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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, May 10, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Lately, you've been blowing people away left and right with your problem solving and general supportiveness -- people who have a big say in where you life goes next have been watching, and they are impressed.
One thing to really make time for today is reflection.
After all, what good is it to impress other people if you don't get to pat yourself on the back a little bit?
You're allowed to give yourself positive reinforcement today -- in fact, it is highly recommended.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Montreal Quebec, Canada
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Huelva, Andalucia, Spain
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Gloucester, England, United Kingdom
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Marbella, Andalucia, Spain
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Brno, Jihomoravsky Kraj, Czech Republic

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 Waco, LaCrosse, Londonderry, Newcomerstown and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, May 10, the 130th day of 2011.
There are 235 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Buddha Day
Windmill Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Teens and privacy online

Why using Facebook doesn't mean you don't value privacy
Microsoft Research Group researchers Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick have posted a draft paper entitled "Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens' Attitudes, Practices, and Strategies" that reports on fieldwork interviewing teenagers about how they view privacy. It rebuts the cynical, easy dismissal of online privacy issues that says that kids don't care about privacy because they put their lives on Facebook; instead, it provides compelling testament from everyday kids that their use of Facebook and other social networks is governed by privacy norms because kids can't influence privacy laws or privacy code or privacy markets. In other words, kids have definite ideas about privacy, but limited power to put those ideas into practice.
Another dynamic that teens must navigate is the commonplace collapsing of social contexts. While countless movies have been made about situations where contexts collide in everyday life - e.g. running into your ex when out on a date - these are considered exceptional moments. Yet, in networked publics, it is exceptionally difficult to separate contexts. The flattening of diverse social relationships into a monolithic group of "Friends" makes it difficult for users to negotiate the normal variances of self-­‐presentation that occur in day-­‐to-­‐day life. Social media participants regularly lament moments where worlds collide.27 A third dynamic brought on by the technological affordances common to networked publics has to do with the blurring of what is public and what is private. As social constructs, privacy and publicity are affected by what is structurally feasible and socially appropriate. In recent history, privacy was often taken for granted because structural conditions made it easier to not share than to share. Social media has changed the equation.
In unmediated interactions, we assume a certain amount of privacy simply because it takes effort to publicize interactions. When we share updates about our lives over coffee, we don't expect our interlocutors to share them widely, because 1) we don't believe that said information is interesting enough to be spread widely; 2) it's difficult to disseminate social information to a large audience in face-­‐to-­‐face contexts; and 3) recording a conversation or sharing every detail of an interaction would violate both social norms and the trust assumed in a relationship. If we do believe that our interlocutor might be interested in sharing what we said, we explicitly state that the interaction is private and expect the social norms around the conversation to triumph.28 And if our interlocutor wants to publicize every detail, it is assumed that this intention will be announced (e.g., a journalist interviewing an expert). Furthermore, people who are likely to share as much as they can remember are often labeled as "gossips" - often because they initially violated the social norms around sharing and are no longer trusted.

Flooding spares music landmarks

While the swollen Mississippi River peaks in Memphis, the risk grows for other cities downstream.  
River crests in Memphis; states downstream prepare
The Mississippi crest rolled past Memphis on Tuesday, going easy on much of the city, yet downriver in the mostly poor, fertile Delta region, floodwaters washed away crops, damaged hundreds of homes and closed casinos key to the state's economy.

Images from Mississippi flooding

It will take weeks for the Mississippi to recede and much longer for submerged areas to recover.
Meanwhile with all the attention focused on the Mississippi flooding, Lake Champlain flooded:

FEMA gauging Lake Champlain flood damage in Vermont
Disaster specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Vermont, assessing damage inflicted by Lake Champlain floodwaters.

Pakistan fears U.S. conspiracy

Pakistanis fear U.S. commandos want to take control of the nation's nuclear arsenal.

    Repugicans mock voters by playing games with redistricting amendments

    Repugicans play games with redistricting.

    Will state repugicans ever give up their fight against Fair Districts, the constitutional amendments voters overwhelmingly passed in November that could end the incumbent protection program known as gerrymandering?

    In a Pig's Eye they will ...

    TSA Tries To Explain Need For Patting Down An Infant

    From The Consumerist by Chris Morran
    Over the weekend, TSA agents at the Kansas City International Airport felt the full furor of the internet when a camera phone image of a baby being patted-down hit the web. The world wanted to know if we'd moved from worrying about dirty bombs to hunting for poopy bombs. In an attempt to diffuse the explosive situation, the folks behind the curtains of Security Theater took to their blog to offer an explanation.

    From the TSA Blog:
    We reviewed the screening of this family, and found that the child's stroller alarmed during explosives screening. Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm, who by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time. The child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down which doesn't even come close to what the headline implies...
    [O]ur Administrator is looking into ways to move past the cookie cutter approach to screening. Recognizing that terrorists are willing to manipulate societal norms to evade detection, TSA has been actively assessing less invasive screening methods for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers, while still maintaining a high level of security.

    The photo was snapped by a Kansas City pastor who had just been through security when he captured the scene on his phone and Tweeted it.
    "I travel every week, and I've never seen anything quite that bad," the photographer told travel writer Christopher Elliott in an interview.

    As we reported last week, the TSA is looking into a new policy that wouldn't automatically assume everyone is a terrorist, which could make air travel less of a huge pain in the butt.
    Which is a good thing, because Senator Chuck Schumer is out to completely ruin train travel with his not-at-all-paranoid "no-ride list" suggestion for Amtrak.

    Bad Cops

    California city suspends its "ride-along program" after second deputy is arrested for having sex with teen Explorer Scout

    Kansas cops break saggy-pants high school sophomore's arm and Taser him

    Florida sheriff says jail guard propositioned inmate

    Massachusetts deputy busted for trafficking coke

    Idaho deputy is arrested after wife is strangled to death

    Michigan deputy charged with forgery, theft

    Mississippi police officer charged with felony child abuse

    Once-fired Florida police officer in trouble again

    Former Virginia cop ordered to register as sex offender

    Ohio police officer gets prison term in stalking case

    Louisiana police officer who was key witness in Katrina shooting trial arrested for alleged hit-and-run

    California police officer arrested on child molestation charges

    Texas police officer arrested on theft charges

    California police officer jailed in drug unit scandal

    Tennessee police officer sentenced to prison after shooting an unarmed man

    North Carolina police officer is convicted of lying at trial

    Oklahoma police officer is arrested on sexual assault complaint

    Armed man steals toy gun after breaking into home

    An armed robber broke into a man's house on Thursday, pepper sprayed him and stole a toy gun before fleeing.

    Pasadena police Lt. Chris Russ said the robber, who was armed with a handgun, entered the home in the 100 block of North Meredith Avenue at about 11:20 p.m. and sprayed the victim, before taking his Airsoft gun, which shoots plastic BBs.

    The man called police, who searched with a police dog but were unable to find the robber.

    The suspect is described as a Latino about 5-feet-10-inches to 6 feet tall, 275 to 300 pounds with dark, bushy hair and a trimmed moustache and goatee.

    Epic Fail


    Culinary DeLites

    Skipping certain foods could put you at risk for joint pain or memory loss.  
      Start your day right by skipping these calorie-rich cereals, sausages, waffles, and pastries.  
      The year’s must-buy cookbooks
      The year’s must-buy cookbooks
      Time magazine called the annual James Beard awards the Oscars of the cooking world. It's true, except the winners are more reliable. Find out which books deserve to be in your kitchen this year.

      McDonald's aims to go upscale

      Its restaurants will add flat-screen TVs and muted colors, but décor isn’t the problem.  

      A Fresh Food Diet Rapidly Reduces Bisphenol-A Content Of Your Body

      fresh veggies photo
      Fresh veggies. Image credit:Flickr, brendahallowes' photostream
      The Natural Resources Defense Council has some good news - a fast way to drastically cut the Bisphenol-A (BPA) content of your body is to eat fresh, eat at home. No cans needed, thanks very much. "...researchers delivered to the families freshly prepared meals made from organic grains, vegetables and meats for three days. All foods were stored in glass or stainless-steel containers and the families were instructed not to microwave in plastic. The participants were given stainless-steel water bottles and the children took their lunch to school in stainless-steel containers."
      Then look what happened...
      Article continues: A Fresh Food Diet Rapidly Reduces Bisphenol-A Content Of Your Body

      New Study Traces Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

      Photo credit: Julien Harneis via Flickr/CC BY
      Who likes their tap water nice and fiery? I know I do -- I simply won't drink any water that doesn't catch fire when held over an open flame. That's why I drink all my water from underground aquifers that have been contaminated by hydro-fracking operations. Yes, a scientific study, the first of its kind, has discovered a link between flammable drinking water documented in communities around the nation, and everyone's favorite method of extracting natural gas from the ground. ProPublica has the full report.



      For Your Health

      Experts Propose Age-Based Hepatitis C Testing
      Screening all people born between 1946 and 1970 for the hepatitis C virus would greatly reduce the number of people with advanced liver disease linked with the virus, according to new research.

      Particle Physics Can Help Fight Cancer

      Yep, that's right: proton beam facilities once used for physics research are now helping treat (if not cure) cancer.  

      Depression associated with poor medication adherence in patients with chronic illnesses
      People who are depressed are less likely to adhere to medications for their chronic health problems than patients who are not depressed, putting them at increased risk of poor health, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
      Researchers found …

      Antibodies and Bee Venom

      seafoam photo
      Photo by Adam_d_ via Flickr CC
      We're used to antibodies searching for germs and viruses within our own bodies, and now that same concept is put to use for marine pollution. Researchers at Virginia Institute of Marine Science have developed antibodies that can detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the chemicals within oil spills, and have devised a sensor that can be used to find, and measure, pollutants.
      bee on cloth photo
      Photo by Andy Hay via Flickr CC
      Scientists from MIT have discovered that by coating carbon nanotubes in bee venom, they can create ultra-sensitive detectors for explosives such as TNT, as well as at least two different types of pesticides. This means that bees and their stingers could become important to making better environmental sensors.

      Sitting Down All Day

      Is Really Bad For You

      No doubt you knew that already, but since so many of us do sit for eight+ hours a day (I do, and I have no excuse… I have a stand-up desk at work), I thought these cool infographics were a good reminder. A few more of the stats you’ll find on the full graphic: Obese people sit for 2.5 hours a day more than thin people, walking burns 3-5 times the calories sitting does and people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.
      I think it’s awesome that these retro-cool graphics were created by Medical Billing and Coding – it’s nice to see people being innovative with design and typeface even in industries that don’t necessarily require it. Now quit reading this and go do a lap around your office building.

      Awesome Pictures


      Avoid paying high markups

      Follow these tips and you'll save on jeans, cosmetics, and movie popcorn.  

      Rent or Buy?

      Many tenants pay over half of their incomes for apartments in these metro areas.  
      A new study says prices are falling fast and will drop by 8 percent this year.

        Credit scores explained

        Understanding the basics about this number can save you thousands.

        Rules for office etiquette

        Remembering to celebrate special occasions with co-workers shows you see them as equals.  

          Retire or Debt?

          These free or low-cost services can help you prevent a financial disaster.  
          Students graduating from college this spring will be saddled with a dubious distinction. 

            Class that made students rich

            Nobody expected a simple homework assignment would generate $1 million in just 10 weeks.  

            Ten Accidental Discoveries That Generated Great Wealth

            Everyone who's been successful knows that more often than not the success comes down to a combination of hard work and luck. But ultimately it's the people who increase their chances of success through perseverance who are successful. Of course there are some people who owe their success more to luck than anything else.

            The popsicle, super glue, teflon, post-it notes and the microwave oven are some of the things that were discovered with a bit of luck.

            Here are 10 accidental discoveries that generated great wealth.

            By the same token here are some inventions that flopped:
            Edison's cement piano and Da Vinci's giant crossbow are inventions that never quite took off.

            Top 10 Interesting Facts About Chess

            Some interesting areas and facts relating to chess which makes it one of the most popular games. Its long history and dynamic nature have produced many chess players around the world - according to The Chess in the Olympics Campaign, 605 million people worldwide know how to play chess.

            Here are 10 of the most interesting facts about chess.

            Island jumps back to future

            Samoa Will Skip A Day

            This could cause all sorts of problems: Samoa to jump forward in time by one day.
            The South Pacific island nation of Samoa is to jump forward in time by one day in order to boost its economy.
            Samoa will do this by switching to the west side of the international date line, which it says will make it easier for it to do business with Australia and New Zealand.
            At present, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney. From 29 December it will be three hours ahead.
            samoa idl
            The country can't make up its mind:
            The change comes 119 years after Samoa moved in the opposite direction. Then, it transferred to the east side of the international date line in an effort to aid trade with the US and Europe.
            Travelers can celebrate holidays twice in the same day when tiny Samoa swaps datelines. 

              Scrabble adds innit, thang and grrl to official guide

              "That's definitely a word, innit?" could soon be the cry of many a Scrabble player battling their way to victory. New slang terms, including "innit", "thang" and "grrl", have been added to the official list of words that can be used in the popular board game.

              Technology-related words such as "webzine", "darknet" and "Facebook" have also made the Collins Official Scrabble Words book, compiled by staff in Glasgow. And while international players will welcome the addition of 3,000 extra words to the list, traditionalists may be left dropping their tile rack in horror.

              The publishers say it is the "most comprehensive Scrabble wordlist ever produced". There are terms from Indian cookery, including "keema", "alu" and "gobi", alongside the slang "blingy" - meaning shiny. Others permitted include words for various kinds of drug such as tik, gak and tina.

              Robert Groves, editor of Collins English Dictionaries and editor of the latest word list for Scrabble users, said: "The latest edition adds nearly 3,000 new words to the existing quarter of a million available to Scrabble players. These additions are an eclectic mix of new technological jargon, overseas English, recent colloquialisms, street slang, and a few phrases that had not made it on to the list until now."

              See Ya In The Funny Pages

              Non Sequitur
              Wizard Of Id

              Ancient mummified Maori head returned

              French museum officials are returning this mummified Maori warrior head to New Zealand after more than a century at the Museum of Rouen in northern France.

              From the BBC:
               I Pix 2011 05 09 Article-1385165-0Bf98Bbe00000578-121 306X453 Popup At the town hall in Rouen, a traditional ceremony took place, where Maori elders performed chants, prayers and other rituals to honor the dead man. The Maori elders then rubbed noses with Mayor Valerie Fourneyron, a traditional Maori greeting, before signing the restitution agreement.
              New Zealand first began requesting the return of the relics in the 1980s, but France's laws on cultural artifacts meant it could not give up the Maori heads in its possession.
              In 2007, Rouen's council voted to send theirs back, but were overruled by the Ministry of Culture, which feared it could set a precedent for countries to reclaim their historical artefacts.
              New Zealand's Dominion Post newspaper reported that the delegation would be bringing home nine heads in total.
              "The French government have provided Te Papa, on behalf of Maori, the ability to bring these ancestors home," Maori leader Michelle Hippolite told the paper.

              Crocodile God Temple Featured Croc Nursery

              This ancient Egyptian site once attracted swarms of pilgrims, but is all but unknown to modern-day tourists.  

              Neanderthals Died Out Earlier Than Thought

              Humans may not have had much, if any, time to interact with Neanderthals. 

              Doppler effect found even at molecular level – 169 years after its discovery

              Whether they know it or not, anyone who’s ever gotten a speeding ticket after zooming by a radar gun has experienced the Doppler effect — a measurable shift in the frequency of radiation based on the motion of an object ...

              Rare dance of planets

              A rare phenomenon that once inspired awe and panic plays out across the horizon this month.

              It takes all kinds ...

              Mexican Storm Trooper

              Bees Solve Complex Problems Faster Than Supercomputers

              Those damn dirty bees! A new study shows that bees have move advanced learning capabilities than other animals.
              In a new study, researchers report that bumblebees were able to figure out the most efficient routes among several computer-controlled “flowers,” quickly solving a complex problem that even stumps supercomputers.

              All about Dinosaurs

              One small step for a dinosaur ...
              These dinosaur tracks, found in a Polish quarry, are probably the earliest evidence we have of dino life on Earth. They predate all known bones. This photo is part of a article from ScienceNews about the evolutionary origins of dinosaurs. Everybody always wants to know how they died out. But do you know where they came from? The story is really fascinating.

              Toddler Tyrannosaur Redefines 'Terrible Twos'
              Dinosaur Skulls
              No helpless child, this juvenile dinosaur didn't have to rely on mom and dad for a meal.

              Evolutionary Trick

               Evolutionary trick of bizarre insect headgear revealed.
              Despite their variety today, all winged insects share a similar body plan, honed over 300 million years of evolution. Each has a thorax in three segments, with a pair of legs on each segment, and a pair of wings on the second and third segment.
              Benjamin Prud'homme and colleagues at the National Centre of Scientific Research in Marseille, France, have just found an exception. Despite their spectacular appearance, the "helmets" of treehoppers attach to the first segment of the thorax, in the same way as wings. The team say they are essentially an extra pair of highly modified wing-like appendages.
              Losing wing-like structures through gene suppression may be relatively common, but gaining them again is very unusual. In fact, Prud'homme and colleagues say the treehoppers' helmet is an "unprecedented" innovation in millions of years of insect body plan evolution. Cyphonia's helmet mimics an aggressive ant species.

              Animal Pictures