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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, January 28, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
If you have ever used the expression 'you've got to fake it 'til you make it', then you understand how attitude can make up for a lack of expertise or experience.
Work your mojo and you'll be able to cast a spell over anyone.
If you need to buy more time, ask for a favor or improve your chances in a competition, then turn on some genuine energy and you'll get what you need.
Stop worrying -- charm will help you bluff your way through even the worst hand.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
San Luis, Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya

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 North Tonawanda, Spearfish, Boise, Egg Harbor Township and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, January 28, the 28th day of 2011.
There are 337 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
There isn't one.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The Shawna Forde trial

Will the mainstream media even bother to notice?
There's another infamous shooting of a nine-year-old girl that is making headlines this week in Tucson.
This time, we wonder if the rest of the media will bother to cover it.
Brisenia Flores_0df9d.jpg
The little girl's name was Brisenia Flores. She lived near the border with her parents and sister outside the town of Arivaca, Arizona. On May 30 of 2009, a woman named Shawna Forde, who led an offshoot unit of Minutemen who ran armed border patrols for patriotic "fun". Forde's gang had decided to go "operational," which meant they concocted a scheme to raid drug smugglers and take their money and drugs and use it to finance a border race war and "start a revolution against the government". They targeted the Flores home, which had neither money nor drugs, based on dubious information. They convinced Flores to let them in by claiming to be law-enforcement officers seeking fugitives, then shot him point-blank in the head when he questioned them and wounded his wife, Gina Gonzalez. And then, while she pleaded for her life, they shot Brisenia in cold blood in the head. (Her sister, fortunately, was sleeping over at a friend's.)

Crooks and Liars has the rest.

Q&A on Egypt's demonstrations as Chaos engulfs Egypt

Dramatic protests could have serious implications for the current government — and the world.
Defending a security crackdown, Hosni Mubarak also calls on his government to dissolve.
WikiLeaks begins to release Egypt-related documents
As you might guess, police brutality is high on the list. The Guardian blog has regular updates on the documents. One interesting release includes alleged remarks by Mubarak about Bush being "naive, controlled by subordinates, and totally unprepared for dealing with post-Saddam Iraq." (Well, Mubarak was correct about the shrub, if he is correct about nothing else ... he was correct in that case).

ElBaradei calls for 'new regime' in Egypt

Yemeni protests continue
Few could have expected such a series of events a few months ago. Mubarak has not been popular for years though few had the courage to confront his regime. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has been vocal in the past and many expect that group to join the protests. Let's hope ElBaradei and the moderates win the day.
Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, will face escalating challenges on all fronts tomorrow, with Cairo expecting the biggest day yet of street protests and Mohamed ElBaradei, one of his fiercest critics, calling explicitly for a "new regime" on his return to Cairo.

Redoubling the sense of crisis for 82-year-old Mubarak, who has ruled for the past three decades, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most potent opposition force, said it was backing the latest call for demonstrations scheduled to follow Friday prayers.

ElBaradei, the former UN nuclear inspector who plans to join tomorrow's marches, arrived tonight at Cairo's airport to a media scrum and a heavy presence from the country's state security. He said he had come because "this is a critical time in the life of Egypt and I have come to participate with the Egyptian people".
In Yemen, where the US has been actively partnering with the government for deadly unmanned bombing raids, protests have also been growing. The US has chosen and supported a number of unpopular regimes throughout the region. This may only be a scare, but it may be much more. If nothing else, the US needs to make demands of greater freedom with its allies in the region.

The country has done what many experts once thought was impossible.  
But they didn't - they just hoped they did. But as always when someone tries to cut off communication - it gets out.
Nice photo essay on political bloggers in Egypt
Apparently the political blogosphere is quite developed in Egypt.

And some interesting observations about the events unfolding in Egypt today (all hell is basically breaking loose).

'Day of Anger' erupts in Egypt

Opposition leader ElBaradei under house arrest
It's the "Day of Anger" in Egypt and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. CNN is now reporting that opposition leader/Nobel Prize Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt yesterday and joined the protest, has now been placed under house arrest. A curfew is in effect -- and Mubarak, the target of the protests may speak soon.

CNN's Ben Wedeman and NBC's Richard Engel are reporting and tweeting (when possible) from Egypt.

From Reuters:
Dozens of people were wounded as police and demonstrators fought running street battles in Cairo on Friday in unprecedented protests against President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.

Security forces fired rubber bullets, teargas and water cannon at the crowds and baton charged them. The protesters hurled stones back and shouted "Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak."

Witnesses saw dozens of Egyptians bruised, bloodied and fainting. Al Jazeera television said at least one person was killed in a square in central Cairo, although the report could not be confirmed.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after Friday prayers in by far the biggest of four consecutive days of protests by people fed up with unemployment, poverty, corruption and the lack of freedom under Mubarak.
Al-Jazeera is providing live coverage here.
The Guardian Reports: 'Cairo in flames'

And now for something funny

A spot of humor after the previous posts ...
An Arab student sends the following e-mail to his dad:

Beloved Father,

Berlin is beautiful, the people are very friendly and I love being here.
But Dad, I'm a little embarrassed when I arrive at College in my solid gold Ferrari 599GTB, while all my teachers and fellow-students arrive by train.

Your son Nasser.

The father sends back this answer:

My Dear Son,
I have transferred 20.000.000 US $ to your account.
Please stop whining and buy yourself a train, just like the other students!

Repugicans being their usual selves

Screaming match erupts in Pa. House
Apparently the cozy feelings of bipartisanship from the president's State of the Union address didn't carry to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Wednesday.

Maine's teabagger Governor plans to use state employees for his reelection

Gerald Weinand at DirigoBlue has posted a really damning document from a top aide to Maine's new teabagger Governor, Paul LePage.

Sure sounds like the Governor's team is planning to use state workers -- and the staff of Olympia Snowe -- to build his political profile and work to elect repugicans.
Problem is, that's illegal.

Teabaggers, like LePage, are always trashing government.
But, it sounds like LePage's aide, Dan DeMerritt, actually thinks government employees exist for their political benefit.
How Tammany Hall of him.
Might have worked in 1911, but it won't in 2011:
I'd like to connect the week before Christmas with you and key staff. If you are not in town, we can hopefully get some of your staffs putting together some of the resources / information we are going to need to get rolling. Once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting repugicans re-elected.
These people are so dirty - the stench of corruption is overwhelming.
What a bunch of hypocrites.

Lush Dimbulb backlash grows

This is a good thing ... a very good thing, indeed.
Asian-American lawmakers demand an apology for the host's provocative on-air riff.
His 'comic genius' defense 
There is no defense. 

In The News

The bomb found at the Spokane, Washington MLK Day parade may have contained poison

There are reports of police massacres of civilians in Egypt

Online life helps kids learn social skills, boost self-esteem

Despite alarmist reports on cyberbullying, sexual misdeeds and real-life social isolation, the Internet is really an important training ground for adolescents to build their identities and learn crucial social skills that can strengthen their real-life relationships, according to a new review of the research to date.

Odds and Sods

Mayor wants to broadcast bird songs
It may sound like a bird-brained idea, but the mayor of a Mojave Desert city wants to brighten the streets by broadcasting recorded bird songs.

A judge in Beaumont has barred a woman from getting more tattoos or plastic surgery until she repays $15,000 to the government.

A Buddhist monk could face five years in prison after becoming the first casualty of a stringent anti-smoking law in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which vows to become the first smoke-free nation.

Culinary DeLites

In a taste test, Jacques Torres cocoa is called a "good mix of sweet and dark chocolate."  

The Colonel's Secret Recipe Revealed!

Julian Assange can rest easy – another closely-guarded secret has been unearthed, and this time it doesn’t look like it has his fingerprints on it.  And believe me, this one has fingerprints.  Greasy, finger-lickin’-good prints.
Internet Today has published the list of Colonel Sanders’ 11 secret herbs and spices, the recipe to KFC’s stranglehold on America’s fried chicken addiction.
Oh snap, it’s the biggest internet leak of all time! The KFC secret 11 herbs and spices recipe has been revealed! Now get out there and start making delicious fried chicken! But don’t forget your pressure fryer since that ingredient is probably more important than any of these.Oh snap, it’s the biggest internet leak of all time! The KFC secret 11 herbs and spices recipe has been revealed! Now get out there and start making delicious fried chicken! But don’t forget your pressure fryer since that ingredient is probably more important than any of these.

What not to buy at supermarkets

You'll save time by purchasing toiletries at the grocery store, but you’ll pay a premium.  

Non Sequitur


Tax documents not to miss

By law, employers and banks must put these statements in the mail by Jan. 31.

Eight credit card thieves

A waiter is one of eight types of people who could use the card in dangerous ways.  

Home sale snarled by 6-cent water bill

Mere pennies are holding up an Ohio home sale, frustrating a couple in their 70s who are trying to move on.

Contaminated town demolished

An Oklahoma town ravaged by lead is being demolished, but one store owner refuses to go.  

How China will create a mega-city

City planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta. The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales...

Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion)...

Twenty-nine rail lines, totalling 3,100 miles, will be added, cutting rail journeys around the urban area to a maximum of one hour between different city centres...

In the north, the area around Beijing and Tianjin, two of China's most important cities, is being ringed with a network of high-speed railways that will create a super-urban area known as the Bohai Economic Rim. Its population could be as high as 260 million...

As the process gathers pace, total investment in urban infrastructure over the next five years is expected to hit £685 billion, according to an estimate by the British Chamber of Commerce, with an additional £300 billion spend on high speed rail and £70 billion on urban transport.
 More at the Telegraph.

Ten cities with bad commutes

Commuting in one city will cost you an estimated $1,738 a year in wasted time and gas.  



How Ken is wooing Barbie

From the "You're just kidding us, right" Department:
Ken woos Barbie back in odd ad campaign
Mattel hopes to boost sales by rekindling the famous dolls' romance.  

Fun with trick photography

This snapshot appears to show a sunny day at the beach — but that's only half right. 

Frozen Bubbles

Photographer Tom Falconer creates and captures images of frozen bubbles. Goli Mohammed of Make interviewed Falconer and asked him how he does it:
For frozen bubbles I usually wait until it is (at the warmest) 10 below freezing (22 F) and even at that temp they will take a few minutes to freeze. Again it needs to be extremely calm, because you’ll need to blow the bubble then catch it on the wand or some kind of wet surface and wait for it to freeze. As it freezes the thick swirls in the bubble will stop moving, and little fingers of ice crystals will creep across the surface. They don’t freeze into something that will shatter, they tend to be somewhat rubbery and will eventually collapse on itself.

Race to drill hidden polar lake


With about 50m left to drill, time is running out for scientists drilling into a lake hidden deep below the Antarctic ice.

Will Climate Skeptics Change Their Tune When They Feel the Heat?

Why it is that skeptics continue to dismiss the increasingly compelling body of evidence -- collected by thousands of scientists -- that finds humans are causing the planet's climate to warm is the topic of endless conversation, most of it thankless. Is it a behavioral complex that preconditions certain people to refute factual analysis? Is it political ideology that impedes logic? Or, is it, as my commenters are fond of telling me, because they can see through those greedy scientists' grant-seeking agenda and the liberal warmist dogma hypocritically spread by Al Gore? Not likely. Instead, the latest research suggests that it's a matter of 'seeing is believing' -- or in this case, feeling the heat.



States' risky education move

Officials in Florida and Utah consider mandatory digital classes as a way to cut costs.  

Highest Student Stress Level in College in 25 Years

Psst, freshmen! Are you feeling stressed? You’re not alone: a survey revealed that this year’s incoming students are the most stressed in 25 years. The economy, it seems, is to blame:
“Students know their generation is likely to be less successful than their parents’, so they feel more pressure to succeed than in the past,” said Jason Ebbeling, director of residential education at Southern Oregon University. “These days, students worry that even with a college degree they won’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage, so even at 15 or 16 they’re thinking they’ll need to get into an M.B.A. program or Ph.D. program.”
Other findings in the survey underscore the degree to which the economy is weighing on college students.
“Paternal unemployment is at the highest level since we started measuring,” said John Pryor, director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at U.C.L.A.’s Higher Education Research Institute, which does the annual freshman survey. “More students are taking out loans. And we’re seeing the impact of not being able to get a summer job, and the importance of financial aid in choosing which college they’re going to attend.”
“We don’t know exactly why students’ emotional health is declining,” he said. “But it seems the economy could be a lot of it.”

Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea reduces daytime drowsiness

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea who undergo surgery to improve their breathing get a better night’s sleep and therefore are less drowsy during the day, according to a new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Protect against Alzheimer's

Sticking to a healthy weight preserves brain volume, which is linked to memory.  

Researchers discover root cause of blood vessel damage in diabetes

A key mechanism that appears to contribute to blood vessel damage in people with diabetes has been identified by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Blood vessel problems are a common diabetes complication.

Humans Would Beat Neanderthals in Marathon

It turns out Neanderthals may have had more brawn, but modern humans could run -- and run. Read more

Test shows dinosaurs survived mass extinction by 700,000 years

University of Alberta researchers determined that a fossilized dinosaur bone found in New Mexico confounds the long established paradigm that the age of dinosaurs ended between 65.5 and 66 million years ago.

Astronomical News

An international team of astronomers say they've glimpsed the earliest galaxy yet, a smudge of light from nearly 13.2 billion years ago - a time when the cosmos was a far lonelier place.

Mind-bending black holes

Researchers need to invent new physics to describe what happens inside mature black holes.  

Awesome Pictures


Bomb-detecting Plants

What if you could train plants for national security? A biologist at Colorado State University working with the Department of Defense is doing just that. Genetic engineering is making plants react to threats they never encountered in nature - for human benefit.
Picture this at an airport, perhaps in as soon as four years: A terrorist rolls through the sliding doors of a terminal with a bomb packed into his luggage (or his underwear). All of a sudden, the leafy, verdant gardenscape ringing the gates goes white as a sheet. That’s the proteins inside the plants telling authorities that they’ve picked up the chemical trace of the guy’s arsenal.
It only took a small engineering nudge to deputize a plant’s natural, evolutionary self-defense mechanisms for threat detection. “Plants can’t run and hide,” says June Medford, the biologist who’s spent the last seven years figuring out how to deputize plants for counterterrorism. “If a bug comes by, it has to respond to it. And it already has the infrastructure to respond.”
That would be the “receptor” proteins in its DNA, which respond naturally to threatening stimuli. If a bug chews on a leaf, for instance, the plant releases a series of chemical signals called terpenoids — “a cavalry call,” Medford says, that thickens the leaf cuticle in defense.
So far, plants have been produced that react to the presence of TNT, but other factors, such as light and movement, interfere with the process. Medford thinks a working plant is still three or four years away.

Ten Creepy Plants That Shouldn't Exist

The folks over at Cracked spend a lot of time pointing out horrors of nature that slither on the land and lurch through the sea.

But staying under the radar in nature's landscape of nightmares is the twisted carnival of things that grow out of the ground.



The 6 healthiest pets

Bet you can't guess which pet is #1?

How Did The Elephant Cross The Road?

Underneath It, By George!
http://www.wmur.com/2011/0128/26647683_240X180.jpgHow did the elephants cross the road?
They went underneath it.
Dusk had settled on Mount Kenya's forested slopes, and traffic had slowed to a trickle on the region's major highway.

Walk Like A Man

Video of a silverback gorilla walking upright like a man has become a smash hit on the internet.

A 500-pound gorilla named Ambam has become a sensation at a British animal park.

How The Seahorse Got Its Shape

See how the seahorse's curiously curved trunk, bent head and long snout help it to catch its dinner.
Seahorses evolved from straight-bodied swimmers like pipefish.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications shows why a straight body might become S-shaped.

Dog is wolf in jackal's clothing

Image of what is believed to be an African wolf (Image: Oxford University/WildCRU) DNA analysis has shown that the Egyptian jackal, previously believed to be a subspecies of the golden jackal, is actually a relative of the grey wolf.

Animal Pictures