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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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Moving among many different social groups can make you feel a little flighty, but it can also make you feel popular!
Embrace the fact that your company is so desirable to others right now -- this might not always be the case, as people come and go throughout life.
Make the most of this active social phase, and try to get out as much as possible without overextending or exhausting yourself.
This is a time to relax, laugh and start having fun again.

Some of our readers today have been in:
London, England, United Kingdom
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Amsterdam,  Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Nice, Provence-Aples-Cote D'Azur, France
Haarlem, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

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 Wyanzanch, Portsmouth, Harlingen, Asheville and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, June 25, the 176th day of 2011.
There are 189 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
The Great American Backyard Camp Out.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
June 25, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
Hello, everybody. Earlier this week, I spoke about our way forward in Afghanistan, and I said that because of the extraordinary work of our men and women in uniform, civilians, and our coalition partners, we will soon begin bringing our troops home, just as we’ve begun doing in Iraq. After a decade of conflict, we’re finally bringing these wars to a responsible end.
That’s in the best interests of America’s security. And it’s also in the best interests of America’s economy. Even though we’ve turned our economy in the right direction over the past couple of years, many Americans are still hurting, and now is the time to focus on nation building here at home.
Of course, there’s been a real debate about where to invest and where to cut, and I’m committed to working with members of both parties to cut our deficits and debt. But we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. We need to do what’s necessary to grow our economy; create good, middle-class jobs; and make it possible for all Americans to pursue their dreams.
That means giving our kids the best education in the world so they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in this economy. It means rebuilding our crumbling roads, railways, and runways. And it means investing in the cutting-edge research and technologies that will spur growth in the years ahead – from clean energy to advanced manufacturing.
That’s why I’m here today at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, one of America’s leading research universities. Behind me is a display from a company called RedZone Robotics. The robots they make are used to explore water and sewage pipes, and find leaks and breaks before they become expensive problems. But the folks at RedZone aren’t just solving problems; they’re working with unions to create new jobs operating the robots, and they’re saving cities millions of dollars in infrastructure costs.
This company is just one example of how advanced manufacturing can help spur job-creation and economic growth across this country. That’s why this week, we launched what we’re calling an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. It’s a partnership that brings our federal government together with some of America’s most brilliant minds and some of America’s most innovative companies and manufacturers.
Their mission is to come up with a way to get ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor to the marketplace as swiftly as possible, which will help create quality jobs, and make our businesses more competitive. But they also have a broader mission. It’s to renew the promise of American manufacturing. To help make sure America remains in this century what we were in the last – a country that makes things. A country that out-builds and out-innovates the rest of the world.
I know these have been tough years for American manufacturing, and all the workers and families who’ve built their lives around it. But being here in Pittsburgh, I’m hopeful about the future. I’m hopeful when I think about how companies like RedZone are reinvigorating manufacturing or about how what started as a small trade school is now a global research university. We are a people who’ve always adapted to meet the challenges of a new time; who’ve always shaped our own destiny, and I’m absolutely confident that that’s what we’re going to do one more time. Have a great weekend.

The week's best photos

The first lady's impromptu workout with Desmond Tutu is among recent memorable images. 

Player lifts up car to save man

Danous Estenor was walking through a parking lot when he saw someone pinned under a Cadillac.

SAT's tricky vocabulary

Some words that show up on the college admissions test each year aren't used much anymore. 

Random Celebrity Photo

Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks

Record Smurf?

More than 20 countries are holding events to mark the birth of Smurf creator and Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford enlarge Smurf fans all over the world are celebrating the birthday of their creator by attempting to set a world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Smurfs.

Hidden side of sub uncovered

The H.L. Hunley sits upright for the first time since 1864 as scientists look for clues

A $500,000 ring found off Florida Keys

Treasure divers searching for a 17th-century sunken Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys say they have found an antique emerald ring worth an estimated $500,000. The gold ring has a rectangular cut estimated at 10 karats.

More "bog butter" found

A recent report out of Ireland details the discovery of a small barrel of 5,000-year-old butter:
Joe explained "We were cutting turf and I found what looked like a huge piece of timber…We took it out with a spade and it turned out to be bog butter."... "It looked like a keg or an urn with two handles and a lid carved from a solid piece of wood."  The container has carving marks around the edges with a removable lid with handles and holes, possibly for carrying. The wooden vessel measures a foot in diameter and is almost two feet tall. The 100 pound container was buried seven-feet down.
Further details at Irish Central, and the Irish Times has a report of another similar discovery.  The butter may have been "piseogary" (or a "pishogue').

Flood slams North Dakota

Waters surge more than nine feet above record levels last seen in 1881 in one city.

Disappearing beaches

Visit these stunning shorelines and tropical isles before they wash away.  

Popular Sayings #38


Your Spit Can Reveal How Old You Are

From people claiming to be 130 years old to lying about their age in order to compete in the Olympics, lying about how old you are is a age old past time. Now however the next time you claim it’s your “29th birthday” your friends can snag a swab of your spit to prove you wrong.

This remarkable finding was made by researchers at UCLA. They found that the DNA contained in a person’s saliva undergoes changes as a person gets older. One of the building blocks of DNA experiences a process known as methylation, which alters its appearance over time and can be used to estimate precisely how old a person is.

Supreme Court rules in favor of Big Pharma data-mining your medical records for advertising purposes

So much for HIPPA!
In yet another wrong decision ...

Big Pharma's right to advertise drugs to you based on your own private medical records is more important than your right to privacy for your own medical records.

Simply astounding.

And I Quote

They say there are about 12 million illegal immigrants in this country.
But if you ask a Native American, that number is more like 300 million.
~ David Letterman

The truth be told


House repugicans stop pesky food safety regs

From Anson Kaye at USNews:
Folks, it’s with great pleasure that I report more good news from the House of Representatives. I know, it’s hard to imagine the House getting any better, but a few days ago they did something that can only be described as delicious: They stopped the government from getting all mixed up in food safety.

You see, in December, the president signed into law the first significant food safety reforms in over 70 years. But House repugicans are trying to send those laws back to the kitchen (pun!) by cutting the FDA’s implementation budget. That means that while the laws remain on the books, the FDA won’t have the money to execute them.
And our food safety system has never, ever broken down. Ok, so a long, long time ago some foods did make Americans sick. But that was way back in 2010 and 2009 and 2007... That’s like 525,000 minutes ago, people. Check my math, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even born then. And anyway, the tainted foods were pretty exotic. Eggs and spinach. Some kind of mysterious butter made of peanuts.

Culinary DeLites

Turn up the heat this summer with traditional flavors like serrano, poblano, and chipotle peppers.  

Blogger jailed and fined for giving a restaurant a bad review

<a href=http://www.zgeek.com/content.php/7967-Blogger-jailed-and-fined-for-giving-a-restaurant-a-bad-review>Blogger jailed and fined for giving a restaurant a bad review</a>
A court in Taiwan this week ruled against a female food-blogger who said a local restaurant's beef noodles "were too salty," and that she'd seen cockroaches scurrying around in the restaurant. She gets 30 days in detention, two years of probation, and must pay 200,000 Taiwanese dollars (about $7K US dollars) in compensation to the restaurant. The court didn't argue she was lying about the bugs, but ruled that "Ms. Liu should not have criticized all the restaurant's food as too salty because she only had one dish on her single visit."

If they thought their review was bad before ...

Donut grows bigger, stranger

You'd hardly recognize the breakfast snack from its original invention in the 1800s.

Did you hear about the Great MacDonalds' Scare yesterday?

Apparently one of their outlets sold a Coca Cola with more Coke than ice!

Ten doomed industries

Most of us know video stores are on their way out, but costume rental places are also in danger. 

How much you should save

Americans need to sock away even more than previously recommended, reports indicate.

The man with $300K in credit

Consultant Pete D'Arruda says having 25 credit cards helps his finances.  



King Ludwig II and Neuschwanstein

The Atlantic's In Focus segment features a gallery of 30 photos commemorating the 125th anniversary of the death of Ludwig II.
A hundred twenty-five years ago, Bavaria's "Maerchenkoenig" (or "Fairy-tale King") Ludwig II died under very mysterious circumstances at the age of 40, his body found floating in Lake Starnberg, south of Munich. Today, Ludwig remains famous for the castles he built and attempted to build, most notably Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high in the Alpine foothills... When his cabinet accused him of insanity, he was placed in custody after a brief showdown at Neuschwanstein Castle, and was taken to a castle next to Lake Starnberg. The following day, while out for a walk, Ludwig disappeared, his lifeless body discovered hours later.

Foos Fill The Skies

1947: First Flying Saucer Report
On June 24th, 1947, Army Air Corps pilot Kenneth Arnold reported an unusual sighting while returning from a mission to find a reported downed plane. Out of the incident was born a new term: flying saucer.
As Arnold recalled, the afternoon was crystal clear, and he was cruising at an altitude of 9,200 feet. A minute or two after noting a DC-4 about 15 miles behind and to the left of him, he was startled by something bright reflecting off his plane. At first he thought he had nearly hit another aircraft but as he looked off in the direction the light had come from, he saw nine “peculiar-looking” aircraft flying rapidly in formation toward Mount Rainier.
As these strange, tailless craft flew between his plane and Mount Rainier and then off toward distant Mount Adams, Arnold noted their remarkable speed — he later calculated that they were moving at around 1,700 mph — and said he got a pretty good look at their black silhouettes outlined against Rainier’s snowy peak. He later described them as saucer-like disks … something the gentlemen of the press glommed on to very quickly.
At the time, Arnold said, the appearance of these flying saucers didn’t particularly alarm him, because he assumed they were some kind of experimental military aircraft. If they were, nobody in the War Department (soon to be merged into the Department of Defense) was saying.
The official position of the Army Air Corps was that Arnold saw a mirage or was hallucinating. The term “flying saucer” received lots of publicity and many other reports rolled in shortly afterward. The incident marked the beginning of the UFO craze.

Seven driving dilemmas

Most people don't know the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow light.

Are post offices necessary?

A Canadian strike highlights the world's increased reliance on email and the Internet. 

Nanotechnology Eternal Battery

If the development on this nanotechnology battery pans out soon you may never have to charge your laptop computer again or fish around in the junk draw for batteries. Researchers hope that they will be able to create a battery that will allow electronic devices to power themselves.

Lead co-author Dr Madhu Bhaskaran said the research combined the potential of piezoelectrics – materials capable of converting pressure into electrical energy – and the cornerstone of microchip manufacturing, thin film technology. “The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery,” she said.

Awesome Pictures


European Space Shuttle

With the American Space Shuttle program winding up this year the European Space Agency is unveiling its plans for a reusable spacecraft. The agency is going to start building the unmanned Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle and should be ready for flight in 2013.
IXV is quite different from the NASA shuttle, using a lifting body design instead of wings, with some flaps and thrusters to provide control. Another change is that it lifts off for space on the nose of a small Vega rocket, and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean instead of landing on a runway. In that way it more closely resembles America’s initial forays into space, such as the splash-down orbiter designs of the Mercury Program.

Missing moon dust found

Over 40 years since the Apollo 11 mission, investigators track down the stolen speck. 

Non Sequitur


Does the FBI want 'Whitey' to sing?

Mob boss James 'Whitey' Bulger appears in Boston federal court to answer 19 murder charges
James "Whitey" Bulger 's capture could cause a world of trouble inside the FBI. The ruthless Boston crime boss who spent 16 years on the lam is said to have boasted that he corrupted six FBI agents and more than 20 police officers.
The ruthless mob boss's capture could cause a world of trouble inside the agency.

Hacker Group Targets Arizona Law Enforcement

The hacker group LulzSec has alarmed police in Arizona this week after taking bits of information about officers and then releasing it.

Atheist Lawyer Hassled by Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County Files a Lawsuit Against Him

EllenBeth Wachs, the Atheists of Florida's twice-jailed legal coordinator, filed a federal lawsuit today against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd alleging her recent arrests by his agency are retaliation against her non-religious views.

Wachs, a Lakeland resident and a retired lawyer from Pennsylvania, is seeking an injunction to stop new investigations, arrests, citations and complaints by the Sheriff's Office as a result of her “assertion of non-religious, atheist viewpoint in the predominantly Christian-oriented Polk County,” court papers say.

Her attorney, Lawrence Walters of Altamonte Springs, filed the lawsuit on her behalf.

A portion of the suit lists ways Judd expresses his Christian leanings as sheriff, including mentioning Bible scripture in an agency newsletter.

While the actions “seem innocent in isolation, they point to an obvious and deeply-ingrained tradition of Christianity within the agencies and officials overseen” by Judd, Walters writes, adding: “The atheist, Jew, Muslim, or other non-Christian who reads (Judd's) newsletters receives a clear message — ‘you are not one of us.'”

Wachs and the Tampa-based atheist non-profit first began to tangle with Judd last winter after he uprooted the Polk County Jail's basketball hoops and donated them to local churches.

The group sent him a cease and desist letter, calling the donation unconstitutional, and Wachs made multiple public records requests in an attempt to find whether Judd used any public money during the donation.

This year, deputies have arrested Wachs on two separate occasions.

In March, deputies searched her home and jailed her on a charge of illegally posing as a lawyer. They also jailed her in May and accused her of simulating sex sounds from inside her home while within earshot of a neighbor's 10-year-old son.

Deputies said she made the noises in an attempt to make the boy stop playing basketball outside her house.

Later that month, deputies charged her with possession of marijuana, alleging they found the drug in a safe confiscated from her home.

Among the suit's claims is that a search warrant for Wachs home was overbroad and general, allowing deputies to seize items related to litigation and other materials protected the First Amendment.

The suit also says that a detective attended a civil hearing on an injunction Wachs' neighbors sought related to the alleged sexual sounds she had made at home.

The detective arranged a meeting with the family immediately after, “seizing the opportunity to continue his campaign of harassment against” Wachs, which Walters alleges is “misusing the state criminal law enforcement process.”

Big win for gay marriage in N.Y.

Lawmakers vote to make the state the sixth in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.  

World's Top-Selling Weedkiller Causes Birth Defects, Scientists Say

Quick -- name a brand of weedkiller. What popped into your head? Was it, by any chance, Roundup? The most popular and most widely-used herbicide in the world? If it was, that's great; the ubiquitous weedkiller will be our topic for discussion today. Why? Because a new, comprehensive review of existing data again reveals, once again, that scientific evidence shows that it may cause birth defects.
Article continues: World's Top-Selling Weedkiller Causes Birth Defects, Scientists Say

Dog Guards Newborn Abandoned by Drunk Mom

A dog stood by a three-month old baby abandoned overnight in a Russian park by his drunken mom, a Russian news service reported.



Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix deemed 'ugliest dog'

Yoda's short tufts of hair, protruding tongue, and long, seemingly hairless legs were enough to earn it the World's Ugliest Dog title at a Northern California fair.

The 14-year-old Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix won the honor Friday night at the 23rd annual contest at the Sonoma Marin Fair.

Owner Terry Schumacher of Hanford, Calif.

High Tech Dolphin Translator Development

Have you ever wanted to have a conversation with your dog or cat? The bad news is that communications with house pets may never be possible, but researchers at the Wild Dolphin Project founded by Denise Herzing have made steps to one day having a device that will be able to translate dolphin noises allowing humans to communicate with another species.
For the next phase in learning dolphin-speak Herzing is going high-tech. She’s collaborating with Georgia Tech artificial intelligence scientist Thad Starner on what they call the Catacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT) project. The idea behind CHAT is to “co-create” a language with the dolphins using the sounds that dolphins normally use to communicate with each other. Once the dolphins have learned the “words,” the researchers hope to eavesdrop and pick up other “words”–real ones that the dolphins use during their normal communication.
The versatile sound-making abilities of dolphins poses a major challenge for CHAT. Dolphins can make sounds of frequencies up to 200 kilohertz. That’s about 10 times the highest pitch that humans can hear. Dolphins can also shift a signal’s pitch or maintain it for extended periods of time. In addition, they can change the direction of projected sounds without moving their heads, making it hard for researchers to identify which dolphin said what so that they can correlate the sounds with specific behaviors.

Animal Pictures