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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 31, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Everyday items and common conversations will take on a heavier meaning today.
You are entering a phase of life in which you'll possess a great deal of mental discernment; the hidden meanings behind the superficial words and actions of others are apparent to you.
The challenge today will be to stay impersonal about the events of the day, because you are privy to information unknown to others.
Now is not the time to blow the whistle and get people riled up.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
London, England, United Kingdom
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Chisinau, Chisinau, Moldova
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Ispswich, Queensland, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Baden, Aargau, Switzerland

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 Atascadero, Ellijay, South Lancaster, Deer Park and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, August 31, the 243rd day of 2011.
There are 122 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There isn't one.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Wondrous Wednesday


Non Sequitur


Cool, Money-Saving Gadgets

A new generation of devices makes it easy to make your own soda, bottled water, and coffee.  

Irene wasn't all bad


What 'everyone knows' that ain't true

There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false.
If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there: 

President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: the shrub's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.

Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by the shrub and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

The stimulus didn't work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions and is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!)
Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

Government spending takes money out of the economy. 
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives.
Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.

The truth be told


Welfare drug tests criticized

Critics argue that laws forcing welfare applicants to take drug tests are unfair and illegal.  

What jobless are doing now

One study shows that America's unemployed aren't just catching up on sleep and television.  

Surprising six-figure jobs

These hard-working folks prove you don't need a fancy degree to earn $100,000.

Home prices rise across U.S.

Spring buying sparks three straight months of gains, but experts see a reversal ahead.

Atheists say they get kudos for church billboard

An Ohio atheist group says it has been commended by some people for a billboard put up by a church's pastor.
Epic Win!
Even when the religio-nuts think they're winning they're losing.
You got to love it!

Little-known facts on ADHD

It's become common to blame ADHD for everything from bad behavior to a messy house.

Surfers tackle historic waves

Competitors at an event in Tahiti find themselves confronting one of the most intense days ever recorded.

Restaurants with epic views

Diners at Ithaa can gaze up at coral atolls, parrot fish, and stingrays in the Indian Ocean.  

Organic Hockey Diet Scores Big Goals

maple leaf photo
He shoots, he scores! Eat like an organic hockey player and you too may hit the major leagues.
NHL hockey players are going on serious organic-only diets which include quinoa, goji berries, organic steak and wild salmon. What, no beer? The results: look better, feel better and most importantly: score better.

The Strange History Of Ramen Noodles

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn. Ramen is of Chinese origin, however it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan.

Find out more about the strange and twisted history of Ramen noodles.

Battle of the bottled iced teas

An organic brand takes the top spot for both flavor and nutrition in a supermarket standoff.  

Grand Vista


Burglary seen from plane

Steven Lynn "wanted to see my house from the air" but instead spies men taking his things.

Two to Six for Seven

Syracuse 15-year-old Gets Two to Six Years for 7-cent Robbery
A 15-year-old Syracuse boy will spend the next two to six years in juvenile detention and the rest of his life as a felon as a result of his sentencing today for a robbery that netted him and an accomplice seven cents.

Man Arrested Over Photo of Oil Refinery

Talk about a tough audience. Granted, it can be hard to take a photo that everyone is happy with, but recently a Long Beach newspaper photographer was arrested for taking pictures of “no aesthetic value.” Ouch.
Long Beach, Calif., police arrested a man for taking a photograph of “no aesthetic value.” Sander Wolff, who takes photos for a local newspaper, was detained after snapping shots of an oil refinery. Police say photography is considered “suspicious activity” if officers determine that it isn’t “regular tourist behavior.”
Maybe he caught the oil refinery’s bad side?

Park's ban sparks scuffle

When Muslim women wearing head scarves aren't allowed on rides, an argument becomes a riot.

Family threatened with £5,000 fine over noises four-year-old son makes in garden

A couple have been threatened with a £5,000 fine following a complaint their little boy is too noisy playing in the garden. Simon and Pippa Lansdell have been sent a letter by Hull City Council warning if further complaints are made about their four-year-old son Alfie, they could be served with a noise abatement notice. They could then be fined up to £5,000 and have to pay a further £500 a day if the noise still doesn’t stop. Mr Lansdell, 35, said: “When I first opened the letter I was shocked, then I was absolutely fuming.

“We are not sure who has made a complaint. The neighbors we have spoken to are absolutely disgusted about it. Alfie can be noisy and boisterous, but he is just a normal 4-year-old playing in the garden. It’s the summer holidays, for goodness sake. Children need to play outside.mI can’t believe the council took this complaint seriously. I think it makes them look very stupid.”

The couple, of the Avenues area in west Hull, were sent the letter by the council’s environmental health team. It states the allegation of “noise nuisance” relates to a “child screaming/playing in garden”. The letter asks the couple to consider if Alfie’s behavior could be a nuisance to others. It reveals if further complaints are made, his behavior could be monitored with digital equipment.

It also states the complainant, who is not identified, has been asked to keep a record of dates and times when Alfie’s playing causes a nuisance. Mr and Mrs Lansdell are warned if Alfie is found to be too noisy, they could be issued with a noise abatement notice. The letter states: “Failure to comply with such a notice can lead on conviction to a fine, not exceeding £5,000, together with a daily fine of up to £500 for each day the nuisance continues”. It also contains advice on how to keep the noise down in different situations, but does not offer any specific advice on dealing with children.

Sword-wielding bicyclist threatened to cut pedestrian in half

A Santa Clara man riding his bike didn't recognize a pedestrian walking in his neighborhood, so he whipped out a sword and threatened to cut him in half, authorities said on Monday. Santa Clara police said they booked 52-year-old Richard Gonzales into county jail on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats after they received a rather odd 911 call just after 2 a.m. on Saturday.

When officers arrived in the residential area of the 2000 block of Jackson Court, near City Hall, a man told investigators a bicyclist had threatened him with a sabre sword, Lt. Matt Hogan said. The sabre is known for its long, curved blade and is used in fencing and during military ceremonies.

As officers were interviewing the victim - who was not hurt - he told them Gonzales had threatened to cut him in half. The officers quickly found Gonzales, recovered the sword and arrested him, Hogan said.

"The victim was simply walking down the street," Hogan said. "The suspect made some threatening comment and armed himself with this rather large sword." The victim and Gonzales did not know each other. "It appears to be an unprovoked, random act," Hogan said. "We're very pleased the officers were there hurriedly and there were no injuries."

Awesome Pictures


The Black Death Strain May be Extinct

black death 
But other forms of the deadly pathogen still plague victims today.

True Colors


Reinventing the paper clip

At 16 times the cost of traditional wire versions, the Klix aims to solve a nagging problem. 

Barbed Wire

From Cowboy Scourge To Prized Relic Of The Old West
Why would anyone pay $500 for a rusty piece of barbed wire? Well, if the 18-inch long specimen is the only known example of a patent from 1907, some folks might pay even more than that. This isn't the stuff you see today by the side of the road, although the design of barbed wire has not changed that much in more than 100 years.

What gets barbed wire collectors excited are scarce examples of wire manufactured from 1874 through the first decade of the 20th century, when barbed wire was a multi-million-dollar business and everyone wanted a piece of the action.



Lollapalooza was 20 Years Ago

Do You Feel Old Yet?
That's right. The first Lollapalooza was held twenty years ago in 1991. Feel old, yet alternative (ironically, now mainstream) rockers?

World's Oldest Person Found Thriving in the Amazon

maria lucimar pereira photo  
Photo courtesy of Survival International
While the Amazon rainforest is certainly known to be teeming with life, it turns out that the people who live there are too. Maria Lucimar Pereira, an indigenous Amazonian belonging to the Kaxinawá tribe of western Brazil, will soon be celebrating her birthday -- her 121st birthday, to be exact. The truth behind Pereira's remarkable longevity was recently discovered by the Brazilian government while performing a routine review of birth records -- which, in her case, date back to 1890 -- making her the world's oldest living person. And the best part of all? Pereira credits her long-life to an all-natural diet derived wholly from the Amazon.
Article continues: World's Oldest Person Found Thriving in the Amazon



Science News

Birds Are Changing Their Tune

great tit 
Because of noise pollution, some birds are forced to sing at higher frequencies making them less attractive.

Ocean Ballet


Bees That Nest in Flowers

Photo: Jerome Rozen / American Museum of Natural History
These sure aren't your ordinary beehives! Behold the nest of the O. avoseta bee, which is made from flower petals:
Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a papier-mache husk surrounding a single egg, protecting it while it develops into an adult bee. [...]
To learn more, the scientists watched the busy mama bees. Building a nest takes a day or two, and the female might create about 10 nests in total, often right next to each other. To begin construction, she bites the petals off of flowers and flies each petal — one by one — back to the nest, a peanut-sized burrow in the ground.
She then shapes the multi-colored petals into a cocoon-like structure, laying one petal on top of the other and occasionally using some nectar as glue. When the outer petal casing is complete, she reinforces the inside with a paper-thin layer of mud, and then another layer of petals, so both the outside and inside are wallpapered — a potpourri of purple, pink and yellow.
NPR's Kathleen Masterson has the fascinating story: here.

Maryland waterman nets purple crab

Queenstown waterman Jake Marzucco told The Star-Democrat of Easton that he recently netted the uniquely colored crab and took photos of it before returning it to the bay.

Animal Pictures