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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 16, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You can feel it, can't you?
It's time to spend some money -- a lot of it.
Now, impulse shopping is the very last thing on earth your sign will ever be known for.
However, for the next day or so, instead of being a friend's 'designated Visa chaperone,' you may need to hire someone to play the part for you.
Careful, though: If you surrender your plastic to someone who's truly dedicated, you'll have to do some fancy talking to get it back.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia
Lublin, Lubelskie, Poland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Turku, Western Finland, Finland
Penang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands

as well as Bulgaria, Austria, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, India, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay,  Argentina, Vietnam, Egypt, Russia, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Morocco, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova  and in cities across the United States such as Fitchburg, Milford, Hixson, Killeen and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, December 16, the 350th day of 2010.
There are 15 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 

Barbie and Barney Backlash Day
National Chocolate-covered Anything Day
National Re-gifting Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Boy not searched by TSA because ‘you don’t have boobs,’ agent said

tsa breast pat down 300x190 Boy not searched by TSA because you dont have boobs, agent allegedly saidAfter watching his mother receive an enhanced pat down by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer, a 17-year-old boy was allegedly told that he would not be receiving similar treatment because he didn't "have boobs."
Adrienne Durso, a resident of California, was selected for an enhanced pat-down after walking through a metal detector at Albuquerque International Sunport airport ...

Sleek uniforms make soldiers ill

The sharp look was created by a top designer, but servicemen have wound up in the hospital.

    BP experienced similar blowout in Azerbaijan 18 months before Deepwater

    From the Wikileaks File:

    If a prosecutor is building a case against BP for the Gulf of Mexico disaster, this might be of interest. There's a pattern that is hard to miss.
    Striking resemblances between BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm 18 months beforehand have emerged from leaked US embassy cables.

    The cables reveal that some of BP's partners in the gas field were upset that the company was so secretive about the incident that it even allegedly withheld information from them. They also say that BP was lucky that it was able to evacuate its 212 workers safely after the incident, which resulted in two fields being shut and output being cut by at least 500,000 barrels a day with production disrupted for months.

    Other cables leaked tonight claim that the president of Azerbaijan accused BP of stealing $10bn of oil from his country and using "mild blackmail" to secure the rights to develop vast gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region.
    Also of note related to BP are serious allegations about stealing $10 billion of oil.

    Halliburton pays $250 million to have Cheney bribery charges dropped

    This doesn't sound suspicious at all. No, not in the least.
    Nigeria's anti-corruption police have dropped charges against Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, over a multi-million dollar bribery case after the energy firm Halliburton agreed to pay up to $250m (£161m) in fines.

    The move followed the intervention of ex-president George Bush Sr and former secretary of state James Baker, according to Nigerian press reports.

    The country's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it met officials representing Cheney and Halliburton in London last week after filing 16-count charges relating to the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in the conflict-ridden Niger delta.

    Faux emailed reporters to cast doubt on climate change

    Media Matters has the goods on Faux News, again.
    In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Faux News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

    The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Faux correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."

    This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term "public option" and instead use variations of "government option." That email echoed advice from a wingnut repugican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.

    Mexican toddler involved in jewelery heist

    An apparent jewelery heist in Mexico involving a young child has been captured on CCTV. In shop security footage a woman, who appeared to be the child's mother, distracted shop staff while the boy removed several items from display cabinets.

    The woman then told the employees that her car was illegally parked and the pair quickly left the shop in Oaxaca that specializes in silver products. Twenty minutes later, the clerks noticed over £250 worth of merchandise missing.

    Saleswoman Ana Lilia Hernandez said they did not suspect the woman and child until the store owner saw the theft on the store's security video. "After about 20 minutes, we realized that the piece (of jewelery) was missing, that it wasn't in the cabinet that we have in front which was open.

    "But we were never suspected the boy and the lady because the lady came with a boy who was a bit naughty but that was it, he was walking back and forth but we never suspected it was that customer," she said. The store owner reported the crime but police have yet to make an arrest in the case.

    Bad Cops

    Oregon cop who's been involved in expensive brutality settlements gets promoted

    Florida corrections officer sentenced to 9 years for killing inmate

    California cops made no attempt to speak with man holding water hose before shooting him dead

    Delaware taxpayers spend $875K to settle lawsuit over cop's murder of Marine

    Video seems to show UK police pulling man out of wheelchair in last week's protest

    No comment from Illinois cops over false arrest and battery lawsuit

    Texas deputy arrested in narcotics investigation

    Presumably fired Missouri deputy found guilty in plot with ex-wife to kill another woman

    Four Queens men sueNYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

    New low point for Congress

    Americans' overwhelming level of disapproval leaves lawmakers with very little room for error. 



    An $11 million Christmas tree

    A swanky hotel's latest extravagance could earn it a place in the record books.

    A Closer Look At The Christmas Tree Industry

    It wouldn't be Christmas for a lot of folks without the smell of pine in their homes. For others, evergreens mean allergies, high price tags, or a lot of set up effort, so they opt for artificial trees. Regardless of personal preference, it's a big time of the year for tree-tailers, so here's a closer look at the Christmas tree industry.

    Twist and Shout

    Twist and Shout…

    Ferris Bueller Sings ...

    Ten things that ruin parties

    If you're throwing a holiday bash, the food you serve and where you put it can spoil a good time.  

    Ten Unusual Eggnog-Flavored Foods

    image credit

    From candies and cookies to a savory roast, the smorgasbord of delicious foods available this time of year is hard to beat. But it's the signature combination of creamy cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg flavors that make eggnog one of the most indulgent of all.

    For those of you who can't get enough of it, you're in luck. There are all kinds of treats, from bubblegum to popcorn, that emulate eggnog's classic, creamy taste. Go ahead and try one of these eggnog edibles while you can.

    A Bacon Cheeseburger

    Bacon cheeseburger

    Random Photos


    Eight Christmas Foods That Should Be Forgotten

    You can probably guess that fruitcake will be on a list of not-so-welcome traditional Christmas foods. This list also covers figgy pudding, green bean casserole, and lutefisk.
    To make lutefisk you catch a cod, take out the bones, skin it, salt it, and hang it out to dry for several weeks until it hardens and smells like a dumpster. Then, bring it inside and soak it in lye for several days. (Yes, lye) Lye will turn cod into a gelatinous blob that slithers down your throat.
    Have you ever eaten lutefisk? Does anyone like it?

    Haggis-Flavored Potato Chips

    Great Scot International, a US importer of Scottish goods, plans to introduce Americans to haggis-flavored potato chips. Haggis, as you may recall, consists of sheep organs ground up and boiled inside a sheep’s stomach. This delicacy is available in the UK in potato chip form:
    Great Scot International announced this week it would have Mackie’s Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper chips on display at its booth at the annual Fancy Food Show in New York next month.
    “We know that flavors with a Scottish twist are popular because Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper is our best-selling flavor,” Kirstin Mackie, managing director of Mackie’s, said in a written statement.

    Non Sequitur


    On The Job

    Transition into one of these eight growth fields in as little as one year.  

    Cut deficit by stopping wars?

    From the "DUH!" Department:

    The defense budget is ripe for pruning, but cuts may not fit with the U.S.'s strategic aims.

      How moon could help deficit

      With rising debt, all kinds of privatization — even of the moon — are up for debate.

      Mortgage note request may have led to credit downgrade

      This is a very strange story that could be a lawsuit waiting to happen against Bank of America. If accurate, the mere request to Bank of America to know who actually owns the mortgage note has resulted in a hit to one customer's credit rating. This may be an isolated issue or it could be part of a larger practice of punishing any consumer who dares ask questions in this Wild West mortgage system. Click through to see the perfect payment history and more details of this bizarre case.


      Cheaters face steeper risks this year as the tax agency increases its audits by 11 percent.
      There are plenty of moves to get more deductions and decrease your tax bill before year's end.

      Biggest home energy wasters

      Small changes, like replacing air filters, could shave $700 a year from your bill.

        Best places to raise kids

        These little-known communities are tops for low living costs, safety, and schools.

          Amazing motorcycle trips

          It's not for everyone, but traveling on two wheels is a great way to explore these destinations.

            Eleven cozy cabin getaways

            Private lakeside cottages with resort amenities make it easy to enjoy a snowy landscape.  

            The Eiffel Tower at night (1900)

            Photographed during the Exposition by William Rau

            Ocean giant Alvin set for upgrade

            Alvin (WHOI) 
            The famous US manned deep-submersible Alvin is set for a major upgrade that will allow it to go to 6,500m, giving it access to 98% of the ocean floor.


            Lighthouse encased in ice

            Stunning footage captures a Lake Erie fixture near Cleveland turning into a life-size sculpture.  

            When Niagara Didn’t Fall

            Niagra fallsSomething you don’t see every day
            In June 1969, U.S. engineers diverted the flow of the Niagara River away from the American side of the falls for several months. Their plan was to remove the large amount of loose rock from the base of the waterfall, an idea which they eventually abandoned due to expense in November of that year. […]
            To achieve this the army had to build a 600ft dam across the Niagara River, which meant that 60,000 gallons of water that flowed ever second was diverted over the larger Horseshoe Falls which flow entirely on the Canadian side of the border.
            The dam itself consisted of 27,800 tons of rock, and on June 12, 1969, after flowing continuously for over 12,000 years, the American Falls stopped.

            Marie Antoinette was a blond

            Gold locket with the hair of Queen Marie Antoinette, British Museum

            Found: One 1600s French King's Embalmed Head

            http://news.discovery.com/history/2010/12/15/french-king-278x225.jpgA team of scientists say they have positively identified an embalmed head, presumed lost in the chaos of the French Revolution, as that of King Henri IV of France who was murdered by a catholic agitator 400 years ago in 1610.

            Awesome Pictures


            Solar blasts caught on video

            A new blast adds to an eye-opening string of flares, shock waves, and "solar tsunamis."

              Two-Million-Year-Old 'Mummy Trees' Reveal Harsh Climate

              The remains of a mummified forest that lived on Ellesmere Island in Canada some 2 to 8 million years ago, when the Arctic was cooling. The remains could offer clues to how today\'s Arctic will respond to global warming. Credit: Joel Barker, courtesy of Ohio State University.
              The remains of a mummified forest that lived on Ellesmere Island in Canada some 2 to 8 million years ago, when the Arctic was cooling. The remains could offer clues to how today's Arctic will respond to global warming.

              Life elements on meteorite

              New evidence supports the idea that some organic molecules may have originated in space.  

              Slag from Ancient Copper Mines Shows that the Earth's Magnetic Field Was Much Stronger 3,000 Years Ago

              The Earth’s magnetic field fluctuates in intensity. But until recently, most scientists thought that it wouldn’t change more than 16% in a century. Slag recovered from a 3,000-year old Egyptian copper mine indicates that the magnetic field could double in just 20 years. Ron Shaar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explained:
              Their measurements, plus theoretical models, showed that the magnetic field’s strength peaked around 3,000 years ago in the middle Egypt’s Iron Age.
              “We don’t have volcanic glass in Israel, but we do have slag,” Shaar said. When the ancient Egyptians (in what is now Israel) melted ore to produce copper, they created a lot of leftover molten rock that they threw immediately on a waste heap. The rock cooled quickly, preserving a signature of the magnetic field.[...]
              Back in the lab, the team melted and re-froze some of the slag in the presence of a known magnetic field, to make sure they could trust the rock to faithfully trap the field strength. Then they measured the field strength in the raw slag.
              They found that the magnetic field abruptly spiked twice during the 180 years they studied, once around 2,990 years ago and once around 2,900 years ago. Both times, the field jumped up in strength and then fell by at least 40 percent in the space of about 20 years.
              “These geomagnetic spikes are very different from what we see now or have seen before,” Shaar said



              The No-Fear Woman

              (And What Her Brain Reveals)
              brain scans

              Scientists study the brain and behavior of a woman known as "SM" who laughs when most people tremble. Read more 

              Vision and Illusion

              The structure of your individual brain has a lot to do with how you perceive optical illusions. Researchers at University College London asked subjects how they perceived illusions of size such as the one used in this video, and then measured the size of each subject’s visual cortex -the amount of brain matter devoted to processing vision.
              The researchers then took MRIs of the subjects’ brains. What they discovered astonished them – there was an almost perfect link between the size of somebody’s visual cortex was and how much the optical illusion affected them. The smaller the visual cortex, the more a person was taken in by the optical illusion. Those with the largest visual cortices were also those most able to see the circles’ true sizes.
              Read more, and see the different illusions used, at io9.

              Does Rubbing a Boo-Boo Really Make It Better?

              Q: Does rubbing a boo-boo really make it better?

              A: Yes! Pain signals are sent to the brain by special receptors, called nociceptors, which are sensitive enough to distinguish between a bruise and a scratch. If you rub or caress a wound, receptors for other types of sensations will start sending out their own signals -drowning out the pain signals of the nociceptors, like one voice getting lost in the crowd. The result? The pain lessens, and maybe even goes away. So let Mommy kiss that boo-boo!

              Q: Can swearing help?

              A:Yes again. There’s good scientific evidence to suggest that cursing like a sailor can numb your pain. In a recent study, participants were asked to hold their hand in icy water for as long as they could. They could either say the same neutral word over and over while their hand was in the water, or they could repeat a swear word of their choice. The people who cursed reportedly felt less pain, and they were able to keep their hand in the water longer. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes the phenomenon, but they’d swear by it.

              Q: Why do you stub the same toe twice?

              A: There’s more at work here than just bad luck. To understand why you stub the same toe twice, we need to look at the thalamus, the part of the brain that interprets pain signals. If the signals last for a while, the thalamus eventually starts to ignore them. This is called habituation. Unfortunately, when the thalamus starts to ignore pain, it also ends up ignoring other things, like where exactly a body part is in space. Not knowing exactly where your stubbed toe is can make you clumsy, and you can wind up hurting yourself again.

              How Teen Experiences Affect Your Brain for Life

              What new research reveals about the adolescent brain - from why kids bully to how the teen years shape the rest of your life.

              Can Alcohol Be Absorbed Through The Feet ?

              A Danish urban myth alleges that it is possible to get drunk by submerging one’s feet in alcohol.  Three physicians at Hillerød Hospital in Denmark tested this hypothesis on themselves in their office.
              The primary end point was the concentration of plasma ethanol… measured every 30 minutes for three hours while feet were submerged in a washing-up bowl containing the contents of three 700 mL bottles of vodka. The secondary outcome was self assessment of intoxication related symptoms (self confidence, urge to speak, and number of spontaneous hugs), scored on a scale of 0 to 10.
              They concluded that their feet were impermeable to alcohol.



              A wolf in sheep's clothing

              You've all heard it said many times before but I'll bet you've never actually seen it until now.

              Is Misty the world's oldest dog?

              We've all heard that a dog is a man's best friend. 
              Now, a man in Canada is convinced that his "best friend" is making history.

              Upping the cute factor