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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 26, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your priorities should be easy to establish today -- you're thinking clearly, and you're feeling motivated.
You are ready to roll up your sleeves and get things going; vivid concepts about birth, growth and nurturing are at the front of your mind.
You know that something new and wonderful can get started today, and you have no interest in wasting any more time thinking about it.
You're ready to move, so that should be the thing you focus most on today.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
London, Ontario, Canada
Muntinlupa, Rizal, Philippines
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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 Londonderry, Brunswick, Livonia, Brockway and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, April 26, the 117th day of 2011.
There are 238 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Hug An Australian Day
Richter Scale Day
Audubon Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

What does your name look like?

Found a site that digitizes your name and 'draws' it for you.
This is ours ...
Carolina Naturally
See what your name looks like here.



When the Age of America will end

The date when the U.S. economy will fall to No. 2 is closer than you think, an influential group says. 



Where people love to work

Free lunches and "weirdness" are part of the culture at one quirky online retailer.  



Money mistakes of savers

If you're spending tons of time and gas mileage hunting down coupon deals, think again.  

Decoding your money dreams

Fantasies about your finances send important messages, say dream experts.  

How bad credit costs you

You could pay tens of thousands more in mortgage interest than someone with good credit. 

The latest credit-card trap

The latest credit-card trap

Cut the costs of owning a car

With tire prices up 16 percent, follow these tips to avoid buying a new set soon.  

Chemistry Set with No Chemicals

You have to wonder about the culture that creates a market for a toy like this. If you are afraid of your children using chemicals, why would you be interested in a chemistry set at all?

Essential Wi-Fi security tips

A law enforcement raid in Buffalo, N.Y., shows the importance of securing your network.

Russian corruption

Crooked officials steal multi-billion-dollar company, $230M tax refund, then murder campaigning lawyer

Foreign Policy's got a chilling tell-all account of the crooked Russian tax-cops who engineered a law-office raid that ended with their criminal pals forging documents transferring a company to them, stealing a $230 million tax rebate, and murdering a partner at the firm who complained about it.
The piece is written by Jamison Firestone, who founded the Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan. Firestone Duncan represented an investment firm called Hermitage Fund. In 2007, Russian Interior Ministry officers conducted a warrantless raid on the firm and stole Hermitage's corporate seals and internal documents, severely beating a lawyer who objected and landing him in hospital. The cops turned the seals and docs over to a criminal gang, who used them to forge documents that transferred title in Hermitage to them. They also forged $1 billion in fake liabilities, entitling them to a $230M tax rebate, which then also stole.
When Firestone's partner Sergei Magnitsky refused to back off and insisted on complaining to all levels of Russian officialdom, he was arrested by members of conspiracy, tortured and murdered in jail.
The more Sergei insisted on his testimony in sworn statements and in court, the more pressure Silchenko applied to him. He was put in a cell with eight inmates and only four beds so the detainees had to sleep in shifts. In December 2008, he was put in a cell with no heat and no windowpanes -- he nearly froze to death. Later, he was moved to another cell with no toilet, just a hole in the floor where the sewage overflowed. After six months of this treatment, Sergei -- who went into detention a healthy 36-year-old man -- had lost 40 pounds. He developed pancreatitis and gallstones and needed medical attention. In July 2009, Sergei was moved to Butyrka, a maximum-security facility that had no medical facilities. At Butyrka, Silchenko repeatedly denied medical care to Sergei, hoping that it would break him. Sergei remained defiant and continued to write complaints about his innocence and the pressure applied to him. But nearly one year after his arrest, on the night of Nov. 16, 2009, he became gravely ill. He was transferred to the intensive-care wing of Matrosskaya Tishina detention center, but instead of receiving medical attention, he was put in a straitjacket, chained to a bed, and left by himself in an isolation cell for one hour and 18 minutes while doctors waited right outside the door until they were certain he was dead.
Russian repugicans to be sure.

Bolshoi Theater to reopen after reconstruction

After years of reconstruction and accusations of embezzlement and fraud, Russia's iconic Bolshoi Theater is preparing to reopen looking just as it did during its czarist era, a subcontractor said Monday.

Selective Color Photos

Selective color is a post-processing technique where most of a photo is change over to black and white, but some parts are left in color. This is usually achieved by using layers and masks in photo editing software. Here are some selective color photos.

Odds and Sods

'Corpse flower' at Hawaii zoo emits rotten smell
Hundreds of people turned out at a Hawaii zoo on Easter Sunday to get a whiff of a flower that smells like rotting flesh.

Beware, Naga Viper. Your reign as the world's hottest chilli pepper may be coming to a close.

Culinary DeLites

As the weather warms, a simple asparagus and mushroom frittata tastes just right.
    4 bad cooking habits you should break

    Healthy Living

    Monsanto To Do USDA’s Job

    I tell you ... What could possibly go wrong?

    Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself.
    Monsanto, enemy of organic farmers and anti-GMO advocates alike, will likely be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies as part of a two-year USDA experiment. But there is no good that can possibly come of an experiment where the company behind nearly every genetically modified crop in our daily diets is allowed to decide whether its products are causing any environmental harm. And Monsanto isn't the only biotech company that will be permitted to police itself.
    monsanto-logo-524x217 As it stands, the USDA is responsible for assessing environmental impacts of new GMO crops. The agency has been lax about this, to say the least.
    Because the USDA is so bad at doing its job on time, the agency decided to see if anyone else was prepared to do its EIS work instead. And so it looks like the USDA will at least temporarily hand over environmental impact responsibilities to the biotech companies behind GMO crops. The pilot program will allow these companies to conduct their own environmental assessments of crops or outsource the work to contractors.
    Their PR department is also busy: Monsanto Pledges Support to St. Louis Area as Damage Estimates and Clean-Up Efforts Get Underway.
    As the St. Louis community works to assess damages and initialize clean-up efforts following the devastating storms that hit the area on Friday evening, Monsanto Company pledges $100,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in early relief efforts.
    That's certainly a nice gesture. In 2010 Monsanto's gross profit was $5.08 billion. To put their contribution into perspective, it's like a person who earns $40,000 per year giving 79-cents to the Red Cross.

    What happened to Biosphere 2?

    Twenty years ago, Biosphere 2 was launched to test how long humans could live in space.

    What a 'red sky' foretells

    The bible and Shakespeare's works both detail what you can expect after a red sky.  

    Arkansas disappears ...

    OK, so, only part of it does anyway ...
    Tornadoes and floods carve a vicious path through the state as more bad news looms. 
    A brutal storm in the rural community of Vilonia kills four people, flattens homes and tosses cars into the air.

    Drought could continue in southern US

    The extreme drought that has gripped parts of nine states - most of them across the southern U.S. - is expected to drag on for several months or intensify, posing a risk for more wildfires, agriculture problems and water restrictions, national weather experts said Monday.

    Silly stock photos

    The bland images are usually good at making a simple point, unlike these baffling shots. 

    Americans in prison

    Offered in conjunction with an article in LA Progressive, which notes that "“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.”
    Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black — and increasingly brown — men caught in America’s prison system, according to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “In fact, crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows.”

    “Most of that increase is due to the War on Drugs, a war waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color,” she said, even though studies have shown that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or above blacks...

    However change is to come, a big impediment will be the massive prison-industrial system. “If we were to return prison populations to 1970 levels, before the War on Drugs began,” she said, “more than a million people working in the system would see their jobs disappear.”
    Notice how the increases correspond to the times the repugicans are 'in charge' of either the presidency and the congress or just the congress ... funny about that.

    Bad Cops

    Five women sue convicted former Alaska police officer over on-duty sexually assaults

    Fired Pennsylvania police officer gets 30 months for insurance-fraud scheme

    Tennessee sheriff's deputy arrested

    Virginia police officer arrested for fraud

    Michigan sheriff's sergeant charged with improper use of database

    Cincinnati Police officer arrested for obstructing justice

    Oregon jury awards woman $82K after wrongful arrest — she asked cop for his ID card

    Apparently, state police in Michigan are using devices that allow them to slurp all sorts of data off your mobile phone

    New Jersey police reportedly fired over 30 rounds to kill 8-month-old puppy — hitting homes and cars in terrified neighborhood

    Another excessive force case levied against Denver police officers could cost the city $50,000

    Florida cop is arrested for falsifying information

    Former Chicago cop convicted of exploiting 90-year-old man

    Texas jailer gets 27 months for beating inmate

    Pennsylvania cop charged with lying to police

    California sheriff's deputy arrested for alleged sex with girl

    New Mexico jail guard arrested in abuse case

    Kentucky jailer arrested for soliciting prostitution

    Curiously un-named Texas sheriff's deputy arrested after allegations of asking for sexual favors

    San Jose police hit with two lawsuits alleging excessive force

    Florida deputy arrested, charged with armed robbery

    Police beating of Las Vegas man caught on tape

    South Carolina deputy arrested for gambling charges

    California prison guard admits smuggling cell phones

    Judge sets $10,000 bail for Florida deputy sheriff accused of armed robbery, battery

    Kansas police officer in court on rape charge

    Mom's arrest sparks outrage

    Tanya McDowell's efforts to send her son to a better school could land her in jail for 20 years.  

    Cops Release Mug Shot Of 18-Year-Old Charged In Brutal McDonald's Assault

    The 18-year-old is facing assault charges for allegedly beating a woman in a Maryland McDonald's .

    Brown, who lives several blocks away from the Baltimore-area eatery, was arrested Friday on three assault counts in connection with the April 18 assault of Chrissy Lee Polis, 22.

    Thieves drop £20,000 worth of jewelery and make off with plastic ingot worth £2.25

    Bungling thieves dumped £20,000 of gold and diamonds - so they could make off with a fake gold ingot. The pair of smash and grab raiders ended up making their getaway clutching a plastic copy worth just £2.25.

    The boss of the store they robbed in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, has branded them "clowns". John Galloway, manager of Broomknoll Jewelers, said: "There were staff and customers in the shop at the time. The couple were driving a Vauxhall Corsa and put a brick through the glass.

    "They had grabbed a whole lot of stuff, gold and diamond rings, but then flung it back when they saw the ingot. Who in their right mind would do that?

    "The police were rolling about the floor when they came. The ingot was bought from a shop display company for £2.25 - if it had been real it would probably be worth about £40,000. It was quite heavy, so maybe that fooled them."

    Impressive and Illegal Pieces of Defaced Currency

    You know when you were a kid and would absentmindedly doodle smiley faces on dollar bills? Well it seems now there is a whole artistic community of currency defacers out there. Maybe part of the national budget crisis arose from all the cash that has to be taken out of circulation because George Washington has been replaced with Darth Vader. However, these portraits would make Andy Warhol proud.

    Daffy's Dilemma


    A marathon college career

    Kathy Vitzthum began her quest for an undergraduate degree back in 1992.  

    'Unknown child' of Titanic ID'ed

    A decade-long quest finally sets the record straight on one of the tragedy's enduring enigmas.  

    A Native American woman in Iceland

    Researchers at the University of Iceland have discovered genetic evidence that suggests at least one woman from North America may have traveled to Europe 1000 years ago.
    Ten years ago, Agnar Helgason, a scientist at Iceland's deCODE Genetics, began investigating the origin of the Icelandic population. Most of the people he tested carried genetic links to either Scandinavians or people from the British Isles. But a small group of Icelanders -- roughly 350 in total -- carried a lineage known as C1, usually seen only in Asians and Native Americans. "We figured it was a recent arrival from Asia," says Helgason. "But we discovered a much deeper story than we expected."
    Helgason's graduate student, Sigridur Sunna Ebenesersdottir, found that she could trace the matrilineal sequence to a date far earlier than when the first Asians began arriving in Iceland. In fact, she found that all the people who carry the C1 lineage are descendants of one of four women alive around the year 1700. In all likelihood, those four descended from a single woman. And because archeological remains in what is Canada today suggest that the Vikings were in the Americas around the year 1000 before retreating into a period of global isolation, the best explanation for that errant lineage lies with an American Indian woman: one who was taken back to Iceland some 500 years before Columbus set sail for the New World in 1492.
    For now, the story of the lone American Indian woman taken on a Viking ship to Iceland remains a hypothesis. To prove it will require finding the same genetic sequence in older Amerindian remains elsewhere in the world -- family members, as it were, of that 1,000-year-old woman who ended up so far from home.

    Awesome Pictures


    Luxury digs in a cave

    A 5-star stay here includes balconies and fire pits — but watch your head.  

    New life for medieval castles

    Developers in Poland are outfitting some fortresses with new appliances and sleek bathroom fixtures.  

    "England's oldest shop" up for sale

    [Sallie Stevens] loves every inch of her eccentric workplace and home in Kent on one of the most absurdly picturesque village streets in the country, from the two iron columns said to have been made from Tudor cannon holding up the shop roof, to the 1.2 metre (4ft) high door to her bedroom – claimed to be a security measure for the unloved tithe men who used the room for tax collection, since the doorway was too low for a man to swing a sword...

    The "oldest" claim for any premises is always a red rag to competitors but, in 1593 a tailor, John Moody, was recorded as taking on the lease and installing some of the counters still in daily use. Moody's lease was recording a change of tenancy, so the building was probably a shop far earlier.

    The building is at least 140 years older, part of a medieval manor house, Burghesh Court, once owned by Anne Boleyn's father, Sir Thomas Bullen, whose main home was Hever Castle a few miles away. Since then carpenters, tailors, hatters and grocers have used the shop, and it has been a post office for more than a century.

    The village, a single row of ravishing half-timbered houses ending in a rosy brick pub at the castle gates, has been used as a setting for many films, including A Room with a View, which was partly filmed in the shop, Elizabeth R and The Wind in the Willows.
    Additional details at The Guardian.

    The Devil's Marbles

    Karlu Karlu

    It has been a sacred site for thousands of years known to the Kaytetye aboriginal people of Australia as Karlu Karlu and is known as such in four local languages.

    When first seen by Europeans in the nineteenth century, however, it was not long before the place had been given a new name - The Devil's Marbles. Many of the 'marbles' are poised, almost at tipping point it seems and with spectacular visible effect.


    The Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire collapsed in 2003, but a photo of it and nine other rock faces are assembled at Wired Science.

    Drinking from the Balsa Tree

    The tree named Ochroma pyramidale is better known as the balsa tree, from which we get lightweight wood to make model airplanes. But its flowers are more valuable to many species in Panama, because they bloom at night during the dry season and fill and refill with sweet nectar.
    Throughout the night and into the next morning, the trees here and on the mainland nearby will play host to an unusually large and pan-Linnaean cast of characters—mammalian, avian, amphibian, insectile. A few of the customers look familiar: A close cousin of the opossum often seen bumbling around trash cans in the United States turns out to thrive in the tropics and to love the taste of Ochroma juice. Others are gorgeously obscure: If you were to catch a rare glimpse of the olingo, a distant relative of the raccoon, as it slid silently through the branches like an oil spill with feet, you’d realize how alien our planet remains, how poorly we understand its parts.
    Read more about this fascinating tree at  National Geographic.  
    Photos here.

    Why your dog may need a diet

    As owners become increasingly sedentary, pets are also packing on the pounds.

    Dogs Detecting Cancer?

    It's in the Breath, Experts Say
    Carol Witcher says she knows it sounds crazy, but she swears that her dog, Floyd Henry, discovered the cancer in her breast in 2008.
    Carol Witcher says she wouldn't be alive if her boxer hadn't started aggressively sniffing her.  

    A 6-Year-Old Who Beat Cancer Fights to Save Penguins

    penguins photo  
    Last September, 6-year-old Aghelos Kouvaras was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after a tumor was discovered in his abdomen. For the better part of a year as the first-grader from Long Island, New York underwent treatment to battle the disease, he kept his spirits high by reading about animals -- and one species fascinated him most of all: endangered penguins. Now, after successfully beating cancer, Aghelos is lending his fighting-spirit to save the birds that brought him hope in his darkest hours.

    Elusive Sawfish on the Razor Edge of Extinction

    sawfish river monsters photo
    Photo credit: Animal Planet
    Though easily identified by it's toothy nose, or rostrum, the sawfish is an elusive and poorly understood denizen of the world's tropical rivers. It's also critically endangered and under continued threat by poaching and commercial fishing bycatch.
    Extreme angler, biologist, and host of Animal Planet's River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, traveled to Australia—one of the few places in the world that still has a notable population—to learn more.