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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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
There is a lot to be discovered just beyond your normal periphery today, so let your curiosity lead you. 
Take time to go the long way and explore all the nooks and crannies. 
You will be intrigued and entertained -- and probably educated more than you anticipated. 
The day is like a giant jigsaw puzzle; it's just waiting for you to sift through the pieces and put it all together. 
Search the world with an open mind today, and every surprise you find will be a happy one.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
London, England, United Kingdom
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Wuppertal, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Port Louis, Port Louis, Mauritius
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Debrecen, Hajdu-Bihar, Hungary
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Morini, Morini, Comoros
Groningen, Groningen, netherlands
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Bitburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

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 South Point, Westfield, Southgate, High Point  and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, September 19, the 262nd day of 2011.
There are 103 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Manic Monday


It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast, me hearties! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur an' Mark Summers o' Albany, Oregon, USA, who proclaimed September 19th each voyage as th' tide when sea dogs an' land lubbers in th' world ortin' ta talk like a gentleman o' fortune. Arrrr!
Here's George Harrison doing his pirate thing ...

Foo Fighters Seranade Westboro Wankers

Foo Fighters Seranade Westboro W@#kers
The tables were turned on the Westboro baptist cult when the Foo Fighters serenaded the picketers before the band's concert at the Sprint Center Friday night. The band wore the costumes they used in their recent parody video "Hot Buns" , and mocked the protesters who are known for their anti-homosexual views.
Lyrics in Foo Fighters song taunted the church's views, saying "Driving all night, got a hankering for something/Think I'm in the mood for some hot-man muffins/Mmmm, sounds so fine, yes indeed."

And here's the Foo Fighters own video of their Keepin' It Clean serenade to the cultists:
Note that the expletives that might have been used in the song, hence the muting of portions of the accompanying video mentioned in the news article above were not in the song but were from the foul-mouthed cultists.

So, I’m stuck in a traffic jam …

Traffic jamNothing is moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on my window. I roll down the window and ask, “What’s going on?”

He says “Terrorists have kidnapped Congress, and are asking for a $10 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection.”

“How much is everyone giving, on average?” I ask.

The man replies, “About a gallon.”

That about sums it up ...


Historic plan back in court

Half a century after the military escorted black students to school in Little Rock, a new challenge arises.  

The Secret to Classic Children's Books

What do Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein have in common? Yes, they all wrote bestselling children’s stories and they all have new books coming out soon, but the secret to their success is that their writing was once considered inappropriate for children!
Once upon a more staid time, the purpose of children’s books was to model good behavior. They were meant to edify and to encourage young readers to be what parents wanted them to be, and the children in their pages were well behaved, properly attired and devoid of tears. Children’s literature was not supposed to shine a light on the way children actually were, or delight in the slovenly, self-interested and disobedient side of their natures.
Seuss, Sendak and Silverstein ignored these rules. They brought a shock of subversion to the genre — defying the notion that children’s books shouldn’t be scary, silly or sophisticated. Rather than reprimand the wayward listener, their books encouraged bad (or perhaps just human) behavior. Not surprisingly, Silverstein and Sendak shared the same longtime editor, Ursula Nordstrom of Harper & Row, a woman who once declared it her mission to publish “good books for bad children.”
Read more about it at the New York Times.

Six Things The Film Industry Wants To Keep Secret

Did you know the Star Wars films still haven’t made a profit? That’s because the studio distributes the film although the distribution branch is considered a separate company. The distributor charges the studio (itself) whatever fees it wants, so even after the film earns billions of dollars, it might still be billions of dollars more away from turning a profit.
And that’s just one of the dirty little movie-making secrets the industry doesn’t want you to know about.
Find out more over at Film School Rejects.

The Strangest Vintage Photos Ever

I like to imagine that this photo was taken to show that this woman loves her scuba diver husband, but who knows. BuzzFeed has a great collection of hilariously strange vintage photographs including the one above. Half the fun is looking at the pictures and the other half is making excuses for why they were created. 

Awesome Pictures


Police arrest the bastard who stole that poor man's superman collection

Police in Granite City, Illinois arrested a man on Friday in connection to a recent burglary that involved a large collection of Superman memorabilia stolen from a residence.

Police arrest that bastard who stole that poor chaps superman collection
On Thursday, police responded to a robbery in which jewelry and money were stolen from a 76-year-old man. The victim gave police a description that matched that of the burglar wanted for stealing the Superman memorabilia.

Investigators say they were able to recover all the memorabilia and return it to the owner.

Good for the cops - this is how it should be - not as the examples below show.

The Ten Happiest Jobs

Are you a member of the clergy, a firefighter or a physical therapist? Then you have one of the happiest jobs. At least, according to a General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago.

TSA Fires 28 At Hawaii Airport

The Transportation Security Administration fired 28 of its employees -- in addition to three that resigned or retired -- following a probe that revealed bags were allowed onto planes at Hawaii's Honolulu International Airport without being properly screened, the agency said Sunday.

Bad Cops

Disabled woman was arrested for sitting outside in chair
A northeast Atlanta woman, who is physically disabled, said she was roughed up by an Atlanta police officer while being falsely arrested. Shequita Walker, 40, said she’s been sitting in the same lawn chair outside her apartment complex at Boulevard and Rankin Street for years. She said she likes to sit there and wait for the ice cream truck. Walker suffers from scleroderma which limits her range of motion and causes pain in her joints.

In April, Walker said an Atlanta police officer approached her and told her to move. “He came right here and said we had to move, and I said ‘What reason do he have to move?’ ” Walker said. She said the officer told her, “Because I said so.” Walker claims she stood and told the officer she was going to call his supervisor.

“That’s when he grabbed me. My ice cream fell and my phone fell,” she said. Walker said that’s when the officer put her on the ground. Walker has photos of the incident. Walker said the officer sprained her shoulder in the process, and she had to be taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

After she was released, Walker said she was taken to jail on a charge of disorderly conduct. A prosecutor later dismissed the charge. Walker filed a complaint with the Citizens Review Board. The board ruled that the officer made a false arrest and recommended a three-day suspension. So far, no action has been taken.
Police assault man with Down's Syndrome over 'suspicious bulge' in his trousers
A man with special needs is speaking out after he was left badly bruised by police. Twenty-two-year-old Gilberto Powell, who has Down's Syndrome, is left with horrible bruises and scars on his face after he had an encounter with police outside his home. According to the family, they were inside their Southwest Miami-Dade home last Saturday when Powell, who is also called Liko, called his parents on his cell phone to let them know he was walking a block from his friend's house. On his way home, Liko said, "The police followed me."

Liko said, the officer smacked him in the face with an open hand and knocked him to the ground. "His whole hand," he said. According to the police report, a Miami-Dade Police officer noticed a bulge in Liko's waistband. The officer attempted to conduct a pat down, and Powell tried to run away. "I said, 'Didn't you know he was a Down's Syndrome kid?' And he said, 'No, I'm not a doctor. I don't know.' And I said, 'Well, you can see it in his face that he is a Down's Syndrome kid,'" said Powell's mother, Josephine.

The bulge that Liko had on his waistband was a colostomy bag. The family said the officer pulled it from his body. "He had him by his boxers, so they took his pants off," said Liko's father, Gilberto Hernandez. "I felt helpless, because he was calling my name." Liko was not arrested. He said he never ran away from the officer and did everything the officer told him to do.

Miami-Dade Police Department released the following statement regarding the incident: "The integrity of the investigation and successful resolution of this case continues to remain our highest priority." The family's attorney, Philip Gold, said the family wants an apology from police. "They want an apology. They want the community to know that bad things can happen," said Gold.

Man seeking jailer job is jailed

Authorities say Ronald Wade walked into a sheriff's department in Mississippi to apply for a job as a jailer. He ended up in the jail -- but as an inmate.

CNBC Poll: $1 million a long shot in US

About two in 10 Americans, who are less optimistic than Australians but more optimistic than Britons about becoming wealthy in the next ten years, according to a new AP-CNBC poll.

The faces behind the poverty numbers

Kris Fallon and her husband lost their jobs, their house, and their foothold in the middle class.  

Behind the poverty numbers: real lives, real pain

She and her husband have been out of work for nearly two years. Their house and car are gone.

Squeeze in an online degree

These five programs let you go back to school even if your life is extremely busy.  

Barometric Pressure

"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics.

To resolve the problem, it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H =0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi square root (l / g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

He then received credit for the class.

Improve your cholesterol

Medication isn't the only way to raise your HDL or lower your LDL.  

One Life

Wendy's new burger recipe

A toasted bun is one of the changes the restaurant is making in an effort to boost lackluster sales.

The priciest produce in the supermarket

Bring plenty of cash if you plan to put these fruits and veggies in your cart. 



Ruth Belville, the Woman Who Sold Time

From 1836 to 1940, the Bellville family of London operated a business of letting people know the time. Ruth Bellville, the most famous member of that family, walked around London with a high grade watch that had been set to within one tenth of a second of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. For a fee, she’d tell you the current time:
Clients checked their timepieces against the Belvilles’ silver “chronometer”, which was called Arnold after its maker, and paid for the privilege.
Such was the reliability of Ruth Belville and Arnold as distributors of GMT that competition from the electric signals of the Standard Time Company could not put them out of business, despite a “dirty tricks” campaign, through lecture halls and newspapers, to undermine Ruth’s old-fashioned practice.
Belville continued to ply her trade up to the age of 86, including making the twelve-mile journey on foot to Greenwich.

Did Zombies Roam Medieval Ireland?

zombie skeleton
Two 8th-century skeletons with stones shoved in their mouths suggest that the people of the time thought so.  

Purple Flora


Eight Current Technologies That Will Shape Our Future

In 20 years our technology will reach a level of personalization that will enhance every moment of our lives. We'll be more physically comfortable with the furniture we sit on and the products we hold; only the most relevant and personalized information from friends and family will reach us; and our movement in the digital world will be near telepathic.

Study Finds Falling Trees Make Sound Even if No One is Around to Hear It

tree stub crater lake photo  
It's a riddle that's been twisting brains for generations: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The answer, at least according to a comprehensive study of nature's noises, is 'yes' -- but it may be drowned out by the hum of a motor vehicle. For the last two years, researchers have been placing microphones throughout Oregon's Crater Lake National Park in order to database and analyze what sort of sounds can be heard in some of the remotest places. And it turns out, evidence of human activity is far more pervasive than you might have imagined.

Article continues: Study Finds Falling Trees Make Sound Even if No One is Around to Hear It

Glass Igloo Lets You Sleep Under the Northern Lights

This has got to be the fanciest way to watch the the northern lights. Behold the luxury glass igloos of the Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland's Arctic Circle: here.

Orange Peels Could One Day Power Your Car

smiling orange photo  
Photo: Manel / cc
Long before there was the petroleum-based plastic fruit cup, nature perfected its own biodegradable wrapper for keeping oranges fresh: the peel. But aside from adding a bit of zest to food or being used in the orange-smile gag, peels have largely escaped any greater purpose. That is, until now. One British researcher has discovered a relatively simple way to turn orange peels into oil -- which could then be used to power cars or produce plastics.

Texas Town Reports 100 Days at 100 Degrees

texas drought photo
Texas has experienced the worst drought in its history. The impact of the drought has been felt in expected and unexpected ways. From sweeping wildfires to water main breaks and livestock starvation, this year has been brutal. The whole state has been praying for the rain that never came. And one Texas town of 107,000 has felt the unwavering intensity of 100 days at 100 degrees, according to LiveScience. It's the story of one quiet Texas town and how they endured this epic drought.



The Brain Evolved Independently Four Times in Molluscs

The brain, scientists have discovered, turned out to be so darned important that it has evolved independently four times (at least in molluscs):
"Traditionally, most neuroscientists and biologists think complex structures usually evolve only once," says Kocot's colleague Leonid Moroz of the University of Florida in Gainseville.
"We found that the evolution of the complex brain does not happen in a linear progression. Parallel evolution can achieve similar levels of complexity in different groups. I calculated it happened at least four times."
The four groups that independently evolved centralised nervous systems include the octopus, a freshwater snail genus called Helisoma, Tritonia – a genus of strikingly coloured sea slugs – and Dolabrifera, another genus of sea slugs, albeit less aesthetically interesting.
"If these results hold up, it suggests strongly that centralised nervous systems evolved more than once in Mollusca," says Paul Katz, a neurobiologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta. "This is more evidence that you can get complexity emerging multiple times."

Jellyfish: The New Shark and Tuna of the Sea

Jellyfish: The New Shark and Tuna of the Sea
The depletion of large fish in the ocean has opened a new niche: jellyfish are taking over as the next top predator.  

Flawed Hunting Ban Puts Birds at Risk in Lebanon

black stork ciconia nigra photo
The killing of dozens of storks in Lebanon this past spring prompted outrage. 
Smaller than the state of Connecticut, Lebanon is nonetheless home to a rich variety of landscapes, from beaches and deserts to mountains and wetlands, that provide habitat for some 400 species of birds. At least 15, however, are threatened with extinction and many more are on the decline, thanks in part to a hunting ban that is so poorly enforced even environmentalists are working to overturn it.

Animal Pictures