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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.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Moving forward too quickly is not wise today.
Too many variables are unknown, and there's a strong erratic energy around you.
If you're considering a delicious travel adventure soon, slow down.
Before you book the flight and buy your new swimsuit, think twice.
Is this the course of action you really want to be taking right now?
If it is, sketch out a plan and finalize all the details before making any type of fiscal or verbal commitment.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Szolnok, Jasz-Nagykon-Szolnok, Hungary
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg City, Russia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Helsinki, Southern Finland, Finland

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 Norwich, Hopkinsville, Poweel, Medford and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, March 10, the 69th day of 2011.
There are 296 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Nametag Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Why worrying may be good

A new study uncovers four surprising behaviors that may have an impact on longevity.

On The Job

Alice Shin gets paid to eat her way across Asia and then blog about it.  

Five ways to get your lousy boss fired

If a manager is making life miserable for you and your coworkers, you can fight back.  

Ain't it the truth


Money tips you should ignore

Avoiding credit cards is unwise, since doing so can make it hard to get a mortgage.  

    World's most underrated cities

    Scotland's Glasgow could well have the best music scene in Great Britain.  

    'Supermoon' sparks debate

    The first event of its kind in 18 years has one astrologer warning of dire scenarios.  

    The Blarney Stone

    It's Ireland's most popular tourist trap, the world's most unhygienic attraction: The Blarney Stone.
    For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.
    Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.
    The place is probably infested with leprechauns.
    For a fun Google image search, try this.

    The Lying Contest

    A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age. The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked, "What are you doing with that dog?"

    One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

    Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why when I was your age, I never told a lie."

    There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said,
    "All right, give him the dog."

    The Joy of Parenting

    Are Parents Just Fooling Themselves?
    Ask most parents and they’ll gush about the joy of having kids or that having children is the best thing they’ve ever done. But if you look deeper, parents with minors who live at home are angrier and more depressed than non-parents … and the more kids they have, the angrier they get!
    So why the disconnect? Are parents simply fooling themselves into thinking that they’re happier with kids than if they were childless?
    The answer is yes, according to psychologists Richard Eibach and Steven Mock.
    The studies tested the hypothesis that “idealizing the emotional rewards of parenting helps parents to rationalize the financial costs of raising children.”
    Their hypothesis comes out of cognitive-dissonance theory, which suggests that people are highly motivated to justify, deny or rationalize to reduce the cognitive discomfort of holding conflicting ideas. Cognitive dissonance explains why our feelings can sometimes be paradoxically worse when something good happens or paradoxically better when something bad happens. For example, in one experiment conducted by a team led by psychologist Joel Cooper of Princeton, participants were asked to write heartless essays opposing funding for the disabled. When these participants were later told they were really compassionate — which should have made them feel better — they actually felt even worse because they had written the essays. (More on Time.com: Five Things for the New Mom Who Has Everything)
    Here’s how cognitive-dissonance theory works when applied to parenting: having kids is an economic and emotional drain. It should make those who have kids feel worse. Instead, parents glorify their lives. They believe that the financial and emotional benefits of having children are significantly higher than they really are.



    Heart Attack Grill under fire

    An irreverent eatery flaunting high-fat food draws criticism after its young spokesman dies.

    Odds and Sods

    He avoided Italian police for a decade on the run, but couldn't resist his wife's lasagna.

    Man cut haircut short to use scissors in stabbing

    A 21-year-old man sitting down for a haircut allegedly grabbed scissors and slashed another in the back on Tuesday in the South End of New Haven, police said. David Davis, of Cedar Hill Avenue, New Haven, was arrested shortly after the incident when Stamford patrol officers and a police dog found him in a nearby Henry Street apartment.

    Officers took him into custody when they initially found he was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court and later charged him in the stabbing after an investigation, Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin said. The victim, identified as a 21-year-old Stamford man, was taken to Stamford Hospital to receive treatment for his wound.

    Davis is being held on $5,000 bond and is due in court March 22. In a statement, police said Davis was getting a haircut at 126 Henry St. when the victim approached in what Davis called an "aggressive manner," so he picked up scissors to protect himself. Davis slashed the man in the back, police said.

    Stamford Police Lt. James Matheny said the victim was wearing a heavy coat when he was stabbed so it was difficult to say whether the wounds were serious. He said there was a considerable amount of blood on the man's clothing.

    Picking up the split


    Muslim theories debunked

    A new study blasts the "simplistic" visual cues used by law enforcement to spot potential threats. 

      Senators' huge exodus

      Four repugicans, three Democrats, and one Independent are already planning to retire.

        Bigfoot filmmaker sues New Hampshire over free speech

        Amateur film-maker Jonathan Doyle is suing the state of New Hampshire after park rangers told him he needed a permit to walk on a mountain dressed as Bigfoot. The 30-year-old artist, who was filming walkers’ reactions to the Bigfoot ‘sightings’, claims the decision violates his freedom of speech. His case has received backing from the American Civil Liberties Union.

        Doyle and a group of friends had traveled to Mount Monadnock on 26 September last year to work on their Bigfoot film when Park Manager Patrick Hummel informed them they needed to buy a $100 permit to proceed. He refused to obey the ranger’s orders, claiming it would disadvantage other artists who want to use the mountain in the future, and instead lodged a complaint with the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union (NHCLU).

        Doyle explained: “What about people who are not professional artists, but who will be and are coming in to their own expression and inspiration by using the mountain? I love and respect our mountain, Mount Monadnock is my favorite mountain but this situation is absurd and uncalled for.”

        Doyle also pointed out that no officials had complained when he made a similar Bigfoot film on the same mountain in 2009. Attorney Barbara Keshan of the NHCLU agreed the group’s First Amendment rights had been violated and lodged a court complaint.

        How Music Industry Greed, Not MP3 or Piracy, Killed the Music CD

        Before MP3, there was the music CD. (Note to our younger readers: ask your parents about it. It’s those shiny round discs that look just like DVDs.)
        Remember those? And remember why you don’t buy them anymore? Well, the music industry would like to attribute demise of the music CD sales to the rise of digital music format and so on, but what is the real reason?
        This interesting report over at NPR All Things Considered explains the rise and fall of the music CD. Turns out, it’s all about greed:
        … At first, executives at the major record labels didn’t like the new format. But they started to come around — thanks in large part to Jac Holzman, [...]
        "The CD was sexy. And it would bring higher prices — from about 8 dollars for cassettes or LPs at the end of the ’70s, to about $15 in the early ’80s," Holzman says. "You could resell your best catalogue again. CDs were lighter and cheaper to ship, which is a big consideration."
        All of that meant giant profits for the music industry in the 1980s and ’90s. "The CD sold so well. And it created this gigantic boom in the industry," says Steve Knopper, the author of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. "And everybody got rich. And people just got incredibly accustomed to this. To the point where in the late ’90s, the only way that you could get the one song that you liked was to buy the 15 to 18 dollar CD at the Tower Records."
        At first, Knopper says, people didn’t mind paying a lot for the new format. "You didn’t hear the outcry at the time of, ‘Hey, we’re getting price-gouged.’ Instead the public was going, ‘this is much better sound.’"
        The record labels promised that the price of CDs would come down eventually. And the discs did get cheaper — to make. But the labels kept retail prices – and profits – high. Jac Holzman says that was a mistake.
        "It’s fine to keep that up for two or three years. But the labels kept it up far too long. And I think it was a fraud on the public, and on the artists."

        Busting Unions For The Election

        Not really surprising, but it's odd that he comes right out and says it: Wisconsin Senate leader admits union-busting bill is about defeating Obama.
        scott fitzgerald State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (reptile), the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, must have forgotten his talking points while appearing on Megyn Kelly's Faux News show. This afternoon he admitted on-air what many liberals have long-suspected: rescinding collective bargaining rights from state workers is Wisconsin is as much about the 2012 presidential election as Wisconsin's 2011 budget shortage.
        As first reported by ThinkProgress, Fitzgerald told Kelly: "If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin."
        Or, this strategy could backfire.
        Meanwhile: Chaos Reigns in Wisconsin as Democrats Prepare to Return.

        MLK Bomb Plotter's Ties to Neo-Nazi Movement

        The man accused in the failed Martin Luther King Day bomb plot in Spokane, Wash., has reported links to the white supremacist movement, including a past membership in a neo-Nazi group.

        Kevin William Harpham, arrested Wednesday and charged with attempting to use a "weapon of mass destruction" in the foiled Jan. 17 plot, appears to have made over 1,000 posts on online forums at the extreme wingnut website Vanguard News Network.

        Rare photos of Hitler's wife

        A private cache confiscated by the U.S. Army sheds new light on the elusive Eva Braun.  

        Color photos of 1906 quake

        Never-seen shots of a shattered San Francisco use a 3-D technique "shocking" for its time. 

        Old 'Wild West' Photos

        The Wild West as it really was rather than how Hollywood has imagined it is revealed in this extraordinary collection of pictures. The grainy photographs, taken in the late 19th century in and around the notorious gold mining town of Deadwood, provide a unique, sepia-toned glimpse of the Wild West.

        The images were published in American papers this week after being released by the U.S. Library of Congress.

        Photographer John C.H. Grabill took pictures of the American West between 1887 and 1892, and sent 188 of those photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Those photographs are now in the public domain, and give us a good look at the people and places of the frontier. The Denver Post published a collection of the pictures, including this portrait of two Ogala chiefs, American Horse and Red Cloud, taken in 1891. The border is printed with “The Grabill Portrait and View Co., Deadwood, S.D. Our company is incorporated under State Laws. Views all copyrighted. Will give a handsome reward for detection of anyone copying our pictures.”

        Wizard of Id


        Iceland Considers Building Undersea Electrical Cable to Sell Geothermal Energy to Europe

        Geothermal energy is plentiful in Iceland, so that nation is considering running an electrical cable under the ocean to Europe to sell its excess electricity. If successful, it’ll be the longest undersea electrical cable in the world:
        Depending on the destination country, the cable would be between 1,200 and 1,900 kilometres (745-1,180 miles) long, making it “the longest sub-sea cable in the world.”
        The project aims for the exportation of some five terawatt-hours (or five billion kilowatt-hours) each year, Jonsdottir said.
        At current power prices in Europe, that corresponds to between 250 and 320 million euros ($350-448 million) in exports annually, and is enough to cover the average annual consumption of 1.25 million European households.

        Mysterious glowing lake

        The combination of fire and flood creates a rare phenomenon in several Australian lakes.



          Upping the cute factor

          Herbie and Jabby have formed a mutual admiration society.

          Ok, if you say so.


          Humans, Apes, Have Similar Aging Patterns

          When it comes to getting older, humans aren't so special after all.
          It turns out their pattern of aging isn't too different from most other primates, such as chimpanzees, monkeys and baboons, new research shows.

          Chicken Empathy

          Mother Hen Feels Chicks Distress
          Ever hear someone being called a mother hen for being worried and overprotective? That expression may turn out to be quite fitting as scientists have now discovered that a hen shows empathy if she saw her chicks in distress:
          To simulate this stress, the researchers exposed hens and chicks to puffs of air (as from a keyboard-cleaning canister), causing the birds mild distress without harm or pain.
          The hens, which were separated from the chicks but could see, smell and hear them, paid more attention to their surroundings when the puff of air was directed at them. But when it was directed at their chicks, the mama birds responded more intensely with a stress response equivalent to fight-or-flight behavior: The hens’ heart rates increased and their external temperatures changed (even though the chicks weren’t making distress calls, ruling out the possibility that this was a protective-mom response).
          They also emitted a "maternal vocalization" call, which is used to call their chicks back to them, Edgar told LiveScience. "It also enhances memory formation of the chicks. Then they know what to do in these circumstances if it ever arises again," she said.
          Primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University, who wasn’t involved in the study, called the findings very interesting. "Not only is the mother hen emotionally affected, she also starts calling, which seems an ‘other-oriented’ response. She is trying to change the situation," de Waal said.

          The foundations of empathy are found in the chicken
          Domestic chickens display signs of empathy, the ability to ''feel another's pain'' that is at the heart of compassion, a study has found. The discovery has important implications for the welfare of farm and laboratory animals, say researchers. Empathy, long thought to be a defining human trait, causes one individual to be affected by the emotional state of another.

          Feelings are ''mirrored'' in the observer, leading to a shared experience of being happy, sad or distressed. The research demonstrated that hens possess a fundamental capacity to empathise, at least with their own chicks. Scientists chose hens and chicks for the study because it is thought empathy probably evolved to aid parental care.

          A number of controlled procedures were carried out which involved ruffling the feathers of chicks and mother hens with an air puff. When chicks were exposed to puffs of air, they showed signs of distress that were mirrored by their mothers. The hens' heart rate increased, their eye temperature lowered - a recognised stress sign - and they became increasingly alert. Levels of preening were reduced, and the hens made more clucking noises directed at their chicks.

          Researcher Jo Edgar, from the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, said: ''The extent to which animals are affected by the distress of others is of high relevance to the welfare of farm and laboratory animals. Our research has addressed the fundamental question of whether birds have the capacity to show empathic responses. We found that adult female birds possess at least one of the essential underpinning attributes of 'empathy', the ability to be affected by, and share, the emotional state of another.''

          Unique tortoise has two heads and five legs

          A tortoise has been born in Zilina, Slovakia with two heads and five legs. According to zoologists, the unique case is comparable to what happens when Siamese twins are born.

          The animal, which has been named Magdalena, also has two brains that work independently from each other.

          But having two heads and five legs can be a burden, according to her owner Roman Gresak. He said: "The second head sometimes doesn't allow the tortoise to know where to go".

          Magdalena would not be able to survive in the wild because other tortoises would exclude her from their collective.

          Animal Pictures