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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, January 30, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Get ready to become a bigger part of your community -- either at work, in school or in your neighborhood.
You're about to assume a larger role, and this is something you've been waiting for (whether you realized it or not).
Step up and volunteer -- your ideas or your time.
Making an impact is very much required for you to get the respect and opportunities you deserve.
Keep in mind that the bigger your efforts, the bigger your impact.
Now is not the time to look for excuses.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Temuco, Araucania, Chile
Brisbane, Queensland. Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Athens, Attiki, Greece
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
San Luis, Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France
Pinneburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
Kamen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Johannesburg, Gautent, South Africa
Cario, Al Qahirah, Egypt

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 Plain City, Glen Flora, San Luis Obispo, Mesa and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, January 30, the 30th day of 2011.
There are 335 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
Inane Answering Machine Message Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


And I Quote


Egyptian army doing little to stop protests

Late  Saturday, it was still unclear whether the military was defying orders  to crack down or simply had not been issued them yet. But at least some  troops seemed to be sympathizing with the protesters. In the most  striking instance, four armored military vehicles moved at the front of a  crowd of thousands of protesters in a pitched battle against Egyptian  security police officers defending the Interior Ministry.

Protesters  there crouched behind armored trucks as they advanced on the police  line surrounding the building, then darted forward to hurl rocks or  Molotov cocktails and to set abandoned cars on fire.
Everywhere  in Cairo, soldiers and protesters hugged or snapped pictures together  on top of tanks. With the evident consent of the soldiers, protesters  had scrawled graffiti denouncing Mr. Mubarak on many of the tanks in  downtown Cairo. “This is the revolution of all the people,” read a  common slogan. “No, No, Mubarak” was another. In Alexandria,  demonstrators took tea to troops.

The loyalty of the military —  the country’s most popular and respected institution — will be crucial  to determining whether Mr. Mubarak can remain as the president of his  country, a leader in the Arab world and perhaps America and Israel’s  closest ally in the region. A change in leadership here would threaten  to upend the established order throughout the Middle East.

Actually the army intervenes to protect protesters from the police ...

Things are getting rough in Egypt.

Protests continue in Egypt as officials close Al-Jazeera bureau in Cairo

The uprising continues in Egypt today. Al Jazeera is reporting "breaking news" that "Jet fighters and military helicopters fly low over Cairo as more army trucks appear in central Tahrir square."

And, a recent report:
Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square are standing their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them.

The show of defiance came as Egypt entered another turbulent day following a night of deadly unrest, when looters roamed the streets in the absence of police.

There were also reports of several prisons across the country being attacked and of fresh protests being staged in cities like Alexandria and Suez.
And, Egyptian officals have shut down the internet, cell phones...now, they're going after Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera has been providing excellent coverage of the uprising in Egypt. Apparently, for Egyptian officials, it was too much. Earlier today, Egyptian officials closed the network's Cairo bureau.

From the live blog of events in Egypt:
11:40 am: Al Jazeera issues a statement denouncing the closure of its bureau in Cairo.
"The Al Jazeera Network strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The Network received notification from the Egyptian authorities this morning.

Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said that they would continue their strong coverage regardless:

"Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.

"Al Jazeera assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events unfolding in Egypt. Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparalleled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt."

Sun Yat-sen's granddaughter dies in Taiwan

Nora Sun, a former U.S. trade consul and granddaughter of the founder of Asia's first republic in China, has died in Taipei from injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 72.
Taiwan's government-owned Central News Agency reported that Sun died Saturday, quoting Shin Kong Memorial Hospital Superintendent Hou Sheng-mou. Hou could not be reached for comment Sunday, but another hospital official confirmed Sun's death.
That official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the press.
Sun is the granddaughter of Sun Yat-sen, who led a revolution to topple China's Qing dynasty and establish the Republic of China.
Sun Yat-sen's efforts were followed decades later by a bloody civil war between his follower Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong's communist forces. Chiang's Nationalists resettled in Taiwan in 1949 following their defeat.
Nora Sun was born in Shanghai in 1938, spent her youth in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and moved to the U.S. in 1962.
She began a career in the U.S. diplomatic service in the late 1980s, serving as a U.S. trade consul at different times in Ghougzhou, Shanghai and Paris. She quit her diplomatic career in 1994 to start her own trade company in Hong Kong, helping U.S. and European companies invest in China.
In recent years, she split her time between Shanghai, Hong Kong and the U.S.
She was in Taiwan for the centennial celebrations of the 1911 Chinese revolution led by her grandfather when she was involved in the Jan. 1 car accident.
She is survived by three sons.

Awesome Pictures


Are the Mob scavenging used refrigerators ??

Over the last several months, 22,741 New Yorkers contacted the city’s Department of Sanitation and arranged for the pickup of refrigerators, air-conditioners and freezers. In more than 11,000 instances, the machines vanished before sanitation workers arrived in their white trucks to pick them up...

Deepening the mystery, these were neither the latest Sub Zero behemoths, sleek Bosch nor stylish retro Smeg refrigerators. They were garbage, quite literally — discarded appliances left at the curb for pickup by the Sanitation Department...

Behind those losses, some in the industry — by some accounts an $85 billion annual business in 2008 — see the hand of organized crime, although no one can point to hard evidence. New York’s enduring and resourceful mob families have long played a role in both the recycling and scrap industries and have a knack for turning up where the money is.
The rest of the story is at the New York Times.

Forty Train Robbers vs. 1 Gurkha

Gurkhas, the Nepalese elite soldiers in the service of Britain and some of its former colonies, sometimes fight with their traditional kukri knives (pictured). One retired Gurkha was carrying his knife when a train in India that he was riding was robbed by forty men. The robbers unwisely chose to not immediately surrender. The ex-soldier then killed three, wounded eight, and drove off the rest:
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha– who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting–was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.
“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
The poor train robbers never stood a chance.

Mom Brought Kids On Armed Robbery Trip

A Georgia woman, her teenage son and two other teens were arrested Friday after robbing a bank together, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Illegal farting law causes big stink

Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country. The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders 'who foul the air' in a bid to 'mold responsible and disciplined citizens.'

But locals fear that pinning responsibility on the crime will be difficult - and may lead to miscarriages of justice as 'criminals' attempt to blame others for their offense. One Malawian told the website Africanews.com: 'My goodness. What happens in a public place where a group is gathered. Do they lock up half a minibus?

'And how about at meetings where it is difficult to pinpoint 'culprits'? Children will openly deny having passed bad air and point at an elder. Culturally, this is very embarrassing,' she said.

Another said: 'We have serious issues affecting Malawians today. I do not know how fouling the air should take priority over regulating Chinese investments which do not employ locals, serious graft amongst legislators, especially those in the ruling party, and many more.' The crime will be enforceable in a new 'Local Court' system which will also have powers to punish a range of other crimes in the bill set to be debated in the country's parliament.

Fire Chief Ticketed While Aiding Injured Woman

Fire Chief James Allen is used to saving lives.  What he isn’t used to is being ticketed by state police while trying to be of aid in an emergency. James  received a  ticket on Wednesday for blocking the right lane of traffic.  He was in his department vehicle and was responding to a serious accident.
“He stopped me from going to take care of the patient and asked me for license and registration,” Allen told PIX 11 News. ” I immediately gave him my license out of my pocket went and took care of the patient.”
The woman in this car was seriously injured. Her vehicle was in the center lane of the parkway, the same lane the trooper stopped in.

Climber Survives 1,000-Foot Fall

A mountain climber in Scotland fell a thousand feet down a nearly vertical slope on a mountain called Sgurr Choinnich Mor. When a Royal Navy rescue helicopter arrived on the scene, its crew found him alive and well:
Lieutenant Tim Barker, the crew’s observer, said: ”We began to hover-taxi down the slope and spotted a man at the bottom, standing up.
”We honestly thought it couldn’t have been him, as he was on his feet, reading a map. Above him was a series of three high craggy outcrops.
”It seemed impossible. So we retraced our path back up the mountain and, sure enough, there were bits of his kit in a vertical line all the way up where he had obviously lost them during the fall.
”It was quite incredible. He must have literally glanced off the outcrops as he fell, almost flying.”

Sluggo Has Nothing

The very first word out of Nancy's mouth is a typo. 
It should either be hay or hi
As a result, Nancy #161 is worth about $350,000.

Flight canceled?

Get free stuff
If your flight is canceled, here's how to get a cot, food, a shower, and the next plane out. 

How To Get Relatives To Leave

Give them this bed to sleep in.

Table, wine turn up on now-famous Miami sandbar

First, a baby grand piano mysteriously showed up on a Miami sandbar. A day after it was removed, a small table with two chairs, place settings, a bottle of wine and a chef statue appeared on the now-famous strip of sand.

Haw Par Villa

An Unusual Singapore Theme Park

In 1937 two brothers from Singapore had a dream - they wanted to help people to learn, remember and pass on traditional Chinese values as expressed through myth, legend and the tenets of Confucianism.

They already had a small venue - the Tiger Balm - but wanted to broaden the appeal to a wider audience. So was born the idea of extending the place to incorporate a garden - Haw Par Villa - in which Chinese legends would come to life.

Revolver Fires 28 Gauge Shotgun Shells

Brazilian armsmaker Taurus caused a stir when it released “The Judge” — a revolver that fires shotguns shells in addition to handgun cartridges. The Judge shoots .410 gauge shells as well as .45 Long Colt cartridges. “The Raging Judge”, pictured above, goes even further in this approach, firing the much larger 28 gauge shell.

Beowulf Socks Are Written in Anglo-Saxon

These socks by The Sanguin Gryphon contain untranslated passages of the 8th Century poem Beowulf:
Thus begins the immortal tale of the hero Beowulf, the bard summoning the attention of his audience. And so begin these socks, which give the text of the first page of the surviving manuscript, a copy dating to around 1000 CE. The writing flows from one sock to the other, so that you may read it uninterrupted.

Iconic outfit's mysterious fate

The iconic suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day her husband was assassinated isn't in a new exhibit. 

Lichtenstein Castle

Historically there has been a castle on the site since around 1200. It was twice destroyed, once in the Reichskriegs war of 1311 and again by the city-state of Reutlingen in 1381... The romantic Neo-Gothic design of the [current] castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff [in 1840-42].

Town Fountain

OK, Clown Town

Modern homes are firetraps?

A Canadian wire-service article claims that modern composite materials used in house construction drastically accelerates the pace of house-fires when compared with traditional solid wood and other materials.
What that means for firefighters is the amount of time they can safely be inside a house on fire has dropped from about 17 minutes to three minutes or less. That's when flashover happens -- the moment when a room or building is fully engulfed in flames...
[Ottawa Fire spokesman Marc Messier] said unlike 30 years ago, when homes, furniture and appliances were made of solid wood and steel, modern day versions are made with glue, plastics and synthetic materials.
Such synthetics not only burn faster but produce carcinogenic emissions as they burn.
"One of the biggest examples is floor joists," said Messier, who himself dabbles in home renovations.
"They used to be 2x8s and 2x10s, and now we're looking at composite materials which for the most part are made of wood particles, mixed in with glue. They're cheaper, which is probably why the industry is using these products."

Best cars for your money

As carmakers shift to offering better value, some surprising top vehicles emerge.  

Moving where taxes are low

One couple estimates they've saved $15,000 a year by moving from New Jersey to New Hampshire.

Options for your tax refund

You can now have the money that Uncle Sam owes you sent to several accounts.  

Lower the Thermostat to Lower 60s, Lose Weight!

thermostat photo
Photo: Flickr/C Jill Reed
Super-sized meals and sedentary living don't seem to be the only contributing fat-factors present in American and UK lifestyles. New research published in the journal Obesity Reviews points to a link in increasing average indoor temperatures over the last several decades-- and similarly rising rates of obesity.

Frankly put by TIME:
Keeping your house too balmy may be making you fat.

Ten ways to trick yourself into working out

10 ways to trick yourself into working out

From plotting out a reward system to channeling the glorious post-workout feeling, motivate yourself to keep on sweating with one of these surefire methods.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Brain

10 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain

Five Things You Must Know About Sleep

5 Things You Must Know About Sleep

Just Some Of Life's Little Mysteries

Bacteria-Killing Swabs Recalled Over Bacterial Contamination

How can something that is used to kill bacteria harbor life-threatening bacteria ...

Do Antidepressants Increase Violent Behavior?

Several studies suggest that anti-depressants can increase risk of violent behavior ...

Infographic: Visualizing the National Debt

The U.S. National Debt topped $14 trillion the other day.

Ten Healing Crystals - How Natural Stones Can Support Wellness

Healing crystal practitioners believe that crystals create a change in subtle energies on the mental, emotional, physical and metaphysical planes that, in turn, effect healing.
They may be handled or laid on the body, incorporated into jewelry, contribute to gem elixirs (polished quartz only), and used to complement meditation.

Following are 10 of the many stones commonly used for such purposes and some of the reasons why.

Brush Your Teeth with This Stick

A miswak is a tooth cleaning stick made from the Salvadora persica tree. It’s traditionally used in Pakistan, India, and the Middle East in place of a modern plastic toothbrush. The bristles inside the plant, once exposed by cutting across the stem, are effective as a cleaning instrument. Leen Sadder, a design student, decided to make a modern version:
THIS aims to repackage and promote the miswak as an organic, biodegradable, portable, more beneficial substitute for toothpaste and a toothbrush. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to package and market the twig to a contemporary American audience, who would not be entertained with the idea of biting off the top of the stick in order to use it. The solution for this is a cigar-cutter-like cap that peels off the outer layer to reveal the natural bristles, and slices them off after use. It also protects the stick from germs and microbes.

Ancient Body Clock Discovered That Helps Keep All Living Things On Time

The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists. Not only does the research provide important insight into health-related problems linked to individuals with disrupted clocks - such as pilots and shift workers - it also indicates that the 24-hour circadian clock found in human cells is the same as that found in algae.

A study from the University of Cambridge's Institute of Metabolic Science, has for the first time identified 24-hour rhythms in red blood cells. This is significant because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity, but - unlike most of the other cells in the body - red blood cells do not have DNA.

Best foods for your heart

Berries of all kinds are especially effective at fighting inflammation.  

Favorite recipes of football fans

Favorite recipes of football fans‘Tis the season of game-day parties, men in cropped leggings, and our favorite pub foods. These trusty recipes will ensure that your living room has the best-tasting watching party on the block.

Wizard of Id


Cocaine Killing Forests in Colombia

deforestationThe drug trade increases deforestation, but a new assessment also finds national parks can buffer the effect.

The Ice Is melting

Warm North Atlantic Heating Arctic

The warmest North Atlantic Ocean water in the past 2,000 years is flowing into the Arctic, scientists report, and probably speeding the decline in northern polar ice.  

Loss of Sea Ice Poses Mercury Risk

Disappearing sea ice may affect mercury levels in Arctic waters.  

Coral Moves North to Beat the Heat

coralFrom corals to opossums - migrations are part of global change.  

The Dinosaurs Song

Have your 6-year-old watch the video and then they will want to ride this ...



Carnivorous pitcher plants provide homes for bats

From another interesting piece at Ed Yong's Not Exactly Rocket Science column at Discover:
The world’s worst [?] flesh-eating plant lives in the jungles of Borneo. It’s called elongata and it’s one of several strains of Raffles’ pitcher plant. Like its relatives, it has distinctive pitcher-shaped leaves that can lure insects into a watery grave. But unlike other strains, elongata is strangely incompetent at catching insects. Instead, it lures bats into its pitchers, and lives off their poo...

Elongata looks much like other pitcher plants, except for its giant traps. They’re around four times larger than those of its relatives, they don’t contain much fluid, and they don’t emit any noticeable smell. At such a size, you’d expect the pitchers to be swimming in insects. But when Ulmar Grafe from the University of Brunei Darussalam looked inside the giant pitchers, he found six to seven times fewer insects than in other pitchers. Instead, he found small bats...

In the pitchers, the bats get shelter from predators and the elements. But what does the plant get in return for providing a living bat-cave? In a word: faeces. The bats defecate into the pitchers, providing the plant with at least a third of its nitrogen, packaged in neat dollops.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Dogs

10 Things You Didn't Know About Dogs

Tiger Undergoes Hip Replacement Surgery

The animal, a Malaysian tiger, only just survived the lengthy operation.

Dog Takes Bullets to Save Master

Osmar Persisco of Garibaldi, Brazil, took his dog out for exercise in a field and was approached by two robbers who demanded his car keys. When Persisco declined, they shot him, grazing the man’s head. That’s when Max the dog went into action.
“He saw the blood and was furious,” Persisco told Brazilian newspaper Globo. “He left like a rocket to attack the thieves. One of them ran away, but Max dominated the other one. To defend himself, the thief ended up shooting the dog. Max thwarted the assault and saved my life.”
Max was hit twice in his chest and once in his leg, but by then he had scared off the potential thieves.
Max was treated by a veterinarian and is expected to make a full recovery.

Dog Has a Map of the World on Nose

If dim-witted morons see faces of Jesus on toasts, what do pareidolia-prone cartographers see? Maps and maps everywhere, even on a dog’s nose! Here’s a neat post by Frank Jacobs of Strange Map about "accidental" cartography, based on his readers’ submissions:
“My dog has a map of the world on her nose. Sort of,” writes Mililani Smythe. But of course: there’s the American continent, right in the middle!

Animal Pictures