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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The heavens have gifted us all right now with the ability to help us let our emotions show, without shame, embarrassment or shyness.
In your case, since you're also being helped along the road toward a great career by other equally potent allies, you've got a great team on your side.
Better plan on using it to its fullest.
That means no wasting time on anyone who won't be willing to hear about how you really feel.
Let whoever you're with know that they're special -- and how special.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic

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 Puyallup, La Crosse, Honolulu, Tampa and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, March 14, the 73rd day of 2011.
There are 292 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Napping Day
Potato Chips Day
Pi Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

And I Quote


While the world focuses on the horror in Japan, Gaddafi is slaughtering the people of Lybia

Time was running out for Libya's revolution last night as Muammar Gaddafi's forces routed rebels in the east of the country, driving them into retreat from the town of Brega under a rain of rockets and shells, and opening up the road to the principal opposition stronghold, Benghazi.

With western countries paralyzed by disagreements over military intervention, the exhausted and terrified rebel army piled into pickup trucks with machine-guns mounted on the back or towing anti-aircraft guns and raced away from a sustained assault by rocket launchers and artillery to which they were ill equipped to respond.

Man Floating On Roof Rescued In Japan

Troops have rescued a 60-year-old man who floated out to sea on the roof of his home when a tsunami engulfed Japan's coast following the massive earthquake.

Wall of water slams city

Eyewitness footage captures a black tsunami wave crashing through the streets of Miyako, Japan.  

Thousands dead in Japan - death toll may top 10,000

A grim discovery along the coast fuels growing anxiety as millions struggle with quake's aftermath.

The country faces its "worst crisis" since WWII, as millions go without food and water.  

    Quake's blow to Japan economy

    Production slowdowns and possible tax hikes could pummel Japanese firms and households.  

    Explosion rocks nuclear plant

    While Japanese officials downplay the radiation risk, U.S. Navy ships are pulled away from shore.  

    Nuclear fuel rods exposed

    The threat of a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant looms as fuel rods are fully exposed again.

    Satellite photos show damage

    Satellite photos of Japan's shattered northeast coast capture the immense destruction.  

      Awesome Pictures


      Polish political party calls for removal of cross from public buildings

      A new Polish political party has ruffled conservative feathers in the Catholic country with a campaign to have the cross ousted from public buildings.

      The World's Oldest Spaceport

      The Baikonur Cosmodrome

      There are, to be frank, not many spaceports on the planet as of 2011. Of the thirty or so only six of them have sent people in to space. Four of those are located in the US, another in China and the sixth and oldest is to be found in Kazakhstan.

      It is known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome and as well as being the oldest it is also the largest spaceport in the world. It has quite a remarkable history. Still in operation, it has seen huge political change in its time and is set to function as a space port until at least 2050.

      Non Sequitur


      The TSA lied

       They are keeping some of those body scans
      Are we surprised?

      Department of Homeland Security sued for storing full body scanner images

      * November 6th, 2010 2:10 am PT

      We’ve all been told that the whole body scanners are being implemented for our own good. We’ve been assured that our misapprehensions were unfounded. Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that it has been likened it to a virtual strip search. Technologies vary, with millimeter wave systems capturing fuzzier images, and backscatter X-ray machines able to show precise anatomical detail.

      During Department of Homeland Security hearings, Janet Napolitano assured the Congress (and this writer who was present at the hearing) that all images collected by the full body scanners are not stored, cannot be stored and are discarded as soon as they're viewed. Just last summer the Transportation Security Administration claimed that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded." Privacy advocates (including yours truly) cried foul. Turns out, they were right. Yet again we’ve been lied to by the government. Of course, as usual, the official take is that we were bamboozled for our own good.

      Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the United States Marshals Service to obtain information about the agency's use of full body scanners for courthouse security. EPIC pursued the case in federal court, EPIC v. Department of Justice, Case No. 10-1157.

      EPIC lawsuit against the Department of Justice
      In the course of that litigation, EPIC has obtained an admission by the agency that a single machine has stored "approximately 35,314 images" of the full body scans of courthouse visitors over a six month period. It turns out that the U.S. Marshals Service had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse. EPIC also obtained a representative sample of the images stored by the devices.

      Bank of America mortgage fraud in first wave of Anonymous data dump on banks Continue reading on Examiner.com: Bank of America mortgage fraud in first wave of Anonymous data dump on banks

      Kenneth Schortgen Jr writing over at examiner.com has this piece:

      A data dump of information and fraud regarding Bank of America, and many of the companies and subsidiaries that BAC purchased and collaborated with to deal with mortgage agreements, has been posted by the hacker group Anonymous this evening.  This news comes from an internal letter from Balboa Insurance, regarding themselves and Countrywide in their efforts to hide foreclosure information from Federal auditors.
      The following is a raw data disclosure, courtesy of Shenandoah on March 13th from the hacker group, Anonymous.
      Balboa Insurance Group, and it’s largest competitor, the market leader Assurant, is in the business of insurance tracking and Force Placed Insurance (aka Lender Placed Insurance, FOH, LPI, etc). What this means is that when you sign your name on the dotted line for your loan, the lienholder has certain insurance requirements that must be met for the life of the lien. Your lender (including, amongst others, GMAC, Aurora Loan Services [a subsidiary of Lehman Bros Holdings], IndyMac Federal Bank [a subsidiary of OneWest Bank], Saxon, HSBC, PennyMac [a collection agency started by former Countrywide Home Loans executive Stan Kurland after CHL and Balboa were sold to BAC], Downey Savings and Loans, Financial Freedom, Select Portfolio Services, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, and the now former owners of Balboa Insurance themselves…Bank of America) then outsources the tracking of your loan with them to a company like Balboa Insurance.
      Balboa makes some money by charging these companies to track your insurance (the payment of which is factored into your loan). If you do not meet the minimum insurance requirements set by your lienholder, Balboa Insurance places a force placed insurance policy on your loan. You are sent a letter telling you that you do not have insurance, and your escrow account is then adjusted for the inflated premium of a full coverage policy placed by Balboa’s insurance tracking group, run by Steven Ramsthel, Sr Vice President of Loan Tracking Operations & Customer Care at Balboa Insurance Group.
      As you can see by the detailed information, the banks, mortgage brokers, and insurance providers all had knowledge of a scheme to cancel your insurance agreements, and force homeowners to buy contracts that were well above normal insurance requirements.
      In doing so, the fraud was perpetuated when homeowners were unable to pay the new monthly payments, or were ignorant to the changes in their original agreements.  Failing in payments set off actions such as higher interest rates, and in many cases, foreclosure proceedings.
      This disclosure by the hacker group Anonymous appears to be just the first of many that are set to begin now in operation Empire State Rebellion.  Bank of America's knowledge of fraud, and their subsequent purchase of companies that perpetuated fraud against homeowners, should set in motion a new investigation into the banks dealings over the past three years, and bring more turmoil to the foreclosure debate

      New Hampshire repugican agrees with Hitler

      Says 'defective people' should be sent to Siberia to die

      And yet another step backwards for humanity thanks to the modern repugican party.
      In an interview and in an e-mail Omand sent to her friends, Omand said she called Harty, who represents her district, to tell him her concerns about the House Finance Committee's proposed cuts to mental health services. Omand said Harty said he disagreed with her and made the comments about eugenics.

      Omand says Harty then stated, "I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population."

      Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, "Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it)."

      Harty told the Monitor he was "just kidding" about Siberia. He denied making the comment about Hitler and said it was Omand who brought up Hitler.

      The Abusive Cult Of Fred Phelps

      The sociopathy extends outward and inward, as one son who escaped the nightmare, explains.

      Nate Phelps, the son of Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Cult (WBC), is offering a different and horrifying perspective of the controversial cult and it's anti-gay leader.

      Tell the truth ... get sued

      From the "Un-fucking-believable" Department:
      Further proof that dishonesty is the new norm.
      $60k damages awarded against blogger who reported truth

      A blogger must pay $60,000 after reporting a link between a local community leader and mortgage fraud. From the Star Tribune:
      The jury awarded [Jerry] Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress. The civil verdict culminated a nearly two-year legal scuffle between John Hoff, whose blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, has 300 to 500 readers daily, and Moore, former director of the Jordan Area Community Council.
      Because the story was true, according to the Star Tribune, Moore (who was fired after the report) sued not for libel but for 'meddling' in his employment.
      Here's to hoping his employment is never 'meddled' with again being that he remains unemployed as the ass should be.



      On The Job

      Many flexible careers let you work from home, set your own hours, and spend more time with family.

      Top-paid U.S. government jobs

      The person who oversees the U.S. mail draws a bigger salary than Hillary Clinton's $186,600.  

      When to take Social Security?

      Some boomers are bucking conventional wisdom and claiming their retirement benefits early.

      Figuring out your tax bracket

      Knowing what percentage of earnings you're liable to pay will help with crucial financial decisions.

        Why Your Skin Turns Pruny But Doesn't Dissolve After Soaking in Water

        Everyone knows that if you swim or soak in a tub for a long time, your skin turn all pruny but have you ever considered how the skin doesn’t simply dissolve? It’s all in the keratin:
        After a period in water the outer layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) expands, producing prune-like wrinkles. Earlier researchers suggested the stratum corneum expands as it absorbs water, but no one had yet explained why skin doesn’t fall apart when it has expanded.
        Keratin is known to prevent evaporation from the skin and to absorb water to help keep the skin hydrated. The stratum corneum layer also gives the skin its stretchy properties and the ability to spring back.
        Using computer modeling Evans approached the question from a geometric point of view to try to explain why skin maintains its structural rigidity after long exposure to water. She said the outer layer of skin contains a three-dimensional pattern of keratin fibers woven together to form a structure capable of acting like a sponge.

        The fibers are helical when dry but straighten out as water is absorbed, which allows the network to hold a greater volume of water. All the contacts between the keratin fibers remain intact throughout the expansion, and this makes the material structurally stable, Evans said.

        Helpful Hints

        Removing the plastic on dry cleaning right away helps cut back on static. 

        Culinary DeLites

        Pasta tossed with sauteed asparagus and summer squash is flavorful and healthy. 
        Good cooks know that a bigger knife doesn't necessarily mean a better one.

          Hotter Weather has Peach Crop Ahead of Schedule

          Farmers say the recent balmy weather across northern South Carolina has peach trees blooming much earlier than normal.

          Amateur Weatherman's Stunning Pictures

          For many, it is a hobby that would require far too much patience. But Kris Dutson from Compton Valence waits for hours just to capture the perfect images of storm clouds breaking. He has spent ten years scouting out the ideal locations across Britain to capture the most astonishing atmospheric shots on his camera as rain falls.

          He carries meteorological charts and a sun compass with him and will patiently wait for clouds to break before capturing the perfect shot. He sometimes waits for months on end before returning to a particular spot at the right time of year to catch astonishing images.

          Cloning giant, ancient trees

          An organization is planting copies of ancient trees all around the world.

            Ten Amazing 'Above-Water' Shipwrecks


            The world's oceans are abound with shipwrecks and a multitude of other nautical artifacts. Lurking deep beneath the waves of the planet's most inhospitable waters are some of history's most grand and feared ships, presenting divers with a fascinating incarnation of a bygone age.

            But what about those among us who don't scuba dive? Here are 10 corroding old vessels that can be seen clearly from the relative safety of terra firma.

            Lost City of Atlantis Found At Last?

            Swamped by Age-Old Tsunami

            "This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters. "It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.



            The Ant and the Aardvark

            They don't make like this anymore.

            Endangered Hawaiian Sea Turtles Surfing

            honu flying intro photo
            Clark Little, the surfer-turned-photographer behind The Most Beautiful Waves...Ever is back -- this time he captures the secret lives of Hawaiian green sea turtles in stunning, underwater photos that earned him an Windland Smith Rice International Award for nature photography.
            stunning up close images of endangered hawaiian green sea turtles slideshow
            Article continues: Endangered Hawaiian Sea Turtles Surfing, in Stunning Underwater Photos 

            Great White Sharks Disappearing Into Soup Bowls?

            great white shark photo
            Image via QUEST video
            Great white sharks are still a complete mystery, and yet we know that they are also falling victim to shark finning. A recent census -- the first for white sharks -- found far fewer individuals than the scientists expected to count. Could these apex predators of the sea be disappearing before we've even been able to understand them. The incredible short documentary by QUEST (click through to watch) lays out how much we know, and how much we have yet to learn about white sharks. And the more we know, the more we will be able to protect them from an industry that is collapsing shark populations worldwide at a rate biologists are stunned could ever be possible.
            Article continues: Ocean Film Fest 2011: Great White Sharks Disappearing Into Soup Bowls? (Video)

            Life size model of a Blue Whale's heart

            A blue whale's tongue weighs around 2.7 metric tons (3.0 short tons) and, when fully expanded, its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 metric tons (99 short tons) of food and water. Despite the size of its mouth, the dimensions of its throat are such that a blue whale cannot swallow an object wider than a beach ball.

            Its heart weighs 600 kilograms (1,300 lb) and is the largest known in any animal. A blue whale's aorta is about 23 centimeters (9.1 in) in diameter. During the first seven months of its life, a blue whale calf drinks approximately 400 litres (100 U.S. gallons) of milk every day. Blue whale calves gain weight quickly, as much as 90 kilograms (200 lb) every 24 hours. Even at birth, they weigh up to 2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb)—the same as a fully grown hippopotamus.

            You ever get the feeling your not in Kansas anymore?

            Can you say Sushi?

            Well-Endowed Frog Bounces Back in California Forest

            photo frog not tail but penis
            Photo Credit: Larry Serpa/The Nature Conservancy
            This is the coastal tailed frog, but that's not Mr. Frog's tail dragging on the ground. It's his cloaca --- essentially a big ol' amphibian penis. The point? A number of the frogs have been found in the last couple of years in the Garcia River Forest --- 21 miles south of their known range on the California Pacific Coast. An aquatic biologist says the find is a testament to the improving health of the watershed, which has suffered from intensive logging in past decades. In this case, (population) size does matter.

            Animal Pictures