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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 28, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It's an unusual day when your judgment is not totally accurate ... you are likely to get caught up in little, irrelevant details that aren't pertinent to your current focus.
A friend's hot social life may be interesting, but hearing all about their latest fling isn't going to help you accomplish your goals!
Give yourself time in the morning to prepare for your day and get a better grip on the forces around you.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Seremban, Negeri Seremban, Malaysia
Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands

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 Minong, Manassas, Mercer, Medford and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, March 28, the 88th day of 2011.
There are 277 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Weed Appreciation Day.
(Not sure who celebrates this one more - Gardeners or Stoners)

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Culinary DeLites

Rethink the traditional burger with a chicken-Parmesan version on French bread.  

Woman Really Likes Crisps

Debbie Taylor writes about her eating habits: I've eaten only crisps for the past 10 years.

(Editor's Note to our American readers: Crisps are we call potato chips.)
Debbie Taylor I've been eating two family-size bags a day for two years, and little else for the past decade. My shopping trolley looks as if I'm having a children's party. The idea of eating anything else is repellent; I don't like being full and bloated, which is how "proper food" makes me feel.
I have a tea for breakfast, skip lunch and then I'm ready for my first large bag of crisps at around 4pm and my second bag at 8pm. During the day I'll have a few cups of tea and sometimes a cola. I don't get ravenous because my body is used to it after all these years.
Does she eat anything else?
The only time I'll eat anything else is a family meal at a restaurant. Then I'll pick at a piece of dry chicken and a morsel of bread, just to stop people nagging at me.
walkersShe sounds like one of those fussy eaters.
I've always been a fussy eater. I can remember my mum trying everything to get me to eat healthily, cooking spaghetti bolognese and chopping up veg, which I refused to eat. She finally said, "If you don't eat that, there's nothing else." "Fine," I replied, "I don't want anything."
I wonder what kind she prefers?
When Luke was five, I bought a packet of barbecue-flavored crisps and that was it: I was in love. I didn't eat anything else for the next eight years, until the day I decided to go wild and try Monster Munch. They had been a childhood treat, and they became my crisp of choice.
Probably Walkers.

The Ampersand


Airstrikes hit Gadhafi's hometown

International forces target the Libyan city of Sirte, a regime stronghold, for the first time.  

Turkey will run Benghazi airport

Turkey's prime minister says his country will take over the running of the airport in Benghazi to facilitate the transport of humanitarian aid to Libya.

Radiation 10 million times over normal at Japanese reactor

Now this is a bit troubling.
Officials said the high levels of radiation was probably caused by leakage from reactor vessels.

Japanese engineers have struggled to pump radioactive water from the plant 240 km north Tokyo two weeks after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

Engineers trying to stabilize the plant had to pump out radioactive water after it was found in buildings housing three of the six reactors.

Meanwhile, tests by the Japanese nuclear safety agency revealed levels of radioactivity up to 1,850 times the usual level in seawater offshore the crippled plant compared to 1,250 measured on Saturday.

Radiation hits soil, seawater

Japan issues a new warning as workers race to pump out hundreds of tons of radioactive water.

Reassuring quake study

A new study says big earthquakes don't trigger other dangerous ones around the globe.

Non Sequitur


Randomly Selected Leaders May Make Politics More Efficient

Could randomly selected politicians perform better than elected ones? 
A new study tackles that question.  

Bad Cops

Three DC police officers charged with attempting to receive stolen goods

Two Louisiana sheriff's jailers arrested, fired

Georgia deputy fired for sexually assault is reindicted on additional charges

Milwaukee police officer is charged with stealing a 7-year-old boy's Social Security number to make purchases

Justice Dept probe of New Orleans Police Department finds a pattern of misconduct including the use of excessive force and illegal stops and searches

Michigan Supreme Court sides with rapper Dr. Dre and against cops

Restaurant owner says angry cop hit him with car

Court denies qualified immunity for botched SWAT raid

Washington trooper won't face charges for "accidentally" shooting pregnant woman in crack raid

Police shootings of blacks in Miami draws outrage

Ten weirdest traffic laws

In one Minnesota town, drivers with muddy tires can be fined up to $2,000.  

Interstate camera trap flap

Lawmakers say a system for catching speeding motorists is a case of selective law enforcement.

Cool, unusual supercars

When the average Ferrari or Lamborghini won't do, consider these even more exotic options.

Odds and Sods

Oklahoma game wardens say they are taking seriously reports of an alligator in a stream in northeastern Oklahoma.

Best cities for retirement

These locales feature a favorable cost of living, a low tax burden, and excellent access to health care.  

Ways to boost home value

Organize your garage and closets to add space and make your house more enticing to buyers.  

First Practical "Artificial Leaf" Powers Fuel Cells for Rural Homes

green leaf veins photo
Photo by Kumaravel via Flickr Creative Commons
Scientists have long been trying to mimic the photosynthesis perfected by leaves -- turning sunlight and water into energy that can be stored. While many have made attempts, there seems to be one group of scientists that have pulled it off. The news comes from the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, where the researchers made their announcement. The "artificial leaf" would be used to generate power for off grid homes in developing areas, and the hope is that one such "leaf" could provide enough energy for an entire household.

Disney and Dali ...

Disney and Dali… talk about surreal…
... You wanna talk about surreal …

Step Back In Time

Belfast, 1901.

This two-minute video, from the Mitchell and Kenyon Collection of the British Film Institute, does not show any historically important or humorous events. 
Instead, what one sees is a view from a horse-drawn tramcar on Royal Street in  Belfast at the beginning of the last century.
There are three companion videos posted  at the Ptak Science Books link: Manchester, Bradford, and Wigan, all in 1902

Top Ten Innovations of the War Between the States

The War Between the States was a major force of destruction but also spawned a wave of innovations.  
Read more

"The penal vault"

Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse, from Cent dessins : extraits des oeuvres de Victor Hugo 
(One hundred drawings from the works of Victor Hugo), Paris, not dated (circa 1900?).

This Victor Hugo story, was found in The Laughing Man, Volume III at Google Books.
"He who refuses to answer the magistrate," said the Sheriff, "is suspected of all vices.  He is considered capable of all evil..."

"All vices," said the Sheriff, "presuppose all crime. Who admits nothing, confesses everything. He who is silent before the judge's questions, is by his act a liar..."
The text goes on to explain the "lump" on the man's chest in the drawing.  He is undergoing the torture called la peine forte et dure, in which a board is placed on the chest, and stones or other weights are placed on the board.

Open 9 Days A Week

All righty then.

On The Job

Quick training programs can help launch you in one of six rewarding careers.  



Why ID cards can be risky

A key piece of sensitive information is buried in the bar code of some tags.  

The ten prominent repugican lies on the economy

Here's a quick and cohesive debunking of ten prominent repugican lies on the economy.

Helpful, if you want to know when you're being lied to, which is any time you're reading or listening to anything a repugican says.

Repugicans target entitlements

The repugicans won't shy away from calls to cut Social Security, even in retirement havens like Florida.  

Elderly man who lay dead for over three years was still paying his bills

An elderly Swedish man was found dead in his apartment in Tumba in southern Stockholm last Wednesday with police believing that he could have been dead for over three years without anyone having noticed. The man, who is reported to have been born in 1928, was found when a broadband technician turned up to complete an installation in the building and found the apartment door unlocked.
"Two men went into the apartment and found the man dead. They called me and we discovered that we had lain there a while," project leader Thomas Martinsson said. "It is very tragic," Åsa Johannesson at Flemingsberg police said. Exactly when the man died can not be established for certain but police found unopened mail from late 2007 and the food in the fridge was dated early 2008.

Furthermore the man's advanced state of decay indicated that he had been dead for around three years. The man's pension had continued to be deposited to his account and his bills had been paid by direct debit throughout the time he lay dead in his apartment.

The man is reported to have relatives and police are trying to get in touch with his next of kin, a son. "He lived alone but there are relatives. But they obviously had no contact," Åsa Johannesson said. The police have confirmed that there is no suspicion of any crime having been committed.

How Medicare affects Social Security

Rising Medicare premiums threaten to wipe out increases in Social Security payments next year, leaving millions of retired and disabled Americans without a raise for the third straight year.

Health care finance is a problem worldwide

A Wall Street Journal article discusses the problems in Europe:

Reformers want to reduce the state's role in health-care delivery and introduce a competitive element. Those against change are adamant that a health-care system without state involvement is health care without a heart. Good for the rich, calamitous for the poor. It is an issue heavily clouded by emotion. But many feel that without innovation, crumbling state-backed systems will collapse as they struggle to cope with aging populations, soaring overheads and, more recently, mounting budget deficits.

The statistics paint a bleak picture. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union will see an increase in health expenditure of 350% by 2050, whereas at the same time the economy is only set to expand by 180%...

...in Germany alone between 2020 and 2030 there will be a huge spike in the number of elderly people alongside an enormous drop in young and working-age people. "This will mean a dramatic increase in individuals' payroll tax contribution rates to health care to 20.7% in 2030 and over 23% in 2040," he says. This compares to just 11.4% in 1980...

Britain is not the only European country having to make tough choices to tackle soaring deficits. Other countries in Europe, including France and Spain, are also dealing with huge deficits...

"In 1995 the cost of a hip replacement was the equivalent of buying a flat-screen TV in Germany," he says. "In 2008 you could get 10 flat-screen TVs for the amount of money you paid for a hip replacement."

New Study Into Dementia To Be Launched

Doctors are leading a new study into a drug which could improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

Healthy Living

3 stinky body parts and how to fix them

Double Moonbow

Double Moonbow! What does it mean? It means that photographer Ethan Tweedie, after trying for quite some time, captured rare images Thursday in Kamuela, Hawaii. A moonbow {wiki} is a rainbow created by the light reflected off the moon. In this instance, there was enough moonlight for two of them!

Burt's Bees Founder Wants To Donate National Park

Maine sportsmen were outraged when Roxanne Quimby, the conservation-minded founder of Burt's Bees cosmetics, bought up tens of thousands of acres of Maine's fabled North Woods - and had the audacity to forbid hunters, loggers, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on the expanses.

Awesome Pictures

Rago National Park, Norway
See more photos and maps here.

Private island getaways

One Bora Bora hotel offers guests a private beach and scuba dive center. 

The Top 10 Unusual Island Territories


The exploration of our seas and oceans have unearthed some fascinating island and archipelago finds. Subsequent claims of national jurisdiction sometimes fly in the face of apparent geographical proximity and make these idyllic destinations ever the more interesting.

The barren volcanic masses of Heard Island and McDonald Islands for example, though north of Antarctica and technically part of Australia, are actually closer to Madagascar. The globe is replete with countless territorial island quirks. Here are 10 unusual island territories that stand out as superb vacation destinations, some more unusual and random than others.

'Proof of Creation' Dino Drawing Just a Mud Stain

Dinosaur Drawing
Creationists have claimed this petroglyph was proof that humans and dinosaurs coexisted. 
Now researchers say it's two non-dino drawings plus a stain.



Go ahead ...

... and Jump

Animals with unusual skills

They aren't built for speed, but some snails provide an early alert system for pollution.  

Yak Skiing

Behold, the extreme sports of yak skiing. All you need are a yak, a pair of skiis, and some nuts (well, it helps if you yourself are a bit nuts):
In the Indian hill resort of Manali, Tibetan Peter Dorje runs an operation dedicated to the most implausible extreme sport in the world: yak skiing…
Pete heads to a high slope with the yaks, trailing out a rope behind him. You wait below, wearing your skis and holding a bucket of pony nuts. When Pete reaches the top, he ties a large pulley to a tree, loops the rope through it and onto a stamping, snorting yak.
Now it’s your turn—and this is the important part. First tie yourself onto the other end of the rope, then shake the bucket of nuts and quickly put it down. The yak charges down the mountain after the nuts, pulling you up it at rocket speed. If you forget yourself in the excitement and shake the bucket too soon, you’ll be flattened by two hairy tons of behemoth. Or as Pete says, “Never shake the bucket of nuts before you’re tied to the yak rope.”

Lembeh: A Weird And Wonderful World Underwater

Indonesia's northern Sulawesi has one of the greatest - and most unlikely - underwater environments in the world.

Man mauled after smoking pot gets workman's comp

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a Workers' Compensation Court ruling that about $65,000 in medical bills incurred by a man who was mauled while feeding the bears at a tourist attraction should be covered by workers' compensation, despite the fact the man had smoked marijuana on the day of the attack.

Escaped cobra stirs up buzz

A lethal species made famous by Indiana Jones triggers an urgent hunt in the Bronx.

Wildlife Bridge Being Built Over Ontario Highway

wildlife bridge image
Image Credit MTO; huge version here
Last year the ARC wildlife crossing competition got a lot of pixels; it was won by Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates and there is talk of building it, although it was more of an ideas competition. But they are actually building a wildlife bridge this summer in Ontario, just south of Sudbury. It is not nearly as fancy as the ARC competition entries, but the $ 58.3 million "eco-passage" will save the lives of both animals and the humans who tend to hit them.

Rare lion cubs saved in Somalia

Their mother was shot and they were driven through a raging civil war, destined to be pets in the Middle East - until Somali authorities intervened to save two lion cubs smuggled aboard a ship in the chaotic country's port.

Animal Pictures