by a neighbor who reported to police that the wanted man had something wrong with his leg.

One of the officers who attended the incident knew Hammond and was aware he currently had his leg in cast. When the Pc saw the blue leg plaster lying on the road he put two and two together and went to Hammond’s mother’s home – where he found him, minus his plaster. Some of the loot from the burglary was found and Hammond was arrested. Hammond pleaded guilty to burglary of the house and aggravated vehicle taking.

He also asked for six other offenses of theft and garden shed burglaries to be taken into consideration. Recorder Karol Lasok said he had decided to follow the recommendation of a pre-sentence report and give Hammond a “last chance” to get his life in order. He sentenced Hammond to a two-year community order with supervision, a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 days on an education and employment training course. He also banned him from driving for a year.

Threats to Social Security judges

The kinds of threats they're seeing are even more of a worry than the number, an official says.  

Police told to send text messages because it is too expensive to speak on their radios

Police officers are being ordered to send texts rather than speak on their radios because of the sums charged by the firm that owns the police communications network. While chief constables face unprecedented cutbacks, the company that operates the system on which all the emergency services communicate has seen a massive rise in profits. Last year Airwave Solutions’ profit margin outstripped even that of mobile-phone giant Vodafone.

Airwave’s pre-tax profit was £170 million, a 26 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. It represents an eye-watering return of 45 per cent on the company’s £380 million turnover. The company’s charges are said to be putting a severe strain on police budgets. Officers in one rural force have been told that a penalty charge of up to £2 a second is imposed as soon as the number of calls they make goes over a pre-arranged limit.

According to Dorset Police Federation chairman Clive Chamberlain, the punitive levy has led to a series of cost-cutting measures. ‘Airwave is a very expensive system which was forced upon the police service by the Government,’ he said. ‘It was imperative to have a secure communications system. But it has come at a very high price. The advice we’re being given from the top is to send texts as much as possible because it’s going to cost a lot less money.

‘There have been a series of briefings at which a senior officer has said it costs Dorset £2 a second whenever we go over the limit. We are being told that texting more has the potential to save tens of thousands of pounds because it costs only 4p to send 1,000 texts.’ Dorset Police declined to confirm or deny the £2-a-second figure. A spokesman said: ‘The monthly charges include a fixed price for provision of the service, including a set volume of traffic, together with a variable charge that applies if the force exceeds its set monthly traffic volume.’

Police Serve Arrest Warrants Using Steelers Van

Constables in Fayette County, Pennsylvania needed to serve arrest warrants to certain folks, but the people in question wouldn’t leave their homes. So the officers decided to lure the suspects outside using a van decorated in a Pittsburgh Steelers theme:
“It’s been working great,” Coleman said. “We sit outside and lay on the horn, and they come out. They’re interested and curious.”
The interest didn’t end after the individuals found out they’d been had, either.
“One guy tried to buy the van off of us,” Younkin said, adding that he named their new tactic “The Fayette County Constables Do the End Around,” referring to a trick football play.
To keep with the football theme of using the Steelers van, Coleman and Younkin even play the Pittsburgh Steelers fight song on the way to Haggerty’s office to those they pick up.

The truth be told


It's my tea party and I'll cry if I want to

James Napoli has a funny piece @ huffpo titled The 10 point manifesto of the herbal tea party.

It includes such platform planks as calls for an increase in the financial incentive to reduce noxious pollutants in the atmosphere. Easily achieved by paying Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to stop talking.

Only those lobbyists who have attended a weekend seminar with Deepak Chopra will be allowed to influence political policy.
And the best one: We tax the rich and they shut up and take it.

Banks expecting easy ride with repugican Congress

Which is precisely why they showered the repugicans with campaign contributions directly and through the US Chamber of Commerce. Voters will surely applaud another easy ride for the bankers, right? Turn back the clock, because it worked out so well the last time.
The coming term should bring scores of oversight hearings into the implementation of new rules governing financial institutions. There will be scuffles over control of a new consumer financial protection agency. And lawmakers will debate how to restructure the quasi-governmental mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which retain a major role in the current housing crisis.

All are issues that Bank of America, Wells Fargo and large other banking institutions will pay close attention to.

"We had been disappointed with a number of legislative outcomes with the past Congress, and so we look forward to better outcomes with this Congress," said Peter Garuccio, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association in Washington.

Garuccio said banks expect a corrections bill to peel back some of the financial regulations passed into law this year. Among them would be a repeal of the so-called Durbin Amendment, which cut debit-card fees for retailers. Banks say it cost them billions.



Warm-weather getaways

JFK honeymooned on the 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch amid olive trees and lavender.  

Cool And Unusual Taxis

Especially in New York City, the birthplace of the yellow taxicab, taxis all seem to look the same. But occasionally tourists and travelers may come across some unique cab designs.

From crazy modifications to creative colors and designs, here are some of the coolest and most unusual taxis.

The Cave City Of Vardzia


The Cave City of Vardzia is remarkable. Situated in the European country of Georgia at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia it has an over eight hundred year history. Yet you would be forgiven for wondering why such a place was built in the first place. The words why and how spring immediately to mind.

Road Building

Now this is how to build a road.



Yes, Virginia, pterosaurs 'could fly'

Scientists say they have disproved claims that enormous prehistoric winged beasts could not fly, with new evidence that they "pole-vaulted" themselves into the sky.

Things in reverse


Pennsylvania Conservation Officer Gunned Down By Suspected Poacher

deer poaching incident officer killed photo
Late last week Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove was gunned down by a suspected poacher. The 31-year old got into a shoot out after pulling a truck over suspected of using a spotlight to hunt deer at 10:30 pm Thursday.
Article continues: Pennsylvania Conservation Officer Gunned Down By Suspected Poacher

Bull jumps into crowd at Canadian rodeo, injuring 4

Four front-row spectators were hurt, but officials say the actions of quick-thinking emergency responders helped avert a tragedy when a bull jumped into the crowd at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton. The bull had just been roped on Friday night, after bucking off rider Tanner Girletz, when it jumped the heavy-gauge steel railing separating the spectators from the action at Edmonton's Rexall Place Arena. It bolted over the two-meter barrier before two rodeo pick-up men managed to quickly pin the 600-kilogram bull, dismantle the barrier and lead it out of the competition area.

Three of the injured spectators were treated at the scene by paramedics, then released. The fourth person, conscious but hurt, was taken to hospital. Eyewitness Mark Vandyk said it was hard to tell how badly the woman was injured. "It looked like she got kicked in the mouth and I couldn't tell if she got stepped on," Vandyk said. "But it's never good when something that big hits you."

Northlands, the organizer of the event, said the agency and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association have "a detailed incident procedures plan" that was followed on Friday. "Northlands would like to commend all emergency personnel for the immediate attention, in particular, CFR pick-up men Gary Rempel and Jason Resch for their quick and decisive actions," the company said in a statement released on Saturday. Canadian Finals Rodeo Commissioner John Windwick echoed that praise as he noted this was the first such incident in the 37-year history of the event.

"This was truly an unpredictable event and it's the first time in Canadian Finals Rodeo history that this type of incident has happened with a bull," Windwick said on Saturday. "Our staff did exactly what they should have done … We would like to commend all emergency response personnel for their immediate attention." Windwick said the bull, which sustained a cut to its leg, won't be appearing again at this year's rodeo. The animal will, however, likely be used in future competitions.

You can see the incident from a different viewpoint here.

Sniper shoots Moscow zoo's polar bear multiple times

Moscow zoo's most popular polar bear has been the victim of a multiple-gunshot attack, the zoo said on Saturday. 20-year-old Wrangle, whom the zoo acquired as a cub off the Arctic Ocean's Wrangle Island in 1991, came under attack from a small-caliber gun, the zoo said in a statement.

The father of two cubs, Wrangle usually stays out of sight in an enclosure but can be seen from a high-rise apartment building opposite the zoo, the statement said. "We are deeply outraged by the behavior of people who committed this despicable act," the zoo said.

"Perhaps the 'sniper' feels proud about what he did. But where is the heroism in shooting at a defenseless animal from a safe location?"

The bear now faced the threat of infection, the statement added. The zoo identified Wrangle as "one of the kindest bears at the zoo," which was founded in 1864 and is Russia's oldest.

German zoo fire kills 26 animals

German police say a fire at a zoo in the western city of Karlsruhe has killed 26 animals. The blaze on Friday night destroyed the petting zoo - a number of wooden buildings housing Shetland ponies, sheep, goats and a llama.

Around 100 firefighters fought strong winds to put the fire out and stop it spreading to neighboring buildings. Staff managed to evacuate all the wild animals safely, although one elephant suffered slight burns.

The zoo's director, Gisela von Hegel, said that when she was called out, she could see that the petting zoo buildings were engulfed in flames. "There was no possibility to rescue the animals from there because the roof had already collapsed, so it would have been too dangerous."

She said she then worked on plans to free the elephants, flamingos and hippos who were in nearby enclosures. An investigation is under way into the cause of the fire.

Whales Forced to Shout as Oceans Get Noisier

shouting whale photo  
Photo: m-louis / CC
As anybody who's ever gone to a dance club knows, it's not easy to have quality conversation in loud places -- but party-goers aren't the only ones who have learned to cope with the clamor. According to marine biologists studying whale mating calls, an increasingly noisy ocean is forcing the animals to shout their romantic melodies -- around 10 times louder than they did 50 years ago. Talk about a raucous orca-stra!
Article continues: Whales Forced to Shout as Oceans Get Noisier

Baby Turtles Released into the Amazon River

baby turtles released photo 
Photos via the Foreign Ministry of Brazil
Like a slow-moving wave of green cuteness, plodding along with adorable fervor, thousands of baby turtles make their way to the Amazon river and the start of a new life. This charming scene was made possible by Brazil's Turtles of the Amazon Project (O Projeto QuelĂ´nios da AmazĂ´nia), an organization which aims to make the first stages of life a little easier for the endangered reptiles who have suffered a long history of mistreatment and exploitation from man.
Article continues: 180,000 Baby Turtles Released into the Amazon River