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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 29, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Did you know that you can be good without being perfect?
It's true -- so give up on your perfectionist goals.
Who cares if everything isn't 'just so' all the time?
The little imperfections in life are what make life so interesting.
A smooth veneer over everything isn't impressive or emotionally real.
It's intimidating, and it could be a sign that you're putting up walls between yourself and other people.
Break the walls down -- and leave a little mess behind!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
London, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Arhensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Auckland, Auckland, Germany
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
London, Ontario, Canada
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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 American Fork, Ventnor City, Twin Falls, Sioux City and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, April 29, the 120th day of 2011.
There are 235 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Arbor Day
National Hairball Awareness Day
Save The Frogs Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Storm survivors' stories

Those who escaped the deadly twisters hid in bathrooms, closets, and even a tanning bed.  

Tornado death toll tops 300

As rescue workers keep searching for survivors, the breadth of the destruction becomes clear.

Tornadoes leave historic losses

Even basics like flashlights are scarce after the nation's worst tornado outburst since 1932.  

Factors behind tornado damage

Even with advance warning, hundreds of lives were lost in the deadliest tornadoes since 1932.  

Rock On

David Essex

Wanna Bet?


Popular new superfoods

An Icelandic yogurt and an ancient grain are among the hot items that pack a nutritious punch.

Chance encounter on Hawaiian beach unites half-brothers who had never met

Waikiki Beach wasn’t part of Rick Hill’s vacation plans last Monday, but the Lunenburg resident and his family decided to make a quick stop. Joe Parker, who grew up in Leominster but moved to Hawaii to escape a troubled upbringing and a failed relationship, wasn’t supposed to be on the beach that day, either. An event planner for a resort, he had hustled down to secure a last-minute surfing lesson for a client.

Hill’s fiancee was about to take a snapshot of Hill and their three children when Parker offered to take a picture of the entire family. Parker immediately detected Hill’s accent; instead of asking the family to say “cheese’’ he asked them to say “Leominster.’’ “When he said that, it took us by shock because we live in the next town over, and what are the chances of a stranger in Hawaii saying that,’’ Maureen Howe, Hill’s fiancee, said.

And then the name game began. Parker threw out several, including Dickie Halligan. Hill responded, “That’s my father!’’ Standing in the glistening white sand, Parker lowered his sunglasses, squinted at Hill, and declared, “That’s my dad, too!’’ A flood of emotion hit everyone they said. Tears flowed down Howe’s cheeks as the two men studied each other’s face and hugged.

“I can’t really put it into words,’’ Parker said, describing the feeling of meeting his half-brother for the first time, some 6,000 miles from where they grew up. “If I had to, I would say it was chilling, paralyzing, and an out-of-body experience all at once.’’ Hill, who had just returned from the trip, said: “To find a brother midway through life is weird. We spent the last week together, just getting acquainted.’’

US Appeals Court opens federal funding for stem cell research

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals has overturned an August 2010 ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, paving the way for broader exploration of how stem cells function and how they can be harnessed to treat a wide range of currentl…
US Appeals Court opens federal funding for stem cell research



And I Quote

"Donald Trump ( Mr Chapter 11) is a mean spirited BAD ACTOR who couldn't find his ass with both hands & a map!
~ Cher (in a tweet)

Mitt Romney's father was born in Mexico, how did he run for President?

Yes, George Romney was born in the Mormon colonies in Mexico (colonies originally set up to get around those pesky American polygamy laws).

So how is it Mr. Romney got to run for president in 1964, not being born in America and all?
Good Question, that.

Repugicans worried birtherism hurting their 2012 prospects

Maybe Obama was right to hold "long form" until now

It's an interesting point. And could even suggesting that by NOT releasing his long form birth certificate until now, the President actually HELPED fuel the crazies by stringing them alone, which only helps convince independent voters that the repugicans are nuts.

Not being one to give much credit for 11th dimensional chess - meaning, every apparent mis-step is really part of the super secret master plan for victory - but on the birther thing, he might be right.

Roll Call:
The question of whether President Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil will have zero impact on the 2012 campaign but could significantly damage repugicans’ prospects for retaking the White House if it lingers. That was the consensus analysis of more than a dozen experienced repugican political strategists, consultants and operatives who were interviewed Wednesday within an hour of Obama going on national television to publicly release the long-form version of his birth certificate.

These repugicans were nearly unanimous in their desire to see the issue permanently put to rest because they fear it could make the party seem too extreme.

The truth be told


Boehner now against ending Big Oil handouts

In other words, he received the call and knew where his bread was buttered. Only the repugicans could defend the indefensible like this.
What a spineless coward.
As the country's largest oil companies report near-record profits, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (reptile-Ohio) rejected on Thursday Democratic calls to consider legislation eliminating billions of dollars in tax breaks for the same corporations.

“The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy to lower gas prices and create millions of American jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email. "Raising taxes will not do that."

Boehner said on Monday that oil companies should pay their fair share of taxes and that the industry did not need at least one of the subsidies Democrats want to terminate. But he started walking those comments back in the same interview, and his spokesman’s statement continued the rearguard action.

Hackers claim to have 2.2 million credit card numbers from PSN hack

Sony has previously said it wasn't sure if credit card information was stolen in the recent PlayStation Network and Qriocity hack, and thus, it has not offered any free credit monitoring service for customers.

Paul Ryan's budget isn't class warfare, it's class genocide

The thirty year long subterranean class warfare of rich and the super-rich against the middle class is entering its final phase – Class Genocide.
Until now, the top 1% has appropriated to itself the benefits of the country’s economic growth, while the middle class stagnated.  While making the tax code more regressive, they wealthy have also cut programs that helped people out of poverty and into the middle class.  In part the rich were enabled by the American middle classes’ dreams of moving up.  Particularly during the booms, entering the top 10% seemed just one stock pick or house flip away for many people, so with a little luck that low-upper bracket could soon be theirs.  Since the first government programs cut  helped move poor people into the middle class, cutting them did not hurt already middle class Americans.  There was always a racial and ethnic component to shutting down entry into the middle class that the politicians subtly played off of.

That was the old class warfare.  It unfolded so slowly that for years it just seemed coincidence that the rich always won and the middle class always lost.  Even then, the middle class was at least running in place and not losing ground, it just wasn’t gaining.  The rich were getting more, but the middle class remained stable and reasonably secure in their ability to remain in the middle class, and they had reasonable confidence that their children and grandchildren would also enjoy middle class status.  That is what made it a class – a status that could be maintained for your lifetime and passed along to your descendants.

Now everything that defined the middle class is being dismantled.  In America, you are middle class if you have a white collar job requiring a college education, or a union blue collar job, own your own home, are secure in retirement and able to pass along at least a little something to your kids.  It’s pretty much what most of us grew up expecting.

With the Ryan budget, and the radical actions repugican governors are taking in the various states, the repugicans are destroying the foundations of middle class security and its ability to ensure that middle class children can become middle class adults.  Starting with the land grant colleges of the nineteenth century, public schools, the GI Bills and student aid, the state and federal governments have built the middle class through access to education.  When I attended the University of California, a world class education cost $750 a quarter in in-state tuition.  My father was the first in his family to attend college and the GI Bill paid for it.  I hesitate to think of the state of education and student aid in ten years, when my kids are ready for college, if Paul Ryan has his way.

The Ryan budget put a fear into me, for the very first time in my life, that in retirement I could go broke from medical bills.  This is a real fear for those of us on the downside of the baby boom who are not grandfathered into Medicare as we know it.  It is also a fear for those in Medicare, or soon to be, because they would be one line of legislation away from being swept into fending for themselves in the insurance market – where insurers will not fall all over themselves to offer good coverage at reasonable prices to eighty-year old diabetic cardiac patients.

It is so much more than the “safety net” that is currently being lost.  The continued fallout from the housing bubble/mortgage crisis is going to end the 30 year mortgage for good.  Along with the bottomless cup of coffee, the 30 year mortgage is one of America’s great contributions to civilization.  The 30 year mortgage exists because of Federal support and regulation.  The 30 year mortgage turned America into a nation of homeowners.  It also turned every home into a piggy bank where each mortgage payment represented a deposit, and this increasing equity provided an emergency fund, a college fund, retirement savings and the ability to pass something along to the next generation.  Think what losing all of that will mean to what we now think of as the middle class.

Without home-ownership, retirement security and college education, what then is left of the middle class?

The effect of all these changes cumulatively ending the middle class as we know it is not an accident.  As they say about software – this is not a bug, but a feature.  In some of my next posts I will look at why changing the nature of America’s class structure (what we lulled ourselves into thinking was a practically classless society because the middle class seemed to embrace almost everyone) is not a byproduct of what is happening, but the purpose of what they are doing.

The cumulative effect of all of these changes is not simply that millions will be moved out of the middle class, it is the end of the middle class as we have known it all of our lives.  There simply will not be a middle class – there will be haves and have not’s.   It will not be the America we want or knew.

Socioeconomic Status Influences Reactions in Brain

Activity in the brain increases in people while viewing individuals they perceived to be of similar status. Read more

What's hot in new homes

Gourmet kitchens with fancy oversized stoves are on their way out, says one expert.  

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

Heart attacks 'worse in the morning'
"Heart attacks are far more dangerous in the mornings than at any other time of the day."

The Eyes Have It

As amazing as human eyes are, other species have developed ways of seeing that will astound you.
Scientists are discovering new structures and adaptations all the time. There are eyes with mirrors, eyes with optical fibres, and eyes with bifocal lenses. There are eyes that see in the dark, move around heads, or go into sleep mode. There are even eyes made of rock. This slideshow will take you on a tour of some of these recent eye-opening discoveries.
Pictured is a box jellyfish, which has 24 eyes of two different types.



Webcam catches tourists walking on Old Faithful

Warning signs in multiple languages and the risk of getting cooked like garbanzo beans in a pressure cooker didn't stop some 30 tourists from taking a way-too-close look at Yellowstone's famous Old Faithful Geyser.

The Stunning Tulip Fields Of The Netherlands

A vast patchwork of kaleidoscopic color, the tulip fields of the Netherlands are clearly nothing to be sneezed at. From the air it looks as though a giant toddler armed with a box of super-sized crayons has been let loose on the Dutch countryside... if the lines weren't quite so perfect. The vibrant blues, reds, pinks and yellows sprawl as far as the eye can see.

Tourists have flocked to catch a glimpse of these spectacular quilted farmlands in all their technicolor glory. But like a rainbow, this colourful landscape is a short-lived phenomenon. When the flowers are gone, the land will be cultivated for a rather more mundane crop of vegetables.

The 10 Most Polluted Cities In The World

Pollution is a problem for many cities in the world and has been a threat to the environment in developed countries. Efforts are being made to overcome the growing pollution in the world but for some cities it's too much and those are the ones where it hit the hardest.

Here are the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

United States of the Environment

See Full Story for full graphic.
As if we need more things to fight over in America these info graphics will be sure to help in the age old argument “my state is better than your state.”  These two maps of the USA have interesting environmental facts on “How does your state excel?” such as California has the most acres of organic farmland and “How does your state not excel?” revealing California also has the most smog.  I’m sure all that smog will make for some delicious organic California oranges.

Awesome Pictures


The "demon core"

The Demon Core was the nickname given to a 6.2-kilogram (14 lb) subcritical mass of plutonium that accidentally went critical in two separate accidents at the Los Alamos laboratory in 1945 and 1946. Both incidents resulted in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent death of a scientist...

[the second incident]: On May 21, 1946, physicist Louis Slotin and seven other scientists were in a Los Alamos laboratory conducting an experiment to verify the exact point at which a subcritical mass (core) of fissile material could be made critical by the positioning of neutron reflectors. It required the operator to place two half-spheres of beryllium (a neutron reflector) around the core to be tested and manually lower the top reflector over the core via a thumb hole on the top. As the reflectors were manually moved closer and further away from each other, scintillation counters measured the relative activity from the core. Allowing them to close completely would result in the instantaneous formation of a critical mass and a lethal power excursion, and the only thing preventing this was the blade of a standard flathead screwdriver manipulated by the scientist's other hand. The test was known as "tickling the dragon's tail" for its extreme risk, and was notoriously unforgiving of even the smallest mistake; many scientists refused to perform the test, but Slotin (who was given to bravado) became the local expert, performing the test almost a dozen separate times, often in his trademark bluejeans and cowboy boots in front of a roomful of observers. Enrico Fermi reportedly told Slotin and others they would be "dead within a year" if they continued performing it.

While lowering the top reflector, Slotin's screwdriver slipped a fraction of an inch, allowing the top reflector to fall into place around the core. Instantly there was a flash of blue light and a wave of heat across Slotin's skin; the core had become supercritical, releasing a massive burst of neutron radiation. He quickly knocked the two halves apart, stopping the chain reaction and likely saving the lives of the other men in the laboratory. Slotin's body positioning over the apparatus also shielded the others from much of the neutron radiation. He received a massively lethal dose in under a second and died nine days later from acute radiation poisoning. The nearest physicist to Slotin, Alvin C. Graves, was watching over Slotin's shoulder and was thus partially shielded by him, receiving a high but non-lethal radiation dose. Graves was hospitalized for several weeks with severe radiation poisoning, developed chronic neurological and vision problems as a result of the exposure, suffered a significant shortening of his lifespan and died of a radiation-induced heart attack 20 years later. The other six people in the room were far enough away from the assembly to avoid fatal injury, however they all suffered other complications as a result of the accident. Two people suffered severe shortening of their lives and died years later from radiation induced complications: leukemia (at age 42, 18 years after the accident) and clinical aplastic anemia.

Andromeda's Jewel in 'Invisible' Light

The European Space Agency has released a new animation compiling microwave, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, and x-ray observations of our nearest big galaxy, Andromeda.  

Ancient ship found near Rome

Archaeologists say they have found the upper side of an ancient ship near Rome. The wooden ship was about 11 meters long, making it one of the largest ancient vessels excavated near Ostia Antica, a port city founded some 2,500 years ago and Rome's first colony.

Peabody's Improbable History

Ponce De Leon

Ancient Royal Horse Unearthed in Iran

Remains of the oldest known Caspian horse, otherwise referred to as the "Kings' horse," date back to more than 3,000 years ago.  

Are Female Dogs Smarter Than Males?

Great Dane
When it comes to detecting the unexpected, female dogs might have a leg up.  

Ditch Your Old Couch for Your Dog's Sake

Chemical flame retardants used to make pre-2004 furniture and other items have entered the blood stream of dogs.  

Dusky Sharks Not Safe at Home

Dusky sharks return to breeding grounds - a trait that may put them in further jeopardy to finning and overfishing.  

Brainy Birds Live the High Life in Cities

Some birds avoid cities, but others purposefully move to them, seeking their own version of the big time.  

NASA to Launch Squids Into Space

bobtail squid photo  
Although NASA's shuttle launch may spell the end of an era for soon-to-be retired space shuttle Endeavor, it will be a major leap forward for aquatic invertebrates. Sure, classic illustrations of animal evolution typically depict species adjusting to life on land before going any higher -- but thanks to a NASA sponsored experiment designed by students, one group of baby squids will skip that step altogether. That's right, squids are heading to space.

Animal Pictures