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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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The support you've been giving a troubled friend will finally start to give her or him comfort today -- expect a nice thank-you note or gift.
This distressed pal has been working very hard on making positive changes, and is about to receive some well-earned recognition.
This nice big ego boost will empower your friend to make one last big leap out of the doldrums and into a much happier phase.
Be proud of the help you gave.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
London, England, United Kingdom
Amstrdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Helsinki, Southern Finland, Finland
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Ahrensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
London, Ontario, Canada
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Valencia, Comunidad Valencia, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Fredrikstad, Ostfold, Norway
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam

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 Page, Orange Beach, Provo, San Leandro and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, April 24, the 115th day of 2011.
There are 240 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address on Gas Prices
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Washington, DC

This is a time of year when people get together with family and friends  to observe Passover and to celebrate Easter.  It’s a chance to give  thanks for our blessings and reaffirm our faith, while spending time  with the people we love.  We all know how important that is – especially  in hard times.  And that’s what a lot of people are facing these days.

Even though the economy is growing again and we’ve seen businesses  adding jobs over the past year, many are still looking for work. And  even if you haven’t faced a job loss, it’s still not easy out there.   Your paycheck isn’t getting bigger, while the cost of everything from  college for your kids to gas for your car keeps rising.  That’s  something on a lot of people’s minds right now, with gas prices at $4 a  gallon.  It’s just another burden when things were already pretty tough.

Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians  racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas.  You  see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points.  The truth  is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.

But there are a few things we can do.  This includes safe and  responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing.  In fact,  last year, American oil production reached its highest level since  2003.  On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with  just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil  markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by  traders and speculators.  We’re going to make sure that no one is taking  advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain.  And  another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in  taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year.   That’s $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they’re  making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump.   It has to stop.

Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, we need to invest in  tomorrow’s. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. In the long  term, that’s the answer. That’s the key to helping families at the pump  and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  We can see that promise  already. Thanks to an historic agreement we secured with all the major  auto companies, we’re raising the fuel economy of cars and trucks in  America, using hybrid technology and other advances.  As a result, if  you buy a new car in the next few years, the better gas mileage is going  to save you about $3,000 at the pump.

But we need to do more.  We need to harness the potential I’ve seen at  promising start-ups and innovative clean energy companies across  America.  And that’s at the heart of a debate we’re having right now in  Washington about the budget.

Both Democrats and Republicans believe we need to reduce the deficit.   That’s where we agree.  The question we’re debating is how we do it.   I’ve proposed a balanced approach that cuts spending while still  investing in things like education and clean energy that are so critical  to creating jobs and opportunities for the middle class.  It’s a simple  idea: we need to live within our means while at the same time investing  in our future.

That’s why I disagree so strongly with a proposal in Congress that cuts  our investments in clean energy by 70 percent. Yes, we have to get rid  of wasteful spending – and make no mistake, we’re going through every  line of the budget scouring for savings. But we can do that without  sacrificing our future.  We can do that while still investing in the  technologies that will create jobs and allow the United States to lead  the world in new industries.  That’s how we’ll not only reduce the  deficit, but also lower our dependence on foreign oil, grow the economy,  and leave for our children a safer planet.  And that’s what our mission  has to be.

Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

Donor buys insurance for Oklahoma kangaroo

An Oklahoma woman says she's amazed by the generosity of an anonymous donor who bought a $50,000 insurance policy to help her keep her kangaroo as a therapy pet.

Monuments you should see

You can walk from San Francisco to Sausalito on the stunning Golden Gate Bridge.  

Full Moon Lighthouse

A storm tears through the main terminal, ripping off part of the roof and shattering giant windows.

A small step in keeping government open

Obama strikes back at Citizen's United ruling (which allows corporations to donate unlimited money to campaigns), will sign executive order requiring companies pursuing federal contracts to disclose political contributions that have been secret under the Citizen's United ruling

Did you know ...

That Susan Collins is the first announced repugican senator who will vote against the Ryan budget.

There are $80,000 houses across America

Sagging markets mean buyers can snap up bargains that aren’t in foreclosure.  

Retirees duped in Ponzi scheme

Richard and Robbie Gilbert saw their $150,000 retirement fund vanish in a $15 million fraud.  

Money lessons from childhood

Adults don't seem to follow the simple savings advice we're taught as children.  

Non Sequitur


Popular cop in Alaska Illegal immigrant

For years, the man known as Rafael Espinoza was widely respected as an exemplary police officer who was popular among his peers in Alaska's largest city.

Hospital gun owners’ rights

Hospital gun owners’ rights: Screwiest priorities of the week 

April 21st, 2011 by John Grooms in Boomer with Attitude

NC Policy Watch today points out what may be the weirdest  bill, or at least the most mystifying bill, yet proposed in this session of our new, thrill-a-minute, Tea Party-led legislature. Remember, any contender for the Legislative Crazy Award has to contend with Rep. Glen Bradley, who a month ago, introduced a bill to let N.C. issue its own, gold-backed currency. Today’s challenge to Bradley’s goofball supremacy comes from state Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville. Brock, who usually can be found thinking up new ways to keep women from choosing what to do with their own bodies when they get pregnant, has now proposed a bill that would, well, I’m not sure what it would do, exactly. Or what it would outlaw doing. Or why or when the law Brock is proposing would ever be needed. See if you can figure this out; here is Brock’s proposed law, verbatim:
OK, so, the way I’m reading the bill, if someone comes into the emergency room and his 5-year-old son has a bullet in his leg, a doctor can’t even ask the guy whether he keeps firearms in his house? Jesus, have all the 2nd Amendment folks lost their collective minds, or is it just Brock? In any case, Brock likes to boast that he is rated the most conservative member of the state senate and the most business-friendly, but he may now want to apply for the N.C. Senate’s Most Fucked Up Priorities Trophy. I’d say he’s got a great chance to win.

N.C. state Sen. Andrew Brock
Andrew Brock
Got to agree ... Brock is fucked up. Seriously fucked up.

Doctors find bullet lodged in Chinese man's brain 23 years after he was shot

A farmer from central China has discovered his mystery illness was caused by a bullet inside his brain 23 years after it lodged there. Wang Tianqing was suffering from symptoms that had grown progressively worse over two decades, but when he finally visited the doctor, the cause came as a surprise. CT scans showed a bullet inside his head.

The Chinese surgeon who removed it says Mr Wang cheated death by a matter of millimeters. "The bullet penetrated his skull and then stopped near his temple," said neurosurgeon Wang Zhiming. "If it had moved a bit further backward and to the right, he wouldn't have survived."

But what puzzled Mr Wang's doctors was exactly how the bullet got there, until the patient remembered a day in 1988. Mr Wang recalled feeling a heavy blow to his head before losing consciousness. "I thought I'd been hit by a slingshot," he said. "I saw a man standing on a hill and thought he'd hit me."

He woke up in hospital, where the medical staff could find nothing wrong. They gave him an anti-inflammatory and sent him home but shortly afterwards he began having occasional convulsions. When they worsened last year, Mr Wang's family decided it was time to get a second opinion. The bullet has now been removed, and the convulsions have stopped for the man from China's northern Hebei province.

China blacklists 151 materials forbidden, abusable in food, feed

China has blacklisted 151 materials forbidden or abusable in food and feed over the past nine years, according to figures released by the food safety committee under the State Council, or China's Cabinet.

Mubarak detained for an additional 15 days

It's almost a surprise that he was detained in the first place so an extension is an even bigger surprise.

Al Jazeera:
Mubarak, who was forced to resign in February after mass protests, was first remanded into preventive custody for 15 days on April 13 on suspicion of involvement in a deadly crackdown on protesters and corruption.

The former president is being detained in a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort town where he has lived since his ouster.

The report said that prosecutors went to the resort on Friday to further interrogate Mubarak.

Judicial sources said that they had questioned Mubarak about his possible role in the killings of protesters and also on details of a controversial deal to supply natural gas to Israel at a low price.

Yemen president agrees to step down

When will this happen in Bahrain and Syria? Al Jazeera:
Yemen's embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to a deal brokered by Gulf Arab mediators that would lead to a transition of power in the country after weeks of anti-government protests.

Tariq Shami, a presidential aide, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that the president had accepted in principle the proposal from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) that would see him step down.

The GCC plan would see Saleh submit his resignation to parliament within 30 days, with a presidential vote to be held within two months.

Shami said the opposition must first agree to the deal in order for Saleh to accept the plan.

"The president has agreed and accepted the initiative of the GCC," he said.
It's going to be interesting to see if the new government is as open to US cruise missiles being fired in Yemen. Something tells me that free-for-all is going to end.

Build Small Skills in the Right Order

Lukeprog at Less Wrong talks about what he learned about interpersonal communication in a Scientology class, and what it taught him about learning:
Building small skills in the right order is an excellent way to create and maintain success spirals.
Trying to master a large skill set like salesmanship is a daunting task that will likely involve many demotivating failures before you ever taste success. The same goes for public speaking, writing research papers, and lots of other large skill sets involving a complex interaction of many small skills.
Anna Salamon uses math to explain this concept. You could tackle calculus immediately after Algebra I, and you might eventually pick it up after many frustrating failures if you read the calculus textbook enough times, but why would you do this? It’s much easier and more satisfying to learn more algebra piece by piece until the jump to calculus is not so great. That way, you can experience the pleasure and confidence-boost of mastering new concepts all along the way to calculus.

Rumors About Detection Of 'God Particle'

The world's largest atom smasher - the Large Hadron Collider, a 17 mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland - is rumored to have found the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle otherwise known as the 'God particle'. The speculation is based on a leaked internal note.

The Higgs boson is predicted to exist by the particle physics theory known as the Standard Model. The Higgs boson, physicists believe, bestow ...

Awesome Pictures


Greenpeace occupies oil rig bound for Arctic

Imagine how easy it will be in an emergency in the distant Arctic when something goes wrong.

Activists are demanding an end to reckless deepwater oil drilling and taking bold action to stop the oil rig Leiv Eiriksson as it departs Turkey to the Arctic waters of Greenland to begin drilling.

In the early hours of the morning activists began their mission to intercept the oil rig as it attempted to leave Besiktas port near Istanbul and head to the Arctic to start exploratory drilling. Eleven activists scaled the 53,000 tonne rig to impede its progress and are prepared for a sustained occupation, with sufficient supplies to last for days.

The Leiv Eiriksson is operated by Cairn Energy and is the only rig in the world currently set to begin new deep sea drilling in the Arctic – making it a clear and present danger to the pristine arctic environment. Sound familiar? If it does it is because we’ve told you about Cairn energy and their quest for Arctic drilling before. Read about how activists stopped Cairn energy from drilling last year.

Extreme arctic weather conditions mean that Cairn has a very short window to drill four new exploratory wells at staggering depths of around 1500m – these are similar depths to the ill-fated BP Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. Freezing temperatures, severe weather and a highly remote location pose unprecedented challenges to any oil spill response in the Arctic and mean a spill would be impossible to contain and clean up.

Five driving myths to dump

The theory is that premium gas improves performance and helps you get better mileage.  

Higher Gas Prices Affect Gas Buying Behavior

This just in: More Drivers Running Out Of Gas.
out of gas With gas prices pushing $4 a gallon, a lot of people are trying to stretch their dollar at the gas pump, but some of them are trying to stretch it a little too far.
Since the beginning of March, AAA has seen an 18 percent increase in the number of roadside calls for people running out of gas.
A stranded motorist says:
“I never put a lot in because I can’t afford to fill it up.”
A gas station attendant says:
“Before it was more absentminded than anything else. But now, I believe people are like, ‘Man, I got to buy something else so I’m not going to put gas in the car. I should be able to make it,’ and they don’t.”

Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang is for sale

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a 1968 musical film with a script by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes, and songs by the Sherman Brothers, loosely based on Ian Fleming's novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. Now that car is for sale on eBay. The car is powered by a Ford 3 litre V-6 engine mated to an automatic transmission. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rolled out of the workshop in June 1967 and was registered with the number plate 'GEN 11' given to her by Ian Fleming.

The vehicle is being offered by Profiles in History, a dealer in historical manuscripts and original entertainment memorabilia. The current bid is $1,000,000.



A memorable Easter dinner

Your family won't forget a succulent ham flavored with lavender and other herbs.

Chipotle Chicken Skewers

For no reason in particular, we present ...
chicken skewers

Five hot new super foods

5 hot new super foods

At least he's honest about it ...


Torn pieces of 660-year-old Chinese painting to be reunited for first time in centuries

Taiwan’s national museum is to put the two halves of a 660-year-old Chinese landscape painting on display bringing together the work for the first time in centuries. The Yuan Dynasty painting was torn into two pieces more than 300 years ago by a private collector who tried to burn it as he was dying, but a relative quickly saved it from the flames. The two parts have been kept in separate places since then.

The main portion of “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” by revered Chinese landscape painter Huang Gongwang has been stored in Taipei’s Palace Museum since 1949, when the two sides separated during a civil war. The other part of the 20-foot-long painting will be shipped from China’s Zhejiang Provincial Museum for an exhibition opening June 2, Palace Museum Director Chou Kung-shin said.

The 40-day exhibition is widely seen as a gesture by China’s government in support of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s three-year efforts to engage the mainland and reduce political hostilities. “Huang finished the scroll at 81 when he was already a master painter,” she said. “It is an important work in art history, and has changed hands among many noted collectors.”

One part was taken from mainland China to Taiwan in the last stages of the civil war, along with about 600,000 other treasures now held by the Taipei museum. China still claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and insists that the art at the Palace Museum rightfully belongs to it, but has encouraged museum exchanges as ties have warmed recently.

Long-lost London railway

Adventurers uncover a network of abandoned tunnels beneath the city's surface.



    Magnificent Computer Of The Ancients

    The Astrolabe

    It is an ancient tool, created over two thousand years ago when people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. They are often referred to as the first computer and however debatable that statement might be there is one thing for sure without a doubt. Astrolabes are objects of immense mystery and beauty.

    Fossil hunter unearthed significant dinosaur finds

    Harley Garbani dies at 88
    A self-taught paleontologist and archaeologist with a longtime passion for hunting dinosaur bones, Harley Garbani found partial skulls of the youngest-known Tyrannosaurus rex and the youngest-known Triceratops.



    Malaria breakthrough?

    Malaria is not much of an issue in the US but in many parts of the world it is the biggest health issue. Foreign travelers can easily take anti-malarial pills for short periods of time but for those living in infested areas, it's not possible. The pills are only to be used for a couple of months and even then, they're expensive. There may be hope for this problem though they will still have to confirm that the new mosquitoes don't cause another problem.

    The Independent:
    However, a new study has shown that it is possible for GM mosquitoes to rapidly pass on malaria-blocking genes to wild mosquitoes with the help of a second gene that spreads the GM trait within the sperm-producing cells of male mosquitoes.

    The plan is to physically attach the synthetic gene, called the homing endonuclease gene, to an anti-malaria gene and insert the entire genetic construct into male GM mosquitoes released into the wild. The endonuclease gene should then ensure that nearly all the sperm cells produced by these GM males will carry the anti-malaria trait into the next generation of mosquitoes.

    Without the endonuclease gene, only half of the GM male's sperm will carry the malaria-blocking gene, as expected from the normal 50:50 ratio rule of classical Mendelian inheritance. This severely limits the ability of GM mosquitoes to outbreed and outnumber their wild cousins, whereas the endonuclease gene causes the trait to spread rapidly through the wild population of mosquitoes.

    Sirenians and the climate

    What tales they tell of their former lives, these old bones of sirenians, relatives of today’s dugongs and manatees.
    And now, geologists have found, they tell of the waters in which they swam.
    While researching the evolutionary ecology of ancient …

    Shape-shifting monster terrorizes South African town

    Steytlerville, a small Karoo town, is being plagued by rumours of a shape-shifting monster, Eastern Cape police said on Thursday.

    “The community says that the monster changes shape while you are looking at it,” Warrant Officer Zandisile Nelani said.

    He said one man had reported it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat. The creature had been sighted on a number of occasions near a church and only appeared at night, Nelani said.

    Local residents met with police last week to discuss the strange phenomenon. Nelani said he had asked people to take a photograph of the alleged monster. Although some locals were frightened of it, it had not harmed any people or livestock.

    Animal Pictures