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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, April 13, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Are you a teacher?
Before you answer, think about it.
Have you ever helped somebody understand something they couldn't grasp until you sat down with them and went over the 1, 2, 3 of the whole thing?
Have you ever explained a physics problem or an emotional problem, or how to color between the lines?
Sounds like you've got a teacher in you, whether it's your official job or not.
Who are you teaching?

Some of our readers today have been in:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia
Melbourne, Victoria, Canada
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
London, England, United Kingdom
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Amsterdam Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia

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 Pittsburgh, Everett, Lawrenceville, Ames and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, April 13, the 104th day of 2011.
There are 261 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Thomas Jefferson Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!



TSA Frisked Our 6-Year-Old Daughter

A Kentucky couple wants the TSA to change how it screens children after their 6-year-old daughter was frisked at the New Orleans airport.

Two suspects 'admit' Belarus bomb

Two suspects in Belarus have confessed to carrying out a bomb attack which killed 12 people in Minsk, says President Alexander Lukashenko.

Chinese democracy activist charged with subversion

A veteran democracy activist has become the latest person detained by Chinese authorities in a widening crackdown on dissent following anonymous calls for anti-government protests like those in the Middle East and Africa, a rights group said Wednesday.

The truth be told


The truth be told ... part Deux


And I Quote

The Romans got bread and circuses as their empire declined. 
All we get here in the American empire is the clowns.
~ Bad Tux

How deficit got so staggering

Barack Obama's speech today takes a step to tackle a problem decades in the making.

Biggest myth about the $2 bill

The oft-forgotten currency with Thomas Jefferson's image isn't fake — and it's not worth collecting.

Best-paying college majors

Grads specializing in one field dominate a new ranking of starting salaries.  

Best states for making a living

These places offer the highest incomes—after accounting for local taxes and expenses.  

April is Poetry Month

All the World's a Stage  
by William Shakespeare

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The Battle of Ft. Sumter

One Hundred-Fifty years ago on April 12th, 1861, the first battle of the War Between the States was fought at Ft. Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina. Southern states had been seceding from the union for months, but the US still maintained coastal forts.
During the four months leading up to Lincoln’s Inauguration, the seceding states, one after another, seized federal forts, arsenals, and customs houses within their borders.
There was little to oppose the breakaway forces, a caretaker and a guard or two comprising many of the garrisons. Most of the 16,000 or so regular Army soldiers had been posted to the western frontier to protect settlers against the perceived threat from American Indians.
On March 4, 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated, promising the seceding states that he would use force only “to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places” belonging to the federal government.
The stage was set for the inevitable showdown.
National Geographic takes a look back with a rundown of what actually happened on April 12th at Ft. Sumter, and how those actions sent the nation into four years of war and cost more than 600,000 men their lives.
Full Story

Photography in the War Between the States

The War Between The States Photography
The world's first true war photographers first emerged during the War Between the States. Explore some of their most captivating work here.  

How the War Between the States Photography Changed War
The War Between the States photographers completely changed perceptions of modern warfare.

Odds and Sods

For garlic devotees and farmers, the first six months of the year can be a long, barren stretch.

Ex-Mafia boss makes history

A mobster known as "The Ear" makes history by spilling a powerful family's secrets.  

Judge More Likely to Grant Parole After Lunch

Want to get a parole? Have your attorney schedule your parole hearing after lunch. A new study revealed that the timing of a parole hearing is quite crucial in determining the outcome.
As a case study, one of the judges started in the morning by granting parole to about 65 percent of the prisoners; that percentage dropped to near zero by the end of the first session, then rebounded to about 65 percent after the snack break. The same pattern repeated in the second and third sessions.
The researchers suggest that as the number of rulings in a session increase, the judges become mentally fatigued. Once their mental resources are depleted, the judges are more likely to simplify their decisions. Ruling in favor of the status quo—denying parole—is the "easier" decision, the authors argue, since these rulings take generally take less time and require shorter written verdicts. After taking a break, their faculties are restored, and they are more likely to make "harder" decisions and grant parole requests again.

Three Little Pigs

This is a true story, proving how fascinating the mind of a six year old is.
They think so logically.
A teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to her class.

She came to the part of the story where first pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home.

She read. 'And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said: 'Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'

The teacher paused then asked the class: 'And what do you think the man said?'

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly ... 'I think the man would have said - 'I'll be a son of a bitch!! A talking pig!'

The teacher had to leave the room.

Things They Won't Tell You

Dealing with the person minding your kids can raise many delicate issues.

Non Sequitur


Basket Boat

Photo: Sivaram V/Reuters
MSNBC’s PhotoBlog has this intriguing photo by Sivaram V of Reuters of a family floating down the Periyar River in Kerala, India, in a home-made basket boat.
Reminds one of the woven bamboo basekt boats of Vietnam:

Priceless Egyptian Treasures Returned

The artifacts were stolen when vandals and looters broke into the Cairo museum during the January revolution.

The 1948 Timbs Special

Photo: Peter Harholdt for Amelia Island Concours, Gary & Diane Cerveny Collection
I don’t usually ooh-and-aah over cars, but I’ll gladly make an exception for this 1948 Timbs Special by Norman E. Timbs (and restored by Dave Crouse for the 2010 Concours d’Elegance).

Detroit, why don’t you make cars like this?

Brain Light Bulb

Maria and Igor Solovyov of Solovyov Design looked at today’s compact fluorescent lamps and thought that they should look better. Or perhaps "brainier": here.

Carl Sagan's Cosmos

Well almost ...

Time-lapse flight video stuns

A passenger photographs a spectacular natural phenomenon outside the airplane window.  

If A Blind Man Can Suddenly See, Would He Be Able to Distinguish Objects by Sight Alone?

In 1688, Irish scientist William Molyneux asked philosopher John Locke "if a man born blind can feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes, could he similarly distinguish those objects by sight if given the ability to see?"
That philosophical thought experiment, called Molyneux's Problem, stood for centuries until MIT researchers Richard Held and Pawan Sinha collaborated with Indian surgeons to operate to restore sight in children who'd been blind from curable causes:
Held, Sinha, and colleagues recruited five children, ages 8 to 17, from Project Prakash to tackle Molyneux's question. The researchers built 20 pairs of simple shapes from toy blocks and tested the children within 48 hours of the surgery to restore their sight. The children had not encountered these unusual shapes before. [...] After feeling a shape, the children did only slightly better than chance at identifying it by sight alone, the team reports online today in Nature Neuroscience.
That result suggests a negative answer to Molyneux's question. Because many children travel long distances for the operations, most go home with their families before the researchers can do follow-up experiments, Sinha says. However, when the researchers retested two of the boys with a new set of shapes a few days later, their accuracy on the touch-to-vision experiment jumped to above 80%. That suggests a more nuanced answer of "initially no but subsequently yes," Sinha says.
"It's a great story," says Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The change in the children's ability to integrate touch and vision happens too fast to be explained by major rewiring in the brain, Pascual-Leone says. Even though they grew up recognizing objects by touch, they needed only a little bit of visual experience to learn to translate between the two senses. "They're not starting from zero," he says.

Could Higgs Particle Be A Time-Traveling Assassin?


You've heard the story; a time traveler goes back in time, killing his grandfather. The upshot is that the time traveler ceases to exist. If the time traveler doesn't exist, how could he have traveled back in time to kill his grandfather? This logical paradox is known as the 'Grandfather Paradox,' and although it makes for a great science fiction storyline it's a perplexing conundrum that has physicists scratching their heads.

Enter the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator that might become mankind's first time machine, thereby helping us find out if we can kill our grandfathers in the past and still exist. Time machine is a very loose term in this case, as you couldn't actually use it to transport yourself through time, but the LHC might generate a type of Higgs particle that cuts through time and its decay particles appear in our universe before its own creation event.

Awesome Pictures


Three Weird Things Stressing You Out

Car horns, strangers on cell phones, people who stop walking right at the foot of an escalator—so many irritants vie for the privilege of tipping you over the edge that National Public Radio science nerds Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman decided to investigate.
Cell phone…

Home remedies for snoring

If you're a light or moderate snorer, simple items can help you get more shuteye.  

Quick Fix: 5 Home remedies for allergies

Allergies are the result of an immune system run amok; they develop when your body overreacts to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, cat dander, or dust.
About 20% of Americans are plagued by allergies.
The hallmark symptoms include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness,…

Five guilty pleasures that could actually be good for you

Whether you're a self-declared chocoholic or find yourself playing games on Facebook regularly, some extracurricular activities may actually be doing you more good than harm.

Even though many guilty pleasures can turn into harmful vices, there are a few things that actually have a positive…

Oil of Oregano

Nature’s Powerful Antibiotic
When I feel a cold or infection coming on, Oil of Oregano is the first thing I reach for.
Every since I started this practice (thanks to a tip from my local Health Food Store friend!), I have fended off every ‘bug’ that has passed my way!
I also now take it with me on plane…

Honey can reverse antibiotic resistance

Manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General [...]
Honey can reverse antibiotic resistance

The Best Foods for Your Heart

(and How to Save on Them)
1. Almonds Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc all help to make a handful (about 1/4 cup a day) of crunchy almonds good for your heart and your mood. B vitamins and magnesium help produce serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Zinc has also been shown to fight …

Daily Diet

7 things to cut, 8 things to add in your diet
“Calories in, calories out.”  
That's the new slogan for the government's latest nutrition guidelines.    

Will Robot Farmers Feed A Growing Population?

farmers market guelph ontario
Soon to be grown indoors and picked by robots! 
Image Credit Lloyd Alter
Just when we are all getting excited about local food and hipster farmers, Emily Sohn of Discovery News tells us that in fact, robots might be taking over. The latest robots can handle the difficult stuff that requires careful, labor intensive picking, like grapes and strawberries. They are also immune to pesticides and chemicals and can replace itinerant workers.



Bat disease may increase farm pesticide use

A group of researchers says the threat posed to bats by a fatal disease isn't just a threat to the animals but to American agriculture, one they believe farmers and consumers alike scarcely appreciate.

Birds inherited sense of smell from dinosaurs … and improved it

Pigeons may not instill the same aura of fear as a Tyrannosaurus rex, but they inherited their sense of smell from such prehistoric killers.
Birds are known more for their [...]

Sharp-toothed fossil links old and new dinosaurs

The species name chauliodus is derived from the Greek word for buck-toothed and refers to the species big slanted front teeth.



The Dixie Fryer

Foghorn Leghorn being, well, Foghorn Leghorn

In the mountains

Everything's better in the mountains

Animal News

Bug Turns Pest Into Supermom
Many sweet potato whiteflies are coming down with an infection that turns them into supermoms, a bane for farmers.

Penguin, Krill Populations in Freefall
As temperatures rise in the Antarctic the penguins' main food source has been in decline.  

Are Ants Smarter Than Fifth-Graders at Math?
Highly social ants can count, complete basic math tasks and communicate that information to members of the colony.  

Ocean Noise Pollution Blowing Holes in Squids' Heads
Noise trauma is taking a toll in the heads of squid and other cephalopods and may provide an additional reason why hundreds are washing ashore dead.  

Blind Cave Fish Can't Catch Zzz's
Insomnia is a matter of life and death for blind cave fish, an evolutionary trait that may lead to insights on human sleep disorders.  

A Tale of Two Kitties

It's 1942 and Tweety faces Babbit and Catittlo.

New Species Classification Identifies World's Most Endangered Rhino

northern white rhino photo
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The white rhino is among the world's rarest species and now, based on a new study, the population may be ready to split. Based on genetic and physical research, scientists believe that the northern and southern white rhino, typically considered related subspecies, may in fact be entirely unique species.
If accepted, the taxonomic split would have particularly severe implications for the northern white rhino, which has a population of eight individuals in captivity and is thought to be extinct in the wild.
Article continues: New Species Classification Identifies World's Most Endangered Rhino

Animal Pictures