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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 8, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
This day will bring you an unexpected gift: The chance to get to know someone new.
Through events that are beyond your control, you will come face-to-face with someone whose beliefs and behaviors are a lot different from yours.
This person has a lot to teach you, but don't worry -- there will be nothing resembling a lecture.
Through enjoyable banter, you will move toward new levels of enlightenment.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

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, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Pompano Beach and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, August 8, the 220th day of 2011.
There are 145 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
The Date To Create Day
Happiness Happens Day
Odie Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!


Jack and Jackie

Downed chopper was on rescue mission

The 30 Americans who died — most of them elite Navy SEALs — were trying to help fellow troops.  

And I Quote


S&P is right about political risk, not necessarily the debt

S&P downgraded US debt the other day because of the deficit ceiling fiasco.  And they're right.  

As Ezra Klein notes:
But that doesn’t make Standard Poor’s wrong in this particular case. “The downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges,” they explained in the statement accompanying Friday’s decision. After Republicans in Congress spent three months weighing whether or not to default on our debt and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that paying our bills would never again be a foregone conclusion, can anyone really argue with that? After every Republican presidential candidate save Jon Huntsman either remained silent on, or flatly opposed, the deal to raise the debt ceiling, can anyone really say that U.S. debt is completely riskless? That there’s no chance of a political miscalculation, and if there is such a chance, that they can perfectly predict the outcome of the ensuing chaos?
The repugicans, including repugican presidential candidates, made clear that they no longer feeling obliged to pay US debt. S&P reacted accordingly.

Now, S&P is hardly harmless here. They decided to involve themselves in the US political process, not just observe it, not just react to it. They decided they wanted - THEY wanted - a specific debt deal, to the tune of $4 trillion, and they wanted it NOW (like Violet in Willie Wonka). To hell with the economy, to hell with whether it threw the US and the world into another serious recession. In that way, S&P endorsed the repugican economic position, and that's wrong.

But they're right about their assessment of US politics. The repugicans have gone completely insane. They've always been a bit obstinate, see Gingrich circa 1995-96. And they've only gotten worse. It's the repugicans that orchestrated this crisis (with S&P's help) and it's the repugicans that get the blame. It didn't help that the President enabled it, through his previous poor negotiations and his current willingness to one up the repugicans in their budget cutting madness. But at its core, it's still the repugicans that were behind this entire "let's stop paying the debt" fiasco.

Global markets on edge

Traders brace for everything from a market crash to an early sell-off followed by a robust rally. 

Investors in state of panic

Wall Street's volatile week has sent shock waves through the financial markets.  

Non Sequitur


A Quick One

I've just read a book about Stockholm Syndrome.

It started off badly but, by the end, I really liked it.

Rebekah Brooks Resigned?

Phone hacking scandal editor 'quit' her job, but is still being paid by Murdoch
<a href=http://www.zgeek.com/content.php/8517-Phone-hacking-scandal-editor-quit-her-job-but-is-still-being-paid-by-Murdoch>Phone hacking scandal editor quit her job, but is still being paid by Murdoch</a>
A big song and dance was made of Rebekah Brooks’s belated decision to resign as the chief executive of News International as the phone-hacking scandal engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s empire, but it has not had any great effect upon her standard of living. I am reliably informed that she remains on the company payroll.

“My understanding is that Rupert has told her to travel the world on him for a year and then he will find a job for her when the scandal has died down,” whispers my informant.

Do You Prefer Flogging or Prison?

Back in 1994, an American teenager named Michael P. Fay was caned in Singapore for theft and vandalism. That incident sparked an outcry here in the United States, as many people found it barbaric (to be fair, the reaction was far from uniform - a lot of Americans actually favored it).
Fast forward to today. Peter Moskos, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is advocating flogging as a viable punishment to replace prison time:
[Moskos] argues that our prison system is not only overcrowded and violent, but that it is completely ineffective. "I can't think of another institution that has failed as mightily as the prison has," he writes. As an alternative, he says, the least dangerous convicts should be given a choice — jail time, or two lashes for every year of their sentence.
Moskos predicts the prison population would see a massive decline, freeing up billions of dollars for more useful purposes. Others suggest government-sanctioned violence would do nothing to reduce crime, and might even increase criminals' violent tendencies. Is flogging really our best option?
What do you think? Should we bring back the cat o' nine tails? Would you prefer flogging to years of imprisonment?

Freaks and Geeks

Freak or Geek?

All on Paper

Journalism students at Florida Atlantic University recently constructed their final summer issue of the student newspaper. It was a very special and different issue, as they avoided all their digital equipment and did it the old-fashioned way: with typewriters, paste-up editing, and cameras with film- which they had to develop themselves.
Managing editor Mariam Aldhahi was stymied after typing her first line. “What do I do now?” she asked. “There’s no RETURN key.”
I pointed to the lever that would propel the carriage back to the left, while the gears inside would simultaneously ratchet the paper to the next line.
She tapped it lightly.
“No, this is a manual typewriter,” I told her. “You actually have to expend some calories.”
I slammed the lever to the right, and the carriage flew back to the left margin, stopping with a thud. A look of understanding, laced with horror, crossed her face.
“It’s going to be like this the entire time, isn’t it?”
“Not at all,” I said. “It gets worse.”
The typing turned out to be easier than editing and designing each page. But the issue was finished! Here is part one. Here is part two.

LEGO Minifigs In Space

A collaboration between NASA and LEGO means that when the Juno probe took off Friday on its journey to Jupiter, there were three special LEGO minfigs aboard.
The figures, milled from aluminum, will accompany Juno on its five-year trip to Jupiter. When Juno arrives in 2016, the Lego likeness of the Roman god, Jupiter, his sister, Juno, and the Italian astronomer, Galileo, will be there to take in all the sights and bask in the immensity of the largest planet.
This (until now) secret installation was initiated by NASA scientists, who love Lego as much as anyone and wanted to do something memorable for this mission. They approached Lego and the company loved the idea. It saw the project as a way to promote children’s education and STEM programs.
The brick company even underwrote the project, at a cost of $5,000 for each of the minifigs, which will soon become the farthest flying toys ever. The manufacture of the figures was a deliberate process to ensure the figures would not interfere with NASA’s sensitive measurements.
Galileo is pictured here. Read more and see the others at GeekDad.

Crazy People's Day

Today is crazy peoples day!
If you know someone who is crazy, or if you're a bit crazy
yourself, be happy that you're not like everyone else!!! :)

Are we forgetting anything?
That dot at the end, yeah, that's it.
No wait!
Crazy People's Day was Yesterday, dammit.
Oh, well.

How to buy a budget supercar

You can get extreme performance and styling for $30,000 or less if you don't mind buying used.  

Cut summer power bills

A few simple steps can make a big difference in household energy consumption. 

Awesome Pictures


Congress has a shot at passing jobs-creating bills*

When Congress gets back to work after Labor Day it will have the chance to achieve something that has largely eluded it for the entire year, passing legislation that might actually create jobs.
*Yeah, and pigs fly on butterfly wings, too.

Fast-track career options

You can complete an associate's degree or certificate twice as quickly as a bachelor's.

The Economy is so bad ...

...I had to take out a loan from a homeless guy.

The truth be told


Erasing credit card debt

There are just two times to pay off a larger balance before a smaller one, an expert says. 

Big mistakes savers make

Financial planners say baby boomers routinely make these common errors. 



Easy brain exercises

Little habits can help keep your mind sharp, like switching the way you brush your teeth.

Holistically Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Alzheimer's Risk

elderly couple photo
A holistically healthy lifestyle marked by ample exercise and a healthy whole foods diet means less risk of Alzheimer's. Basically, the way you treat your body has a lot to do with your mind. New research links activity level, blood pressure, weight, and smoking to Alzheimer's, according to the Washington Times. And prevention is crucial considering that there is yet no cure to this agonizing disease.
Article continues: Holistically Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Alzheimer's Risk, Study Says

LEDs Used to Help Babies with Severe Jaundice

photo leds treat jaundice d-rev brilliance
Photo Credit: USAID
Light-emitting diodes not only use less energy, they give off better light than those compact fluorescents, without using mercury. Add to the list: LEDs also are being used to help babies born with severe jaundice, which can lead to brain damage and death.

Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer May Actually Make You Sicker

Before you reach for that hand sanitizer, consider this: rather than killing germs, that action is actually more likely to make you - and society - sicker.
What is worse, perhaps the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of antibiotic and non-antibiotic soaps in the U.S., led by Elaine Larson at Columbia University (with Aiello as a coauthor), found that while for healthy hand washers there was no difference between the effects of the two, for chronically sick patients (those with asthma and diabetes, for example) antibiotic soaps were actually associated with increases in the frequencies of fevers, runny noses and coughs [4]. In other words, antibiotic soaps appeared to have made those patients sicker. Let me say that again: Most people who use antibiotic soap are no healthier than those who use normal soap. AND those individuals who are chronically sick and use antibiotic soap appear to get SICKER.
Rob Dunn wrote a guest blog over at Scientific America that every germophobe should read: here.

Chinese red yeast rice for lowering cholesterol

Over the past year, there have been several research studies on the efficacy and safety for Chinese red yeast rice supplements for lowering cholesterol levels particularly in patients who cannot tolerate statin-type medication.

Pocket Gardens Sprout on Paris's Anti-Parking Posts

potogreen paris france pocket planters photo
A 'Potogreen' in Paris. 
Photo: Anne Mazauric via Paule Kingleur.
Necessary as they are to keep cars from blocking the sidewalk, anti-parking posts, or bollards, can be an ugly sight in a city. Parisian artist Paule Kingleur has commandeered some of the 335,000 posts in the French capital as sites for hanging micro-gardens -- what she calls a neighborhood "vegetable insurrection."

How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Climate Denier & An Environmentalist?

mr pico photo 
'Pico of the Caribbean' sez: "go read about me mate, or I'll unbuckle your swash." 
Image credit: Russ George. 

Short answer: there is little difference between the thought patterns of deniers & environmentalists.
Most of us don't have the time or expertise to maintain a current, in-depth understanding of science and public policy issues. Instead, a values test is imposed when novel or contradictory information is encountered.
Values test script: Does this new information match my belief system? If it does not, the information is seen as wrong or 'biased.' If it does match, however, it is seen as 'good' or accurate.
The power and ubiquity of the values filter - a way of thinking employed by all non-experts - makes it easy to spread doubt about climate science and also explains why so many environmentalists are dead-set against anything that can be labeled 'geo-engineering,' for example.
Speaking of geo-engineering, presented below are two new marine science news items that will try the values of even the most die hard anti-corporate, climate action campaigner.
Article continues: How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Climate Denier & An Environmentalist?

Ten of the weirdest animals discovered in 2010

<a href=http://www.zgeek.com/content.php/8522-Ten-of-the-weirdest-animals-discovered-in-2010>Ten of the weirdest animals discovered in 2010</a>
A new species of armored, wood-eating catfish (pictured underwater) found in the Amazon rain forest feeds on a fallen tree in the Santa Ana River in Peru in 2006.

Other so-called suckermouth armored catfish species use their unique teeth to scrape organic material from the surfaces of submerged wood. But the new, as yet unnamed, species is among the dozen or so catfish species known to actually ingest wood, National Geographic News reported in September.

Fungi Thriving in a Warmer World Suspected in Mass Forest Extinctions

dead tree photo
Image: Dominic/CC
Pandas and tigers make better poster children for human impacts on biodiversity. But in the face of news like the massive recall of turkey meat with antibiotic resistant salmonella, it is worth remembering that altering the biodiversity at the smallest levels may have the largest impacts on our quality of life. A new study from the University of California Berkeley points to a fungi thriving after global warming as culprits in a massive extinction of trees.
Article continues: Fungi Thriving in a Warmer World Suspected in Mass Forest Extinctions

The Platypus Faces Extinction As Australia Heats Up

As a mammal that lays eggs, has a duck's bill, a beaver's tail, an otter's feet and a venomous spur on its foot (males only), the platypus is a one of a kind animal. I mean that literally: it is the only non-extinct species in its genealogical family and genus. But things aren't looking good for the perplexing animal: as temperatures on its native Australia heat up, the platypus is finding it harder and harder to survive. A new study predicts that 30% of the species will perish by 2070.

Awesome WWF Animals Illusion Poster

This World Wildlife Fund poster features a lot of hidden animals in the bushes.I know it’s hard to see at this size, but if you click on the Link, you can enlarge the picture and try to see them all. How many can you find?

Interior Decorating

A bit busy don't you think?



Boogie-boarding bulldog

Tillman can ride through waves, but he's also really good at skateboarding and snowboarding.  

Animal Pictures