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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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're all set up for an extremely romantic evening -- and if you're lucky, it could last for quite some time.
A neighbor or sibling -- someone you haven't seen in a while -- will likely want to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation.
Go ahead.
Don't worry about ruining the reunion.
Once you two have decided where you're at, where you were before and where you're going now, you'll end up being a lot closer than you were 'back in the day.'

Some of our readers today have been in:
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Zoetermeer, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Hanau, Hessen, Germany
Vienna, Wien, Austria
Paderborn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Natal, Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil
London, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bogor, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

as well as Spain, Poland, New Zealand, France, Sri Lanka and in cities across the United States such as Angola, Charlotte, Seymour, Williston and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, November 16, the 320th day of 2010.
There are 45 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Sailor told his daughter would never walk gets huge surprise when he returns from duty

A Navy sailor received the surprise of his life when he returned home from Iraq Saturday.

Culinary DeLites

Curry powder heats up hearty chicken and rich butternut squash for a soup with flair.  
A tester pits the alternative cooker against oven-roasting and deep-frying.  
Protein-rich turkey contains an essential mineral that aids your immune system.  

Twenty Obsolete English Words That Should Make a Comeback

Heather Carreiro of Matador Abroad suggests twenty English language words that she thinks should return to common usage. Here are two examples from her list:
9. Brabble
Verb – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Brabble basically means to argue loudly about something that doesn’t really matter, as in “Why are we still brabbling about who left the dirty spoon on the kitchen table?” You can also use it as a noun: “Stop that ridiculous brabble and do something useful!”[...]
14. Hoddypeak
Noun – “A fool, simpleton, noodle, blockhead” – This one doesn’t need any explanation as to how you could use it; you may already have someone in mind who fits the description.

Photographs and Audio Recordings from Mecca in 1885

Dutch adventurer Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje traveled to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in 1885, photographing what he saw and recording sounds using an invention of Thomas Edison:
Snouck’s extraordinary collection of sepia-tinted images of Mecca in a bygone age have gone on display in Dubai ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that originally drew him to the heart of Islam.
Accompanied by crackling, eerie soundscapes captured by Snouck using Thomas Edison’s newly-invented wax cylinders, the exhibition paints a very different picture from the ornate and built-up Mecca familiar to modern visitors.[...]
The images are all the more astounding, says Elie Domit — creative director of Dubai’s Empty Quarter gallery, which is hosting the exhibition — when one considers the lengths he went to to get them.
“People tend to forget the situation because cameras today are so versatile and light,” he told CNN. “In Snouck’s day they probably weighed about 40 kilos, and he needed to take all the chemicals for developing, which he would have done on site.”

Man Buys First Batman Comic for 10¢ in 1939, Now Offers to Sell It

In 1939, Robert Irwin bought the first comic book in which Batman appeared. It cost him 10 cents — that’s $1.57 adjusted for inflation. He’s now put it up for auction, and current bidding has exceeded $400,000:
When asked why he kept this particular comic book, Irwin’s replied was simple:
“I don’t know,” he said. “I must have just liked the cover.”
That simple attraction the now iconic Bob Kane graphic means the 10 cents Irwin spent on it as a 13-year-old boy in will now come due as an investment that will realized a return than can be measured in hundreds of thousands of percentage points – certainly better than even the highest performing stocks.
“Imagine yourself as a kid, and you buy a comic book, read it and put it away,” said Jerry Stephan, Consignment Director for Comics at Heritage. “Now imagine you put it away for decades before realizing, more than 70 years later, that your foresight, that the one comic you kept from your childhood, that you tucked carefully away, has emerged as one of the great pop culture treasures of history.”

Rare pink diamond sells for record $46 million

A rare pink diamond smashed the world record for a jewel at auction Tuesday, selling for more than $46 million to a well-known gem dealer.

Gold Nanoparticles Could Turn Trees into Streetlights

Scientists in Taiwan discovered that placing gold nanoparticles in plants made them glow, which could turn them into an effective form of nighttime illumination:
By implanting the gold nanoparticles into the leaves of the Bacopa caroliniana plants, the scientists were able to induce the chlorophyll in the leaves to produce a red emission. Under a high wavelength of ultraviolet light, the gold nanoparticles were able to produce a blue-violet fluorescence to trigger a red emission in the surrounding chlorophyll.[...]
“In the future, bio-LED could be used to make roadside trees luminescent at night. This will save energy and absorb CO2 as the bio-LED luminescence will cause the chloroplast to conduct photosynthesis,” Dr. Yen-Hsun Su said in an interview with Chemistry World.

Airless Tires for Moon Vehicles

Goodyear has developed for NASA a new airless tire made of springs that can be used on future moon missions:
The tire, constructed out of 800 load bearing springs, is designed to carry much heavier vehicles (up to 10 times) over much greater distances (up to 100 times) than the wire mesh tire that Goodyear helped develop for the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). The Spring Tire has now been recognized with a so-called “Oscar of Innovation” at the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in Orlando, Florida.[...]
Another advantage of the Spring Tire is its ultra-redundancy. Asnani points out that the tire doesn’t have a “single point failure mode” like pneumatic tires. Where one hard impact can cause a puncture and deflate a pneumatic tire, such an impact would damage only one of the Spring Tire’s 800 load bearing springs. Additionally, the Spring Tire’s combination of overall stiffness and flexibility allows off-road vehicles to travel fast over rough terrain with relatively little motion being transferred to the vehicle, says Asnani.

A Giant Domed, Underground City for Siberia

A Russian architectural firm called Ab Ellis has unveiled its proposal to turn an old diamond mine in Siberia into a huge domed city that stretches 1,700 feet below ground. Eco-City 2020 could house 100,000 people and be powered by solar cells on the city roof. At the link, you can view several more architectural concept images, as well as photographs of this site, which is the second largest hole in the world.

The True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai

You’ve probably seen the 1957 move The Bridge On the River Kwai, but you might not know how much of the film was real and how much was fictionalized. The real history of how the railway between Burma and China was built, including the bridge, is a horrific story. The British didn’t build the railway in the 19th century because it would be too expensive. During World War II, the invading Japanese took on the project, but expected it to take five years to complete. Those plans were drawn before they found a source of free labor: the Allied POWs. Because of the inhuman amount of labor forced on the prisoners, the railway line that was expected to take five years to complete was ready in only 16 months.
Starvation provisions, overloading of work, dismal or absent accommodation and sanitation, and the individual viciousness of Japanese and Korean engineers and guards, took their expected toll. Disease (predominantly dysentery, malaria, beriberi and cholera), brutality (69 men were beaten to death by their guards) and 12 to 18 hour daily work shifts made for a high death rate. In fact, the work went on 24 hours a day with the aid of oil pot lamps and bamboo/wood fires that were kept burning all night long. When looking down on the wok area at night it looked like working in the “jaws of hell” – thus the workers gave it the name “Hellfire Pass”.
Read the rest of the story at Environmental Graffiti.

Odds and Sods

Are you really sure it was a mask?
After all the shrub rapped and stole the nation.
Man robs bank wearing a 'George Bush' mask
For the second time in just more than a month, a Central Texas bank is robbed by someone wearing what police are calling a "George Bush" mask.

Man long, declared dead arrested
On paper he was deceased, legally declared dead 16 years ago. In reality, Thomas Steven Sanders had lived openly for years without anyone noticing that fact a ' until his weekend arrest on suspicion of kidnapping a Las Vegas girl who recently turned up dead.

Police pull over triple-decker truck
Police officers in China were stunned to spot a truck driver carrying another two trucks on top of each other.

'Merchant of Death' extradited

An ex-Soviet officer who sparked a fierce tug of war between Moscow and D.C. is suddenly whisked to the U.S. 

Clever reuse of vuvuzelas

The instrument made famous by the 2010 World Cup gets some clever second lives.

The most common driving mistakes

It's often too easy to blame everything from minor scrapes to major collisions on other drivers. 

Worst ways to give advice

"Follow your heart" may be the wrong answer when you're asked to weigh in on a touchy situation.  

Non Sequitur


How to pick your health plan

These tips can help clear the confusion during the open enrollment season. 

Work naps are good for you

More companies are recognizing that a power snooze increases alertness and brainpower.  

Six great encore careers

It's easy to switch into these "encore" fields — which pay up to $80,000.  

Suspension Gives MSNBC, Keith Olbermann Bump In Ratings

A suspension is good business for MSNBC and Keith Olbermann -- at least in the short term.

Deficit alarms public less than politicians

The $1.4 trillion gap is a Washington obsession, but voters have other priorities, polls show. 

Tax hikes on the horizon

The shrub-era tax cuts aren't the only crucial measures that could affect wallets at all income levels.

Calling for foreclosure help

One major bank hears countless tales daily about lost jobs and overdue bills.  

Housing advice for 2011

Buyers, owners, and sellers can benefit from these tips if real estate rebounds next year.  

Drastic changes for floor plans

With buyers looking for something smaller, homebuilders are cutting traditional rooms.  

What affects credit scores

The single most important component of your rating looks at your ability to repay. 

Resist these sales pitches

These seven clever come-ons often push holiday shoppers to overspend.  



A one-way ticket to Mars?

The pioneers would prep the planet for human habitation — but never return to Earth.  

Lucky glimpse at black hole's birth

Scientists stumble across a first-of-its- kind view of the birth of a voracious baby black hole.  

The Leonids

I'm always wary about writing about celestial events. When I do, the clouds roll in.



Crocodile vs. Mother Elephant

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a story about a crocodile attacking a baby elephant. That news article said that crocodiles don’t normally attack elephants. Maybe something has changed, because it’s happened again -this time in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Swiss tourist Martin Nyfeler caught several photographs of the encounter between a mother elephant with her baby and a Nile crocodile.

Killer whales seen surfing

A pod of orcas takes full advantage of a giant surf swell off the coast of New Zealand.