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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 24, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
No matter who you've been trying to get in touch with over the past few days, you'll be happy to hear that they'll finally be available to you -- maybe not right this minute, but definitely within a few days.
You've got lots to say, and you've been waiting to say it, granted.
In the meantime, lay your plans and be sure you're ready to make the encounter a meaningful one.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
London, Ontario, Canada
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Rawalpindi, Punjab, India
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France

as well as Serbia, Czech Republic, Scotland, Singapore, Japan, Scotland, Italy, Romania, Korea, Vietnam and in cities across the United States such as Bloomfield, East Providence, Augusta, Bucksport, Bountiful, Othello, Moss Landing, Chapel Hill and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, November 24, the 328th day of 2010.
There are 37 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Bid for attention in Korean attack

Tuesday's attack may be prompting worldwide concern, but it didn't come out of nowhere.  

Dangers of Korean clash

Experts call North Korea's attack "more dangerous than normal" — but not for military reasons.  

End to color terror alerts?

One of the shrub's and the cabal's most visible legacies may soon be unraveled.

And I Quote

“TSA says they’re going to crack down on too aggressive patdowns. In fact, one agent was transferred to another parish.”
David Letterman

Clothing a security line issue - Worst clothes at airport security

It was no crime of fashion, but Wendy Gigliotti's bulky sweater and ankle-length skirt made her a target of airport screeners.

Some types of clothing can make you a target for those aggressive airport pat-downs.

The New Yorker's airport security cartoons from 1938-2009


The New Yorker has a slideshow of airport security cartoons from 1938-2009. The cartoon above is from 1972.

Teen possibly fell from plane

A Charlotte teenager whose mutilated body was found on a suburban Boston street may have fallen from an airplane's wheel well, an airport official said Tuesday.

Non Sequitur


Record U.S. corporate profits

Two key trends helped American companies earn $1.66 trillion last quarter.  

Saint Reagan taxed the super-rich at 50% but Obama is 'a Muslin' if he taxes them at 39%?

Saint Reagan taxed the super-rich at 50% but Obama is 'a Muslin' if he taxes them at 39%?

The four biggest lies in real estate

Buying a house has gotten trickier than just knowing what “cozy” or “needs TLC” means.  

Royal House Haikyo

Haikyo is a Japanese word for abandoned ruins. Michael Gakuran explored an abandoned home in Japan some call the Royal House, possibly because among the contents are pre-war portraits of the Japanese Emperor and the Royal family.
In pre-WWII Japan, the Emperor was still revered as a living deity and to look upon him was thought of as an immense privilege. Distribution of the Imperial Family Portraits was not compulsory and schools had to petition to the Ministry in order to receive one, which was usually granted on grounds of academic excellence. Because the official portraits were on loan from the Imperial Household Ministry, protecting the picture from harm was deemed of utmost importance. Having the picture lost or damaged, even from natural disasters like fires or earthquakes, was seen as such a serious failure of duty that there were incidents of school officials committing suicide in an act of repentance.
There are plenty of pictures of the house and contents, but Gakuran has many more photographs he did not publish because of the fine line between documenting history and invading the former occupant’s privacy.



Worst family restaurants

No chain exemplifies America’s portion problem more than The Cheesecake Factory. 

House Rules for a Redneck Family's Thanksgiving

1. Don’t get in line asking questions about the food. “Who made the potato salad? Is it egg in there? Are the greens fresh? Is the meat in the greens turkey or pork? Who made the macaroni and cheese? What kind of pie is that? Who made it? Ask one more question and I will punch you in your mouth, knocking out all your fronts so you won’t be able to eat anything.

2. If you can’t walk or are missing any limbs, sit your ass down until someone makes your plate for you. Dinner time is not the time for you to be independent. Nibble on them damn pecans and walnuts to hold you over until someone makes you a plate.

3. If you have kids under the age of twelve, I will escort their little asses to the basement and bring their food down to them. They re not gonna tear my damn house up this year. Tell them that they are not allowed upstairs until it’s time for Uncle Butchie to start telling family stories about their momma’s and papas. If they come upstairs for any reason except for that they are bleeding to death, I will break a foot off in their asses!

4. There is going to be one prayer for Thanksgiving dinner! JUST ONE! We do not care that you are thankful that your 13 year old daughter gave birth to a healthy baby or your nephew just got out of jail. Save that talk for somebody who gives a damn. The time limit for the prayer is one minute. If you are still talking after that one minute is up, you will feel something hard come across your lips and they will be swollen for approximately 20 minutes.

5. Finish everything on your plate before you go up for seconds! If you don’t, you will be cursed out and asked to stay your greedy ass home next year!

6. BRING YOUR OWN TUPPERWARE!! Don’t let me catch you fixing yourself a plate in my good Tupperware knowing damn well that I will never see it again! Furthermore, if you didn’t bring anything over, don’t let me catch you making a plate period or it will be a misunderstanding.

7. What you came with is what you should leave with!! Do not leave my house with anything that doesn’t belong to you. EVERYBODY WILL BE SUBJECTED TO A BODY SEARCH COMING AND GOING OUT OF MY DOMAIN!!!

8. Do not leave your kids so you can go hopping from house to house. This is not a DAYCARE CENTER ! There will be a kid-parent roll call every ten minutes. Any parent that is not present at the time of roll call, your child will be put outside until you come and get him or her. After 24 hours, I will call CPS on your ignorant ass!!

9. BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM BEFORE YOU COME INTO TOWN!! There will be no sleeping over at my house! You are to come and eat dinner and take your ass home or to your hotel room. EVERYBODY GETS KICK THE HELL OUT AT 11:00 pm. You will get a 15 minute warning bell ring.

10. Last but not least! ONE PLATE PER PERSON!! This is not a soup kitchen. I am not trying to feed your family until Christmas dinner! You will be supervised when you fix your plate. Anything over the appropriate amount will be charged to you before you leave. There will be a cash register at the door. Thanks to Cousin Alfred and his greedy ass family, we now have a credit card machine! So VISA and MASTERCARD are now being accepted. NO FOOD STAMPS OR ACCESS CARDS YET.

Huge meals bad for your heart

Eating a huge meal of carbs, fat, and salt can quadruple the chance of a heart attack.  

Wizard of Id


Helen Wheels

Paul McCartney & Wings

John Lennon lyrics 'to fetch £350,000'

Handwritten lyrics scrawled by John Lennon on the back of a demand for an outstanding bill are expected to sell for £350,000 at auction. Lennon scribbled the words for I'm Only Sleeping, which appears on the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver, on the reverse of a letter demanding payment for his "radiophone" – an early car phone.

The letter threatens legal action if the bill for £12 and three shillings is not paid within seven days. Lennon wrote the lyrics in April 1966, shortly before the band went into the studio to record Revolver. A private owner is selling the words along with a coffee table from Lennon's former home, in Kenwood, Surrey.

Lennon's lyrics for Day in the Life sold for £810,000 at an auction in New York this year. The letter from the General Post Office, dated 25 April 1966, asks Lennon to settle the bill: "Will you please pay it in the next seven days. Unless it is paid by then we shall have no alternative but to revoke your licence and to institute legal proceedings to recover the debt."

Stephen Maycock, a consultant for Bonhams auction house, which is selling the items, said: "The lyrics were scrawled on the back of a bit of paper that he had to hand ... He must have had a melody in his head and began writing words, then crossing them out if they didn't rhyme or scan. You can see the creative process at work and the ideas that are coming to him as he writes it. It is not the final version but the first draft." The sale is being held in London on 15 December.

Hurdy Gurdy Man


Britain's first robot walks again

One of Britain's first humanoid robots has been resurrected after being found in a garage where it had been stored for the last 45 years.
Robot Built from Scrap Still Works after 45 Years in Storage

In 1950, Tony Sale was 19 years old and serving in the British Royal Air Force. He built a human-sized robot out of scrap metal from a crashed Wellington bomber. Sale named the robot George and got quite a bit of press attention at the time. George was used for several years and then put in storage for the next 45. Sale, now 79, recently decided to see if George would still work:
‘I dug him out of the garage where he had been standing for 45 years,’ he said.
‘I had a fair bit of confidence he would work again and luckily I was right.
‘I put some oil on the bearings and added a couple of new lithium batteries in his legs, switched him on and away he went. It was a lovely moment.’
Mr Sale has always been interested in mechanics and built his first ‘George’ using Meccano when he was just 12 years old. The instructions for making the robot were in the Meccano manual and it could walk at a steady pace by shuffling its feet.
In 1945 Mr Sale made a second George the robot and three years later at the age of 17 he improved it by making it bigger and controlling it by radio.

Man Discovers 12ft Fossil Of Carnivorous Plesiosaur

A hunter has uncovered what is believed to be a fossil of a carnivorous marine dinosaur that lived 75 million years ago. David Bradt, who was hunting elk, stumbled on the largely intact fossilised remains of a plesiosaur in Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, in Montana, U.S.

The 12ft-long animal, which scientists have compared to the mythical Loch Ness monster, lived during the Cretaceous Period and had was adapted to swimming and feeding in the ancient seas using paddle-like limbs.

The First Vending Machine Was Made 2,000 Years Ago

Hero of Alexandria (10-70 CE) was a Greek engineer and mathematician who lived in Roman-ruled Egypt. He invented many gadgets and wrote at length about them. In his book Pneumatics, he described an early vending machine. It dispensed holy water only when a coin was inserted. Here’s a selection from an English translation of the book:
If into certain sacrificial vessels a coin of five drachms be thrown, water shall flow out and surround them. Let A B C D (fig. 21) be a sacrificial vessel or treasure chest, having an opening in its mouth, A; and in the chest let there be a vessel, F G H K, containing water, and a small box, L, from which a pipe, L M, conducts out of the chest. Near the vessel place a vertical rod, N X, about which a lever, O P, widening at O into the plate R parallel into the bottom of the vessel, while at the extremity P is suspended a lid, s, which fits into the box L, so that no water can flow through the tube L M: this lid, however, must be heavier than the plate R, but lighter than the plate and coin combined. When the coin is thrown through the mouth A, it will fall upon the plate R and, preponderating, it will turn the beam O P, and raise the lid of the box so that water will flow; but if the coin falls off, the lid will descend and close the box so that the discharge ceases. (37)

The Universe is Flipping Us Off

This is a cloud that has broken off the Carina Nebula. It’s about 8,000 light years away and has a nasty attitude. Or did, at least 8,000 years ago. Did we do something offensive at the time?



Using Drugs to Erase Traumatic Memories

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered the neurochemical process that leads to memory formation, opening up the possibility of developing a pharmaceutical treatment for traumatic memories:
By looking at that process, Huganir and postdoctoral fellow Roger L. Clem discovered a “window of vulnerability” when unique receptor proteins are created. The proteins mediate signals traveling within the brain as painful memories are made. Because the proteins are unstable, they can be easily removed with drugs or behavior therapy during the window, ensuring the memory is eliminated.

Mood Disorders in Fish

University of California neurobiologist Herwig Baier thinks that fish — or at least one species of fish — may be able to suffer from mood disorders. He examined zebrafish that became inactive and listless when isolated from other fish:
Baier looked at the genetic mutations in the “frozen” fish and found one in the glucocorticoid receptor, a protein that is found in almost every cell and that senses cortisol–a hormone involved in the stress response. In the normal response to a stressful situation, the hypothalamus in the brain sends corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) to the pituitary gland, which releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) to the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland in turn produces cortisol. Cortisol then effectively reduces levels of ACTH and CRH, completing the normal response that allows both humans and zebrafish to deal with stress.
In the frozen fish, however, Baier found that levels of all three hormones–CRH, ACTH and cortisol–were higher than normal. He guessed that the animals were unable to respond properly to chronic stress–a problem that is known to trigger anxiety or depression in humans. On the basis of that diagnosis, he started putting the antidepressant fluoxetine (originally marketed as Prozac) in their water. After four days, they started swimming around normally. Other antidepressants and anxiolytics–drugs used to treat anxiety–also worked as a pick-me-up, he says. “There’s a long literature on chronic stress being related to depression, but the causal link is unknown,” says Baier. “Now we might be able to simulate this in fish and study it.”
Other researchers suggest that Baier’s findings may lead to the use of zebrafish to screen pharmaceuticals developed for humans.

Dog helps monitor little girl's diabetes

Sergeant Jake Watson has been training canines for years with the Montgomery sheriff's department. Now, a training task is more personal. Watson's daughter Ella has Type 1 Diabetes. She's insulin dependent and can even take her own blood sugar. But at such a young age, the disease can be a dangerous roller coaster. So her dad decided to train a British Lab as a diabetes alert dog.

The canine, Jude, could start sensing changes in Ella's blood sugar levels when he was just an 11 week old puppy. Now he alerts Ella's parents by bringing them a pink baton when he senses dangerously low or high levels. The Watsons trained Jude to know when Ella's blood sugar drops below 100 or spikes above 250. The dog actually smells the change in chemistry on Ella's breath. Jude bows when the blood sugar is low and waves when it's high.

"It does give us a sense of security because he can sense those changes, in between when we check her every three hours, her blood sugar can be really low or really high especially because she's so little. We can't always sense the change in her behaviour," said Watson.

There are only about 50 diabetes alert dogs in the US. Over the last five years, more and more families have started turning to the dogs to help monitor their loved ones with diabetes. Training a diabetes alert dog can cost up to $10,000. The Watsons saved on that expense, because of Jake's history with the canine training unit. The family knows not everyone can afford the dogs, so they've started participating the the Wildrose Kennel's non-profit organization. Every year 15,000 kids are diagnosed with the incurable disease.

Cat mourns loss of bear friend

It was a bizarre friendship from the start when zoo cat Muschi wandered into the bear enclosure 10 years ago and cuddled up to brown bear Mauschen.

Now keepers say the cat is in mourning after her 42-year-old pal died of old age at Berlin Zoo in Germany.

Keeper Andre Schule explained: "She had been ill for some time and in a lot of pain. She was one of the oldest bears alive in the world and had lived far longer than she would have done in the wild."

"But poor Muschi is inconsolable. They shared a bed together but it'd be too dangerous to let her back into the bear enclosure without her friend there to protect her," he added.

Turkeys run wild in streets

When Staten Island residents encounter these birds, they don't see dinner — they see neighbors. 

The secret of flying snakes

A new study finally explains how the unusual reptiles are able to cover huge distances without wings.