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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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Mercenary ideas are suddenly interesting to you, and you might find yourself lingering over the newspaper's financial section.
You are on a quest to make more money with less effort.
Make a plan to educate yourself about ways to make your money last longer, or even grow faster.
As the month comes to a close, you're in a good spot to strategize your financial goals for the next few months.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk, Belgium
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Muscat, Masqat, Oman

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 Brick, Urbandale, Whittier, Lawrence and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, March 30, the 90th day of 2011.
There are 275 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day
Pencil Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Bad in-flight behavior

Travel experts share tips on handling rude seatmates, loud kids, and stinky food.

Mysterious bullet hole in plane

A pilot's chance find in the fuselage of his 737 rattles nerves and stirs up big questions.

Fake bomb undetected on cargo plane

An investigation is under way into how a fake bomb was transported on a cargo plane from the UK.

TSA Witch Fired

witchA good example of Wiccan persecution: Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA.
If you were the boss at a U.S. government agency and one of your employees complained that she was afraid of a co-worker's religious practices, what would you do?
Would it change your decision if the religion were Wicca, and the employee feared her co-worker because she thought she might cast a spell on her?
Here's how the Transportation Security Administration handled it: It fired the witch.
I know you had something else in mind, but ...

Bad Cops


Maryland sheriff's deputy charged with child sex abuse

Indiana cop is charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct crimes

New Jersey police leave teens locked in van for 14 hours without heat or water

Florida jail guard accused of attacking school employee

Retired Pennsylvania cop gets 35 years in child sex assault

Curiously un-named Ohio corrections officer placed behind bars after inmate accuses him of sexual assault

Nebraska police officer convicted of harassing women

Texas police officer arrested for possession of marijuana

Fired Virginia sheriff's deputy is charged with trying to arrange sex with an 11-year-old girl

New Jersey cop charged with abuse after allegedly propositioning 16-year-old girl

"Dark day" for Colorado town's police department as 29-year veteran cop is charged with sexual exploitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Tennessee sheriff's lieutenant charged with theft

Why are these Texas police officers still on the street?

Children's coloring books used to smuggle drugs into jail

Disney-character coloring books arriving at the Cape May County Correctional Center and addressed “To Daddy” in a child’s handwriting were saturated with a narcotic drug as part of a smuggling operation, authorities have said. Two inmates at the correctional center, a state prison inmate and two others were charged with distribution of a controlled substance after they allegedly turned Suboxone, a prescription drug designed to treat opioid addiction, into a paste. The paste was then painted onto children’s pictures and sent through inmate mail, Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer said.

“In my 38 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Schaffer said. The sheriff said he has alerted other jail wardens and county sheriffs about the operation in case it is tried again. The arrests were the result of a two-month investigation that began when Corrections Officer Richard Harron Jr. developed a source who alerted him to the smuggling. As a result, corrections officers began watching the mail for the contraband, Shaffer said.

By February, an officer in the mailroom, William Coombs Sr., had found coloring book pages with what he called “an orangey substance blotted on the page.” The alleged drug smugglers used torn-out pages of children’s coloring books, colored by a child’s hand and with the words “To Daddy” scribbled across the top, to obscure the presence of the drug. Three pages, two of them of Disney scenes depicting Snow White and Cinderella, were among those seized.

Schaffer said the pages were sent to the county Prosecutor’s Office drug lab for testing, and the speedy turnaround of the evidence allowed for the arrests. Inmates Zachary Hirsch and Charles Markham, and Paul Scipione, a former inmate recently transferred from the jail, were each charged with conspiracy and attempt to commit a crime. Hirsch’s bail was set at $50,000. Bail for Markham and Scipione was set at $15,000 each.

Rough portrayal of Bill Gates

Paul Allen says his former partner plotted to take his stock after a cancer treatment.

Fourth Amendment

Fourth Amendment me arse, Governor Rick Scott (reptile-Florida) has ordered widespread drug testing of government employees.
Because, as you all know, repugicans are all about small, un-intrusive government.

Judge Blocks Implementation of Wisconsin Anti-Union Law -- Again

@ Crooks and Liars:

Not that it matters much to the militant dictators running Wisconsin right now.
Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi has just blocked -- again -- Gov. Scott Walker's (r-WI) new law curtailing public employee unions, after the state repugican leadership moved last Friday to circumvent her previous order that blocked the law on procedural grounds. But that's not the end of the discussion, as it appears the state will continue to defy the order.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
"Further implementation of the act is enjoined," said Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi.
She noted her original restraining order issued earlier this month was clear in saying that the state should not proceed with implementing the law. The Walker administration did so after the bill was published Friday by a state agency not included in Sumi's earlier temporary restraining order.
"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear," she said.
But minutes later, outside the court room, Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said the legislation "absolutely" is still in effect

America's happiest careers

Surprisingly, employees say that pay matters less than three other factors for job fulfillment.  

Retirment Age around the World


Ground zero population boom

An area linked to national tragedy hasn't failed to attract residents, census data reveals. 

Awesome Pictures


College football on Sundays?

If the NFL lockout continues, one major conference is considering ways it could help fill the void.  

World's highest hotel debuts

Dizzying views aren't the only "wow" factor packed into a new record-breaking locale. 

Odds and Sods

People might have thought they were part of a recipe when a northern New Jersey bakery blew its top and shot a cloud of flour over cars and buildings.

Obese man cut out of house

An Ohio man is fighting for his life after he had to be cut out of his house. The 43-year-old morbidly obese man sat in a chair for two years without moving. His skin was apparently welded to the chair with urine and feces.

"Well, the chair was outside, they had to take a section of the wall down to the house to get him out. The chair was very filthy (grimaces) a lot of odor to it. Going in the house, the house was not clean. The living room where the man lived in his chair was very filthy, very deplorable. It’s unbelievable that somebody lives in conditions like that," said Jim Chase, Bellaire, and Ohio Code Enforcer.

"I instructed the landlord this morning and the two people, the tenants at the house they had to get it cleaned, there's no way they can live in something like that, and so they are working on it. So, I'll be going back daily, checking on it, making sure that they get it cleaned up and serviceable. If not, they must get out."

Some officers said it’s the worst thing they ever responded to. One officer even threw away his uniform.

Wizard of Id


Mother kicked off bus because her baby was laughing too loud

An Australian mother and her 13-month-old daughter have been allegedly kicked off a bus because the young girl was making too much noise. Toni Hay and her baby, Heather, got on the Darwin Bus Service bus at Casuarina to get home to Coconut Grove. Ms Hay said her daughter was loud because she was excited.

She said she was told by the bus driver that if she could not quieten her daughter down she would have get off the bus. "She's 13 months old, what can I do.' "Little Heather was strapped in her pram and Ms Hay said she was making"happy squealing noises."

About eight minutes into the journey she said the bus driver yelled out that if she couldn't keep her daughter quiet then they would have to get off the bus. "Heather was squealing because she was happy and the driver threatened to throw us off," Ms Hay said. A distressed and embarrassed Ms Hay said she apologized to other passengers and gave her daughter a biscuit and a drink and tried playing with her.

"She wasn't screaming or carrying on or anything, she was smiling and happy," she said. The driver threatened to throw her off the bus two more times and Ms Hay said after that she kicked them off. "The woman was like 'Right, that's it. I've been telling you since Casuarina that you're going to have to get off the bus if you can't keep your baby quiet,' " she said. By this time Ms Hay said the next stop was theirs and they disembarked any way.

German girl finds boa constrictor in toilet

A seven-year-old girl was shocked to find a sizeable boa constrictor staring up at her from the toilet over the weekend, police in Hannover said. The “fugitive” reptile escaped before authorities could capture it.

The girl discovered the snake in the toilet bowl when she lifted the lid on Saturday evening at her family’s apartment in the Linden-Süd district, spokesman Holger Hilgenberg said in a statement. She informed her 39-year-old mother, who called police immediately, they said.

Officers photographed the reptile and consulted with animal rescue services at the fire department. “But before the animal could be retrieved, it disappeared into the drain pipe, and a ‘search’ was fruitless,” Hilgenberg said.

According to the local veterinary school the snake was a boa constrictor, a non-venomous genus that poses no danger to humans. “The reptile probably escaped from a terrarium.” Hilgenberg said, adding that the owner was still unknown.

House said to look like Hitler's face

An unassuming semi-detached house in Wales has become an unlikely Web star after Internet users decided that it looks a lot like Adolf Hitler's face.

Boy stumbles on note in a bottle

An earnest note dropped into the sea in 1987 leads to an unlikely new friendship.  

John Frum

John Frum.
john_frum John Frum (or Jon Frum, or John From) is a figure associated with cargo cults on the island of Tannain Vanuatu. He is often depicted as an American World War II serviceman, who will bring wealth and prosperity to the people if they follow him. He is sometimes portrayed as black, sometimes as white.
From David Attenborough's report of an encounter: "'E look like you. 'E got white face. 'E tall man. 'E live 'long South America."
John Frum promised the dawn of a new age, in which all white people, including missionaries, would leave the New Hebrides, and that the native Melanesians would gain access to the material wealth that white people enjoyed. For this to happen, however, the people of Tanna had to reject all aspects of European society (money, Western education, Christianity, work on copra plantations) and return to traditional kastom (a word for native Tannesecustoms).
In 1941, followers of John Frum rid themselves of their money in a frenzy of spending, left the missionary churches, schools, villages and plantations, and moved further inland to participate in traditional feasts, dances and rituals. European colonial authorities sought to suppress the movement, arresting Frum, humiliating him publicly, imprisoning him, and ultimately exiling him, along with other leaders of the cult, to another island in the archipelago.
The cult is still active today. The followers believe that John Frum will come back on a February 15 (the year of his return is not known), a date which is observed as "John Frum Day" in Vanuatu.

Epic Fail

He's is obviously not Scots because if he were he'd know that is not how to turn a caber.

New photo of Mercury a first

A historic image beamed back to Earth reveals a stark landscape dominated by a massive 53-mile-wide crater.  

Astronomy Picture of the Day


Wasps Get Rid of Ants by Airdropping Them

Killing ants is hard and dangerous work for wasps, so they’ve developed a rather clever method of getting rid of the pesky insect: they airdrop ‘em. Julien Grangier of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand discovered the strange behavior:
"The first surprise was to see that despite being 200 times smaller, the ants are able to hold their own by rushing at the wasps, spraying them with acid and biting them," Grangier said. "But the most amazing was to observe that wasps, apparently frustrated by having to compete with ants, will pick them up in their mandibles, fly off and drop them away from the food."
The researchers saw the involuntary ant flights 62 times at 20 different bait stations. The wasps didn’t bother to take the ants far, usually dropping them only a few centimeters from the tuna. But that was enough. About 47 percent of the time, the discombobulated ants never made it back to the tuna. Even when the ants did make it back, the wasps beat them there 75 percent of the time.

Amazon Rainforest is Looking a Bit Brown and Wilted

dry amazon photo  
Original photo: Ivan Mlinaric / cc
If the billion acres of Amazon rainforest are 'the lungs of the Earth', then our planet had better get in to see a pulmonary specialist right quick. According to research conducted with the help of satellite imagery, the typically-lush Amazon is losing its greenness -- with an astonishing 618 million acres looking a bit on the brown and wilted side. Scientists studying the phenomenon say that last year's strangling drought is behind the change. There's just one problem though -- the rain's returned, but the green has not.

Prehistoric Americans Traded Chocolate for Turquoise?

Talk about a sweet deal—prehistoric peoples of Mesoamerica may have traded chocolate for gems from the U.S. Southwest, a new study suggests. 

Traces of a chemical found in cacao—the main ingredient in chocolate—were found in several drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito, a complex of sandstone "great houses" in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
Ancestral Puebloan peoples built the complex, the epicenter of the ancient Chaco culture, in stages between A.D. 850 and 1150.
(See "16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas.")

But cacao, a tropical fruit that grows in Central and South America, was cultivated in prehistoric times only in Mesoamerica, a region that stretches from Mexico to Costa Rica (see map).
The findings suggest the New Mexico complex also served as a trading hub for Mesoamericans and Puebloans between the 11th and 14th centuries—and that the two groups had a "much tighter connection" than previously thought, said study leader Dorothy Washburn.

Report Shows Which Counties Are Healthiest

Startling differences in the health of residents living just a few miles apart are highlighted in a new health rankings report that assesses wellness in nearly all the nation's 3,000-plus counties.

Urban Gardens Tainted by Lead and Chemicals

With remnants of once-legal lead paint, leaded gasoline and other pollutants from the nation's industrial past tainting land in U.S. cities, soil researchers warn that the growing number of urban farmers and community gardeners need to test their dirt and take steps to make sure it's safe.

Food Packaging Harbors Harmful Chemicals

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Eating fresh food, as opposed to packaged ones, can reduce your level of exposure to these toxins.  

Moms' Junk Food Habits May Alter Kids' Brains

The study, which was done in rats, suggests pregnant and breast-feeding women should watch their diets. Read more

Burn calories without breaking a sweat

Burn calories without breaking<br>a sweat
Being active is not always about logging time at the gym. It can be as simple as standing up from your desk chair. Here are 8 easy ways to sneak in activity to help shed pounds, tone, and stay healthy longer.



Aratus pisonii

Aratus pisonii is commonly known as the Mangrove tree crab.

Whale, Dolphin Deaths in Gulf Spill Underestimated

From the "Tell us something we didn't know" Department:
The death toll of animals from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be 50 times higher than originally reported.  

Animal Pictures