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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 17, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It won't take much arm-twisting to talk you into a little recreation now -- yes, even though you may need to get up tomorrow, and even though you're ordinarily the very soul of responsibility.
It will take even less strong-arming if you happen to be at the mercy of someone you find absolutely delightful, however -- and if they're someone who's made it clear that they're just dying for a few quality hours alone with you.
Oh, go ahead, and don't feel guilty.
You're due.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Perth, Western, Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Malmo, Skane Lan, Sweden
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Merida, Yucatan, mexico
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
London, England, United Kingdom
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom

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 Gowrie, Boise, Haverhill, Galt and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, March 17, the 76th day of 2011.
There are 289 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.
But it is St Patrick's Day 
- so - 
Beannachtaí Na Féile Pádraig Oraibh 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Irish Whiskey

Two Irishmen, Patrick Murphy and Shawn O'Brian grew up together and were lifelong friends. But alas, Patrick developed cancer, and was dying. While on his deathbed, Patrick called to his buddy, Shawn, "O'Brian, come 'ere. I 'ave a request for ye." Shawn walked to his friend's bedside and kneels.

"Shawny ole boy, we've been friends all our lives, and now I'm leaving 'ere. I 'ave one last request fir ye to do."

O'Brian burst into tears, "Anything Patrick, anything ye wish. It's done."

"Well, under me bed is a box containing a bottle of the finest whiskey in all of Ireland. Bottled the year I was born it was. After I die, and they plant me in the ground, I want you to pour that fine whiskey over me grave so it might soak into me bones and I'll be able to enjoy it for all eternity."

O'Brian was overcome by the beauty and in the true Irish spirit of his friend's request, he asked, "Aye, tis a fine thing you ask of me, and I will pour the whiskey. But, might I strain it through me kidneys first?"

Wizard of Id


American Pronunciations of English Words Not Thriving in the British Isles

A study by the British Library revealed that despite concerns to the contrary, Britons have not begun adopting the American pronunciation for English words. In fact, British English is changing at a faster rate than American English. Jonnie Robinson, one of the researchers, said:
‘In fact, in some cases it is the other way around. British English, for whatever reason, is innovating and changing while American English remains very conservative and traditional in its speech patterns.’
Here’s how Robinson and his colleagues conducted the study of 10,000 English speakers:
The volunteers were asked to read extracts from Mr Tickle, one of the series of Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves.
They were also asked to pronounce a set of six different words which included ‘controversy’, ‘garage’, ‘scone’, ‘neither’, ‘attitude’ and ‘schedule’.
Linguists then examined the recordings made by 60 of the British and Irish participants and 60 of their counterparts from the U.S. and Canada.

Random Celebrity Photo

Jennifer Aniston at 3

The Biggest Aircraft In The World

AN-225 “MRIA”

AN-225 “MRIA” (from Ukrainian – “a dream”) is today the biggest and the heaviest aircraft with the highest cargo capacity in the World. This unique cargo plane was constructed in the 80′s by the Antonov’s Development Laboratory. Its length is 84 m, height – 18 m, total cargo capacity – 250 tons. Currently there is only one operative AN-225, and it belongs to a Ukrainian air company.

Carbon-fiber guitar debuts

The pint-sized instrument's space-age design makes it loud and virtually indestructible. 

    Just a bit off

    What year is it? 
    To one eastern Tennessee man it's 1989. 
    Police say Joseph David Bales was so out of it, he thinks it's '89. 
    Not only was he 22 years off, police say Bales thought he was in town nine miles away.

    Buford, Wyoming Population 1

    Buford was formed in 1866 as military outpost “Fort Sanders”, to protect workers building a railroad. It was once home to 2000 people and the town was named Buford after Civil War general John Buford following the opening.
    When Don Sammons moved to Buford, Wyoming it was a booming metropolis of 7 residents. Today Don is the lone resident of the town. He left Los Angeles in 1980 looking for a quieter lifestyle and it looks like he’s found it in Buford. He runs a gas station and convenience store in this windy town. Sammons sells souvenirs like mugs, hats and postcards and is happy to go home at the end of the day to his isolated mountain top perch. He says he loves the slow pace and never feels lonely.

    Uproar over SAT essay question

    Did a test topic really require familiarity with shows like "Jersey Shore"? 

    Things They Won't Tell You

    The photos on a hotel's website may barely resemble the room you check into. 

      Human Prejudice Has Ancient Evolutionary Roots

      The tendency to perceive others as “us versus them” isn’t exclusively human but appears to be shared by our primate cousins, a new study led by Yale researchers has found.

      In a series of ingenious experiments, Yale researchers led by psychologist Laurie Santos showed that monkeys treat individuals from outside their groups with the same [...]
      Human Prejudice Has Ancient Evolutionary Roots

      Lush Dimbulb the Latest to Mock Japan in Wake of Earthquake

      Lush Dimbulb has become the latest wingnut hate talk show host to mock Japan, despite the devastating earthquake that has killed thousands, left untold numbers homeless and missing, and threatened their nuclear power plants.

      Libyan no-fly zone approved

      The Security Council backs "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from attacks.  

      Video purportedly shows Bahraini protester shot in head point-blank by police

      We have no way to verify this, but it's making the rounds, including Huff Post. The video is posted below the screen shots.

      He was already shot once by the police, and was just standing up again when he got shot a second time, apparently in the head. First pic he's standing up after being shot the first time, second pic you can see the cop in back aiming his gun seemingly at the man's head, third pic he fires in a puff of smoke. Looks like they might be rubber bullets, or they might have been buckshot that they were using on other protesters.


      Violent Struggle Over Illegal Mining in Colombia Forces Hundreds to Flee

      At least 800 ethnic Afro-Colombians have had to flee their homes in western Colombia since the start of the month because of a struggle between armed groups in the mineral-rich area to control illegal mining activities, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

      Judge denies bail for RI Strip Club bouncer in mob case

      Stooge for Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio

      A strip club bouncer accused of taking part in a mob extortion scheme was ordered held without bail Wednesday after a detective described conversations in which he threatened to kill a man and bragged of shooting someone else.

      Richard Bonafiglia, who has a long criminal record -- including violent crimes and bail violations -- poses a danger to the community and to potential witnesses against him, Magistrate Judge David Martin said after hearing the evidence.

      "Conditions of release are meaningless to Mr. Bonafiglia," Martin said. "What really tips the scales is Mr. Bonafiglia's past conduct."

      Bonafiglia, 57, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and extortion conspiracy charges.

      He is named in an indictment that alleges he helped Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio -- the suspected former boss of New England's Patriarca crime family -- keep tabs on his employer, the Cadillac Lounge strip club.

      Manocchio, who was arrested in a major mob sweep in January, has pleaded not guilty to charges he and his associates extorted protection payments, totaling at least several thousand dollars a month, from Rhode Island strip clubs and adult bookstores.

      To bolster the government's case for pre-trial detention, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland called on state police Detective Matthew Moynihan, who worked on the case, to review transcripts of conversations intercepted in 2008 by police surveillance of a Cadillac Lounge office.

      In quotes Moynihan attributed to Bonafiglia, the bouncer brags about acts of violence on several occasions, including what Moynihan said was a deadly shooting that took place in a Rhode Island liquor store in the late 1980s.

      "I shot him twice in the joint. And then he got in the car, and I threw one through the window and the horn went beep," Bonafiglia said, according to the transcript.

      Moynihan said the victim of that shooting died but that Bonafiglia was never charged with the slaying. He said the bouncer also was questioned in 2008 in connection with two other cold case murders.

      Ferland also played a recording of an intercepted conversation from the Cadillac Lounge. In the recording, a voice identified by Moynihan as belonging to Bonafiglia screams at an unknown man over the telephone, telling him to be quiet "or I will come there and cut your throat" and threatening violence if the man calls the police.

      Bonafiglia, who had family members present in the courtroom, frowned as the recording was played.

      His public defender, Robert Mann, argued that he should be released.

      Prosecutors "rely on primarily unproven allegations that are over two decades old" to demonstrate Bonafiglia's propensity for violence, Mann said.

      He said his client requires medical treatment for a painkiller addiction beyond what he could receive in detention and that his deep ties to Rhode Island do not make him a flight risk.

      Two other former employees of the Cadillac Lounge charged in the indictment have also pleaded not guilty.

      Mayor, police chief and official in U.S. border town busted for running guns to Mexico drug cartels

      Eddie Espinoza and Angelo Vega, the mayor and police chief of Columbus, N.M., were busted on charges that they ran a smuggling operation that funneled guns into northern Mexico.

      Huntersville mom leads Charlotte police to break-in suspects

      Convinced her son had been falsely accused of breaking into a south Charlotte home, a Huntersville woman followed a tip from one of her son's friends and located the couple she believes committed the break-in and other daytime home burglaries.

      Stepfather jailed after forcing boy to sleep in straitjacket

      An 11-year-old boy's parents have been jailed after forcing him to sleep in a straitjacket, surgical collar and special helmet. The youngster's stepfather, who had an interest in bondage, reportedly believed that restraining the boy, who suffered from behavioral problems, would help him sleep better. He also wrongly believed that the boy suffered from autism, despite a doctor saying this was not the case.

      Both the stepfather and the boy's mother pleaded guilty to child cruelty at Doncaster Crown Court. The stepfather was jailed for three years, while the boy's mum was locked up for two years for allowing the abuse to continue. Judge Jacqueline Davies said: 'What happened to this young man over a period is that he was physically restrained in the most appalling way.

      'It is difficult for any normal human being to understand how you could have done this to any human being.' However, the stepfather's lawyer, Tina Dempster, said that the man's behavior was due to his desire to help the youngster. 'To him it was a natural development because it seemed to be working,' she said.

      'There is no sadism in this case and no element of concealment.' The boy is now residing with a foster family and the judge ordered the equipment to be destroyed. Speaking to reporters, one of the family's neighbors said they had no idea something like this had been going on in the house.

      Police arrest Moron

      A man wanted since January on several domestic violence charges was arrested on Sunday after his girlfriend told police he beat her, police said.

      Joseph Moron, 35, was arrested early on Sunday morning at his girlfriend’s home in the 200 block of South Newark Circle, police said.

      The girlfriend had gone to Aurora Police Headquarters earlier that morning and told officers that Moron had beat her the previous night. With the woman’s permission, officers searched the home and found Moron sleeping in a bedroom.

      In addition to new charges of assault battery and menacing stemming from the alleged incident with his girlfriend, Moron also faces charges stemming from previous domestic violence incidents, police said. Those charges include stalking, kidnapping, felony assault, burglary and several counts of violating a protection order, police said.

      Non Sequitur


      Surge in U.S. millionaires

      The wealthy are thriving while many other Americans face tough challenges.  

        House repugicans holding emergency meeting about 'Jobs'

        Gotcha! - just kidding! - it's really about defunding NPR

        Interesting that the House repugicans are still trying to close down local NPR affiliates nationwide based on O'Keefe's "sting" video that has now been thoroughly debunked by Glenn Beck, no less

        Facts are inconvenient truths to repugicans, so they just keep plowing ahead based on lies (death panels, anyone) in the hopes that Democrats are too politically naive, or chicken, to challenge them effectively.

        On The Job

        Find the trait on this list that describes you and the fields that make a match.  

        The top grad schools in U.S.

        These programs are the best of the best for business, law, medicine, education, and engineering.  

        Ways to get a bigger refund

        Don’t miss out on a new $400 credit that may require completing a special IRS form.

        Japan's impact on U.S. economy

        A new recession is doubtful, but shortages and a bumpy stock market seem likely.

        Rents may rise 10 percent

        A reversal in the housing market gives landlords the upper hand for the first time in years.

        Embarrassing credit problems

        You never want to hear your waiter say, "Sorry, your card's been declined."  

        Diamond-Encrusted Putter Costs over $161,000

        Golf club maker Odyssey Golf commissioned the creation of a gold putter encrusted with diamonds and rubies. It’s for sale for £100,000 (US $161,350):
        The putter comes complete with an 18-carat white gold head, 240 rubies and 378 diamonds – as well as a price tag of £100k.
        Callaway staff player Nick Dougherty attended the launch and said: “I can recall when the first 2-Ball putter was introduced on Tour back in 2001 – and how it went on to take the professional and amateur games by storm. I can think of no better way to celebrate its impact on so many golfers’ scores, including my own, than by creating a one-off like this.”

        Massive gold nugget found

        A Calif. man finds a nugget of precious metal on his property that's the size of a newborn.  

        Odds and Sods

        Seventeen whimpering Great Dane puppies born by Cesarean section are keeping their mother, another dog and their breeder constantly busy trying to feed the unusually large litter.

        The Mobile Zoo in Alabama is trying to put a stop to the theft of emu eggs. Curator Lacey Clark says at least two or three of the big, emerald-green eggs have recently been taken, apparently by people coming over the fence into an area where the giant birds are incubating their future offspring in ground nests.

        The National Zoo wants your help -- to name their baby anteater. The little guy with the long snout was born in December.

        U.S. life expectancy up

        Several causes resulted in Americans averaging more than 78 years of life for the first time.  

          Higher Prices For Food About To Get Worse

          Higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in nearly four decades drove wholesale prices up last month by the most in nearly two years.

          'Diet' foods that will wreck your diet

          Choose this salad and this smoothie, and you'll put away 3,000 calories. 

            Ten Everyday Fruits And Vegetables That Are Poisonous


            Most of us think that eating fruits and vegetables can be nothing but healthy but there are hidden dangers in many common foods. Poisons that make you sick, paralyze and even kill you lurk behind some of our favorites.

            Heart damage improves, reverses after stem cell injections in a preliminary human trial

            Researchers have shown for the first time that stem cells injected into enlarged hearts reduced heart size, reduced scar tissue and improved function to injured heart areas, according to a small trial published in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

            Researchers said that while this research is in the early stages, the findings [...]
            Heart damage improves, reverses after stem cell injections in a preliminary human trial

            Medical marijuana growers accused of trafficking

            A medical marijuana law in the state of Montana is being used for large-scale drug trafficking, federal prosecutors said, days after the U.S. government raided facilities across the state.

            UCLA researchers engineer E. coli to produce record-setting amounts of alternative fuel

            Researchers at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a way to produce normal butanol — often proposed as a “greener” fuel alternative to diesel and gasoline — from bacteria at rates significantly higher than those achieved using current production methods.

            The findings, reported online in the journal Applied and Environmental [...]
            UCLA researchers engineer E. coli to produce record-setting amounts of alternative fuel

            Banana Peels Remove Heavy Metals from Water

            An experiment shows how banana peels can be useful for other things besides slapstick comedy. They can also clean up dissolved metals left in water by industrial waste -better than other organic materials, and they are a safer alternative to chemicals currently used.
            For the study, Castro and his team dried and ground banana peels, then combined them in flasks of water with known concentrations of metals. They also built water filters out of peels and pushed water through them.
            In both scenarios, “the metal was removed from the water and remained bonded to the banana peels,” Castro said, adding that the extraction capacity of banana peels exceeded that of other materials used to remove heavy metals.

            First dinosaur fossil discovered in Angola

            In this undated photo supplied by the PaleoAngola Project, researcher Octávio Mateus poses with part of a forelimb of a fossilized dinosaur.

            Rangers care for 3 abandoned hyena cubs

            The tiny hyena sucking on Dr. Kariuki Edward's gloved finger will be able to bite through steel and crack open bones when it grows up.



            Loyalty Defined

            Amid the tsunami devastation, one loyal canine refuses to leave his companion's side.  

              Karma Defined

              You may have asked yourself once upon a time - Just what is Karma?
              Now, you know.

              Baby Numbats

              Two things you learn from this post over about ZooBorns. First, there’s such a thing as a numbat: a termite eating marsupial that lives in Australia. Second, numbat babies are so gosh-darned cute!
              The Perth Zoo has successfully hand-reared four baby Numbats after keepers noticed they were not suckling and losing weight. Numbats are termite-eating marsupials from Western Australia. Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP) keeper Dani Jose says this was the first time Numbats had been hand-raised from such a young age. “The babies hadn’t yet opened their eyes and weighed less than 15 grams. At this young age, they look quite different from adult Numbats. They hadn’t developed their stripes yet and their snouts were short and snubby,” Ms Jose says.

              The Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken

              Research into why Transylvanian naked neck chickens have naked necks reveals a complex balance between genes and chemicals that produce a bird’s (not just chickens) feather pattern while it is still an embryo in an egg. Once the combination was discovered, Chunyan Mou from the University of Edinburgh found that bird necks are naturally more disposed to nakedness than the rest of their bodies. This may be no benefit to poultry, but chickens are related to birds that do benefit.
              Mou thinks that similar genetic tweaks have happened time and again in the evolution of birds. Many groups have lost their neck feathers independently, including vultures, the marabou stork, and large flightless birds like ostriches and emus. Naked necks allow vultures to stuff their heads into carcasses without soiling any feathers; in other cases, a naked neck probably helps its owner to keep cool in hot climates.
              Whatever the benefit, it seems that it’s particularly easy for birds to evolve a naked neck, rather than another part of their body. After all, Mou found that the necks of embryonic ducks, turkeys, quails and guinea fowl all have much higher levels of retinoic acid than the rest of the body. This pattern would normally be innocuous, completely hidden from natural selection. But it allows BMP-boosting mutations to denude the neck in one fell swoop, while keeping the rest of the body covered in feathers. As Mou writes, “An underlying map within the skin provides a one-step route to a bare neck.”
              The post goes into detail about how the genes initiate the production of chemical activators and inhibitors, and ends with a parable from Alan Turing that explains the concept in layman’s terms.

              World's Most Expensive Dog

              An 11-month-old Tibetan mastiff named Hong Dong (Big Splash) broke the record for dog prices, going to a new home in China for 10 million RMB, which is £945,000 or about $1.5 million US.
              Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and fierce guard dogs that have stood watch over nomad camps and monasteries on the Tibetan plateau for centuries.
              They are thought to be one of the world’s oldest breeds, and legend has it that both Genghis Khan and Lord Buddha kept them.
              More recently, however, they have become highly-prized status symbols for China’s new rich. The dogs are thought to be a pure “Chinese” breed and they are rarely found outside Tibet, giving them an exclusivity that other breeds cannot match.
              Accordingly, prices have risen from around 5,000 yuan a puppy five years ago to the hundreds of thousands and even millions.
              Hong Dong’s new owner will command high stud fees, as much as 100,000 RMB and may earn his money back soon.

              Animal Pictures