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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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Don't look now, but one of the most valuable tools you have is getting rusty: your instinct.
Why not pull it out and use it a bit more often?
Sure, once or twice it might have steered you wrong, but didn't that detour lead you to something pretty important?
Just because your instinct is fallible doesn't mean it's worthless.
Listen to your gut.
No matter where it takes you, it's the right place -- the place you need to get to.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Montreal, Quebec Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Canberra, Australian, Capital Territory, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Aalesund, More Og Romsdal, Norway
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Adana, Adana, Turkey
Kulala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dusseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Munich, Bayern, Germany

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 Spooner, College Point, Downers Grove, Malibu and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, April 19, the 110th day of 2011.
There are 245 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Hanging Out Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!



Governor vetoes 'birther' bill

From the "Now, I'm confused?" Department:
Jan Brewer deals a sharp blow to fellow conservatives as she tears down two controversial moves.

More recall petitions filed

Wisconsin Democrats plan to file recall petitions for a third repugican state senator over his vote to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees.

And I Quote


Will Anyone Even Insure Seniors if Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan Passes?

At first glance, Paul Ryan's plan to send millions of seniors into the free market with dwindling vouchers in hand might seem a boon to the private insurance industry.

But would companies even want to participate?

This Modern World


Why Condom Sales Soar In A Recession, And Other Brand-Building Mysteries Explained

What do guns, burglar alarms, and condoms have in common? Their sales all boomed in 2009, with condom sales jumping 22% over the same period in 2008.

Oil drops, gas $4 or more per gallon in 6 states

Oil slipped more than 2 percent Monday after Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term outlook for U.S. debt, raising concerns about the economy and expectations of cuts in government spending.

Apparently the banks don't get it.

Louis C.K. knows about being broke, but apparently the banks don't get it.

U.S. recession's true victims?

A magazine story raises questions about the recession's hardest hit.  

Rater cuts U.S. debt outlook

A ratings firm's action may boost borrowing costs for consumers and the government.

Ways to raise credit scores

Some of these credit-repair strategies may work, but others can backfire on you.  

Fan owes taxes for free donuts

An Astros supporter gets an unpleasant surprise after winning 315 treats on fan appreciation day.  

Start cutting your 2011 taxes

Your 2010 return offers five lessons for paying less to the IRS this year.  

Save big by scaling back

Put cash in your pocket by ditching old electronics and answering machines.

Hidden costs of college students

Parents sending their kids off to school should brace for much more than tuition and fees.  

Non Sequitur


New FAA embarrassment

The agency suspends a ninth air traffic control official—but not for sleeping on the job.  

NATO's deadly Libya test

A deadly conflict in the city of Misrata reveals the limits of a U.S.-free intervention force.  

Extremist worries in Libya

Flashes of suspected al-Qaida activity create a thorny dilemma for the U.S. — and the rebels themselves.  

Have you seen these thieves?

Barry Wisebram caught thieves on camera and found a new way to ask for help.

Baby blown away by tornado survives

Jonathan Robinson was babysitting when winds ripped 3-month-old Ayden from his arms.  

Things They Won't Tell You

Some jewelers have been caught selling "composite rubies," which are up to 50% glass.  

Culinary DeLites

Don't expect olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes from this top-ranked hot spot, chef warns.

Axe Guns

It’s hard to find much information about this type of firearm. Steve of The Firearm Blog suspects that these weapons were decorative rather than practical. There are apparently a couple examples on display in the armory at Castle Eltz in western Germany.


A man was on holiday in the depths of Louisiana, where he tried to buy some Alligator shoes. However he was not prepared to pay the high prices, and after having failed to haggle the vendor down to a reasonable price level, ended up shouting. "I don't give two hoots for your shoes man, I'll go and kill my own gator!" to which the shopkeeper replied,

"By all means, just watch out for those two good ole boys who are doing the same!"

So the man went out into the Bayou, and after a while saw two men with spears, standing still in the water. 'They must be the good ole boys,' he thought. Just at that point he noticed an alligator moving in the water towards one of them. The guy stood completely passive, even as the gator came ever closer.

Just as the beast was about to swallow the him, he struck home with his spear and wrestled the gator up onto the beach, where several gators were already laying. Together the two guys threw the gator onto its back, whereupon one exclaimed "Darn! This one doesn't have any shoes either!"

Positively Negative

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day.

"In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Why men should see a doctor

Despite some frightening statistics, a large percentage of guys steer clear of physicians.  

Uh and Um May Help Children Learn Language

These disfluencies may help youngsters pick up key words.  

Student Yawned in Class

... And Couldn't Close Her Mouth!
Got a boring class? Whatever you do, suppress that irresistible urge to yawn, just in case. Here’s what happened to a British teen after she yawned in one particularly boring class:
Holly Thompson, 17, of Kingsthorpe, Northampton, was in the middle of a particularly enthralling class on politics when she reacted to the subject matter like many other students would — she yawned.
But what happened next wasn’t so typical. Her trap wouldn’t shut, making her look like an anime character in a state of shock. [...]
"I was so shocked, my expression probably said it all," she said. "I nudged my friend to show her what had happened but I was so embarrassed. When we realized we couldn’t close it, she had to tell the teacher."

Peppermint earns respect in mainstream medicine

University of Adelaide researchers have shown for the first time how peppermint helps to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which affects up to 20% of the population.

In a paper published this week in the international journal Pain ...

Best-liked pharmacies

A Consumer Reports survey finds that drugstore chains have real competition.  

A catholic has a heart attack

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had open heart bypass surgery.
He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital.
As he was recovering, a nun asked him how he was going to pay for his treatment.

She asked, 'Do you have health insurance?'

He replied in a raspy voice , 'No health insurance.'

The nun asked, 'Do you have money in the bank?'

He replied, 'No money in the bank.'

The nun asked, 'Do you have a relative who could help you?'

He said, 'I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun.'

The nun became agitated and announced loudly,
'Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.'

The patient replied,
'Perfect. Send the bill to my brother-in-law.'

Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Mike Leake Arrested for Shoplifting $59 Worth of Merchandise

I think the strangest thing arising out of the Mike Leake shoplifting arrest yesterday is not the fact that a man who makes over $400,000 a year and recently got a $2 million signing bonus felt it necessary to steal.

Rather, the strangest thing is that he somehow got caught stealing “six shirts worth $59.88.” Upon seeing this, some people suggested that it was an elaborate ploy by Macy’s to publicize just how affordable their merchandise truly is.

Thankfully today we have clarity on this important point: they were American Rag pocket t-shirts. They normally retail for $14.50, but were apparently on sale for $9.98. Macy’s was virtually giving them away! Any less and you’d practically be stealing from them! Wait. Bad choice of words.

Anyway, as Hal McCoy notes this morning, Leake got a paycheck for $40K on Friday and the Reds’ clubhouse manager probably would have given Leake six shirts for free if he had asked.

All of which makes me wonder what the hell was going on here. Leake isn’t an actor so he can’t play the “I was researching a role” card. He’s not as cute as Winona Ryder, so there likely won’t be any “Free Mike” t-shirts printed up.

It all just makes me wonder if there isn’t some sort of mental issue or impulse control problem or existential crisis or something like which explains this. Remember Jeff Reardon’s thing? Not all property crime is about greed or possessions. Sometimes it’s just an outlet.

As for the more pedestrian explanations, the Reds and Leake issues the following statements last night. Via Mark Sheldon at MLB.com, here’s the Reds:

“On behalf of the Cincinnati Reds organization, at this time we are advised to not publicly address this matter because of the pending legal proceedings. However, we do not condone behavior of the type alleged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow. When the legal process has been completed, we will handle this matter internally.”

And Leake’s statement:

“Today, Mike Leake was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of theft from the Macy’s store downtown. Right now, he has been advised by his attorney to offer no further statements on this matter. This case will proceed in the justice system, where Mike’s story will be told. Until that time, there will be nothing further from Mike on this episode until the court proceedings have concluded. However, Mike wishes to apologize to his family, the fans, Mr. Castellini, Walt, Dusty, his teammates and the entire Reds organization for this distraction.”

Man in electric wheelchair rammed cyclist after chasing her around for three days

Police arrested a 67-year-old man after a woman said he "charged" her in his electric wheelchair, crashing into her bicycle after chasing her around a parking lot for three days. The victim told Fort Pierce police she was on her bicycle when Harry Lee Gray "charged her in his electric wheelchair".

She said Gray purposely crashed into her leg and bicycle, knocking her off. Further, she said he picked up the bike, which her late father had given her, and "slammed" it down, causing the front tire to come off.

"(The victim) stated that Gray has chased her for the last three days around the parking lot, but she never called the police," an affidavit states. Gray, who police said appeared "very intoxicated," denied doing anything. He then offered the woman money to repair the bike.

Witnesses said they saw Gray knock the victim from the bicycle before picking it up and slamming it down. "It should be noted that Gray is not wheelchair bound, and he can walk for a short distance," the affidavit states. Gray, of the 600 block of Avenue B in Fort Pierce, was arrested on misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief charges.

Awesome Pictures


Refugee's coins returned to family

A German refugee's hoard of gold coins discovered in a garden will be returned to his descendants, a coroner has ruled.

Life Under a Binary Star

Many science fiction scenarios have planets with two or even more stars. How would life evolve differently under such a system?
In a new study, researchers have assessed the potential for photosynthetic life in multi-star systems with different combinations of sunlike stars and red dwarfs to figure out what plants might be like. The team has speculated that on an Earth-like planet with two or three suns, the vegetation may appear black or grey.
“If a planet were found in a system with two or more stars, there would potentially be multiple sources of energy available to drive photosynthesis,” said PhD student Jack O’Malley-James from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
“The temperature of a star determines its colour and, hence, the colour of light used for photosynthesis. Depending on the colours of their star-light, plants would evolve very differently.”
If a life form evolved to use two different colors of light for energy, the vegetation would appear black to our eyes. They might even develop the ability to use infrared or ultraviolet light that we can’t see at all to power photosynthesis.

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Dodges Jail Time

A one-year jail sentence handed down Sunday seemed to put to an end Zahi Hawass’ career.  

Why Humans Are All Much More Related Than You Think

All humans can trace their family tree back to a surprisingly small group of common ancestors. It's a question of basic mathematics - there simply aren't enough ancestors to go around.
Let's say you were born in 1975, your parents were both born in 1950, your four grandparents were born in 1925, your eight great-grandparents in 1900, and so on. In other words, your number of ancestors doubles every 25 years the further back in time you go. If you take this back just 1,000 years, you'll find that you have well over 500 billion ancestors in a single generation.

Considering there's fewer than seven billion people on this planet there's something seriously wrong here. The solution, of course, is that you don't have 500 billion distinct ancestors, but rather a much, much smaller number of ancestors reappear over and over and over again in your family tree.

This Tree Has Far Too Much Pollen

This tree in Lewisburg, Tennessee has a lot of pollen.  A gentle shake reveals how much.

Astronomical News

A Surprisingly Ancient Galaxy
Every once in a while, an astronomy paper comes out that makes me go, "Whoa. Whoa! Wait... really?" This is one of those papers.
What Will the Universe Look Like in One Trillion Years?
A trillion years from now the universe will be a much simpler place for far-future astronomers to ponder. Read more 
Do Aliens Speak Particle-Tongue?
Instead of using radio waves or optical beams, ET may encode information on neutrinos.  
Did Supernova Herald the Birth of a King?
Did the famous supernova known as Cassiopeia A coincide with the birth of King Charles II in 1630? New evidence of the "noon day star" suggests this might be the case.
Blobs In Space Yield Mystery and Wonder

Space blob
Some of the most extraordinary things in the universe can only be seen as fuzzy blobs by our most powerful telescopes. 



Austria on lookout for frog-leg loving Italians

Austrian Wildlife authorities are hopping mad that efforts to save the local frog population are being hampered by Italian poachers.

Gone Fishing, Orangutan-Style

These primates aren't very good swimmers, but they can still catch fish with their long limbs.

Oldest Toothache Found in Reptile

reptile skull
As the teeth of a 275 million-year-old reptile from the Paleozoic era wore away, dental pulp got infected.  

Sea Urchins Turning into Cannibals

Sea Urchins
Sea urchins have become a trendy food, and because of our feeding and overcrowding them, they're even starting to eat each other.  

Einstein turns one

A tiny stallion named Einstein is full grown but barely bigger than the average dog. 

Animal Pictures