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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 26, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
New beginnings are born every day, usually without you noticing them.
That's probably because until they take a recognizable form, they never seem to matter.
A green plant by the side of the road is just a forgettable weed until it begins to flower and create an intoxicating perfume.
Things change and evolve, and new opportunities grow.
Don't write someone off as uninteresting (or not interested) right away.
You never know how change can create something new -- or new feelings.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Milton, Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Petaling, Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Krasnodar, Krasnodar, Russia

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 Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, February 26, the 57th day of 2011.
There are 308 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is: 
For Pete's Sake Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
February 26, 2011
Washington, DC
Over the last month, I’ve been traveling the country, talking to Americans about how we can out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world. Doing that will require a government that lives within its means, and cuts whatever spending we can afford to do without.  But it will also require investing in our nation’s future – training and educating our workers; increasing our commitment to research and technology; building new roads and bridges, high-speed rail and high-speed internet.

In cities and towns throughout America, I’ve seen the benefits of these investments.  The schools and colleges of Oregon are providing Intel – the state’s largest private employer – with a steady stream of highly-educated workers and engineers.  At Parkville Middle School outside of Baltimore, engineering is the most popular subject, thanks to outstanding teachers who are inspiring students to focus on their math and science skills.

In Wisconsin, a company called Orion is putting hundreds of people to work manufacturing energy-efficient lights in a once-shuttered plant.  And in the small community of Marquette, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, widely accessible high-speed internet has allowed students and entrepreneurs to connect to the global economy.  One small business, a third-generation, family-owned clothing shop called Getz’s is now selling their products online, which has helped them double their workforce and make them one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies in a recent listing.

Each of these places reminds us that investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure are an essential down payment on our future. But they also remind us that the only way we can afford these investments is by getting our fiscal house in order.  Just like any family, we have to live within our means to make room for things we absolutely need.

That’s why I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years – a freeze that would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Just to be clear, that’s lower than it was under the past three administrations, and lower than it was under Ronald Reagan.

Now, putting this budget freeze in place will require tough choices. That’s why I’ve frozen salaries for hardworking civil servants for three years, and proposed cutting programs I care about deeply, like community action programs in low-income neighborhoods. I’m not taking these steps lightly – but I’m taking them because our economic future demands it.

Still, a freeze in annual domestic spending is just a start. If we’re serious about tackling our long-run fiscal challenges, we also need to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in defense spending, spending in Medicare and Medicaid, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

I’m willing to consider any serious ideas to help us reduce the deficit – no matter what party is proposing them. But instead of cutting the investments in education and innovation we need to out-compete the rest of the world, we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction. We all need to be willing to sacrifice, but we can’t sacrifice our future.

Next week, Congress will focus on a short-term budget. For the sake of our people and our economy, we cannot allow gridlock to prevail. Both Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have said they believe it’s important to keep the government running while we work together on a plan to reduce our long-term deficit.

Given that, I urge and expect them to find common ground so we can accelerate, not impede, economic growth. It won’t be easy. There will be plenty of debates and disagreements, and neither party will get everything it wants. Both sides will have to compromise.

That’s what it will take to do what’s right for our country. And I look forward to working with members of both parties to produce a responsible budget that cuts what we can’t afford, sharpens America’s competitive edge in the world, and helps us win the future. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend.

Middle Class Revolution

The truth be told


The rooftop view


New Zealand earthquake toll at 145 dead

Fresh aftershocks sent masonry tumbling among rescuers in New Zealand's quake zone and a cat sparked false alarms Saturday of a possible survivor, as the disaster's death toll rose to 145 with more than 200 missing.

Libya expats' horrifying tales

People fleeing the chaos give horrifying details about their escape and life under Gadhafi's regime.

Turmoil rocks Libya's oil sector

The massive oil terminal at Brega feels strangely deserted for Libya's second-largest hydrocarbon complex.

'Cash-for-organs' horror hoax dupes South Africans

The authorities in South Africa have been duped by a "cash-for-organs" hoax, which turned out to be a publicity stunt for an upcoming horror film. "We pay the best prices for all your body parts and organs," read pamphlets widely circulated in Johannesburg city.

Police were reported to be trying to track down "Dr Uba", who advertised quick and painless same-day procedures. The Health Department also issued a statement of concern before the hoax was revealed on Thursday afternoon.

The flyers advertised Dr Uba's Clinic and directed people to an active website that had gory photos of the procedures. It said Dr Uba was offering 5,000 rand ($700; £432) for a pair of eyes, 2,500 rand for a tongue and testicles could fetch up to 1,600 rand each.

"Stop suffering in silence. Rush to get that cash you need. If not for you, do it for your loved one," the pamphlet said. By Thursday morning, newspapers, social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, and blogs were dominated by news of the surgery that was harvesting human body parts. When it turned out to be a hoax, many people were shocked.

Adopt A Terrorist

For those who have nothing better to do: Adopt-A-Terrorist For Prayer.
This site features FBI and State Department identified terrorists and terrorism sponsors. Terrorism inspires fear. According to Jesus, the antidote to fear is love.
Adopt a terrorist for prayer and register to be tabulated in this spiritual initiative against violence that is sponsored and perpetrated by people who think that they are following God.
Here are two that have been adopted:
Surprisingly, there is no fee to adopt a terrorist. But they accept donations, and they have a store where they sell t-shirts. One customer reports:
Awesome product! Wore the tshirt into a mosque - after the response I got, I have a WHOLE bunch more people to pray for!

New Camera Law?

In Florida: Photographing cows or other farm scenery could land you in jail under Senate bill.
jim norman Taking photographs from the roadside of a sunrise over hay bales near the Suwannee River, horses grazing near Ocala or sunset over citrus groves along the Indian River could land you in jail under a Senate bill filed Monday.
SB 1246 by Sen. Jim Norman, retard-Tampa, would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without first obtaining written permission from the owner. A farm is defined as any land "cultivated for the purpose of agricultural production, the raising and breeding of domestic animals or the storage of a commodity."
Media law experts say the ban would violate freedoms protected in the U. S. Constitution. But Wilton Simpson, a farmer who lives in Norman's district, said the bill is needed to protect the property rights of farmers and the "intellectual property" involving farm operations.
Simpson, president of Simpson Farms near Dade City, said the law would prevent people from posing as farmworkers so that they can secretly film agricultural operations.
How often have you been a victim of such photography, Mr. Simpson?
He said he could not name an instance in which that happened. But animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Animal Freedom display undercover videos on their web sites to make their case that livestock farming and meat consumption are cruel.
Senator Jim Norman is shown here, trying to think up some other frivolous law to keep him occupied.

Some days you feel like Charlie Brown

Well, that's one way to crack a Pistachio nut.

Sunsets Of Sevastopol

Sevastopol 7
Sevastopol is a Crimean town of great natural beauty and historical importance. Umm, and have a look at these sunsets.

Chess Games Converted into Musical Notation, Then Played

Jonathan W. Stokes observed:
One can’t help but notice that algebraic chess notation maps almost perfectly to scientific pitch notation…
So he devised a means of expressing chess moves musically and then converted several famous chess games into piano compositions. Here, for example, is a 1858 game in which Paul Morphy defeated Duke Karl of Brunswick and Count Isouard.

Billboard replaced after clothes painted on nude Venus

A billboard for a Minneapolis museum has been replaced after someone spray-painted clothing and the word "Brrr!" in red over its depiction of nudity from a 16th-century Venus painting.

The advertisement is for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' exhibition of works by the Italian master Titian. The museum chose to feature the famous "Venus Rising from the Sea" painting on the billboard because "it's very typical of paintings in the show," said MIA spokeswoman Anne-Marie Wagener.

The graffiti was discovered on a billboard in Long Lake, a western suburb, last week. None of the other Minneapolis area billboards advertising the show have been damaged. The one that was vandalized has been restored to its previous condition, despite objections from museum officials. "We said 'We think it's funny, just leave it, don't bother replacing it,'" Wagener said on Thursday.

But she said Clear Channel Outdoor, the company that owns the billboard, has a policy that ads with graffiti must be taken down so as not to encourage vandalism. The museum has fielded about 10 calls from angry passers-by who said they weren't comfortable seeing nudity outside of the museum, said MIA marketing director Kristin Prestegaard. Some people said it forced them to talk to their children about nudity in art, a conversation they weren't ready to have.

Are You Giving Away Your Password On Facebook?

While most Facebook users are smart enough not to post secret passwords online, many compromise the security of their identity without ever realizing it.

Homeless Man Finds Daughter Through Twitter

A New York City homeless man has been reunited with his daughter after 11 years, thanks to Twitter.

How shopping habits changed

Americans now shop smarter and find ways to get more out of what they own.  

Wizard of Id


Bilingualism good for the brain

Does being bilingual give young children a mental edge, or does it delay their learning?
It depends on who you ask.

How to awaken all 5 senses

How to awaken all 5 senses

Lose Weight by Thinking Negatively

As anyone who’s ever tried to stick to a diet knows, it’s hard work!

But why is changing the way we eat so difficult if we know, rationally, that it’s good for us?

Culinary DeLites

Panera Bread's ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on whole grain will fill you up.  
Are you one of the millions of middle-aged Americans who resolved to improve your health this year, through diet, exercise or other lifestyle changes?

If so, you know that it's not easy to change old habits - especially the salty, sugary and fatty ones that taste so good.

Shoppers wary of genetically engineered foods find they're everywhere

You may not want to eat genetically engineered foods.

Chances are, you are eating them anyway.



When you live with your organizational opposite

When you live with your organizational opposite  

Tips for keeping your cool

Furious? Tips for keeping your cool 
Tips for keeping your cool

The simple solution to back pain

The simple solution to back painStop popping ibuprofen.

Hold off on that massage.

Putting an end to back pain could be as easy as standing up once in a while.

Here are 10 ways to make sure you get off your seat.

Six Good Things a Little Snooze Can Do

6 Good Things a Little Snooze Can Do Your office may not have a literal "rest" room yet, but your employer might be smart to create one, as Nike and Google have.

Studies show that a quick afternoon power nap has major benefits.

There's even an app for the power nap.

Here's how to get the best from your siesta.

Six Surprising Home Remedies That Actually Work

Does anyone remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding, with the dad who insisted a spritz of Windex was all you needed to cure anything, from pimples to psoriasis?


Windex is hardly a cure-all, but there are other kinds of home remedies that actually do work...

Green Housing


Sprucing up your garden this spring

With spring just a few months away, you may be eager to dust off your gardening gloves and haul out those pruning shears to get your garden ready for planting.

Tree-killing disease found in Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has positively identified the presence of a destructive disease that affects avocado trees and other trees in the laurel family.

Meet Otzi Face to Face

A new illustration of Otzi the Iceman reveals a man with deep-set brown eyes, sunken cheeks and a furrowed face.  

Awesome Pictures


Lucy in the sky IS diamonds

LucyDiamondStarWhiteDwarfFifty light years — that’s about 300,000,000,000,000 (300 quadrillion) miles — away from Earth is Lucy, a former star whose proverbial bulb has burned out.   And Lucy’s core has turned into a diamond.  In this case, the diamond is huge — the largest in the galaxy.  At 10 billion trillion trillion carats — 1 followed by 34 zeroes! — it’s, well, huge beyond imagination.  The largest terrestrial diamond, the Golden Jubilee Diamond, is about 500 carats — a 5, followed by two lonely zeroes.
How’d this happen?
When a star consumes all of its fuel, it burns out, leaving behind a white dwarf — a hot, crystallizing core.  For years, scientists have believed that the core, made mostly of carbon, turns into a diamond, but we have had no evidence supporting that thesis.  That all changed in 2004, when astronomers were able to use gong-like pulsations emanating from Lucy to determine that its core was a really big diamond and developed the model pictured above.

Astronomical News

Baby Planet Birth Spotted for First Time
The discovery shows how material around young stars clump together in the early stages of planetary formation.  

 Star Spits Out Baby Planet
The discovery of a baby gas giant planet orbiting a young, 12 million-year-old star means that these types of planets can form much more quickly than previously thought. Jorge Ribas reports on the finding.  

Space: Star Spits Out Baby Planet

Highest-resolution photo - ever - of the moon

This is actually a mosaic of about 1300 separate images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Wide-Angle Camera — the total size is a whopping 24,000 x 24,000 pixels, producing a resolution of about 145 meters/pixel ...

Over time, as the Moon rotates underneath it, LRO can see the entire surface of the Moon. As it does this, the angle of sunlight changes, so care had to be taken when creating this mosaic to make it appear seamless; otherwise shadows would appear to jump suddenly from point to point. If you look carefully you’ll see where shadows point in different directions, but it still looks pretty natural.

But it’s not: when you see the full Moon from Earth, that means the Sun is shining straight down on the Moon — the Earth is essentially directly between the Moon and Sun. That means you don’t see any shadows on the surface when the Moon is full. Pictures of it taken from Earth look flat in that case, because our eyes and brains look to shadows to sense the topographical relief — the ups and downs in the surface. But this image shows those shadows, making it a unique view of the full Moon ...

But it’s also one of the highest resolution image ever made too! You can appreciate that if you look at the full-res 145 meters/pixel zoom-and-pannable version, which is simply extraordinary... So my advice: take a little time and peruse the zoomable version online, and pretend you’re floating over the lunar surface.
 For full-res and zoomable images, visit Discover.

Images Of A Nano World

Michael Oliveri, a digital media professor from the University of Georgia, likes to snap photos, but not with a camera most photographers use. He prefers the scanning electron microscope.

In his recent project 'Innerspace,' he explores the landscapes of nano-scale worlds where objects are up to 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Striking images of tiny objects

Colorful shots of a ruby-tailed wasp and a human chromosome bring mostly unseen objects to life.

Now we know what killed the Dinosaurs


How a sabretooth cat 'bit down'

Animation of smilodon from the BBC series, Walking With Beasts
The sabretoothed cats killed prey with a deep stabbing bite to the throat

The mystery of how prehistoric sabretoothed cats coped with their oversized teeth has been solved in part by a new analysis of the cats' jaws.
To impale prey with these impressive weapons, the famous sabretoothed cats must have opened their mouths wider than any modern big cat, but it was unclear if their jaw muscles were strong enough to do it.
Now the new analysis reveals that the cats' jaw muscles evolved into a specialised pattern, which allowed them to open their mouths so wide.
Details are reported in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.


(c) John Harold Castano Salazar
Study reveals how bats' teeth are highly specialised and attuned to their diet.

'Walking Cactus' Fossil Reveals Body Armor Evolution

The creature appears to have been the first of its kind to stride on bendable, hard-covered legs.  





Training wild beasts for films

Tricks with marshmallows are just one way to keep a grizzly bear happy on set.  

A Fish that lives on land

The Mudskipper

Astrakhan Fauna

Astrakhan is a perfect place for eco-tourism. One can hardly see such a great variety of birds and animals anywhere else in Russia. Here you can spend a wonderful time fishing and simply admiring the beauty of the Astrakhan nature.

Animal Pictures