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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 24, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It makes sense to look to other people for your sense of power -- their positive feedback, admiration and respect is empowering.
But today you can gain a greater sense of strength and ability by looking in the mirror.
No one has more control over your life than you, so start taking bolder steps to make things happen for yourself.
If you don't have any goals, make some.
If you do have goals, make them more like ambitious.
Push yourself -- you can take it!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Kuala :Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Bad, Vibel, Hessen, Germany
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Espoo, 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 Rohnert Park, Woodstock, San Jose, Salem and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, March 24, the 84th day of 2011.
There are 281 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Taylor's true eye color mystery

According to legend, Elizabeth Taylor had extraordinary eyes that transfixed those she met.  

Elizabeth Taylor laid to rest

In an intimate ceremony, the screen legend is laid to rest near one of her closest friends in life.  

Elizabeth Taylor's Obituary Writer Died Six Years Before She Did

New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow died six years ago, but that didn’t stop him from writing his paper’s obituary for Elizabeth Taylor, who died earlier this week. Of course, newspapers keep obituaries ready, on file, for famous people. But I think that outliving your obituary writer is a special accomplishment.

Cult Plans to Picket Elizabeth Taylor's Funeral

Westboro baptist cult, which has in the past picketed the funerals of soldiers, homosexual or straight, as a protest against what it calls America's tolerance toward LGBT as well as other moral imperatives it believes America has abandoned, plans to picket the funeral of Elizabeth Taylor.
OK, so when are we going to bury these perverts under the jailhouse? They nauseate everyone.

On The Job

Sixty-five million Americans have a strike that keeps them from landing jobs at many companies.  
    Prospects for finding seasonal work are the best in years, but you need to start looking now.  

    Repugicans pushing dozens of anti-abortion bills in statehouses

    They told you they were the new repugicans: More jobs, less hate.
    They lied.

    How to save $50K on a home

    With rates as low as 4.3%, a 15-year mortgage can be a very smart strategy.  

    Boost finances in an hour

    You might save hundreds of dollars by canceling some recurring expenses.  

    Worthless Money Has Value

    In India: Zero-rupee note tackles India's corruption culture.
    An Indian lobby group has launched a novel anti-corruption tool: the zero-rupee note that can be handed over to any crooked bureaucrat who seeks a little extra payment.
    The protest note -- literally worth only the paper it is printed on -- is being promoted by 5th Pillar, a group that campaigns on behalf of ordinary Indians who are forced to grease the palms of millions of civil servants.
    zero rupees
    Vijay Anand, head of 5th Pillar, said the bill, which looks similar to a real 50-rupee note, was first distributed to students in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to encourage them to reject India's "baksheesh" culture.
    "The corruption prevailing in the common man's life is painful and it can be dealt with by the zero-rupee note," said Anand.
    Anand said the zero-rupee note, which was conceived by an Indian professor living in the United States, gave people the chance to register a grassroots protest against low-level corruption.
    "We are confident it will change the way people think and act in the coming years," he said.
    The bill, which like all Indian notes is graced with a picture of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, carries 5th Pillar's email address and phone number and the solemn vow "I promise to neither accept nor give a bribe."
    More photos here.

    Olsen twins' $1 billion empire

    Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have moved far beyond just movies and television.

      Gen Y not really slackers

      Twenty-somethings' failure to "launch" is actually helping their careers, a new study reveals.  

      Wizard of Id


      Less common pain treatments

      Acupuncture and yoga seem to ease lower back pain, research finds.  

        Culinary DeLites

        One prison's kitchen turns out 36,000 loaves a week, but you won't find them in stores.  
        The No. 1-ranked plain, nonfat yogurt is called "creamy and lightly sweet." 

          Just thinking about exercise makes you overeat

          Study: Just thinking about exercise makes you overeat

          Where couch potatoes live

          Nearly a third of adults get no regular exercise in America’s most obese state.  

            Why popcorn at the movies?

            It wasn't until the Great Depression that the snack really took off in theaters.

            What's In Movie Theater Popcorns?

            What makes movie popcorn so gosh darned expensive? What’s in that strange yellow liquid they call butter anyhow? And while we’re at it – what are in those popcorns anyhow?
            Well, it’s all a secret and theater owners are fighting the FDA to keep it that way:
            Alarmed at the prospect, representatives of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners have been lobbying the FDA and congressional staff members in recent weeks to exempt theaters from the nutritional labeling requirement.
            They argue that the proposed rules are an unwarranted intrusion into their business because people visit theaters to consume movies, not food.
            "We’re not restaurants where people go to eat and satisfy themselves," Gary Klein, the theater trade group’s general counsel, said. "It’s dinner and a movie, not dinner at a movie."
            Theater operators have a vested interest in fighting the proposed rules, as they generate up to one-third of their revenue from selling popcorn, sodas and other snacks. Popcorn is especially profitable. As David Ownby, the chief financial officer of Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest theater circuit, recently said at an investor presentation, "We sell a bucket of popcorn for about $6. Our cost in that $6 bucket of popcorn is about 15 cents or 20 cents. So if that cost doubles, it doesn’t really hurt me that much."
            $0.20 to $6? That’s a 3,000% mark up!  



            What's hurting your sleep

            Two-thirds of women report trouble sleeping several nights each week.  

              Helpful Hints

              Emergency disaster kit

              Checklists from organizations like the Red Cross make it easier to prepare for the unexpected.  

                Mystery oil-spill source found

                A company expresses "surprise" that one of its wells created the miles-long slick.  

                  Mexican media's new guidelines

                  News outlets agree to a new set of rules when covering the increasingly violent cartels.  

                  Arab countries on the sidelines in Libya campaign

                  Except for the small Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, which is expected to start flying air patrols over Libya by this weekend, no other members of the 22-member Arab League have so far publicly committed to taking an active role.

                  French strike deep in Libya, targeting arms flow

                  French airstrikes hit an airbase deep inside Libya in an effort to stop possible traffic of arms or the flow of mercenaries into Libya, a military official said Thursday.

                  US pressures allies to command Libya mission

                  Anxious to reduce its front-line air combat role in Libya, the Obama administration pressed Thursday for the allies who first pushed for the campaign to come up with a workable alternative.

                  How Does the President Conduct Secure Communications Abroad?

                  In an Amazing Tent.
                  It’s not always practical for the President of the United States to go back to Air Force One to have private conversations without fear of eavesdropping. So the White House sets up a high-tech tent that permits him/her to talk with others securely. Such temporary structures are called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities or SCIFs:
                  This can mean creating a self sufficient pod with its own air supply, says Phil Lago, who is one of the founders of Command Consulting Group, a company which provides SCIFs to government agencies.
                  “We have to make sure that any kind of emissions don’t get out. That could be from your laptop, your radio, your telephone,” he explains.
                  Rather than a ring of steel around a secure complex, he likens it to a “ring of electronic waves” which prevents signals from getting in and out of the tent. The only signal which can get out is the encrypted communications, which are made through a secure and encrypted phone line, which sends conversations through a satellite, he says.[...]
                  The tent itself is windowless and is made from a secret material which is designed to keep emissions in and listening devices out.
                  Only those specially authorised can go inside a SCIF, with entry usually requiring a combination of pin numbers, access badges and biometric data.
                  The perimeters of the tent might be controlled by guards, but there would also be people monitoring outside to see if any data gets out. “You have a line of defence for everything,” says Mr Lago.

                  Why al-Qaida targeted Detroit

                  After considering two other cities, failed bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab targeted Detroit.  

                  Rude surprise for WWII vet

                  A Navy man born to parents from Iowa and Nebraska is stunned to learn he's not a U.S. citizen.

                  U.S. Citizenship Test Questions—Do You Know the Answers

                  U.S. Citizenship Test Questions - Do You Know the Answers? 
                  (Actually, I do)

                  The U.S. Citizenship Test is making news today as many Americans are discovering how little they know about their country.

                  Before immigrants can become U.S. citizens, they have to pass an official test. Recently, Newsweek magazine gave that same test to 1,000 Americans - and only 62 percent of them passed.

                  Illegal Immigrants Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms Arrested at Border

                  U.S. Border Patrol spokesman, Michael Jimenez, has announced the arrest of 13 illegal immigrants wearing U.S. Marine uniforms at a border checkpoint in California.
                  So we use an Army uniform to illustrate the piece.

                  Expanding table


                  Qatar's remote-controlled cloud

                  A remote-controlled, artificial cloud will help soccer fans beat Qatar's legendary heat in 2022.  

                    Skateboards as Rendered in the Woodcarving Tradition of Mumbai

                    Tobias Megerle asked woodcarvers from Mumbai who use traditional forms to try their hands at making skateboards. He explained:
                    “The very first time I drove past I was magically attracted to the carved wooden objects in Mahim, all the open workshops, the woodcarvers sitting on the floor with their traditional tools, working on their items, the whole atmosphere,” says Megerle.
                    “As an artist I wa driven to do something with these woodcarvers and their work. I visited the workshops several times to study their craft and always thought to myself: ‘Wonderful, but a bit dowdy, a bit frumpy.’ All the nice ornamented chairs, divan beds, frames and what else I know not… some in the typical colonial style.
                    “After a series of thoughts I hit upon the object to be combined with the traditional woodwork — the good old skateboard. In Mumbai — though almost completely unknown — the skateboard is, in many places, more than just a piece of sports equipment. It’s an entire lifestyle that’s created around it, a unique music style, special clothes, whole skater-parks.
                    You can see eight more photos of the results at the link. An exhibition of the skateboards opens tomorrow at The Loft, a gallery in Mumbai.

                    Houdini assistant dies at 103

                    Dorothy Young was cast in the magician's traveling show at the age of 17.  
                    And speaking of Houdini ...

                    Today is Harry Houdini's 137th Birthday
                    Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz on March 24, 1874) was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts. Houdini is still considered one of the greatest illusionists and magicians in history. In addition to his fantastic escapes and stunts, he was also well known in the 1920s for his debunking of fraudulent Spiritualist medium.

                    Today Google celebrates magician Harry Houdini's 137th birth anniversary with a doodle on its home page.

                    The world's longest names

                    What looks like a spelling bee champ's worst nightmare is actually a nice place to visit. 

                      OK ... that is different


                      The Coolest Star in the Galaxy is No Warmer Than a Cup of Hot Coffee

                      Illustration: L. Calçada, ESO
                      When you think of stars, do you think a hot ball of plasma in space? (I mean, our own Sun has a surface temperature of approximately 5,800 K). Well, not all stars are hot: a newly discovered star 75 light-years away from us is no warmer than a cup of coffee.
                      Dubbed CFBDSIR 1458 10b, the star is what’s called a brown dwarf. These oddball objects are often called failed stars, because they have starlike heat and chemical properties but don’t have enough mass for the crush of gravity to ignite nuclear fusion at their cores.
                      With surface temperatures hovering around 206 degrees F (97 degrees C), the newfound star is the coldest brown dwarf seen to date.

                      Swimming Magnetic Gels

                      (Video Link)
                      Miklós Zrínyi of Semmelweiss University in Budapest invented a flexible magnetic substance. By controlling the magnetic forces around objects made from this gel, one can move it around as needed. There are numerous potential applications:
                      Soft magnetic materials like this one could be used for artificial muscles in robots, or to replace rigid machine components, such as valves. Other teams are also working on making robots more flexible: an electroactive polymer was recently used to create a motor that rotates, without any gears or ratchets. A chemical gel that can walk like a caterpillar could also be used as a component of future robots.
                      Full Story

                      Most beautiful waterfalls

                      Plitvice Lakes, in Croatia, has intensely turquoise waters and thousands of falls.  

                        Photos inside active volcano

                        Scientists descend into a lake of lava as they attempt to learn how to predict eruptions.  

                          Mexico says $4 million Maya statue is a fake

                          In this photo provided by Paris-based Binoche Et Giquello auction house gallery on Wednesday March 23, 2011 is seen a Mayan-style statue.

                          Texas find suggests earlier settlers in North America

                          The discovery of ancient stone tools at an archaeological dig in Texas could push back the presence of humans in North America, perhaps by as much as 2,500 years.



                          Dog's guilty face charms Web

                          Six-year-old Denver is so ashamed by her behavior that she can't even look her owner in the eye.  

                          Cat purrs as loud as a jet

                          At 92 decibels, this kitty's purr sounds more like a plane landing than a cat resting.  

                          Animal News

                          A Boston pooch's name should be changed from Lola to Lucky. A fire destroyed her owner's home last month, and there was no sign of Lola so she was presumed dead.

                          Coyote delays jets at busy Atlanta airport
                          Authorities say a coyote wandered onto a runway in Atlanta, delaying flights for a few minutes at the world's busiest airport until ground crews chased the animal away.

                          Shocking number of animals dying at zoo
                          An Indian elephant called Boy, the pride of the Kiev Zoo, collapsed and died in his enclosure.