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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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Whatever has been holding you back will become evident today -- and don't be too surprised if it ends up being a person and not a thing.
Your urge to be liked is admirable, but it might be blinding you to harmful associations.
If some of your close relationships begin to shift soon, this is a very good thing.
And no matter how uncomfortable or concerned the transition may make you feel, this is meant to happen.
Some friendships serve a purpose -- and then it's best to move on.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Lyon, Rhone-Alpes, France
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Stevenage, England, United Kingdom
Semarang, Jawa Tengh, Indonesia
Dar Es Salaam, Dar Es, Salaam, Tanzania

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 Vesper, Antioch, San Pedro, Rensselaer and more.

Today is:
Today is Fiday, March 25, the 85th day of 2011.
There are 280 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Impact of Syria protests

Another wave of pro-democratic protests hits a country with a long history of oppression.

NATO Takes Command Of Part Of Libya Operation

NATO agreed late Thursday to take over part of the military operations against Libya - enforcement of the no-fly zone - after days of hard bargaining among its members.

Libyan airspace 'under control,' with new strikes

France declared Libya's airspace "under control" on Friday, after NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers.

YouTube video shows Pakistani children 'playing' suicide bomber

Playing soldier is something not unheard of among U.S. children.

However, a video that is threatening to go viral on YouTube shows a different type of play: playing suicide bomber.

Non Sequitur


And I Quote

"Celebrities go in threes ...and I’m next."
~ Zha Zha Gabor, after losing Jane Russell and Liz Taylor   

OMG! Abbreviations make the dictionary

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary approves of the three-letter, Internet-inspired expressions you use for "Oh, my god!" and "Laughing out loud." It is adding them to the authoritative reference book's latest online update.

Wacky ideas into big fortunes

Novelties like the Snuggie and Pet Rock seem silly, but they became huge hits.  

Money-making college degrees

Studying business or health-care administration can prepare you for lucrative fields. 

How to track your tax refund

The IRS offers a phone number, a web page, and an app to keep you informed.  

Turning around a mound of debt

It took Rod Little just six months to destroy his credit, but now his finances are in great shape. 

One hundred yers ago, workers didn't have rights


More wingnut stupdity

Sure, it's the left that promotes violence ... not!

Hoisted on their own petard again. The wingnuts have once again shown their true colors, as an Indiana repugican prosecutor resigns after being caught promoting fake violence disguised as left-wingers.

An Indiana deputy prosecutor and repugican agitator resigned Thursday after the Wisconsin center for investigative journalism uncovered an email to Scott Walker in which he suggested a fake attack on the governor to discredit union protesters.

Carlos f. Lam submitted his resignation shortly before the center published a story quoting his February 19th email, which praised Walker for standing up to unions but went on to say that the chaos in Wisconsin presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”

“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” the email said.

“Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC (of which there was none) and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. god bless, Carlos F. Lam" ...

Email headers with detailed ip addresses suggested that the message was sent from Indianapolis.

Lam, an Indianapolis resident, at first told the center he never wrote it.

Reached Tuesday by phone at the number listed on the email, Lam confirmed his email address matched the hotmail address appearing on the Walker email, but said he had never written to walker.

Lam resigned after confessing to his boss, prosecutor Brad Cooper.

Oh yeah, it's the unions who are thugs, all right.

Repugican's Texas budget cuts cost 600,000 jobs

If only Texas could promote extreme wingnut/christian ideas to distract voters from their failure to deliver jobs.
Sorry guys but you've already played that hand for years.
Now that the stimulus money is gone, there's nobody left to blame except the repugican clowns who own the economic problems.

Texas could see more than 600,000 jobs disappear if lawmakers adopt the $83.8 billion budget that will go before the state House late next week, according to a state agency.

Harsh spending cuts in the budget could cost more than 263,500 private sector jobs and 343,000 government positions over the next two years, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Legislative Budget Board, a bipartisan committee.

This projection, which is based on mathematical calculations, runs counter to the pro-job push underway by Gov. Rick Perry and repugican lawmakers.
You think?

IQ Test


Ten places every kid should visit

The Grand Canyon is an obvious "must visit" attraction, but others may be even more inspiring.  


Elizabeth I gave this citole to Robert Dudley
The British Museum's citole* is discussed in their Technical Research Bulletin:
The British Museum’s citole (1963,1002.1) is one of Britain’s earliest extant stringed instruments. Dating from around 1300–1330, its survival can be attributed to three factors: the quality of craftsmanship with its richly carved decorative elements, its association with Elizabeth I of England (1558–1603) and her favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and its modification to keep pace with changing musical fashion...

A virtuoso example of the Medieval woodcarver’s craft, it is one of perhaps only four stringed instruments of comparable quality to have survived from the Medieval period. It is, however, a confusing hybrid. Part citole, part violin, it was described as a gittern by Francis Galpin in 1910...

The British Museum citole dates from the period around 1300–1330 and is the earliest of the four survivals. Abundant representations of citoles in the visual arts show that the instrument was in use from the late twelfth century in Spain and Italy and from the thirteenth century in northern Europe. The gradual movement of the instrument from south to north may well reflect the influence of Islamic musical instruments on the development of the citole...

By the time that Eleanor of Castille married Edward I in 1254, the citole was probably well established in England...

It was designed to be plucked with a plectrum and most of the depictions show it being played in this way, although other illustrations show it being strummed without a plectrum. Undoubtedly capable of carrying a tune, as modern replicas of the British Museum citole have demonstrated, citoles may have performed a limited repertoire and were probably used mainly to keep time by playing the same few notes repeatedly. This understanding is supported by representations of musicians playing citoles, the majority of which show the player’s hand coming up from under the centre of the instrument. This approach would allow adequate movement only to play the drone chords satisfactorily. It is not surprising, therefore, that the citole is usually depicted with other instruments, principally fiddles.

The gifting of the citole between Elizabeth and Dudley and its conversion to a violin demonstrate how the instrument was held in high regard some 250 years after it was made. The value placed on it was not inspired by the expense of the raw material nor by its virtue as a musical instrument (the citole was distinctly out of date by about 1400) but by the extraordinary richness and quality of the carving that covers its neck and sides.
Much more information at the link and at this British Museum webpage.

Ship Graveyards


Ships and boats are ancient inventions whose rise parallels the spirit of human adventure. From antiquity to modernity great powers have relied on shipping to expand empires, while grand liners transported tourists to far flung places previously only accessible to the imagination.

But the rise of air travel and decline of shipbuilding have left coasts and rivers littered with abandoned ships, boats and shipyards, that may not look pretty but provide a fascinating retrospective subject for photographers and maritime enthusiasts.

Astronomical News

2011 Supermoon: In Photographs
Last weekend's "Supermoon" didn't disappoint and Discovery News readers from all over the world captured the spectacular event.  

Exploring the Universe with the Naked Eye
Naked eye astronomy
Practical astronomy doesn't necessarily require expensive telescopes. Astronomer Mark Thompson shares some tips on how to explore the night sky using just your eyes.  
Our Bustling 'Big City' Galactic Center
Out in the suburbs, it is understandable to dream about what it might be like in the "big city." This happens locally and on a galactic scale.      

Culinary DeLites

Breakfast carbohydrate infographic
Many of us commonly build our breakfasts around eggs. They are delicious, versatile to cook with, and relatively inexpensive for their nutrient value. Eggs also provide a great balance of every important vitamin and mineral except for Vitamin C. In addition, eggs are a great source of choline and biotin.



The Aurora, as You've Never Seen It Before

Take 22,000 high-definition photographs, a geomagnetic storm and some incredible talent and what do you get? 
A two-minute video of the Aurora Borealis as you've never seen it before.  

Earth Now a Windier World

Although climate change is a suspect, the trend could simply be a part of natural cycles that drive wind speeds up and down.  

Catching the World's Largest 'Frisbee' at Sea

The world's largest eddies are spinning off the coast of Brazil.

From the New Yorker


OU Gets $2 Million Gift For Anthropology Chair

An Ohio couple is giving $2 million to the University of Oklahoma to establish an endowed faculty chair in the school's Department of Anthropology.

Earliest Americans Arrived Even Earlier

A new site discovered in Texas was occupied 15,000 years ago.  

Everglades Islands Made of Prehistoric Trash Heaps

By piling mounds of fish remains, turtle bones and other waste, ancient people helped create the Everglades.  

Ten Lost Civilizations

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that archeologists are claiming to have discovered the city of Atlantis in a mud flat located in Southern Spain, but there are plenty more “lost” civilizations out there just begging for discovery. While most of these societies did not lose their entire culture due to a massive tsunami that wiped them off the face of the earth, they instead disappeared for unknown reasons that have yet to be discovered.
Top Tenz has a fantastic article about the top ten civilizations that mysteriously disappeared and the stories are all fascinating. While you may recognize some of the group’s names, like the Olmec (whose land was depopulated, most likely due to environmental changes or volcanic activity, although they may have been invaded) and the Mycenaeans (who may have been invaded, destroyed by class wars or destroyed by a natural disaster), many of the names of these cultures will be unfamiliar to all but the most dedicated history buffs.
The stories are not only fascinating in a historical context, but also a reminder that nothing lasts for ever. It’s always interesting to reflect on the fact that no matter how much power an individual society wields during its peak, it is still prone to collapse -often so suddenly that the cause of the destruction is lost to history.



Petite Lap Giraffes

From Sokoblovsky Farms in Russia:
Petite Lap Giraffes are very funny animal that require special care. They need lots of love. Hugs and kisses every day. Otherwise they make tears. Size: adult is 76 centimeters, baby is 15 centimeters tall.

Weight is 4.5kg unless the giraffe is fat cow then 5.44kg. Diet: distilled water and bonsai tree leaves. Petite Lap Giraffes love being indoors in filtered air conditioning. If they can listen to music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov it is dream.
Of course, this is either an April Fool's joke or a marketing campaign. I go for the latter since the domain petitelapgiraffe.com was registered a month ago by Grey Global Group, a New York Marketing firm.

Bigfoot Captured?

Thomas Byers from Shelby, North Carolina, USA, says he has captured a video of Bigfoot. On the evening of Tuesday March 22, he and a friend were driving down Golden Valley Road in northern Rutherford County in North Carolina just off Highway 226 when they both observed a large upright brown furry animal between six and seven feet tall come up out of the field beside the road.

Om this site - where you can see the video he took - he says: It was truly amazing. But as I stood there filming it I saw and felt the hairs standing up on my arms. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. One thing I know is the smell of it was horrid. It smelled like a cross between road kill and a skunk. And it did not like the fact that I was there on the road with it. In the video you can hear it snarl or growl at me as it crosses the road.

Are Chupacabra Recollections Real or False?

Many people claim to have grown up hearing about the vampire el chupacabra. 
Did they?  

Huge Dinos Moved Vacuum Cleaner-Style

Enormous plant-eating dinosaurs had bodies and necks that functioned like a canister vacuum cleaner. Read more

Saber-Toothed Vegetarian Had Threatening Mouthful

saber tooth
A dog-sized plant-eater from 260-million-years ago likely used its fierce-looking teeth to ward off predators. 

Leaf-cutter Ants and the Future of Space Agriculture

An ancient race has come to dominate a single agricultural crop, one in which they’ve invested everything to sustain their massive population. 

This is the story of the leaf-cutter ant.  

Australian Species Face Extinction in 20 Years

wild donkeys photo
For decades, the remote Kimberley region of Northern Australia has stood as a stronghold for dozens of rare native species of mammals, birds, lizards and other vertebrates. Now, these species are under serious threat from encroaching invasive species and a series of fires.
The pressure is so severe, researchers believe, that as many as 45 species could face extinction within 20 years.
Article continues: 45 Australian Species Face Extinction in 20 Years

Africa rhinos face poaching crisis

Black rhinos (Image: Lucky Mavrandonis/Black Rhino Monitoring Project)
Rhino populations in Africa are facing the "worst poaching crisis for decades" as more than 800 are killed in the past three years, say conservationists.

Animal Pictures