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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.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The ideas in your head are more interesting to the people around you than you might realize, so get them out there into the world, and see what kind of inspiration you can create. 
The wonderful thing about ideas is that they can build upon each other -- your thoughts create someone else's thoughts, and before you know it, a whole new invention has been created! 
You might not be there to see the result of your inspiration, but you should share your thoughts anyway.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Morini, Morini, Comoros
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Tranbjerg, Arhus, Denmark
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Marburg, Hessen, Germany
Sri Aman, Sarawak, Malaysia
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Naestvad, Storsto

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:
Swap Ideas Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday September 10, 2011
This weekend, we’re coming together, as one nation, to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  We’re remembering the lives we lost—nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children.  We’re reaffirming our commitment to always keep faith with their families.
We’re honoring the heroism of first responders who risked their lives—and gave their lives—to save others.  And we’re giving thanks to all who serve on our behalf, especially our troops and military families—our extraordinary 9/11 Generation.
At the same time, even as we reflect on a difficult decade, we must look forward, to the future we will build together.  That includes staying strong and confident in the face of any threat.  And thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals—there should be no doubt.  Today, America is stronger and al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.
We’ve taken the fight to al Qaeda like never before.  Over the past two and a half years, more senior al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated than at any time since 9/11.  And thanks to the remarkable courage and precision of our forces, we finally delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.
We’ve strengthened the partnerships and tools we need to prevail in this war against al Qaeda—working closer with allies and partners; reforming intelligence to better detect and disrupt plots; investing in our Special Forces so terrorists have no safe haven.
We’re constantly working to improve the security of our homeland as well—at our airports, ports and borders; enhancing aviation security and screening; increasing support for our first responders; and working closer than ever with states, cities and communities.
A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see—the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values.  
They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear.  Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake—they will keep trying to hit us again.  But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant.  We’re doing everything in our power to protect our people.  And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.
They wanted to draw us in to endless wars, sapping our strength and confidence as a nation.  But even as we put relentless pressure on al Qaeda, we’re ending the war in Iraq and beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.  Because after a hard decade of war, it is time for nation building here at home.
They wanted to deprive us of the unity that defines us as a people.  But we will not succumb to division or suspicion. We are Americans, and we are stronger and safer when we stay true to the values, freedoms and diversity that make us unique among nations.
And they wanted to undermine our place in the world.  But a decade later, we’ve shown that America doesn’t hunker down and hide behind walls of mistrust.  We’ve forged new partnerships with nations around the world to meet the global challenges that no nation can face alone.  And across the Middle East and North Africa a new generation of citizens is showing that the future belongs to those that want to build, not destroy.  
Ten years ago, ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells, into those flames, into that cockpit.  In the decade since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe.  In their memory, in their name, we will never waver.  We will protect the country we love and pass it safer, stronger and more prosperous to the next generation.

Super Saturday

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Random Celebrity Photo


"Obama’s jobs bill: A reasonable plan"

Justin Wolfers at Freakonomics:
All told, it’s a very real plan and very specific. None of this is magic: Government gets more active when the market fails, and we pay it back when the market booms. This is all standard economics. There’s no gold-buggery, voodoo austerity or laughable Laffer-y. Obama’s not making up economics, he’s using simple tools to solve the obvious problems. And with long-term real interest rates close to zero, there’s no risk of this crowding out private investment.
As for the politics: Ask a political scientist. But I wouldn’t want to have to explain a vote against this to my constituents, who are mad as hell about unemployment.

On The Job

Everybody knows you shouldn't mix beer with your business.

But in Springfield, the business of beer is creating jobs across the city.

What People Don't Get About My Job

From A(rmy Soldier) to Z(ookeeper)
I’m a librarian, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people provide wildly inaccurate descriptions of what we do. This is a common experience in many professions, so Derek Thompson of The Atlantic asked people in twenty-six professions, one for each letter of the alphabet, what laypeople don’t understand about their jobs. Thompson’s interviews included opera singers, graphic designers, and quiz masters. Here’s what a soldier in the US Army had to say:
The thing that surprises people is that some of the most free-thinking people in the United States are in the US Army. The problems that we have to contend with require innovative solutions and given the breadth of educational backgrounds of Army Officers, you find some incredibly adaptive people. Deployments and combat result in an environment where evolution is sped up by a million and those that cannot adapt fail. As long as basic forms are obeyed, you find that most leaders actively encourage free thinking within their ranks. To be sure, we have our share of intellectual dullards and buffoons but the reality is that the more time you spend with Soldiers, the more you begin to realize how vibrant, adaptive and broad they are in their thoughts.

Union Spokesman Says Strip Club Abuse And Embezzlement Is Nothing Compared To Wall Street's

NJ carpenter's union manager Shawn Clark [pictured] spent $50,000 at a strip club over 7 years, according to a Bloomberg report.

He embezzled $85,000 of the local's money and charged his union credit card at 14 strip clubs.

Clark is one of the 1,608 union members to be convicted of misusing union money over the past 10 years. These convicts have had to pay about $30 million since 2007 for financial crimes.

In response to criticism about the abuse, a spokesman for the unions said that these thefts are still a pittance in comparison with those perpetrated by Bernie Madoff—who stole an estimated $19 billion from investors.

“Look at embezzlement cases like Bernie Madoff," said AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein.

"The percentage for unions, if you compare to Wall Street, pales in comparison.”

So does the punishment. Clark will spend 28 months in prison. Madoff will likely spend the rest of his life in the can, after being sentenced to 150 years.

The old table cloth trick

Well done ... almost!

Two terror threat suspects may be US citizens

At least two of the three men involved in a possible al-Qaida plot to pull off an attack coinciding with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 are believed to be U.S. citizens or have U.S. traveling documents, government officials said.

U.S. Mint Cop Stole $2.4M in Coins

A former federal cop assigned to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia admitted stealing $2.4 million in "error" coins.

Man asked permission to dump body in neighbor's trash can

Tacoma police say a man suspected of dumping a body in a bin asked his neighbors for permission before placing the corpse in the receptacle. Police spokesman officer Mark Fulghum says after the 20-year-old suspect talked to his neighbors, they went to the bin in the 500 block of East 36th Street and saw the victim's body. Fulghum says the couple left the area, spotted two gang unit officers nearby and told them about the body and their neighbor's request to use the bin to dispose of it.

As the officers were investigating, the suspect walked out of a nearby residence and was taken into custody. A woman who asked not to be named or show her face out of fear of repercussions said her next-door neighbor came to her home and asked her to help him dispose of a body. "(He asked) if we would help him, that he just killed somebody and there was a dead body in his house, and if we would help him dispose of the body in the bin in the alley," she said. "He was really calm and laughing about it, so we thought it was a joke at first."

The woman said her friend found the body in her bin a short time later, when she said the suspect opened the lid as she was waiting to put some rubbish inside. "He lifted the lid and that's when she saw the body in there ," the woman said of her friend. "(He said) 'What do you think of this?' I think it's absolutely bizarre." Fulghum says the suspect admitted putting the dead man in the bin, but has given three or four different versions about what happened.

"He's given a few different variations of what took place," Fulghum said. "So right now, we've got to sort out those and match the evidence and get the true story." The Pierce County medical examiner is performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Fulghum says the victim's identification has not been confirmed yet. The suspect has been booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of murder.

Egyptians break into Israel Embassy in Cairo

A group of about 30 protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped hundreds of documents out of the windows after a day of demonstrations outside the building in which crowds swinging sledge hammers and using their bare hands tore apart the embassy 's security wall.

It's a Blond World

Two blondes were walking down the road and the first blonde said, "Look at that dog with one eye!"

The other blonde covers one of her eyes and says, "Where?"

The most unexpected tourist attractions

Statue of Liberty
You might be surprised to learn there is an Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas and Statue of Liberty in Leicester.
  'Out of place'

Perfect fall getaways

Cooler weather and cheap flights are just two reasons to slip away to Las Vegas this fall.  

Smell Like A Marine

The U.S. military is starting to make branded products. For example you can buy this for $26: US MARINES CORPS by Parfumologie for MEN: DEVIL DOG COLOGNE SPRAY.
Fragrance Notes: lime, agarwood, vanilla, cedar, mint accords, citrus, ozonic accord, orange, sugar, sandalwood
marine spray
If you prefer to smell like a sailor, this one is only $22.19: US NAVY by Parfumologie for MEN: LIBERTY COLOGNE SPRAY.
Fragrance Notes: moss, aquatic notes, cucumber, musks, aloe, melon
More about this trend here: Military branches have entered the retail market.

Photo of Robert E. Lee fetches $23K for charity

A Goodwill worker who spotted a photograph of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has helped the charity make $23,000 in an online auction.

Awesome Pictures


Everglades Oil: What's to Drill?

Everglades development
Presidential candidates are raising it, but in fact, nine wells have been pumping oil from a small section of the Everglades since the 1940s  

The UK’s Top 10 Navigable Aqueducts

It would have never occurred to me to take a ride in an aqueduct, but now I want to! Before railroads, before highways, Britain built many elevated waterways to transport cargo from place to place. Many are still there, and they are fascinating. Shown is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open for tourist traffic.
See ten such UK aqueducts at WebUrbanist.

How Big Are Solar Flares?

A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 × 1025 joules of energy (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second). The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona into space. These clouds typically reach the earth a day or two after the event.
But exactly how big are these solar flares? An eye opening perspective.

Frozen Food Maker Invited Bloggers to Fake Dinner, Hilarity Ensued

Do you remember the publicity stunt where diners were pleasantly surprised that the gourmet meal they thought they ate turned out to be Pizza Hut pasta?
Well, ConAgra tried to generate online buzz by inviting food bloggers to fancy dinner, then recording them with hidden cameras when they were served frozen lasagna and dessert ... needless to say, the food giant got something they didn't bargain for:
But while consumers tend to laugh along with the ruse, ConAgra was about to learn that bloggers, who often see themselves as truth-seeking journalists, find the switcheroo less amusing, especially when it entails them misleading their readers beforehand.
“Our entire meal was a SHAM!” wrote Suzanne Chan, founder of Mom Confessionals, in a blog post after the event. “We were unwilling participants in a bait-and-switch for Marie Callender’s new frozen three cheese lasagna and there were cameras watching our reactions.”
So ConAgra did get online buzz, as this NY Times article by Andrew Adam Newman wrote. Just not the kind of buzz they were hoping to get!
Full Story | Read more at Suzanne's blog

Lifespan of Links on the Web

Image: Hilary Mason
How long do links on the Web live? URL shortening service Bit.ly charted the average lifespan of 1,000 popular links on its website and found that most links shared online don't live very long. Indeed, people stop clicking them after about 3 hours (if a news-related link, then after just 5 minutes):
The research found that links across all genres, from comedy to news, follow the same pattern, receiving an initial burst of attention, which quickly peaks, and then the link essentially dies. [...]
Hilary Mason, Bit.ly’s lead scientist, found that links have different lifespans if they are posted on Facebook and Twitter or sent through e-mail or chat clients. After analyzing 1,000 popular links shared on bit.ly, Ms. Mason discovered that the average half life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours. On Facebook it’s 3.2 hours, and for e-mail and messenger services it’s 3.4 hours. This means a link gets an extra 24 minutes of life on Facebook compared to Twitter.
But not all links are created equal, as Ms. Mason notes. Links shared from YouTube hit their half life after 7.4 hours. “As clickers, we remain interested in links on YouTube for a much longer period of time,” Ms. Mason writes.

Hacked TV Remote Control Auto-Mutes Snooki

Matt Richardson has developed a deep loathing for certain celebrities and hates to hear them speak in any context. So he’s hacked his TV remote to automatically mute the volume whenever certain words appear in the closed captioning system:
Richardson combined a couple of Arduino circuit boards with an infrared LED light — that little red bubble on the front of your TV remote — and programmed the whole thing to interact with a TV’s closed-captioning system.
The DIY gadget reads the closed-captioning transcript as it’s aired and then automatically mutes the television for 30 seconds when it picks up certain words.[...]
As long as that person’s name keeps coming up, the remote keeps muting the TV. The first time he got it to work, Richardson said he “was in silent bliss for that 30 seconds I didn’t have to hear about Kim Kardashian.”
So, when is this wonderful invention going to be available for the rest of us?
Soon! Please!

Science Explains Couch Potatoes

Attention, lazy bones! Are you a couch potato? Well, don't just sit there, do nothing ... and tell the world it's not your fault. Instead, blame your parents for giving you bad genes:
You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but McMaster University researchers have discovered it may be you are missing key genes.
The researchers made their unexpected finding while working with healthy, specially-bred mice, some of which had two genes in muscle essential for exercise removed. The genes control the protein AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that is switched on when you exercise.
"Mice love to run," said Gregory Steinberg, associate professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Obesity.
"While the normal mice could run for miles, those without the genes in their muscle could only run the same distance as down the hall and back. It was remarkable. The mice looked identical to their brothers or sisters but within seconds we knew which ones had the genes and which one didn't."



La Niña ... She's Back

La Niña, which influenced a rash of extreme weather across the globe over the past year, has re-developed and is forecast to strengthen into the upcoming winter.

Texas, Summer 2011: Officially the Hottest in U.S. History

Yes, yes, you know it's been hot and fiery and dry down there, and every subsequent news report you read only tells you things are getting worse. This one will be no different: Texas has officially experienced the hottest summer in recorded US history. The drought that stretched throughout the Dust Bowl may have been longer (we'll see, we'll see!), but this summer was hotter.
Texas is inching toward resembling hell right now, and least because a raving, science-denying religious zealot runs the place. No, the physical kind of hell. And at the risk of blowing a capillary whilst pounding the words onto this blogging software one more time: IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE as climate change advances.

Researchers predict extreme summertime temperatures to become a regular occurrence

In an article in the current issue of the journal Climatic Change Letters, Boston University researchers have estimated the impact near-term increases in global-mean temperatures will have on summertime temperatures ...

Invisible world discovered

Usually, running five minutes late is a bad thing since you might lose your dinner reservation or miss out on tickets to the latest show. But when a planet runs ...
Full Story



Critters on Ocean Floor Communicating in Synchronized Rumbles

Understanding animal communication has long been a fascinating and vast area of research for those who dare to welcome the challenge. Some species use body language to express their message ...
Full Story

Even dogs get nervous visiting the doctor

The “white-coat effect” is not reserved for only the human patients who see their blood pressure rise in response to the stress of a doctor visit. In a new study ...
Full Story

Dinosaur-Era Shark Nursery Found

In its heyday (230 million years ago), the nursery was home to two types of sharks who spawned in freshwater.  

Tiger 'love triangle' tragedy

A female tiger kills her mate at a Texas zoo in an attack apparently motivated by jealousy.  

Male Shrimp Woos and Scares With Rap

Male Shrimp Woos and Scares With Rap
Mantis shrimp have their own unique voices, with males teaming up in groups of three to either attract females or frighten off enemies.  

Fish's Day Nearly Twice as Long as Ours

For most animals, we live an approximately 24-hour cycle and synchronize our circadian rhythm to day and night. Even in the deep dark depths of the ocean, fish who cannot see still have bodily reactions to light. However, the Phreatichthys andruzzi is the first creature known to have no sensitivity to light at all, with a body clock running an extreme 47 hours.
The cavefish, Phreatichthys andruzzii, has evolved for nearly two million years in the isolated darkness of caves beneath the Somalian desert.

Professor Nick Foulkes, of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, said that this particular species was chosen “because it was such an extreme example, having been isolated from a day-night cycle for so long”.

In the course of its evolution it has lost its eyes, colouration and scales, having no need for them in the pitch-black of an underground cave system.
Regular feeding shows, however, that the fish will adjust its circadium rhythm for food.

Animal Pictures