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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.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Stop tapping and get moving.
When you're this restless, there's usually only one reason: There's something you know you need to do and you're unable to do it.
In this case, it may be that you want to make changes in your home, but they're so monumental that you're not sure you can handle them alone.
Well, get on the phone.
If you don't know a contractor personally, you'll at least be able find exactly what you want with a few calls.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Espoo, Southern Finland, Finland

as well as Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, 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, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Brookings, Reston, Seattle, Dundalk and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, December 26, the 360th day of 2010.
There are 5 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 25, 2010
THE PRESIDENT:  Merry Christmas, everybody.  Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours.
THE FIRST LADY:  This is one of our favorite times of year.  And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.
This is the “People’s House.”  So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.
This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls.  And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing – the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.
So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
THE PRESIDENT:  Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption.  A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.
Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.
That’s the message I delivered when I visited our troops in Afghanistan a few weeks ago – that while you may be serving far from home, every American supports you and your families.  We’re with you.  And I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen make up the finest fighting force in the history of the world.  Just like their predecessors, they do extraordinary things in service to their country.  What makes that all the more remarkable is that today’s military is an all-volunteer force – a force of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
THE FIRST LADY:  That’s right.  As First Lady, I’ve had the honor to meet members of our military and their families on bases and in communities all across the country.  I’ve gotten to know husbands and wives doing the parenting of two while their spouse is on another deployment…children trying their best in school but always wondering when mom or dad is coming home…patriots putting their lives on hold to help with a loved one’s recovery…or carry on the memory of a fallen hero.
When our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve, too.  And they’re proud and glad to do it.  But as long as that service keeps the rest of us safe, their sacrifice should also be our own.  Even heroes can use a hand, especially during the holidays.
THE PRESIDENT:  So we’re encouraging Americans to ask what you can do to support our troops and their families in this holiday season.  For some ideas on how to get started, just visit Serve.gov.
THE FIRST LADY:  You’ll see that you don’t need to be an expert in military life to give back to those who give so much to us.  There are countless ways to contribute by harnessing your unique talents.
If you live near a base, you can reach out through your local school or church.  If you don’t, you can volunteer with organizations that support military families.  And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what’s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying “thank you.”
THE PRESIDENT:   America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population.  But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden.  They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do.  They’ve been everything we’ve asked them to be.  And even as we speak, many are fighting halfway around the globe – in hopes that someday, our children and grandchildren won’t have to.
So let’s all remind them this holiday season that we’re thinking of them – and that America will forever be here for them, just as they’ve been there for us.
And on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha…
THE PRESIDENT:  and Bo…have a very Merry Christmas.
THE FIRST LADY:  and an even happier New Year.

How much more snow to expect

Literal Snow Man

Redditor keef2000 made a snow “man.”

Snowstorm blasts Northeast

Roads turned slick and thousands of airline, train, and bus holiday travelers are being stranded. 

Culinary DeLites

Korean food and macaroons are two foods that may be big in the new year.  

Ten places that will inspire you

Yosemite National Park's dramatic beauty helped launch the parks system.

A tour of the abandoned Paris Metro

Sleepycity has tons of photos of some old trains and abandoned Paris Metro stations and tunnels.
Old Paris Metro sign

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Widespread Panic


Queen with David Bowie
(Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert)

Under Pressure

Queen and David Bowie

Sprayed for Jordans

Police twice used pepper spray on shoppers at Town East Mall early Thursday as a crowd of 400-500 pushed for first access to limited pairs of Cool Grey 11, the new Air Jordan sneakers.

Spammers beware

Man takes his anti-spam fight to court
Spam has become so prevalent that Cisco has estimated that 90 percent of email sent is spam.

Most would love to see spammers get theirs, and Dan Balsam is no different, but he's doing something about it: he sues spammers.

Perp picks the wrong computer to steal: a hacker's

The worst decision a burglar can make is to steal the computer of a hacker, and then turn it on, without completely wiping it.

So begins the tale of Melvin Guzman-Rosa, who stole the Quicksilver G4 of hacker Zoz, and lived to regret it.

Man attempts 'armed' robbery with iPhone

Jerome Taylor, 20, donned a mask and entered the Northern Indian Restaurant in New London, Connecticut, brandishing what appeared to be a small handgun.

Instead of backing down, the restaurant's cooks grabbed knives, called 911, and prepared for a fight.

Moves to cut 2010 taxes

Get out your records and last year’s return for ways to cut your 2010 taxes.

The rich get richer as everyone else falls behind

Everyone knows the problem. But is anyone in Washington bothered enough to care and do something about it? Not likely. Both parties are much too interested in receiving a windfall from the richest of the rich for their campaigns to really be bothered. 

The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. That's up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004.

The widening gap came even as wealthy households' average net worth tumbled 27% -- to about $14 million -- between 2007 to 2009. That's the first time that they suffered a decline since the three-year period of 1992 to 1995.

Meanwhile, the average family's net worth plunged 41% -- to just $62,200 -- from 2007 to 2009, according to EPI's calculations.

DEA now a global intelligence organization

From the WikiLeaks File:

This isn't your father's DEA. How does an organization change like this in a system like ours?

NY Times:
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.

In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.

Banks and Wikileaks: "a troubling prospect"

A New York Times editorial today on the recent actions of Bank America, Visa, PayPal, and Mastercard to block payments to Wikileaks says the moves raise "troubling questions," given the fact that Wikileaks has not been charged or convicted of any crime:
What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was "too risky"? What if they decided -- one by one -- to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.



Military Vehicle Design Inspired by Batman Movie

British defense contractor BAE Systems unveiled a concept image for an unmanned armored vehicle that was inspired by the Batmobile as it appeared in the 2005 movie Batman Begins. Project leader Hisham Awad directly attributed the design to Batmobile:
While Awad was showing one of his team’s concept vehicles, the unmanned skirmisher known as Raider, another of the assembled journalists gave a low whistle.
‘I like that,’ he said. ‘Looks like the Batmobile.’
‘Ah!’ Awad replied, with a grin. ‘Glad you said that. That’s what we based it on.’
‘Yes, we liked the look of that, so we designed something similar.’
What, the Batmobile in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight?
‘Yes, that one. You see, it turns like a motorbike and it has the same wheel configuration.’

The Strangest Ways Christmas Has Been Used For Psychological Warfare

For decades, militaries have weaponized Christmas songs, symbols, and sentimentality for psychological warfare and propaganda purposes. Here are some bizarre tales about ersatz Christmas cards during World War II, controversial Christmas trees, and decking the halls in the Colombian jungle.

Automotive Acronyms

BMW - Big Money Waste

BUICK - Big Ugly Indestructible Compact Killer

CHEVROLET - Can Hear Every Valve Rattle On Long Extended Trips

CHEVY - Cheapest Heap Ever Visioned Yet

DODGE - Drips Oil Drops Grease Everywhere

FIAT - Fix It Again Tomorrow

FORD - Found On Road Dead

GM - Grinding Metalautousedcar_demon.gif

GMC - Gotta Mechanic Coming

HONDA - Hold On, Not Done Accelerating

JEEP - Just Enough Engine Power

KIA - Killed In Action

MAZDA - Made At Zoo by Demented Apes

MG - Mostly Garaged

OLDSMOBILE - Old Ladies Driving Slowly Making Others Behind Increasingly Late Everyday

PINTO - Powerful Incendiary, Neatly Toasts Occupants

PLYMOUTH - Please Let Your Mother Out from Under The Hood

PONTIAC - Poor Old Nebraskan, Thinks It's A Cadillac

PORSCHE - Piece Of Rusty Scrap, Cost Highly Expensive

SUBARU - Still Usable But All Rusty Underneath

TOYOTA - The One You Ought To Avoid

VW - Virtually Worthless

Santa's Rocket Ship

Santa’s Rocket Ship was one of five custom buses made with a Christmas theme. They were built by Lloyd Laster of Tyler, TX, who used them as advertising venues:
The vehicles traveled all over the southern and southwest parts of the country taking Holiday Shoppers on joy rides while making appearances at shopping centers and malls. Each of the Santa’s Rocket Ships traveled with a crew of five; a driver, two attendants, a hostess, and of course Santa Claus. Laster started in the 1950s with one Santa’s Rocket Ship and had gradually built up the fleet of five Christmas vehicles by the time he retired in 1974.
Laster sold the business to another man who continued to use the vehicles for several years before it ceased to be a profitable activity. So what happened to Santa’s spaceships? Tom Joslin of Jalopnik tracked down the one surviving bus at Mukluk Land, a small amusement park in Tok, Alaska.

Man burned while trying to clean lit fireplace with aerosol

Aerosol cleaners and fireplaces can make for a dangerous combination. A man was hospitalized on Thursday evening when flames shot out of his fireplace while he was trying to clean it.

The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Penrose St. Francis Health Center with second degree burns to his face after the incident, which happened at about 6:15 p.m. Colorado Springs fire Lt. Tom Ruane said the man was cleaning the still-lit natural gas fireplace with an aerosol cleaner when “a big fireball” shot out of the fireplace.

Three other people were inside the house on the 3500 block of Cowhand Drive, though no one else was hurt, he said. The fireball also did not cause any damage to the house. Ruane said fireplace accidents are not uncommon. “Some people would rather do the work themselves than have a cleaning technician do it,” said Lt. Tom Ruane.

Ruane, however, asked residents to be safe when taking on the tall task of cleaning a fireplace. He said residents should make sure the fireplace is off and feels cool to the touch. He added that it is better to wipe down a fireplace than use such chemicals.



Candy Diet

Hey kids! Ask your parents if you can try this: My Week of Eating Nothing But Candy.
While a month of eating nothing but candy seemed like an exciting feat, I assumed it would end in something less exciting: my death. So I thought a week of eating exclusively Christmas candy would be a great excuse to test my sugar endurance, and eat pounds and pounds of candy, which I love. Plus: probably no death. Bonus!
He used Excel to make a chart of three daily ratings:
candy chart
And he accidentally discovered a new weight loss method:
To see just how much destruction this week had done to my body, I had weighed myself before starting. Somehow, I lost four pounds. I believe this is because candy is the new miracle weight loss secret!You might argue that it is due to violent malnourishment. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

The Hidden Dangers of the Gym

gym infections mrsa staph photo
I'm not much of a fan of the gym. It's not that I don't like to sweat, but I'd prefer to do it outdoors, or at home atop my yoga mat. But for many of us it's the workout of choice especially in those places where access to nature just isn't as easy to come by. But what if the gym could make you sick? Really, really sick? According to a recent article in the Washington Post, antibiotic-resistant staph infections are looming in crowded locker rooms and on heavily utilized exercise equipment.
Article continues: The Hidden Dangers of the Gym: Grimmy and Downright Nasty

Pat Robertson: legalize maijuana

Wow. Now that's a surprise from an otherwise irrational batshit loon.
"We're locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they've got 10 years with mandatory sentences," Mr Robertson said on The 700 Club.

"I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing ... it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people," Robertson went on. "Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That's not a good thing."

The campaign for legalization, which boasts such figures as Willie Nelson among its most avid supporters, suffered a setback in November when a proposition on the ballot in California to legalize personal possession was turned down by voters.

Island's asthma mystery

Children here are three times as likely to be afflicted with the ailment than in the United States. 

Death spiral and the other top astronomy photos of the year

Bad Astronomy lists its top fourteen astronomy photos of the year, including this nearly unbelievable spiral pattern caused by a binary star.Death Spiral
The object, called AFGL 3068, is a binary star, two stars in an 800-year orbit around one another. One of them is a red giant, a star near the end of its life. It's blowing off massive amounts of dark dust, which is enveloping the pair and hiding them from view. But the system's spin is spraying the material out like a water sprinkler head, causing this giant and delicate spiral pattern on the sky. And by giant, I mean giant: the entire structure is about 3 trillion kilometers (about 2 trillion miles) across.

Philosoraptor says ...


Chemical Weapons Factory Now Rabbit Paradise

Between 1929 and 1945, Okunoshima Island was used by Japan as a site for producing chemical weapons. Now it’s a tourist attraction where people visit feral rabbits that began living there in 1971:
Today, the island is uninhabited, but the remains of the facility buildings, including gas containers and a power plant, are still there.
It is believed that rabbits were first taken to the island in 1971, after an elementary school in Takehara found it difficult to keep the animals at school. According to the Kyukamura Okunoshima resort hotel, most of the visitors to the island consisted of students on school study trips and senior tourists.
However, as the island became known as a rabbit habitat, the hotel began to receive more reservations from young women and families. The rabbits became popular for their adorable gesture asking for food.



Beautiful Jellyfish

This creature is called the Flower Hat Jellyfish.
The name alone draws a picture! It is found off the coasts of Japan, Argentina, and Brazil.
Its tentacles coil up when not in use, which makes them look like bouquets of flowers.
The Flower Hat Jellyfish is just one of 14 of the most beautiful jellyfish known to man in a list from Environmental Graffiti.

Fearless cat fends off bear

Watch this hungry intruder's reaction as a cat springs into action to protect its territory.  

New Species Thrive in Mekong

The Only Reptile To Still Rule the Lands


Imagine being looked in the face by a mighty prehistoric-looking beast – the words largest venomous living reptile on earth. A meat eating monster, growing up to impressive lengths of 10 feet long is the renowned giant - the Komodo dragon.

Animal Pictures

Why, Hello there.