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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, January 27, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your baloney detector will come in very handy early today -- there are some people who are pushing their own agendas a little too hard.
They're saying whatever it takes to get where they want to be, and there is little (if any) substance behind them.
You'll be able to spot them a mile away and adjust your trajectory accordingly.
As the day continues, you'll be back in your element again -- feeling comfortable in you own skin and eager to make real connections with people.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Kamen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Newcastle, Wales, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

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 Vesper, Jasper, Menlo Park, Kailua and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, January 27, the 27th day of 2011.
There are 338 days left in the year.


Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
Thomas Crapper Day.


Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Aren't you so tired of doing this ...

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... we know we are.

The United States of Awesome


Remember the United States of Shame, where each state was labeled with the statistic it was worst in?

Ilya Gerner figured that there should be a statistic that each state is best in, and made a map accordingly.

It's great to be from North Carolina - the state with the best value in a University.
Link to map.  
Link to explanation.

Random Celebrity Photo

Jayne
Jayne Mansfield

Awesome Pictures

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Violent protests rock Egypt

The violent demonstrations are an unprecedented challenge to the country's powerful ruler.
Also: 

Standoff footage sweeps Web

Footage of a protester's standoff adds to a wave of impassioned social-media posts. 
Also: 

Remember this Nursery Rhyme ...

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Bad Cops

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Massachusetts cop is arrested for stealing marijuana from police evidence room

Retired New Jersey police officer gets 3-year prison term for fatal hit-and-run

Curiously un-named Texas cop is arrested for videotaped pepper spraying of teen in jail

Tennessee police officer arrested for domestic assault

Texas police officer arrested on aggravated sexual assault charge has past complaints

Mississippi cop who was arrested last week on a misdemeanor assault charge is hit with second round of charges including two felonies

Mayoral hopeful Leland Yee gets racist death threats

Dimbulb's mindless drones strike again.

Mayoral candidate and state Sen. Leland Yee said racist death threats were faxed to his San Francisco and Sacramento offices.

Health care's Civil War link

Nullification, which set the stage for secession, is getting more attention from the law's opponents.  
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Non Sequitur

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Kismet

Zuckerberg's Facebook page hacked just as Facebook announces new security measures

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently saw his Facebook page hacked on Wednesday.
The page was taken down, but earlier on Wednesday had a rambling note which attracted a lot of likes and comments.

Sounds Like Somebody's Lining Their Pockets

Canada regulator OKs metered Internet billing

Smaller Canadian Internet service providers, who operate via networks owned by bigger telecom firms such as BCE Inc, will soon have to pass along the bulk of their host's charges for extra bandwidth use, the federal telecom regulator said on Tuesday.

The move limits the independent ISPs' ability to offer unlimited data plans, just months after Netflix (NFLX.O) opened for business in Canada, and gives greater pricing power to large carriers such as BCE's (BCE.TO) Bell unit and Telus (T.TO).

The new usage-based billing policy takes effect March 31. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave the smaller ISPs a 15 percent discount on the retail rates cable and telecom carriers charge their own customers, citing a balance between fostering competition and the incumbents' right to manage traffic on their networks.

"It a very big slap in the face," said Rocky Gaudrault, the chief executive of small ISP TekSavvy.

"We've just become a collection agency for the monopolies, with a 15 percent space to make the collections occur."

Bell, which forced the issue back in 2009, said the explosive growth in Internet traffic and the load it puts on networks -- thanks in part to video download services such as Netflix and Apple's iTunes (AAPL.O) -- mean flat-rate pricing was no longer viable.

Big Internet providers in Canada, which also include cable and media company Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO), have for some years charged their customers per-gigabyte fees for exceeding the limit of their monthly plans, which range from as little as 2 gigabytes up to 100.

The smaller ISPs often offer plans with 200 gigabyte ceilings, or even unlimited use.

Prior to the CRTC's decision the big telecom incumbents, who are mandated to lease their networks to small providers, were unable to pass along usage-based charges to their wholesale customers.

Pricing data submitted to the CRTC in 2009 showed that companies such as TekSavvy offer much cheaper service than Bell and Telus, with much more bandwidth.

"We're about to have a retail pricing regime implementing on our wholesale product," said Bill Sandiford, president of Telnet Communications and chairman of the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, which represents 23 independent ISPs.

Sandiford said CNOC was considered its legal options in light of the decision.

The CRTC ruling gives a solid framework to earlier decisions approving wholesale usage-based billing for Bell units in May and October last year.

In August, the CRTC said the big established companies must provide wholesale access to competitors using their networks at the same speed as they offer to their own customers but could charge a 10 percent mark-up. [ID:nN30191728] (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson)

MasterCard’s Support for Internet Censorship & Copyright Bill Threatens A Free And Open Internet

In the last months of 2010, the WikiLeaks wars reminded transparency activists of something copyright and trademark lawyers know all too well – online speech is only as strong as the many service providers on which it depends. All too often web hosts, domain name registrars and other service providers cave at the slightest legal or government pressure, with disastrous consequences for their users.

We had hoped that credit card and other financial services would resist efforts to pressure them to stop processing payments to controversial websites. So we were dismayed to hear that not only does MasterCard support the passage of the Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill ("COICA"), but that it also appears to be signaling a willingness to voluntarily stop processing payments made to sites that allegedly offer “pirated” or other copyrighted content.

Keep in mind that courts have ruled that credit card companies do not face liability for potentially infringing activities on site for which they merely process payments.

Of course, if COICA becomes law, the Justice Department would have the power to order MasterCard to stop processing payments to certain sites.

That's one reason we are worried about the effects of COICA: it offers a new process for shutting down websites deemed “bad sites” without appropriate safeguards to prevent the takedown of noninfringing content, including political and other speech. In effect, it enlists service providers as censors, necessarily hampering Internet commerce and innovation.

Any decision by Mastercard to stop processing payment voluntarily would be even more troubling. As the New York Times recently wrote in an editorial:

[A] bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

For example, MasterCard might decide to stop processing payments to popular hosting sites such as RapidShare, even though at least one court has ruled that RapidShare likely is not guilty of infringement. Given the importance of a consistent revenue streams to emerging companies, blocking payments might effectively mean putting them out of business.

The Internet only remains open, accessible and vibrant when the entire chain of providers operates together: financial transaction providers, service providers, hosting providers, content providers, and all of the other companies that keep sites online and accessible. We encourage MasterCard – along with all others who help provide availability and access on the Internet – to reverse course and choose to promote a thriving Internet by refusing to serve as private censors and standing up against COICA.

Mom jailed for school fraud

Kelley Williams-Bolar lied about her address so her girls could get a better education.  
Also: 

Google to hire thousands

Could be Paul "We're Number 2!" Ryan was wrong last night about America being a country in decline.

Man claims failure to 'urinate on demand' cost him his job

A former North Branford public works employee is suing the town for terminating his job after he was unable to take drug tests due to a medical condition that prevents him from being able to “urinate on demand.” Daniel Pond, who was a Public Works highway employee from 2002 until he was fired in 2009, filed the suit this month in New Haven Superior Court. He has another pending case against the town concerning a union grievance he filed in 2009 for being fired, and though decisions have been made in his favor by the state’s Department of Labor Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the town has appealed them twice, with the latest appeal being made this month.

The suit Pond filed this month says that Pond has never had “any sort of problem” with alcohol or drugs and that his medical issues came into play in February 2008 when he was required to take a drug test by urinating into a container. Court documents concerning his union grievance state that Pond was ordered to take the drug test in order to return to work after being out on worker’s compensation. He asked instead for a blood test because of his “medical disability” and informed the town of the issue, but his request was refused, the lawsuit says.


“The plaintiff suffers, and at all relevant times suffered, from documented medical disabilities, of which the defendant was fully aware, which make it virtually impossible for him to urinate on demand and severely limit his ability to urinate under any circumstances,” the suit reads. Despite drinking “very large quantities of fluids,” Pond was still unable to take the urine test, according to the suit. Because he couldn’t take the test, Pond was required to participate in a drug treatment program. In May 2009, Pond was again told to take a drug test by urinating into a container. After explaining his disability and asking instead for a blood test, his request was denied.

Pond then left the waiting room area to phone his wife to tell her about the situation. Court documents relating to Pond’s grievance say that if a person leaves the waiting area of a drug testing facility before taking a test, the facility is to cite the person for failing. In June 2009, Pond attended a pre-termination hearing where he was told that his second failure in May to take a drug test was considered a second violation of the town’s drug-free policy. Pond was fired days later. “The defendant terminated the plaintiff’s employment because of his alleged ‘failures’ of drug tests which in fact were solely because of his disability and the defendant’s refusal to accommodate same,” the lawsuit says. Pond is asking for a remedy of at least $15,000.

Taxes

More than half the cost of a loaf of bread comes from taxes on it ...  
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Are you missing out on this overlooked credit that can help you save for retirement?  
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Six expenses to never charge

There are some things you don't ever want to put on a credit card if you can't pay it off right away.
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Oldie but goodie


Pepsi ad

Eating Bad Food Linked to Depression

hamburger
Feeling blue? Clean up your diet, research suggests.   

How carbs help shed pounds

A diet packed with "resistant starch" is the little-known secret to getting and staying slim.  
Also: 

Ziggy

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Hitler's Bodyguard

More than 65 years after World War Two, Adolf Hitler's last surviving bodyguard says that he can no longer respond to the continuous deluge of fan mail he receives from around the world because of his advanced age.

Adolf Hitler’s last surviving bodyguard, Rochus Misch, announced that he is no longer able to respond to his voluminous fan mail.

Fan mail?
Rochus Misch is 93 and uses a walking frame to move around his apartment. He told the Berliner Kurier tabloid that, with most of the letters he receives asking for autographs, it was “no longer possible” to reply because of his age.
“They (letters) come from Korea, from Knoxville, Tennessee, from Finland and Iceland — and not one has a bad word to say,” said Misch, who is believed to be the last man alive to have seen Hitler and other top-ranking Nazis in the flesh.
Misch published his memoirs in 2008.  

Debate over college's value

Critics are questioning whether higher education has become too easy.  
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Woman Earns Master's Degree in Beatles Studies

Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy is the first recipient of a new graduate studies program at Liverpool Hope University that focuses on the work of The Beatles:
The launch of the unique MA in Beatles, Popular Music and Society was a world first when it took its first class. Zahalan-Kennedy was the first to accept her degree in person from the university.
The course looks at the studio sound and composition of the Beatles and how Liverpool helped to shape their music. The MA examines the significance of their music and how it helped to define identities, culture and society.
Mike Brocken, founder and leader of the Beatles MA at Liverpool Hope University, said the postgraduate degree makes Zahalan-Kennedy a member of a select group of popular music experts.
“Mary-Lu now joins an internationally recognized group of scholars of Popular Music Studies who are able to offer fresh and thought-provoking insights into the discipline of musicology.”
We'll just leave this here.

Ending Left Turns

UPS saved a lot of money by eliminating left turns from its delivery routes. Would this practice be effective on a larger scale? At Smithsonian, Sarah Zielinski writes:
UPS minimizes left turns for its delivery trucks to save on fuel. (And it works, as the Mythbusters demonstrated last year.) In the 1960s, the state of Michigan designed an intersection known as the “Michigan left” that prevents people driving on side streets from making left turns onto a multi-laned divided road; if they wish to go left, they’ll first have to go right and then make a U-turn. And superstreets, or restricted crossing U-turns, which are found in some other parts of the country, such as North Carolina, work in a similar way, preventing left turns. It’s never really caught on, though, since it seems to be a big inconvenience.
However, a new study from North Carolina State University says that superstreets are actually more efficient than traditional intersections. The researchers collected data from three superstreets in North Carolina that had traffic lights and looked at travel time for both right and left turns as well as passing straight through. They also examined collision data from 13 superstreet intersections in that state that didn’t have traffic lights.

The World Is Sinking

The excitement never ends: Dubai islands 'falling into the sea'
The islands were intended as the ultimate luxury possession, even for Dubai.
But The World, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal.
The islands were intended to be developed with tailor-made hotel complexes and luxury villas, and sold to millionaires. They are off the coast of Dubai and accessible by yacht or motor boat.
Now their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up, the British lawyer for a company bringing a case against the state-run developer, Nakheel, has told judges.
dubai world
Here's the official Web site for The World.

Did you know ...

An email warned women that aluminum in antiperspirants could lead to cancer.  
Also: 
The inventors of the playful plastic packing material envisioned filling a different need. 
Also: 

Chili fumes send four to hospital in Finland

The pungent smell of roasting chillies in an apartment building sent four people in the Finnish city of Espoo to the hospital on Monday with respiratory problems.

"Rescue workers had to use gas masks to get up to the top floors where the smell was coming from," rescue services spokesman Mika Maekelae said, saying the smokeless odor was akin to pepper spray.


The first rescue worker who entered the building had a bad coughing fit and trouble breathing, he added. Inside the apartment, rescue workers found an oven full of burnt whole chillies, which the occupant had forgotten.

The occupant and her child escaped the fumes onto their balcony, and did not need medical attention. The four people taken to the hospital were not seriously injured by the chili fumes, according to the rescue services.

Police investigate bizarre hospital trespassing case

While it's a crime so "out there" that even police are in disbelief, officers say it is very real. They say Stephen Mahnken, dressed as a doctor wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope, was wandering around Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston when he went inside a patient's room.

Mahnken was a veterinarian, but that license was stripped after serious allegations about drug abuse. The male patient was asleep and woke up to find a bandaged monkey hanging from the ceiling, a bandaged teddy bear, notes around the room about castration and cotton placed on his genitals.


"The guy had a big bag of ketchup with him," South Charleston Assistant Chief of Police Robert Houck says. "I don't know if he was going to play a joke, you know, put ketchup down there and make him think that something had happened." Mahnken, who's from Hurricane, first told police he was a physician's assistant, then he claimed it was a practical joke. Police say he was an acquaintance of the patient, but the patient had no idea why Mahnken would do the things he's accused of doing.

"Who knows what he could have done, compared to what he did," Houck says. Mahnken was also carrying X-rays of animals, and the stuffed animals are believed to have been stolen from other patients' rooms. Mahnken was charged with larceny, trespassing, battery and obstructing an officer because he lied to police.

Mexican Drug Dealers Go Medieval

Mexican drug smugglers catapult weed over border fence into US
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A remote video surveillance system captured drug smugglers using a catapult to launch packages of pot over the Mexico/US border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, US National Guard troops coordinated with Mexican authorities to halt the operation.

Video and story at local TV station KVOA, Tucson, Arizona.

Wizard of Id

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Science Psychedelia

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This mind-altering image is a model of a sunspot.
Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research produced this simulation by plugging the newest sunspot data into a 76-teraflop supercomputer. The image required nearly 2 billion data points to simulate the magnetism, temperature, and other features of a sunspot; it models the phenomenon down to a depth of nearly 4,000 miles.
That's just one of the pictures in Discover's collection of the Most Psychedelic Images in Science.

The Tree Of Life In Bahrain

 

The Tree of Life (Sharajat-al-Hayat) in Bahrain is a 400 year-old mesquite tree which lives in the middle of the desert. The mystery of the survival of the tree has made it a legend. A legend is also attached to the place where the tree is located. The local inhabitants believe with heart and soul that this was the actual location of the Garden of Eden.

The Tree of Life stands lonely in the heart of the desert, on top of a 25-foot-high sandy hill. It's a mystery where the tree gets its water. Scientist say that its roots go very deep and wide to get water from the reserves of sweet springs miles away.

Archaeology News

Ancestors Left Africa Earlier Than Thought
pointsArtifacts found in the Middle East suggest that humans left Africa 100,000 years ago.  





Great Pyramid May Hold Two Hidden Chambers
Great Pyramid of Giza
A 3-D simulation of the 4,500-year-old structure suggests an ancient secret lies beneath the desert sand.  


Nabokov's Theory on Butterflies Vindicated

Vladimir Nabokov was the curator of butterflies at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. The lifelong butterfly researcher posed a theory of butterfly evolution in 1945. He said butterflies came to the New World in five waves of migration, through Asia across the Bering Strait into Alaska and then southward through North and then South America (much as humans migrated). Other butterfly experts scoffed at the idea. Nabokov’s theory was not taken seriously until after his death in 1977. Then, in the past decade, gene-sequencing technology finds that Nabokov was right all along! A paper co-authored by Naomi Pierce of Harvard was presented to the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London on Tuesday that proclaimed Nabokov’s theory to be supported by genetic research.
There were several plausible hypotheses for how the butterflies might have evolved. They might have evolved in the Amazon, with the rising Andes fragmenting their populations. If that were true, the species would be closely related to one another.
But that is not what Dr. Pierce found. Instead, she and her colleagues found that the New World species shared a common ancestor that lived about 10 million years ago. But many New World species were more closely related to Old World butterflies than to their neighbors. Dr. Pierce and her colleagues concluded that five waves of butterflies came from Asia to the New World — just as Nabokov had speculated.
“By God, he got every one right,” Dr. Pierce said. “I couldn’t get over it — I was blown away.”
Dr. Pierce and her colleagues also investigated Nabokov’s idea that the butterflies had come over the Bering Strait. The land surrounding the strait was relatively warm 10 million years ago, and has been chilling steadily ever since. Dr. Pierce and her colleagues found that the first lineage of Polyommatus blues that made the journey could survive a temperature range that matched the Bering climate of 10 million years ago. The lineages that came later are more cold-hardy, each with a temperature range matching the falling temperatures.
In case you were wondering, yes, this is that Vladimir Nabokov. He is better known outside scientific circles as the proclaimed author of Lolita and other novels.

All About Dinosaurs


The fossil of a parrot-sized dinosaur with only one finger on each forelimb, presumably used to dig out ants, has been discovered in China, a Chinese research institute said.

T. Rex Is Still King

Tyrannosaurus rexNo shameless scavenger, T. rex was six tons of teeth, muscle and sinew -- a born hunter.  


Be afraid, be very afraid ...

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Ten Terrifying And Mysterious Creatures

Here are ten of the most terrifying and bizarre creatures to ever, allegedly, walk the Earth. These creatures defy logic, inspire the imagination and generate fear. They are the subject of numerous movies, documentaries, books and even songs.

Do these creatures really exist? Did they ever exist? Or are these merely hoaxes, or the result of over active imaginations? No matter what you believe, the members of this list are the stuff of nightmares, and if encountered, even the most hardened individual would tremble with fear.

"Microcosmos"



"A collection of images taken with scanning electron microscopes (SEM) has been pieced together by London-based science author, Brandon Broll, into a book titled Microcosmos."
Top: "a wood or heathland ant, Formica fusca, holding a microchip."
Bottom: "a clutch of unidentified butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant. These eggs have already hatched."

There are more images are in a gallery at The Telegraph.

Do dogs really need coats?

Normal dog body temperature runs 101 to 102 degrees — much higher than a human's.  
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Labrador retriever most popular dog

The American Kennel Club says the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in America for the 20th straight year.

Blind orangutans give birth to twins


A blind orangutan at a rescue center in western Indonesia has given birth to a healthy pair of twins.

Animal Pictures

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