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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.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
There are some situations in which having money is not going to be of any help to you whatsoever. 
Today you'll be unable to buy your way out of an inconvenience, so try to get comfortable and wait a while. Patience is more valuable than anything you have in your wallet right now. 
Be grateful that you're holding on to more of your hard-earned cash -- even if it means that you have to give up some of your precious free time.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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 Oak Ridge, Pinehurst, Aspen, Cedar Rapids and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, September 9, the 252nd day of 2011.
There are 113 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Wonderful Weirdos Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Far-Out Friday

Drunk elk gets stuck in apple tree

A drunken elk desperate for just one more mouthful of fermenting apples lost its balance in the attempt, leaving it stuck in an apple tree in western Sweden. When Per Johansson of Särö, south of Gothenburg, returned home from work on Tuesday it was dark outside and the rain was coming down hard. Suddenly Johansson heard a bellowing noise from the garden next door. “I thought at first that someone was having a laugh. Then I went over to take a look and spotted an elk stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground,” Johansson said. The unfortunate elk was desperately entangled in the tree’s branches and was kicking ferociously as Johansson approached.

“I thought it looked pretty bad so I called the police who sent out an on-call hunter. But while we were waiting, the neighbours and I started to saw down some of the branches and then the hunter arrived with a saw as well,” said Johansson. The group tried to make the elk more comfortable but to no avail. It wasn’t until the fire brigade arrived on the scene and managed to bend the tree to the point where the exhausted elk could slide out of the branches that the animal was finally freed. According to Johansson, it looked very much like the elk was severely drunk after eating too many fermenting apples.

Drunken elk are common in Sweden during the autumn season when there are plenty of apples lying around on the ground and hanging from branches in Swedish gardens. While the greedy animal was reaching ever higher to reach the delicious but intoxicating fruit, it most likely stumbled into the tree, getting itself hopelessly entangled in the branches. And from what Johansson could gather, this particular animal had been on a day-long bender. “My neighbour recognised it as the animal that almost ran into her car earlier in the day. She was pretty sure the elk was already under the influence,“ said Johansson.

When the inebriated elk was freed, it lay for a while on the ground, seemingly unconscious. After emergency services had ascertained that the animal was still alive, Johansson was told to keep an eye on it and call the hunter straight away if it seemed to be suffering. But by the morning the hungover animal had stood up and cautiously moved a few metres away. After a while it went on its way, although Johansson suspects it is still skulking around the neighbourhood. “We often see elk stuffing their faces with apples around here but this is the first time we found one perched in a tree,” he said.

Good Advise


Great misquotations

Terror Threat

A specific but unconfirmed threat of a car bomb plot is being investigated as Sept. 11 nears.
Authorities are on alert following a tip that al-Qaida plans to set off a car bomb near Sept 11.  

Kennedy scorned idea of Johnson as president

President John F. Kennedy openly scorned the notion of Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeding him in office, according to a book of newly released interviews with his widow, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Did you know ...

That 5 repugican candidates propose elimination of capital gains tax, which in reality is a $1 trillion giveaway to the rich.

And while we're at it here's a nice piece debunking the "50% don't pay income taxes" myth - a truly 'dead horse' that the repugicans keep whipping in the hope that some stupid and ignorant fellow asshole will believe their lie(s).

Nazis and Fascists

Two American Nazis in uniform stand in the doorway of their New York City office, on April 1, 1932, when the headquarters opened. "NSDAP" stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, in English, National Socialist German Workers' Party, normally shortened to just "Nazi Party". (AP Photo)

THE ATLANTIC has a fine collection of photos of the run-up to WW2, as well as pictures of the war as time passed. Some you may have seen, but there appear to be a lot of new images.
World War II is the story of the 20th Century. The war officially lasted from 1939 until 1945, but the causes of the conflict and its horrible aftermath reverberated for decades in either direction. While feats of bravery and technological breakthroughs still inspire awe today, the majority of the war was dominated by unimaginable misery and destruction. In the late 1930s, the world's population was approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the nations of the Axis Powers and the Allies resulted in some 80 million deaths -- killing off about 4 percent of the whole world.

In Spain, loyalist soldiers teach target practice to women who are learning to defend the city of Barcelona against fascist rebel troops of general Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, on June 2, 1937. (AP Photo)

Mexican navy dismantles Zeta communication system

The Mexican navy dismantled a telecommunications system set up by the Zetas drug cartel in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and arrested 80 people, including six police officers, officials announced Thursday.

Man posts photos with robbery loot on Facebook

From the "He's a blooming idiot" Department:

An old roommate worked in a mall photo lab (remember those?) and used to frequently see photos of young men posing with big spreads of contraband -- drugs, guns, piles of money, jewelry. I was reminded of that when I read about the arrest of this gentleman, Jesse Hippolite, aka "Willie Sutton Jr.," who posted photos on Facebook of himself with what's likely bank robbery loot. He also was pictured gripping bottles of reportedly "expensive" champagne. From Gather:
 Wp-Content Uploads 2011 09 Dr Teg Tsg Release Sites Default Files Imagecache 175Xunlimited Photos Williesuttonjrfront Following the July 1 robbery of a Chase branch, a bank employee gave investigators a partial license plate of the getaway car used by the robber. In short order, agents traced the vehicle to a friend of Hippolite’s, and discovered that the two men had been arrested together last year for jumping a subway turnstile. Agents began monitoring Hippolite’s Facebook page and discovered what appeared to be incriminating photos and postings. For example, shortly before the July 1 bank robbery, Hippolite wrote, “I Gotta Get That $$$$$ Man!!!!” In another posting, Hippolite succinctly notes, “Crime pays my bills!”

Catch - 22


Debt hobbles older Americans

Many in their 60s must make painful readjustments due to mortgages and credit-card bills.  

Extreme workout routine

The barbell may seem too light when you start the routine, but you'll quickly see how challenging it is.  

Why You Should Toss Productivity Out the Window

Want to be more productive? Don't.

That's the advice from Leo Babauta, which is striking because his blog Zen Habits has been one of the top self-improvement blogs who used to dispense tips on how to be more productive!
Leo explains:
For at least a couple of years, Zen Habits was one of the top productivity blogs, dispensing productivity crack for a nominal fee (your reading time).
I’d like to think I helped people move closer to their dreams, but today I have different advice:
Toss productivity advice out the window.
Most of it is well-meaning, but the advice is wrong for a simple reason: it’s meant to squeeze the most productivity out of every day, instead of making your days better.
Imagine instead of cranking out a lot of widgets, you made space for what’s important. Imagine that you worked slower instead of faster, and enjoyed your work. Imagine a world where people matter more than profits.
Leo lists 7 productivity booster tips that you should toss out: here.

Reverse Placebo

People Wrongly Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Go Senile
Psychologists in the Netherlands have documented the case of a 58-year-old woman who was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her condition deteriorated to the point where she became permanently confused, and at one point suicidal — before another doctor realized the diagnosis was incorrect.
What happens to people who are wrongly diagnosed with having cognitive difficulties? It turns out that even if your brain is perfectly healthy, you’ll start having more problems with concentration.


A cowboy rode into town and stopped at the saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on newcomers. When he finished, he found his horse had been stolen.

He comes back into the bar, handily flips his gun into the air, catches it above his head without even looking and fires a shot into the ceiling. "Who stole my horse?" he yelled with surprising forcefulness.

No one answered.

"I'm gonna have another beer and if my horse ain't back outside by the time I'm finished, I'm gonna do what I dun back in Texas and I don't want to have to do what I dun back in Texas!"

Some of the locals shifted restlessly.

He had another beer, walked outside, and his horse was back! He saddled up and started to ride out of town.

The bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, "Say partner, what happened in Texas?"

The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home!"

Epic architectural blunders

A design flaw caused the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to collapse four months after completion.

One man blamed for blackout

Officials are unsure how a worker fixing equipment accidentally triggered the outage

Amazing pools for the public

The Bondi Baths in Sydney, Australia, overlooks the Tasman Sea where it gets its water. 

Hollywood Rules

It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts: your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one, dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

Honest and hard-working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

All beds have special L-shaped sheets that reach the armpit level of a woman, but only the waist level of the man lying beside her.

At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

All grocery bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least a half-hour to escape.

You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off, but luckily you’ll always blindly choose to cut the right wire.

A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

Awesome Pictures


Billionaire's island for sale

The 292-acre island north of Seattle has a house, airstrip, and boat dock, but no electricity.  

The 200 Million Dollar Ghost Town

New Mexico, home to several premier scientific, nuclear and military institutions, is planning to take part in an unprecedented science project - a 20-square-mile model of a small U.S. city. A Washington, D.C.-based technology company, Pegasus Global Holdings, announced plans to build the state's newest ghost town to test everything from renewable energy innovations to intelligent traffic systems, next-generation wireless networks and smart-grid cyber security systems.

Although no one will live there, the replica city will be modeled after a typical American town of 35,000 people, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new.

The Ruins Of Detroit


Up and down Detroit's streets, buildings stand abandoned and in ruin. French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre set out to document the decline of an American city.

The Moeraki Boulders

Strangely Round Rocks of "Unknown Origin"

Well, saying "unknown origin" is an obvious exaggeration, since it is widely assumed that they must be sedimentary concretions, and were created by cementation of mud stone, coastal erosion, time and elements, just like any other unusual rock formation.

Yet their bizarre cracked shells, often perfectly spherical shape and unexpected locations remain largely unexplained and keeps them regarded as a "geological mystery". Not to mention other theories: are they fossils? alien eggs? weird energy storage devices from a crashed alien ship? Some even say that they are the... Great Balls of Fire (that fell down on Earth in biblical times).

Best astronomy photos

Image from this year's competition
Some truly awe-inspiring photographs made it into this year's final – but which one is your favorite? 

Unbelievable Saturn photo

Not science fiction, this image of the ringed planet from NASA's Cassini orbiter is oh so real. 



Healthy Living

20 healthiest foods for under $1
10 goals you need to track
Is feeling hungry good for you?

Culinary DeLites

One diner sparks a chain reaction of kindness
America's 10 best apple-picking spots
10 quick, healthy lunches
Taste test: Is Mexican Coke better?

Scary food safety violations at Wrigley Field

A staggering 57 percent of the park’s concession stands earned an F from health inspectors.

Hungry In Texas

A new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows household hunger remained steady from 2009 to 2010, but worsened in Texas during the years the state has been hailed as a model for weathering the economic downturn.
Built on a measure called “food insecurity,” the study was based on a survey of 45,000 households during the 2010 census, and found 14.5 percent of households had difficulty meeting their food needs — a statistic that was “essentially unchanged” from 2009, according to the agency. Last year saw a decline in the proportion of households with “severe” food insecurity across the country, too.
“In Texas, however, the three-year average food insecurity rate did increase, from 17.4 percent in 2007-2009 to the current rate of 18.8 percent in 2008-2010, according to the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities.
The only higher figure was in Mississippi, at 19.4%.
Texas and Mississippi are tied for the highest proportion of minimum wage workers, too.

Farming Like the Incas

The Inca civilization grew a variety of crops in the Andes Mountains, despite the rough terrain and scant rainfall, using sophisticated agricultural methods developed over centuries. Those methods faded away when the conquistadors took over, partly because so many Incas died of war and disease, and also because the invaders insisted on doing things their own way. But the hillside terraces and irrigation systems used by ancient Incas were the most efficient way to grow crops in the Andes.
The terraces leveled the planting area, but they also had several unexpected advantages, Kendall discovered. The stone retaining walls heat up during the day and slowly release that heat to the soil as temperatures plunge at night, keeping sensitive plant roots warm during the sometimes frosty nights and expanding the growing season. And the terraces are extremely efficient at conserving scarce water from rain or irrigation canals, says Kendall. “We’ve excavated terraces, for example, six months after they’ve been irrigated, and they’re still damp inside. So if you have drought, they’re the best possible mechanism.” If the soil weren’t mixed with gravel, points out Kendall, “when it rained the water would log inside, and the soil would expand and it would push out the wall.” Kendall says that the Incan terraces are even today probably the most sophisticated in the world, as they build on knowledge developed over about 11,000 years of farming in the region.
The rainfall is still scant and the hills are still steep, and there is renewed interest in employing the ancient and diversified crops and the traditional ways of farming in the Andes. Read all about it at Smithsonian.

Random Photos


Game-changer in evolution

An accidental find by a child leads to a major shakeup in long-standing theories about human evolution.  



Croatia's Rich Underground World at Risk from Dam

cave lake croatia dinaric arc photo
A lake in a small cave, Bakar, Croatia, Dinaric Arc.  
Photo: Whitley Fund for Nature.
Spiders, scorpions, millipedes, and a pale, eyeless salamander are unlikely poster animals for a conservation campaign, but plans to wash away their habitat in the Balkans risk destroying some of the richest -- and most ancient -- cave fauna in the world. Their threatened subterranean environment is so little-explored that an acclaimed biologist working in the caves has said she usually finds a new life form on each research trip below ground.
Article continues: Croatia's Rich Underground World at Risk from Dam

Dolphins beat swim champ in race-off

Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini once ruled the pool in the 100 meter freestyle, but on Thursday he met his match dolphin-style.

The captain of the national swimming team raced a pair of dolphins - King, 19 years old, and Leah, nine-years old - at a specially arranged event in a swimming pool in Torvaianica, about 30 miles south of Rome.

Animal Pictures