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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.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
After all the good work you've done lately, asking for that raise, bonus or promotion should be a piece of cake.
You're confident that you're earned it, but as usual, you're feeling a bit on the humble side and wondering why they haven't yet offered it to you.
Well, remember that old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the grease?
It's true.
Step right up, tell your superiors that you deserve this, and do it in a startling, sudden fashion.
They'll admire your tenacity.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Espoo, Southern Finland, Finland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Toulouse, Midi-Pyrenees, France
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk, Russia
Delhi, Dlehi, India
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia

as well as Bulgaria, Israel, Austria, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Italy, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, Italy, 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 Yerington, Brockway, Gallatin, Gretna and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, December 17, the 351st day of 2010.
There are 14 days left in the year.
Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
Wright Brother's Day
Underdog Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


National Security Archive director on "Wikimania," and the dangers of demonizing WikiLeaks

Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, was among those who testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the aftermath of "Cablegate" and WikiLeaks. Blanton believes efforts to tighten secrecy and crack down on leakers and press will be "fundamentally self-defeating."
"There is more heat than light," Blanton stated, citing calls for broadening the Espionage Act and assassinating Wikileaks leader, Julian Assange. Hasty punitive reactions, he predicted, "will actually produce more leaks, more crackdowns, less accountable government, and diminished security." "History shows we end up doing more damage from the overreaction than from the original leak."

Chevron negotiated oil drilling contract with Iran

From the WikiLeaks File:

When you are confident that you're above the law, you don't care much about the law. If true, would this really surprise anyone?

The Guardian:
The US energy firm Chevron negotiated with Tehran about developing an Iraq-Iran cross-border oilfield in spite of tight US sanctions, according to the Iraqi prime minister in leaked diplomatic cables.

Nouri al-Maliki's claim, reported in the cables, that Chevron was in discussions with the Iranian government will raise eyebrows in Europe and other parts of the world where international companies have come under significant pressure from Washington to end investments and other financial dealings with Tehran.

Chevron declined to either confirm or deny that it had been in contact with Iran, and confined its reaction to a statement saying it had not done, and would not do, anything in violation of US law.

Cables show India accused of widespread, systematic torture in Kashmir

From the WikiLeaks File:

A new set of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks tonight is parsed by The Guardian, and includes revelations that:
US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees. Other cables show that as recently as 2007 American diplomats were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions. Other cables released tonight reveal that:
• The Dalai Lama has told US officials that combating climate change is more urgent than finding a political solution in Tibet, which "can wait five to 10 years".
• Rahul Gandhi, the crown prince of Indian politics, believes Hindu extremists pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants, according to the American ambassador to India.
• Five doctors were coerced by the Sri Lankan government to recant on casualty figures they gave to journalists in the last months of island's brutal civil war.

Winter Wonderland

Top remodeling trends for 2011

Instead of huge projects, owners will tackle smaller ones, such as zen-like bathrooms.  

Roadside ploy distracts drivers

Roadside cutouts meant to curtail speeders wind up distracting them.  

    The truth be told


    Economy's toll on Santa letters

    Many children sending wish lists to the North Pole this year aren't even asking for toys.  

      Gold-dispensing ATM debuts

      An upscale Florida mall gets the country's first touchscreen kiosk selling coins and bars.

      Jindal's sand berms to block oil were a $200 million waste of money

      A fiscal conservative, is he now?
      The big set of sand barriers erected by Louisiana's governor to protect the coastline at the height of the Gulf oil spill was criticized by staff with the presidential spill commission Thursday as a colossal, $200 million waste of BP's money so far.

      Hardly any oil ever reached the berms, government documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

      Gov. Bobby Jindal, who pushed the venture over the objections of scientists and federal agencies, has strongly defended it. And despite the commission's scathing report, he plans to move ahead with the project, though with some changes to make it more beneficial.

      Senators vote to ban earmarks - then grab them

      More than two dozen senators, most repugicans, who recently voted to ban homestate projects are claiming hundreds of earmarks in an almost $1.3 trillion bill to fund most federal programs and agencies into next fall.

      Artist Got Grant Money for "Invisible" Art

      What’s better than getting taxpayer-funded grant money for an art show? Getting that money for an invisible painting!
      Polish artist Agnieszka Kurant got the Arts Council England grant for a show that included "a painting that hasn’t been painted yet".
      Warsaw-based Kurant’s Snow Black exhibition also had "an invisible sculpture" and "a movie shot with no film in the camera".

      National lottery as deficit fix

      Although half of Americans participate in lotteries, a national system could be tough to pull off.

      The year of the deficits

      Politicians did a miserable job managing finances for states, cities, and the U.S. as a whole.  

        Car dealer's $119K tax bill

        Gary Barbera built a $100 mil business, but now owes $119K and wears an ankle bracelet.  

          Tax credit error hits millions

          More than 13 million Americans received too much money through a government tax credit, an audit finds.

            Steps to become debt-free

            These moves will help you avoid going overboard with your credit cards.

            On The Job

            Attaching a photo to your resumé could hurt your chances, especially if you're an attractive woman.  
            An analysis of 85 million LinkedIn online networking profiles shows what terms are fast becoming clichés.

            College jobs that pay off

            Handing out companies' free samples can put cash in your pocket and position you for a postgraduation gig.



              Faux News makes you stupid

              From the "We did not need a study to tell us that" Department:

              Study finds that watching Faux News makes you stupid.

              Bad Cops

              23-year veteran California deputy gets 30 years for child sex abuse

              Arresting officers told their buddy to "take a free shot at her" when she was handcuffed in the squad car

              Oregon corrections deputy charged with assault

              18-year veteran Louisiana deputy guilty of incest

              Wisconsin jail guard arrested, fired over bringing contraband to inmates

              New York jail guard is charged with rape and robbery

              New Jersey sheriff's officer charged in stalking

              Georgia police officer is charged with battery and third degree cruelty to children

              Farmer on mobility scooter shot trespassers by accident while aiming at fox

              A farmer unwittingly shot two suspected burglars who were allegedly targeting a cannabis factory, which he didn't know existed, on his property.

              Wizard of Id


              Odd travel moments in 2010

              From "enhanced pat-downs" to an outrageous flight attendant, it was quite a year.  

              Loaded gun slips past TSA

              Trashing the constitution and privacy is all worth it since the TSA continues to do such a spectacular job.

              Hell of a job, TSA:
              Last fall, as he had done hundreds of times, Iranian-American businessman Farid Seif passed through security at a Houston airport and boarded an international flight.

              He didn't realize he had forgotten to remove the loaded snub nose "baby" Glock pistol from his computer bag. But TSA officers never noticed as his bag glided along the belt and was x-rayed. When he got to his hotel after the three-hour flight, he was shocked to discover the gun traveled unnoticed from Houston.

              "It's just impossible to miss it, you know. I mean, this is not a small gun," Seif told ABC News. "How can you miss it? You cannot miss it."

              NYC air crash brought change

              Two planes collided above a busy neighborhood 50 years ago, killing 134 people.  

                Most startling photos of 2010

                Incredible shots of a 60-foot sinkhole and an enormous "goldfish" made for quite a sight in 2010.  

                Stunning amateur photos

                National Geographic drew thousands of submissions for its annual competition.

                  Awesome Pictures

                  Wacky Mailboxes From Around The World

                  When decorating their homes, sofa selection and curtain design aren't the only things people consider. In fact, it may be what's on the outside that tells the most about who lives inside. Whether it's a recycled computer or a golf-inspired receptacle, these nine creative mailboxes show off the owner's passion or favorite pastime.

                  Why Do Siblings Have Such Different Personalities?

                  Why do siblings – despite having much of the same genes and upbringing – grow up to be have such different personalities?
                  NPR’s Alix Spiegel explores:
                  Then in the 1980s, a researcher named Robert Plomin published a surprising paper in which he reviewed the three main ways psychologists had studied siblings: physical characteristics, intelligence and personality. According to Plomin, in two of these areas, siblings were really quite similar.
                  Physically, siblings tended to differ somewhat, but they were a lot more similar on average when compared to children picked at random from the population. That’s also true of cognitive abilities.
                  "The surprise," says Plomin, "is when you turn to personality."
                  Turns out that on tests that measure personality — stuff like how extroverted you are, how conscientious — siblings are practically like strangers.
                  "Children in the same family are more similar than children taken at random from the population," Plomin says, "but not much more."
                  In fact, in terms of personality, we are similar to our siblings only about 20 percent of the time. Given the fact that we share genes, homes, routines and parents, this makes no sense. What makes children in the same family so different?

                  Memories, or Lack Thereof

                  A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.

                  Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. 'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?' he asks.

                  'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?'


                  'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks.

                  'No, I can remember it.'

                  'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so's not to forget it?'

                  He says, 'I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.'

                  'I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?' she asks.

                  Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!'

                  Then he toddles into the kitchen.
                  After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment.

                  'Where's my toast ?'



                  Where The Wild Things Are


                  Truth about 'toxic' poinsettias

                  The poinsettia has a reputation of being lovely to look at but terribly toxic if tasted.  

                  Swedish med students perform autopsy on their professor

                  Medical students at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute set to perform their first-ever clinical autopsy were floored to discover that the corpse was none other than one of their former instructors.

                  Science News

                  A small, feathered raptor-like dinosaur thought to be 125 million years old has been discovered in eastern Utah, scientists announced Thursday.

                  The Denver Museum of Nature and Science wants your help to name the first mammoth fossil that was found near Snowmass Village.

                  Amelia Earhart may have lived as castaway

                  Bones and artifacts on a remote Pacific island may reveal the fate of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart.

                  'Weird life' researchers answer critics

                  Astrobiology researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon works with samples at California's Mono Lake.

                  Russia looks to enjoy Montana life

                  Montana livestock producers say they have shipped an "instant ranch" to the grasslands of southwestern Russia 'complete with cowboys, quarter-horses and 1,400 purebred beef cattle'.



                  Dear Sharks. Don't mess with drunk Serbs

                  Dragan Stevic of Serbia is the new Egyptian hero who killed a large shark which had previously terrorized numerous tourists (injured 4 and killed 1) at the famous Egyptian resort Sarm El Sheikh.

                  The Serbian hero was too drunk to remember what had happened, though one of his friends who witnessed the incident explained it all for the Belgrade based media.

                  “Dragan climbed on the jumping board, told me to hold his beer and simply ran to jump. There was no time for me to react or to try to stop him, he just went for it” says Milovan.

                  “Dragan jumped high and plunged down to the sea, but didn’t make as much splash as we thought he would”, explained Milovan.
                  The reason could be because Dragan Stevic ended up jumping straight on the shark which was lurking near the beach, probably looking for its next victim. Dragan had nailed it right in the head, killing it instantly.

                  Upping the cute factor


                  Can you explain this to me ...


                  It's Time to Protect Gray Wolves From Congress

                  Photo credit: Sierra Club
                  During this lame duck congressional session or in the next Congress, we are expecting a battle over the gray wolf and its listing as an endangered species.
                  Wolves are being unjustly blamed for killing too many elk in the western U.S. The numbers, however, don't support this. In Montana, Idaho and Wyoming elk numbers have actually increased 18 percent since wolf reintroduction.

                  Britain's ugliest dog finally finds a loving home

                  With his bug eyes, wildly crooked teeth and sparsely-whiskered chin, scrawny Ug sat for months, unclaimed and overlooked at an animal sanctuary. But now, after being dubbed Britain’s ugliest dog, the two-year-old’s less-than-enticing looks have landed him a loving home.

                  After seeing his profile picture on the the Mayflower animal sanctuary's website, café worker April Parker, 35, immediately fell in love with the partially-blind Pointer cross. The mother-of-two took her daughters Skye, 15, and Jasmine, 13, along to see him and, proving that looks aren’t everything, the family scooped him up and took him home.

                  Now Ug, re-named Doug by the Parkers, has a loving home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. He cost Ms Parker £200, but has proved to be worth every penny.

                  She said: 'When people see him they do a double take. He looks comical with his bug eyes and cross teeth and he's always bumping into things. But he has a fantastic temperament and is really loving.'

                  Animal Pictures

                  G'Day, Mate!