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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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Today is not a great day for major moves.
Try to avoid signing any contracts, finalizing any commitments or even making any big purchases.
Give it a few more days to settle, and you might find some problems with the deal -- or better yet, you might find a better deal elsewhere.
Patience pays off for you in more ways than one right now.
There's no need to be too hasty, especially if someone is pressuring you to stop wasting their time -- it's your time you should be most concerned about.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Morini, Morini, Comoros
London, England, United Kingdom
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Paderborn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Gdynia, Pomorskie, Poland
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

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 Baton Rouge, Fond Du Lac, Montpelier, Clyde and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, September 22, the 265th day of 2011.
There are 100 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Elephant Appreciation Day
Hobbit Day
National White Chocolate Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Non Sequitur


Thorough Thursday

Friday marks the end of summer and the start of a rare event that affects the whole world.  

Arms decision alters views

The move not to sell Taiwan new fighter jets is impacting how allies in East Asia see America.  

The truth be told


When to repair or replace

Consider these tips before tossing an item in the trash — it can end up saving you big bucks.  

'Hobbit house' for £3000

A 'hobbit' house
A man has built a home reminiscent of a hobbit house from the 'Lord of the Rings' on a tiny budget. 

Leave it to the Irish

As a six-ton satellite gets ready for its final dive into Earth's atmosphere later this week, NASA says they're still not sure where it's going to land.

Falling to Earth

New images of falling satelliteUARS

An amateur astronomer has recorded images of the out-of-control UARS satellite as it tumbles in space ahead of its expected burn-up on Friday.

Awesome Pictures


Italian Couple Bring in Lawyers to Kick Their 41-Year-Old Out of the House

A lot of parents suffer from the Empty Nest Syndrome, but an elderly couple in Italy have the opposite problem: their "mammone" or mommy's boy refuses to leave home.
Now, they're taking legal action to kick their 41-year-old man child out of the house:
"He has a good job but he continues to live at home and wants his clothes washed and ironed and his meals cooked for him. He never wants to leave." The couple took their case to the association after reading that it had experience in dealing with dozens of similar cases.
Young Italians are renowned for their reluctance to leave home, with a study released last year showing that 48% of offspring between the ages of 18 and 39 still live under their parents' roofs.

And I Quote


Not a bad idea at that ...


Nine toxic co-workers

Your career might suffer if you get too chummy with one of these folks in the office.  

Economy sends stocks down

The Dow's 391-point drop is likely to heighten worries about the fragile U.S. economy.  

Tom the Dancing Bug


Poll: 1 Out of 5 Americans Expect to be Millionaires

We all hope to be rich one day, but Americans - who are very optimistic people - *expect* to be rich. Heck, according to a new poll, 1 out of 5 Americans expect to be millionaires in just a few years:
Even with a turbulent economy, 20% of Americans expect to become millionaires in the next decade.
But the majority –- 62% -- still believe it’s “very unlikely” that they’ll reach the threshold by 2020, according to a new poll from the Associated Press and CNBC. Just 8% of U.K. residents believe they’re on the millionaire track.
And last year, only 5% of Americans reached the million-dollar mark -– which two in ten believe is the minimum amount of money for a comfortable retirement.

A Good One

The economy is so bad … if the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

NYPD used obscure, 19th-century “anti-mask” law to arrest Anonymous Wall St. protesters

At the Twitter-driven "Occupy Wall Street" protest, New York police "charged demonstrators with violating an obscure, 150-year-old state statute that bans masked gatherings."

Cops charged in man's death

Manuel Ramos faces a murder charge in the beating of a mentally ill homeless man. 

Car bomb cause of Michigan blast

The three are “very fortunate” to survive after the car exploded along a tree-lined street, officials say

TSA humiliates Black woman, demands to pat down her Afro

A Dallas resident of African-American descent says she was humiliated at an airport in Atlanta, when TSA agents patted down her hair.
Isis Brantley was headed down an escalator at Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in Atlanta, after she was screened a the initial security checkpoint, when she says two TSA agents came after her asking to check her hair for explosives. Brantley says the agents began patting down her large afro in public as she waited on a train platform.

Do you get drunker flying?

Plane (Fotolia)
We separate the fact from the fiction in eight commonly-held beliefs about air travel.  



You just might be a Redneck ...

... if you wear stupid hats when you play with firearms.

Warden's wife aided escapee

The wife of a former Oklahoma prison warden who disappeared with a convicted murderer only to be found living with him in Texas nearly 11 years later was found guilty Wednesday of helping him escape.
She vanished with a convicted murderer only to be found living with him 11 years later. 

Animal News

Penguins can sniff out the door of lifelong mates, helping them reunite in crowded colonies, and also can identify the scent of close kin to avoid inbreeding, scientists said on Wednesday.

Daily Comic Relief


The most secluded U.S. beaches

Hanakapi'ai Beach on Kauai is known for its spectacular views and trails, but not for its swimming.


All in a day's fashion shoot.

The dinner table


Foods that raise your cholesterol

Cholesterol-raising foods Fotolia
In light of National Cholesterol Week, find out what foods you should try to limit in your diet.

Gavrilo Princip's Sandwich

The politics that led to World War I are important, but difficult to teach in American schools because the events are distant in both time and place. To capture the interest of students, teachers often tell the story of how assassin Gavrilo Princip would not have been in shooting range of Franz Ferdinand that fateful day in 1914 if he hadn’t stopped to buy a sandwich about the time the Archduke coincidentally passed by. Mike Dash first heard the story from his history-student daughter, and decided to investigate.
I was astonished by the story, too, though not because of the strangeness of the coincidence. It bothered me, because the details are new (you’ll struggle to find a telling of the tale that dates to before 2003), and because it simply doesn’t ring true. That’s not because the modern version isn’t broadly faithful to the facts; it’s not even utterly implausible that Princip might have stopped off at Schiller’s for a bite to eat. No, the problem is that the story is suspiciously neat–and that the sandwich is a quintessentially Anglo-American convenience food. The dish was named in the 1760s for John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was in the habit of requesting his meat placed between two slices of toast so he could lunch at his desk. But it took time for the idea to cross the Channel, and I find it hard to believe the sandwich would have featured on a Bosnian menu as early as 1914.
Dash found the surprising origin of the story, which gives us a glimpse of how, and why, our understanding of history tends to change over time. Read the entire account at the Smithsonian history blog Past Imperfect.

Work begins on Babbage’s Analytical Engine

Work has gotten underway on Plan 28, a project to create Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, the never-built successor to the Difference Engine. The Analytical Engine was to have been a general purpose computer, and Ada Lovelace designed the first-ever programming language to run on it. Many factors led to its never being completed -- the state of the art in precision engineering in Babbage's day, finance woes, and so forth. John Graham-Cumming, who founded the project, is also the author of The Geek Atlas, a fantastic book.
This has required building relationships with a number of bodies. I recently announced that the project had been accepted into the portfolio of projects handled by the Computer Conservation Society. They will provide expert advice as needed. The other vital body to work with is The Science Museum in London. Doron and I have been working with The Science Museum team at many levels to ensure that the project is known about and that we would be able to get access to Babbage's plans and notebooks to perform the vital academic study of the Analytical Engine as Babbage imagined it. The first step to doing that research was to digitize the entire Babbage archive. Digitization greatly facilitates research as these precious documents can be viewed conveniently from around the world.
I am pleased to be able to say that The Science Museum agreed that digitization was vital and undertook this project. The work on digitization started on Monday, September 12 and early in October Doron and I will have access to the digitized versions of Babbage's plans and notebooks for study. This great first step on Plan 28 is, finally, underway. We are very, very grateful to The Science Museum and all we have worked with there for their support and for having undertaken this vital work that will benefit not only Plan 28 but all those who wish to study Charles Babbage's work wherever they are.

Ten under-appreciated women in science

Over at Smithsonian.com, Sarah Zielinski has a great piece about important female scientists whose names aren't as publicly well-known as they ought to be. She lists 10 smart, science-type ladies.

Here's one example:
Barbara McClintock (1902 – 1992)
While studying botany at Cornell University in the 1920s, Barbara McClintock got her first taste of genetics and was hooked. As she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees and moved into postdoctoral work, she pioneered the study of genetics of maize (corn) cells. She pursued her research at universities in California, Missouri and Germany before finding a permanent home at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. It was there that, after observing the patterns of coloration of maize kernels over generations of plants, she determined that genes could move within and between chromosomes. The finding didn’t fit in with conventional thinking on genetics, however, and was largely ignored; McClintock began studying the origins of maize in South America. But after improved molecular techniques that became available in the 1970s and early 1980s confirmed her theory and these “jumping genes” were found in microorganisms, insects and even humans, McClintock was awarded a Lasker Prize in 1981 and Nobel Prize in 1983.

Petrogylph Eden

The Somali refugee uncovering her country's ancient heritage.



Rare giant armadillo photographed

Giant armadillo (c) A DesbiezRare giant armadillo photographed New

A rare giant armadillo is caught on a camera trap by researchers in the wetlands of central Brazil. BBC Nature

The Northwest Passage

Bowhead whale - naturepl.com / Martha Holmes via ARKiveWhales take passage as ice melts

Satellite tags confirm that bowhead whales are using the Northwest Passage to journey across the top of the Americas.

Animal Pictures