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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.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Saying goodbye to someone you love (or letting go of something that was once precious in your life) is just a part of living.
If you need to say goodbye, treat it like a celebration!
After all, you are moving into a different phase of your life -- new experiences will soon feed your intellectual curiosity and give you the level of satisfaction you've been seeking.
As your wisdom and maturity grow, so will your appreciation for the people in your past.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Ivera, Piemonte, Italy
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Shiraz, Fars, Iran
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Florence, Toscana, Italy

as well as Germany, Serbia, Bangladesh, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Singapore, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Finland, Korea, Netherlands,  Argentina, Vietnam, Egypt, Russia, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, Belgium, India, Brazil and in cities across the United States such as Charlotte, Santa Monica, Laredo, Eau Claire and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, December 2, the 336th day of 2010.
There are 29 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Mutt Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Let the truth be told


Snow traps drivers overnight

A truck accident near Buffalo, N.Y., leaves motorists stranded overnight in heavy snow. 

Original Captain Jack actor

Johnny Depp was not the first star the writer had in mind for "Pirates of the Caribbean."  

A Show of Art Banned by Hitler

In January, construction workers digging a new subway tunnel in Berlin found a cache of sculptures that had been banned by Adolf Hitler for being “degenerate”. It’s uncertain who is responsible for saving them, but it’s possible to make some educated guesses:
Archeologists have so far determined that the recovered works must have come from 50 Königstrasse, across the street from City Hall. The building belonged to a Jewish woman, Edith Steinitz; several Jewish lawyers are listed as her tenants in 1939, but their names disappear from the record by 1942, when the house became property of the Reich. Among its subsequent occupants, German investigators now believe, the likeliest candidate to have hidden the art was Erhard Oewerdieck, a tax lawyer and escrow agent.
Oewerdieck is not widely known, but he is remembered at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel. In 1939, he and his wife gave money to a Jewish family to escape to Shanghai. He also hid an employee, Martin Lange, in his apartment. In 1941 he helped the historian Eugen Täubler and his wife flee to America, preserving part of Täubler’s library. And he stood by Wolfgang Abendroth too, a leftist and Nazi opponent, by writing him a job recommendation when that risked his own life.
The eleven sculptures are now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin. Pictured above is “A Likeness of the Actress Anni Mewes” by Edwin Scharff.

Polish firefighters required to say 'Heil Hitler!' every morning

As you can imagine, that didn't go over very well with some people.
The station commander, along, apparently, with his deputy, also reportedly subjected to anyone who questioned his command to abusive tirades involving strings of expletives.

His alleged insistence of firemen using "Heil Hitler" instead of the traditional greeting of "Good day" was resented in particular given Poland's immense suffering under during the years of Nazi occupation.

Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark


Bad Cops

New Orleans police officer says he burned car with body inside because he was stressed, exhausted

Suspended police officer faces charges for third time of harassing ex-wife

Fired Georgia deputy gets life in murders of wife, day laborer

Fired New York deputy admits driving prostitutes to hotel for convention

No jail time for Virginia deputy convicted of perjury

Man beaten by Florida police on YouTube is charged with "resisting arrest without violence"

Illinois cop is charged with stealing cash from suspects

TSA sued over 'pat downs'

There are surely many more like this underway or about to be filed. Some people really can be funny when it comes to privacy.
A Colorado attorney has asked a federal judge to order the Transportation Security Administration to abandon its airport screening procedures for United States citizens.

Gary Fielder filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver last week, more than a month after he, his two daughters, ages 9 and 15, and a family friend underwent a TSA pat-down in San Diego.

Fielder's lawsuit claimed the pat-downs were "disgusting, unconscionable, sexual in nature" and in violation of the Constitution's protections against unreasonable searches.
One other such suit:

Buxom Problems

Some large breasted women are writing about the special problems that they encounter when clearing security at airports. Larger sized underwire bras can trigger metal detectors, leading to, as a commenter at BFDBlog.com described it, the TSA agent's "getting to second base." Another commenter described how the TSA agent's "check of [her bra] and my chest/ribcage was the most thorough of any part of my body. If you are wearing a bra that creates cleavage (or always have cleavage due to your dimensions), I have no idea how they manage the between-boob check other than sticking their hand down in there." And if all this weren't enough, traveler Eliana Sutherland has charged TSA agents at Orlando International Airport with singling her out for enhanced screening simply because of her breasts.

The truth be told


No, it's not an Onion headline

So much for not taking those earmarks, eh?
We can forget about doing away with them then, huh?

Lawmakers acting strange

An unnerving lame-duck session appears to be making for some strange times on Capitol Hill.  

Deficit panel runs into politics

A higher retirement age and smaller mortgage write-offs won't happen soon.  

The truth be told (Part Deux)


Besides cutting unemployment for 2 million, repugicans say 'no' to child nutrition

So how much more nasty can they be? These are not the kind of people who you can negotiate with in a friendly manner. The repugicans are tripping over themselves to help the ultra-rich but once again, it's all about screwing everyone else in the process.
House repugicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children. Repugicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity.

House Democrats said the repugican amendment, which would have required background checks for child care workers, was an effort to kill the bill and delayed a final vote on the legislation rather than vote on the amendment.

Painful holidays for the unemployed

Families struggle to pay bills now that Congress is not extending their jobless benefits.  

Inmates may make toilet paper to save money

There probably won't be any squeeze tests involved, but Iowa prisons could soon be stocking prison-made toilet paper to save taxpayers money and provide jobs to inmates.

Mowing lawns to millionaire

Bruce Pellegrino says his first company taught him what he needed to succeed.  

On The Job

Underearners Anonymous helps people who refuse to earn their full potential.  

Switch careers in under a year

Train for one of these five professions, and you could be in a growth field by 2012.  

Ideas for cutting credit card debt

A $10 purchase can help you save more than $40 a month — and get you started on paring down what you owe.  



Unusual uses for baking soda

The low-cost, natural powder can clean ovens and help clear a clogged drain.  

Culinary DeLites

Squeeze all the liquid from the potatoes and onions, or the pancakes won't hold together.  

Burn fat faster on your walks

Don’t assume that going up the steepest hills will boost the amount of calories you burn.  

Pregnant Israeli woman set on fire in hospital accident

A pregnant Israeli woman who was about to have a baby by Cesarean was accidentally set on fire by a surgeon. Details of the incident - which occurred in an operating room at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, near Tel Aviv, in 2008 - emerged during an investigation by the Israeli health ministry.

The woman was initially swabbed with an alcohol solution ahead of the procedure, but when she entered the operating theater, the surgeon asked that a nurse repeat the procedure. The surgeon then began to cut her open with a diathermic needle, but the implement, which uses an electrical current, emitted a spark which set the alcohol solution alight, engulfing the woman in flames.

After putting out the fire and bandaging the woman, the staff continued the operation. The woman suffered massive burns, however she delivered a healthy baby boy. Since then, the woman has had skin grafts to her buttocks and thighs, as well as plastic surgery.

A health ministry investigation found that both the surgeon and the nurse shared responsibility for the operating error. The medical center said that it had learned the lessons of the incident, and that it had offered the woman "optimal care until she recovered."

Health worries about mobile devices

The radiation that connects cell phones to towers may be hurting us more than we know.  

When achy legs are serious

Peripheral artery disease cuts off blood flow and can lead to a heart attack. 

The anatomy of identification

Eyeball Movement as a Means of Identifying People
An Israeli company called ID-U Biometrics thinks that the patterns of eyeball movement are unique to each individual, and are therefore a definitive means of identifying people:
In ID-U Biometrics’ system, the user has to watch a moving object onscreen, while the camera observes the motion of their eyes. Since the way our eyes move is based on a combination of factors –such as anatomy, physiology, behavioral characteristics, eye structure–it’s a signature that simply can’t be duplicated or forged, according to its developers.[...]
This approach differs radically from eye-related biometrics we’ve written about previously, such as iris scanning. Iris scanning systems rely on matching the image of your iris structure with a stored pattern of your iris. In contrast, the pattern the ID-U technology is based on consists of dynamic movements made by your eyes as they track a target, something that cannot be controlled or learned. “Most of the eye movement components are involuntary, and we are not aware of them at all,” says Palti-Wasserman.

Before it was the eye it was the ear ...

Ear Scanning as a Means of Identifying People
Mark Nixon, a professor at the University of Southampton (UK), believes that the unique shape of each person’s ears may provide a way of identifying dangerous people in airport security processes:
Professor Nixon and his team tested 252 images of different ears and found the system was able to match each ear to a separate image held in its database with 99 per cent accuracy.[...]
“Fingerprints are one of the best ways we have of identifying an individual at the moment,” said Professor Nixon. “But on some people, even they are not so effective. Bakers and brick layers tend not to have obvious fingerprints as the distinctive whirls rub off.
“It is harder to do that with your ears, but there is one thing that can get in the way of the ears and that is hair. In reality, I expect there won’t be a single approach, but in fact a combination of different biometrics that can be taken simultaneously to identify an individual.”


Einstein 1921
Einstein 1921

Math Definitions

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo pi

Speed of a tortoise breaking the sound barrier: Mach turtle

2,000 pounds of Chinese Soup: won ton

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling

2.4 miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League

Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer: 1 lite year

1 million microphones: 1 megaphone

1 million aches: 1 megahurtz

1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche

Half of a large intestine: 1 semi colon

Time between slipping on a banana peel and striking pavement: 1 bananosecond

1 billion piccolos: 1 gigolo

1 millionth mouthwash: 1 microscope

1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 fig Newton

1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: 1 knot-furlong

Shortest distance between two jokes: a straight line

First step of the first mile of a thousand mile journey: 1 Milwaukee

Believe it or not


Building on a San Francisco Hill

Photographer Håkan Dahlström snapped this picture in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. He tilted his camera so that the building would be appear to be tipping over instead of lying on a steep incline.

A House That Looks Like a Staircase

The architectural firm y+M designed this house in Japan. It’s two stories tall and one exterior side is a functional staircase:
To allow sunlight into the house, there are a number of glass slits in-between the steps on the south side.The glass slits not only make them feel liberating but also keep their privacy at the same time.[...]
The outside structure links the garden to the rooftop, and the inside of the house links a private porch/reception/lounge area to the bedrooms. The windows are designed and situated to allow in as much sunlight as possible, whilst retaining privacy.

Sixteen Visually Impressive Towers From Around The World


The old game of 'mine is bigger than yours' is played out throughout our lives, whether it be with siblings, neighbors, or work colleagues. Towers and skyscrapers are the instrument of choice when sovereign states want to show of their financial and engineering prowess. As a result some of the worlds tallest and most visually stunning structures are built.

Here are some of the most impressive of these 'trophy' towers from around the world.

Awesome Pictures

Anticrepuscular rays
For those unfamiliar with them, the explanation is here.

State Park Notice

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear encounters, the Montana Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, backpackers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears.
We advise outdoorsmen to wear noisy little bells on their clothing so that the bears are not startled unexpectedly by a human's presence. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.

It is also a good idea to watch for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear poop and grizzly bear poop. Black bear poop is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear poop smells like pepper and has little bells in it.

Mexico's Freeze Frame Falls

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico looks like a beautiful waterfall, but it’s not moving. Ice? No, this illusion is actually a rock formation, made of minerals left behind by dripping water. The white that makes it look like water is calcium carbonate, just one of many minerals that make up Hierve el Agua, which means “the water boils”.
Read about how this happened and see many more pictures at Kuriositas.

Timelapse Of Aurora Borealis Over Tromsø, Norway


Green 'fireball' UFO explained

A startling green sight in the Australian sky four years ago appears to have an explanation.  

Mind-blowing new star count

Previous star counts are dwarfed by the latest calculation of a mind-blowing 300 sextillion.  

Gold boat from the Broighter Hoard

The gold boat from the Broighter Hoard

The hoard was found near Lough Foyle in a field between Ballykelly and Limavady in County Londonderry. It was discovered by Thomas Nicholl and James Morrow while working as ploughmen for Joseph L. Gibson in February 1896. They found the hoard whilst double ploughing. That means that one plough would follow the other to gain extra depth. It was estimated that the finds were buried 14 inches (36 cm) deep and were in close proximity to each other.

The find was taken to the farm where Maggie (later Mrs Nicholl) washed the items in a sink. At that time they did not realise they were made from gold.  The hoard was eventually sold to the British Museum for six hundred pounds. It consisted of a miniature ship, complete with fittings and oars; two necklets, a bowl and a torc (or hollow collar).  The find was described as a lump of mud when initially shown. Moreover the boat had been so badly damaged by the plough that it took a goldsmith to later work out its structure...

The boat was measured at 7.25 inches (18.4 cm) by 3 inches (7.6 cm) and weighed 3 ounces (85 g). It had benches, rowlocks, two rows of nine oarsmen and a paddle for steering. It also included tools for grappling, three forks, a yardarm and a spear.
What boggles the mind is the delicacy of the work and the antiquity of the piece:  The material probably dates from the first century BCE.

Archaeology News

The seal on King Tut's tomb
Before it was broken by Howard Carter in 1922.

Cleopatra Not First Pharoah of Her Line
Queen Arsinoe II, an Olympian medalist, may have ruled Egypt 200 years before Cleopatra.  



Unusual life form discovered

A bacterium found in a California lake is unlike any other living thing on Earth.  

Australian man dies after snake bite at computer

A 43-year-old Gingin man has died from a tiger snake bite after he was bitten on the toe as he sat at his computer. Michael Thorpe was sitting at his home computer when he was bitten by a tiger snake, believed to be just 30cm long.

It is believed that Mr Thorpe's six-year-old daughter was in the house at the time and instead of seeking immediate medical help, he put his daughter's safety ahead of his. Mr Thorpe died shortly after arriving at Joondalup Health Campus.

Gingin Police Sergeant Scott Gillis warned that as the weather has warmed up snakes have become more active and can seek out shelter inside dwellings. Sergeant Gillis also warned of delaying treatment if bitten.

"That allowed the venom to spread more that he didn't seek medical attention straight away," Sgt Gillis said. There have been 77 people treated for snake bite already this spring in WA.

Most numerous creatures

Elephants and whales are huge, but they can't match the collective weight of one species. 

Inside ocean 'twilight zones'

Previously uncharted areas reveal an abundance of marine life once thought to be endangered.  

World's oldest living things

A lobster named George and a pine tree that predates Stonehenge redefine longevity.