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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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're always the person everyone comes to when they need advice, sympathy or a couple of dollars to pay the electric bill.
Does that mean it's the only type of relationship you're capable of having?
Hardly -- so stop with the attitude.
Besides, a long-distance lover could be making plans to tiptoe subtly back into your life, even as we speak.
If you're game, make the first move -- the call and the invitation.
Just be sure they pay for the ticket -- just this once.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Trollhattan, Vastra Gotaland, Sweden
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Marrakesh, Marrakesh, Morocco
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain

as well as Malta, 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, Maldives, 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, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland and in cities across the United States such as Rochester, Lawrenceville, Seattle, Medford and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, January 25, the 25th day of 2011.
There are 340 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
A Room Of One's Own Day
National Speak Up and Succeed Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Random Photos


Easy ways to be a better person

Making a positive change in the world doesn't always require a tremendous amount of effort.  

Jesse Ventura sues over pat-downs

Jesse Ventura says the TSA and DHS have humiliated him with "unreasonable intrusions."  

Bad Cops

A police officer in Wisconsin has been charged with assault after allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face near Cloquet, Minn., according to Carlton County Sheriff's Office.

Culinary DeLites

The Cheesecake Factory's Grilled Shrimp & Bacon Club is equal to seven McDonald's burgers. 

Taco Bell's Tacos Not Beefy Enough

From the "Tell us something we didn't know" Department:

It will be known as the Great Taco Meat Law Suit of 2011: Alabama Law Firm Sues Taco Bell.
taco bell taco What's in a name? That's the question at the heart of a class action lawsuit Montgomery, Alabama law firm Beasley Allen filed targeting fast food giant Taco Bell. The lawsuit claims the company uses "false advertising" on its menu and in its advertisements.
"The complaint alleges that what Taco Bell calls "beef" doesn't meet the minimum requirements set by the USDA to be called "beef" or "seasoned ground beef" or anything of the kind.
"Rather than beef, these food items are actually made with a substance known as "taco meat filling," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Taco Bell should refer to its product as "taco meat filling" because it contains mostly "extenders" and other non-meat substances.
What are these substances? The document lists water, "Isolated Oat Product," wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate as well as beef and seasonings.
Well, at least the lettuce is actual lettuce.

Odds and Sods

Companies are coming up with even more unique ways to pitch you their products. They're even hitting the restroom.

Taiwan has been experimenting with a simple solution to the perennial problems of pollution, smell and excessive water use on pig farms: train the pigs to use a toilet.
Chicago Car Salesman Fired for Wearing Packers Tie

A car salesman in suburban Chicago has been fired for refusing to remove a Green Bay Packers tie that he wore to work the day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl.

'Crop circle' in Indonesian rice paddy

Thousands of curious onlookers are flocking to central Indonesia to look at a "crop circle" in a rice field following rumors it was formed by a UFO.

Scotland and England

The Dutch man accused of killing landscape architect Joanna Yeates will appear in court

The man accused of killing landscape architect Joanna Yeates is due to appear in court.

An Earthquake recorded in west of Scotland
A small earthquake has hit the west of Scotland, the British Geological Survey said.

The Venezuelan who 'knew too much'

By the time the White House designated him an international drug kingpin in May 2009, Walid Makled had risen comet-like from petty smuggler to port mogul and airline owner through the good graces of Venezuelan power brokers.

Protests in Egypt against Mubarak

The protesters aren't your typical coalition, but they found enough common ground to organize a "day of revolution." After the success of the protests in Tunisia, people in the region are feeling more confident about protesting against despots.
Egypt's authoritarian government is bracing itself for one of the biggest opposition demonstrations in recent years tomorrow, as thousands of protesters prepare to take to the streets demanding political reform.

An unlikely alliance of youth activists, political Islamists, industrial workers and hardcore football fans have pledged to join a nationwide "day of revolution" on a national holiday to celebrate the achievements of the police force.

With public sentiment against state security forces at an unprecedented level following a series of high-profile police brutality cases and the torture of anti-government activists, protest organizers are hoping that a large number of Egyptians will be emboldened to attend rallies, marches and flash mobs across the country in a sustained effort to force concessions from an increasingly unpopular ruling elite.

Non Sequitur


Domestic Terrorism

While we here did not ... the media mostly ignores Domestic Terrorism bomb found @ MLK Day parade.

Since it involved a radio controlled bomb set to kill black people during a celebration it is apparently OK.

Texas repugican Governor Perry used stimulus money to cover 97% of state deficit

Typical repugican hypocrite.
As you might have guessed, Perry had complained about the stimulus being a waste of money.
Perry also likes to trumpet that his state balanced its budget in 2009, while keeping billions in its rainy day fund.

But he couldn't have done that without a lot of help from ... guess where? Washington.

Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

House repugican wants to monitor what you are doing online

Wait, I thought the Teabaggers said it was the Democrats who were trampling on personal privacy, no? "Don't tread on me" ring a bell? Now that the election is over, it's back to the same old, same old repugicans.
A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users' activities for later review by police.

One focus will be on reviving a dormant proposal for data retention that would require companies to store Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for two years, CNET has learned.

Tomorrow's data retention hearing is juxtaposed against the recent trend to protect Internet users' privacy by storing less data. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission called for "limited retention" of user data on privacy grounds, and in the last 24 hours, both Mozilla and Google have announced do-not-track technology.



Car gets frozen in place

A New York man parks to watch football at a friend's but then can't leave after the game.

    Ferrari's mini station wagon

    The FF looks normal enough from the front, but it is a hatchback that seats four.  

      Awesome Pictures


      In Matters Of Health

      Sleeping alongside your pets can make you sick. It's rare, but it happens.
      That's why good hygiene means keeping Fluffy and Spot next to the bed, not on it, two experts in animal-human disease transmission say in a forthcoming paper.

      Dirtiest hotels in America

      Bedbugs, peeling paint, and cigarette burns land three lodges on top of a travel site's annual list.  

        Color-Changing Shirts Sniff Out Air Pollution

        What if detecting urban pollution was as easy as looking down at your neighbor's chest? It is, if your neighbor is wearing one of the high-tech sweatshirts designed by New York University grad students Sue Ngo and Nien Lam.

        The shirts, designed for a class on wearable technologies, feature internal organs that change colors depending on the levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.

        Amazing amateur photos

        An image capturing a jet's supersonic "vapor cone" is among a magazine's best reader submissions.  

          Images That Will Ruin Your Childhood


          Wealth's effects on kids' scores

          In poorer households, home environment has a big impact on test results, a study finds.  

            Get more from Social Security

            Your benefit checks could be 32 percent larger if you delay their start date.  

            Why IKEA Store is a Maze

            To Trap Shoppers ... Duh!
            Ever been lost in an IKEA store? It’s not your fault – turns out the store was actually designed like a maze.
            Elementary, my dear Watson: it’s so you shop more!
            The home furnishing chain’s mazy layouts are a psychological weapon to part shoppers from their cash, an expert in store design claims. The theory is that while following a zig-zag trail between displays of minimalist Swedish furniture, a disorientated Ikea customer feels ­compelled to pick up a few extra impulse purchases.
            According to Alan Penn, director of the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London, Ikea’s strategy is similar to that of out-of-town retail parks – keep customers inside for as long as they can.
            ‘In Ikea’s case, you have to follow a set path past what is effectively their catalogue in physical form, with furniture placed in different settings which is meant to show you how adaptable it is,’ he said. ‘By the time you get to the warehouse where you can actually buy the stool or whatever’s caught your eye, you’re so impressed by how cheap it is that you end up getting it.’

            Comparing US States with the Economies of Other Countries

            The Economist created a map of the United States that matches each state with a national economy of comparable size as measured by Gross Domestic Product in 2009. It’s interactive. So at the link, you can hover your cursor over each state and get more detailed information.

            Why gas cost so much in 1955

            A service station owner explains why gas is so expensive on a sign at his station.

            Before there was Pong ...

            Contrary to popular belief, the first video game wasn't Pong, but a computerized version of tic-tac-toe.  

              Ship Figureheads


              Check out this great piece from Dark Roasted Blend.
              Ship Figureheads: Symbols of the Sea


              Dark Roasted Blend has a wonderful piece on art.

              Iconic Photos

              Afghan girl
              (photo by Steve McCurry)

              Surprise visitor won't leave library

              The historic and distinguished Library of Congress building is a Capitol Hill landmark, and it attracts researchers from across the nation.

              But last week, it also attracted a surprise visitor that got in undetected and now refuses to leave.

              Lincoln document ruse

              The National Archives discovers that a presidential pardon dated in 1865 was actually altered. 


                A  paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or reinterpret the first part.

                It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.


                I  want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

                The last  thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on  the list.

                If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

                We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in  public.

                War does  not determine who is right — only who is left.

                I  asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work  that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

                Do not  argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

                Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

                The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening,’ and  then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

                To steal idea from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

                A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.

                How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it  takes a whole box to start a campfire?

                Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity,  they can train people to stand on the very edge of  the pool and throw them fish.

                A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.

                I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

                Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is  wet?

                Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

                A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad  memory.

                You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

                The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

                I  discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about  to be devoured by a great white shark or if a  piece of seaweed touches my foot.

                Some cause happiness wherever they go.. Others, whenever they go.

                There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

                I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.

                I always take life with a grain of salt… plus a slice of  lemon… and a shot of tequila.

                You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

                To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

                Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

                A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.

                Change is inevitable, except from a vending  machine.

                Symbols and nothing but symbols

                The site is called The Noun Project.
                The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way.
                It has more symbols than you can shake a stick at.
                Here are just a few of the 559 symbols that are available:
                Conspicuously absent is a symbol for a banjo.

                "Call It In The Air"

                When we participate in the flipping of a coin, the command given is to predict the outcome as “heads or tails.”  For centuries most American and British coins have featured a bust or profile of a head of state on one side of the coin (two-cent pieces, three-cent pieces, and shield nickels would be exceptions).  For the other side, the OED explains with  a citation from 1810 that it is called a tail “without respect to the figure upon it.”
                When the coin flipped comes from another country, however, the terminology may change.  When the kopeck above is flipped, the choice is “lattice or eagle.”  The figure on the obverse is a monogram of the ruler, but to the common people it was viewed as a lattice.

                Other countries offer other choices:
                For a Hungarian it is so obvious to call this game fej vagy írás, “head or script” that he would not believe if somebody told him that no other people says it exactly like this. The Germans say Kopf oder Zahl, the Spaniards and Italians Cara o cruz and Testa o croce, the Poles – just like Russians, and obviously after the same kopeiki – Orze? czy reszka, the Irishmen Head or harps, the Greeks (crown or script), and the ancient Latins Navia aut caput (ship or head [of Janus]), depending on the actual designs of their coins.

                Culturally Diverse


                The Kilo Is Losing Weight

                Attention scientists and drug dealers. 
                It's time to redefine the kilo.
                kilogram Scientists said Monday they were moving closer to coming up with a non-physical definition of the kilo after discovering the metal artifact used as the international standard had shed a little weight.
                Researchers caution there is still some way to go before their mission is complete, but if successful it would lead to the end of the useful life of the last manufactured object on which fundamental units of measure depend.
                At the moment, the international standard for the kilo -- the equivalent of around 2.2 pounds -- is a chunk of metal, under triple lock-and-key in France since 1889.
                But scientists became concerned about the cylinder of platinum and iridium housed at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sevres, near Paris, after discovering it had mysteriously lost a tiny amount of weight.
                Experts at the institute revealed in 2007 that the metal chunk is 50 micrograms -- 0.0000017 ounces -- lighter than the average of several dozen copies, meaning it had lost the equivalent of a small grain of sand.
                They are now searching for a non-physical way of defining the kilo, which would bring it in line with the six other base units that make up the International System of Units (SI).

                The Gilded Ancient Transylvanians

                A dozen identical bracelets shaped like snakes, made 2,000 years ago of pure gold and weighing over 2 pounds each, were discovered in an archaeological site in the Transylvanian area of Romania that was inhabited by the ancient Dacian people who were contemporaries of the Romans.

                There are no indications that they have ever been worn.
                They may have been offerings to the Dacians' only god, Zalmoxis. may explain why the hoard rested undisturbed for thousands of years.

                Block of Wood on Top of an Iceberg

                How Did It Get There?

                Photo: Jodie Smith
                Australia’s ABC News Onlin reporter Karen Barlow (Twitter @kjbar) went aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis on a journey to Antarctica when she came across this bit of oddity: a piece of wood sitting atop a floating iceberg.
                I’ve heard the Southern Ocean attracts a hardy individual but a block of wood on an iceberg is ridiculous.
                This lonely piece of timber was spotted on the top of a small berg at 66 degrees south, just north of Commonwealth Bay.
                Wildlife watchers near Aurora Australis’ bridge first thought it was a relaxing seal but it was soon apparent it was rectangular in shape.
                How it got to such a prominent position, instead of just floating around, is anyone’s guess.

                Scientists find that debris on certain Himalayan glaciers may prevent melting

                A new scientific study shows that debris coverage — — pebbles, rocks, and debris from surrounding mountains — — may be a missing link in the understanding of the decline of glaciers.

                Wizard of Id


                All About Dinosaurs


                A tiny cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex has been discovered in China with only a single claw on each upper limb.

                Dating sheds new light on dawn of the dinosaurs
                Careful dating of new dinosaur fossils and volcanic ash around them by researchers from UC Davis and UC Berkeley casts doubt on the idea that dinosaurs appeared and opportunistically replaced other animals. Instead — at least in one South American …

                Triceratops: Not quite dead yet
                Have faith, o ye lovers of Triceratops. For the battle over dinosaur taxonomic delineation has only just begun to rage.
                Last summer, many of you expressed dismay when a team of scientists at Montana's Museum of the Rockies published research suggesting that Triceratops were actually just juvenile Torosaus. In your sadness, ye cried out, and Andrew Farke of the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California, saw your suffering and took pity upon you.
                Farke reanalyzed the same set of fossils, and came to a different conclusion than the Museum of the Rockies team. The key was a skull that's long been classed as a third genera—called Nedoceratops hatcheri.
                [The Museum of the Rockies team] called Nedoceratops an intermediate stage between Triceratops and Torosaurus. But [Farke] concluded that Nedoceratops was a distinct genera. In PLoS ONE, he reports that for the three genera to be different growth stages of a single dinosaur, "would require cranial changes otherwise unknown" in horned dinosaurs.
                Who's right? Horned dinosaur fossils are common as fossils go, more research is in progress, and more debate is sure to follow.
                In other words: However this shakes out in the end, though, you will be pleased to know that the name Triceratops is safe. Now, New Scientist says that because Triceratops was named before either Torosaurus or Nedoceratops, it's the moniker that takes precedence. So, either Triceratops are their own dinosaur, and the name stays. Or, the three genera are one, and they're all Triceratops.

                How "Jurassic Park" got Velociraptors wrong
                The dinosaur called "Velociraptor" in the 1993 Jurassic Park movie was not actually a Velociraptor at all. They are much smaller, probably half the height of what you see in the film. If anything, that's a Deinonychus terrorizing everybody.
                Depending on your particular sphere of geekery, this is either shocking news, or something you heard years ago and are sick of people complaining about. I'm closer to the latter, and I'd always assumed that the error was a simple case of Hollywood wanting a more impressive-looking monster. Not so, according to a 2008 article by dino-blogger extraordinaire Brian Switek. I saw this piece in a discussion on Twitter this morning, and was genuinely surprised to learn that the great Velociraptor/Deinonychus switcheroo had its origins in taxonomic confusion—similar, in some ways, to the debate currently going on with Triceratops and Torosaurus.
                Discovered and described by Yale paleontologist John Ostrom in the 1960s, Deinonychus had a large sickle-claw on each foot, long arms with grasping hands, and a stiffened tail that would have helped the animal keep its balance as it ran after prey. The genus changed how people thought about dinosaurs, suggesting that they were much more active and dynamic than had been supposed previously.
                This new view of dinosaurs, in part, inspired the 1988 book Predatory Dinosaurs of the World by paleo-artist Gregory S. Paul. Not only was the volume chock-full of illustrations of feathered dinosaurs, but it also attempted to revise some dinosaur taxonomy. Paul noted the similarities between the skeletons of the Velociraptor from Mongolia and the Deinonychus skeletons from North America. They were so similar, in fact, that he decided to group the Deinonychus fossils under the name Velociraptor, as the older name took precedence according to the rules by which organisms are named.
                Paleontologists did not agree with this change--Velociraptor was kept distinct from Deinonychus--but Paul's book was a hit with the general public. And one of the people who read the book was author Michael Crichton.
                Finally, since this is a 'they got it wrong' post, it would be terribly remiss for me not to point out that, whether you're talking about Velociraptor or Deinonychus, a proper illustration should probably include feathers.

                Smithsonian Dinosaur Tracking blog: You say "Velociraptor", I say "Deinonychus"

                Researchers find smoking gun of world’s biggest extinction

                About 250 million years about 95 per cent of life was wiped out in the sea and 70 per cent on land.
                Researchers at the University of Calgary believe they have discovered evidence to support massive volcanic eruptions burnt significant volumes of coal, producing ash clouds that had broad impact on global oceans.

                Upping the cute factor




                Animal Pictures