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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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Every action has a consequence, and today's happenings remind you of that fact in several ways.
Sometimes you're the one acting, while other times you're the one suffering the consequences.
Today, generosity can be a mixed blessing -- your act of giving may create a consequence of too much unwanted attention.
There are people who are waiting for your approval, and they could interpret things the wrong way.
Just be mindful that everything you do has a reaction.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Ipoh, Perak, malaysia
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Neuwied, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Wedel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Valencia, Comunidad Valencia, Spain
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Brescia, Lombardia, Italy

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 Zephyrhills, Wayne, Bat Cave, Murfreesboro and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, February 2, the 33rd day of 2011.
There are 332 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
Crepe Day or La Chandeleur Day
Groundhog Day
Hedgehog Day
Sled Dog Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!


Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep.
It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk."
Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing.
It is the time of blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools.
Some of the activities traditional to the festival are the lighting of candles, gathering of stones, hiking in the snow and searching for signs of spring, decorating plows, feasting, and lighting bonfires.
The traditional festival day is February 1st.
Today the festival is celebrated on February 2nd, and marks the midway point of winter.
It is the source of Groundhog Day.

More on Imbolc here.

He did not see his shadow

Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring

Man, globe roll around US

Erik Bendl is pushing the weight of the world all over the country, and he's happy to do it.

Awesome Pictures


Jordan government sacked after protests

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and now Jordan. Who is next for non-US military edition "regime change"?

The king of Jordan dismissed his government Tuesday and appointed a new prime minister with orders to implement political reform. The dismissal follows several protests calling for change in Jordan -- protests that echo demonstrations that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East in the last few weeks.

King Abdullah II asked Marouf Al Bakhit to form a government in Jordan that will implement "genuine political reform," the Royal Court said in a statement.

Buzz over Cyclone Yasi

Searches are spiking for the monster cyclone Yasi, which is bearing down on Australia.  

Category 5 cyclone invades Australia
Queenslanders have been told to prepare themselves for a terrifying 24 hours as the “most catastrophic storm ever” takes aim at heavily populated areas of the state’s north.
Cyclone yasiSevere Tropical Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to category five this morning as the weather bureau warned it was likely to be “more life-threatening” than any storm seen in Australia in living memory.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes ahead of the monster storm, which is expected to hit the coast between Cairns and Innisfail with winds of up to 295 kilometres per hour near the core.
Premier Anna Bligh says the storm’s expected landfall at about midnight AEST tonight is the worst possible news for a state which is already reeling from recent flooding.
She says Cyclone Yasi is the “most catastrophic storm to ever hit our coast”.
“Frankly, I don’t think Australia has ever seen a storm of this intensity in an area as populated as this stretch of our coast,” she said.

Protests go on despite vow

Mubarak's vow not to seek re-election in Egypt fails to appease demonstrators.  

Violent clashes erupt in Egypt

Funny how all the violence has come from the dictator's 'supporters', isn't it?
Violence erupts in the streets of Cairo as thousands of Mubarak supporters attack protesters.

Did you know ...

That border violence is down 30% but you won't hear any of the wingnuts admit it.

On The Job

"The AND Factor" is a clever strategy that can pay off in today's tough economy.  

Renewables Sector Sees Massive Jobs Growth

wind power photo
Image credit: twicepix, used under Creative Commons license.
We've seen reports before that switching to renewables could create 2.7 million jobs, and might create a whole new wave of green-collar employment, but it's only now that nations around the world are getting serious about renewables that we'll really see whether clean energy can really deliver the job growth that's been promised. One report just out suggests that the early signs are good, with wind and tidal energy companies in the UK seeing a doubling in employment in just a few short years.

ADP reports 187,000 new jobs in January

Though December was revised downward, January was above forecasts.
The unemployment hole that the shrub 'economy' created is going to take years to fill, but growth is growth.
Private employers added 187,000 jobs in January compared with a revised gain of 247,000 jobs in December, a report by a payrolls processor showed Wednesday.

The December figure was originally reported as a gain of 297,000 jobs.

The median of estimates from 29 economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers, was for a rise of 145,000 private-sector jobs in January.

When it pays to refinance

Remember to factor in tax implications and closing costs when you run the numbers.  

Worst cities for credit-card debt

Consumers owe card issuers over 15 percent of their incomes in these cities.  



Tonsillectomy linked to excess weight gain in kids

Tonsillectomy is the most common major surgical procedure performed in children. Children who undergo the surgical removal of their tonsils (tonsillectomy), with or without the removal of their adenoids (adenoidectomy), are at increased risk for becoming overweight after surgery, according to new research published in the February 2011 issue of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.

The Skin Gun

The standard technique of treating burn is slow – so slow that many burn patients die from infections before their skin can regenerate.
Enter Dr. Jörg C. Gerlach.
He developed the Skin Gun, which sprays stem cells and heals severely burned skin in just a few days. It seems like science-fiction, but it really works.

Buzzfeed has the fascinating video clip, but be forewarned: it’s not for the squeamish.

Trendy (and Seriously Healthy) Alternatives to Traditional Grains

quinoa healthy grain photo

Whole grains are an integral part of a healthy diet -- if you remember, they make up the hefty bottom portion of the food pyramid you studied in grammar school -- but if you believe just whole wheat and brown rice fall in the healthy part of this category, it's time to discover new horizons.
Perhaps you've noted the frenzy around quinoa? The following five grains and grain-alternatives -- all rich in flavor and nutritious antioxidants, and the talk of nutritionists, foodies and celebrities alike -- are ideal healthy swaps to the standard wheat or rice grain in your favorite bread, pasta, and side dishes.
Article continues: 5 Trendy (and Seriously Healthy) Alternatives to Traditional Grains

Free Hugs


Bad Cops

Florida police officers come forward with shocking accusations about Miami's top cop

Fired Florida police officer accused of extortion

Missouri cop admits sexual assaults, gets 25 years

Connecticut cop is accused of brutality for the ninth time

Ex-top Chicago cop convicted of perjury in torture of suspects keeps $3K per month pension

26-year veteran cop who heads Dallas PD's "Crime Stoppers" is indicted for defrauding program

Hamlet's Trial Ended in Hung Jury

Did he or did he not? That is the question … US Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy presided over a mock trial of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, who was accused of murder some 400 years ago:
It gave noted Los Angeles attorneys an opportunity to argue for and against the proposition that Hamlet was suffering from a mental disease when he stabbed Polonius, the adviser to the king in the classic Shakespeare play.
After 20 minutes of deliberations, 10 jurors found him sane and two found him insane.

Fifteen Notorious Outlaws Throughout History

There have been a great many outlaws throughout the course of history.
Some were interesting people who were thrust into a life of crime, others were less than admirable.
Either way, here are 15 of the most notorious outlaws and fugitives throughout recent history.

Speaking without words

I believe she is saying 'Fuck You'.
What do you think?

NFL owner goes after reporter

From the He's a Douchebag" Department"
The Redskins' Dan Snyder makes it personal after a newspaper publishes a funny story.

What would happen if…

... you bought 25 bottles of NyQuil?
... you drank seawater?
... if doctors were car mechanics?
... you put your car in reverse while driving?
... you ran over a ninja?
your town got nuked?
real life was like Twitter?
we didn’t have a moon?
there were no mosquitoes? 

time travel became real?
there was no dust?
computers made our food?
you farted in a space suit?
Google would break?
I would dig a tunnel through the Earth and jumped in it?
… I ate myself?
you put your hand in the Large Hadron Collider?
there was no sun?
everyone had superpowers?
you drank 13 beers while running a marathon?
the post office had competition?
if you ate one of those silica gel packets?

No Technology Ever Dies

Kevin Kelly, an editor for Wired and Cool Tools, points out something that is both simple and profound. No piece of technology, once it becomes widely used, ever goes extinct. It doesn’t matter if that technology has become obsolete. There are and always will be people who will continue to produce it.

Robert Krulwich of NPR reports:
Nothing? I asked. Brass helmets? Detachable shirt collars? Chariot wheels?
Nothing, he said.
Can’t be, I told him. Tools do hang around, but some must go extinct.
If only because of the hubris — the absolute nature of the claim — I told him it would take me a half hour to find a tool, an invention that is no longer being made anywhere by anybody.
Go ahead, he said. Try.
If you listen to our Morning Edition debate, I tried carbon paper (still being made), steam powered car engine parts (still being made), Paleolithic hammers (still being made), 6 pages of agricultural tools from an 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue (every one of them still being made), and to my utter astonishment, I couldn’t find a provable example of an technology that has disappeared completely.

TSA tests new body scanners

The agency is testing machines that won't show images of actual travelers.  

Weird Inventions of Edison

One of Edison’s weirdest inventions: The Edison Talking Doll
Perhaps you thought of the lightbulb, the phonograph, or even direct current when you think about Thomas Edison, but those aren’t the only things he invented (or technically, improved), as shown by this Oobject list.

They just might be ...

Interesting Stuff

How to ...

The Oak Chapel Of Allouville-Bellefosse


It is like something out of a fairy tale or perhaps a Tim Burton film. Yet the oak tree in the small French village of Allouville-Bellefosse is not a figment of the imagination or, indeed, an old film set.

A staircase spirals around its twisted trunk but neither is this an everyday tree house. Instead of a dwelling place atop or amongst its branches, the visitor will discover that the interior holds the secret of this ancient oak.

Seven Buildings Made Of Recycled Crates


Amazingly, these seven stunning buildings use just recycled shipping crates and old beer or milk crates as their raw materials.

Home Sweet Home


World's Biggest Slip'n'Slide


Winter's Creek

From Wicked Creek By Wouter Deruytter

Hole-Punch Clouds

P. Wesley Tyler, Jr. captured this spooky image. What you’re looking at a hole-punch cloud:
Hole-punch clouds are miniature snowstorms that can occur in thin, subfreezing cloud layers.
The lack of fine particles, such as dust, in the clouds means water droplets have little to condense around, so they don’t turn to ice until the cloud hits about minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 36 degrees Celsius).
“Basically, the water molecules become sluggish enough at this temperature to form their own cluster of ice that produces an ice crystal spontaneously,” according to ice microphysicist Andrew Heymsfield.
 Butterfly Hole punch Cloud, caused by falling ice crystals.
Hole-punch clouds or fall-streak holes, such as the ones shown above near Shreveport, Louisiana, are caused by falling ice crystals. The ice crystals could originate in a higher cloud or be facilitated by a passing airplane exhaust. If the air has just the right temperature and moisture content, the crystals will absorb vapor as they fall and thus continue to grow. Holes are formed when supercooled water droplets in shallow cloud layers freeze (initiated by the falling ice crystals) and release their heat of fusion, which warms the air and evaporates the surrounding cloud. The fibrous, icy wisps falling from the clouds are called fall-streaks (seen above at left in the shape of a butterfly)

Photo Credit: Charles Jackson
UFO? No, that’s a strange weather phenomenon called virga: rain that evaporates before reaching the ground.
Earth Science Picture of the Day has more info.

Noctilucent clouds: There's more of 'em and they're brighter too!

 Images I 7841 Original Night-Shining-Clouds-Bright While still very rare, spectacular night-shining clouds, aka noctilucent clouds, are becoming more common and increasingly brighter, according to a NASA atmospheric scientist. Noctilucent clouds are the highest in Earth's atmosphere, forming from water ice at altitudes of 76 to 85 kilometers. NASA's Matthew DeLand suggests that their increased visibility could be linked to greenhouse gases. From Space.com:
Night-shining clouds are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric water vapor and temperature. The clouds form only when temperatures drop below minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 130 degrees Celsius), when the scant amount of water high in the atmosphere freezes into ice clouds. This happens most often in far northern and southern latitudes (above 50 degrees) in the summer when, counter-intuitively, the mesosphere is coldest. Changes in temperature or humidity in the mesosphere make the clouds brighter and more frequent. Colder temperatures allow more water to freeze, while an increase in water vapor allows more ice clouds to form. Increased water vapor also leads to the formation of larger ice particles that reflect more light.
The fact that night-shining clouds are getting brighter suggests that the mesosphere is getting colder and more humid, DeLand said. Increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could account for both phenomena.

NASA finds planets a plenty

NASA's planet-hunting telescope is finding whole new worlds of possibilities in the search for alien life.



Bad Ideas

In Minnesota: If not for postal clerks, puppy would have been DOA.
unmailed dog A 39-year-old woman was charged with animal cruelty after she tried to air-mail the dog to Atlanta from downtown Minneapolis, authorities said.
The postal worker was stunned when the package moved by itself and fell to the floor. Then came the sounds of heavy panting.
Within minutes, she and co-workers had unwrapped a tightly sealed box and rescued a 4-month-old puppy that a Minneapolis woman tried to mail to Georgia.
On the outside of the package Champion wrote "This is for your 11th birthday. It's what you wanted," he said. She also told the clerk that if sounds came from the package, not to worry, it just contained a toy robot, Ojoyeyi added.
Then she asked for a refund of the $22 postage.
Shown here is the actual dog.
Seal her up and try and mail her and see how she feels about it.

China's economy shows signs of slowing down

Keeping in mind that there's no such thing as a "soft landing" this is worrying news. It's not a surprise, since all bubbles eventually burst, but China will have a serious problem if the unemployment numbers get much higher.
"This indicates that the economic recovery trend is not yet clear, and we may see economic growth slow down a bit," Zhang Liqun, a government researcher, said in a statement accompanying the release.

"The new export orders sub-index continued to fall while the input prices sub-index went on rising, which suggests that enterprises could face relatively big difficulties in rising costs and slowing demand," he added.

Consumer price inflation in China ran at an annual pace of 4.6 percent in December, slowing slightly from November's 28-month of 5.1 percent.

Many economists believe inflation is set to accelerate again in January due to a spike in food demand and broader consumption ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins this week.

China Grants Permission for Megadam to be Built On World Heritage Site

nu river china photo
Nu river; Photo by livepine via Flickr Creative Commons
China's hydropower industry has earned a big win with power company Huadian gaining permission to build a 21.3GW dam on the Nu River. However, is the price too big? The dam is to be built in a world heritage site and will displace an estimated 50,000 people. For a country working to get bigger faster, a power plant of this size is an important building block -- yet the loss of habitat and homes has stirred up significant controversy over the plans.
Article continues: China Grants Permission for Megadam to be Built On World Heritage Site

The Ethereal Forest


Asia drives forest growth trend

Red panda in tree  
Forest loss across the world slows due to replanting in Asia, says the UN as the International Year of Forests launches - but conservation groups warn on forest biodiversity.

Are invasive plant species really that special?

Invasive plant species are a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide.
Their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling.



Trained Dog Can Detect Colon Cancer by Sniffing Poop

A dog owned by Japanese medical researchers has a remarkable gift for detecting colon cancer victims by sniffing their excrement. The black Labrador Retriever has a 95% accuracy rate:
In the study, the retriever performed as well as a colonoscopy, a technique in which a fibre-optic tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the rectum to look for suspect areas of the intestine.
It correctly spotted which samples were cancerous and which were not in 33 out of 36 breath tests, equal to 95 per cent accuracy, and in 37 out of 38 stool tests (98 per cent accuracy).

Animal Pictures