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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, April 18, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The toughest lesson for you to learn today is that there's a big difference between acting mature and actually growing up.
Anyone can act the part of an adult -- and today, someone in your life does a darned good job of it.
But don't let yourself be fooled.
This someone (or someone else) needs to step up and be the mature one in a tense situation, and you must make sure they're genuine before you give them any responsibilities.
They might just be telling you what you want to hear.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, 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 Kirkland, Barrington, Elmhurst, Old Greenwich and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, April 18, the 109th day of 2011.
There are 246 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Pet Owners Independence Day
National Stress Awareness Day
National Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Tax Day

It's TAX Day and as Maxine says 'Have you filed your Form 1040BS yet?'

Discounts for Tax Day

Now that you’ve filed your 1040, treat yourself to a free Tax Day sundae or massage.

Tornadoes Rip Through

AT least 45 people have been killed as a  powerful storm whipped up tornadoes in its third day across parts of the  southern, central and eastern United States, local media reported.

The tornadoes left a trail of destruction in North Carolina Saturday,  leveling homes and businesses and knocking out power, the NBC television  network reported today.

The fast-moving storm toppled trees and power lines, tore roofs off houses and scattered tractor-trailers across highways.

Some two dozen tornadoes were reported in the southern states of  Mississippi and Alabama on Friday, a day after 15 twisters struck in  Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, the National Weather Service said.

Governor Perdue says tornado death toll N.C.'s worst ever

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue says she's never seen anything like the destruction caused by a storm system that claimed at least 21 lives statewide.

Hero emerges in tornado's wake

Just seconds before a twister shredded a Lowe's store, staff sprang into action.  

Anti-government, anti-tax Texas governor asks for federal funding

So the same person who complained about the stimulus yet kept his state afloat because of the stimulus money is now asking for federal tax dollars to help with wildfires. If Perry had his way, there would be even less federal tax dollars. Where does he think this money is going to come from? It always seems to be the states that complain the most about taxes who are always grumbling for more tax dollars. It's not that their requests are unreasonable, but when they make it their mission to attack the system and then come forward with hands out, then there's a big issue.

What a complete fraud.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought additional federal help in battling wildfires across his drought-parched state as a woodland blaze gutted at least six homes on Sunday and threatened hundreds more in Austin, the state capital.

An estimated 1.5 million acres of tinder-like brush and grasslands have gone up in flames in Texas since January 1, about half of that during the past week alone under some of the driest conditions in Texas history.

Some 220 homes in all have been lost, according to a letter released on Sunday from Perry to President Barack Obama requesting a federal disaster declaration.

Nobody Told Me

John Lennon

Algerian leader: Morocco is our brother, not enemy

Algeria's president says there are no problems between his country and neighboring Morocco, burying with words at least years of tensions over the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Random Celebrity Photo

Jayne Mansfield

Ten weight-loss vacations

These 10 leading destinations each put their own spin on diet and fitness.  

Culinary DeLites

This flavorful pineapple-rosemary glazed ham is a special treat for Easter dinner.  

Retro Photo


Ladies and gentlemen, the (new) Beetle

In its 73-year history, the Beetle has evolved from the hippie ride of choice to a cute chick car.

Most valuable college degrees

One degree comes out on top in terms of opportunities and compensation.  

Data From NASA's Sky-Mapping Telescope Released

NASA has released a trove of data from its sky-mapping mission, allowing scientists and anyone with access to the Internet to peruse millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids and other hard-to-see objects.

Armenia Makes Chess A Mandatory Subject in School

Chess is very popular in Armenia.

 wp-image-44783In a move to become globally known for prowess in the game, the government of Armenia has made the study of it mandatory for school children:
The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around $1.43 million to the scheme – a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country.
Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.
Aivazian said the lessons, which start later this year, would “foster schoolchildren’s intellectual development” and teach them to “think flexibly and wisely”.

Non Sequitur


Bad Cops

California school guard is convicted of child molestation

Georgia police officer arrested for battery

North Carolina deputy charged with embezzlement

New York cop who killed college student in disputed shooting is named "Officer of the Year"

Mississippi police officer fired after arrest on drug charge in Texas

Hawaii prison guard sentenced to 18 months for sexually assaulting an inmate

Video shows Florida jail guard attacking school employee

Pennsylvania corrections guard accused of beating

Florida sheriff's sergeant charged with trafficking oxycodone and withholding information from a doctor

California deputy gets 20 years for seeking bribes

Former Pennsylvania police officer arrested, charged with assault

North Carolina cop is arrested for kidnapping and sexual assault

New York corrections officer busted in cocaine deal, prosecutors say

This Modern World


Repugican budget includes overhaul of food stamps

House repugicans resurrected a 1990s-era fight over food stamps in their budget approved last week, arguing that any serious attempt to cut spending must include an overhaul of government programs that help needy families pay for food.

Congress already has started cutting some food programs, including reducing the Women, Infants and Children ...

Wizard of Id


Owe no U.S. income tax?

Many of them earn more than $1 million, but they won't get off tax-free.

Retire for under $500 a month

These intriguing spots offer beaches, charm, low taxes, and bargain rents. 



Teenage Girl Survives Plunge From Golden Gate Bridge

A teenage girl was rescued from San Francisco Bay this morning after jumping or falling from the Golden Gate Bridge, a fire department dispatcher said.

Illnesses plague oil spill crews

Sick workers fear there is a connection between cleaning chemicals and severe health problems.

FAA gives tired controllers an extra hour to rest

The government said Sunday it is giving air traffic controllers an extra hour off between shifts so they don't doze off at work, a problem that stretches back decades.

Cube Project Is A 97 Square Foot Psychology Experiment

cube project exterior photo
Image Credit Nick Edwards
Jetson Green shows us the Cube Project, where Dr Mike Page of the University of Hertfordshire designed and built " a compact home, no bigger than 3x3x3 meters on the inside, in which one person could live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment." At 97 square feet of floor area, it makes Graham's LifeEdited look like Edinburgh Castle.

Digital Atlas Of The Human Brain

Scientists at the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science have unveiled a computerized atlas of the human brain that charts the underlying biochemistry of the mind. The online atlas will assist researchers to locate where  genes are at work in the brain. This tool could offer help for brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and autism and mental-health disorders like depression, among others.
This first edition of the atlas took four years to compile and, in its preliminary drafts, has already become a research tool for 4,000 scientists who have adopted it to probe brain biology. It builds on computer techniques that the Allen Institute developed during the creation of an interactive atlas of the mouse brain, which it released in 2006.

Female doctors brawl in hospital

A grudge turned into an all-out brawl when a female doctor punched and struck a colleague in the head with a tray at one of Sydney's major hospitals. Pathologist Dr Ushma Samaraweera was sacked over the fight at Prince of Wales Hospital during which she called fellow doctor Sue Fredericks a "fucking bitch". The punch-up was detailed at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission where Dr Samaraweera alleged she was unfairly dismissed. She failed to win her job back.

Tensions between the two women had been simmering for more than a year over work loads and they were not on speaking terms when they bumped into each other in the pathology unit. Despite her 17cm height disadvantage, Dr Samaraweera used a "cricket bowl action" as she broke a document tray while trying to hit Dr Fredericks in the head, the commission heard.

Dr Samaraweera denied taking a run up. Dr Samaraweera also punched Dr Fredericks several times during the fight. The commission heard that there was an "initial bump", which was most likely accidental, but sparked the brawl. Commissioner Elizabeth Bishop said Dr Fredericks was struck in the arm when she tried to defend herself from being hit in the head with the tray.

Both women suffered bruising and cuts. Dr Samaraweera claimed Dr Fredericks started the fight and had thrown the punches. Ms Bishop accepted Dr Fredericks' version of the fight and said it was more likely that Dr Samaraweera had "snapped" in response to what she thought was a deliberate bump.

Surgeons to remove leaking battery from boy's stomach

Arizona doctors are going to have to cut a boy open to get a leaking battery out of his stomach. He swallowed the small lithium battery from a DVD remote.

It happened a few months ago, but surgeons are still preparing for the operation at the Phoenix Children's Hospital. Doctors say it's especially dangerous because the battery leaked inside the boy, burning his esophagus.

"When we found out that the battery was lodged in his esophagus, we were devastated, sickened, shocked," said the boy's mother, Karla Ranch. "We couldn't believe that this could have happened."

Experts say you can find these tiny batteries in other household items like bathroom scales, hearing aids, and singing greeting cards. They advise parents to buy products with battery compartments that require a tool to open.

Robin Words

 size-full wp-image-44762Here’s something that might keep you busy for a while. Robin Words pits your language skills against a computer.
Change one letter in the four-letter word the computer gives you. The computer will then change one letter in the word you used and so on. You may not use proper nouns or reuse words that have already been used. The first person to use up all possible words wins!
Some people brag of beating the computer fairly quickly, but it depends on the word you’re dealt. Others complain that the computer arbitrarily rules your words ineligible. How are you doing?

The First Mozart Prodigy

Before young Wolfgang Mozart became the toast of Europe, the family promoted his older sister, Maria Anna Mozart.
 wp-image-44759“Virtuosic.” “A prodigy.” “Genius.” These words were written in the 1760s about Mozart—Maria Anna Mozart. When she toured Europe as a pianist, young Maria Anna wowed audiences in Munich, Vienna, Paris, London, the Hague, Germany and Switzerland. “My little girl plays the most difficult works which we have … with incredible precision and so excellently,” her father, Leopold, wrote in a letter in 1764. “What it all amounts to is this, that my little girl, although she is only 12 years old, is one of the most skillful players in Europe.”
Her younger brother learned to play as well and eventually joined her on tour. However, Maria, who the family called Nannerl, was taken off the concert circuit when she became old enough to marry. We’ll never know what could have become of her music if she’d had the same opportunities as Wolfgang. However, Smithsonian looks at Nannerl’s influence on her brother and how much she may have been responsible for his fame.

Heaven's Gate

This is the Tianmen Cave in China, which literally translates as the "Gate to Heaven"; however, it's not fully a cave, but rather a colossal natural arch...

The way to the Gate is a wonder in itself: it has exactly 99 turns which lead to a massive staircase with a total of 999 steps - more here:

(image via)

Camels at Sunset

Somewhat unintentional picture... Brett Symons was preparing to shoot the sunset, and did not notice the camel train until it was almost upon him:

(image credit: Brett & Donna Symons)

Firefighter revives pit bull with CPR after blaze

Chicago firefighters rescued two pet dogs from a Bucktown fire on Friday afternoon and used CPR techniques to revive one of the animals, which had stopped breathing. Firefighter and paramedic Tammy Rodriguez was beaming as she appeared with the resuscitated pooch, a female named Howdy, at a news conference.

Rodriguez said one of her colleagues carried the lifeless dog to her outside the fire scene. She started working on the animal immediately. “(The dog) was completely out,” Rodriguez said as the now-energetic dog perched over her shoulder.

“And we just started putting the mask (on) and giving it straight oxygen. I started performing CPR, and for a while there it wasn’t reacting, but I think just the positive pressure of oxygen made it start breathing, which was exciting. All of a sudden she started opening her eyes and we’re like ‘Oh, my God’ … and then she got up,” she added.

A second dog, a puppy, was rescued from the fire and received treatment, Rodrigquez said. Rodriguez said she owns three dogs herself and considers them a part of the family. She was just doing her job Friday in bringing Howdy back. “It was a great feeling,” she said.

Cat from New Zealand went on 18-day voyage to Australia

Curiosity is said to have killed the cat, but one lucky moggy has lived to tell his tale. Stowing away in a shipping container in New Zealand, curious Douglas went on an 18-day, 3500km adventure across the sea to Adelaide, making stop-overs at Sydney and Melbourne. After several days without Douglas crawling under their feet, workers at Tesco Singapore's New Zealand plant in Tauranga became worried about their beloved site cat. "These big burly guys on the rigs were really worried about this one little cat," said regional service manager Bruce Clark.

Fearing the 18-month-old cat might have hitched a ride in one of the containers, Tesco workers contacted the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service about the possible illegal immigrant. Quarantine officer Emma Cook opened the three containers - packed with drilling equipment - in Adelaide. And after the first two containers failed to reveal the missing moggy, she was not confident. "I went down there at five o'clock to open the containers and at first we couldn't see anything because of all the machinery," she said.

"We started to unpack and he was just sitting there. We were speechless. He hadn't made a mess at all and he just came out and sat there." The only survivor of a litter dumped in a plastic bag in a Tesco worker's driveway, Douglas has always been a survivor. The mischievous kitten has always been closely involved in the workings of the company, often overseeing production from the top of shipping containers, or sleeping on machinery to be exported.

Quite the adventurer, Douglas often hitches rides around New Zealand with Tesco workers and can sometimes travel undiscovered for several hours. Mr Clark was in Singapore on a business trip when he found out about his company's beloved cat and changed his flight plans so he could meet Douglas in Adelaide. "I was meant to be home on Sunday, but I caught an earlier flight so I could see him," he said. "It's great to have him back safely and I know the boys are really looking forward to seeing this little fellow again." Douglas has been given the all-clear from a vet to fly home to New Zealand.

The Environmental Impact of Backyard Chickens

backyard chickens environmental impact photo
Image credit: Sami Grover
Those of us who spend a significant portion of our time thinking about our environmental impact often dream of magic solutions to cut our carbon footprint drastically. For a long time, in my head, chickens were one of those solutions. And it seems I am not alone. Backyard chickens have always been a popular subject over at TreeHugger, as witnessed by Pablo's first hand account of how to get chicks, my own experiences with chickens as unexpected bug control, or this recent video on how to build a chicken coop. But even backyard chickens have an environmental footprint. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.
Article continues: The Environmental Impact of Backyard Chickens: No Impact is Not an Option

Animal Pictures