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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.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your energy is higher than it has been in a long while, and today is a great day to make the most of it.
It's time to roll up your sleeves and dive on in to something new.
Whether you choose something as challenging as a new household renovation, or something as sedentary as a thick new novel, you'll make a lot of progress today.
Even if you don't get out of the preliminary planning stages, you'll still be well positioned for a successful outcome.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sydney, new South Wales, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Puchong, Selangor, malaysia
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Reutlingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Bad Vilbel, Hessen, Germany
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Valencia, Comunidad Valencia, Spain
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait
Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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 Sunol, Plano, Wasilla, Snohomish and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, February 7, the 38th day of 2011.
There are 327 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
Ballet Day
Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbor's Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Random Photos


Lacking in English


Non Sequitur


Wal-Mart's rebound plan

Competitors chip away at Wal-Mart's dominance, forcing it to go where no one else will.  

On The Job

Engineering and accounting grads are in demand and earn top salaries, too.

Crucial changes for tax season

This year, the IRS is telling a huge group of taxpayers to delay filing until Feb. 14.

Myths about credit scores

Contrary to popular belief, paying bills on time is an overrated part of your financial reputation.  

Six little expenses that add up

You'll be horrified at what a $4 daily coffee habit adds up to over 30 years.  

Twenty-two Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin

The Art of Manliness rounded up 22 creative uses for empty Altoids tins, such as the above portable grill made by Instructables user =SMART=.

The steel rods come from a coat hanger.

Other mods at the link include a router plane, a dart gun, and a s’mores maker.

Helpful Hints

Choose throw pillows in bright colors, but keep a balance to the mix.



Bad Cops

New Jersey cop gets probation for insurance fraud

Utah cop gets six months in jail for attempted forcible sodomy and obstruction of justice

Texas family says deputy needlessly shot pet

Miami police vs. citizens with cameras

Uproar in Houston after video shows police beating 15-year-old suspect

Texas deputy constable arrested on assault charges

Cyberpranksters are going to jail

The anonymity of the Internet is no longer shielding young men and women who play destructive games on their computers.
They are increasingly being identified, arrested and held accountable for their misdeeds.
Publicized arrests should give pause to the mean and cowardly Internet pranksters whose mischief can torture their victims and even ruin their lives.

Two Florida girls, ages 16 and 15, have been charged under the state's cyberbullying law, the Naples Daily News reports, after being accused of posting an embarrassing picture on Facebook. The photo had been manipulated to put a classmate's face on the body of a nude, prepubescent girl.

Authorities said one of the girls explained it was done as a joke. But there's nothing funny about facing felony charges under a tough law passed in 2008 in response to a suicide blamed on Internet bullying.

AOL to Buy The Huffington Post for $315M

From the There's Money in Blogging Department

Arianna Huffington's laughing all the way to the bank. 
And remember those two clowns who are suing her for allegedly stealing their idea? 
Boy, they gotta be really pissed  

The Huffington Post, which has grown from its small but splashy debut in 2005 into one of the Web’s most popular news sites, has agreed to sell itself to AOL, Jeremy W. Peters and Verne G. Kopytoff report in The New York Times on Monday.

Under the terms of the deal, AOL will pay $315 million — $300 million in cash and the rest in stock.

On Sunday, Tim Armstrong said the deal fit “right into our strategy.”

The deal is AOL’s biggest since separating from Time Warner in 2009, and showcases the company’s intent to focus on original content. (In September, AOL bought TechCrunch, the influential technology blog founded by Michael Arrington.)

But it also represents a major media move by The Huffington Post’s co-founder, Arianna Huffington.

More from The Times:

Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.

By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business.

The deal has the potential to create an enterprise that could reach more than 100 million visitors in the United States each month. For The Huffington Post, which began as a liberal blog with a small staff but now draws some 25 million visitors every month, the sale represents an opportunity to reach new audiences. For AOL, which has been looking for ways to bring in new revenue as its dial-up Internet access business declines, the millions of Huffington Post readers represent millions in potential advertising dollars.

“This is a statement that the company is making investments, and in this case a bold investment, that fits right into our strategy,” Mr. Armstrong said in an interview on Sunday. “I think this is going to be a situation where 1 plus 1 equals 11.”

Ms. Huffington and Mr. Armstrong began discussing the possibility of a sale only last month. They came to know each other well after they both attended a media conference in November and quickly discovered, as Ms. Huffington put it, “we were practically finishing each other’s sentences.” She added: “It was really amazing how aligned our visions were.”

Ms. Huffington shares her thoughts — naturally — on her own site. Here is an excerpt from her post:

At the first meeting of our senior team this year, I laid out the five areas on which I wanted us to double down: major expansion of local sections; the launch of international Huffington Post sections (beginning with HuffPost Brazil); more emphasis on the growing importance of service and giving back in our lives; much more original video; and additional sections that would fill in some of the gaps in what we are offering our readers, including cars, music, games, and underserved minority communities.

Around the same time, I got an email from Tim Armstrong (AOL chairman and CEO), saying he had something he wanted to discuss with me, and asking when we could meet. We arranged to have lunch at my home in LA later that week. The day before the lunch, Tim emailed and asked if it would be okay if he brought Artie Minson, AOL’s CFO, with him. I told him of course and asked if there was anything they didn’t eat. “I’ll eat anything but mushrooms,” he said.

The next day, he and Artie arrived, and, before the first course was served — with an energy and enthusiasm I’d soon come to know is his default operating position — Tim said he wanted to buy The Huffington Post and put all of AOL’s content under a newly formed Huffington Post Media Group, with me as its president and editor in chief.

Reagan administration was number one

In Criminal Convictions that is ...

And the race wasn't even close.

The Reagan administration managed to even have more convictions against their team than the Nixon administration.

That takes some serious effort, but by gosh, they did it.

Of course the shrub's 'administration's' criminal convictions are just getting started so Ronny Raygun's Reign may be a short one

Americans overwhelmingly support alternative energy progress from Congress

Even revising the tax code is less important to voters.

So will the repugicans listen (read: no) to what the American public want or will they continue (read: yes) moving forward with their creepy ideas like redefining rape?

Instead of throwing more money at Big Oil, why not shift money into alternative energy, as everyone wants?

The truth be told


How to find cheapest gas

Plan your fill-up for early in the morning or late at night for the best chance at saving money.  

Odds and Sods

Guess it runs in the family: A descendant of an Arkansas cow famed for giving birth to triplets multiple times has birthed her own set of triplets.

This should be considered a cautionary tale: take home a work laptop or PC, and they can install anything they want on it. Oh, and if they tell you about that monitoring software, take it seriously.

Bosses at a Surrey theme park have relocated one of its new rides after workers reported ghostly goings-on at the site.

U.S. border police nabbed two wet-suit clad illegal immigrants from Mexico who used self-propelled underwater "dive scooters" to enter California, authorities said.

Five Offbeat Cars Coming in 2011

Strange experiments are happening in the auto industry.
Companies are cross-pollinating different types of vehicles to create new breeds, and the results are sometimes perplexing.

Lockerbie documents to be published

A dossier of official documents shedding light on the release of the Lockerbie bomber will be published on Monday.

One hundred passengers mutiny on Ryanair plane

http://www.inclusionscotland.org/news/pics/10-08-2009-ryanair.jpgSpain's government says police removed more than 100 passengers from a plane preparing to leave the Canary Islands after a large scuffle broke out onboard.

La Provincia, a Spanish newspaper, said the disruption happened when low-cost Ryanair tried to charge one passenger extra for carry-on baggage and his friends aboard the plane "mutinied".

An Interior Ministry spokesman said the pilot was preparing for take-off at Guacimeta airport on the Lanzarote island resort for Charleroi, Belgium, when she radioed for police assistance.

He said that, of the 168 passengers, only 64 were allowed to reboard Saturday's flight.

Skirmish on Thai-Cambodian border

About the last thing either country should be wasting its money on is this. It's especially tragic when there's a World Heritage Site in the vicinity. The UN needs to step in and send forces to keep the peace.

The Guardian:
Cambodia called for U.N. peacekeepers to help end the fighting along its tense border with Thailand, where artillery fire echoed for a fourth day Monday near an 11th century temple classified as a World Heritage Site.

The crumbling stone temple, several hundred feet (meters) from Thailand's eastern border with Cambodia, has fueled nationalism on both sides of the disputed frontier for decades and conflict over it has sparked sporadic, brief battles in recent years. However, sustained fighting has been rare.

A one-hour clash Monday morning stopped after both sides agreed to an unofficial cease-fire. Fighting has erupted daily since Friday, leaving at least five dead.

The Fattest Nation in the World, Nauru? What?

obesity health nutrition photo
Photo: Colros
We've accepted that America is the fattest nation in the world. I mean three out of four Americans are projected to be overweight or obese within 10 years. Before 1980, only one in ten Americans was overweight. But it seems that a tiny Pacific island nation has quickly come from behind and may actually take the cake or the French fry for that matter. Is America being surpassed by Nauru?
Article continues: The Fattest Nation in the World, Nauru? What?


I want this pool.

Ancient practice may rival yoga

Devotees say this ancient energy cultivation system offers a more serene form of fitness.  

Inside Insides

Andy Ellison posts animated images of food on his site Inside Insides. What you see here is an MRI of an onion. The bright spot that appears is actually a bruise! You can also see MRI scans of bell peppers, green beans, persimmons, and much more.

Dr. SnakeBot Will See You Now

The sinister looking snakebot to the left may just save your life one day. World, meet Cardio Arm, a "kinder, gentler way to tinker with your ticker":
… a foot-long serpentine robot designed to assist in cardiac surgery. The device worms its way into a patient’s chest through a three-quarter-inch incision in the solar plexus. A surgeon controls movement of the robot’s head with a joystick, and the rest of its 102 joints snake along behind. A tiny, front-mounted camera lets the operator see where the Cardio Arm is going and make course corrections.
Daniel Lametti of Discover reports: here.

Are Shrinking Brains Making Us Smarter?

BrainThe average size of the human brain has decreased by about 10 percent over the last 30,000 years.  

Bill Nye on America's "horrible" science education

Popular Mechanics interviews Bill Nye the Science Guy on the state of US science education (Nye: "It's horrible."). He's anxious that science education ramps up too late ("Nearly every rocket scientist got interested in it before they were 10.") and, of course, that teachers are intimidated out of teaching the good science of evolution and other controversial subjects:
They're doing their job but they're under tremendous pressure. The 60 percent who are cautious--those are the people who are really up against it. They want to keep their job, and they love teaching science, and their children are really excited about it, and yet they've got some people insisting they can't teach the most fundamental idea in all of biology. There's the phrase "just a theory." Which shows you that I have failed. I'm a failure. When we have a theory in science, it's the greatest thing you can have. Relativity is a theory, and people test it every which way. They test it and test it and test it. Gravity is a theory. People have landed spacecraft on the moon within a few feet of accuracy because we understand gravity so well. People make flu vaccinations that stop people from getting sick. Farmers raise crops with science; they hybridize them and make them better with every generation. That's all evolution. Evolution is a theory, and it's a theory that you can test. We've tested evolution in many ways. You can't present good evidence that says evolution is not a fact.

Science Papers Translated

The following list of phrases and their definitions might help you understand the mysterious language of science and medicine. These special phrases are also applicable to anyone reading a PhD dissertation or academic paper.

"IT HAS LONG BEEN KNOWN"... I didn't look up the original reference.

"A DEFINITE TREND IS EVIDENT"... These data are practically meaningless.

"WHILE IT HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE DEFINITE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS"... An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

"THREE OF THE SAMPLES WERE CHOSEN FOR DETAILED STUDY"... The other results didn't make any sense.

"TYPICAL RESULTS ARE SHOWN"... This is the prettiest graph.

"THESE RESULTS WILL BE IN A SUBSEQUENT REPORT"... I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.




"IT IS BELIEVED THAT"... I think.sciencebad.jpg

"IT IS GENERALLY BELIEVED THAT"... A couple of others think so, too.




"A CAREFUL ANALYSIS OF OBTAINABLE DATA"... Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of Mountain Dew.


"AFTER ADDITIONAL STUDY BY MY COLLEAGUES"... They don't understand it either.


"A HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT AREA FOR EXPLORATORY STUDY"... A totally useless topic selected by my committee.


The Whole Sun

Today, for the first time in history, humans can see the entire sun.

In October 2006, NASA launched a pair of twin spacecraft  into space. Called STEREO — Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory —  they traveled in opposite directions, one ahead and the other behind the  Earth in its orbit around the Sun. The goal was to get a wide,  stereoscopic view of the Sun which would provide 3D information on our  star.
Today they reached that goal. After traveling a combined 470 million  kilometers (290 million miles) relative to the Earth, they are now on  opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit, staring down at opposing faces of  the Sun.

The full coverage observation of the sun will last for eight years.  Dr. Phil Plait has an explanation of how NASA did this, and why it is  important, at Bad Astronomy.

Awesome Pictures


Ice disk

This disk was reportedly seen on the Salmon River in Idaho.

Matchstick Furniture

Some people make furnitures out of scraps of wood, but Roman Yerokhin’s family made theirs from really tiny scraps of wood, namely matchsticks:
… since matchsticks were one of the few abundant resources in the USSR, Roman Yerokhin’s family chose it as a medium to give their home a unique makeover. While other people threw away the matchsticks after lighting the stove, they saved them for the sake of art, and even lit up entire boxes of matches when they ran out of materials. Then his mother would glue the matchsticks on small pieces of cardboard to ensure the squares in the pattern were all the same size. Then the pieces were attached to the otherwise bland furniture and covered with a layer of varnish.

Bullet Pen

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially when it’s made of a bullet. Behold, the Bullet Pen by Dorian Creations:
Dorian Creations Bullet Puns have clips in the shapes of rifles and are sometimes adorned with camo paint, but that’s not where the gunpowder stops. Each pen is crafted from a real life bullet. Not an artist’s representation of a bullet, a dyed in the wool, could-kill-someone .308 Winchester rifle round. Now you can – quite literally – seal the deal with a bullet.

Ten Of The Most Terrifying Bridges On Earth

Imagine being suspended hundreds of feet in the air above hard rock or raging waters; all that is keeping you suspended in the air is a wooden board, a taut rope and your balance. You prepare yourself for disaster: if the rope gives way or if your foot slips then death seems inevitable; but in the meantime you are paralyzed.

Being afraid of heights might be a debilitating fear but these terrifying bridges are enough to inspire vertigo in anyone. Terrifying as they might be, however, there is simply no other choice, for without crossing you will never reach the other side.

Here are ten of the most terrifying bridges in the world.


It all makes sense - now.

The 40 Most Amazing Pictures Of The Snowstorm Of 2011

Pictures of last week's snowstorm that covered a third of the U.S.

One Photographer's Harrowing Journey to the World's Most Remote Active Volcano

mount erebus antarctica volcano photo
Photo credit: Donna and Steve O'Meara
This written by Donna O'Meara, an award-winning writer and photographer living in Hawaii, who has photos currently on view in "Extreme Exposure" at The Annenberg Space for Photography

I held my breath and clanked up the metal gangplank of The Spirit of Enderby, a privately leased Russian icebreaker that would be my new home for the next month. Following "in the footsteps of Scott and Shackleton," Enderby left port from Invercargill, New Zealand, bound for Mount Erebus on Ross Island in Antarctica.
The journey is only possible for about six weeks each Austral Summer -- January and February in the Southern Hemisphere -- when temperatures allow the ice to melt. For four weeks, we would rock and roll across the the Southern Ocean, the most dangerous and damned patch of water on Earth, to cross the Ross Sea and reach the base of the towering 12,400-foot high mountain.
Article continues: One Photographer's Harrowing Journey to the World's Most Remote Active Volcano

What It's Like to Photograph World's Oldest Living Organisms

sussman spruce photo
Spruce Gran Picea #0909-6B37 (9,550 years old; FulufjÀllet, Sweden)

Rachel Sussman photographs our planet's oldest living organisms. From trees dating back perhaps as far as 7,000 years to Siberian Actinobacteria that could be as much as 600,000 years old, she travels the globe to fine, and photograph, the inconceivable. But how does she find the organisms, and what's it like to be that close to living history? Sussman took some time to answer a few questions we have about her curious and amazing quests.
Article continues: What It's Like to Photograph World's Oldest Living Organisms (Pics)

Amazing Pictures That Are Not Photoshopped

Photo credit: ukaaa on Flickr
Even before the advent of digital photo manipulation, photographers were creating works of wonder using trick lighting, forced perspective, and plain old imaginative ingenuity. Sounds hokey, but it’s true, and it’s nice to see that it’s not a lost art.
The power of Photoshop is amazing, but still it doesn’t beat the power of imagination. Although many photos taken by professional photographers and enhanced in Photoshop can be absolutely stunning, the photos taken wisely and in a creative manner are even more impressive.
Today’s showcase is dedicated to such photos, the ones that make people skeptical about not being manipulated and still they are genuine and impressive. They can be really inspiring and a pride to every photographer’s portofolio, no matter if they are funny, dramatic or just miracles of nature.
See all 36  non-shopped photographic marvels here.

Brilliant Photography From The National Geographic Archives

Brilliant Photography from the National Geographic Archives.



Pete the skateboarding Jack Russell

Man's Best Friend

The boy is too literal ... you tell him to fetch a 'big' stick - he fetches a BIG stick.

Amateur Wildlife Photo Saves an Injured Tiger's Life

Photo via The Hindu
Wildlife photography has long been the preferred way for animal-lovers to 'capture' and 'shoot' the natural world without negatively impacting it -- but one recent incident proves that some photos can actually save wildlife, too. While on a visit to India's Ranthambhore National Park, state Tourism Minister and amateur wildlife photographer, Beena Kak, chanced the opportunity to snap a few pictures of a female tiger with her young offspring. Upon reviewing her snapshots, the Minister discovered something troubling -- a festering wound on the tiger's leg, threatening the life of the animal and her cubs.
Article continues: Amateur Wildlife Photo Saves an Injured Tiger's Life

Top 10 Prehistoric Fish Alive Today

This list looks at fish that were around in remote, prehistoric times and have survived to our time, still keeping their 'prehistoric' looks to prove it.

Animal Pictures