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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 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Communication is a two-way street -- so if you're trying hard to communicate with someone who is simply not hearing you, then you should consider the fact that it might not be your fault. 
Is this person really listening? 
Give it one more try today, and then get ready to throw in the towel if things still don't seem to be sinking in -- this person's mind may be permanently closed. 
He or she could very well be a lost cause.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Tawau, Sabah, malaysia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
London, England, United Kingdom
Woking, England, United Kingdom
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Kampar, Perak, Malaysia
Napoli, Campania, Italy
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey

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 Southwest Harbor, Eastbend, Due West, Center and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, August 22, the 234th day of 2011.
There are 131 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
In the Northern Hemisphere there isn't one today but in the Southern Hemisphere it is Hoodie Hoo Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Fun facts about your smile

Not only does your grin reveal positive feelings, but it may also lead to a longer life.  

ICC Wants Saif Al-Gadhafi, Prosecutor Says

The International Criminal Court will hold talks Monday with Libyan rebels on transferring Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of the two captured sons of embattled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, to its custody, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told CNN.

No demand for new homes

Since the housing crash, new home construction is at a virtual standstill in these areas. 

The truth be told


The Economy is deadly

Unemployment is killing people.

Wingnut Politics Preventing Economic Action

President Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist warned Sunday that repugicans catering to tea party politics threatened much-needed progress on job creation.

Repugicans to OK tax increase President Obama wants to block!

Impossible, right?

repugican lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting January.

Of course they're all for this tax increase - it hurts the middle and working class.

Koch responds to Warren Buffet

They say their non-profits better for society 
(Yeah, and little green men live in me arse, too)

Explain again how wingnut political contributions are better?

Koch’s “non-profit investments” include the group founded by his brother David, “Americans for Prosperity” (formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy). As ThinkProgress first reported, AFP was one the first and most well-resourced drivers of the anti-Obama so-called “Tea Party” movement. Koch-funded Tea Party events have featured speakers comparing health reform to the Holocaust, and in some cases have sponsored rallies with leaders of the “birther” conspiracy theory.

Among the Koch brothers’ other non-profit investments include far-right conservative think tanks dedicated to cheerleading the war in Iraq, spreading anti-science propaganda, and smears claiming that the poor do not really suffer. Koch has given money to educational initiatives, but in exchange for control over academic freedom that simply furthered Koch’s political beliefs. These “investments” at best advance Koch’s political ideology and at worst misinform American voters. Either way, they are hardly a replacement for “government spend[ing]” on things like food assistance and basic medical service.

Social Security troubles

A flood of laid-off and aging workers pushes the cash-strapped program to the brink of collapse.

In the News

OK, tell us another funny one ...

Market plunge hurts everyone

The market's nosedive pounds your finances even if you don't invest. 

How Fake Money Saved Brazil

Twenty years ago, Brazil found itself in the grips of hyperinflation. Its inflation rate hit 80% a month, and the country was in financial free fall.
Economists at the Catholic University in Rio came up with an unlikely - but ultimately successful - plan to rescue the country. And would you believe it, the plan calls for fake money:
The four friends set about explaining their idea. You have to slow down the creation of money, they explained. But, just as important, you have to stabilize people's faith in money itself. People have to be tricked into thinking money will hold its value.
The four economists wanted to create a new currency that was stable, dependable and trustworthy. The only catch: This currency would not be real. No coins, no bills. It was fake.
"We called it a Unit of Real Value — URV," Bacha says. "It was virtual; it didn't exist in fact."
Read the fascinating story over at NPR's Planet Money blog



The Lowdown On Supper Clubs

Dining - Fotolia
We talk to hosts of supper clubs to find out what you can expect from the very latest dining trend. 

Royal Pizza

A red-faced restaurant owner in southern Germany admitted on Sunday she had turned away Sweden's king and queen when they asked for a table after failing to recognize them.

Thirsty boy stuck in chimney trying to get drink

An 8-year-old boy desperate for a drink tried to get into a neighbor's home by sliding down the chimney, but got stuck for more than four hours, authorities said.

Culinary confrontation ends with basil attack

A woman accused of throwing a basil plant at her husband after a meat-related argument was arrested on a misdemeanor charge, according to a recently released police report. Accused herb hurler Andrea Antoine-Pierre, 52, was jailed on a battery (domestic) charge following an apparent culinary confrontation with her spouse at their home in Port St. Lucie. Antoine-Pierre's 60-year-old husband told Port St. Lucie police he was in the kitchen preparing food when his wife got home.

"They then began to argue about what type of meat was supposed to be cooked," the report states. The report didn't specify whether the meat was beef, poultry, pork, fish or some sort of crustacean. As the husband walked away during the dispute, Antoine-Pierre stands accused of throwing a potted basil plant at her husband's back, hitting his left shoulder. Basil, an aromatic herb often associated with Italian and Thai cuisine, is not often used as a weapon.

Antoine-Pierre's husband got past his wife. While outside, Antoine-Pierre reportedly got rocks from the garden and tossed them at her husband, but the rocks didn't hit him. Antoine-Pierre told police she argued with her husband over dinner. She said he called her mother a liar. "Upon hearing this Ms. Pierre admitted to picking up the plant and throwing it on the ground not on her husband."

Asked to explain how dirt got on her husband's back, Antoine-Pierre said "it must have bounced off the ground." Antoine-Pierre also said she lobbed rocks in her husband's "general direction" but didn't hit him. Antoine-Pierre's 26-year-old stepson said Antoine-Pierre threw a plant in his father's direction but couldn't determine whether it hit him. As for the potted basil plant, police took a photo of it in the bin.

Is Trial by Combat Still Legal in the United States?

The blogger New Jovian Thunderbolt offers this novel legal argument:
American law originates from British Common Law. Specifically Common Law before we split from them. 1776 and all that. It’s where the 2nd Amendment comes from and a right to defend yourself. But after 1776, our jurisprudence system was evolving along its own path.
Britain didn’t overturn trial by combat until after we declared independence. No American court has really addressed it. Ergo, trial by combat may still be legitimate under U.S. Law.
If so, court TV could become a lot more interesting.

Ready, Aim, Attire

The Oddest Military Uniforms Ever

Whether it's protection of the royal family or Vatican City, combating enemies of the future or local troublemakers, here are some of the oddest military get-ups you may ever see.

Non Sequitur


A tunnel to link US and Russia?

It's an interesting idea for engineers to consider but does this really make sense when it links two of the most remote parts of Russia and the US? Bad winter weather would likely make transport very difficult for part of the year.
The Times newspaper in the U.K. said that idea to construct a $60 billion tunnel under the Bering Strait was this week backed by some of President Dmitry Medvedev’s top officials.

The paper described the idea as "the greatest railway project of all time."

The tunnel would mean Russian territory would meet U.S. jurisdiction underneath the islands of Big Diomede, which is Russian, and Little Diomede, which is American. One problem might be that there is no rail line to Alaska's west coast.

The Times named one of the officials supporting the plan as Aleksandr Levinthal, the deputy federal representative for the Russian Far East.

How the Beatles Revolutionized Animation

A person would be hard-pressed to argue that the Beatles didn’t revolutionize music; even the youngest of today’s kids has heard a song by or inspired by the band. (My six-year-old, for her part, is a fan of the movie Across the Universe and her Kindergarten class performed “Yellow Submarine” at last year’s graduation.) But people may not realize that John, Paul, George and Ringo also had a part in bringing animation to the foreground of innovation with the making of their feature-length film, Yellow Submarine.
More than a decade before Pixar, the film was not only a technical feat of animation execution but also a seminal work in bringing more attention to animation as a serious art form, both for audiences and for creators.
It’s worth watching even if you’re not a Beatles fan for the history and great one-offs from the narrator, who calls Yellow Submarine “a sort of open-end Rorschach filled with Joycean puns.” Check out the documentary on Brain Pickings.

The Nifty Fifties


Car hops serving customers at a drive-in restaurant, 1950.
Car hops serving customers at a drive-in restaurant, 1950.

Get a degree while working

Studying online on your own time could help you move up at work or switch fields.  

Think You’re Too Old to Learn a New Language?

Think Again
I’m not sure what the sample size is, or how old the adults in the study are, but:
Ferman and Avi Karni from the University of Haifa, Israel, devised an experiment in which 8-year-olds, 12-year-olds and adults were given the chance to learn a new language rule. In the made-up rule, verbs were spelled and pronounced differently depending on whether they referred to an animate or inanimate object.
Participants were not told this, but were asked to listen to a list of correct noun-verb pairs, and then voice the correct verb given further nouns. The researchers had already established that 5-year-olds performed poorly at the task, and so did not include them in the study. All participants were tested again two months later to see what they remembered.
“The adults were consistently better in everything we measured,” says Ferman. When asked to apply the rule to new words, the 8-year-olds performed no better than chance, while most 12-year-olds and adults scored over 90 per cent. Adults fared best, and have great potential for learning new languages implicitly, says Ferman. Unlike the younger children, most adults and 12-year-olds worked out the way the rule worked – and once they did, their scores soared. This shows that explicit learning is also crucial, says Ferman, who presented the results at the International Congress for the Study of Child Language in Montreal, Canada, this week.



Meaning of auto warnings

Those dashboard icons may not be telling you what you think they are.  

Thirty-Five Cool Long Exposure Photographs

Long exposure photography takes a lot of patience and a good eye for positioning, but when you get images like the ones on this BuzzFeed list, the result is most certainly worth the effort. Be sure to click the link to see even more awesome pics like this.

The 25 Coolest College Labs

If you want white tiled floors and cleanrooms, these are not the labs you’re looking for. PopSci has ranked their choices for the 25 most awesome college labs, and the diversity and locations might surprise you. From the experimental mine for demolitions students (who learn to “blow things up extremely well”) at the Missouri University of Science and Technology to the geophysics program at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory–where students wake up before dawn to hike to the top of one of the world’s most active volcanoes–these awesome hands-on programs put your five credit hours of making Punnet squares to shame. Featured careers include game design, rainforest biology, oceanography, brewery and alien-hunting. 

Man-Made Mountain Closer to Reality in Netherlands

A push to construct a mile-high mountain in the flat Netherlands is catching on and could become reality.



Oldest Fossil on Earth Found

The finding shows bacteria thrived on an Earth with no oxygen and boosts hope that life existed on Mars.  

Dinosaur Breeders

Paleogeneticists Miles and Enid Steensteinberg are the owners of a dinosaur hatchery which is located in Westminster, Maryland, on over 1,000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty.
We broke ground on our fully-customized facility in 2007 and no expense was spared designing our state of the art facility. All of our dinosaurs are 'free-range' with plenty of space to roam around. We also have a lab on the premises where we conduct our research and development in paleogenetics.

Daily Comic Relief


Certain Trained Dogs Can Smell Lung Cancer

Earlier this year, Japanese researchers announced that they had trained a dog to detect colon cancer by smelling the poop of cancer victims. Now, reseachers at Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany have discovered that trained dogs can detect lung cancer by sniffing the breath of sick patients:
The dogs successfully identified 71 samples with lung cancer out of a possible 100. They also correctly detected 372 samples that did not have lung cancer out of a possible 400.
The dogs could also detect lung cancer independently from COPD and tobacco smoke. These results confirm the presence of a stable marker for lung cancer that is independent of COPD and also detectable in the presence of tobacco smoke, food odours and drugs.



Woman who let dog eat razor blades and starve to death found guilty of animal cruelty

A New York woman was convicted of animal cruelty for leaving her dog to starve to death. Cherika Alvarez, 30, abandoned her brown one-year-old pit bull Alizé when she was evicted from her Belmont basement apartment in mid-November 2009.

The malnourished dog ate nothing but razor blades, splintered plastic, wood chips, garbage and ketchup packets for six weeks before he died. Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found the dog lifeless amid piles of garbage and bloody stools in Jan. 2010. The pup's body had no body fat, and was so emaciated that his remains had to be scraped off the floorboards.

The single mother - who claimed she left some food and water for the dog in the bathtub - testified she had arranged for a neighbour she barely knew to pick up Alizé. But the unidentified stranger never showed. "I didn't know him from a hole in the wall," testified Alvarez. "I didn't get any information from him. I should have been more smart. Me being irresponsible, I didn't check up on the dog."

Prosecutors suggested Alvarez had fictionalized her story about making arrangements with a neighbour. "She left Alizé in that apartment like garbage and she walked away," said Bronx Assistant District Attorney Megan Mellem. Judge Robert Sackett decided Alvarez's behaviour amounted to cruelty. She faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine at her Sept. 28 sentencing.

New York to Fight Poaching, Torture of Bears with Ban on Sale of Their Gall Bladders and Bile

This headline might surprise you if you didn't know that the bile produced by bears' gall bladders is a valuable commodity in traditional Chinese medicine. The commercial nature of the bile leads not only to the killing of bears, but to "bear farming" - the extremely painful process of "milking" bile from living bears.
While bear farming takes place in China, Vietnam and Korea, the value of bile leads to the killing of bears in the United States. But this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a ban on the sale and transportation of bear gallbladders and bile throughout the state.
Article continues: New York to Fight Poaching, Torture of Bears with Ban on Sale of Their Gall Bladders and Bile

Animal Pictures