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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 25, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
In the mood for an overhaul?
The universe is putting out a lot of transitional energy today, and there will be many possibilities for you to change your style or attitude.
A shopping trip may be in order -- hit the mall with one of your most fashion-forward friends, and see what new looks you feel like adopting.
If slogging through the crowds in search of the perfect outfit isn't your idea of a fun time, then flipping through a fashion magazine may help you uncover a whole new you.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei And Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, Ontario, Canada
Canberra, Australian, Capital Territory, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Madrid, Madrid,Spain
London, England, United Kingdom
Fredrickstad, Ostfold, Norway
AMsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

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 Plymouth, Dodge, San Francisco, Las Vegas and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, April 25, the 116th day of 2011.
There are 239 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Malaria Awareness Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

A 500-year-old marvel turns up in Utah attic

500-year-old book surfaces in Utah
Book dealer Ken Sanders has seen a lot of nothing in his decades appraising "rare" finds pulled from attics and basements, storage sheds and closets.
A book brought to a dealer in a plastic sack turns out to be a monument of human history.

Non Sequitur


China continues its attack on Tibetans

It's always more of the same with this regime.

Chinese security forces have detained more than 300 Tibetan monks at a besieged monastery in Sichuan, taking them away in buses and brutally beating local Tibetans who attempted to come to their rescue, exile Tibetan sources said.

Two of those attacked—an elderly man and woman—were killed, sources said.

The monks at Kirti monastery in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture had resisted a forced campaign of “political re-education” following the March 17 self-immolation death of a monk protesting Beijing’s rule in the area.

A Paris School Turns to the Sewers for a Sustainable Heat Source

Heated water running through Paris' sewers will be put to use heating a school. 
Paris has been on an alternative energy roll as of late: installing hydropower turbines in the Seine, testing the limits of urban wind power and using solar power to run its public toilets. Now the French capital is going further: using heat from wastewater in its sewers to keep the students at a local school group warm and toasty.
Article continues: A Paris School Turns to the Sewers for a Sustainable Heat Source

Unplugged from water grid

A school weans itself off city services by collecting rainwater and treating waste on-site. 

Random Celebrity Photo

Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper

Gary as teenager. This Indian costume was made by Gary himself.
Gary as teenager. This Indian costume was made by Gary himself.

WikiLeaks airs Gitmo secrets

Botched evidence and the release of hundreds of "high-risk" inmates put the U.S. in a tricky spot.

PC, Mac Users Live in Different Worlds

The computer system you prefer can say a lot about the kind of person you are.  

Wireless Technology


New Wi-Fi privacy dangers

A man's house is raided for a heinous crime because he didn't secure his Wi-Fi connection.

Ace of Spades


How to retire as a millionaire

It really can be done — even if you start with $10,000 — as long as you save regularly.



Manage your life

Six health-care career options

These positions offer high earning potential and can take less than a year of training.

Healthy Living

Eight not-so-sinful sweet treats

When a craving calls, you can save hundreds of calories by making wise choices. 

Free-for-all after supermarket accidentally opens by itself

Shoppers in New Zealand took advantage of a supermarket that accidentally opened with no staff. About 24 people cruised the aisles at Hamilton's Mill St Pak 'n Save on Good Friday morning after a computer glitch incorrectly opened the doors and turned on the lights at 8am without a checkout person in sight.

About half paid for their groceries using the self-scan service, but that stopped working when someone scanned alcohol, which requires a staff member to check a customer's age before the system is unlocked.

Police were alerted at 9.20am by a report of people leaving with "truckloads of groceries". Supermarket owner Glenn Miller was initially furious over the incident, fearing that thousands of dollars of groceries might have walked out the door.

But after reviewing the shop's security footage during the weekend his mood had mellowed. "I can certainly see the funny side of it ... but I'd rather not have the publicity, to be honest. It makes me look a bit of a dickhead."

There are news videos here and here.

How does one define "stuff we don't need" ?

This chart comes from an article in the Wall Street Journal, which cites Commerce Department data on consumer spending -
A non-scientific study of Commerce Department data suggests that in February, U.S. consumers spent an annualized $1.2 trillion on non-essential stuff including pleasure boats, jewelry, booze, gambling and candy. That’s 11.2% of total consumer spending, up from 9.3% a decade earlier and only 4% in 1959, adjusted for inflation. In February, spending on non-essential stuff was up an inflation-adjusted 3.3% from a year earlier, compared to 2.4% for essential stuff such as food, housing and medicine.

House next to fire station burns down

When Jimmy McMillan of Orlando woke up at around 3am, he noticed flames coming from the house next to him. "The fire was over the house in the trees and I seen it come over here," he said. "They came and knocked on my door and told me to evacuate because of the fire next door. So we got out as quick as we could."

Firefighters were heading to a medical call when they saw that a house adjacent to the station was engulfed in flames. They dispatched crews right away. But neighbors are wondering why firefighters didn't notice the fire sooner. "This is one of the busiest (fire station) houses in the nation ... very, very, busy." said Orange Fire Rescue spokesman Lt Mark Smothers.

"Obviously we don't have people standing on the roof all night long looking for fires. We rely on the public and rely on our own senses to see fire." Lt. Smothers said crews had come back from one call and were preparing for another inside Station 50 when the fire broke.

"It is uncommon for a house to burn down and certainly is a curiosity for a house to burn down so close to a fire station," said Lt. Smothers, "but it's fortunate that it's so close to the fire station, these people didn't lose their house," he added, gesturing to McMillan's neighboring home.

It's an old story oft repeated

Man and beer fall out of ute. 

Mates stop and pick up the beer. 

Leave friend to die. 

A 31-year-old man has died at Maude, near Hay, in southwestern NSW, after he fell off the back of a ute. Police say the man was seen getting into the back section of the vehicle with several others, outside a pub at Maude, about 12.20am today.

As the ute driver tried to turn from Maude Road into Nap Nap Road, some of the passengers travelling in the rear were apparently thrown onto the roadway. The dead man, from Rochester in Victoria, struck his head on the road, suffering critical injuries.

Police say the driver of the vehicle and remaining passengers picked up cartons of alcohol which had fallen from the ute, placed them back in the rear, then drove off, leaving the injured man lying on the road.

Tobacco firms used diet-aid chemicals

British and American tobacco companies deliberately added powerful appetite-suppressing chemicals to cigarettes to attract people worried about their weight, according to internal industry documents dating from 1949 to 1999. Chemical additives are just one of several strategies successfully used by tobacco companies over the past 50 years to convince people that smoking makes you thin.

Tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco added appetite suppressants to cigarettes, according to the documents, released during litigation in the US. Four other major companies tested potential chemicals, including amphetamine and nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, but the documents, which are incomplete, do not reveal if such chemicals were ever added and sold to the public.

The presence of appetite-suppressing chemicals could help explain why smokers who quit often gain weight, according to Swiss researchers in the European Journal of Public Health. They call for stricter rules on tobacco additives amid suggestions that sensitive documents are being removed from databases by the industry to avoid disclosure.

Professor David Hammond, a tobacco industry expert at Waterloo University, Ontario, Canada, said: "We don't know if appetite-suppressing molecules are still added, because compliance with additive regulations is poor and sensitive internal documents are usually shredded."

The hottest cars at the auto shows

A sportier, more "masculine" Beetle and a souped-up Super Snake draw buzz in New York and Shanghai.

The Eye of Sauron in the Morning Sun

Reminds you of the Eye of Saruon presented in the LOTR movies.

Big interest in tiny things

The smallest towns in the United States boast a grand population of just 1.  

The Great Wall of Vietnam

A couple weeks ago I linked to a report that archaeologists were working to uncover and preserve the "Great Wall" of Vietnam -
"This is the longest monument [~200 km] in Southeast Asia," CNN.com quoted Professor Phan Huy Le, president of the Vietnam Association of Historians, as saying. The wall is built of alternating sections of stone and earth, with some sections reaching a height of up to four meters...

Construction of the Long Wall started in 1819 under the direction of Le Van Duyet, a high-ranking mandarin serving Emperor Gia Long, and it served to demarcate territory and regulate trade and travel between the Viet in the plains and the Hre tribes in the mountain valleys.
The BBC another report, this time with a photo (above).  A quick search yielded a couple more low-resolution photos (here and here) -
From the looks of it, one would bet this wall was designed not so much as a military defense, but rather to funnel travelers and traders toward defined crossing points where tariffs could be collected, as was done where the Silk Road crossed the Great Wall in China.

Ten of world's lost cities

The ancient city of Petra, in Jordan, is carved from dramatic rose-colored cliffs.  

Putting Our Planet in Celestial Perspective

video big pic

A Sahara sandstorm over Spain gave Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd a golden opportunity.
To put our planet in celestial perspective.
  Earth Day

Canadian Arctic Turned Rushing River

Canadian Arctic islands off the coast of northwestern Greenland shed enough water to almost fill Lake Erie.  

Swiss flock to watch giant stinking flower bloom

Thousands of plant lovers have flocked to the northern Swiss city of Basel to see a giant, stinky flower bloom for the first time.

Underwater World Captured in Stunning Photos

Earth Day wasn't just about life on land.
It's also an opportunity to explore the organisms that inhabit the oceans.



Dogs Compete with Pee

For dogs, urine is a sort of Facebook profile of their personal life.  

Whales change their tune over time

Go figure.
“We believe the song is continually changing because the males wish to be novel or slightly different to the male singing next to them," Ellen Garland, a doctoral student at the University of Queensland, said in a news release.

Other times, the whales may be picking up a tune they've heard before, sort of a sub-Pacific top 40.

“The way whales change their song can be compared to how humans follow fashion trends – someone starts a new trend, and before you know it, everyone starts wearing the same thing," Garland said.

Whales' Amazing Navigation Skills Puzzle Scientists

leaping whale photo  
Without the aid of maps, roadsigns, and GPS equipment, many human travelers would have hard time reaching their destinations, but such unassisted journeys are no problem at all for humpback whales. Researchers studying whale migration found that humpbacks are amazingly accurate navigators -- able to travel across hundreds of miles of vast ocean without deviating more than a single degree (or stopping to ask for directions) -- and no one is entirely sure how they do it.

Canoe rescue for dolphin stuck in mud

A dolphin stranded in mud in New Brunswick's Petitcodiac River has been rescued. Riverview's Sandra and Jim Davis said they spotted the struggling creature in shallow water about 60 meters behind their home as the tide went out on Thursday morning.

The dolphin was stuck on its side, with its tail and fin out of the water and its head buried in the mud. The couple called 911, which dispatched a fire crew, but the quicksand-like mud prevented the two from approaching the white-sided dolphin.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans arrived in the afternoon to help with the rescue effort. As the tide roared back in Thursday afternoon, the water started to free the animal. An officer from the DFO borrowed a canoe to help it.

"The next-door neighbor brought a canoe over and so they decided to try ... to get it into the canoe," Jim Davis said. "They were able to lift him up with their oars." The officer lifted the creature out of the mud and into the canoe before returning it to the water downstream. It struggled for a while before finally swimming off.

Woman finds alligator in bedroom

A Manatee County woman got quite a surprise on Saturday when she found a 6-foot alligator in her house. Seeing the gator was quite a shock for homeowner Alexis Dunbar, who had just walked in her front door.

"I look to the right," she said. "And there's an alligator in my guest bedroom." Dunbar immediately got out of the house, and became concerned for her pets.

"My cats are like my daughters," she said. "So I thought my cat was eaten. There was blood everywhere." But the blood was from the gator himself. Both of Dunbar's cats were shaken up, but are otherwise doing fine.

It is believed the gator crawled up the bank of the pond behind the house, under a chain-link fence, across the yard, through a screen on the porch, and then through a doggie door and into the house.

Wolf Attacks Mother Walking with Child in Sweden

European Wolf photo
Image: furlined/CC
Sweden recently overturned a 45 year ban on wolf hunting as wolf populations have grown to more than 200 animals, and wolves impinge more frequently on areas occupied by humans. The clash between man and nature has claimed another victim, as two wolves converged on the path of a mother out walking with her child in Norrtälje, north of Stockholm.

Animal Pictures