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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.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're surrounded by people who are charming, intelligent and intriguing -- but a few of the more exuberant ones are involved in things you may not be aware of.
There is some potential drama afoot that could easily be Academy Award-winning potential, but you don't need to know the details.
As a matter of fact, it's better if you don't.
The further you stay from their conflict the better.
Don't feel left out, feel grateful.
Focus your time on getting to know someone.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Alghero, Sardegna, Italy
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Kuala Terrengganu, Terrengganu, Malaysia
Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Makati, Manila, Philippines
London, England, United Kingdom
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Bourges, Centre, France
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Muscat, Masqat, Oman
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar

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 Chapel Hill, Durham, Winston-Salem, Raleigh and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, March 20, the 80th day of 2011.
There are 285 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Jump Out Day
Snowman Burning Day
Maple Syrup Day.

It is also Ostara.
The Spring Equinox

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Spring is here


Two found alive in Japan rubble

Local police find an 80-year-old woman and her grandson alive in their flattened home.  

U.S., allies strike targets in Libya

U.S. and British ships and submarines launch the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses.  

    First wave of allied assault

    112 cruise missiles
    U.S. and British ships and submarines launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses Saturday and a senior American defense official said it was believed substantial damage was inflicted.

    Western warplanes and cruise missiles bombard Libya as Operation Odyssey Dawn heats up.

    Syrian police shoot and kill at least five protesters

    This is the sign of a desperate dictatorship in serious trouble.
    More than 20,000 people marched Saturday in the southern Syrian town of Dara’a in funerals for protesters killed in demonstrations the day before, and the police used truncheons and tear gas to disperse the mourners.

    Protests broke out in four cities on Friday, a rare event in a police state that brutally represses dissent. At the largest one, a march of several thousand people in Dara’a, a police crackdown killed six people.

    The funeral procession on Saturday became a protest in its own right, with marchers calling for more freedoms and an end to Syria’s longstanding emergency law, witnesses said. They chanted, “The people want an end to corruption,” and, “The blood of our martyrs won’t be forgotten.” They repeated the demands made in the march on Friday: that the mayor and a local security chief should be fired for their role in arresting of a group of children two weeks ago for writing protest graffiti.

    Awesome Pictures


    And I Quote

    It turns out that the Republican budget that they submitted for next year slashes funding for the agency that issues tsunami warnings and organizes responses to the tsunami. In their defense, Republicans say that tsunamis are just a theory. They are not a real threat like ACORN, the Black Panthers, NPR, and math teachers in Wisconsin."
    ~ Bill Maher

    Anti-labor ads celebrate workers taking paycuts and CEOs getting millions

    A new radio spot paid for by the Koch brothers extols the spirit of cooperation that led unionized workers at Harley-Davidson to take a pay cut for the good of the company.

    What it doesn't mention is the $6.5 million paycheck the company's CEO handed himself that year.

    Are we surprised?

    Glenn Beck's gold coin sponsor guilty of defrauding and counterfeiting

    Are we surprised?

    Wingnut women

    The wingnuts are always going on, on how their women are better looking than other women so we thought you would like to see what one looks like without make and the standard smoke and mirrors the wingnuts use.
    repugican woman without her makeup on.

    Look closely at the hands - they are definitely masculine ... so the picture may be that of a man, but that is an entirely different editorial on the hypocrisies of the wingnuts.

    State gun now official in Utah

    What a bunch of Idiots.
    Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).

    Now it's added an official state firearm -- the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the new symbol into law this week.



    Global impact of Japan crisis

    The stories and images coming out of the stricken nation could serve as a global wake-up call.

    Dirty secret of airline rewards

    You could pay far more to redeem items than someone else enrolled in the same program.  

    An ATM trick to be aware of

    The San Francisco Examiner reports on a simple ploy designed to trap the unwary:
    The thieves glue down the “enter,” “cancel” and “clear” buttons on the keypad and wait until the customer goes into the bank for help before withdrawing money from their account.

    The robbed customers have already punched in their PINs when they realize the keypad buttons are stuck. The unwitting customers either do not know that they can use the ATM touchscreen to finish their transaction, or become nervous when the keypad isn’t working and react by leaving the ATM unattended...

    There are several nonviolent ways crooks can steal cash from ATMs, but the glue method is less risky, Corriea said. A thief caught applying glue to an ATM would be slapped with a misdemeanor vandalism charge, but likely won’t face a felony fraud charge because it isn’t easy to prove that the crook intended to steal...
    More details (and other ATM tricks) here.

    Couple loses $65K on a home

    Kris Calhoun and his wife stand to lose a boatload of money on the sale of their first home.  

      Mom forces son to stand on street for bad grades

      Wearing a sign around his neck that read, "Honk if I need an education," 15-year-old James Mond III stood for nearly four hours on a Tampa, Fla., street corner.

      Odds and Sods

      A 70-year-old woman in northern India's state of Uttar Pradesh has been eating about two kilograms of sand everyday for the past 40 years and has not reported any health problems because of this rare habit.

      Shotgun Guitar

      A man in LuleƄ, Sweden, was found to have a guitar that had been converted into a double-barreled shotgun:
      Aside from the six more conventional weapons found in the apartment and a quantity of ammunition, police discovered that a wall-mounted guitar was not quite as it first appeared.
      The neck of the guitar has been hollowed out and equipped with two shotgun barrels, while the body of the string instrument contained the beginnings of trigger mechanism.

      Mom arrested after toddler gets drunk on Four Loko

      Police say a woman in Houston left her 20-month-old child unattended, and the toddler then drank the alcoholic beverage Four Loko.

      Woman robber dressed as man avoided justice for seven years

      Robber Alison Lee dressed up as a man before carrying out armed raids on shops in Barnsley – and escaped justice for seven years. She was finally caught out when police conducted a cold case review of the offenses, using recent scientific technology to match her to a palm print she left behind and a fingerprint on an imitation gun recovered by police after the raids in 2004.

      Lee wore a deerstalker hat and used a false mustache for the raids at shops in Barnsley. It took a jury at Sheffield Crown Court only half an hour to decide that she was responsible. Lee, 42, was convicted of two offenses of attempted robbery and another two offenses of possessing an imitation firearm. She denied the charges but is now facing a jail sentence.

      The court heard she tried to rob tills at the One Stop store in Kendray, Barnsley, and a few minutes later at the Co-op supermarket in Hoyland, but on each occasion fled empty-handed. Witnesses gave various descriptions of the would-be robber and all believed it was a man.

      The court heard that in 2004 the police did not have the technology to match Lee’s prints but a 2010 cold case review uncovered a match on a new database. Lee had been arrested and fingerprinted in 2009 for an unrelated offense which was later dropped. Her palm print on the £10 note and a fingerprint from the gun magazine were matched.

      Non Sequitur


      Five healthy fast-food drinks

      Good news for those on the run — not all lattes, espressos, and smoothies are dripping with calories.  

        Six surprising laundry helpers

        How aspirin and coffee can help your whites stay white and darks stay dark.  

          Top 10 kitchen and bath trends

          More people are knocking down walls, going green, and pampering themselves at home.  

            Who Uses the Phone Anymore?

            We all have cell phones (oops, sorry, "smart" phones) but did you ever notice that no one ever calls anymore?
            Pamela Paul of The New York Times noticed how modern day communications is now shying away from the telephone:
            It’s at the point where when the phone does ring — and it’s not my mom, dad, husband or baby sitter — my first thought is: “What’s happened? What’s wrong?” My second thought is: “Isn’t it weird to just call like that? Out of the blue? With no e-mailed warning?”
            I don’t think it’s just me. Sure, teenagers gave up the phone call eons ago. But I’m a long way away from my teenage years, back when the key rite of passage was getting a phone in your bedroom or (cue Molly Ringwald gasp) a line of your own.
            In the last five years, full-fledged adults have seemingly given up the telephone — land line, mobile, voice mail and all. According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years.
            “I literally never use the phone,” Jonathan Adler, the interior designer, told me. (Alas, by phone, but it had to be.) “Sometimes I call my mother on the way to work because she’ll be happy to chitty chat. But I just can’t think of anyone else who’d want to talk to me.” Then again, he doesn’t want to be called, either. “I’ve learned not to press ‘ignore’ on my cellphone because then people know that you’re there.”
            “I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, ‘Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m.,’ ” Mr. Adler said. “Now the rule is, ‘Don’t call anyone. Ever.’ ”

            Living in a Time-Warp

            Get a taste of the Old West or old New England with a road trip to these historic U.S. towns.  

              Random Celebrity Photo

              Katherine Hepburn skateboarding
              Katharine Hepburn skateboarding

              Record Low Ozone in the Arctic

              Slather on the sunscreen, the depletion could expose the northern midlatitudes to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation.  

              No Link Between 'Super Moon' and Earthquakes

              Super moon
              The 'maximal perigee' tonight has only a minimal effect on seismic activity and cannot be linked with last week's earthquakes in Japan.  

              Stars in "Downtown" Milky Way

              Where do stars go to have fun? Why, they go downtown in the Milky Way, of course. Take a look at this beautiful image taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope:
              In this Spitzer image, the myriad of stars crowding the center of our galaxy creates the blue haze that brightens towards the center of the image. The green features are from carbon-rich dust molecules, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are illuminated by the surrounding starlight as they swirl around the galaxy’s core. The yellow-red patches are the thermal glow from warm dust. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dust are associated with bustling hubs of young stars. These materials, mixed with gas, are required for making new stars.
              The brightest white feature at the center of the image is the central star cluster in our galaxy. At a distance of 26,000 light years away from Earth, it is so distant that, to Spitzer’s view, most of the light from the thousands of individual stars is blurred into a single glowing blotch. Astronomers have determined that these stars are orbiting a massive black hole that lies at the very center of the galaxy.
              The region pictured here is immense, with a horizontal span of 2,400 light-years (5.3 degrees) and a vertical span of 1,360 light-years (3 degrees). Though most of the objects seen in this image are located near the galactic center, the features above and below the galactic plane tend to lie closer to Earth.

              World's First Synthetic Microbe Accused of Copyright Infringement by James Joyce's Estate

              When Craig Venter created a synthetic microbe, he inserted a passage from James Joyce. Guess who’s upset? Joyce’s estate, claiming copyright infringement:
              In order to distinguish their synthetic DNA from that naturally present in the bacterium, Venter’s team coded several famous quotes into their DNA, including one from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”
              After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce’s estate, saying that he’d used the Irish writer’s work without permission. ”We thought it fell under fair use,” said Venter.

              "Slow" Evolution is Better

              Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, at least in Aesop’s fable and now, it seems, also in evolution – at least if you’re a bacterium:
              Research carried out in Richard Lenski’s lab at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and published today in Science 1, shows that rapidly evolving ‘hare’ bacteria were eventually wiped out by their more sluggish rivals.
              The reason was that the ‘tortoise’ bacteria had a higher ‘evolvability’, or a greater potential to take advantage of future beneficial mutations, than their speedier competitors, despite a tendency to accumulate such mutations at a slower rate. [...]
              Cooper and his colleagues looked at two Escherichia coli clone lineages, sampled after 500, 1,000 and 1,500 generations of evolution. They came from a long-term bacterial evolution experiment running in the lab.
              By looking for the presence of five beneficial mutations, the researchers found that ‘hare’ bacteria had more advantageous genetic changes than ‘tortoises’ after 500 generations, suggesting they were more likely to go on to successfully survive and reproduce, and to eventually wipe out their competitors altogether.
              But looking at the later generations, the team found that ‘tortoises’ had overtaken ‘hares’ and gone on to dominate the population.

              Seven Amazing Coral Reefs Made From Sunken Vehicles


              Imagine one of the most extraordinary types of recycling possible: creating ocean coral reefs from the submerged wrecks of boats and vehicles! While mankind might be pushing many of the coral reefs around the world to the point of destruction, we have also been responsible for creating new ones, whether by design or by accident.

              Indeed, whenever new shapes arrive in the depths, coral will gradually begin to collect, bringing with it a flowering miniature ecosystem. Here are seven such artificial reefs shaped from the wrecks of vehicles, each of which has become a truly spectacular underwater environment.

              The take over



              Puppies' tandem dinner dance

              Six hungry dogs turn a competition for food into a fun spectacle worthy of Broadway.  

                RIP Knut

                Beloved Polar Bear Knut Dies in Germany
                Knut, the German polar bear which first charmed the public worldwide, and which had since grown up into an adult, has died, at the age of 4. Knut was born on December 5, 2006.

                photo via flickr
                Knut, the world famous polar bear that was born and raised in captivity, has suddenly died. The cause of death is unknown, but a post mortem will be done on Monday to try to find our why Knut unexpectedly died Saturday at the Berlin Zoo in front of an estimated 600 visitors.
                Article continues: Rest In Peace, Knut

                Animal Pictures