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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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
After going through a long period of thinking more objectively, today you will be back on a more self-involved track.
Don't worry about coming off as being too ego-maniacal.
It's obvious to everyone that you are someone who is considerate and thoughtful.
Plus, you have the charm and finesse necessary to push your own agenda forward without ruffling too many feathers.
You have the energy you need to do something about your problems, and today you'll be able to make change happen.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Pesaro, Marche, Italy
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Dusseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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 Warner Robins, Kyle, Franklin, Hammond and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, February 22, the 53rd day of 2011.
There are 312 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
Single Tasking Day
World Thinking Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

New video of JFK discovered

A silent home movie of John F. Kennedy on the eve of his assassination surfaces. 

Anti-Immigrant Vigilante Gets Death Penalty for Murder of 9 yr old Mexican Girl

The leader of an anti-illegal immigrant vigilante group has been given the death penalty for the shooting of a nine-year-old girl and her father in a horrific Arizona home invasion.
There is justice in the world after all.
Let's hope they use a rope and throw a necktie party for her.
Now, for the rest of the wingnuts!

The relevance of Bahrain

From NPR:
The tiny island nation of Bahrain plays a big role in America's Middle East strategy. In fact, more than 6,000 U.S. military personnel and contractors are located just five miles from where government security forces violently put down demonstrations this week.

Bahrain is also home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a major logistics hub for the U.S. Navy ships... "It has facilities that can provide support to our ships, including, you know, fuel, water provisions, resupply," retired Rear Adm. Steve Pietropaoli says.

Those facilities have been resupplying warships for nearly a half-century, ever since Great Britain's fleet left the island. Bahrain provided major basing facilities and support for the armada of U.S. Navy ships sent for the first Persian Gulf War in 1990 and the Iraq War in 2003...

So what does Bahrain get out of this relationship besides rent? It receives security guarantees from the United States.

That's just the start. The Bahraini Defense Force sends its personnel to the U.S. for training and it buys high-quality American weapons as well. American military sales to Bahrain have totaled nearly $1.5 billion in the past decade alone.

Those sales include everything from Apache and Cobra attack helicopters to F-16 warplanes, missile launchers and howitzers, plus more than 50 Abrams tanks — some of which now patrol Bahrain's capital of Manama.

Gadhafi's hold on Libya weakens, oh, and don't forget the Fatwa

Deep cracks surface in the leader's regime as security forces clamp down on protesters.
Gaddafi Fatwa
For those who like to keep up with the latest fatwas: Top Muslim cleric calls on soldiers to kill Gaddafi.
Prominent Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi called on Libyan soldiers to shoot leader Muammar Gaddafi dead, issuing a fatwa saying any soldier with the ability should step up "to rid Libya of" the 41-year leader.
"Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr Kadhafi should do so," Qaradawi said on Al-Jazeera television.

Reporters slip into Libya

With Gadhafi's grip on power weakening, journalists are finally able to witness the revolt firsthand.  

China quashes 'Jasmine' revolt

The fallout from an online call to action adds to questions about the regime's vulnerability.  

The true definition of terror


Pirates Kill Americans

Not a happy ending for the pirate story: 4 Americans on hijacked yacht dead off Somalia.
4 dead Four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa were shot and killed by their captors Monday, the U.S. military said, marking the first time U.S. citizens have been killed in a wave of pirate attacks plaguing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for years.
U.S. naval forces, who were trailing the Americans' captured yacht with four warships, quickly boarded the vessel after hearing the gunfire and tried to provide lifesaving care to the Americans, but they died of their wounds, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement from Tampa, Fla.
Two pirates died during the confrontation and 13 were captured and detained, the U.S. Central Command said. The remains of two other pirates who were already dead for some time were also found. The U.S. military didn't state how those two might have died.

Anonymous denies it gave ultimatum to Westboro

We saw a threat purportedly made by hacker group Anonymous against Westboro Baptist Church, and a quick, taunting response from WBC. However, the whole thing was a hoax, perpetrated by WBC for publicity and IP harvesting reasons.
"You thought you could play with Anonymous. You observed our rising notoriety and thought you would exploit our paradigm for your own gain," said the group in a press release. "When Anonymous says we support free speech, we mean it. We count Beatrice Hall among our Anonymous forebears: 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' "
The hacktivist group said that, along with looking for more attention, the Westboro Baptist Church wanted to lure DDoS attackers into a "honeypot."
"They've got their ports wide open to harvest IPs to sue. Don't DDoS, and boycott Operation Westboro," warned Anonymous.
Pity - we were so looking forward to the perverted hate that is this cult being curtailed.

Undercover TSA agent gets through security with gun, again

Feeling safe now?

Remember that this is not the first time and it's likely that there are many more cases that we don't know about. It's a good thing the new budget includes a few hundred million dollars for more porno-scanners. If Washington wants to make a fuss about the budget, maybe they can spend millions on programs that actually work instead of failures like this.

Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators

Ian's, a pizzeria near the Wisconsin state capitol that is sympathetic to the demonstrators, has been facilitating the process of supporters around the world who want to send pizza to the protest. They've fielded an order from Egypt -- now that's solidarity.
The blackboard behind the counter lists the "countries donating" as "Korea, Finland, New Zealand, Egypt, Denmark, Australia, US, Canada, Germany, China, England, Netherlands, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy" and has the abbreviations for all 50 states listed below, with donating states circled.

8 of the repugican Wisconsin state senators causing this trouble are eligible for recall

And I Quote

"Irony of the Week:  Cheney presenting Rumsfeld with the “Defender of the Constitution” award. Seriously. And if that isn’t ironic enough, both Cheney and Rumsfeld were booed by conservatives during the presentation. I’m so confused.”
~ Political Irony    

The repugicans Are Coming, the repugicans Are Coming

  We called'em 'Tories' a-couple-of-hundred years ago

If you are not numbered among the wealthiest five percent of Americans with the distinct prospect of securing 85 percent of your annual income across the length of your retirement, you should be terribly worried. If you don't qualify, the present repugican onslaught is not for you.

Thirty years in the making, the repugicans are bent on evaporating anything that resembles a public good, on curtailing government and most anything government does beyond security and basic services. They are committed to dissolving all regulatory regimes, from financial and banking to environmental conditions and labor standards. They are insisting on swapping out social security support for privatized and self-directed retirement schemes (401(k)'s). They are pushing to dissolve public education and to destroy union representation, especially for public workers such as teachers. And they are working to outsource public functions to private for-profit outfits.

Texas may let kids brings guns to class

How could anything possibly go wrong with this?
Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Repugican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he's in favor of the idea.

Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

What the wingnut assault on women, unions, the environment, health care and PBS is all about

Democratic message guru George Lakoff on Alternet:
Above all, the authority of wingnuttery itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by wingnut values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of wingnuttery must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend wingnut values themselves, the devil's own means can be used again wingnuttery's immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture, or even death, say, for women's doctors. Freedom is defined as being your own strict father - with individual not social responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will of course need a gun.

This is the America that wingnuts really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with wingnut rule in all areas of life.

Slappy nears odd milestone

The stupidest justice hasn't spoken a word in nearly 5 years of oral arguments.  

'Blackest name' in America

A puzzling twist in George Washington's legacy stirs up complex questions about racial identity.  

Unusual signs of better times

The "latte factor" is one indicator that Americans are feeling more confident. 



One in four U.S. counties dying

A near-record number of communities are struggling with a grim phenomenon, figures show.

Gloomy forecast for home prices

A top housing expert predicts that values will plunge for three reasons.

Secrets of credit perfectionists

These folks know that just two factors account for fully two-thirds of their crucial score. 

Don't miss these tax breaks

You get three extra days to fund an IRA, because the IRS pushed back the filing deadline.  

On The Job

You can change people's lives in one field that's expected to grow 28 percent by 2018.
Many supervisors are clueless about what their workers really think of them.  

Helpful Hints

A few simple tricks can extend the life of your mattress, clothes, and vacuum.

Culinary DeLites

Spice up your evening with a flavorful stir-fry of sesame chicken, vegetables, and ginger. 
Women Have Special Dietary Needs

Some guys can wolf down a bag of Doritos and not gain an ounce. But nature usually won't be as forgiving to a woman doing the same thing.

The truth about picky eaters

Parents are not the cause of their kids' fussy food habits, a new study finds.  

Disappearing Languages

Yesterday was UNESCO International Mother Language Day. This is a day to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, and to learn about the world’s languages. National Geographic has an interactive world map highlighting areas where languages are in danger of dying out, as part of their Enduring Voices Project. As it is now, one of the world’s 7,000 languages is gone for good an average of every two weeks.
Language defines a culture, through the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea may not translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost.
Much of what humans know about nature is encoded only in oral languages. Indigenous groups that have interacted closely with the natural world for thousands of years often have profound insights into local lands, plants, animals, and ecosystems—many still undocumented by science. Studying indigenous languages therefore benefits environmental understanding and conservation efforts.

How Much Information Is There In The World?

Think you're overloaded with information? Not even close. A study that appeared in the February issue of Science Express calculated the world's total technological capacity. The researchers calculated that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes (a number with 20 zeroes in it) of information.

Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that's a galaxy of information for every person in the world. On two-way communications technology, such as cell phones, humankind shared 65 exabytes of information through telecommunications in 2007, the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.

In Matters Of Health

Climate change creates longer ragweed season

A changing climate means allergy-causing ragweed pollen has a longer season that extends further north than it did just 16 years ago, U.S. scientists reported on Monday.

Gastric bypass more effective than other procedures, studies find

Less than a week after the Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of Lap-Band weight-loss surgery to 11 million new patients, a pair of studies has found that a different, older procedure is more effective and no riskier than either the Lap-Band or another less-drastic surgery, sleeve gastrectomy.

New brain 'pacemakers'

Tiny "pacemakers" hold promise for patients, if scientists can figure out one key thing.  

Hill Built into Track

Ugh. Today’s run is going to be a little bit harder. This track built last year in Elda, Spain, offers some variety to runners:
Designing an athletic track could get you as bored as when you are runnig on it: curve, straight, curve, straight, again and again… Perfectly standardized, sport architecture has become more universal than international style. We have added to the conventional track an alternative one, amateur and funny, raised and tree-dimensional. It goes off on a tangent, covers the changing rooms and returns to the coventional track.

Wizard of Id


Britain mulls permanent Daylight Saving Time

Britain should permanently wind its clocks forward by one hour, bringing lighter evenings to woo more vacationers to the U.K, tourism officials said Monday.

Coca-Cola Causes Mental Anguish

They should have stuck with the Mecca Cola: Israeli sues Coca Cola for containing alcohol.
mecca cola An Israeli Muslim filed a NIS 1.2 billion class action suit against The Central Bottling Company Group Ltd. (the Israel franchisee for Coca Cola) in the Jerusalem District Court today for compensation for mental anguish and infringing the independent choices of the individual.
The plaintiff, an Israeli Muslim, filed the suit following publication on the web last week of what is apparently the secret recipe of Coca Cola, and which allegedly contains alcohol. The class action suit was filed by Advs. Hani Tannus, Ofir Cohen, and Mahmud Machjana.
Alcohol is forbidden by Islam, and the plaintiff cites he has been unwittingly drinking alcohol for years. He therefore claims Coca Cola is guilty of misleading consumers, infringing the independent choices of the individual, and causing huge mental anguish.

Hondurans who light up at home risk arrest

From the "You say that like it's a bad thing" Department:

The last refuge is vanishing for besieged smokers - at least in Honduras.
A new law says family members can call in the police on people who smoke at home.

Romanian con man found working as TV anchor

Con man Viorel Plescan has finally been arrested after a decade on the run despite becoming a well-known face after getting a job as a TV show anchorman.

Plescan, 35, went on the run in 2001 and managed to escape capture by getting married abroad, and then adopting his wife's name to become Viorel Andrei.

He was arrested when Romanian police investigating a minor traffic offence linked Viorel Andrei to the on-the-run Viorel Plescan - and discovered to their amazement he was the anchorman on a prime time TV programme.

He was wanted by police in Galati over cheque fraud but fled to Piatra-Neamt, a town 250km away. He must now serve eight years in jail for the conviction he got in 2001. In addition, police are now investigating him for using a false identity.

Man shot dead in Latvian cinema for eating popcorn too loudly

A man was shot dead at a Latvian cinema after eating his popcorn too loudly during a screen of Black Swan.

Police said they had arrested a 27-year-old man suspected of shooting a 42-year-old fellow audience member who later died of his wounds. The conflict took place as the credits rolled during a screen of the Oscar-nominated film "Black Swan", according to police in the Baltic state.

Witnesses said that it arose over how loudly the deceased man was eating his popcorn. Gun-crime is relatively rare in Latvia, a European Union nation of 2.2 million.

The shooting occurred on Saturday evening in the central multiplex cinema in the Latvian capital, Riga, at the end of the psychological thriller about a ballet dancer who loses her mind succumbing to pressure to perform.

Awesome Pictures


It's Really, Really Unlikely that Climate Change is "Naturally Occurring"

This is probably the most commonly offered rejoinder to the scientifically observed phenomenon of global climate change. Well, sure, temperatures are rising around the world, and last decade was determined by NASA, NOAA, and a number of the world's other top tier scientific institutions to be the hottest ever. But how do we know it's man's fault? Couldn't it be a natural process, like sun spots, or a naturally-occurring increase of cloud cover or something, that's causing the warming of the world? The short answer is: Nope.
Article continues: It's Really, Really Unlikely that Climate Change is "Naturally Occurring"


A magnitude-6.2 earthquake rattled the east coast of Russia near the Kamchatka Peninsula, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Sunday.

Quake In Baja California Rattles San Diego
A moderate earthquake south of the border shook parts of San Diego, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck in waters south of Fiji. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning has been issued.
Could be that Ma Nature is trying to tell us something ...

Powerful quake in New Zealand

The country's prime minister gives a grim assessment after a 6.3-magnitude quake.

Milky Way over Switzerland

This magnificent photo taken in Switzerland shows the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy across the heavens. This small size really doesn’t do it justice; click on the link to view a much larger image. Hovering over the photo at the link will also point out major star clusters and nebulae.

Stone Guards Of Taimyr

Taimyr peninsula seems to be heaven for adventurous raftsmen. The rafts carry the travelers down the river past fantastic landscapes and nosy deers.

Underwater Ordynskaya Cave

Ordynskaya Cave is located near Orda village in the Perm Region. It is the most extended underwater cave in Russia, the second in Eurasia (with regards to its length) and the world's greatest gypsum cave. Let’s imagine ourselves in the place of professional divers and explore this fantastic cave.

The Snow-White Desert Of Argentina

Salinas Grandes
The Salinas Grandes is a salt desert in the Córdoba and Santiago del Estero provinces of the Sierras de Córdoba in Argentina. It covers an area of 3,200 mi². It's of industrial importance for its sodium and potassium mines. Recently the salt flats have been explored for the lithium brine beneath its salt.

It's a beautiful landscape tp look at but the first impression is deceptive. The temperature in the Argentine salt desert can reach a temperature of 45 ºC (113 ºF) on some days.



Flight of the Bumblebee


New Species Of Seahorse Found

A new species of seahorse has been discovered more than fifteen years after the tiny specimen was put on display in a museum. The animal was caught in 1995 in waters off south-western Australia and taken to a local museum. But it went unnoticed until 2006 when a staff member realised it was unusual.

Scientists examined it closely and after performing a CT scan concluded it was a type of seahorse previously unknown to science. The animal, which is just a few millimetres long, is unlike any other variety because it doesn't have a dorsal fin. It has been named Hippocampus paradoxus.