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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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Music or art can make for an excellent escape, so keep that in mind when someone or something starts bugging you today.
When you want to get away from stress, put in your earphones and let the tones of your current favorite song take you away.
Or leaf through a coffee-table art book and contemplate each image.
Stepping outside of your everyday world and focusing on another person's self-expression will be a tonic for your soul.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Rass, Al Qasim, Saudi Arabia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Gloucester, England, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Paris, Ile-Dre-France, France
Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom
Munich, Bayern, Germany

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 Wilmington, Costa Mesa, Rochester, Wasilla and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, May 25, the 145th day of 2011.
There are 220 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Tap Dance day
Geek Pride Day
Nerd Pride day
Towel Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Rick Scott among the least-liked governors in nation

Gov. Rick Scott's job-approval rating has gone from mediocre to bad in Quinnipac University’s latest survey, which shows that a majority of voters are sour on the repugican ...

Repugicans on the defensive

A shocking upset in a conservative New York district has repugicans rattled and seeking answers. 

Tornado weather

This photo of the sky over downtown Kansas City, MO, was taken Tuesday at around 1:00 pm Central by Gary Lezak, a local television meteorologist.

Deadly storms slam 3 states

At least 13 are dead after the latest wave of savage weather rips across the central U.S.

Non Sequitur


Culinary DeLites

There's a nutritious way to get your fruit fix and satisfy your chocolate craving at the same time.
New guidelines put out by the USDA refute what people have been taught for generations.  

Coffee drinkers keep chugging

Despite its price rising at a faster pace than gasoline

People are paying more to fuel up these days - on coffee.

From high-end prepared drinks to store-brand ground beans, coffee price increases have outpaced even the hike in gasoline prices the past year.

Gear up for a second career

Sharon Laughlin created a safety net for retirement by launching a business she loves.  

Best balance for work and life

Employees give these 25 firms high ratings for lifestyle perks and flexible schedules.  

Jobless Discrimination and Why the Rich Love High Unemployment

Jobless Discrimination
An employer can’t discriminate hiring an employee on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, or disability – but what about joblessness? Can a company refuse to hire you simply by the fact that you don’t have a job?

Adam Cohen of TIME Magazine explores the phenomenon of jobless discrimination:
Job seekers have long known, of course, that it’s easier to land a job when you are still working. There are no hard data on discrimination against the unemployed. But there have been reports from across the country of companies’ making clear in job listings that they are not interested in people who are out of work. Employment experts say other companies have policies of hiring only people with jobs — but do not publicly acknowledge their bias. [...]
Some employers argue that they have a perfectly reasonable right to weed out the unemployed and that it is just good business. People who have lost jobs or have never been hired are less qualified as a group than those who are currently working, they say. People who are out of the workforce for a significant period of time may also have fallen behind in skills.

Why the Rich Love High Unemployment
In the boardrooms of corporate America, profits aren't everything - they are the only thing.

A JPMorgan research report concludes that the current corporate profit recovery is more dependent on falling unit-labor costs than during any previous expansion.
At some level, corporate executives are aware that they are lowering workers' living standards, but their decisions are neither coordinated nor intentionally harmful.
Call it the "paradox of profitability."
Executives are acting in their own and their shareholders' best interest: maximizing profit margins in the face of weak demand by extensive layoffs and pay cuts.
But what has been good for every company's income statement has been a disaster for working families and their communities.

In a lawyer's world


Shoe shoplifter used text messages to steal on demand

Police in Louisville, Kentucky, have arrested a man they say had his shoplifting technique so mastered, he had customers placing orders for various items via text message. Police say 36-year-old Sean A. Harrington was caught stealing merchandise from Rack Room Shoes near Six Mile Lane, on Friday afternoon.

According to the report, Harrington was allegedly, "concealing shoes down the front of his pants" and left the store without paying. From there, he allegedly proceeded to a Marshalls clothing store, and allegedly stole clothing valued at $99.95.

Police eventually caught up with Harrington and arrested him. When a security at Rack Room Shoes reviewed their surveillance records, they discovered that Harrington had stolen a total of $539.89 worth of goods from their store between April 17 and May 20.

Upon Harrington's arrest, police were able to examine his cell phone - and they made a significant discovery. The arrest report states that the phone, "had numerous text messages of others ordering merchandise from [Harrington], who would then go out and steal specific items." He was charged with receipt of stolen property and theft by unlawful taking.

Criminologists Puzzled Over Falling Crime Rates

There’s a mystery afoot in the world of crimes that has got law enforcement officials scratching their collective heads in amazement: despite the Great Recession, crime rates continue to decline.

“Striking,” said Alfred Blumstein, a professor and a criminologist at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, because it came “at a time when everyone anticipated it could be going up because of the recession.”

Nationally, murder fell 4.4 percent last year. Forcible rape — which excludes statutory rape and other sex offenses — fell 4.2 percent. Aggravated assault fell 3.6 percent. Property crimes — including burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson — fell 2.8 percent, after a 4.6 percent drop the year before.

Trouble In Sheriff Joe’s Office

Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the most corrupt sheriff in the world: 3 in Sheriff's Office accused of drug, human smuggling.
A crime organization was able to enlist at least three Maricopa County sheriff's employees to help move heroin and undocumented immigrants from Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.
One of the employees, Deputy Alfredo Navarrette, a 10-year veteran of the department, used his position to gain tips and other information that he passed on to drug smugglers, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. Another, a detention officer, is romantically linked with the leader of the operation and is eight months pregnant with his child, officials said.
Authorities said Navarrette, 37, was smuggling illegal border-crossers to California. Two suspected illegal immigrants were found at his Phoenix area home, investigators said.

Speed Thrills

A new study reveals exactly how much a single moving violation raises your insurance rates. 
Kyle Busch is clocked driving faster on a rural North Carolina road than he averaged in his last race.

    Leave it to the Irish

    An Irishman goes into the confessional box after years of being away from the Church.
    There’s a fully equipped bar with Guinness on tap.
    On the other wall is a dazzling array of the finest cigars and chocolates.
    Then the priest comes in.
    ”Father, forgive me, for it’s been a very long time since I’ve been to confession, but I must first admit that the confessional box is much more inviting than it used to be.”
    The priest replies: “Get out. You’re on my side.”

    The true victims of racism

    Whites believe that they have replaced blacks as the primary victims of racial discrimination in contemporary America, according to a new study from researchers at Tufts University’s School of Arts [...]

    Anonymous Takes Down US Chamber of Commerce Site Briefly for Support of PROTECT IP Act

    Late last night the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous began targeting the US Chamber of Commerce for its support of the controversial “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011.”

    The “PROTECT IP Act,” as it’s better known would give the DOJ and copyright holders additional tools against copyright infringing websites. In the case of a DOJ-initiated suit, the Attorney General can force US based third-parties, including ISPs, payment processors, online advertising network providers, and search engines to either block access the site or cease doing business with it. A copyright holder-initiated suit is limited to payment processors and online advertising network providers.

    The problem for many is that it would result in censorship without the right to due process as it allows the DOJ and copyright holders to obtain court orders before accused sites have had a chance to defend themselves in court. Sites could be seized and services suspended simply based on the one-sided arguments proffered by the DOJ or copyright holders.

    The US Chamber of Commerce has been outspoken about its support for the “PROTECT IP Act.” It believes the legislation is necessary to “cut of rogue sites” and protect US jobs.

    “The Internet, like all marketplaces, needs rules to protect people from fraud and theft,” said Thomas J. Donohue [pictured], president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, after the bill was introduced.

    ”The PROTECT IP Act is a balanced approach that will help crack down on truly rogue sites while facilitating the continued growth of the Internet as a safe, vibrant marketplace.”

    Anonymous managed to take the site – uschamber.com – down for a while, but at the time of writing this the site is back up.

    Gaga album crashes servers

    The question is why? It is an appalling compilation of badly retooled derivative drivel.
    And points to a serious lack of creativity and musical ability in the so called music business today! 
    Many fans get an unpleasant surprise when they attempt to download the pop star's latest.  

    The Old-fashioned "Homepage"

    In the days before the internet (actually 1912-1963), Bostonians could get news headlines at a glance by dropping by the storefront office of The Boston Globe. 
    Handwritten signs and blackboards had the top stories, breaking news, and even sports stats in big print as fast as they were available. 
    And of course, if you wanted to read more, you could buy a paper. 
    Shown here is the big map of Europe installed for the D-Day invasion in 1944. 
    See more pictures of the hand-lettered “homepage” at The Boston Globe.

    Rare color photos of 1940s

    Images from across the U.S. capture the country pulling itself out of the Great Depression.  

    Iran's largest lake turning to salt

    From a hillside, Kamal Saadat looked forlornly at hundreds of potential customers, knowing he could not take them for trips in his boat to enjoy a spring weekend on picturesque Oroumieh Lake, the third largest saltwater lake on earth.

    Random Photos


    The Brain in Love

    Graphic: James W. Lewis and Jen Christiansen
    Ah, love – the ultimate in human feelings that conquers all … or is it? Thanks to MRI studies, scientists have dissected the various brain regions that get activated when you feel passionate as well as other types of love.
    Scientific American has the details:
    Men and women can now thank a dozen brain regions for their romantic fervor. Researchers have revealed the fonts of desire by comparing functional MRI studies of people who indicated they were experiencing passionate love, maternal love or unconditional love. Together, the regions release neuro­transmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that prompt greater euphoric sensations such as attraction and pleasure. Conversely, psychiatrists might someday help individuals who become dangerously depressed after a heartbreak by adjusting those chemicals.
    Passion also heightens several cognitive functions, as the brain regions and chemicals surge. “It’s all about how that network interacts,” says Stephanie Ortigue, an assistant professor of psychology at Syracuse University, who led the study. The cognitive functions, in turn, “are triggers that fully activate the love network.” Tell that to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

    Hailstone Bacteria

    Bacteria 'abound in hailstones'Hailstones

    High concentrations of bacteria found in the centers of hailstones add to the idea that bacteria may stimulate precipitation in order to get around.


    Fructose malabsorption, a very common condition with surprising correlates. One of the major differences between our industrial diets of today compared to even the recent agricultural past is the massive increase in the consumption of sugar.



    Bizarre week on Mt. Everest

    After scaling to the top of Mt. Everest, three climbers take on an unthinkable task.  

    Two Environmentalists Executed in the Brazilian Amazon

    bullet hole photo  
    Photo: Stephen Messenger
    According to reports from Brazilian media, two environmentalists known for their outspoken opposition to deforestation in the Amazon have been killed in a manner investigators are describing as an execution. José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo, his wife, were found shot to death near their settlement in the Brazilian state of Para, where they offered firsthand accounts of illegal logging. Just six months earlier Ribeiro da Silva foreshadowed his own demise: "I could be here today talking to you and in one month you will get the news that I disappeared. I will protect the forest at all costs."

    News from North Africa

    US journalist held in Libya says she was beaten
    Clare Morgana Gillis was one of four foreign journalists released May 18. She said she's happy to be home in New Haven and grateful to her supporters for campaigning for her release, but upset that a photographer she was with when she was captured was killed.

    Mubarak and sons to be tried for death of protesters and corruption

    This is surely not the way the former leader expected to finish out his years.

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons will face trial before a criminal court for the killings of protesters and the waste of public money, the Egyptian general prosecutor's office announced Tuesday.

    Mubarak stepped down as Egypt's leader on February 11, after an 18-day uprising against his nearly three decades of iron-fisted rule.

    Mubarak is in detention. His wife, Suzanne, who suffered a heart attack this month, was released on bail last week after relinquishing control of bank accounts worth $3.4 million. She also gave up a villa and signed an affidavit allowing further investigation of her personal fortune.

    Odds and Sods

    Somali pirates plead guilty in US
    Three Somali men have pleaded guilty in US federal court to piracy for their role in a hijacking that ended in the deaths of four American sailors.

    Court battle over sunken treasure

    Florida deep-sea explorers battle Spain in a federal courtroom for an enormous bounty. 

    Archaeology News


    Greek bronze figure of a horse

    From the Geometric Period, circa 8th century B.C.
    ...of Corinthian type, of stylized attenuated form standing on an openwork rectangular base, with crested mane, long forward-pointing ears, and cylindrical muzzle; height 5 3/4 in. 14.6 cm. 
    Another strikingly similar example, from the same period, in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



    Slow recovery for dog found shot and buried alive

    'Star', a dog that survived being shot in the head and buried alive in Malta is making a slow recovery. The female mixed-breed was found on Thursday in Birżebbuġa on the way to Għar Ħasan. Welfare officers went to a field nearby to investigate a report of three ill-treated dogs. There they heard the sound of muffled whimpering that led them to a wooden plank held in place by part of a tree trunk.

    When they lifted the plank they came across the nose of a buried dog poking out of the soil. As they dug out the dog they found it had been shot in the head, its snout had been tied shut and all four legs were bound together. Star, named by welfare officers, was then taken to the animal hospital where over 40 lead pellets were removed from her head during an operation.

    The horrific story has touched the hearts of people around the world. A woman from Canada contacted the Animal Welfare Department to send Star a personalised blanket and the Amsterdam Fire Brigade wrote in to ask how she was doing, said Janice Chetcuti from the department.

    Some people even suggested setting up a trust fund that could be used as a reward to catch the perpetrator, she said. Ms Chetcuti also said she had received over 20 requests to adopt Star. Meanwhile, she added, Star was slowly recovering at the Ta’ Qali animal hospital but was still quiet and looked depressed. The case is being investigated by the police.

    Animal News

    Dog nurses ligers after tiger mom refuses
    A Chinese zoo official says two rare cubs born to a male lion and a female tiger are being nursed by a dog after they were abandoned by their mother.Cong Wen of Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo in eastern China says four cubs called ligers were born to the lion and tiger earlier this month.She said Tuesday the tiger mother fed the ligers for four days but ...

    Rare White Kiwi Chick Born
    The fluffy, white chick born in New Zealand isn't an albino, but the offspring of a rare mix of genes.  

    More Animal News

    Dog looking at a catCats and dogs share grasp of physics

    The spider Argiope sector on its decorated web (Image: Andre Walter) Why a spider spins decorations into its webs

    Animal Pictures