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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 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
More things can happen more quickly when more hands are involved -- it sounds like a simple principle, but are you applying it to your own life?
Today, use all the help you can get to complete your latest project, fix an error, or get that cutie to finally notice you.
Two heads are better than one ... heck, five heads are better still!
So get your people together and get something going.
All this collaboration will be more than just a problem-solving session -- you'll have a lot of fun.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Kazan, Tartarstan, Russia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Athens Attiki, Greece

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 Ripon, Half Moon Bay, Brooklyn Park, Orefield and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, April 22, the 113th day of 2011.
There are 242 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Earth Day,
Mother Earth Day
National Jelly Bean Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Random Celebrity Photo

Mark Twain

UN Treaty for Mother Earth's Rights

We’ve got human rights, animal rights, … but what about the rights of Mother Earth? That’s right – Bolivia has just drafted a United Nations treaty giving "Mother Earth" the same rights as humans:
The bid aims to have the UN recognize the Earth as a living entity that humans have sought to "dominate and exploit" — to the point that the "well-being and existence of many beings" is now threatened.
The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia’s Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.
That document speaks of the country’s natural resources as "blessings," and grants the Earth a series of specific rights that include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities; and the right to be free from pollution.
It also establishes a Ministry of Mother Earth, and provides the planet with an ombudsman whose job is to hear nature’s complaints as voiced by activist and other groups, including the state.


Did Neanderthals Believe in an Afterlife?
A possible Neanderthal burial ground suggests that they practiced funeral rituals and possessed symbolic thought before modern humans.

Neanderthals Were Overwhelmingly Right-Handed
Right-handedness, a uniquely human trait that has right-handers outnumbering lefties nine-to-one, dominated as far back as half a million years ago.

Man stumbles on huge treasure

A man working in his garden stumbles across a "sensational" hoard of 650-year-old bling.  

Man runs 99 miles after race

After finishing the 26.2-mile London race, Sam Robson decides to just keep on going.  

Yosemite's 'superclimbers'

Some adventurers even go without tethers while scaling Yosemite's most dangerous cliffs.  

Does 'Made in America' matter?

Most would assume the Honda Accord is "foreign" and the Ford Escape is U.S.-made. 

Murderer Caught Because He Had the Murder Scene Tattooed on His Chest

From the "He's an idiot" Department:

In retrospect, it may have been a bad idea for Anthony Garcia to commemorate his first killing by having it inscribed on his chest. When a LA County homicide investigator was later looking through pictures of gang members, he noticed something important:
Each key detail was right there: the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign — all under the chilling banner of RIVERA KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13.
As if to seal the deal, below the collarbone of the gang member known by the alias “Chopper” was a miniature helicopter raining down bullets on the scene.
Lloyd’s discovery of the tattoo in 2008 launched a bizarre investigation that soon led to Anthony Garcia’s arrest for the shooting. Then sheriff’s detectives, posing as gang members, began talking to Garcia, 25, in his holding cell. They got a confession that this week led to a first-degree murder conviction in a killing investigators had once all but given up hope of solving.

Rose Petals cover the road in Pakistan

The petals have been spread out to dry.

Non Sequitur


Moblie home




Awesome Pictures


“Femen” Against “Chernobyl” In Ukraine

During the international forum dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy, “Femen” demonstrated their protest against the modern Ukraine politics. Of course, they were topless as usual. But everything was not so nice. Policemen applied rude force to the women. One girl was even hospitalized.

Card game decides election

A deadlocked city council primary in a Las Vegas suburb is settled in an unusual way. 

Post-Glam Speed Folk

You are correct sir - never heard of it.

Avoiding airport aggravation

Follow these tips, and you'll never stand in line if a flight is delayed or canceled.  

The truth be told


Bitter debate on terror screening

An amendment to the first responder bill means that survivors have another hoop to jump through.  

The truth be told (part Deux)


Did you know ...

Typical repugicans


Nation going in wrong direction

Americans' mood is at its lowest level in two years, with 70 percent saying the nation is heading in the wrong direction, a nationwide poll indicated.

But that's what you get when you listen to repugican lies.



Where pay has been lousy

Wages shrank 4 percent since 2007 in one hard-hit industry that slashed its workforce.  

Human Trafficking

Right here in the USA: US farm companies charged with human trafficking.
US authorities on Wednesday filed charges against two companies on charges they exploited hundreds of Indian and Thai workers who earned a pittance and were forced to stay in decrepit conditions.
In what it called its largest ever human trafficking case in the farm sector, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that contractor Global Horizons brought in some 200 Thai men on promises of high-paying jobs.
The Thai men were sent between 2003 and 2007 to farms in Hawaii and Washington state where they were crammed into rooms infested with rats and insects and faced verbal and physical assaults, the federal agency said.
The men had paid insurmountable fees to enter the United States but were stripped of their passports and kept separately from non-Thai workers who had more tolerable conditions, the suits alleged. Authorities learned of their plight after a Thai community center in Los Angeles got involved.
And not only the contractor is on the hook:
The federal agency also sued companies running the eight farms where the Thai men worked, saying they "not only ignored abuses but also participated in the obvious mistreatment, intimidation, harassment and unequal pay of the Thai workers," according to a statement.
The companies are Captain Cook Coffee Co., Del Monte Fresh Produce, Kauai Coffee Co., Kelena Farms, MacFarms of Hawaii, Maui Pineapple Farms, Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards.
Global Horizons is based in Beverly Hills. From their web site:
Global Horizons, Inc. thinks globally and acts locally with a post-9/11-worldview, one which understands that economies cannot continue to grow and prosper without an ample, qualified and legal workforce. Too, it understands the aspirations of countless workers who dream of having better jobs in better places, but who wish to return to their country of native origin when they've completed the job

Unemployment agency spent $14,000 on Superhero capes for jobless

Workforce Central Florida have pulled its controversial "Cape-A-Bility" campaign. The campaign handed out actual Superhero capes to people looking for jobs. A lot of people complained it was not only a waste of money, it was also demeaning.

Workforce Central Florida Vice President Kimberly Sullivan picked her words very carefully. Sullivan never said outright the campaign was a mistake. What she did say time and time again, is that Workforce Central Florida never meant to offend anyone, and as soon as people started complaining, it was pulled.

"The campaign was very innovative and sometimes it can be difficult to reach such a broad audience," Sullivan said. "Every business has to make people aware of their services so they will be able to use them." The 6,000 capes cost more than $14,000.

Sullivan said the organization reached a lot of people who needed work because of the capes. Sullivan said Workforce Central Florida is taking a step back to re-evaluate and then figure out where it goes from there.

Ten Notorious Tax Evaders Who Didn't Get Away With It

Some people have always been trying to get out of their debt to the government. There are a wealth of loopholes and accounting tricks with which a savvy individual can minimize their payment to the IRS, but for some people that's still far too much to pay.

However, high profile tax evaders don't always manage to escape to the Cayman Islands to grow old with their tightly grasped dollars; indeed, the IRS has managed to claw back some of the dollars owed to it. What's more, those caught dodging the charges they're obliged to pay can, sometimes at least, face stiff penalties as a result of their transgressions.

Here are 10 infamous tax evaders who didn't slip through the net.



Seven sneaky menu tricks

A chef-school grad reveals seven crafty restaurant tricks that lure you to more expensive items.

The Decline of French fries

Weight-conscious eaters are moving away from the salty fast-food staple.

Top 15 Least Contaminated Fruits, Vegetables

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, do you know which ones are safe to eat and which ones should be purchased organic because of heavy pesticides?
The Environmental Working Group has done the work for you by compiling a list of the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, called the "Dirty Dozen," and the top 15 least contaminated, or ...

In New Film, Residents of the Gulf Say Impact of Spill Persists

gulf-oil-spill-fish image
Screenshot from the documentary Stories from the Gulf. The film, which airs on Planet Green Saturday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m. EST, features interviews produced by NRDC and Bridge the Gulf and recorded by Story Corps. Robert Redford provides the opening narration for the film.

This post was written by environmental activist and actor Robert Redford.

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout last year, BP repeatedly misled the public about how much oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the blowout, company executives would like us to believe that the spill has been cleaned up and the Gulf of Mexico is back to normal.
The people who actually live along the Gulf Coast tell us something different.
Article continues: In New Film, Residents of the Gulf Say Impact of Spill Persists

Village terrorized by slimy black fungus

A Scottish village is covered in slimy back fungus - and the locals are sick of having to wash it off their homes and cars. Villagers in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, have had to fork out hundreds of pounds on power hoses and spend hours on end cleaning up the goo.

But every time they get rid of the slime, it comes back. As well as houses, paths and cars, it covers signs, public buildings and anything else in its path. The muck has been blamed on fumes from the local whiskey warehouse, run by booze giants Diageo.

Bosses at the multi-billion pound firm deny being responsible. The fungus is also a pain for Clackmannanshire Council. The road signs in Tullibody need the most cleaning in the county.

But there's no solution in sight. And Diageo and the Scotch Whiskey Association have washed their hands of the problem. The association say the slime is also found in areas with no whiskey industry, and Diageo say research found "no direct link" between whiskey fumes and the fungus.

There's a news video here.

What won't save planet

Rather than buying "green" products, you might try simply purchasing less stuff.

Endangered places

Climate changes will dramatically impact well-known landmarks as well as remote locales.  


During this change of seasons, we've all been noticing rings around the sun, as ice crystals in the upper atmosphere refract light to create halos or smaller sun dogs. The best online source on this topic is Atmospheric Optics, which has sections on sun dogs, moon dogs, rainbows, and other related phenomena.

The image embedded above is "Vädersolstavlan" -
...an oil-on-panel painting depicting a halo display, an atmospheric optical phenomenon, observed over Stockholm on April 20, 1535. It is named after the sun dogs (Swedish: Vädersol, "Weather sun") appearing on the upper right part of the painting. While chiefly noted for being the oldest depiction of Stockholm in colour, it is arguably also the oldest Swedish landscape painting and the oldest depiction of sun dogs...

The painting is divided into an upper part depicting the halo phenomenon viewed vertically and a lower part depicting the city as it must have appeared viewed from Södermalm in the late Middle Ages. The medieval urban conglomeration, today part of the old town Gamla stan, is rendered using a bird's-eye view. The stone and brick buildings are densely packed below the church and castle, which are rendered in a descriptive perspective (i.e., their size relates to their social status, rather than their actual dimensions). Scattered wooden structures appear on the surrounding rural ridges, today part of central Stockholm...

Over time, the painting has become emblematic of the history of Stockholm, and as such appears frequently in various contexts. The 1000 kronor banknote published in 1989 shows a portrait of King Gustav Vasa, based on a painting from the 1620s, in front of details from Vädersolstavlan. In the arcs of the parhelion is the microtext SCRIPTURAM IN PROPRIA HABEANT LINGUA, which roughly translates to "Let them have the Holy Scripture in their own language". This is a quote from a letter written by the king in which he ordered a translation of the Bible into the Swedish language...
More re the painting at Wikipedia. Those interested in parahelia might look at my old posts on sun halos and light pillars.

Ripe Wave at Dawn


Astronomical News


Carbon monoxide has been discovered in Pluto's extended atmosphere and it may even have a comet tail-like shape.



Biggest star of 'Elephants'

Tai's lengthy career has included films, a music video, even a celebrity wedding.  

Amazing sea critter images

This eagle-eye shot of a hidden creature nabs a coveted underwater photo award.  

Termites eat millions of Indian rupees in bank

It was an all you can eat buffet at the bank. An army of termites munched through 10 million rupees in currency notes stored in a steel chest at a bank, police in northern India said Friday.

Guide Goose Helps Blind Dog Chase the Postman

Not everything is bad in the world today. Here’s the story of a pet goose taking a blind dog under its wings:
Buttons the four-year-old goose leads her pal around everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go.
Owner Renata Kursa, 47, of Lublin, Poland, was heartbroken when Bak was left blind after an accident last year.
‘But gradually Buttons got him up on his feet and starting walking him around. They’re inseparable now – they even chase the postman together,’ she said.

Washed-up feline mystery

A soaked, seaweed-covered cat shows up on a New York island and ignites a media frenzy. 

Iran proposes ban on keeping 'unclean' dogs

Pampered dogs may not be everyone's idea of "man's best friend", but a bill proposed by politicians in Iran could take this sentiment to a new extreme by criminalizing dog ownership.

The draft legislation is the first time MPs in Tehran have outlined specific punishments for "the walking and keeping" of "impure and dangerous animals", which many believe directly targets Iran's canine population. If the bill were passed, the illegal animal would be confiscated and the owner fined up to £300, but the bill does not clarify what fate would await the seized animals.

Islamic tradition considers dogs, like pigs, to be "unclean" animals. Despite this, keeping dogs as pets has become an increasingly popular pastime among the Iranian middle class in recent years – a trend which the new bill describes as "a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West".

There is no official estimate of Iran's canine population, but Iranian vets estimate that thousands of dogs are kept as pets in Tehran alone. The proposed bill builds on another motion tabled last week, which plans to ban dogs from public places and private flats. Current laws already forbid dog owners from allowing their pets to ride with them in their cars, and from walking their dogs in public places, but these are rarely enforced.

Invasive Species Attacking Antarctica, Saving Asian Unicorns, and More

week in pictures gorilla antartica photo
It may be cold and inhospitable in Antarctica, but that hasn't stopped a whole host of invasive species from settling there -- a fact that has biologists quite concerned.
We also have protected "unicorns," squids bothered by noisy oceans, thriving sardines, gorillas in war-torn Congo, rare river dolphins killed for bate, and and more in the Week in Animal News.
week in animal news invasive species attacking antarctica slideshow
Article continues: The Week in Animal News: Invasive Species Attacking Antarctica, Saving Asian Unicorns, and More (Slideshow)

Animal News

'Immortal' Animals Reveal Anti-Aging Secrets
Some animals and plants that reproduce asexually "can in principle achieve essentially eternal life," according to a new study.  

Crabs Use Stats to Dodge Predators
Fiddler Crab
Fiddler crabs make up for their poor vision by using statistics to determine threats.  

Animal Pictures