Welcome to ...

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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the excitement and challenges of your life that the days just fly by.
One minute it's Monday afternoon, and then suddenly it's Friday night!
But once time passes it's gone forever.
So right now it's important for you to realize that every day is something you need to experience as much as you can.
Take notice of the people and events around you and you'll be privy to some useful insight.
Slow down if you need to.
Don't take anything for granted.

Some of our readers today have been in:
 Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Reykjavik, Reykjavik, Iceland
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Florence, Toscana, Italy
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Vilnius, Vilnaius Apskritis, Lithuania
Isai, Isai, Romania
Kiev, Kiev, Ukraine
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
London, England, United Kingdom
Stoke On Trent, England, United Kingdom
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark

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 Rocky Point, High Point, South Point, Lookout Point and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, July 28, the 209th day of 2011.
There are 156 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Milk Chocolate Day
National Chili Dog Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Girl's death inspires charity

Rachel Beckwith's tragic death inspires thousands to give far more than her $300 goal for clean water.

Non Sequitur


'All-you-can-eat' diet foods

New products let you eat two servings of noodles and a whole pint of dessert with 190 calories total.

Coffee wars are heating up

The doughnut chain plans to double its stores, which could make it bigger than Starbucks.  

In the News

Girl struck by lightning on sunny day
An 11-year-old western Pennsylvania girl is recovering after she was struck by a bolt from the blue.

A former star athlete who posed as a teenager to play high school basketball in West Texas was sentenced today to three years in prison after reaching a plea deal, a prosecutor said.

Wingnut media downplays heat wave in US

Remember the old "it's snowing here in X city now so there's no global warming" joke from the climate change deniers? Now that it's a record heat wave in many parts of the US, they're ignoring that as well. An inconvenient truth, indeed.

More from Media Matters:
See, NOAA keeps track of records for different time scales: The daily record compares the temperature on July 24, for instance, to the temperature on every previous July 24; the monthly record compares the temperature on July 24 to the temperature of any day in July of any year; and the all-time record compares the temperature on July 24 to the temperature of any day in any year. On top of that, NOAA provides these records for both the highest maximum temperature and the highest minimum (nighttime) temperature.

Sheppard is reporting the all-time records, describing them as though they are daily records, and ignoring everything else.

Here's the data (from NOAA) on the number of U.S. records broken or tied in the month of July so far:

All-Time Highest Maximum Temperature: 70
All-Time Highest Minimum Temperature: 175
Monthly Highest Maximum Temperature: 125
Monthly Highest Minimum Temperature: 330
Daily Highest Maximum Temperature: 2,125
Daily Highest Minimum Temperature: 4,787

North Korea demands treaty

On the 58th anniversary of the armistice, an editorial pushes for an official end to the Korean War.  

Entire town being sold

Everything in Scenic could be yours — including its train depot, dance hall, and two jails.

America speaks ...

Obama asks America to contact congress about the debt ceiling, and America crashes congressional servers.

Worse than a U.S. default

A downgrade of America's bond rating would be especially damaging to the White House.  

Is August 2nd real default deadline?

Analysts say the government's cash won't run out right away, even if no deal is in place.

Blunt debt warning to repugicans

The House speaker attempts to salvage his debt plan ahead of a high-stakes vote

It’s now the chamber of commerce vs. the tea party

Okay, I realized we're heading for a debacle if the debt limit isn't increased. But, I did take some satisfaction reading this NYT article about how the Chamber funded a lot of teabagger candidates last year. Now, those teabaggers on a path of economic destruction -- and they're ignoring their old friends at the Chamber:
The chamber and other business groups have pressed with increasing urgency for Congress to raise the maximum amount that the government can borrow. They have cataloged the consequences of default at meetings, parties and dinners and over drinks.

On Tuesday, the chamber threw its weight behind the proposal of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, telling recalcitrant repugicans that a pending vote on the plan was a with-us-or-against-us moment that would be remembered during the next election campaign.

But as the government runs out of money, those efforts have not produced the desired result. The freshman class of House repugicans, along with longer-serving members, is balking at Mr. Boehner’s plan, let alone anything that Senate Democrats and the White House might be willing to accept.
Oh well. The Chamber got what it wanted: A repugican misled House. Seems like they made some bad investments:
Among the beneficiaries was Daniel Webster, a Florida repugican. The chamber spent $250,000 on ads blasting the Democratic incumbent, Representative Alan Grayson. Mr. Webster won.

In July, Mr. Webster introduced legislation instructing the Treasury to prioritize interest payments, then military spending, then Social Security checks, then Medicare payments, “in the event the debt ceiling is reached.” Experts regard the idea as unworkable.

The cult that is destroying America

Paul Krugman again, calls it like he sees'm. and he's so spot on.
Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. and we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on republican plans, indeed plans coming from the heritage foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook. -

Highest U.S. debt loads

Residents of two states owe the most, shouldering more than $300,000 apiece on average. 

County's huge money problem

Alabama's largest county faces the sad possibility of shattering the current $1.7 billion mark.  

The 400 richest Americans pay only 18% tax rate

The feeding frenzy at the top has to stop. It's not possible to ask the middle class to fund wars and fund bailouts for bankers so they can continue to squeeze the system. The disappointment is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are showing any serious signs of reform. If we're supposed to be all in this together, then it's time to start acting as though we're all in this together.
Watching yet another money grab from the richest Americans, non-stop wars and funding for the military industrial complex along with business as usual for Congress hardly sounds like shared sacrifice. Before asking the middle class to sacrifice, have some decency and ask the privileged class to put their money where their mouth is. Until that time, go away.

When to take Social Security

There is now an easier way to determine the best time to start claiming your retirement benefits.  

Ain't it the truth


Unemployed need not apply

Not that Congress or the White House really care, but this is the real world. This is the very real problem that people are facing. The pampered bunch in DC have no idea how tough it is out there but they are likely to find out when voters go to the polls next year. The level of disgust with Washington is very high.
Hundreds of job opening listings posted on Monster.com and other jobs sites explicitly state that people who are unemployed would be less attractive applicants, with some telling the long-term unemployed to not even bother with applying.

The New York Times' Catherine Rampell said she found preferences for the already employed or only recently laid off in listings for "hotel concierges, restaurant managers, teachers, I.T. specialists, business analysts, sales directors, account executives, orthopedics device salesmen, auditors and air-conditioning technicians." Even the massive University of Phoenix stated that preference, but removed the listings when the Times started asking questions.

Worst-paid college degrees

Grads with these majors often help people, but starting salaries barely crack $30,000.  

School Bullies

The Fort Worth district's culture of intimidation goes far beyond the classroom.



Coolest small cities in America

Vacations in Charleston, S.C., offer gorgeous sights and better prices than a metropolis. 

How to build a Burning Man theme camp

John Mills has been integral in running the Duck Pond – one of the larger and more well-organized Burning Man theme camps – since 2005. Those who have been to Burning Man probably know this camp as the one with the giant slip ‘n’ slide and the radio tower with a yellow duck on top.
This year John is unable to attend, so he’s focused his energy into helping the community by writing an extremely detailed account of how their camp works and how to run your own. I helped John edit this post, and as a total Burning Man outsider I was amazed at how much work and thought goes into throwing a week-long party in the desert. Even if you’re not interested in Burning Man, I think you’ll find this insider’s perspective on the culture and innovation behind the event extremely interesting.

Street sign's secret meaning

The historical sign provides a subtle clue to one area's claim to fame. 

The Skinniest house in the world

At its narrowest, this Polish home will be thinner than the average doorway.  

Atom Smasher Closes in on Elusive Particle

Scientists will find a long-sought theoretical particle - or rule out that it exists - by the end of 2012, the director of the world's largest atom smasher predicted Monday.

Daily Comic Relief


Did Warfare Fuel The Birth of Advanced Civilization?

What is war good for? In Peru it may be good for starting an advanced civilization. Archeologists are studying this occurrence to see how war may have been a common factor in the rise of more advanced civilizations.

The Peru of the first millennium BCE was full of smaller groups, but it isn’t until the region endured centuries of war that two large, dominant societies emerged in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca: the Taraco along the Ramis River and the Pukara of the grassland pampas.



The Great Teddy Bear Shipwreck Mystery


In 1903, 3,000 teddy bears were sent by ship from Germany to America only for them to disappear. Some claim the bears were the first ever made and would now be the most valuable in the world.

So what happened to them? In the Steiff museum, in the German town of Giengen, the mystery of the missing bears is explained to the visiting children with a tale that they were lost at sea. The idea of shipwrecked teddy bears captures the imagination, but is it true?

Swamp monster threatens rail project

A mythical swamp monster "hiding" under Auckland is threatening to derail a project to improve the New Zealand city's traffic gridlock. The North Island city is trying to move ahead with a multibillion-dollar railway tunnel project to improve the minimal train network and free up its car-filled streets. But Horotiu, a mythical monster, put the $NZ2.6 billion project in doubt after an indigenous Maori board protested that it would destroy grounds once patrolled by the make-believe taniwha, pronounced tani-fa.

Glenn Wilcox, a member of the Maori Statutory Board, which protects Maori interests, complained that the plan did not take into account the monster, which "was here first". The taniwha is a mythical protector with a powerful role in Maori folklore, but get it angry and you're in trouble, Mr Wilcox said. "As kaitiaki, or guardians, they protect people, but they also get up and bite you if they do not like what you are doing," he said.

The local council has since convinced the board that the correct consultation had taken place, putting the popular project back on the table. The board accepted its needs had been met but not before it was invoiced thousands of dollars for public relations advice relating to the monster. Surprisingly, its not the first time a taniwha has threatened to upend a council project.

In 2002, construction of a stretch of road between Auckland and Hamilton was halted after protesters complained that it was cutting through the domain of a revered one-eye taniwha. The taniwha was thought to be responsible for a number of deaths on the stretch of road. Ranginui Walker, a respected Maori elder, said at the time: "You have to placate local demons, deities, taniwha. Don't tempt fate."

Famed fossil isn't a bird after all

One of the world's most famous fossil creatures, widely considered the earliest known bird, is getting a rude present on the 150th birthday of its discovery: A new analysis suggests it isn't a bird at all.

Mountain Lion Makes Longest Recorded Journey Ever by a Land Mammal

DNA testing on a mountain lion killed on a road in Connecticut revealed that it had traveled 1,800 miles from South Dakota:
According to scientists with the US Department of Agriculture, DNA taken from the mountain lion showed its genetic structure matched a population of cats native to the sparsely populated Black Hills region of South Dakota.
The DNA also matched samples taken from hair and blood in Minnesota, directly east of South Dakota, and Wisconsin, which neighbours that state to the east, in late 2009 to early 2010.

Hundreds of Humpback Whales Pay a Visit to Colombia's Pacific Coast

The monumental mammals travel north every year, seeking the warm Colombian waters, where they mate and breed.

Mosquito myths debunked

Ultrasonic devices and eating lots of garlic don't do a thing to repel the pesky insects. 

Odd solution to deadly fish

A pointy, poisonous predator is wiping out other creatures along the Atlantic coast.

Animal Pictures