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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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
If you are in the middle of important negotiations or trying to make group travel plans, then today is a good day to try and finalize things.
You may need to be the person who pushes for a speedy resolution, so prepare to be more assertive than you might normally be.
Time is running out and you need to act quickly to get the best perks or amenities.
You're the person who's in the middle of everything, and this enviable position is giving you a lot of power.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Izmir, Izmir, Turkey
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, malaysia
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
London, England, United Kingdom
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
Napoli, Campania, Italy
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Belgium
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Bialystok, Podlaskie, Poland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Nice, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France
Amersfoort, Utrecht, Netherlands 

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 Brighton, Ellijay, Barrington, Roswell and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, August 24, the 236th day of 2011.
There are 129 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Vesuvius Day
National Waffle Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Intructions for life


Jack Layton’s final public words: “Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.”

Jack Layton, the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, died Monday. Jack knew he was going, and so he wrote a beautiful, stirring open letter to Canada, to his party, to his caucus, and to the world.

Here are his last public words: "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

Non Sequitur


Weakened Irene still big threat

The storm downshifts to a Category 1, but forecasters expect the worst is yet to come.  
It won't be easy to get thousands off Ocracoke Island, which is in the crosshairs of a major hurricane.

Don't let a lil'ol'thing like FACTS get you


Cognitive Dissonance

Wingnut Media Respond to Libya's Liberation
The success of the Libyan revolution and toppling of Muammar Qaddafi has put wingnut mouthpieces in an awfully tough position. Ronny Raygun had unsuccessfully bombed Libya in order to kill Qaddaffi, and had failed at exacting any revenge for Libya’s murder of hundreds of American civilians on Pan Am flight 103. The shrub had worked to normalize relations with Libya and claimed Qaddafi’s willingness to give up weapons programs as evidence of the Iraq invasion’s success at scaring the bad guys straight.

Good Question


Winners in a slow economy

Some consumers and borrowers actually stand to benefit from a slowdown.  

How not to run out of cash

One simple trick guarantees that you will have an extra $700 in a year.

Huge spike in food stamp use

Almost 46 million people now rely on the program, a 74 percent increase since 2007.

Maybe you shouldn't talk to your health care provider

During Susan Scholbrock’s annual physical at UW Health... she had a nice chat with the nurse practitioner. And that was that.

In the mail came a bill for $49.88, approximately 20 percent of the cost of her visit.  However, her insurance company is supposed to pay 100 percent for a physical.

Scholbrock noted that the physical was coded as an “Outpatient Office Visit,” for which, indeed, her insurance company only pays 80 percent.

She called billing to report a coding error... but was told that the visit was submitted as a physical, and her insurance company did pay 100 percent. Since she and the nurse practitioner discussed health in areas not covered in a physical because they are not preventive, there were two charges, not one. So she was charged for two appointments.

“Who knew,” she said, “that talking about one’s health during a physical is not part of a physical and not preventive?”
Ridiculous and absurdly so!

Quick fixes for credit scores

Setting up automatic bill payments can boost your number by as much as 50 points.

Wild ways fans saved products

Lovers of light bulbs and Polaroid film fought planned phaseouts with a fury. 

George Bernard Shaw "Turns" a Lazy Susan into an Eco-Friendly Hut

When George Bernard Shaw began designing his ideal writing hut, he decided to construct it on top of a rotating Lazy Susan. It was drawn as a simple 8′x8′ square with two large windows on one side for lighting and heat. With ascetic efficiency, the building’s windows could be turned towards the sun during the winter–allowing solar energy to warm up the room–and turned away for the summer. I would’ve guessed that the hut was built within moderate climate if it wasn’t for the fact that “it has a sloping roof to shed rain and snow build up.”
Not only was he a literary visionary, but a clever engineer.

Colorful People


Letterman jokes about threat

The late-night television host claims he knows who's behind the jihadist threat against him.  



Lybia: Bombers and Reporters

The fate of the convicted Lockerbie terrorist could test the new government's view on justice.  
Dozens of reporters are imprisoned in a luxury hotel in Libya by government gunmen. 

Retired Russian cop arrested on suspicion of organizing execution of journalist Anna Politkovskaya


In Moscow, a retired police officer has been arrested on suspicion of organizing the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. She was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building.
But this arrest, like the arrest of the suspected triggerman in May, still does not address the issue of who might have ordered the killing of Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of the Kremlin and its chosen strongman in Chechnya. Tuesday’s arrest of retired Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was first reported by editors at Politkovskaya’s newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, and later confirmed by investigators.

Fugitive nabbed after 36 years

A convicted murderer is recaptured thanks to a clue gleaned from his dying mother.  

Mother accused of trying to sell five-year-old son for $2000

A Florida woman was arrested on Saturday for allegedly attempting to sell her 5-year-old son for $2,000. Jessica Marie Beers, 29, allegedly told a couple she met at church that she would sell them the boy's parental rights. The couple, fearing for the child’s welfare, reported the woman to authorities, a statement from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

The couple told authorities they noticed Beers struggled with a prescription drug addiction and believed the money would be spent on more drugs, the statement said. Detectives met Beers on Saturday at a prearranged location in Seminole, where she was set to exchange the child for money, the statement said.

She allegedly admitted to authorities that she was attempting to sell the boy, but did not give a reason. The couple said Beers had been struggling to make ends meet. The couple assisted Beers by giving her money for food and other items. But they say she began asking them to watch the boy on a regular basis.

Beers was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. She was arrested for one count of prohibited acts, sale of parental rights and one count of violation of probation. In 2008 she was reportedly arrested and convicted on a grand theft charge out of Pinellas County. She has reportedly been on felony probation for that arrest. The child has been sent to protective custody.

The Horror Train of Japan

Got a spoiled brat? When scoldings and time-outs don't work, scare 'em straight with the horror train.
Yes, that's right: here's the Yokai Train, a scary summer "attraction" in Kyoto, Japan, featuring creepy monster aboard a train.
As the Yokai Train leaves the station, a spooky sounds can be heard coming from the speakers, and the monsters make their entrance. Some are dressed in white kimonos and wear white masks and triangular white crowns (which means they are dead), while others sport creepy masks and torn rags. Some of the older kids react pretty well to the yokai, but the younger ones cry and scream while their mothers and the other adults watch and smile. It sounds a bit cruel, but by the last station of the tour most children make friends with the monsters.
Actually, this explains a lot about Japan: Full Story

Daily Comic Relief


World's coolest office

Inventionland has secret doors, a castle, and a pirate ship — all in hopes of inspiring workers.

Weird homes of the future

One can be taken apart, and another looks like a cannoli transforming into a spaceship

Expanding Desert, Falling Water Tables, and Toxic Pollutants Driving People From Their Homes

morocco desert nomad photo
People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.
Article continues: Expanding Desert, Falling Water Tables, and Toxic Pollutants Driving People From Their Homes

Inside Antarctica’s ice caves

Kayla Iacovino is a Ph.D. student who works on Antarctica's Mount Erebus, the southernmost volcano in the world. Ironically, for a volcano, Erebus is also home to some truly stunning ice caves, carved out of nearby ice and snowpack by hot, volcanic gases. If you've ever watched Alien vs. Predator and wondered what it would really be like to go spelunking beneath the Frozen Continent, I'd recommend checking out the collection of photos Iacovino posted to the Science Friday website last winter.
You can also find more shots of the Erebus ice caves and fumaroles—towers of ice that form when moist gases from beneath the snow hit the freezing Antarctic air—at a gallery curated by the National Science Foundation and New Mexico Tech.

Awesome Pictures


Culinary DeLites

Summer pork chops with corn-mango salsa showcase fresh ingredients.  

Patagonia Yeast

Scientists Have Discovered the "Missing Link" of Beer Brewing
Mystery solved! Scientists have discovered the "missing link" in beer brewing. Ladies and gents, take a good look at the orange-colored galls on the beech tree to your left: they were found to harbor the specific strain of yeast that makes lager beer possible.
How did lager beer come to be? After pondering the question for decades, scientists have found that an elusive species of yeast isolated in the forests of Argentina was key to the invention of the crisp-tasting German beer 600 years ago.
It took a five-year search around the world before a scientific team discovered, identified and named the organism, a species of wild yeast called Saccharomyces eubayanus that lives on beech trees.
"We knew it had to be out there somewhere," said Chris Todd Hittinger, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a coauthor of the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

The Strange History Of The Sunflower


You may not think that there is much to know about the sunflower. After all, the plant is virtually everywhere. Yet it has a something more than a simple, straightforward history and is more of a globe trotter than you may imagine. Its story has the historical and continental sweep of a Hollywood epic, from the pre-European Americas to Tsarist Russia and back again.



Family share home with TV-watching emu

Meet the family who live with an emu – in the Essex suburbs. From washing in the bath to joining in at mealtimes, Beaky loves to be a part of home life. When the six Newby children sit down to watch television, their feathered ‘big sister’ will barge into the living room to watch her favorite shows – wildlife programs, naturally.

But her size (90kg, or 14st) and diet (large portions of broccoli and cauliflower) mean it’s better at night for this Essex bird to be banished to a summerhouse in the garden. ‘Beaky was given to me as an egg as a Christmas present by my wife two-and-a-half years ago,’ said Iain Newby, 44, who owns a rescue facility for dangerous animals. I made a makeshift emu egg incubator out of the back of an old budgie incubator and a seed tray.

I didn’t really think it would work – but, to my astonishment, Beaky hatched.’ Mr Newby put the chick in one of the children’s old playpens but, after a few months, she found she could jump out. She started running about with the children and playing with their toys, and is now very much a part of the family, who live in Little Wakering, near Southend.

Because they all grew up together, Mr Newby’s children – Jack, seven, Harry, six, Bryce, five, George, three, Peter, two, and Joe, ten months – all feel that Beaky is like a sister to them. Beaky eats 6kg (1st) of corn a week and plenty more in fruit and vegetables – plus anything else the children throw her way. ‘She will eat just about anything if allowed to – keys, drill bits, sponges,’ said Mr Newby. Despite their size, emus are no longer classified as dangerous animals by law and anyone is free to buy one and raise it in the UK.

The Huge Domesticated Savannah Cat

Cross-bred between a serval - an African wild cat - and a domesticated cat this unique animal gained popularity towards the end of the 20th century. They can weigh as much as 14 pounds, are very loyal like dogs and can be walked on a leash.
However, you will have to pay at least $20,000 to buy a Savannah Cat.

Father and son wrangle shark

Nine-year-old Hunter Stevens grabs a camera when his daddy hooks an unexpected catch.  

There's 8.74 Million Species on Earth

8.74 Million Species on Earth
The taxonomic estimate also comes with a price tag for describing all these Earth species, most of which are still unknown: $364 billion over the next 1,200 years.  

Can Feeding Pigeons Get You in Trouble with the Law?

It sure can, if the birds turn out to be a major safety hazard for airplanes at a nearby airport.
Here's the story of how 59-year-old business owner (and bird lover) Charles Douglas got arrested over a flock of pigeons:
Airport police Cmdr. Allen Schmitt said a plane strikes a bird at the airport once every two months on average. But the rate of strikes has increased recently, with five incidents in July alone, he added.
"Most of those were multiple — 10 to 20 to 30 birds at once," Schmitt said. "Now it's becoming extraordinarily dangerous."
In July, a Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Ontario after it flew into 20 to 30 pigeons during takeoff, he said.
"A pigeon is not a problem, but a flock — that's a problem," he said.
Douglas' arrest was the culmination of months of legal wrangling to stop the feeding.

Animal Pictures