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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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It's time to get creative with how you get stuff done today.
You need to launch your new plans as soon as possible !
Swallow your pride and ask for the help you need.
Now is not the time for the luxury of pride.
Flattery, jokes and even intimidation are all useful tools for you to employ in your pursuit.
Be open about what your goals are and share your excitement -- that is bound to be the most effective sales tool to influence others to jump on board.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Nambour, Queensland, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Valencia, Comunidad Valencia, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Sevilla, Andalucia, Spain
Biarritz, Aquitaine, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
Tulum Pueblo, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico

as well as Slovakia, 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 Iowa City, Twin Falls, Ozark, Valdosta and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, February 5, the 36th day of 2011.
There are 329 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
World Nutella Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington DC
Saturday, February 5, 2011
This week, we received a report on jobs and unemployment that told us we’re continuing to move in the right direction.  But we need to get there faster.  In the short-term, the bipartisan tax cut we passed in December will give an added boost to job creation and economic growth.  This is a tax cut that is already making Americans’ paychecks a little bigger and giving businesses more incentive to invest and hire.

But ultimately, our true measure of progress has to be whether every American who wants a job can find one; whether the jobs available pay well and offer good benefits; whether people in this country can still achieve the American Dream for themselves and their children.  That’s the progress we’re after.

To get there, we have to realize that in today’s global, competitive economy, the best jobs and newest industries will take root in the countries with the most skilled workers, the strongest commitment to research and technology, and the fastest ways to move people, goods, and information.  To win the future, America needs to out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world.

On Thursday, I went to Penn State University, whose students and researchers are poised to lead the way on innovation and job creation.  They’re taking up the challenge we’ve issued to scientists and engineers all across the country:  if you assemble teams of the best minds in your field, and focus on tackling the biggest obstacles to providing America with clean, affordable energy, we’ll get behind your work.  Your government will support your research.

The folks in Pennsylvania have decided to focus on designing buildings that save more energy – everything from more efficient lighting and windows to heating and cooling.  This won’t just cut down on energy pollution, it can save us billions of dollars on our energy bills.

Most of all, discovering new ways to make buildings more energy-efficient will lead to new jobs and new businesses.  Over the last two years, we’ve seen a window manufacturer in Maryland boost business by 55%.  A lighting company in North Carolina hired hundreds of workers. A manufacturer in Pennsylvania saw business increase by $1 million.

All we did for these companies was provide some tax credits and financing opportunities.  And that’s what we want to do going forward, so that it’s profitable for American businesses to sell the discoveries made by the scientists at Penn State and other hubs of innovation.  If businesses sell these discoveries – if they start making windows and insulation and buildings that save more energy – they will hire more workers.  And that’s how Americans will prosper.  That’s how we’ll win the future.

Our government has an obligation to make sure that America is the best place on Earth to do business – that we have the best schools, the best incentives to innovate, and the best infrastructure.  Next week, I’ll see that kind of infrastructure when I visit Marquette, Michigan – a place where high-speed broadband is connecting a small town to the larger world.

Supporting businesses with this kind of 21st century infrastructure and cutting-edge innovation is our responsibility.  But businesses have a responsibility, too.  If we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark in America.  They should set up shop here, and hire our workers, and pay decent wages, and invest in the future of this nation.  That’s their obligation.  And that’s the message I’ll be bringing to American business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce on Monday – that government and businesses have mutual responsibilities; and that if we fulfill these obligations together, it benefits us all.  Our workers will succeed.  Our nation will prosper.  And America will win the future in this century just like we did in the last.



With eye on Mideast unrest, Iraqi prime minister says he won't run for third term in 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not run for a third term in 2014, an adviser said Saturday, limiting himself in the name of democracy while keeping a wary eye on the popular anger at governments across the Middle East.

Egypt's ruling party leadership resigns

The leadership of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party resigned on Saturday, including Gamal Mubarak, the son of President Hosni Mubarak whose rule has been shaken by days of protests, state television said.

With Egypt in turmoil, oil and food prices climb

The turmoil in Egypt is causing economic jitters across the globe, pushing up food and oil prices so far, but bigger worries are ahead.

Blast, Fire At Gas Pipeline Near Gaza

An explosion went off at a gas terminal in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, setting off a massive fire along a gas pipeline that could be seen dozens of miles away, officials and witnesses said.

A 6.4-magnitude quake rocks India-Burma border

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the India-Myanmar border region on Friday, US seismologists said.

More floods in Australia as cyclone damage tallied

The cyclone that tore through Australia's northeast this week brought fresh misery to people in the south on Saturday, causing flash flooding in the second-largest city even as residents in far distant towns returned to ruined homes.

And now for a moment of Zen


Judge's Comments Prompt New Murder Trials

Two men convicted of killing a tourist in Reno deserve a new trial because of improper comments by a judge during jury selection, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled.

The Reunion

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, "Surely I can't look that old?" Read on:

I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS diploma which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. Hmmm...or could he????

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.

"Yes, yes, I did! I'm a Mustang," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.

He answered, "In 1969. Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then that ugly, old, wrinkled son-of-a-bitch asked, "What did you teach?"

Anthropology News

Video of un-contacted  Amazon tribes

Astronomical News

The early universe looks a lot like blood vessels (or cobwebs)
Very cool photo, this-a-way
And the Hubble found a galaxy that was formed only 480m years after the Big Bang.
First Stars May Still Shine
Not all of the first stars were behemoths that burned brightly and died quickly.
First Stars

Being Alive


Misremembering Ronny Raygun

This weekend will be Ronny Raygun's 100th birthday. 
Joan Walsh at Salon is presenting a series of articles about the insane idiot. 

Here are some excerpts from today's article:
Despite his reputation as a tax slasher, Reagan raised taxes three times, and tripled the deficit during his eight years in office. Sadly, his working-class "Reagan Democrat" admirers don’t seem to remember that one of his tax hikes raised payroll taxes, which hurt poor and middle-class Americans and shielded the wealthy. The main reason he's remembered as a tax-cutter is because of what he did to tax rates for the uber-rich: He slashed the top rate from 70 percent to 28 percent, and income inequality has soared ever since...

If that 70 percent rate sounds a little high, it's useful to remember that the top rate was 94 percent at the end of World War II, and after a brief drop to 82 percent, it stayed in the 90s under Republican Dwight Eisenhower; it was Democrat John F. Kennedy who slashed it to 70 percent... Those are the tax rates that powered the postwar boom -- the expansion of public education and universities, highway construction and home-ownership, government-funded research and development -- that we think of as the American dream...

To review: Under Reagan, income inequality began to grow, household savings dwindled, household debt correspondingly began to rise, and the clout of the financial industry exploded. The top 0.1 percent of Americans saw their share of income climb higher than it was before the Great Depression. And here we are...
More here.
Some of us - the sane ones - correctly remember the real ronny raygun all too well.

The truth be told


ACTA cables confirm it was a screwjob for the global poor

From the Wikileaks File:

Quadrature du Net's repository of #cablegate cables related to ACTA, the secretive copyright treaty reveal that governments all over the world were pissed off that the USA and Japan wouldn't let them discuss the treaty with their citizens and industry.
More importantly, they explicitly confirm that the reason that ACTA was negotiated in secret among rich countries was that this was seen as the most expeditious way of getting a super-extreme copyright agreement passed with a minimum of fuss, and that all the poor countries who were excluded from the negotiation would later be coerced into agreeing to it.
The cables note that critics wanted ACTA to take place before an existing body like WIPO, where processes were in place for transparency and for the involvement of public interest groups. But cables from the US embassy in Japan make clear that the US pushed back against this approach, in large part because it knew other nations wouldn't go along with what it wanted: "a plurilateral, TRIPS-plus Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which would aim to set a 'gold standard' for IPR enforcement among a small number of like-minded countries, and which other countries might aspire to join." US Trade Representative official Stan McCoy "stressed that this should be a freestanding agreement, not related to any international grouping such as the G-8 or OECD, which might make it more difficult to construct a high-standards agreement."
In other words, what we got was a "coalition of the willing" bent on creating tough new enforcement rules that they would slowly seek to impose on other countries.
As a Japanese trade official noted, "we should move as fast as possible and keep in mind that the intent of the agreement is to address the IPR problems of third-nations such as China, Russia, and Brazil, not to negotiate the different interests of like-minded countries. The new agreement could serve as a yardstick for measuring the market economy status of countries such as China and Russia."

House repugicans slash agencies, barely nick themselves


Even as they take a cleaver to many domestic agencies, repugicans now running the House are barely touching Congress' generous own budget.

USDA: 43 million on food stamps

More than 43 million Americans receive food stamp assistance, or about 14 percent of the population, officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture say.

Where housing will rebound

These five cities are expected to have the strongest housing markets in 2011. 

Four Mile Doughnut Run

On your marks, get set, stuff your face.

About 7,500 people are expected to take part in today's annual Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh.

Surprising energy hogs

The average home has 30 always-on devices, but it's the small ones that can waste the most electricity.  

Hare Light


Man calls 911 with pot inquiry

From the "They don't call it Dope for nothing you know" Department:

A Farmington man is under arrest after he called 911 and asked the dispatcher how much trouble he could get into for growing marijuana.

Well ...

Odds and Sods

Quartet of FL teens arrested for plotting classmate's death on Facebook
Four Florida teenagers were arrested on Wednesday after plotting a classmate's murder on Facebook.

The death threats were issued because the quartet believed the unnamed classmate had snitched on one of their friends.

Still worse: he was totally uninvolved in the case.

Homemade Revolving Shotgun

Home Gunsmith forum user rhmc24 took parts from a 12 gauge shotgun and a 1857 Remington revolver and created a shotgun with a revolving cycle:
Using chambers cut off 12 ga. scrap barrels and a new $10 bbl for an Italian auto shotgun, the only other gun part is a scrapped hammer from a 1857 Remington perc revolver. Loads like a SAA Colt but underlever rotates and cocks it. Blow-by is negligible, hardly noticeable with normal shirt sleeve.
Opened for some still shots, at top of the inside pix screwed in is the firing pin, impact type with return spring. The ratchet or star with the hand is visible below on the left side, also the pawl that cocks the hammer. The cylinder indexing lock is external, operated by the under lever. At very bottom the small knob releases the cylinder to turn clockwise for loading.
Due to limited equipment I was unable to copy existing mechanisms so it is pretty much designed from scratch, largely by cut and try, trial and error, etc.

Awesome Pictures


Her Majesty approves

The Oscar-nominated film about her father, King George VI, receives special praise from Her Majesty.  

Longest Car Ownership

This has to be a record for car ownership

Allen Swift from Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, received this Rolls-Royce Picadilly P 1 Roadster from his father, brand new - as a graduation gift in 1928. He drove it until October 2005 when he died at the age of 102.

Jetpack will let you fly

The water-powered device lets fliers hover 30 feet in the air and zoom at high speeds — but it's not cheap.

Man wants to build UFO docking station on Pikes Peak

UFO Phil, real name Phil Hill, wants to construct a gigantic Egyptian pyramid fuel station on Pikes Peak in southern Colorado.

The plan, which Phil says is based on secret blueprints and schematics given to him by the aliens: The pyramid atop Pikes Peak will be 755 feet tall and will be built with limestone blocks, each weighing 2.57 tons.

Phil says 2.3 million of these stone blocks will be needed. Phil says the massive structure can be built by just 60 men.

But before work begins on the alien fuel station, a few earthlings are demanding some paperwork be completed.

Wizard of Id


Citrus growers excited about new seedless mandarin

California orange growers plan to begin harvesting a new variety of seedless mandarin orange this month that they think will appeal to consumers and lower their expenses.
The most popular varieties of mandarins, such as Satsuma, are self-pollinating and don't need help from bees to produce fruit.

Farmers can plant genetically modified beets

Genetically modified sugar beets designed to withstand the weedkiller Roundup can be planted under strict conditions with no threat to the environment and other plants, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday in a decision anxiously awaited by farmers.

Facts about Tea


What do you call it?


Free Snow


Most U.S. snow in a single day

A 1921 storm still reigns, but cities have found creative solutions to deal with all of this year's snow.

You said it


Frilled lizard

Undoubtedly, one of the quirkiest sights in nature is the gangly retreat of an Australian frilled lizard. When this unique creature feels threatened, it rises on its hind legs, opens its yellow-colored mouth, unfurls the colorful, pleated skin flap that encircles its head, and hisses. If an attacker is unintimidated by these antics, the lizard simply turns tail, mouth and frill open, and bolts, legs splaying left and right. It continues its deliberate run without stopping or looking back until it reaches the safety of a tree.

Frilled lizards, or "frillnecks," are members of the dragon family that live in the tropical and warm temperate forests and savanna woodlands of northern Australia...

Culinary DeLites

They’re part of the latest odd food craze from trendy markets and caterers.  

Healthier Super Bowl favorites

Nachos are still delicious when you make them with pork, pinto beans, and reduced-fat cheese.  

Why Bacon Evokes a Carnivorous Moment for Vegetarians

bacon vegetarian vegan photo
Photo: shawnzam
To start, this isn't the first time I've heard this. I'm mostly a vegetarian, minus a piece of fish once in a while, but my friend is an austere vegetarian who admits that even she can't resist stealing a piece of bacon once in a while. Last week NPR explored bacon as a gateway drug. Why is this the meat that even hardcore meat haters find pleasure in? Scientifically speaking, it may be more our noses than anything else.
Article continues: Why Bacon Evokes a Carnivorous Moment for Vegetarians

Chernobyl birds are small brained

Marsh warbler (Image: Marek Szczepanek)Chernobyl birds are small brained

Birds living around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have 5% smaller brains, an effect directly linked to lingering background radiation, scientists say.

Earth News



Animal Prognosticators Favor The Packers in Super Bowl XLV

We no longer have Paul the Octopus, the prescient cephalopod who was 100 percent accurate during the 2010 World Cup to make predictions, so instead betters have turned to an elephant and an orangutan to predict Super Bowl XLV. 
Thus far ALL animal prognosticators have gone for the Packers - and the animals usually know things we humans do not.

Animal News

Animal Pictures