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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 17, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
An elder relative or authority figure who's had their eye on you for awhile now is just about ready to let you know how well you've done -- especially based on recent stressful situations that you've passed through with flying colors.
In the meantime, don't ignore someone new and interesting (who's due to come along early today), sent by the emotional Moon to take your mind entirely off of this situation -- and anything that's even remotely unpleasant.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Brasov, Brasov, Romania
Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France

as well as Singapore, Czech Republic, Philippines, Brazil, Saudia Arabia, Argentina, Latvia, Mexico and in cities across the United States such as Costa Mesa, Germantown, Orchard Park, Spring Grove and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, November 17, the 321st day of 2010.
There are 44 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Homemade Bread Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!



Achtung! TSA!

Oleg Volk has a smashing new TSA checkpoint warning side: Achtung! TSA breast-groping ahead!

Is it acceptable to "pat down" women and children ?

In his blog for The Atlantic, James Fallows makes note of a curious conflict of ethics and pragmatism raised by a letter from and Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan:
A US Army staff sergeant, now serving in Afghanistan, writes about the new enhanced pat-down procedure from the TSA. Summary of his very powerful message: to avoid giving gross offense to the Afghan public, and to prevent the appearance of an uncontrolled security state, the US military forbids use on Afghan civilians of the very practices the TSA is now making routine for civilian travelers at US airports...
At no time were we permitted or even encouraged to search children or women. In fact, this would have been considered an extreme violation of acceptable cultural practice and given the way word travels here, been a propaganda victory for the Taliban.

Yet somehow the TSA is engaged in this at home while my unit and I spent our tour unable to safeguard ourselves equally in an environment where the Taliban have often disguised themselves in burkas and used children as both spies and fighters...
Further details and discussion at The Atlantic.

Johns Hopkins doctor on TSA scanners: 'statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays'

Despite what the TSA and Michael Chertoff say, the science is not settled on these machines.
Dr. David Brenner, head of the center for radiological research at Columbia University in New York, told the London Telegraph in a June 29 story that considering the large number of people who frequent the nation's airports, wide-ranging exposure, even to minimal amounts of radiation, could add up to one big concern.

"If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with X-rays, then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk," he said. "The population risk has the potential to be significant."

Scientists with the University of California at San Francisco were so worried that they wrote a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology in April raising "a number of red flags" on the scanners' safety.

"While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high," the letter said in part, adding concerns that "independent safety data do not exist" and raising the potential for further harm if a high dosage was accidentally emitted.

Bad Cops

Retired Alabama trooper gets plea deal in 1965 slaying of a black man that prompted the "Bloody Sunday" march at Selma and helped galvanize America's civil rights movement

LAPD officer resigns after being accused of tapping database on killer's behalf

Texas cop pleads no contest to indecency with a child

Witnesses see visitor to Rikers Island jail roughed up by correction officer

California prison guard arrested in sting operation

Kansas City police fire at backfiring van

California sheriff's deputy charged with child molestation

Former Texas deputy constable charged in carwash shooting

Retired Maryland police officer convicted of assault

Florida cop is arrested for child porn on police computer

Pennsylvania police officers accused of arrest frame-up

The truth be told


Repugican House freshman wants his govt subsidized health insurance NOW

You know of course he ran against "Obamacare":
[repugican Andy Harris] A wingnut Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.
“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. The benefits session, held behind closed doors, drew about 250 freshman members, staffers and family members to the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium late Monday morning,”.

“Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.
Under COBRA law, Harris can pay a premium to extend his current health insurance an additional month.

The truth be told (Part Deux)


America's dirtiest cities

Their residents suffer from the highest risk of asthma and chronic bronchitis.  

Secrets of fancy 'man caves'

The hangout spaces have morphed from cold garage outposts into luxurious spreads.  

How to save on heating costs

Keeping your home warm this year won't be cheap, but there are ways to lower your bills.

How to become your own boss

Lots of people dream of starting their own business doing something they love. 

So, you think you had a bad day at work

Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to a radio station in Ft.Wayne, Indiana, who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest. She won first prize.

Hi Sue, Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea I wear a suit to the office. It's a wetsuit. This time of year the water is quite cool...

So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial 'water heater'; this $20,000 piece of equipment sucks water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints.

What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wetsuit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my ass started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse.

Within a few seconds my ass started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit.

Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my ass was not as fortunate.

When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my ass. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically.

Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my ass as soon as I got in the chamber.

The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because my ass was swollen shut.
Love Rob

So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt.

Now repeat to yourself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job."

Why Ireland is near bankruptcy

Ireland is on the brink of insolvency, sending shivers throughout the world.  

Singapore jails British author who criticized their courts

This is pathetic.
The case highlighted complaints by critics who claim Singapore uses criminal defamation laws to silence them.

"This sentence is yet another blow against freedom of expression in Singapore," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia. "Sadly, it comes as no surprise, given the long history of the authorities in Singapore using the courts to silence vocal critics of government policies and personnel."

The government says any statement that damages the reputations of its leaders will hinder their ability to rule effectively.

Prosecution lawyer Hema Subramaniam said Shadrake had shown "a complete lack of good faith in making these allegations against the judiciary".

Shadrake was arrested July 18 and freed on bail two days later. A criminal defamation investigation against him is still pending.



Ten Well Known People And Their Phobias


We all have fears. They range from the subtler things like a fear of spiders to the more serious fear of people. But did you know there are many celebrities and historical figures who have suffered from phobias just like you?

While most of them fear simple things like you and me, some are just a little bit more extreme. Here's a list of the top ten well-known people and their phobias.

Hunt for clues in 17th-Century mystery

New clues may solve the mysterious death of a world-famous 17th-century astronomer.  

Yeah, right


Dazzling sky show tonight

You won't need a telescope to spot up to 15-20 "shooting stars" per hour in tonight's display. 

New views of the planet

The International Space Station's Cupola window bay provides dazzling new views of Earth.  

View from the International Space Station

This excellent image captured by NASA shows astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson gazing out of a window on the International Space Station. It was taken last September. Dyson, a chemist, went into orbit on April 2, 2010 and remained on the station for 174 days.

NASA May Have Found Remnants of a Black Hole at the Center of the Galaxy

Blackhole in the center of the galaxy
NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has unveiled a previously unseen structure centered in the Milky Way. The feature spans 50,000 light-years and may be the remnant of an eruption from a supersized black hole at the center of our galaxy. [...]
One possibility includes a particle jet from the supermassive black hole at the galactic center. In many other galaxies, astronomers see fast particle jets powered by matter falling toward a central black hole. While there is no evidence the Milky Way’s black hole has such a jet today, it may have in the past. The bubbles also may have formed as a result of gas outflows from a burst of star formation, perhaps the one that produced many massive star clusters in the Milky Way’s center several million years ago.

Non Sequitur


A 1913 Harley-Davidson

One of the finest examples of a pre - WW1 Harley Davidson known to exist.

World Record Panorama of London

Jeffrey Martin shot 8,000 photographs of London and then spent six weeks stitching them together to create this amazing seamless 360-degree panorama of the city. You can zoom in and lose yourself looking at details, or zoom back and admire the city as a whole. The quality of this panorama was impossible to achieve only a year ago -and at 80 gigapixels, it is the largest 360-degree panorama in the world! Open the map to find specific landmarks, or take the tour to see places you’d never think to look for on your own. This is the next best thing to traveling to London, and you don’t even have to leave your desk!

Origami Glass Building

This building which houses the health department in BilBao, Spain is described as “origami-like”. I can see that, but my first impression was that some special-effects giant monster is trying to burst out of it! The unique design is not just for looks. The city building code requires multi-story buildings to have stepped setbacks, so they incorporated that into an artful design. There are also environmental benefits from the folded glass appearance. Read about it and see more pictures at Jetsetta.

Bacon Gift Wrap

The Internet and bacon. They're inseparable. Will that ever go away? No, bacon just won't go away. If this is cool with you, then you might be inclined to wrap up all of your holiday gifts in this Bacon Gift Wrap. It will ensure that the recipient enjoys the package almost as much as what's inside.

To Go Cup: The Alcoholic Open Carry Equivalent

Would you be willing to put all your possessions in storage, except your laptop, a few clothes and your dog, and say adiĆ³s to the idea of having a home? That’s just what Michael Powell and Juergen Horn have done. Armed with just the internet and a spirit of adventure, they’ve become digital nomads, roaming the earth in three-month stints.Over a long lunch and a bottle of red wine, the idea formed. They’d been making their living online for awhile, running websites like Criticker and Random Good Stuff, and promoting Juergen’s photography. Traveling is their shared passion and, as long as they had high-speed internet, they figured they could do it on a permanent basis. For three months, or about 91 days, they could fully explore a new city or country and, before they had time to get weary of it, would be off to the next spot.
Their first leg was in Oviedo, in Northern Spain and about two weeks ago they touched down in Savannah, GA. On their blog For 91 Days, Juergen and Mike document their exploration of the history, sights, culture, and the bizarre and wonderful customs of their new temporary homes.

That’s Juergen sportin’ an open container of alcohol in public. Posing near a cop, no less. Now, for most of us, this is an illegal act – but not in Savannah, Georgia. Thanks to the "To-Go Cup" – the alcoholic equivalent of the Open Carry law – you can walk around the Historic District and enjoy your favorite beer in broad daylight. No need for sipping furtively out of a brown bag.



Endangered Species


Habitat destruction is the single greatest threat to species around the globe. Humans have altered, degraded, and destroyed habitat in many different ways. Logging around the world has destroyed forests that are habitat to many species.

Agriculture has also resulted in habitat destruction. Mining has destroyed habitat because the landscape often must be altered in order to access the minerals. Finally, water development, especially in arid regions, has fundamentally altered habitat for many species.

Here's a list of endangered species.