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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, July 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Keep your eyes open today and watch where you're going, because if you step into the middle of a heated discussion, you might get burned.
The recurring arguments of two people you know confuse you -- why can't they put their differences to rest, once and for all?
Your peacemaking skills are strong, but they are wasted on this duo.
You may think they are making each other miserable, but it's very likely that they enjoy the friction between them.

Some of our readers today have been in:
 Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Warsaw, Mazowiecke, Poland
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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 Farqua Varina, Raleigh, Cullowhee, Mint Hill and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2011.
There are 162 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Rat Catcher's Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

NFL owners approve deal

The league owners take a big step to end the four-month-long lockout with a decisive vote.  

Finland's high-quality, consistent education system eschews tests, reveres teachers

On Salon, David Sirota interviews Harvard's Tony Wagner about his documentary, The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System, which looks at the way that the Finnish education system delivers consistent, high-quality education without testing, with long holidays for students, and with teachers who are considered national treasures.
There is no domestic testing except a very quiet auditing program to test demographic samples of kids; not for accountability, not for public consumption, and not for comparison across schools. The fascinating thing is that because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers. Their motto is "Trust Through Professionalism." The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that's without any testing at all... Finland is rated among the highest in the world in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. It's not your grandfather's socialist country in any sense of the word.
But beyond that, what I find so striking is that the reforms in [the U.S.] have been driven and led by businesses for the last quarter century. It was David Kearns at Xerox and Lou Gerstner at IBM calling for a national summit on education and they didn't invite any educators. They invited CEOs and governors and senators and congressmen.

Non Sequitur


Are the repugicans the dog that caught the car?

The ongoing moves in the debt ceiling struggle are fascinating.

I think you are underestimating Obama's tactical ability here. I know you are disappointed on other policy grounds, the only reason I am not is that I didn't think he was as progressive as you did in the first place so I didn't expect as much.

The repugicans are idiots, they have manufactured a crisis here and they are the ones who are unable to move. Boehner has no chance of getting enough repugican votes to pass any increase in the debt ceiling on any terms whatsoever.

There are only two plausible ways out at this point: Boehner passes a bill with the help of House Democrats, almost certainly the clean bill they proposed earlier or the House fails to pass anything and the President invokes extraordinary measures like selling off the contents of Fort Knox.

Obama gave the repugicans enough rope to hang themselves and they did.

Faux news actually had a moment of truth and clarity ...

... when it broadcast a live picture of the devil incarnate without his horns hidden for sight.

Redneck 911 call

Emily Sue passed away and Bubba called 911. The 911 operator told Bubba that she would send someone out right away.

“Where do you live?” asked the operator.

Bubba replied, “At the end of Eucalyptus Drive.”

The operator asked “Can you spell that for me?”

There was a long pause, and finally Bubba said, “How ‘bout if I drag her over to Oak Street and you pick her up there?”

Woman sucked into whirlpool

Her fiancé watched in sheer terror as Lindsey Burgess was sucked into dangerous water.

Nepal to remeasure Mount Everest

Nepal has ordered a new measurement of Mount Everest to determine exactly how high the world's highest mountain is.

Island paradise battles boredom

Pag-asa has no cars or Internet, but it's the heated center of an international dispute.  

Mimi and Eunice


Britain's royal demotion

The British royal will step down from his position as the United Kingdom's trade ambassador.

Sandwich chain hits hard times

Quiznos is on the brink of default after battling Subway and expanding like mad.  

Wall St. preps for U.S. default

Banks and mutual funds are devising doomsday plans in case of a debt crisis.

A $100 million for teen startup

Three siblings stand to make a fortune from the sale of their social-networking site.  

Family loses rare coin fight

A jury finds the government was right to seize a trove found in a jeweler's bank deposit box.

Online monitoring gone too far?

One firm collects everything you may have said or done online in the past seven years.  

Awkward family photos

Some of these folks may have wished their summer vacations weren't captured on film.

How to kill your automobile

Neglecting these maintenance tasks will run your auto into the ground.  

America's ugliest houses

Shoulder-high junk and chewed-up cabinets put these homes in the running.

Cool without air conditioning

You can beat the heat by boosting your fan's cooling power with some surprising ingredients.

Healthy habits can zap energy

Even the best of intentions have pitfalls, but there are ways you can avoid them. 

The Fun of Urban Foraging

Who says you can’t go on a nature hike just because you’re in a big city? There’s plenty of edible plants growing right there in the streets of Washington, DC!
During two expeditions on Friday, adventurous eaters, amateur botanists, and a handful of curious locals descended on the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of the Nation’s Capital in search of edible plants and wild foods with the renowned forager, ‘Wild Man’ Steve Brill. Our tour, co-hosted by Roadside Food Projects, Atlas Obscura, and Think Local First D.C., covered all of one block. But the number of foods we found, many of which were weeds you’d walk by without a second glance, didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the available bounty growing between the city’s streets.
Read about the safari and the things they found at Atlas Obscura.

Police Start Giving Angry Drunk People Lollipops to Calm Them Down

The city of Victoria, British Columbia, is taking a new approach to handling drunken, out-of-control revelers causing trouble in public places. The police hand such people lollipops. Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe explained why it works:
Ms. Thornton-Joe said after the men popped a lolly in their mouths, their nasty energy all but dissolved. “They got calmer after taking the lollipops,” she said. “It had an immediate effect.” [...]
The sucker punch works for several reasons, she said. First, it’s difficult to yell while sucking a lollipop.
Altercations happen due to verbal exchanges, but with a sucker in the mouth, there’s less talk, which results in fewer fights.
The lollipop’s sugar hit calms those who’ve drank too much, she said. And the lolly’s pacifier effect can’t be denied.

Russia classifies beer as alcoholic

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that officially classifies beer as alcoholic. Until now anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia has been considered a foodstuff.

The move, signed into law on Wednesday, will allow ministers to control the sale of beer in the same way that spirits are controlled. Russian alcohol consumption is already twice the critical level set by the World Health Organization.

Although vodka has long been the traditional tipple in Russia, beer has soared in popularity, being marketed as a healthier alternative to spirits. Over the past decade, beer sales in Russia have risen more than 40% while vodka sales have fallen by nearly 30%.

Correspondents say it is common to see people swigging beer in the street and in parks as if they are drinking soft drinks. It is not restricted to certain stores and is sold around the clock. "The law brings some order into the sale of beer," Vadim Drobiz, director of the Centre for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Studies, said.



Nazi exhumed from grave

The tomb of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess is razed to thwart neo-Nazi pilgrimages. 
Top Nazi Rudolf Hess Dug Up to Stop Pilgrimages
German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1938. Hess' grave was dug up on Wednesday in attempt to stop neo-Nazi pilgrimages.

Twenty Things You Need To Know About Albert Einstein

Did Einstein flunk math? What was the thought experiment that led Einstein to general relativity? Why did it take so long for Einstein to get a Nobel Prize? Did Einstein believe in God?

Space Oddity

David Bowie

Seventeen Real Life Mysteries

There is a world of incredible mysteries around us, all of which are amazing. Science and history just add to wonder and weirdness of that world. These 17 mysteries are all very real, very wonderful, and don't need the supernatural to try and figure them out.

The Crooked Forest

In Poland there is a small forest of pine trees that grow with a bend in the middle of their trunk and no one knows why. They kind of look like a cartoon tree that is trying to avoid being chopped down, bending whenever the lumber jack swings his ax.

In a tiny corner of western Poland a forest of about 400 pine trees grow with a 90 degree bend at the base of their trunks – all bent northward. Surrounded by a larger forest of straight growing pine trees this collection of curved trees, or “Crooked Forest,” is a mystery.

Tank Survives a Nuclear Blast

This is an unbelievable story of a tank that was used by the British to conduct nuclear tests and not only survived the blast, but went on to be used in several high profile missions. That’s one tough tank.

The test was codenamed Operation Totem, and was one of a number of British atomic tests carried out in remote areas of Australia during the 1950s. While the primary focus of these tests was the performance of the atomic weapons, there was also the opportunity to measure the blast effects on various types of military equipment. Although Centurion Mark 3 tanks had only been in service with the Australian Army since September 1951, and there were plenty of obsolescent Second World War tanks available, it was decided that an expensive current issue Centurion tank only a year old would be provided. With every expectation that the damage would be so severe as to effectively destroy the vehicle, the provision of a Centurion was certainly a measure of the importance placed on the atomic tests by the Australian Government.
At Woomera, the tank was stowed with a complete issue of ammunition, including grenades and 2-inch smoke bombs, before the convoy commenced the 300 mile move across rough desert tracks, Spinifex and sand dunes to Emu Field.
The tank was in position at the test site by early August, and over the next two months was subjected to various inspections and measurements. It was also fitted with sensors and makeshift dummy crewmen.
Positioned to face the low-yield atomic blast head on, 169041 was less than 500 yards from the epicentre.

Ghost Town From 1974

The population of the city of Nicosia dropped everything and evacuated the war torn zone. Now 37 years later these photos have emerged of the city in its current state. See full gallery at the link.
In 1974, the Cypriot capital of Nicosia was divided in two by a U.N. Buffer Zone designed to quell violence between the island’s Greek and Turkish populations. Those living in the Zone quickly evacuated the area, creating an urban time capsule that’s been devoid of residents for nearly 40 years.
These photos were taken by Welsh Army photographer Sergeant Ian Forsyth, who is part of the UN peacekeeping force that overseas the 134-square-mile Zone. According to those who patrol this eerie area, it’s as if the past 37 years had never happened.



Mallard Peabody

Need a Job?
The Peabody hotel in Memphis is seeking an assistant "duckmaster" to help care for its five famed mallards.

pink panther


White shark leaps into boat

A researcher hears a splash, turns around, and sees the scary giant in midair.  

Jellyfish Invade Spain, Beaches Close

An invasion of Aussie jellyfish has forced Spain to close six beaches at popular holiday resort areas after more than 100 swimmers were treated for stings.

A cream that slows down snakebites

Aaron Rowe found a recent research paper describing successful rat and human trials of an ointment that could help save the lives of people who get bit by poisonous snakes while far away from medical treatment. He says:
Aussie researchers have cooked up a really interesting new way to treat snakebites. They developed a cream that slows down the lymphatic system, and thus slows the spread of the venom. It is not a cure, but it could buy people more time to get to a hospital.

Animal Pictures