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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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your life is moving from a time of extreme highs and lows to a time of middle-of-the-road smoothness.
There will be no dramatic shifts right now, and what happens today will be mostly positive.
Having a good life might not be as exciting as having a fabulous, dramatic life -- but you must admit that a good life is better than a bad one, right?
Enjoy your life's simple pleasures.
After all, if everything were a big drama, you would never be able to truly relax.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Stoke On Trent, England, United kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Belgium
Manila, Manila, Philippines

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 Moresville, Statesville, Huntersville, Pineville and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, June 27, the 178th day of 2011.
There are 187 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Stop the Presses

From the "Duh" Department:
Stop the presses: study finds gun owners drink more

"Brother Number Two" Khmer Rouge trial to start in Cambodia

It's taken a very long time for this trial to start. Too long, but at least there is a trial.
The United Nations-backed trial of the four most senior surviving members of Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge regime began on Monday, three decades after its "year zero" revolution marked one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.

The defendants, all now elderly and infirm, were among the inner circle of the late Pol Pot, the French-educated architect of the Khmer Rouge's ultra-Maoist Killing Fields revolution.

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians - a quarter of the population - were killed through torture, execution, starvation and exhaustion from 1975-1979.

Judges order arrest of Gadhafi, son for slayings

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants Monday for Moammar Gadhafi, his son Seif, and his intelligence chief for crimes against humanity in the Libyan leader's four-month battle to cling to power.

Fire near U.S. nuclear lab

Fast-moving fire forces a voluntary evacuation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Cool Air Is Not Cheap

A line item in the war budget: $20B In Air Conditioning.
ac The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion.
That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.
To power an air conditioner at a remote outpost in land-locked Afghanistan, a gallon of fuel has to be shipped into Karachi, Pakistan, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to Afghanistan on roads that are sometimes little more than "improved goat trails," Anderson says. "And you've got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way."
Anderson calculates more than 1,000 troops have died in fuel convoys, which remain prime targets for attack. Free-standing tents equipped with air conditioners in 125 degree heat require a lot of fuel. Anderson says by making those structures more efficient, the military could save lives and dollars.
Solution: Take the summers off, and just fight wars in the winter.

Is the Media Stifling the U.S. Recovery?

Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the future, despite not seeing their own economic situations worsen  
One practical economic problem is that perception can sometimes dictate reality. Even if the economy is moving along well, if consumers get spooked -- whether for a legitimate reason or not -- it can take a step back. Of course, the reverse is also true: that's what causes bubbles. Irrational optimism about some asset, like houses, causes too much economic activity, which leads to a painful correction. Because perception matters, the media plays an important role. If it pushes the public in the wrong direction, then their sentiment about the economy could be skewed with a counterproductive result.

Nah, Couldn't Be ...

It could not possibly be true could it ... but would sen. Paul Ryan personally profit from his proposed budget?

TSA Stands By Pat-Down Of 95 Year Old Woman

The Transportation Security Administration stood by its security officers Sunday after a Florida woman complained that her cancer-stricken, 95-year-old mother was patted down and forced to remove her adult diaper while going through security.
They can 'Stand By' all they want to but they still have to go!

When Judges Attack

Question: Did Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Prosser Physically Attack A Fellow Court Member?
david_prosser An investigation by Wisconsin Public Radio and The Wisconsin Center For Investigative Journalism has uncovered three ‘knowledgeable sources’ who allege that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck during an argument in her chambers last week.
According to the investigations, Justice Prosser and Justice Bradley were having an argument in her office at some point before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s release of their controversial collective bargaining rights decision last week (it remains unclear as to when the alleged argument precisely took place). At a point, the sources reveal that Justice Bradley asked Prosser to leave her office – whereupon the allegations state that Prosser grabbed Bradley around the neck with both hands.
The report also suggests that there were other Justices present when the reported altercation took place.
Apparently, he has a bit of a problem controlling his temper. His Wikipedia article has a subsection titled Altercations with other justices.

This Graffiti Is Now Art

tox banks photo
Photo: B. Alter
It's got a frame around it; so it must be art. This street art by famed (and bankable) graffiti artist Banksy appeared earlier this week on the side of a house in north London. Within 24 hours it was covered over with plywood. And within another 24 hours it was framed and protected with plexi-glass. Does that make it art?
Earlier this month we questioned when graffiti was art and when it wasn't. This philosophical debate was initiated because a graffiti artist named Tox was convicted of criminal damage.
Article continues: This Graffiti Is Now Art

Beware weekly payment plans

Making low weekly payments for a big-screen TV or computer could leave you filled with regret.

Three ways you can go back to school

Weigh the pros and cons of a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, and a certificate.  

And I Quote

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. 
~ Albert Einstein

Philip Morris fights Australian packaging rules

In this computer-generated image provided by the Minister for Health and Aging of Australia, proposed cigarette packaging stripped of all logos and replaced with graphic images that tobacco companies in Australia will be forced to use is shown.
Way to go Australia! Tell Phillip Morris to go fuck themselves if they don't like it.



Fifteen Things Your Walk Reveals About Health

Walk into an exam room and a trained eye can tell a lot about you in seconds: Your stride, gait, pace, and posture while walking can reveal surprising information about your overall health and well-being. "Many physicians are keenly aware, when they see someone walking down the street, what their diagnosis might be, whether their underlying health ...

As world diabetes rate doubles, Wal-Mart and K-Mart raise diabetes drug costs

Coincidence between the rapid increase of diabetes and the "discount" pharmaceutical prices? Sounds pretty sleazy.
The number of adults with diabetes in the world has more than doubled since 1980, a study in the Lancet says.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Harvard University in the US analysed data from 2.7m people across the world, using statistical techniques to project a worldwide figure.

They claim the total number of people with diabetes - which can be fatal - has risen from 153m to 347m.
And here's what Wal-Mart and K-Mart have done:
The study also showed that Wal-Mart has raised prices for the 10 most-prescribed diabetes treatments by 32 percent between 2008 and 2010, compared with an average industry-wide increase of 21 percent, which includes chain drugstores, mail-order firms and independent pharmacies.

Kmart, a unit of Sears Holding Corp, raised its prices by 35 percent over the same two-year period, according to the study.

Drug Boosts Snakebite Survival Time By Half

Researchers in Australia showed that a class of compounds called nitric oxide donors delays the entry of toxins from potentially deadly snakebites.  

Genome editing, a next step in genetic therapy, corrects hemophilia in animals

Using an innovative gene therapy technique called genome editing that hones in on the precise location of mutated DNA, scientists have treated the blood clotting disorder hemophilia in mice.

Healthy Living

Manage your life

Culinary DeLites

Fresh ingredients and outdoor grilling make these pork chops the perfect summer meal.
The only kitchen tools<br>you really need

Wizard of Id


Stunning Natural Illusion Forms a 'Ghost City' in China

ghost city china photo  
Photo via Youtube
The forces of Nature have shifted continents, sculpted towering mountains and sprawling plains -- but her architectural prowess doesn't end there, at least as it meets the eye. Earlier this month, after heavy rainfall in East China, an entire 'ghost city' appeared to rise up from the flooded Xin'an River near Huanshan, complete with buildings and trees where none had stood before. Stunned locals marveled at the sight, many believing it to be a vortex to a lost civilization. Scientists say, however, that the truth behind this incredible apparition isn't mystical at all.
Article continues: Stunning Natural Illusion Forms a 'Ghost City' in China


Asteroid to Narrowly Miss Earth on Monday
Asteroid 2011 MD
Astronomer Mark Thompson reports on the large asteroid that will pass within 8,000 miles from Earth and why we were given such short notice.

Dying Star Betelgeuse Spews Fiery Nebula

Betelgeuse is dying and we have a ringside seat of the beautiful nebula it's blasting into space.

Top 10 Most Extreme Substances

The darkest substance known to man, the most toxic poison, the most radioactive substance, the hardest substance, the most super superfluid.

The 20 Most Amazing Treehouses in the World

This Lantern House designed by Roderick Romero of Santa Monica is just one of the unbelievable treehouses in this collection. It’s made of 99 percent salvaged goods, including a stained glass window Romero saved from an old movie set. You’ll also find a treehouse that exists in the middle of New York City, a “Spirit Sphere” and one created by the daughter of the former president of Vietnam.

Prodigal Plankton Returns to the Atlantic

Prodigal Plankton Returns to the Atlantic
The return of a long-lost microscopic plant to the Atlantic Ocean is another sign of a changing climate.  

Attack Of The Many Tentacled Carrot Creature

With the spring rain comes the time for the Juniper to flower. From a distance it looks as if the blooms are large and orange. Yet wait a minute. Doesn't the juniper produce cones and nuts?

On closer inspection, unease turns to horror. Large, alien looking, carroty gelatinous tentacles seem to have sprung up all over the tree. This is no precursor of alien invasion, however.

This is cedar apple rust. It is in fact a fungus.

Old Joke Is Good Joke

It's from The Town and Country Almanac, 1799 (found at Futility Closet):
A scholar, a bald man, and a barber, traveling together, agreed each to watch four hours at night, in turn, for the sake of security. The barber’s lot came first, who shaved the scholar’s head when asleep, then waked him when his turn came. The scholar scratching his head, and feeling it bald, exclaimed, ‘You wretch of a barber, you have waked the bald man instead of me!’

An Unexplained Roman Dodecahedron

Can you do what the world's archaeologists can't? Can you explain this -- thing?
It’s been called a war weapon, a candlestick, a child’s toy, a weather gauge, an astronomical instrument, and a religious symbol -- just to name a few. But what IS this mystery object, really?
There are books and websites dedicated to properly identifying it, dissertations dedicated to unveiling the truth, textbooks and class curriculum spent arguing over what its function is. Fans can even “Like” it on Facebook.
Yet the only thing historians will agree on is a name for the odd object: a Roman dodecahedron.
That part was easy, seeing as the mathematical shape of this artifact is a dodecahedron. Best described as a bronze or stone geometric object, it has twelve flat pentagonal faces, each with a circular hole in the middle (not necessarily the same size). All sides connect to create a hollowed out center.
It’s dated from somewhere around the second and third century AD, and has been popping up everywhere in Europe. Archeologists have found the majority of them in France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Romans once ruled.
But its use remains a mystery, mostly because the Romans who usually kept meticulous accounts make no mention of it in records. And with sizes varying from 4 to 11 cm, and some bearing decorative knobs, it only gets harder to pinpoint a function.
Speculation among historians has resulted in many different hypotheses, which is as close as we may get to an accurate answer. Few archeologists will even comment on it, because the dodecahedron isn't defined to a specific cultural area and therefore not their area of expertise. Even the theories that do exist are highly debated among historians.
Plutarch, the famous Greek historian reportedly identified the dodecahedron as a vital instrument for zodiac signs. The twelve sides represent the twelve animals in the circle of the Zodiac, but even this theory comes under contest when the argument of the knobs as decoration is presented.
“My take is that it is yet another piece the use of which we shall never completely sort out even though we are fortunate to have Plutarch’s testimony,” said Andrea Galdy, who holds a Ph.D from the School of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Manchester and is currently teaching Art History in Florence, Italy. Galdy has not come across it in her own work, and does not regard herself as a specialist, but she does have plenty of experience in labeling artifacts.
Bloggers from all over the world are stumped as they argue over the purpose of what the different size holes can be used for, and why they are being discovered all over Europe and not in a concentrated area. One was reportedly found in a woman's burial ground, leading many to settle on "religious artifact."

Prehistoric BBQ Leftovers Found

fire pit
Around 8,000 years ago, prehistoric hunters killed an aurochs and their grilling techniques were frozen in time.

Anasazi petro-glyph


Big Dinos Stayed Cool

It turns out huge sauropods had a similar body temperature to humans -- paleontologists thought they would have been much hotter.  

Koala Bears Need Endangered Legislation Now

koala bear videos photo
Photo: Rennett Stowe/Creative Commons
Koala bears aren't officially considered endangered Australia -- state legislation lists the species as "threatened," "rare," or even "thriving" (in Victoria) -- but this marsupial is facing a bigger fight than ever before to sustain its populations. Sexually transmitted diseases, habit loss, human interaction, and climate change are all working against them.
Last month, the Australian Koala Foundation proposed listing the marsupials as an endangered species, and now business owners and landowners in Australia must decide if the koalas are worth saving.
We hope these 10 videos --- which go behind the scenes of the koala's daily life in zoos, rescue centers, and in-the-wild -- help with the persuasion.
Koala Bears Need Endangered Legislation Now: 10 Adorable Reasons to Save Them video slideshow
Article continues: Koala Bears Need Endangered Legislation Now: 10 Adorable Reasons to Save Them (Video Slideshow)



Wow ... 1,000 New Species Discovered in New Guinea

Damselfish, Chrysiptera cymatilis
It’s always sort of fascinating to me when researchers travel somewhere and “discover” hundreds of new plants and fish–haven’t people in those areas always known about them? I don’t think it counts as discovery so much as an awareness on the part of documented science, but I guess there’s not much distinction between the two on paper. That electric-blue damselfish up there is just one of the hundreds of new fish discovered in the last decade or so. And so pretty!
A new type of tree kangaroo, a 2.5-metre-long river shark, a frog with vampire-like fangs and a turquoise lizard are among hundreds of new creatures found and being documented in a report by conservationists working in the Pacific island of New Guinea.
Some 1,060 previously unknown species of mammals, fish and birds have been spotted in the volcanic island over a 10-year period.
The Final Frontier report, which was put together by WWF as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, marks a brief respite from the escalating rate of animal and plant extinctions which is taking its toll across the planet and has left a quarter of all known mammals on the endangered list.
The species have all been discovered, at a rate of two each week, in the period from 1998 to 2008 by the various teams and researchers who have visited the region and its extensive forests, waters and wetlands.
One team discovered a new bird, the wattled smoky honeyeater, within seconds of leaving their expedition helicopter.
Check out the pics and some stories about the more interesting finds on the Guardian | Slideshow

Animal Pictures