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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, June 7, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Is there someone you've been meaning to have a difficult conversation with?
Now is the time to do it. Instead of calling them up and plunging right in to the issue, invite them over for a quiet dinner.
Good food and a nice atmosphere will create a perfect environment for good communication, and no one can run off if the talk gets tense.
By dessert they'll be clear about things, and everyone will be happy.
A big emotional payoff is coming to you soon.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Graz, Steiermark, Austria
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Burghausen, Bayern, Germany
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Leicester, 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 Ojai, Tampa, Marrero, Salem and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, June 7, the 158th day of 2011.
There are 207 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:

Daniel Boone Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Al Qaeda spokesman tells terrorists to use NRA-favored gun show loophole to kill Americans

Kind of embarrassing being on the same side as Al Qaeda. Don't you think?

Via ThinkProgress, we hear from American-born al-Qaeda spokesmen Adam Yahiye Gadahn. He recommends would-be terrorists get weapons to attack Americans via the so-called gunshow loophole:
America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?
More from ThinkProgress:
So it seems like it might be a pretty responsible and relevant idea to force individuals to go through a background check at gun shows and to prevent those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms.

However, there are powerful people in this country that don’t want that to happen. The National Rifle Association is opposed to eliminating the gun show loophole. And, referring to the terror gap, an NRA spokesperson said recently that “it’s wrong to arbitrarily deny a law-abiding person a constitutional right.”

And don't even try to say the NRA whack-jobs aren't gun nuts. Why if they made it a wee bit harder for a terrorist to get a gun how in the world would all the white supremacists, nazis, KKK'ers, John Bircher's etc., get their guns for their domestic terrorism?!

House repugicans now want to privatize Social Security

Because trying to privatize Medicare didn't give them enough pain.

From the Hill:

House repugicans on Friday introduced legislation that would allow workers to partially opt out of Social Security immediately, and fully opt out after 15 years.
Let's hope the White House sees the wisdom in cutting this off at the legs.

Faux News mistakes Fey for Palin

Damn, they can't even get a picture of their own 'poster slut' correct - how pathetic.

A shot of Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin was used in a 'news' segment on Sunday.

Theater teaches texter a lesson

A patron's angry call after being ejected is turned into a hilarious warning to other cell phone users.  

On The Job

Prepare for a job in a well-paying field by pursuing one of these college degrees. 
When you’re asked to do more than humanly possible, try these tactics.

Manage your life

What to say when you're out of work


Economy takes toll on health

Sluggish job growth and falling home prices are doing more than making people anxious.

Homes that were firehouses

Creative owners turned these stations into alarmingly luxurious residences.  

Five lies home-sellers tell

If you're told a house is the "best in the neighborhood," consider the comment a likely red flag.

Couple killed crossing road after visiting all 50 US states

A retirement dream ended in tragedy for a Manchester, Conn. couple travelling through Ohio. Friends of Keith Rodgers, 73, and his wife, Doreen, 71, said the couple had just finished the last leg of a tour that took them to all 50 states.

Keith and Doreen had pulled over on Saturday evening at a Quality Inn not far from Warren. Sgt. Randy Skaggs from of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the couple were heading to dinner at the Denny's located across the street from their hotel when they were hit by a minivan. A crash scene diagram indicated their bodies were thrown several hundred feet.

Keith Rodgers died at the scene. His wife died a short time later at St. Elizabeth's Health Center. "At this point in time it looks like they entered the path of the vehicle," said Sgt. Skaggs. He said the couple crossed five lanes of traffic in an area not marked for pedestrians.

The patrol is still trying to determine if Sandra L. Scott, 64, from Vienna who was driving the minivan was somehow at fault. Sgt. Skaggs said the Rodgers' bodies had been returned to their home in Connecticut, their retirement dream now a nightmare for their families to endure.

Police say they can't arrest drunk man who admitted driving into building

Seattle police say they can't arrest a man who admitted to driving drunk and crashing into an apartment building on Northeast Ravenna Boulevard at around 1 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Police say despite the man admitting to being behind the wheel, they can't arrest him because there are no witnesses to confirm his story.

“We were drinking, we started fighting, I decided to dip out. Driving drunk, smashed into the thing, because they were chasing me,” the man told a news crew.

“We all got drunk - everyone's drunk - you know, you can't blame anyone - there's no one to blame there, it's just, things happen."

You can see the man being interviewed shortly after the incident here or here. (Contains NSFW language).

E. coli mystery deepens

Europe is days away from never knowing what killed 24 and left 2,400 ill, experts say.  

E. coli remains a mystery as sprout tests are negative

What seems increasingly likely is that Germany and Germany alone was responsible for the E. coli outbreak. While there have been victims outside of Germany, they were people who had been in northern Germany. Over the weekend German authorities were convinced that the problem was with bean sprouts grown at a German organic farm but tests have come back negative.

The Guardian:
A first set of 23 results from 40 samples taken at the farm were negative, Lower Saxony's agriculture ministry said in a statement.

"The search for the outbreak's cause is very difficult, as several weeks have passed since its suspected start," it said. "A conclusion of the investigations and a clarification of the contamination's origin is not expected in the short term."

This is the worst possible news for both German consumers, who face indefinite warnings against raw salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers, and, more acutely, farmers. Spain's farmers, whose cucumbers were wrongly at first blamed by German scientists, have suffered in particular. The news also came too late to prevent the small town of Bienenb├╝ttel, 40 miles south of Hamburg in Lower Saxony's rural heartland, being overrun by media while police sealed off access to the farm. Its owner, Klaus Verbeck, told a local newspaper he was baffled at the apparent connection, given there were no animals or animal products on the site.
The German handling of this is so bad that American experts have called them incompetent.

Cicada ice cream seller told to cool it

A public health official in central Missouri has asked an ice cream shop to cool it with the cicada ice cream, even though customers apparently can't get enough of it.

Town may be left under water

If last-ditch fixes fail to stave off swollen river, one Midwestern spot may be submerged for weeks.

Wildfire smoke blankets West

Firefighters struggle to contain the 365-square-mile blaze fueled by 60 mph wind gusts.

Rare June snow in Hawaii

Conditions that haven't been felt there in nearly four decades leave the Big Island capped in white.  

Coolest Summers By Mid-Century Could Be Hotter Than Hottest Of 20th Century

sweating photo
Next time you switch on the AC when it just hits 80°F consider that you'd be better served by getting used to warmer temperatures and adapting yourself to it: According to new research to be published in Climatic Change, without reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions (which remember don't show any sign of letting up absent far far more concerted political, corporate and consumer action) the coolest summers by the middle of this century and going to be hotter than the hottest of the 20th.
Article continues: Coolest Summers By Mid-Century Could Be Hotter Than Hottest Of 20th Century

Fixing top Internet problem

It seems hard to believe, but the Web is quickly running out of addresses.

The Internet in 1969

This future predicting video from 1969 describes in detail with some startling accuracy. Although very retro in appearance the video clearly shows online shopping, banking  and email years before any of these applications were available to the public. “Fingertip shopping will be one of the homemakers conveniences.” 
See the full video here.

Light Created in Vacuum

They say that something can’t be created out of nothing, but that’s what researchers may have done- sort of. Quantum theory states that even in a vacuum some particles do exist. Testing this, scientists in Sweden claim to have made sparks in a vacuum.

According to quantum theory, empty space is, well, not that empty after all. Rather it is full of virtual particles – particles that quickly blip in and out of existence. Theory states that a mirror can absorb energy from some of these virtual photons, and re-emit it as actual photons. Of course, this only works if the mirror is traveling through the vacuum at nearly the speed of light, making it difficult to prove, to say the least.



Twitter Helps Astronomers Zero-In on M51 Supernova

Q: What do you get when you combine a supernova, Twitter and a bit of luck?
A: A night in Hawai'i astronomer Alex Filippenko will never forget.  

Solar flare's effect on Earth

A "dramatic" blast on the sun unleashes a level of radiation not witnessed since 2006.  
Today's Solar Flare
This morning, a massive solar flare was caught live by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Though the flare is quite large (a M2.5, or medium-sized flare, in terms of energy), it isn’t expected to alter the weather here on Earth.
“I’ve never seen material released like this before, such a huge amount that falls back down in such a spectacular way,” says Goddard Spaceflight Center’s Dr. C. Alex Young. “It looks like someone just kicked a giant clod of dirt into the air and it fell back down.”
For a video with close-up footage of the flare, check out the post at PopSci.

New Spacesuits Could Have In-Helmet Display

It’s hard to believe that NASA is using the same space helmets they pretty much used for the Apollo missions. However now it seems they could be close to an upgrade and space walkers could be reading text off of the inside of their helmet.
Vancouver-based Recon Instruments, maker of GPS-enabled ski goggles with in-goggle displays tucked in the peripheral, is sending its technology to NASA for potential inclusion in the next generation of spacesuit helmets in which mission critical information and checklists could appear right before astronauts eyes. NASA’s spacesuit designers have been toying with the idea of an in-helmet displays for a while now, and considering that spacewalking astronauts currently rely on paper checklists taped to their arms, such a display represents a pretty big technological leap forward.

Mars Camping Tent

I once went camping in Death Valley and the conditions were so hot I longed for the air conditioned comfort of a Motel 8, or at least a Motel 6.  So I can’t imagine camping in the deserts of Mars. That’s just what some students at North Carolina State University have proposed by creating a radiation shielded camping tent for future astronauts.

The students created a 1,900-square-foot inflatable tent which is radiation-proof by layering radiation-shield materials like Demron. Demron is currently used in protective safety suits. In fact, the workers cleaning up Japan’s nuclear  Fukishima  plant are currently using them. The tent, which can house four to six astronauts, also uses a gold-metalicized film to reflect the UV rays. According to the university, it’s airtight material is made from a “polyurethane substrate” which keeps the air in, allowing for an atmosphere that the astronauts can breathe.



Nepal And Evangelism

From the "At least someone is using their heads" Department:
Way to Go Nepal!
This is a great idea: Nepal Plans New Criminal Code Forbidding Evangelism.
himalayas Five years after it abolished Hinduism as the state religion, Nepal is working on a new criminal code forbidding a person from one faith to “convert a person or abet him to change his religion.”
Article 160 of the proposed code also says no one will be allowed to do anything or behave in any way that could cause a person from a caste, community or creed to lose faith in his/her traditional religion or convert to a different religion. The proposal would also prohibit conversion “by offering inducements or without inducement,” and preaching “a different religion or faith with any other intent.”
If found guilty, offenders could be imprisoned for a maximum of five years and fined up to 50,000 Nepalese rupees (US$685). If the offender is a foreigner, he or she would be deported within seven days of completing the sentence.
What do christians think about this? (Who cares)
Nepal’s christian community, which has no representation in the Council of Ministers or in parliament, was caught unaware of the new criminal law in the offing. “We have not heard of this,” said Lokmani Dhakal, general secretary of Nepal christian Society. “We need to look into this.”

Deities from Inuit Mythology

Ed Wozniak, who brought us lists of Norse and Hawaiian deities, has a list of gods in the pantheon of the Inuits, whose homelands stretch all around the northernmost regions of the world. Some have downright scary stories, like the sea goddess Sedna.
She was the daughter of the god and goddess Anguta and Isarrataitsoq and, like countless female figures in Inuit myths, she refused all prospective husbands. Sedna instead had sexual relations with dogs and the “freakish” offspring of these unions were said to be white people and Native American tribes that the Inuit were often at war with. A ghoulish twist to the story is how Sedna took to using her parents as food (a recurring theme in Inuit myths because of the scarcity of food in the frozen north at times and how instances of cannibalism during such famines were much-discussed). Sedna devoured both of her mother Isarrataitsoq’s arms and had finished eating one of her father’s arms before he was able to subdue her and take her out to sea in his canoe, intent on banishing her to the sea. Continuing to struggle, Sedna clutched the sides of the canoe as her father tried to submerge her, prompting him to take his long knife and cut off her fingers. Since, to the Inuit, loss or mutilation of the hands was often seen as a horrific transformation into something new, the myth states that Sedna now embraced her fate, transforming her now-fingerless hands into flippers and transforming her severed digits into the various species of sea animals.
Read more about Sedna and eleven other Inuit deities at Balladeer's Blog.

Human Hyper Evolution

The super powers of the X-Men may still may take awhile in the evolutionary process. However scientists have discovered that due to rapid population growth human evolution may be speeding up.
In a fascinating discovery that counters a common theory that human evolution has slowed to a crawl or even stopped in modern humans, a study examining data from an international genomics project describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change, driven by exponential population growth and cultural shifts.
Thanks to stunning advances in sequencing and deciphering DNA in recent years, scientists had begun uncovering, one by one, genes that boost evolutionary fitness. These variants, which emerged after the Stone Age, seemed to help populations better combat infectious organisms, survive frigid temperatures, or otherwise adapt to local conditions.

Were ancient human migrations two-way streets?

This undated handout photo provided by Reid Ferring of the University of North Texas shows the Dmanisi excavation site in the Republic of Georgia.

Awesome Pictures


Life Thrives In Strange Places

14 Urban Ecosystems

Boars wreaking havoc in urban Berlin, dogs riding the subway in Moscow, a species of mosquitoes that only lives in man-made underground spaces and snakes that make their way up into our toilets - all of these creatures and more have adapted to human encroachment in surprising (and sometimes terrifying!) ways.

These 14 unique urban ecosystems - including two of the most insane human communities of modern times - shed light on how we affect the natural world for better or worse.



'Largest' Fin whale gathering spotted

In British waters that is ...

Madagascar animal finds

Scientists exploring the island nation have uncovered an array of peculiar creatures.

Shoes For The Urban Goose

What do you do when your pet goose gets sore feet after walking around the city streets all day? Buy him some protective shoes of course! See more of the adorable pictures on Cute Overload.

Animal Pictures