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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, April 8, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Blessed with a great positive energy, you'll be spreading joy to everyone you meet.
Liberally toss sunny smiles at people -- the driver in the car next to you, a stranger on the street and definitely that grouchy guy in the elevator.
By putting happy energy out into the world (even in a tiny way) you're creating a happier environment.
It's sort of like forming a bubble of joy all around you.
It's easier than it sounds -- so give it a try!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Ibiza, Isla Beleares, Spain
Reynella, South Australia, Australia
Antalya, Antalya, Turkey
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
London, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Vienna, Wein, Austria
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpr, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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 Sugar Land, Chula Vista, Oklahoma City, Beaver Falls and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, April 8, the 99th day of 2011.
There are 266 days left in the year.

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

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

April is Confederate History Month

Just so you're not confused by all the talk of the War Between the States as being anything other than an ECONOMIC WAR.
It was fought for control of the economic future of the different regions period.

All other 'reasons' assigned to it by contemporary and post commentators are smoke and mirrors - red herrings - etc.

How the War Between the States Changed Modern Medicine

Civil War Hospital
The bloodiest conflict on American soil ushered in a new era of medicine.  

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time ...


And I Quote

"I've never seen anything like this.
  It's like something in the United States."
~ A fireman in Rio, after someone shot 20 kids at a school.

Isn't it sad that, around the world, we have a reputation for mass murders?

Miserly duck tops list of richest fictional characters

Scrooge McDuck, the "penny-pinching poultry" with a fortune in gold coins whose estimated worth is $44.1 billion (£27 billion), has topped Forbes list of "Fictional 15" wealthiest imaginary characters. Vampire-themed franchises have become big business, so it's no surprise that Carlisle Cullen, the 370-year-old vampire from the "Twilight" books and films who has been accruing interest on a small savings account since 1670, came in second with $36.2 billion. A pair of overachieving youngsters came in third.

Artemis Fowl II, the prepubescent scion of an Irish crime family from Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl novels, was pegged at $13.5 billion, while the altruistically inclined comic book character Richie Rich totaled $9.7 billion. Despite his riches, McDuck still trails Microsoft founder Bill Gates' $53 billion. To qualify for the list the characters must be known in their fictional stories and by their audiences for being rich. "Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character's source material, and where possible, valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements," Forbes said.

While the list, which Forbes editors have compiled since 2005, is all in fun, the process and resultant numbers are serious business, said special projects executive editor Michael Noer. "We go to great lengths to calculate their net worth," Mr Noer said in an interview. "It's similar to how we calculate real billionaires." Market forces, especially commodities, also provided some guidance. "McDuck was up over 30 per cent, which is what gold has done this year, and his wealth is mostly in gold," Mr Noer explained.

Similarly Jed Clampett, the country bumpkin who found black gold in the television series "The Beverly Hillbillies" benefited from rising oil prices for a $9.5 billion net worth. Mr Monopoly, the top-hatted, mustachioed character from the popular board game, placed ninth with $2.6 billion. The editors based his worth on the current value of Atlantic City real estate and a presumed percentage of property ownership.

The truth be told


Liberal brains bigger in areas dealing with complexity, wingnut brains bigger in area of fear

Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the wingnut brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology.
People with a large amygdala are "more sensitive to disgust" and tend to "respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions," the study said.

Liberals are linked to larger anterior cingulate cortexes, a region that "monitor(s) uncertainty and conflicts," it said.

"Thus, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts, allowing them to accept more liberal views."
And you'd think a fear-based brain would be less evolutionarily advanced, since when we lived like animals fear probably would be the most important life-preserving mechanism. Not so helpful in modern society.

Repugican Wisconsin Governor: Only reason Demcrats won in state election was because they had more votes

He's a bit of an airhead, isn't he.

Check out how new repugican heartthrob Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, tried to downplay Democratic gains in state elections earlier this week:
While Walker downplayed the significance of Tuesday's elections on Wednesday, saying they were skewed by exceptional turnout in the liberal cities of Madison and Milwaukee, Democrats warned they were only a sign of what's to come.
Walker is saying that the only reason Democrats did so well was because they got more votes, so we shouldn't really count this as a Democratic electoral victory.


Not the brightest wheel of cheddar, now is he.

Will the Government shut down?

They don't remember what happened last time? 

They say our soldiers on the battlefield won't get paid when the repugicans shut it down.

Those teabaggers are real patriots, all right.

The colonial "tea party" was anti-corporation, not anti-government

Excerpts from an article at PoliticusUSA:
Progressive political commentator Thom Hartmann has something to say about the real history of the Boston Tea Party. Using a first-hand account written by one of the participants, he shows that it was not against government regulation; it was not against the size of government. It was not even really at its core about government at all, except to the extent that a government supported a huge mega-corporation that had a stranglehold on America’s economy. As Thom Hartmann says, the Boston Tea Party was “A revolt against corporate power and corporate tax cuts.”..

The heavy of the piece was not specifically the British government but the East India Company, which had a monopoly and was exploiting it. The East India Company was almost a nation unto itself, with tremendous influence over the British government and guilty of tremendous corruption and violence. The original Tea Party patriots were having none of this. They were not going to be ruined by corporate greed...
A fairly long discussion thread at the link, and another one at Reddit, where I found this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
"I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country."
~ Thomas Jefferson Nov. 12th, 1816

Social Security stopping mailed earning statements

Those yearly statements that Social Security mails out - here's what you'd get if you retired at 62, at 66, at 70 - will soon stop arriving in workers' mailboxes.

On The Job

One employee was fired soon after complaining online about being bored at work. 

Unemployment can literally be the death of you

"Being unemployed feels like it's about to kill me," a single mother of a 12-year-old son wrote on a support group forum in March.

Work Hours May Predict Heart Disease Risk

Work-related stress as a result of longer hours can take a toll on your personal health.  

A Ground Breaking Investment

Swedish electric cable manufacturer ABB broke ground this week on what will become on of the area's largest single investments ever.

What not to buy at CVS

In a test of staying power, CVS's batteries came in last among 9 brands.  



Strange lights seen over Huntersville

There's something in the sky over Huntersville.
Several residents of the Crown Ridge neighborhood along Huntersville-Concord Road spotted 30 to 40 odd, orange-glowing lights above the treetops around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2.
"It was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen," one resident said, requesting anonymity.

Charlotte robbery suspect drops T-shirt at scene

A suspect in a North Carolina home invasion robbery is in jail after a T-shirt bearing his photo was found outside the crime scene.

Fugitive mom breaks silence

Marie Walsh finally reveals how her 1976 prison break led to an unlikely new life far from home.

Non Sequitur


Is food just as addictive as drugs?

Is food just as addictive as drugs?
New science shows that craving chocolate isn’t that different from craving cocaine.
Here’s what’s happening in your brain when you can’t get enough of those chips or sugar, and how to stage an intervention on your unhealthy eating habits.

Cupcake's rumored effect

A growing number of patrons swears by the local legend of a Virginia bakery's sweet treat.  

Training Sharks to Eat

Lionfish are pretty, but they belong in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They lack natural predators in the Caribbean, so lionfish have become quite the invasive species since they escaped from aquariums ten years ago to breed in the waters off the US and Central America. In Honduras, divers are not only hunting them, they are also training sharks to eat the lionfish!
“At the beginning, the divers just killed lionfish and fed sharks with them to get the sharks to develop a taste,” said photographer Antonio Busiello, who observed the process in action.
“In the second step, to have the sharks develop an interest in hunting them, divers started to leave wounded lionfish so that the sharks could taste them. After a while, [the sharks] did start to hunt them and go after them.”
Living up to their voracious reputations, many sharks can eat venomous prey, such as lionfish, and suffer no apparent ill effects, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Humans are also encouraged to eat lionfish, which are tasty once the venomous spines are removed.

Read all about it in this gallery from National Geographic



The Commodore 64 computer is back

A firm is selling an updated version that keeps the styling of the original 1982 model. 

Pensioner in Georgia cuts Armenia off from internet

An elderly woman in Georgia is facing a prison sentence after reportedly causing internet services in neighboring Armenia to crash. The country found itself offline for hours on 28 March after cables linking Georgia to Armenia were damaged.

A Georgian interior ministry spokesman said a 75-year-old woman had admitted damaging fiber-optic cables while scavenging for copper. She has been charged and reportedly faces up to three years in prison.

"Taking into account her advancing years, she has been released pending the end of the investigation and subsequent trial," spokesman Zura Gvenetadze said. She had been searching for copper in the Georgian village of Ksani. The cables, owned by the Georgian Railway Telecom company, serve eastern Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

All three wholesale internet providers in Armenia - ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa - were unable to provide their usual service on the evening of 28 March. Services were eventually restored after midnight.

'Friendly fire' blunder in Libya

A second deadly “friendly fire” incident makes efforts with the rebels even tougher.  

Pro-Gadhafi Dip-Shit (er, host) makes waves

A former romance writer emerges as the regime's most fiery and controversial defender.  

Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell

When New York's Big Duck store was built in 1931 to sell ducks and duck eggs, it sparked the architectural term 'duck,' used to describe buildings designed to look like what they sell. Though the Long Island landmark no longer doles out the birds, there are plenty of other establishments keeping the tradition alive. Check out these buildings that look like their offerings.

Only English

Only in English is the ananas called a pineapple ... why?

Chinese censors ban time travel TV shows

The Chinese General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television has prohibited new science fiction TV dramas, following a vogue for shows where modern Chinese people travel to ancient China and discover that it's not a bad place to be (this having some counter-revolutionary subtext). They've also prohibited production of "the Four Great Classical Novels", ("the four novels commonly counted by scholars to be the greatest and most influential of classical Chinese fiction"), on the grounds that the widespread adaptations of them take too many liberties with the original texts.
From the end of last year, the time-travel themed drama is becoming more and more popular. Most of these time-travel dramas are based on real historical stories but with many newly added, and usually exaggerated elements to make it funny and more attractive. Nothing is off limits in this television genre. While some find it hilarious, others think the exaggeration and even ridiculous elements added into the story is a real source of annoyance and is a disrespectful for history. The authority's decision was made on the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1st. - but obviously it's not a prank to fans of the drama genre. The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."

Scottish heroin ends up in Australia

A package of heroin worth nearly $100,000 intended for a Scottish address has been seized by police after it was mistakenly delivered to Broken Hill, in far western New South Wales. Police say the parcel, containing 200 grams of heroin, was sent from Glasgow in Scotland, intended for a Shetland address.

A Broken Hill resident contacted police on February 10 after receiving the package. Local area acting Commander Mick Stoltenberg says police do not know how the delivery mix-up occurred.

"It was just done up as a package, but within a flask, sealed within some bags, which were inside the flask," Commander Stoltenberg said. "It was sent from an address in Glasgow, intended for an address in Shetland.

"So how they could mix up Shetland with Broken Hill in New South Wales Australia is the mystery." The discovery is still under investigation by Australian Federal Police.

As you can see it's not just our mail here in the USA that gets 'diverted'.

Fallen Shipping Containers

In a typical year, how many shipping containers fall off container ships at sea? The answer is here.
Each year, an estimated 10,000 shipping containers fall off container ships at sea. Although many of these containers float at the surface for months, most eventually sink to the seafloor. No one knows what happens to these containers once they reach the deep seafloor.
ContainerShip That seems like a lot.
The article describes a research program to study the effects of these containers.
Shortly after midnight on February 26, when the Med Taipei was directly offshore of Monterey Bay, stacks of containers began to break free of their lashings and topple sideways. Fifteen of the 40-foot-long containers fell overboard into the churning sea. Yet the ship continued south. By the time the ship reached the Port of Los Angeles, nine more containers had fallen overboard, and another 21 lay crumpled on deck.
Marine biologists will count the number of deep-sea animals on and around the container, and collect samples of sediment at various distances from the container for biological and chemical analysis. By comparing animal communities close to and away from the container, the researchers hope to determine what effects (if any) the container has had on seafloor life.
According to the U.S. Customs manifest, the container discovered by MBARI holds 1,159 steel-belted tires. Other containers that fell overboard held cyclone fencing, leather chairs, and mattress pads.
And this:
Approximately 90 percent of worldwide non-bulk cargo travels by container ship, and between five and six million containers are in transit at any given moment. To make matters worse, not all container cargo is inert. Perhaps 10 percent of shipping containers carry household and industrial chemicals that could be toxic to marine life.

Five more earthquakes recorded in central Arkansas

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded five more earthquakes near Greenbrier - including one with a preliminary magnitude of 3.9. No injuries or damage is reported.