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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, June 17, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Get out your darkest pair of designer shades, because you are about to enter a bright, sunshiny period in your life.
Positive energy is all over you, like bees on honey.
Life is about to be very sweet.
Get ready for unexpected flirtation and generous acts meant to turn your head and get your attention.
If you are in the mood for romance, the stars are orchestrating an 'accidental' meeting for you and a very unique person.

Some of our readers today have been in:
London, England, United Kingdom
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
AMstrdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Canberra, Australian, Capital Territory, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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 Elgin, Redwood City, Hana, Detroit and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, June 17, the 168th day of 2011.
There are 197 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Stewart's Root Beer Say
National Flip Flop Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Repugicans hate people but love azaleas

If you're an azalea at the National Arboretum, you're in luck -- repugicans are looking out for you.
If you're a woman, infant or child, however, you're on your own.

Slipped into the FY 2012 agriculture appropriations bill is an unusual provision requiring
the National Arboretum to maintain a very specific portion of its azalea collection.

While azaleas are being carefully tended to, the bill would cut $832 million from a program that
provides food assistance to low-income mothers and children. The Center for Budget and Policy
Priorities estimates that the reduction could result in as many as 475,000 people being turned away
from the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) if food prices continue to rise.

The truth comes out ...


Remember ...

America became a great nation on the strength of its middle class

Arizona nixes ethnic studies program

From the "More stupidity" Department:
Top educator John Huppenthal says a Mexican-American history class violates state law.

TSA misses four sharp chef's knives while patting down chef for wallet

And just when am I supposed to feel safer?

A celebrity Chicago chef got stopped at O'Hare and patted down by an alert agent who wanted to make sure there was nothing dangerous in his wallet. That agent missed the fact that chef Paul Kahan had forgotten four giant, sharp chef's knives in his bag. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure he did take his shoes off, and terrorists don't ever do that, right?
Chicago Chef Paul Kahan Slips Chef Knives Through TSA Security 

Personally I'd trust the Chef with his knives before I'd trust any TSA agent even if the only thing they were doing was breathing.



Culinary DeLites

8 steps to healthier grilling


Recycled Cardboard Packaging Contaminates Food

Recycling is good, we are told, though in actuality government recycling has been nothing except an expensive waste, with landfills for recycled materials as big as landfills for regular garbage.

Random Photos

I think you're doing it wrong!?

Prison escapee caught after knocking on wrong door

An escaped convict was caught following a day on the loose after he knocked on the door of a cabin in the woods - only to find out the man renting the lodge was an off-duty guard at the prison he just fled.

Cracker Barrel waitress reunited with dead ancestor through photo hanging on Cracker Barrel wall

Sandra, a server at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Owensboro Kentucky, shared a chilling tale with a local country music and news radio station. This waitress found a photo of her ancestor on the wall of the restaurant where she works. Stephen Lenz, who shared the article with us, says: "CREEPY PHOTO ALERT because the portrait looks like an old-timey version of her." Snip from the news story, which I have no way of fact-checking:
[W]hat happened one day while she was working at Cracker Barrel must have felt like a huge ray of hope straight through her soul. Sandra was having a bad day and thinking about her niece, Cammi Jo, who had recently passed away. They were very close. She was sweeping an aisle in the back dining room when she looked up and said, "Oh my lands, it's Cammi Jo." Hanging on the wall above a large round table was an old framed photograph of a young woman and her daughter. Sandra took a picture of that photo and sent it to her sister-in-law, Cammi Jo's mother. As it turns out, the baby in the photograph is Sandra's great-great-great grandmother, and the baby's mother is the one who is identical to Cammi Jo. This picture is the picture that hung above the piano in Sandra's great-grandmother's home. Sandra's mother has since called the folks at Cracker Barrel and arrangements are being made to get the photo back to the family.
More: WBKR.com.

Man up cellphone tower armed with five guns ends standoff when he drops his cigarette lighter

Benton County law enforcement authorities said a Madison County man held them at bay for nearly six hours on Sunday when he gathered guns and climbed a cellphone tower near Cave Springs.

Ronald Jeff Grigg, 55, of Huntsville, was arrested in connection with felony aggravated assault, felony first-degree terroristic threatening and misdemeanor drunken, insane and disorderly persons.

Police said deputies responded to the Mill Dam Road area in Cave Springs for a welfare check and found Grigg atop a tower with five guns.

Lt. Rich Conner said he dropped most of his guns by accident and "was holding out until he dropped his cigarette lighter. Then, he decided it was time to come down."

A 16-Yr Old Texan Boy Captured Driving Truck with 126 Pounds of Pot

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port of entry seized 126 pounds of marijuana Sunday afternoon.

Students Take Over at Least 100 High Schools Throughout Chile

According to Chilean news source "El Mercurio" at least 100 high schools have been taken over by disgruntled students.

Life with Kids

1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq.ft . house 4 inches deep.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few a times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9. A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

10. Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy

11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12. Super glue is forever.

13. No matter how much Jelly you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14. Pool filters do not like Jelly.

15. VCR's do not eject sandwiches.

16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17. Marbles in petrol tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odour is.

19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20. The fire department has a 5-minute response time.

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24. Raw eggs and semi digested cheese stick to walls and ceilings very well.

25. 80% of men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

Tuscan-style Kansas mansion

This Kansas mansion cost more than $5 million to build and looks like it belongs in Italy.

New Cuyama Numbers Game

New Cuyama - an unincorporated town in the Cuyama Valley, in Santa Barbara County, California, in the United States - sure knows how to get the numbers up.

Lupine Fields


Illegal Hiring

1K Firms Targeted In Illegal Hiring Crackdown
In an intensifying effort to battle illegal immigration, the U.S. government sent notices to 1,000 companies on Wednesday alerting them that auditors will be examining their hiring records.

On The Job

Well-paid positions are on the decline partly due to the shifting of work overseas.  
These fields are ideal if you want a job that’s stable, exciting, rewarding, or creative.

How to deduct a vacation

You can get Uncle Sam to pick up some travel costs if you meet these rules. 

What not to buy in bulk

With sales, circulars, and loyalty programs, you could find better deals at the grocery store.

Miracle-Gro Finds New Market

Fertilizer news: Scotts Miracle-Gro Looks to Help People Grow Marijuana.
miracle gro Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has long sold weed killer. Now, it's hoping to help people grow killer weed.
Scott's Miracle-Gro is hoping to cash in on the growing medical marijuana business. WSJ's Dana Mattioli reports. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In an unlikely move for the head of a major company, Scotts Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said he is exploring targeting medical marijuana as well as other niches to help boost sales at his lawn and garden company.
"I want to target the pot market," Mr. Hagedorn said in an interview. "There's no good reason we haven't."
Raids on pot-growing operations have turned up Scotts products. Mr. Hagedorn takes that as a good sign of brand awareness, but he fears that some growers would be reluctant to use a mainstream product.
Rollitup.org, a website geared toward the marijuana-growing community, has several forums that debate Miracle-Gro's effectiveness. A user with the moniker Weedqueen12 wrote: "i think [Miracle-Gro] works well." Another user, dannyboy602, countered that Miracle-Gro causes pot plants to "burn and stress."

He needs $1.5 mil to move a giant rock

A man buys a 340-ton rock from a quarry for $120,000 — but then he needs to transport it.

Businessman flushed £20 notes down toilet after bank wrongly told him they were fake

A businessman tore up and flushed a handful of £20 notes down the toilet after his bank told him they were fake - only for police to later tell him later they were genuine. The man, who does not wish to be named, was among a number of businessman led to believe their cash was counterfeit on the Western Isles of Scotland after bank staff became suspicious of £10 and £20 notes.

A police inquiry was launched on the Isle of Lewis three weeks ago amid fears of a well-organized counterfeiting operation. At one stage two people were detained by police during the operation which began when the town's banks, RBS and Bank of Scotland, began refusing notes claiming they were counterfeit. This was followed by many of the local shops which stopped accepting £10 and £20 notes and purchased ultra-violet scanners in a bid to catch the counterfeit notes.

The businessman said: "This is a right mess and it was caused by the RBS and Bank of Scotland. I am fairly sure this is all about their failure to properly train their local staff on how to spot fake notes. I tore up the £20 notes returned to me by the bank as fakes and I put them down the toilet to stop them getting back into circulation. I thought that was my public duty. How do I prove that and who is going to compensate me?"

A spokesman for Bank of Scotland said: "We found what we thought were inconsistencies with some banknotes and as a precaution we set these notes aside so they were no longer in circulation. We have robust procedures in place which are standard across the industry. Where we believe there is a chance banknotes are counterfeit, as a precaution we will always remove these from circulation until further testing proves they are genuine."

Awesome Pictures


Printable Metamaterials Means Invisibility Cloak

Metamaterials make it possible to bend light in a way that could make an object nearly invisible. There are many obvious applications for such a material but until now most metamaterials were not able to be created big enough for any grand purpose. However with the advent of printable metamaterials we may soon have invisibility cloaks.
Until now, most metamaterials have been painstakingly etched out of metal sheets by electron beams, and the biggest pieces able to screw with visible light have topped out at about 100 micrometers or so, about the size of a human hair. A group from the University of Illinois has figured out a way to create a “stamp” of sorts that can repeatedly create pieces of metamaterial several inches on a size, and it should be easy to scale that up into square feet. With this much metamaterial, the first applications could include infrared cloaking devices and optical superlenses.

'Invisible' plane revealed

The company's "airplane of the future" has a transparent cabin and an amazing leg-room solution.

    Does Language Shape What We Think?

    Here is something that none of us probably think about. If the language you speak does not accommodate words for certain areas of human culture it may change the way you see the world. In one interesting example a language that had no number words made it hard for its speakers to count accurately.
    Although number words and counting are a fixture of life in most cultures from the time we are old enough to play hide-and-go-seek, some languages have only a handful of number words. In a paper published in 2008, MIT cognitive neuroscientist Michael Frank and colleagues demonstrated that Pirahã, a language spoken by a small Amazonian community, has no number words at all. The research team simply asked Pirahã speakers to count different numbers of batteries, nuts and other common objects. Rather than having a word consistently used to describe “one X” a different word for “two Xs” and yet another word for “three Xs,” the Pirahã used hói to describe a small number of objects, hoí to describe a slightly larger number, and baágiso for an even larger number. Basically, these words mean “around one,” “some” and “many.”

    Eight Wonders of The Solar System

    While our space probes and the Hubble Space Telescope have made great advances in recent years bringing us photos of the cosmos, there are still many places in our own solar system that close photography is just out of reach. These artist renderings bring us close to eight amazing places that hopefully we will get a closer look at some day including the rings of Saturn and the geysers of Triton.

    Artist Ron Miller takes us on a journey to eight of the most breathtaking views that await explorers of our solar system. The scale of these natural wonders dwarfs anything Earth has to offer. What might we see and feel if we could travel to these distant domains?

    Scientists Trap Antimatter for Almost 17 Minutes

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    It sounds like something out of Star Trek but scientists have been able to trap antimatter for 17 minutes, improving on an experiment last Fall that was able to trap antimatter for merely fractions of seconds.

    So just how difficult is it to trap antimatter for study? Just like in Star Trek, the combination of matter and antimatter particles leads to the annihilation of both and the production of a small flash of energy. Thus, to successfully trap antimatter, researchers use magnetic fields to contain antiatoms. When they turn off the field, the resulting annihilation events–recorded by a special detector–clue the scientists into just how many antiatoms are left after a set period of containment time.

    Six Discoveries That Science Can’t Explain

    A man once infamously said “you can’t explain that” and it turns out there are some things we really can’t explain. These are enigmas and artifacts that have no known orgin or purpose including  The Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica, and the Baigong Pipes
    In an area of China not known to ever contain people, let alone industry, there are three triangular mysterious openings on top of a mountain containing hundreds of ancient rusty iron pipes of unknown origin. Some of the pipes go deep into the mountain. Some of them go into a nearby salt water lake. There are more pipes in the lake, and more still running east-west along the lake shore. Some of the larger pipes are 40 cm in diameter, are of uniform size and are placed in what seems like purposeful patterns.

    Elusive Connecticut Mountain Lion Finally Found, Unfortunately Dead

    mountain lion photo
    Photo credit: KRO-Media/Creative Commons
    The eastern cougar has been extinct for more than 100 years, according to biologists, but this hasn't kept people living around Greenwich, Connecticut, from calling local conservation officers with reports of mountain lion sightings. For months, the Department of Environmental Protection fielded calls but paid little attention, stating that the likelihood an actual mountain lion was roaming the suburban area was slim.
    Then, on June 11, they received a call they could not ignore: A motorist reported hitting a large cat that was now dead on the side of the road.
    Article continues: Elusive Connecticut Mountain Lion Finally Found, Unfortunately Dead



    Don’t worry! It’s a whale shark. They’re filter feeders and are known for non-aggressive behavior toward human divers. Mauricio Handler captured this image off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where these sharks gather during the summer.

    Flying Sharks

    You remember the Sy-Fy movie Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, in which an oversized shark leaped from the ocean and snagged an airliner? That was fantasy, but there are real sharks that can leap up to ten feet above the water! Chris and Monique Fallows of Apex Shark Expeditions have been following and photographing great whites and other sharks for 16 years.
    You can see 19 of their amazing pictures at National Geographic.

    Antelope saved from extinction

    The endangered animal that may have inspired visions of a mythical creature finally returns to the wild.

    Shrunken Head DNA Proves Horrific Folklore True

    Genetic analysis of a shrunken head verifies anecdotal accounts of violent head-hunting in South America.

    Woman goes for a walk, finds prehistoric bison

    Wow! I love this story of how Nature Conservancy program coordinator Lisa Wrinkle stumbled across a fossilized bison while on a hike with her mother and her children. Seriously, this is the sort of thing I dreamed might happen to me when I was 5.
    I noticed some bone-like material in a cut bank that had been washed out in a previous flood. They were situated on top of what looked like burned rock (an archaeologist term for rock used for hearths or campfires by prehistoric people) which peaked my interest and made me wonder if it might be something more than an animal that had randomly met a harsh fate.
    I took a closer look and found that it was a jawbone, teeth and a vertebra. At first glance, the teeth appeared to be cow-like. However, my mom and I discussed the fact that because they were near the burned rock, that they could be prehistoric bison. We were very excited by the prospect because bison fossils are very rare in this area.
    I happened to have a cow skull at my house just up the bank from the site and quickly retrieved it for comparison. The teeth looked similar, but not quite the same. We convinced ourselves that we may have stumbled across something significant--and possibly thousands of years old. At this point I was hooked and just had to get to the bottom of this mystery!



    Australian dinosaur had UK double

    Baryonyx reconstructionAustralian dinosaur had UK double

    A dinosaur found in Australia is almost identical to a well-known fish-eating one from the UK, suggesting northern and southern hemisphere dinos had a lot more in common than previously thought.

    Where Eagles Fly


    Angelfish can estimate quantity

    Angelfish, like those pictured here, can tell the difference between larger and smaller groups of fish. At least, in certain situations.
    Gerlai and Luis Gomez-Laplaza of the University of Oviedo in Spain exploited the previously determined tendency of angelfish to seek protection in unfamiliar environments by joining the largest possible fish group, called a shoal. To rule out possible confounding effects arising from sexual interactions, the researchers only used juvenile angelfish for their experiments.
    Test fish placed in special compartmentalized tanks were given a simultaneous choice between shoals containing different numbers of fish. The angelfish were always able to select the larger of two groups so long as the ratio between the shoals was 2:1 or above. Below that ratio, their choices were less predictable, suggesting a limit to their quantity estimation abilities.
    After the findings were published, the researchers, according to Gerlai, "have already collected new data suggesting that angelfish can discriminate much more precisely than this. That is, angelfish can tell the difference between 3 and 2, for example."

    The 10 Most Venomous Spiders on Earth

    Not all spiders are dangerous, but those that are can be pretty scary! The good news is that the most venomous spiders are not found in one place, but are spread all over the globe. The bad news is that there’s probably at least one of these species on your continent! Pictured is the Fringed Ornate Tarantula (which sounds like a home decor item). Learn about all ten spiders at Environmental Graffiti.

    Animal Pictures