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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, September 14, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
When a new person enters your life today, ask some thorough questions -- you need to get some details in order to understand with whom you're dealing. 
Don't think of this as an attempt to catch this person in a lie or to uncover some deep, dark secret. 
You don't have to turn the conversation into an interrogation -- keep it light and friendly. 
This person will, in fact, be flattered by your intense interest -- and may turn the tables with some pointed questions for you to answer.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bitburg, Rheinland-Pflaz, Germany
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
London, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Heildelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Versailles, Ile-De-France, France
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

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 Anaheim, Brooklyn, Fitchburg, Herndon and more.

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, September 14, the 257th day of 2011.
There are 108 days left in the year.

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

Non Sequitur


Wondrous Wednesday

Gullfoss in Iceland

Gullfoss in September
The two-tiered waterfall drops about 105 feet into the Hvita River in south Iceland. On average, water flows through Gullfoss at a rate of about 29,000 gallons per second. Heavy flooding has produced as much as 530,000 gallons per second. For comparison, American and Bridal Veil Falls at Niagara Falls flow at an average rate of about 76,000 gallons per second. 

Did Early Americans Have A British Accent?

Have you ever wondered if George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Hancock and the rest of the Founding Fathers spoke with a British accent? It would make sense, after all, they were originally members of the English colonies.
As it turns out though, Americans these days speak with an accent closer to the British of that time than modern English people do. While dialects vary throughout both countries, the accents in England have changed a lot more than they have in America.

It's a Blond World

A police officer saw a blond down on her knees under a streetlight.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"I dropped my ring and I'm looking for it," replied the blond.

After helping the woman look for her ring, the officer thought to ask,

"Are you sure you dropped it right right here?"

"No," she responded, "I dropped it about two blocks away."

"Then why the heck are we looking for it here?" asked the agitated officer.

"Because the light's better here," said the blond.

"The Speech"

"The Speech" from The Great Dictator starring Charlie Chaplin.
What was said in 1940 is true today.
Even more so because of the repugicans

The 'tea party' debate slammed

Pundits question the network's debate team-up with the right-wing movement.  

Do Zombies and Vampires Vote?

While I always though vampires were kind of cool, I find zombies to be a lot scarier. As it turns out, it might just be because I’m a bit liberal. According to this graph, more zombie stories are released when repugicans are in office and more vampire tales come out when Democrats are in power. If you’re wondering why one political viewpoint would fear either creature more than the other, then this Cracked article can fill you in on the psychological aspects.

Stoned Vote

A woman who operates a medicinal marijuana clinic in Lansing, Mich., has been charged with breaking the state's election law after officials said she doled out free marijuana to those who registered to vote.



Cities with happy workers

Employees in these 10 locales think their careers are starting off well. 

TSA workers trafficked Oxycontin for cash while defending America from terrorists

Your tax dollars at work: "Transportation Security Administration officers worked with police from New York and Florida to ship tens of thousands of oxycodone pills to New York and Connecticut, federal and local police said Tuesday."

Philadelphia Woman Loses Job after Donating Kidney to Son

A Philadelphia woman says she lost her job after taking off time to donate a kidney to her son.

In West Virginia, “Wi-fi refugees” seek shelter from electromagnetic oppression

The BBC reports on the phenomenon of people who claim to have been made sick by wi-fi and mobile phones, and now seek refuge in Green Bank, West Virginia. This town is situated in the US Radio Quiet Zone, where there is no wireless allowed within a 13,000 square mile range to prevent interference with a number of major radio telescopes. Some of those "listening points" are part of the US government's spy network. It's easy to mock the Wi-Fi refugees, as science does not support their claim that wireless waves are harmful to health. But the notion of living in a "quiet zone" sounds quaintly comforting. Snip:
There are five billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide and advances in wireless technology make it increasingly difficult to escape the influence of mobile devices. But while most Americans seem to embrace continuous connectivity, some believe it's making them physically ill. Diane Schou is unable to hold back the tears as she describes how she once lived in a shielded cage to protect her from the electromagnetic radiation caused by waves from wireless communication.
"It's a horrible thing to have to be a prisoner," she says. "You become a technological leper because you can't be around people.
"It's not that you would be contagious to them - it's what they're carrying that is harmful to you."
Ms Schou is one of an estimated 5% of Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they say is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields typically created by mobile phones, wi-fi and other electronic equipment.

SpongeBob SquarePants Rotting Your Kid's Brain

Maybe, according to a new study, that found kids perform poorly at certain tasks after watching fast-paced cartoons:
Lillard and Peterson randomly assigned 60 4-year-olds to three groups: one that watched nine minutes of a fast-paced, "very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea;" one that watched nine minutes of slower-paced programming from a PBS show "about a typical U.S. preschool-aged boy;" and a third group that was asked to draw for nine minutes with markers and crayons.
Immediately after their viewing and drawing tasks were complete, the kids were asked to perform four tests to assess executive function. Unfortunately for the denizens of Bikini Bottom, the kids who watched nine minutes of the frenetic high jinks of the "animated sponge" scored significantly worse than the other kids.



Are You As Fit As a World War II GI?

The Art of Manliness posted the physical fitness requirements and testing process used in the U.S. Army during World War II.
The Army first introduced a formal fitness test to the troops in 1942. Millions of men were being called up to fight in World War II, and not all of them were prepared for the rigors of combat. To get the men in fighting shape, the Army implemented a systematic physical development program as part of the Combat Basic Training course. And the Army Ground Forces Test was designed to assess whether the program was having its desired effect. The test included squat jumps, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, and a 300 yard run. The emphasis was on functional fitness and giving American GI’s the strength, mobility, and endurance they would need to tackle real tasks on the battlefield.
In 1946, a Physical Training School was created at Fort Bragg with the mission of exploring how to take the goal of functional fitness farther. The training program developed at the school and the fitness test were codified in the 1946 edition of FM 21-20, the Army’s physical training manual.
Basically, Grandpa was doing Cross-Fit before it was cool.
The physical fitness standards for service members has been relaxed since then, and more emphasis is placed on technical skills. Take a look at the fitness testing done in the 1940s, and see how tired you get just reading it. Or -you may want to try and see how well you would do!

Overcoming Selection Bias

During World War II, the Royal Air Force asked Abraham Wald, a statistician, to help decide where armor should be added to the UK’s bombers. The RAF gave Wald information about which parts of its planes were typically hit. Wald’s response was simple, brilliant, and surprising: armor the spots that hadn’t been hit by German fire. Why?
This seems backward at first, but Wald realized his data came from bombers that survived. That is, the British were only able to analyze the bombers that returned to England; those that were shot down over enemy territory were not part of their sample. These bombers’ wounds showed where they could afford to be hit. Said another way, the undamaged areas on the survivors showed where the lost planes must have been hit because the planes hit in those areas did not return from their missions.
Wald assumed that the bullets were fired randomly, that no one could accurately aim for a particular part of the bomber. Instead they aimed in the general direction of the plane and sometimes got lucky. So, for example, if Wald saw that more bombers in his sample had bullet holes in the middle of the wings, he did not conclude that Nazis liked to aim for the middle of wings. He assumed that there must have been about as many bombers with bullet holes in every other part of the plane but that those with holes elsewhere were not part of his sample because they had been shot down.

Life used to be interesting ...


Hot new hotels opening soon

One revamped property has hosted guests such as Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy.  

Corpse Hotel

A corpse hotel in Japan is proving a big success as bereaved relatives flock to check in deceased loved ones during the wait for busy crematoriums.

Things That Always Happen in Movies, But Never Ever in Real Life

Paul Tassi at Unreality magazine illustrated a long list of things suggested in a reddit thread that happen over and over in movies, but never in real life. So if one of these things happen to you, you must be in a movie. Full Story

Pacific Islands to be Powered 100% by Coconuts, Sun

In the 1960's sitcom Gilligan's Island, it seemed there was nothing resident smarty-pants 'The Professor' couldn't do with a simple coconut and a bit of know-how -- except maybe craft a boat to actually make it off their desert isle. But now, in similarly inventive fashion, officials on the tiny South Pacific islands of Tokelau are planning to power their territory entirely by sustainable means, with sunlight and coconut oil -- two things the island has plenty of -- by this time next year.
Article continues: Pacific Islands to be Powered 100% by Coconuts, Sun

Awesome Pictures


Scary household products

Oil-based paints are an obvious health hazard, but household cleaners can be dangerous, too

Manage your life

How to keep up your self-esteem while job searching

Is Mexican Coke really tastier?

Many soda fans think Coca-Cola tastes better when it has real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Healthy Living

Do you really need to cut out salt?
Bad news for soda drinkers: sugar is the new fat

Culinary DeLites

10 amazing bacon recipes
Rachael Ray's healthy lunches come to your school
4 myths about kitchen knives that can hurt you
Bizarre pizza toppings (that are actually delicious!)

Dried spices that are worthless

The dried versions of these herbs can't begin to replace the flavor of their fresh counterparts. 



Perplexing optical illusion

The "green" and "blue" colors in this spiral are exactly the same.

Amazing nature photos

An aerial shot of Alaska's Ruth Glacier looks more computer-generated than real. 

Warning on warming oceans

Scientists say warmer waters cause the proliferation of bacteria that can promote serious illness.  

Redwood Memory


The Loneliest Plant In The World


One day in 1895, while walking through the Ngoya Forest in Zululand, southern Africa, botanist John Medley Wood caught sight of a tree. It sat on a steep slope at the edge of the woods and looked different from the other trees, with its thick multiple trunks and what seemed like a splay of palm fronds on top. Dr. Wood had some of the stems pulled up, removed, and sent one of them to London.

That little tree stem was then put in a box and left in the Palm House at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. It sat there, alone, for the next 98 years.



Five Incredibly Useful Pests

No one wants to come out of a lake or river covered in leeches and if your doctor pulls them out, you probably ought to run away as fast as you can…that is, unless you have arthritis. As it turns out, they can be particularly useful in those cases:
Slap four leeches on your knee and after 80 minutes, the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis melts away. Of the 16 patients in the trial, the 10 who received leech therapy felt instant relief after application, and the comfort lasted for four weeks. The control patients continued experiencing pain. Researchers claim the leeches’ saliva works as an anti-inflammatory.
Learn about more pests-turned pros here.

Talking Wild Birds Freak Out Aussies

Entire flocks of Australian wild birds are learning to speak -- and freaking out residents of suburban Sydney.

Animal Pictures