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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, August 1, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:

Direct more of your attention to the things you tend to overlook -- these parts of your life go smoothly without your attention, but they're in danger of veering off track right now. 
This applies to relationships, investments, health regimes and family obligations. 
All of these elements of your life require regular maintenance. 
So today, make a few phone calls, research some new options and inject some energy into your same-old routines.

Some of our readers today have been in:
 Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Canberra, Australian, Capital Territory, Australia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Florence, Toscana, Italy
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Milan, Lombardia, Italy

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 Plain City, Iowa City, Johnson City, Elizabeth City and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, August 1, the 213th day of 2011.
There are 152 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Girlfriend's Day
Spiderman Day
World Wide Web Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Today is Lughnasadh

The Celtic harvest festival on August 1st takes its name from the Irish god Lugh, one of the chief gods of the Tuatha De Danann, giving us Lughnasadh in Ireland, Lunasdál in Scotland, and Laa Luanys in the Isle of Man. (In Wales, this time is known simply as Gwl Awst, the August Feast.)

Lugh dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, "The Great One of the Earth," suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live.

Tailtiu gives her name to Teltown in County Meath, where the festival was traditionally held in early Ireland. It evolved into a great tribal assembly, attended by the High King, where legal agreements were made, political problems discussed, and huge sporting contests were held on the scale of an early Olympic Games. Artists and entertainers displayed their talents, traders came from far and wide to sell food, farm animals, fine crafts and clothing, and there was much storytelling, music, and high-spirited revelry, according to a medieval eye-witness account ..:
"Trumpets, harps, hollow-throated horns, pipers, timpanists, unwearied…fiddlers, gleemen, bone-players and bag-pipers, a rude crowd, noisy, profane, roaring and shouting."

Did you know ...

Not so sweet: Even

Awesome Pictures


Debt deal reached

The president announces a tentative deal that satisfies leaders from the Senate and the House.  

The truth be known


States ponder: What happens when the money stops?

As gridlocked Washington edges toward default, states staggering out of the last recession are preparing for the worst: The federal piggy-bank that helps them pay for health care, jobless benefits, road building and schools could run out of cash.



This is what voter suppression looks like ...

Wisconsin residents must jump through hoops to get voter id card.

The 'tea fragger' party

Fragging: “To intentionally kill or wound (one's superior officer, etc.), esp. with a hand grenade.”

Take names. Remember them. The behavior of certain repugicans who call themselves tea party conservatives makes them the most destructive posse of misguided ‘patriots' we've seen in recent memory.

If the nation defaults on its financial obligations, the blame belongs to the tea party repugicans who fragged their own leader, John Boehner. They had victory in their hands and couldn't bring themselves to support his debt-ceiling plan - No new taxes, significant spending cuts, a temporary debt-ceiling solution with the possibility of more spending cuts down the line as well as their beloved constitutional balanced-budget amendment.

These people wouldn't recognize a hot fudge sundae if the cherry started talking to them.

The tick-tock of the debt ceiling debate is too long for this space, but the bottom line is that the tea party got too full of itself with help from certain characters whose names you'll want to remember when things go south. They include, among others, media personalities who need no further recognition; a handful of media-created “leaders,” including tea party faux-nation founder Judson Phillips and tea party anti-patriots co-founders Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler (both Phillips and Martin declared bankruptcy, yet they're advising tea party repugicans on debt?); a handful of outside groups who love to hurl ad hominems such as “elite” and “inside the Beltway” when talking about people like Boehner when they are, in fact, the elite (FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity); and elected leaders such as Minnesota's Bat-Shit Crazy Michele Bachmann, Ohio's Jim Jordan, head of the repugican study committee (a misnomer if there ever was one), and South Carolina's own insane pervert Jim DeMint, who grandstand and make political assertions and promises that are sheer fantasy.

Meanwhile, freshman congressmen have been targeted and pressured by some of the aforementioned groups to vote against Boehner's plan. South Carolina's contingent was so troubled, they repaired to the chapel Thursday to pray and emerged promising to vote no. Why? Not because jesus told them to, but because they're scared to death that DeMint will “primary” them — find someone in their own party to challenge them.

Where did they get an idea like that? Look no further than that lunatic, Sarah Palin's Facebook page, where she warned freshman about contested primaries and urged them to “remember us ‘little people' who believed in them, donated to their campaigns, spent hours tirelessly volunteering for them, and trusted them with our votes.” Her close: “P.S. Everyone I talk to still believes in contested primaries.” While they're at it, they also should remember that Palin came to the tea party long after the invitations went out. The lunatic knows where to hitch a wagon.

Unfortunately for the country, which is poised to lose its place as the world's most-trusted treasury and suffer economic repercussions we can ill afford, the stakes in this political game are too high to be in the hands of tea partyers who mistakenly think they have a mandate. Their sweep in the 2010 election was the exclusive result of anti-Obama sentiment and the sense that the president, in creating a health care plan instead of focusing on jobs, had overplayed his hand. Invariably, as political pendulums swing, the victors become the very thing they sought to defeat.

Who's overplaying their hand now?

It must be said that the tea party wingnuts are complete idiots with leaders who disastrously signed on to the so-called “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge. What is it with repugicans and their silly pledges? Didn't get enough Scouting? This pledge now has them hog-tied to a promise they can't keep — the constitutional balanced-budget amendment. As many as a third desperately want a pardon from that commitment, according to sources close to the action.

Hubris is no one's friend and irony is a nag. The tea partyers who wanted to oust Barack Obama have greatly enhanced his chances for re-election by undermining their own leader and damaging the country in the process. The debt ceiling may have been raised and the crisis averted by the time this column appears, but that event should not erase the memory of what transpired. The tea party was a perversion that did nothing to change the conversation in Washington, in fact it caused the cessation of any conversation.

It has steeped far too long and was toxic to begin with.

It's time to toss it out.

And I Quote


Have we dumbed down enough, now?


Cruises with awesome views

New Zealand's Milford Sound leaves passengers spellbound with its cliffs and waterfalls.  

Renovations that pay best

Big kitchen remodels recoup just 60 percent of their cost, though other jobs fare better.  

Advice for the recently laid-off

These three women were able to transition to new fields after losing their jobs.

Surprising retirement costs

These five expenses can blow enormous holes in your budget if you're not prepared.  

They finally went and did it ...

They made a cell phone for seniors!

Juarez suspect: I ordered 1,500 deaths

The purported leader of La Linea criminal organization, "El Diego," was arrested Saturday.

Nine bizarre health tips

Believe it or not, putting an ice pack under your arm can bring down a high fever. 

Study says therapy can make you feel worse

Therapy doesn't always work. Sometimes, it makes things worse. And a study indicates that the only person guaranteed to feel better about life after someone sits down on a psychologist's couch is the psychologist. In a special report being published next month to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the journal American Psychologist has suggested that in their eagerness to help survivors to cope with the terrorist attacks, some mental health professionals may have exacerbated the trauma. Experts greatly over-estimated the number of survivors who might want treatment, and used discredited methods to help those who came to see them.

Mental health professionals flooded into New York after 9/11, according to the report, which describes their response as "trauma tourism". Freudian analysts set up shop at fire stations, while major employers, who had never had to cope with a comparable disaster, asked professionals to install therapy centers in their offices. There was but one problem: for many New Yorkers, reliving the events by talking about them simply exacerbated the trauma. And while no one will deny that some of the survivors who received treatment ultimately benefited, opinion is divided as to whether it represented a net benefit for the overall majority of patients.

"We did a case study in New York and couldn't really tell if people had been helped by the providers – but the providers felt great about it," Patricia Watson, a co-author of one of the articles who works at the National Centre for Child Traumatic Stress said. "It makes sense; we know that altruism makes people feel better." Standard operating procedure for therapists working at the time was to ask distressed clients to talk through their experience. But researchers now believe that process can sometimes plunge people deeper into depression or anxiety.

Richard McNally, a psychologist at Harvard, said that 9/11 "brought attention to the limitations of this debriefing," which can rake over painful emotions that are sometimes best left undisturbed. It also led to a debate about the causes and potential effects of so-called post-traumatic stress disorder. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, many therapists believed that simply watching news footage of the events could prompt a similar reaction to having been there. But the extent of that kind of trauma was vastly overestimated. "The notion that TV caused PTSD seems absurd," Dr McNally added .

Man Who Helped Find Dahmer Charged In Wisconsin Man's Death

A man who escaped serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's Milwaukee lair - in which he was handcuffed, subject to Dalmer's ear over his heart and a knife at his groin - is now being charged with reckless endangerment after he helped throw a homeless man off a bridge who subsequently drowned.

Police perturbed by skeleton driving car

Police couldn't believe their eyes when they checked their rear-view mirror - and saw a car being driven by a ghostly skeleton.

The brave boys in blue pulled over the vehicle in Plattling, Germany, only to discover it was a British registered car being driven by baffled Martin Williams, 23.

He told police he'd snapped up the plastic life-size model at a local flea market but strapped it into his front passenger seat because he thought it would be damaged in the boot.

A police spokesman said: 'It was only when we stopped the car that we realized it was a British right hand drive car - and the skeleton was therefore in the passenger seat. We could not make any charges against him as it is not illegal to have a plastic skeleton in your car."

Roger Hayhurst: Knight Warrior

Nineteen-year-old Roger Hayhurst is the not-so-secret identity of Salford, Greater Manchester’s Knight Warrior–a gentle-looking guy who peacefully intervenes in drunken pub brawls and street fights. In his blue and black Lycra costume, the Knight Warrior is a force for decency and goodness, though his actions scare his mom a bit.
Mr Hayhurst … says his only special power is a supernatural desire to make the world a better place.
‘When people see me coming up, it does tend to stun them into silence,’ he said.
‘I just carry on trying to get them to calm down, and eventually most of them do. If I think things are getting a bit hairy, I just back off and phone the police.
‘They know what I am doing and have been very kind to me. Some of my friends think I am a bit odd but all I want to do is try and get people to like each other. I just want to do good in the world.’
Mr Hayhurst said his main aim was to sort out rows between people coming out of pubs or simply fighting on the streets. He lives with his mother Jennifer, 61, and grandad Alfred, 91, and also hands out clothing and food parcels to the homeless in Manchester city centre.
Mrs Hayhurst said she was always ‘slightly worried’ when her son went out – usually between 9pm and 2am, at least three times a week.
‘His absolute genuineness is his best defence,’ she said. ‘He is one of the kindest young men I know.’
In Seattle, care worker turned martial arts expert Phoenix Jones has been stabbed twice and shot once on similar crime-fighting missions on the streets of the US west coast city.

Archivist seeks 1 of every book written

Tucked away in a small warehouse on a dead-end street, an Internet pioneer is building a bunker to protect an endangered species: the printed word.

The First 3D Printed Aircraft

3d printing is such a new process that we are still discovering all the ways in which we can use it to enhance our lives. Well, the wait for the next big thing to print is over, because engineers from the UK have used the 3d printer to create an aircraft capable of flight. Made up of printed plates which are snapped together, this impressive little flying machine is capable of speeds up to 100 mph and cruises almost silently through the air. It might just be the coolest snap together model kit ever!

Seven Impressive Castles Located on Cliffs

Castles on cliffs are the stuff of fairytales. And sure, it was a security measure, building the kingdom’s stronghold in the least accessible location, but that doesn’t make these seven beautiful castles located on cliffs any less impressive or fairytale-like. The one above is Alcazar in Segovia, Spain, built in the 12th century and now open to tourists year round and home to the Spanish General Military Archives.

Beautiful Clockwork Puppets From Japan

These mechanical marvels are examples of Karakuri, centuries old puppets from Japan that can perform simple tasks powered only by clockwork mechanisms. Their lifelike movements and beautiful look make them breathtaking to behold in action, especially considering they were made hundreds of years ago. A short video accompanies the article on Laughing Squid, showing one of the last remaining Karakuri builders in action.

Ten Delightfully Weird Museums

Most of us spent some portion of our formative years in one museum or another. Scifi addicts are no strangers to the pleasures of accumulation, organization, and presentation of knowledge (not to mention obsessive collections of stuff).

Sometimes that knowledge is of a broad subject which is well-regarded. Sometimes it's a little more niche-oriented. Have a look at the weird, wild, and wonderful museums that no one expected to see.

Agatha Christie And The Endless Summer

Believe it or not, the First Lady of mystery and the Big Kahuna had something in common-they were both innovators in the sport of surfing! Agatha Christie, as it turns out, was one of the first Britons to stand up on a surfboard, and she sharpened her wave riding skills in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii as early as 1922. Oh what a sight she must have been braving the waves of Waikiki!

A Real Society of Super Sleuths Who Solve Unsolved Crimes

In September 1990, retired detectives and other criminal investigation professionals came together to have lunch and talk about unsolved crimes. Now the Vidocq Society, comprised of some of the best investigators in the world, meets once a month to take on the hardest, coldest cases in the US:
Vidocq Society meetings – billed on its website as ‘Cuisine and Crime-Solving’ – now take place in Philadelphia on the third Thursday of every month; members gather beneath the electric chandeliers of the wood-panelled Downtown Club to have lunch and, afterwards, to help find a solution to a cold-case homicide. With 82 full, and more than 100 associate, members – a mix of men and women who must be invited to join by a committee – the society is a voluntary brains trust of retired and working criminologists.
Over the years membership has been drawn from the entire spectrum of judicial and crime-fighting institutions: from the local district attorney’s office to Interpol; from Philadelphia’s medical examiner to renowned FBI profilers. The society boasts members from 17 US states and 11 other countries around the world.
The society only takes murder cases that have been unsolved for at least two years and in which the victim was not a known criminal. Their work has led the exoneration of wrongfully convicted prisoners and the conviction of murders who thought that they had gotten away cleanly.

Interesting Stuff

One of the deadliest weapons ever created - it has accounted for untold millions of premature deaths since it's invention ... Oh, and then there's the soldier and the tank, too.

Meet the "Hotlips" Fungus

Octospora humosa was an obscure spore-shooting fungus, living quietly in patches of moss.  Then the Guardian included it in a species-renaming competition, and a 12-year old girl beat 5,000 other entrants by dubbing the fungus “hotlips.”
Brotherton said he hoped the popular competition, now in its second year, would draw people into the natural world and get them looking for these unheralded species, which include the largest sea squirt in Britain, a lichen that thinks it is a mushroom and a sea slug that recycles stings.
The judges thought the name particularly apt, since Octospora is a member of the discomycetes group; the renaming thus creates a “hotlips disco.”



Chimpanzee bottle feeds tiger cubs at Thai zoo

A two-and-half-year-old male chimpanzee named Dodo has been feeding the cubs every day for more than a year at the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo.

Dodo's trainers at the zoo around 25 miles south east of Bangkok in Thailand initially just wanted to challenge the chimp. Since he showed no fear of the tiger cubs, they worked with him until he picked up the habit.

"It's not difficult as he knows how to hold the bottle. I just taught him to hold it and stay with the cub. I've been teaching him everyday so he can do it," said 35-year-old Sirinaj who has been working at the zoo for 20 years.

The only problems is when he ignores his feeding tasks and just plays with cubs – aged between three weeks to five months. The zoo said that the cubs will eventually outgrow Dodo and will need to be moved to an area more suited to their size.

GDT Nature Photograph Winners

Photo Credit: Bence Máté
The German Society of Nature Photographers — the trippingly named Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen — holds a contest every year for the best photographs. Featured in the Guardian are some of the winners with some truly stunning photographs. Check out this year’s winners on display at the Guardian’s website, including this wonderful example by Bence Máté taken in Hungary. Who do you think won this standoff? My bet’s on the bird. Check out more incredible photographs and the impressive techniques of Bence Máté at his website.

What does a snake bite feel like?

What does a snake bite feel like?

The Fox that thinks he's a Dog

Rescued fox reared with pet dog
A fox, rescued as a cub in east Yorkshire, thinks it is a dog after being brought up with a Jack Russell.

Tod, the fox, and Eva, the dog, go for walks together around Beverley. Phil and Georgina Walker hand-reared Tod after his mother died.

The Strange Elegance Of The Giraffe-Necked Antelope


Found in Eastern Africa ranging from Somalia to Kenya there is a slightly odd looking long-necked creature that is reminiscent of a giraffe but that is one thing it most certainly is not.
With large eyes and ears and an incredibly slender neck, you may be forgiven for thinking that the Giraffe-necked Antelope was actually thought up in the Disney Studio rather than occurring in the wild steppes of East Africa.

This unusual and elegant beast is a great survivor - and it possibly owes its continued existence to its wonderfully long neck. When you realize how high the animal stretches in order to feed, you can imagine many an African folk-story being handed down through the generations to explain how it came to get that way.

Animal Pictures