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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, July 18, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Put some zip into any writing you have to do today -- try a rhyming couplet in an email to a friend, or add a pun to that text message.
Your creative-writing skills are in danger of rusting away unless you use them.
Don't wait until you're asked to write some marketing material or a wedding speech.
You have to apply your creativity to everything you do.
This is a precious skill you can't afford to lose.

Some of our readers today have been in:
 Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Hamburg, Hamburg, germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Brussels, Brussels Hoodfdstedelijk Gewest, Belgium
Gengenbach, Baden-Wuttemberg, Germany
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
London, Ontario, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netheralands
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Nice, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Vancouver, British Columbia, 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 Redondo Beach, Miami Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Myrtle Beach and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, July 18, the 199th day of 2011.
There are 166 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Get Out Of The Doghouse Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Rebekah Brooks arrested for role in growing News Corp. phone hacking scandal

Major development in the Murdoch's phone hacking scandal. One of Murdoch's top confidants has been arrested.

From the Guardian:
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and allegations that police officers were bribed to leak sensitive information.

The Metropolitan police said a 43-year-old woman was arrested at noon on Sunday, by appointment at a London police station.

Brooks, 43, resigned on Friday as News International's chief executive. She is a former News of the World editor and was close to Rupert Murdoch and the prime minister, David Cameron.
This keeps getting messier and messier for the Murdochs. The accusations of criminal activity keep getting closer and closer to them. The rot goes right to the top.
A key figure in Rupert Murdoch's empire, Rebekah Brooks is the latest arrest in a phone hacking scandal.  
Britain's top police chief resigns and the former head of Rupert Murdoch's British paper is arrested.

News of the World's malware hacking

Allegations leading to the closure of the News of the World last Sunday have centered on mobile phone hacking, but details are now emerging of possible malware attacks dating back to 2005.

The Amazing Radio

A lady bought a new $100,000 Mercedes and proudly drove it off the showroom floor to take home. Halfway home, she attempted to change radio stations and saw that there appeared to be only one station. She immediately turned around and headed back to the dealer.

Once at the dealer, she found her salesman and began to excitedly explain that her radio was not working, and they must replace it since she only had one radio station. The salesman calmed her down and told her that her car radio was voice-activated, and that she would only need to state aloud the type of music that she wanted and the car would find it.

She got into the car and started the engine and then said the word "country," and the radio changed to a station playing a Dolly Parton song. She was satisfied and started home. After a while she decided to try out the radio and said "rock 'n' roll;" the radio station changed and a song by the Rolling Stones came from the speakers. Quite pleased, the woman continued driving.

A few blocks from her house, another driver ran a light causing her to slam on her brakes to avoid a collision. The woman angrily exclaimed, "Asshole!"

The radio cut over to the Rush Limbaugh show.

The truth be told


Did you know ...

... that even the majority of repugicans think we need to raise taxes.

Senior health care plan


Bad Social Security news

Benefit increases will be smaller if proposed new calculations are put in place.  

Seven smart career options

Major trends in health care and business will likely create opportunities in these fields.

Eight of the most annoying fees

There seems to be little logic to why some companies tack on nuisance charges.  

Where the best bargains are

Furniture stores are running sales up to 50% off, and four cars sell for about 20% below the sticker price.

Overpaying at dollar stores

Smart shoppers can actually find the same items cheaper at a supermarket.  

Words that make you spend

Tossing around "free" is not the only way firms can play games with your impulses.

High cost of little splurges

One woman is stunned to learn her family’s daily splurges total thousands of dollars a year.  

A Colorful Candy Display in Boqueria Market

Luc St. Pierre took this colorful photo of an assortment of candies on display at Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain. Oh, what fantastic selections!
Via National Geographic's Travel Photo of the Week

Teenagers Prefer Drinks With Caffeine

Super-caffeinated energy drinks with names like Red Bull and Monster are increasingly popular among teenagers. But is it savvy marketing or the caffeine that keeps teenagers coming back for more? New research from the University at Buffalo suggests that adding caffeine to a beverage increases its appeal among young people - even when they don't know the drink contains caffeine.

Researchers said flavor and packaging likely influence a child's drink choice. But once they have made a choice, over time children appear to develop a stronger preference for drinks with caffeine.

Ultrasonic French Fries

Love the french fry? You ain’t tasted nothin’ yet!
Research chefs have invented a new way of cooking fries that supposedly made them taste so much better.
The secret?
A little ultrasonic wave:
Maxime Bilet, Johnny Zhu and the other research chefs (including
Young) at our culinary lab in Belle­vue, Wash., explored a variety
of techniques for doing better still. The winning combination is simple
in its ingredients but quite fancy in its execution. The potato batons
are vacuum-sealed with 2 percent salt brine in bags to keep them intact
during boiling. They are then bombarded with intense sound waves from
the same device that dentists and jewelers use. A lengthy ultrasound
treatment at 40 kilohertz causes the surface of each fry to crack and
blister with myriad tiny bubbles and fissures.

The cook next vacuum-dries the pretreated potato sticks to adjust
the water content of the exterior and then briefly blanches them in
oil at 340 degrees Fahrenheit to tighten their network of interlaced
starch molecules. After cooling comes the final step: a quick plunge
into hot oil at 375 degrees F. Water flashes to steam inside each minuscule
bubble on the surface of the fries, expanding in volume by a factor
of more than 1,000 and forcing the bubbles to puff up. In just a few
minutes of deep frying, the french fries take on an almost furry appearance.

Visual Thesaurus

Here’s an online thesaurus that gives you a graphic look at how words relate. Neat! Or otherwise tasteful, refined, clean, tidy, smashing, great groovy, nifty, or keen!

Jazz Diplomacy

Louis Armstrong playing for  his wife at the Sphinx in Egypt in 1961
Satchmo fans, this one's for you: Louis Armstrong playing for his wife Lucille in Egypt, 1961. I wonder what the Sphinx thought of jazz ...
During the early days of the Cold War, the United States engaged in what was dubbed “Jazz Diplomacy.” The U. S. government helped arrange goodwill tours for noted jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. The aim of the program was for these musicians to go to the Middle East, South America and other regions that could fall to Communist control and show the cultural freedoms of America through their music. This photo of Louis Armstrong was taken in 1961 while he and his band were touring Egypt as a cultural ambassador. For more information about the “jazz ambassadors,” check out this piece from the New York Times.

Muslim hate crime victim asks TX court to spare life of white supremacist who shot him

bhuiyan-after-shooting.jpgRais Bhuiyan, a devout Muslim who emigrated from Bangladesh to the United States, is one of the victims of a white supremacist who went on a "9/11 revenge" killing spree and murdered two people, one of whom was Hindu.
At left, Mr. Bhuiyan after he was shot.
CNN has more. Mark Anthony Stroman shot all of his victims while they were working at gas stations and convenience stores in Dallas, Texas. Unless there is an intervention, the still-unrepentant killer will be put to death by the state of Texas on July 20.
But Bhuiyan believes that the man who shot him should not be killed, and has created the worldwithouthate.org project to urge Texas to spare his life.

From Bhuiyan's website:

It was Friday 12:30pm, September 21, 2001. A man with a gun entered the gas station where I was working. He asked me, "Where are you from?" The question seemed strange to ask during a robbery, which certainly this was -- the man wore a bandana, sunglasses and a baseball cap, and aimed the gun directly at my face as I stood over the gas station register. "Excuse me?" I asked. As soon as I spoke I felt the sensation of a million bees stinging my face, and then heard an explosion. Images of my mother, my father, my siblings and my fiancé appeared before my eyes, and then, a graveyard. I didn't know if I were still alive. I looked down at the floor and saw blood pouring like an open faucet from the side of my head. Frantically, I placed both hands on my face, thinking I had to keep my brains from spilling out. I heard myself screaming, "Mom!" The gunman was still standing there. I thought, "If I don't pretend I'm dead, he'll shoot me again."
NPR had an earlier story here. Bhuiyan wrote an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, here. The paper's editor wrote more here. Related item at ACLU.org here.

Man cleared of 1942 war crimes

A 97-year-old man has been cleared of war crimes charges stemming from a raid by Hungarian forces in Serbia during the Second World War.

Inmate wins payout for 'hurt feelings' from New Zealand government

One of New Zealand's most notorious criminals has been awarded $3500 compensation - for breach of privacy and hurt feelings. The man, who is currently serving a prison sentence, has been convicted of crimes including attacking a police officer, unlawful possession of firearms, aggravated robbery, theft, burglary and trying to escape from custody.

But he took umbrage when he learned that the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) had wrongly listed him as having a conviction under the heading of "domestic violence". "I have never been convicted of domestic violence," he told MSD officials. "Indeed, the only violent offense I have ever been convicted of was for aggravated assault on a police constable."

When the ministry initially refused to correct the information with a file note and apologize, he complained to the Privacy Commissioner and then to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. He said the stress and injury to his feelings, aggravated by the MSD's unlawful actions, meant "nothing less than monetary compensation and an apology is acceptable to me".

The inmate was allowed out of prison to give evidence before the tribunal. On the witness stand, he accused the MSD of "flouting the law". The tribunal decided his privacy had been breached, he had suffered emotional harm, and he was entitled to a payout. Without him asking, the tribunal also ordered that he not be identified, in order to protect his family. Police and politicians have expressed outrage.

'Cash Cab' hits, kills Vancouver pedestrian

A pedestrian has died in Vancouver after being hit by a fake taxi that had just completed filming a segment for the cable TV game show "Cash Cab." Vancouver Police said the 61-year-old man died in a hospital shortly after being struck by the replica yellow cab late Friday night.



Wild and wacky theme hotels

If you think sleeping in an underwater lodge is weird, wait till you see the giant wooden beagle.

Shutdown means Minnesota muskie record stands

Because of Minnesota's government shutdown, an Arizona man will never know if his monster muskie broke a state record that dates back to 1957.

Most underrated cities in U.S.

These metro areas are still terrific places to live, even though they've shrunk in population.  

Running Down A Dream

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

U.S. astronaut corps shrinking

The numbers of space men and women shrink by more than half, as better jobs beckon.  

Rainbow Moon

What does it mean?
This colorized NASA image shows changes in the composition of the Moon's surface.
Bright pinkish areas are highlands materials, such as those surrounding the oval lava-filled Crisium impact basin toward the bottom of the picture. Blue to orange shades indicate volcanic lava flows. To the left of Crisium, the dark blue Mare Tranquillitatis is richer in titanium than the green and orange maria above it. Thin mineral-rich soils associated with relatively recent impacts are represented by light blue colors; the youngest craters have prominent blue rays extending from them.

Dawn Orbits Vesta

Nasa receives data from its Dawn spacecraft confirming the probe has successfully entered orbit around the big asteroid Vesta, in the belt of rocky debris between Mars and Jupiter.

Colorful Building


Fifty-eight Arrested in Largest Pot Farm Bust in Mexico

Food still sat on the camp dinner table Friday, abandoned three days earlier by workers fleeing soldiers who stumbled on their lush, mesh-covered oasis stretching across the harsh Baja California desert.

Man calls police to report pot theft

Max Fleck, 20, of Chicago, Illinois, called police to report that three men robbed him of two pounds of marijuana. The police arrived, found more drugs, and arrested Fleck.
According to investigators, Fleck had invited one of the three men to his home and instead all three came. The five spent about an hour at the apartment before one of the men punched Fleck and broke a bottle over his companion's head... When officers and paramedics arrived Fleck declined medical attention. As the officers spoke to him about the robbery, they saw various other drugs "in plain view."

Smugglers Nabbed Targeting Turkish Plants, Insects

tulips flowers istanbul turkey photo
Tulips have been one of the targets of smugglers. 
Illegal attempts to spirit endemic species out of the country appear to be on the rise in Turkey, where officials have recently busted a number of would-be smugglers with large cargoes of butterflies and other insects, as well as rare tulips and other plants.



As it turns out ...

... we find that it turns out that having pets really is good for you.

Albino ostrich causes havoc in the streets of Dover

An ostrich strutted proudly through a town street in England. And it took six police officers, a team from the RSPCA and a sharp-eyed scaffolder to finally catch it. Driving to work at 6.30am, Wayne McLester “got the fright of his life” when the 6ft bird sprinted past him doing at least 40mph.

Wayne, 21, said: “It just stopped in front of my van and stared at me. I was about to try to catch it when I remembered a wildlife show which said ostriches could kill a lion with a kick, so I stayed in my van.”

Instead the scaffolder used his van to carefully herd the bird into a car park in Dover, Kent, then called the police for help. He went on: “I took a couple of photos and watched six police officers surround the bird looking pretty nervous.

“They waited a good hour trying to contain the ostrich before the RSPCA arrived and took it away.” Exactly where the albino ostrich escaped from remains a mystery, but it could be it made a very sensible bid for freedom – there are breeders in the area supplying ostrich meat for a growing market.

Animal Pictures