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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 23, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your ability to be objective is something that the people in your life value -- often, they count on you to act as the voice of clarity in confusing or volatile situations.
But today, when a feuding pair wants you to jump in and judge a situation, it's in your best interest to avoid being in the middle.
There are too many emotions floating around, and no matter how wonderful your diplomatic skills are, sometimes there's no getting past a trap.

Some of our readers today have been in: 
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Frydek-Mistek, Moravskoslezsky Kraj, Czech Republic
Yangon, Yangon, Burma
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Morini, Morini, Comoros
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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 Scaly Mountain, Bat Cave, Deep Gap, Chimney Rock and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, September 23, the 266th day of 2011.
There are 99 days left in the year.

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

Today is Mabon

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=1233391911261&id=bd93364331dafc9e19bd557372451b04Mabon is a time of reflection, and of equal balance between light and dark.
It is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.

Looking for a way to celebrate Mabon, the second harvest Sabbat? Read on for some great ideas for you and your family to observe the autumn equinox.

Crabby Road


Thanks to our readers

Over a quarter of a million readers (and counting) have stopped by Carolina Naturally and it's not even October yet!
Thank You!

Far-Out Friday


Non Sequitur


Jaycee Dugard sues feds

She charges the government failed to monitor the convicted rapist who held her for 18 years.  

Some people never learn ...


Did you know ...

That oddly enough, the idea of taxing millionaires polls really well among independents and moderates.

Why Fed's move won't help much

The Federal Reserve's plan to cut loan rates has three flaws, says Yahoo! Finance analyst Daniel Gross.

Banks must "more than double profits" to meet capital requirements

We knew that the banks were under-capitalized — on purpose, it seems; why let good chips sit idle when the dice are coming out. The problem is, how much are they under-capitalized, relative to the coming capital requirements?
UK Telegraph has the answer:
Banks across Europe and North America must more than double their profits by 2015 if they are to meet the capital requirements likely to be imposed on them over the next few years, experts have warned.

Institutions need to increase profits by about $350bn (£221bn), according to management consultancy McKinsey, which said banks were facing "considerably deeper" challenges than the sovereign debt crisis currently engulfing the sector.

McKinsey said increased profitability would ensure banks produced returns that met their current cost of equity, while covering additional capital requirements under Basell III of up to $1.5 trillion. However, it warned additional surcharges for Systemically Important Financial Institutions, could make the gap even greater.

"This return gap is enormous", said Stefano Visalli, director at McKinsey. "It is bigger than the total profits of the global pharmaceutical and automotive industries put together. To achieve this will require a radical break with past trends for an industry that has never before decreased costs in absolute terms; in the next years it may need to reduce them by 15pc-25pc as well as increasing revenues."
The straits seem dire, and the problem is both in Europe and the U.S. Did you catch the "decrease costs" part? What are costs in banking? My guess is salaries, bonuses, and fees (esp. legal fees).

After all, banks don't make anything, and they certainly don't have inventory, in the auto-parts sense. Bank inventory is stuff like computer lists of mortgage bundles they've bought, to be repackaged, tranched and sold. Certainly no freight and storage costs, unless Wall Street's electrons are as expensive as their lunches. So, salaries and bonuses — the invisible hand may taketh after all.

According to the article, "structural weaknesses exist across the industry." This is not good, since in the U.S. at least, the taxpayer is on the hook for bank losses (both legally in some cases, and de facto in others). In Europe it's roughly the same, though Iceland let its weak banks fail to avoid putting taxpayers on the hook. (How'd that work out? Very nicely, thank you very much.)

To bail them out, or not to bail them out? That is the question, should it come to that. It's definitely "double toil and trouble" time by the looks of it. It would be nice if some consumer demand showed up to boost economic activity. Perhaps Obama's jobs bill will pass — that would make a nice start (so long as he keeps his mitts off the safety net).

Just so you know ...

How Rick Perry put teachers' retirement money in his cronies' hands.

And while we're at it: crony wife capitalism.

Who recession hurt the most

Gen X, Gen Y, and Boomers make compelling cases that each suffered the most.  

U.S. youth joblessness

Employment among 16- to 29-year-old Americans plummets to levels not seen since World War II.

Health care career options

You don't need to enroll in medical school for any of these seven positions.  

Pollution From Cars Can Trigger a Heart Attack

smog and heart attack photo  
Photo: Simone Ramella / cc
While the sight of a hazy, smog filled cloud looming over the cityscape is certainly enough to break the heart of any would-be outdoorsman, it turns out that breathing in that pollution just might do so -- quite literally. According to a recently published study from the British Medical Journal, the inhalation of vehicle emissions can actually increase the likelihood of a heart attack, even up to six hours after exposure.

Particles faster than light

New findings from the world’s largest physics lab may call into question Einstein’s trusted theory.

The True Story Of Captain Kidd

William Kidd (c. 1645-1701) was a Scottish sailor remembered for his trial and execution for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer.

Kidd's fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.

How H.G. Wells' World Became Real

H.G> Wells
Explore how late-19th- and early-20th-century fiction, as envisioned by Wells, became 21st-century reality.

Words That Are Difficult To Translate Into English

Mamihlapinatapai is Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The word is difficult to translate into English. Its meaning is 'a wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that they both desire but which neither one wants to start.'

Another word is kyoikumama. It's Japanese and means 'a mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.' Here are some words that are almost impossible to translate into English.

It's a Blond World


Culinary DeLites

Make perfect mac 'n' cheese

Along with great ingredients, how you cook your pasta is the key to one famous recipe.



Manage your life

Dialing for better deals

Get the best negotiator in your house to pick up the phone and lower some of your bills.  

Health Insurance Costs To Rise Again Next Year

Employee health care benefit costs are expected to increase 5.4% next year, according to an annual survey released by Mercer.

The Advantage of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is considered a handicap by many people, but learning disabilities specialists Brock and Fernette Eide argue that dyslexic children actually have an edge in life.
Here's why they think that dyslexia is actually an advantage:
Wired: What are the major strengths of having a dyslexic brain?
Brock: We outline four major strength profiles in the book, and fundamentally each of these profiles reflects a different but related way in which dyslexic brains are especially good at putting together big pictures, or seeing larger context, or imagining how processes will play out over time.
Some dyslexic individuals are especially good at spatial reasoning. Putting together three-dimensional spatial perspectives is easy for them. They may work in design, 3-D art, architecture, be engineers, builders, inventors, organic chemists or be exceptionally good at bagging your groceries.
Interconnected reasoning is another kind of strength. These connections can be relationships of likeness — analogies for example — or causal relationships, or the ability to shift perspective and view an object or event from multiple perspectives, or the ability to see the “gist” or big-picture context surrounding an event or idea. Many dyslexics work in highly interdisciplinary fields or fields that require combining perspectives and techniques gained from different disciplines or backgrounds. Or they’re multiple specialists, or their work history is unusually varied. Often these individuals draw the comment that they can see connections that other people haven’t seen before.
Most dyslexics tend to remember facts as experiences, examples or stories, rather than abstractions. We call this pattern narrative reasoning, which we consider the third strength. These kids have a very strong ability to learn from experience. It’s very common for their families to describe these kids as the family elephant. They’ll be the go-to person when someone wants to remember who gave what to sister for her birthday two years ago. They might be the family historian, but they can’t remember the times tables or which direction the three goes.
These individuals excel in fields where telling and understanding stories are important, like sales, counseling, trial law or even teaching. In addition, a large number of professional writers are dyslexic. For example, Philip Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, recently wrote a wonderful piece for The New York Times about his new memoir, My Dyslexia. He shows the kind of profoundly clear and vivid memory of personal experiences even from very early in his life that we commonly see in dyslexic individuals.
The fourth ability we outline is the ability to reason well in dynamic settings when the facts are incomplete or changing. People strong in this area often work in the business field, in financial markets or in scientific fields that reconstruct past events, like geologists or paleontologists. These people are comfortable working with processes that are constantly changing, and in making predictions.
Wired's Danielle Venton interviewed the authors of The Dyslexic Advantage: here.

The Psychiatrist's Office

Patient: "I have this terrible problem, Doctor. I think I'm a dog. I walk around on all fours, I keep barking in the middle of the night, and I eat dog food."

Psychiatrist: "Very interesting. Lie down on the couch, please."

Patient: "I'm not allowed on the couch."

A Whale of a Tale

How legends are started ...

The Ichthyosaur: 200 Years Later

Happy Discovery Day Ichthyosaur: 200 Years Later
Mary Anning (1799–1847) is known in many circles as the greatest fossil hunter of all time; 200 years ago she introduced the world to her discovery of the bizarre ichthyosaur.  

Heavy rains yield big dinosaur fossil find in Maryland

Scientists say they have excavated Maryland's largest dinosaur fossil find in five years, a football-sized bone weighing between two and three pounds.



Young Bonobo Shows Signs of Autism

Young Bonobo Shows Signs of Autism
The autistic-like behaviors of the animal add to a growing list of similarities between humans and their recent primate ancestors.

Tree-Going Goats Threaten Oil Supply

Tree-Going Goats Threaten Oil Supply
Argan oil gave Moroccan families a boost in wealth, but the goats bought with the extra income are now eating the Argan trees.  

Bear Wanders into California Home

Twelve-year-old Kara Jackson isn't Goldilocks -- but she did have an encounter with a bear.

One Female Guppy is Enough to Invade an Ecosystem

How many fish does it take for guppies to invasively breed its way into dominating an ecosystem?
Biologists at the University of St. Andrews and the University of the West Indies did the experiment and came up with the startling number: just 1 female guppy.
Dr. Deacon explained, “Usually only one or a few fish are released. We know that the vast majority of species introduced to a new habitat in this way are unable to survive, let alone establish a population, which left us with a huge question mark.”
To try to solve the mystery, the researchers conducted a simple experiment, in which single wild female guppies were placed into outdoor tanks. After two years, they discovered that almost all of the tanks contained populations of guppies, each founded by just one female.
Dr. Deacon explained how the finding might explain the guppy’s success as an invasive species, “Sperm storage is an excellent adaptation for living in constantly changing habitats, and it might also explain the guppies’ global success. Female guppies can store sperm in their reproductive tracts for many months after mating, and this enables single fish to establish populations, even when no males are present.

Rare American crocodile found in Florida

http://www.thatsfloriduh.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/American-Crocodile-300x206.jpgAlligators are a common sight in parts of Florida, but residents of a gated community were shocked to spot one of the animal's reptilian cousins: An endangered American crocodile.

The Purpose Of Bird-Egg Coloration

Want to see an enduring source of scientific dispute and perplexity? Go to your refrigerator, open a carton of eggs, and look at their speckles. Bird-egg coloration has been studied for more than a century. In a review in the Journal of Avian Biology, biologists Golo Maurer and Phillip Cassey present no fewer than seven possible explanations for eggshell color. Each focuses on how colors might shape an embryo's fate by modulating sunlight hitting its shell.

Their ideas stand in contrast with most earlier explanations, the fates of which were shaped by a late-19th century debate between biologist Alfred Russel Wallace and little-known naturalist Alexander M'Aldowie. According to M’Aldowie, eggshell pigment shielded embryos from harmful radiation. According to Wallace, they provided camouflage from predators.

Animal Pictures