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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 9, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Whether you're a novelist or second in command in charge of deciding what text goes with what greeting-card design, you're used to working with words.
Ditto if you're a soccer coach or video store manager.
After all, without words you couldn't verbalize your ideas, and nobody would be able to do what they're supposed to do.
Revel in your abilities to make sense.
And the people you're talking to will appreciate it, as well.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Pinneburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
London, England, United Kingdom
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Vienna, Wien, Austria
Valencia, Comunidad Valencia, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Milan, Lombardia, Italy

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 Ojai, Soddy Daisy, Egg Harbor Township, Santa Clara and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, February 9, the 40th day of 2011.
There are 325 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
National Stop Bullying Day
Read In The Bathtub Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Culinary DeLites

Mushrooms are meaty and filling and may also protect against cancer.  
Tart fruit from the "Cherry Capital of the World" makes this slice irresistible.  
Whether you prefer it mild or superspicy, you're sure to find a chili you'll love at one of these spots.

Too Many People

Paul McCartney

The Human Spirit

One fearless citizen foils a band of jewelry thieves when she goes after them with her purse.  
Chuck Patterson uses boots, bindings, two planks, and ski poles to conquer the swells off Maui.  

Good News for a change

A dog who couldn't hear has learned some sign language thanks to inmates at a U.S. prison and children at a school for the deaf.

House rejects extensions of Patriot Act provisions

The House on Tuesday failed to extend the life of three surveillance tools that are key to the nation's post-Sept. 11 anti-terror law, a slip-up for the new repugican leadership that miscalculated the level of opposition.
And the good guys win one.

Non Sequitur


Do Arizonans secretly oppose the state's immigration law?

If ABC's show "Primetime: What Would You Do?" is any measure, at least some Arizona residents frown on racial profiling.A hidden-camera TV show reveals ordinary citizens taking a stand against racial profiling.
What does this say about Arizonans' immigration beliefs? 

Alabama repugican on undocumented immigrants: 'empty the clip, and do what has to be done'

As you might guess, the Alabama repugican now says it was all a big mistake and taken out of context.
More from ThinkProgress.
“The reality is that if you allow illegal immigration to continue in your area you will destroy yourself eventually,” said Beason. “If you don’t believe illegal immigration will destroy a community go and check out parts of Alabama around Arab and Albertville.” [...]
Beason ended his speech by advising repugicans to “empty the clip, and do what has to be done.”

Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

From the Wikileaks File:

US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world's biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%. 

The truth be told


Are wingnuts turning on Glenn Beck?

When it comes to commentary on the Egypt revolt, Glenn Beck is marginalizing himself with his "hysteria," says conservative columnist William Kristol.The Weekly Standard's William Kristol has taken Beck to task for his stance on Egypt.

Some say it's a sign that wingnuts are fed up with Faux News' most demented personality (which is saying something amid the plethora of demented personalities at Faux News).

Sex Scandal Might Nip Boehner's Speakership In The Bud

Two Babes Already Named

Progressives could use some positive political news, and here is the best I've heard in some time: John Boehner's speakership in the U.S. House of Representatives might be short lived.

Boehner has been involved in extramarital affairs with at least two women, according to a new report in the National Enquirer. We don't normally cite supermarket tabloids as primary source material. But the Enquirer was first to write about the John Edwards' infidelity, and the newspaper proved to be right on target. And back in the early '90s, the mainstream press picked up on the Bill Clinton/Gennifer Flowers story after it broke in a tabloid.

In Boehner's case, the Enquirer gets into specifics--and that gives the story a ring of truth:

Capitol Hill insiders and political bloggers have been buzzing about an upcoming New York Times probe--detailing an alleged affair that the 61-year-old married father of two had with pretty Washington lobbyist LISBETH LYONS.

And an ENQUIRER investigation has uncovered a bedroom encounter that Boehner--second in line of succession to the presidency--allegedly had with LEIGH LaMORA, a 46-year-old former press secretary to ex-Colorado Congressman JOEL HEFLEY.

Who is Lisbeth Lyons? Here is her biography from the Printing Industries of America Web site. Here are her duties:

Lisbeth Lyons is the Vice President, Government Affairs for the Printing Industries of America, having joined PIA/GATF in March 2005 as Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, she is responsible for providing direct advocacy before Congress and the Administration on key industry legislative initiatives, as well as for the strategic direction of the organization's grassroots and external outreach activities.

With the somnolent nature of today's mainstream press, there's no telling if this story will gain traction. Mike Stark at StarkReports.com is giving the story serious attention. In fact, Stark contacted Lisbeth Lyons and found her to be not terribly anxious to comment.



In The News

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, is the most common type of male hair loss.

New Jersey court rejects 15-year term for bitten fingertip
A New Jersey appeals court has rejected a 15-year prison sentence for a man convicted of biting off a police officer's fingertip.

Police responded to a home in Chesapeake where a pig was decapitated and the head was left on the pig owner's front porch.

At least three members of a Cleveland jury say the evidence was so thin against a man jailed for weeks in an assault case that they want to give him their juror pay.

Two teenagers have been charged with cattle rustling in three Minnesota counties.

Avoiding New York and boiling your suitcase might not be enough for Londoners to dodge the global bed bug pandemic - they're already here, probably in a hotel, house or cinema near you.

Odds and Sods

The Pacific walrus, hampered by vanishing sea ice in Arctic waters, deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act but must wait in line behind more imperiled animals, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said on Tuesday.

Consumers value safer food more than current analysis suggests
Government regulators could more realistically assess the value of improving food safety if they considered the fact that consumers typically want to avoid getting sick — even if it means they have to pay a little extra for safe…

A British tourist died early Tuesday after she allegedly flew to Philadelphia to get silicone injections into her buttocks.

It was "Ready, Set, Sit!" for dozens of adventurers looking for a new thrill in Bellechester, Minnesota over the weekend.

An immigrant who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand is the winner of a $1 million Iowa Lottery scratch-ticket game.

Bad Cops

Kentucky deputy indicted on wanton endangerment charges

Veteran California deputy faces domestic violence charges

South Carolina deputy convicted of beating handcuffed detainee

Georgia cop is charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes

Former Texas deputy convicted on gun charge

Former Illinois cop arrested for impersonating police officer in California

Ohio police officer, wife arrested for shoplifting

Italian cyclist 'performed stale blood transfusion on himself'

From the "That wasn't your best idea you've ever had" Department:

An Italian cyclist was being treated in the hospital after reportedly giving himself a "stale" blood transfusion.

New blizzard rips across U.S.

A second powerful storm dumps more misery on states already hobbled by record snowfall.

Santa could be Olympic mascot

Russian voters could pick a familiar figure to serve as mascot for the 2014 Sochi winter games.

And you thought you had a bad day


Newborn baby abandoned in toilet at Bi-Lo Center during circus performance

Restroom workers found a newborn infant in a toilet at the Bi-Lo Center in downtown Greenville, SC last night around 11:30 pm when cleaning up after a performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Baily Circus .

According to a WYFF News Channel 4 report, the infant was taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital where it is being treated for hypothermia and is listed in critical condition.

Mother Charged in Baby's Death 53 Years Later

For 50 years, James Klokow had believed what his mother told him; that he was responsible for his baby sister's death.

Since he was 3, Klokow said, he believed that his crying distracted mother Ruby Klokow from looking after his 7-month-old sister, Jeaneen.

If not for him, he was told his whole life, his mother would have kept the infant from falling off a sofa, smashing her skull and dying instantly.

Swedish girl crushed to death in hospital bed

A six-year-old girl has died after she became trapped in a hospital bed at a health care clinic in western Sweden. Police have launched an investigation into the incident in Sälen on suspicions of manslaughter. The girl was seriously injured and taken to Mora Hospital 90 kilometers east, where she died of her wounds on Monday afternoon.

According to a statement from the Dalarna county council, the accident occurred when the girl was crushed while playing on a so-called hydraulic treatment bed and died from the injuries she suffered. She was not a patient, but was at the health care clinic with a close relative, according to the county council.

"This is a horrible incident and my thoughts obviously go to the girl's relatives in the first place. Now we are doing everything we can to support families and staff at the health center," Karin Stikå-Mjöberg of the county council said in a statement. "Police have launched a preliminary investigation and will also conduct a technical investigation of the hydraulic treatment bed. We will also conduct our own internal investigation," she added.

The girl was at the health center with her older sister, according to Dalarna police. For "unknown reasons," she was crushed on a bed that is regulated by an electric motor, Dalarna police wrote in a statement. When the girl was found, she was unconscious, but showed signs of life and was taken by ambulance to the Mora hospital. She later died of the injuries she sustained.

U.S. special forces frayed

After 10 years at war, the military's elite units are still being deployed at an extremely rapid rate.

In Matters Of Health

Lack of sleep found to be a new risk factor for colon cancer
An inadequate amount of sleep has been associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death.
Now colon cancer can be added to the list.

Income inequalities are increasing the occurence of depression during financial crisis
Due to the recent economic crisis, an increase of health inequalities between socio-economic groups has been noticed in both developed and developing countries.

7 tips to steal from people who never get sick

Colorado Springs school bans kid who takes THC lozenges for neurological condition from attending because of "internal possession"

A teenager in Colorado Springs has been told he cannot attend school after consuming prescription THC lozenges that his doctor has turned to in order to control a rare neurological disorder. His diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus causes seizures that are only controlled by THC, but the school says that consuming the lozenges at home and then attending school violates the school's zero tolerance policy for marijuana, since the child is considered to be in "internal possession" of the banned substance after he takes it. This isn't just stupid, it's scientifically illiterate. Surely, this kid is in possession of the metabolites of marijuana lozenges, not the lozenges themselves.
He was able to return to school in January but as the district would not allow him to possess or consume his prescribed medicine on campus, he transferred to a school closer to home so that he could walk home as needed to take his medicine. After the district's latest salvo was delivered, the teen's father said he spoke with both the district superintendent and the district attorney and that neither were receptive to his arguments that his son needs the medicine to function, does not get high and does not smell like marijuana.
The district has refused to comment to us, other than for a spokesperson to say that the district intends to follow the letter of the law, which is that no student may possess or consume medical marijuana on school grounds.
While we here at Carolina Naturally aren't big fans of drugs (legal or otherwise) this seems to be a bit over the top Draconian on the part of the school.
The medical science is still iffy on this but it is legal so when it comes down to it the school has no leg to stand on.

Cannabis use 'accelerates' mental illness

Australian scientists are warning middle-aged fathers it's not safe to share a joint with their teenage sons, after publishing the strongest evidence yet that cannabis use brings forward the onset of schizophrenia symptoms by nearly three years.

The first super-study to combine the results of more than 80 previous research projects, together involving more than 20,000 patients with schizophrenia, found those who used cannabis experienced their first symptoms an average of 2.7 years earlier than others who avoided the drug.

Although the study does not prove that cannabis causes schizophrenia directly, lead author Matthew Large, of the University of NSW, said the findings were consistent with the theory that the drug at least induced earlier onset, and could cause up to 20 per cent of cases that would not have happened otherwise.

Dr Large, a senior lecturer in psychiatry and psychiatric specialist at Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital, said earlier onset was a critical issue because schizophrenia's effects were far more devastating in the teenage years, when the brain was still developing. "Three years can make a big difference to the developmental milestones you can achieve -- you can complete your education, get a job and get your first partner," Dr Large said.

"A 45-year-old father could smoke cannabis and have a very low extra risk -- but a 15-year-old could have as much as five times the additional risk of developing schizophrenia."

Also, here and here.

It's all in the Mind

Thoughts of hopes, opportunities keep people from clinging to failing investments
It’s a common problem in the business world — throwing good money after bad.
People cling to bad investments, hoping that more time, effort, and money will rescue their turkey of a project.

Planet Earth

MU researcher says the next large central US earthquake may not be in New Madrid
This December marks the bicentennial of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, which are the biggest earthquakes known to have occurred in the central U.S.

Now, based on the earthquake record in China ...

Excerpts from Letters to Landlords

The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is cleared.

I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfires and burnt my knob off.

This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door.

The toilet seat is cracked: where do I stand?

I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall.

I request your permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.

The person next door has a large erection in his back garden, which is unsightly and dangerous.

Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk? Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant.

Our kitchen floor is very damp, we have two children and would like a third, so will you please send someone to do something about it.

Will you please send a man to look at my water? It is a funny color and not fit to drink.

Would you please send a man to repair my downspout? I am an old-age pensioner and need it straight away.

Could you please send someone to fix our bath tap? My wife got her toe stuck in it and it is very uncomfortable for us.

I want to complain about the farmer across the road. Every morning at 5:30 his cock wakes me up, and it is getting too much.

When the workmen were here, they put their tools in my wife's new drawers and made a mess. Please send men with clean tools to finish the job and keep my wife happy.

US Gov Announces $50.5 Million Offshore Wind Plan

And the federal invest-a-thon in clean technologies continues -- first a smidgen for solar, then a huge boost for high speed rail, and now, a decent investment in offshore wind. The Obama administration announced plans to sink $50.5 million into research and development for offshore wind power over the next five years, as well as outlined sites for future farms. The aim is to create 10 gigawatts of capacity by 2020 -- here's how they're planning on doing it:

On The Job

Five unemployed workers for each job opening
So how many job creation bills have the repugicans introduced so far this year? Hint: It is less than 1.
Feeling cramped at work? It's not in your mind — workers' personal space is shrinking.  
The top-ranked locations are generally snow-free, but that's not the only thing they have in common.  

Four reasons to e-file taxes

Using software instead of snail mail can help you save time and avoid errors. 

Backlash over 'widows' tax'

A bizarre twist in the law leaves thousands of war widows in the lurch — unless they do one thing.  

Mortgage goofs to avoid

There’s often a big catch with loans whose payments seem enticingly low.  

The 79.9 percent credit card

Thousands of people signed up for the exorbitant card that targeted one type of customer.  

High cost of hitting potholes

Winter storms turn streets into bumpy minefields that can cause thousands of dollars in damage.  



World's most expensive bed

The Baldacchino Supreme is a feat of furniture making, with a staggering price. 

Scientific Minds Want To Know

Could the Higgs Be Hiding in Graphene?
Pop quiz: what does a sheet of two-dimensional carbon have in common with the early state of the universe?  

A Six-Pack of Planets Defies Conventional Wisdom
This latest finding from the Kepler Space Observatory shows that nothing is the "norm" among stellar systems.   

Thundersnow: Ultimate Storm Recorded by NASA
A rare thundersnow event was recorded by NASA instruments, showing lightning traveled for 50 miles in low clouds.

Juana Ines de la Cruz

DNA Tests Hope to Identify Remains of the Americas First Woman Poet & Playwright Senora Juana Ines de la Cruz
Mexico's is hoping to be able to give Sr Juana Ines de la Cruz, considered the most important woman poet/playwright of the Spanish language a proper resting place by conducting DNA tests on remains believed to be hers.

Rare Book

Official Nazi Graphic Design Standards

Steve Heller, a professor of design at the School of the Visual Arts in New York City, found an extremely rare book from Nazi Germany. It’s an official rule and regulations book for the Nazi Party and contains extensive descriptions of graphic design standards:
Published in 1936, The Organizationsbuch der NSDAP (with subsequent annual editions), detailed all aspects of party bureaucracy, typeset tightly in German Blackletter. What interested me, however, were the over 70 full-page, full-color plates (on heavy paper) that provide examples of virtually every Nazi flag, insignia, patterns for official Nazi Party office signs, special armbands for the Reichsparteitag (Reichs Party Day), and Honor Badges. The book “over-explains the obvious” and leaves no Nazi Party organization question, regardless of how minute, unanswered.

Peru's trip-inducing temples

 News 2011 February Images Conch Kolar Banner
Stanford University achaeologists and acousticians are studying the three-millennia old pre-Incan temples underground in Peru's Chavín de Huántar to understand the use of low-tech sound and light, in combination with hallucinogens, to create mystical experiences. Now, Stanford has documented more of that story, focusing on how acousticians are attempting to recreate and listen to sounds that worshippers heard 3,000 years ago.

From Stanford News:
"We have evidence of the manipulation of light; we have acoustic spaces where it seems that they were playing around with sound. We've got evidence of the use of psycho-active drugs," said (anthropologist John) Rick. But what other effects were they using in this very early multimedia show, and why? Was it a kind of mind control using sensory manipulation exercised by the priestly elite?... Since the archaeo-acoustic team's visit to Peru in 2008, CCRMA graduate student and Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship recipient Miriam Kolar, whose dissertation studies the psychoacoustics of Chavín, has been making on-site measurements in the temple complex. She is hoping to recreate "the aural experience of an ancient ceremonial center."
Using sprays of flexible microphones, amplifiers, low distortion speakers, analog-to-digital converters and computer audio interfaces, she measures "how the architecture of these spaces affects auditory perception, which can provide clues about the site's purpose." In her experiments, "participants listen, in the real acoustic context, to sounds that could have been authentic in Chavín times," and then respond to questions about what they hear.
Supplying the support research back at Stanford, Abel explores the "auditory texture of the place" and tries to "quantify the gallery acoustics." He and the rest of the team are in a race against time: Chavín needs conservation work that will forever alter the mysterious acoustics in the sharply twisting passages and underground alcoves.

Archaeological Pictures


The Day That Hero the Dog Became A Hero

This is the story of a dog named Hero.  Hero the dog was a good dog who never barked and loved his family very much. One day the family’s house caught on fire.  Hero barked as loud as he could and woke everyone up.  The family soon discovered their house was on fire. The entire family was able to escape. Hero the dog saved his family.  That day Hero the dog became a true hero.
The best part about the story, however, is that Hero was recently injured and was nearly put to sleep.
Their dog had been hit by a car in recent months and suffered a badly broken leg and other injuries. They were given the option to put her down, but they declined.
“She’s our hero and if we wouldn’t have saved her with her leg, she wouldn’t have saved us today,” Rankin said. “I’m getting her the biggest steak that she can eat and want.”

Stray dog saves boy in Siberia

For many, Russia’s homeless dogs are a sharp-toothed menace, but one mother believes her son owes his life to a local stray. When Andrei Pavlov, 4, fell through the ice while feeding ducks near his Krasnoyarsk home, it was Naida who raised the alarm. The stray saw the accident and her barking alerted a woman who has been feeding dogs in the neighborhood.

“She’s not just a dog,” Tatiyana Balashova said. “She’s not a pure bred, but she’s still very special.” Balashova who usually feeds stray dogs in Krasnoyarsk was the person who reacted to Naida’s alert. “I heard Naida barking on the pond bank, like she was calling for help. She saw me, ran up, looked at me and ran back to the pond…” Balashova quickly realized that a child had fallen into the water and rushed to find help from utility service workers, who were luckily close at hand.

“Because of the fact the boy was taken out of water pretty quickly and due to medics’ professionalism, this story had a happy end for Andrei, without any serious consequences,” Vladimir Fokin, the chief doctor at the hospital Andrei was admitted to, said. The boy has returned to his family after a few days in hospital, and doctors say his health is for now in a satisfactory state. Andrei’s mother, Elena Pavlova, was full of praise for the canine savior.

After spending her whole life on the streets Naida is now enjoying her first permanent home. Even before her rescue act a family had agreed to adopt her and give her a place to live in the village of Koshurnikovo, 500 km from Krasnoyarsk. And once they learned they had a celebrity pet, her new owners promised to give her more freedom than most dogs, and won’t be chaining her up to stop her roaming her new surroundings at will.

Eight Animals Believed To Predict The Weather

Last week Punxsutawney Phil, America's most famous groundhog, predicted an early spring. According to the National Climatic Data Center, Phil has only been correct 39% of the time in 121 years!

Whether the basis for Groundhog's Day is fact or fiction, Phil and his groundhog brethren aren't the only animals humans look to for weather predictions. From frogs to cows, find out which beasts are believed to forecast a coming storm or a hot day.

Mayor Lucy Lou

Lucy Lou became the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky by beating 15 other candidates in the 2008 election. Those candidates included one jackass, one cat, an opossum, and one human. The rest were dogs, including Lucy. She has risen to the demands of her position, in which her duties are mainly to greet people in the tiny unincorporated community.
The election was a heated contest, with the candidates and their factions fighting like, well, cats and dogs.
Money freely and openly changed hands during the balloting. Voters pitched in $1 for each vote they wanted to cast. The poll tax was slated to fund the restoration of a historic church in Rabbit Hash, with more than $22,000 raised for the cause.
“It did what it was supposed to do,’ said Markesbery, who was born and raised in surrounding parts of Boone County. “It made Rabbit Hash highly visible.”
Lucy Lou’s victory was a win for the record books, as she broke through the doghouse glass ceiling. Although she’s the third canine to hold the post since it was created in 1998, she’s the first bitch in the mayor’s office after two male predecessors, Goofy and Junior. She appears to be unaffiliated with any political party, which is no problem in this town where they let sleeping dogs lie.
The sole human running for the office came in next to last, with just two votes.

Animal Pictures