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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, December 8, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You are entering a very inventive phase of life right now, and as soon as this morning begins, you will start to see things in a new way.
You've been looking at your normal routine from a fresh perspective for a while now, which is enabling you to think more creatively.
Try to think up new approaches that can replace old methods that just weren't cutting it.
So if self-improvement is one of your goals (and it should be), it is more attainable than ever.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Lons-Le-Saunier, Franche-Comte, France
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
London, England, United Kingdom
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
Daganzo De Arriba, Madrid, Spain
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

as well as Mexico, Peru, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Belgium, India, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Finland, Korea,  Argentina, Vietnam, Egypt, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Morocco, Chile, Honduras and in cities across the United States such as Long Beach, Dunedin, Iron River, Greer and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, December 8, the 342nd day of 2010.
There are 23 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

A turn of a phrase

The darkest hour is just before the dawn


There is hope, even in the worst of circumstances.


This is one of those improving proverbs that are the stock in trade of the contemporary glut of self-help manuals and talking therapies. The darkest hour has long been used figuratively to mean 'the lowest ebb' and there are many such examples of it in print dating from the late 1700s.
The English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller appears to be the first person to commit the notion that 'the darkest hour is just before the dawn' to print. His religious travelogue A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof, 1650, contains this view:
It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.
The source of the proverb isn't known. It may be Fuller himself, or he may have been recording a piece of folk wisdom. In 1858, much later than Fuller of course, Samuel Lover attributed the notion to the Irish, in Songs and Ballads:
There is a beautiful saying amongst the Irish peasantry to inspire hope under adverse circumstances:- "Remember," they say, "that the darkest hour of all. is the hour before day."





Bad Cops

Kentucky cop is charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault 3rd degree on a police officer, assault 4th degree

'Gladiator school': Shocking video shows prison guards stand by and watch as prisoner is beaten into a coma by inmate

California deputy charged in on-duty sexual assault of teen

"Jones said the use of force — breaking open her door and throwing a “flash bang” device past her niece’s head — was unnecessary, considering that the search warrant was for a cell phone used by her brother, who had moved out four months earlier and was in police custody"

South Carolina deputy arrested for domestic violence hired by another department

Father-in-law of disfigured Afghan teen arrested

The father-in-law of a young Afghan woman who said her nose and ears were sliced off to punish her for running away from her violent husband has been arrested, the Afghan Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

We're Number One


English-only rule challenged

Dozens of Filipino employees say they were the only ones being targeted by a hospital.  

    You can not suppress the truth

    Startup helps Wikileaks continue to receive donations
    With its access to donations and financial resources being taken down, Wikileaks has a startup to thank for continued support. Considering the founder, it's not a surprise: it's Flattr, created by Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay.
    Hackers take revenge against sites that banned Wikileaks
    The forces of 4Chan and Anonymous have combined to attack the websites several companies (PayPal, Swiss bank Postfinance, etc.) that booted Wikileaks earlier. You may recall these groups as being involved in the takedowns of several anti-piracy sites, earlier.

    We haven't posted much about the brouhaha over Wikileaks because we know the truth will always win out.

    Repugicans are Nazis by another name

    Even Hollywood knows repugicans are Nazis by another name.

    The truth be told


    It's Poll Time

    Are all religious conservatives completely stupid?
    Yes 84%
    Most Likely 16%
    No 0%
    Not Likely 0%

    Well, that answers that.

    We would have used 'wingnuts' in lieu of 'religious conservatives' but as this poll of the man on the street tells us ... no matter what you call them they are all viewed as idiots.



    Ozzy to Release New Book, Ask Dr. Ozzy

    Need some health advice? Have any questions about your sex life? Interested in knowing how Ozzy Osbourne managed to take as many drugs as he did, and live to tell about it? Check out Ozzy's new book, Ask Dr. Ozzy.

    John Lennon Legend Lives on 30 Years After Death

    John Lennon was killed 30 years ago today but he has left behind a distinct legacy.  

    Helter Skelter

    Paul McCartney

    Paul gives the thumbs up


    Major office party don'ts

    Your company's annual celebration isn't the time or place to let loose and speak your mind.  

    On The Job

    Earn as much as $87,000 a year without a master's or PhD in these growing fields.  

    Are depressed people too clean?

    In an effort to pinpoint potential triggers leading to inflammatory responses that eventually contribute to depression, researchers are taking a close look at the immune system of people living in today’s cleaner modern society.

    In Matters Of Health

    Neck or shoulder pain that comes and goes is easy to overlook but could be a sign. 

    New guidelines on food allergies

    The two most common tests only spot sensitivity, not whether you will have a reaction.  

      Diners may be willing to pay more to eat at ‘green’ restaurants

      Many U.S. restaurants may be ignoring a desire by American consumers to dine at environmentally friendly restaurants, according to a small exploratory study.
      Researchers found that more than 8 out of 10 restaurant patrons surveyed …

      Comeback of little luxuries

      Telling purchases hint that consumers may be going back to self-indulgence.  

        Gomez and Morticia

        Gomez and Morticia

        The 25 Greatest Internet Memes of 2010

        Ah, the memories of a year chock-full of useless and incomprehensible things to occupy your time. These are the internet memes of 2010, causing a laugh or two as they fly around the web. If by chance you’ve missed any of them, you can become familiar with all 25 before someone calls you out as a n00b. If you are familiar with them, it’s a chance to relive the greats, or maybe not-so-greats of the past year.

        The Comeback Story of the Octothorpe

        A tongue-in-cheek opinion piece in the National Post celebrates the return of the octothorpe. Some called it the pound sign, or a “capital 3″.
        The Big O is a sign with deep historical and cultural roots, part of our heritage. It didn’t deserve the neglect it suffered in recent times. It’s lived under many names: the hash, the crunch, the hex (that’s in Singapore), the flash, the grid. In some circles it’s called tic-tactoe, in others pig-pen. From a distance it looks like the sharp sign on a musical score. Whether you call it a pound sign or a number sign or anything else, it retains its identity. It’s so majestically simple that it always looks good, even if drawn by someone utterly without graphic talent. Good old #. It can’t go wrong.
        The octothorpe has enjoyed a resurgence thanks to its use on Twitter, but how much do you really know about this punctuation symbol? This article has the history of the octothorpe and several theories about how it got that name.

        Street Art


        A Small World

        Some Odd Coincidences
        Early in 1938 playwright A. J. Talbot published a one act comedy, 'Chez Boguskovsky,' in which a man named Boguskovsky steals a painting from the Louvre in Paris. On August 15, 1939, a painting was stolen from the Louvre. The name of the thief: Boguskovsky.

        The Perfect Crime Scene

        Pictured above is a map of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Most of it is within the borders of Wyoming, but northern and western slivers lie within Montana and Idaho. University of Michigan law professor Brian C. Kalt has written a paper about why the piece within Idaho is the perfect place to commit a crime. Dan Lewis summarizes:
        Let’s say you, heaven forbid, are charged with a crime. The Constitution itself (Article III, Section 2 for those who wish to look it up) requires that the “Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed.” Pretty straight forward. The 6th Amendment requires that the jury must be “of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Again, pretty clear. The only confusing part, unless you’re a lawyer, is probably the term “district.”
        The U.S. Federal Courts are divided into zones called “districts” which correlate almost perfectly with states themselves. Connecticut has one district: the District of Connecticut. New York has four, using ordinal directions, e.g. “Southern District of New York” which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, and six counties in the state. Wyoming has one, as well, which includes the entire state — and, in addition, the parts of Yellowstone National Park which are in Idaho and Montana. And that’s where the perfect crime scene appears.
        So that crime you’re charged with? Imagine you committed it in the part of Yellowstone which is actually in Idaho. Where would your jury come from? It would have to be from the state (Idaho) and district (the District of Wyoming) in which the crime was commited — in other words, from that same part of Yellowstone which is in Idaho. The population of that area?

        Seven Awe-Inspiring Aircraft Hangars

        The biggest rooms in the world are those built to store aircraft. Not only are they huge, but some have interesting stories to go with them. For example, the Arium hangar in Germany was built for the production and operation of a new aircraft called the CL160. However, the aircraft project was abandoned, leaving one of the biggest buildings on earth unused. It was reopened in 2004 with a topical resort inside!

        House Made of Shipping Pallets

        Architects Andreas Claus Schnetzer and Pils Gregor designed “Slumtube” — an affordable house built out of discarded shipping pallets and insulated with clay and straw. It’s designed to be comfortable in the widely-varying temperatures of Johannesburg, South Africa.

        Awesome Pictures


        Outcry over giant Noah's Ark

        A plan to build a real-life replica complete with animals puts Kentucky's governor in the hot seat.

        Invisible invasive species

        While Asian carp, gypsy moths and zebra mussels hog invasive-species headlines, many invisible invaders are altering ecosystems and flourishing outside of the limelight.

        For all those idiots that deny that global warming exists

        Global Warming means the Summers are hotter and the Winters are colder, not that everything is just plain hotter.



        The Barn

        A lawyer and two friends--a Rabbi, and a Hindu holy man--had car trouble in the countryside and asked to spend the night with a farmer.

        The farmer said, "There might be a problem. You see, I only have room for two to sleep in the house. So one of you must sleep in the barn."

        "No problem," chimed the Rabbi. "My people wandered in the desert for forty years. I am humble enough to sleep in the barn for one evening." With that he departed to the barn, and the others bedded down for the night.

        Moments later a knock was heard at the door; the farmer opened the door. There stood the Rabbi from the barn. "What's wrong?" asked the farmer. He replied, "I am grateful to you, but I just can't sleep in the barn. There is a pig in the barn, and my faith believes that is an unclean animal."

        His Hindu friend agrees to swap places with him. But a few minutes later the same scene reoccurs. There is a knock on the door. "What's wrong?" the farmer asks. The Hindu holy man replies, "I, too, am grateful for your helping us out, but there is a cow in the barn. In my country cows are considered sacred and I can't sleep on holy ground!"

        That left only the lawyer to make the change. He grumbled and complained, but went out to the barn. Moments later there was another knock on the farmer's door. Frustrated and tired, the farmer opens the door, and there stood the pig and the cow.

        Pre-Dinosaur Predator Found with Fangs Intact

        Pre-Dinosaur Predator Found with Fangs Intact
        Nicknamed "Wet Willi," the skull and fossils belong to a reptile that's often mistaken for a dinosaur.

        Mistletoe Could Vanish Within 20 Years. Then again, it could not.

        mistletoe in tree photo
        Image credit: designatednaphour, used under Creative Commons license.
        From the very rare Mexican walking fish to the most obnoxious bird in the world, there are so many species out there disappearing that it is easy to get a little numb to what we are losing. But news comes from the Guardian that one species many of us rely on at this time of year is likely to be much harder to come by within 20 years. Mistletoe, it seems, is going to be in short supply. The confusing thing is, however, that it is actually doing great right now—so what's up with that?
        Article continues: Mistletoe Could Vanish Within 20 Years. Then again, it could not.

        ‘Greener’ climate prediction shows plants slow warming

        A new NASA computer modeling effort has found that additional growth of plants and trees in a world with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would create a new negative feedback — a cooling effect — in the Earth’s c…

        Climate Change Threatens Archaeological Treasures

        Oetzi the Iceman
        Melting ice can help unlock ancient secrets, but warming temperatures could imperil many more historic sites.  

        Titanic Being Eaten by Destructive Bacteria

        Titanic rusticle
        A new bacterium isolated from the Titanic wreck is accelerating the wreck's disintegration into a pile of dust. 

        Sperm Whales Cleared Out After Gulf Oil Spill

        sperm whale
        Sperm whales showed good sense after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, acoustic surveys show. They left.  

        How Did Whales Evolve?

        Hundred of millions of years ago, sea creatures crawled up on land and started to become mammals. Then much later, a few went back into the sea, but left few fossils to show us how they did it -or at least that’s what we used to think.
        For more than a century, our knowledge of the whale fossil record was so sparse that no one could be certain what the ancestors of whales looked like. Now the tide has turned. In the space of just three decades, a flood of new fossils has filled in the gaps in our knowledge to turn the origin of whales into one of the best-documented examples of large-scale evolutionary change in the fossil record. These ancestral creatures were stranger than anyone ever expected. There was no straight-line march of terrestrial mammals leading up to fully aquatic whales, but an evolutionary riot of amphibious cetaceans that walked and swam along rivers, estuaries and the coasts of prehistoric Asia. As strange as modern whales are, their fossil predecessors were even stranger.
        These fossils raise almost as many questions as they answer. Read more at Smithsonian magazine.

        The Impressive Array Of Colors Found In Underwater Coral


        One of the most beautiful features of underwater coral lies in their impressive array of colors. Both the soft coral, that are akin to the trees and plants of the underwater world and the hard coral, that are part and parcel to the coral reefs are filled with life and bursting with color.

        Thriving Biosphere Found in Rocks Deep Underneath Seafloor

        bacteria under sea rocks photo
        Photo credit: M. McCarthy via University of California, Santa Cruz
        There's a reason for leaving "no stone unturned" when it comes to scientific exploration -- there's probably life underneath even the most unlikely rock. Even if that rock is well under the seafloor. Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, have found evidence for a biological community of living organisms camped out in porous rock deep underneath the seabed. The microbes are "chemoautotrophic," getting their energy from chemicals rather than sunlight or sunlight-dependent organisms. With a whole new-to-us biosphere that fixes carbon in a similar way that grasslands or forests fix carbon, the findings could change what we know about the ocean's carbon cycle,

        Enough with the tweeting

        Enough with the tweeting

        Abandoned white lion cubs being brought up by nurse

        Taking wobbly steps, these rare white lion cubs are lucky to be alive. Their young mother abandoned them just days after they were born at a wildlife reserve in South Africa. They were then transferred to an Animal Rehabilitation Center near the eastern coast. Here professional care is being provided to build up their strength and immunity. There they are fed by a nurse, who always wears a white sweater.

        "You will see Zane our vet nurse here, when she feeds them, she always wears a white sweater, a white fleece. The reason for that is their mother is obviously white and we want to integrate them with the mother again, bond them with the mother before we release them, but it's very important that they don't get too habituated to humans," said Johan Joubert, head veterinarian, Shamwari Game Reserve.

        They will be weaned off milk at 4 months of age when they will be returned to the reserve where they were born. They will have minimum human interaction so that they can successfully re-integrate with other white lions.

        "For a captive lion to survive in the wild is actually very difficult, because they don't have a strong instinct like a leopard to hunt, they very often lose that. The only chance we've got here to get it right, is to bond them with a wild lion, in this case we are going to take them back to the mother and we must get the bond built again amongst them, they must stay together when we release them and then the mother will teach them to hunt, so we are not going to teach them, the mother must teach them," said Shamwari Game Reserve's head veterinarian.

        Animal Pictures