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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.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
A recent trip or cultural experience has opened your eyes to a new way of thinking ... and it may offer some philosophies you wish to adopt. 
Before deciding how to move forward, let these new ideas sink in for a while. 
Step back from the autopilot aspects of your life and think consciously about why you do what you do. 
Is every habit necessary? 
Is there a better way? 
The answer may surprise you. 
Right now your mind is hungry to process unfamiliar ideas, so let it.

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Versailles, Ile-De-France, France
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
As, Askersus, Norway
Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Karachi, Sindhi, Pakistan
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Tel Aviv, Teal Aviv, Israel
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Bath, England, United Kingdom
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

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 Kailua, Minong, Nampa, Omaha and more!

Today is:
Today is Sunday, October 23, the 296th day of 2011.
There are 69 days left in the year.

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

Non Sequitur


Subtle Sunday


'Occupy' eviction showdown

Occupy Oakland demonstrators are locked in a standoff over their illegal camp.

Occupy Wall Street protesters nearly stabbed in Albuquerque

From the"OK, so tell me again that wingnuts aren't prone to violence" Department:

A man pulled out a knife and attempted to stab several Occupy Wall Street protesters at the University of New Mexico on Friday.

Voter Suppression

Ah, the proverbial repugican favorite: Voter Suppression

OWS to Supercommittee: Accountability, Not Austerity

The fiscal fantasists who would have us believe America is broke tell us that the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is going to have to make "tough choices" between slashing social programs and raising taxes on working Americans.

Citibank branch closed down in DC by OccupyWallStreet

This may have happened last Thursday morning, the video and the release don't really say.

A Good One


Fewer jobs for less pay, except for the $1mill. + earners

It's good to be da' king.
You really want to click through for the video and full breakdown showing just how bad things are for most working Americans. All of these ugly bits have been out there for a while but we really owe the OWS friends a lot for helping to crystallize the issue and bring it to the forefront. The repugicans can smear and sneer all they like but it won't help sweep this problem under the carpet.
There were fewer jobs and they paid less last year, except at the very top where, the number of people making more than $1 million increased by 20 percent over 2009.

The median paycheck — half made more, half less — fell again in 2010, down 1.2 percent to $26,364. That works out to $507 a week, the lowest level, after adjusting for inflation, since 1999.

The number of Americans with any work fell again last year, down by more than a half million from 2009 to less than 150.4 million.

Incomes down for 99% of Americans

The 1% profiting, again.
Fifty percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 last year, and those earning less than $200,000 per year - roughly 99 percent of Americans - saw their earnings fall a collective $4.5 billion.

There were fewer jobs, and overall pay was trending down -- except for the nation's wealthiest, who saw a boost.

While the incomes of the top 1percent of the country rose slightly in 2010 (from $1,909,874 in 2009 to $2,196,124 last year), their collective wage earnings rose dramatically, by about $120 billion.

President Obama's pen pal donations

The president says he'd occasionally include a check with his letters to ordinary Americans. 

What debt collectors won't tell you

Some of their most powerful tactics can cross the line into inappropriate — or illegal — territory.  

Degrees for a fresh start

These programs can help you break into the legal, health, tech, or graphic design fields.  

What's a Better Predictor of Achievement than Intelligence, Grades, or Personality?

The answer is hope.
That's right: a study led by Psychologist Alex Wood of University of Manchester has revealed that hope trumps general intelligence, personality and even previous academic achievement in predicting success:
A 3-year longitudinal study explored whether the two-dimensional model of trait hope predicted degree scores after considering intelligence, personality, and previous academic achievement.
A sample of 129 respondents (52 males, 77 females) completed measures of trait hope, general intelligence, the five factor model of personality, divergent thinking, as well as objective measures of their academic performance before university (‘A’ level grades) and final degree scores.
The findings suggest that hope uniquely predicts objective academic achievement above intelligence, personality, and previous academic achievement.
Link to study



Karzai sides against U.S.

In the unlikely event of a U.S.-Pakistan war, Hamid Karzai says he wouldn't support the Americans. 

Indian girls shed 'unwanted' names

More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean "unwanted" in Hindi have chosen new names for a fresh start in life.

Cheese: The Most Stolen Food in the World

One would've guessed candy or liquor, but no. The most frequently stolen food on Earth is actually cheese:
Almost four percent of the world's cheese supply ends up stolen, putting cheese ahead of other frequent grocery targets like candy and alcohol. Shoplifting rates as a whole are going up, because, hey, times are tough. "For the past six months, [retailers] have been affected by bad news—economic slow down, government cuts and now an increase in shoplifting," one retail analyst told Sky News.

Eight scary food myths

Thinking about snacks and meals can actually help keep you lean, one study suggests. 

Drunkorexia: Eating Disorder Mixes With Alcohol

Drunkorexia: Eating Disorder Mixes With Alcohol
Drunkorexics restrict food intake to reserve those calories for alcohol and binge drinking.

Healthy Living

A nutrient-poor diet filled with added sugars and unhealthy trans fats is known to cause high cholesterol, so it makes sense try and fix the problem with healthy food, like fruits and nuts.

Crabby Road


Does Facebook Make Your Brain Bigger?

Maybe. Parts of your brain, anyhow. According to new research, those who are most active in social media have larger brain parts than others (even when compared to those who are social in real life):
How social you are on social networks may depend on the size of your brain, according to new research. Or, at least, the size of your superior temporal sulcus, middle temporal gyrus, entorhinal cortex and amygdalae.
The research, from University College in London, discovered that those who are more social in general tend to have larger amygdalae than their peers, but that those who are more social online also have increased sizes of the right superior temporal sulcus, the left middle temporal gyrus and the right entorhinal cortex. For those curious: The superior temporal sulcus is known to give cues about others' emotions, while the middle temporal gyrus helps us react to said social cues. The entorhinal cortex, meanwhile, has been linked to our memory.
Researchers are uncertain what this information means or, more interestingly, whether the larger brain sections are the cause or the result of the size of the subjects' social networks.
Graeme McMillan of TIME's Techland reports: here.

Computer prices keep falling

Shoppers should have no trouble finding a good deal on computers this holiday season.

The Best Five Toilets in the United States

The Best Five Toilets in the United States
These bathrooms have everything you need to answer the call of nature in style and comfort.  

The Origins Of 7 Musical Instruments

A look at the stories behind some of our favorite instruments, from the tambourine to the sax.

Random Photos


More dust storms expected as Texas drought lingers

The towering wall of billowing red dust roaring across the blue West Texas sky took Monroe Debusk back more than eight decades to the Dust Bowl years when he was growing up on his family's cotton farm.

Bear on a Trike


Famous Scientists As Children

The scientists in this article left an indelible mark on the world and lived adult lives which will be remembered forever. Yet they were once children. Here are pictures of famous scientists when they were very young. See how many you can recognize if not from their photograph (or painting) but from the short bio included.

Super Realistic Disney Princesses

Finnish graphic design student Jirka Väätäinen has recently been turning Disney princesses into realistic looking drawings of women. The results are stunning, even if Jasmine looks a little too much like Kim Kardashian to only be coincidence.

Amazing fantasy costumes

The convention for one of the hottest gaming franchises is a great place to see amazing costumes.  

Skeleton Frolic

From 1937

Halloween The Celts, The Druids, The Pooka, and The Walking Dead

By: Tir Na Nog Annie

Halloween is approaching and I keep referring to this as OUR time of Year, When the Celts appear to be more comfortable with themselves. The drawing in of the dark nights, the harvest is in and the food is plentiful and it is time to relax , but we never truly relax we are constantly aware of those who went before us. We can hide or prepare to make them Welcome.

Here is some info for you to ponder on.

The Dead may Walk the Earth at Samhain. From Darkness Comes Light
One of the Celtic idiosyncrasies was the concept of beginning in darkness and working towards the light. As the year started with winter, the days started at sundown. Thus the night from October 31st to November 1st was part of Samhain, known as Oiche Shamhna or "evening of Samhain".

Samhain was one of the four "quarter days" of the Celtic calendar, along with Imbolc (February 1st, start of spring), Beltane (May 1st, start of summer) and Lughnasa (August 1st, start of the harvest). We do not have any undisputed information about how these festivities were conducted in pre-christian times. Samhain seems to have been a specifically Irish tradition and first mentioned by christian chroniclers. Feasting seems to have taken the best part of a week, a few days either side of the actual Samhain day.

Samhain - Preparing for Winter
The preparations concerned mainly cattle and other livestock - all members of the herd were caught, brought into enclosures or sheds near the homestead. And some were marked for death - those animals too weak to survive the winter were slaughtered. Not for any ritual reasons, this was down to purely practical considerations. And filled the larder for winter.

At the same time all corn, fruits and berries had to be harvested and stored. There still is a widespread belief in Ireland that after November 1st all fruit is bewitched and thus inedible. The Pooka was said to roam free at Samhain - a black, ugly horse with red eyes and the ability to talk. And with a penchant for kidnappings and copious urination on berries. On the other hand a respectful contact with the Pooka could show you the future ...

Communal Activities - Samhain as a Day of Reckoning
Many legends concern the big meetings at Samhain - this was the time to take stock and decide upon future activities. At the Hill of Tara or on lake shores. A general armistice during this period made meetings between sworn enemies, diplomacy and social activities beyond tribal and political boundaries possible. All debts had to be settled and horse-racing as well as charioteering provided a peaceful contest.
But spiritual activities were an integral part of the feast.

Traditionally all the fires were extinguished when Oiche Shamhna set in, making this the darkest night of the year. The fires were then re-lit, marking the start of the new year.

Tradition has it that druids lit a huge bonfire on the Hill of Tlachtga (near Athboy, County Meath) and burning torches were then carried from there to every household during the night - alas, a physical impossibility. Though the reputed special tax levied by the king for this "service" certainly seems believable in light of the modern Irish state's revenue ideas ...

We All Have to Make Sacrifices
Other rituals involving fire were not so quaint and definitely easier to arrange - the "wicker men". Basically a cage made from wickerwork in a rough resemblance of the human form, then stuffed with (living) sacrificial offerings. Like animals, prisoners of war or unpopular neighbors. Which were then burned to death inside the "wicker man".
Other rituals involved drowning ...

Happy New Celtic Year!

But these human sacrifices should not be seen as the undisputed norm. Though sacrifices were undoubtedly made, they may only have involved milk and corn spilled into the earth. And there might even have been nocturnal human activities connected to fertility rituals. It was considered a good omen if a woman became pregnant at Samhain!

The Non-Human Touch at Samhain
Not everybody joining in the Samhain celebrations was necessarily human ... or of our world. The night from October 31st to November 1st was a time "between years" to the Celts. And during this time the borders between our world and the otherworld(s) were flexible and open.

Not only the Pooka was out and about ... Bean Sidhe (banshee) could be killed by humans during the night, fairies were visible to human eyes, the underworld palaces of the "gentry" (an Irish title for fairies) were open to come and go. Humans could drink with mighty heroes and bed their beautiful female companions ... as long as you did not make any mistakes, broke any rules or violated even the most ridiculous taboo. The problem being that the chances to foul up far outweighed the chances of a good night out - so most people opted for a quiet night in. Doors securely locked.

Last but not least Uncle Brendan might come knocking, even though he has been buried the last twenty years in New York. Samhain was also a time when the dead could walk the earth, communicate with the living ... and call in old debts.!!!

Archaeologists find Viking burial site in Scotland

Archaeologists said Tuesday they have discovered the remains of a Viking chief buried with his boat, ax, sword and spear on a remote Scottish peninsula -- one of the most significant Norse finds ever uncovered in Britain.



Dog plays fetch with himself

A Jack Russell Terrier has figured out a way to entertain himself when his owner is too busy.  

Dog rescued after being deliberately buried alive under school field

A dog in South Africa, found buried alive in a Khayelitsha school sportsfield, has been named Warrior by her rescuers. In what has been dubbed “one of the worst reported cases of animal abuse in Cape Town yet”, the dog was rescued on Thursday morning after it was found buried alive in a pit at Luhlaza Secondary School. Two suspects were arrested by police late on Thursday afternoon.

Photographs show the dog being dug out of the pit, its small, sand-covered face peering at its rescuers. Christine Pretorius, spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the dog had recovered well from the ordeal. “The dog’s fine. It’s in good condition. It’s eating ravenously now. The dog is slightly disabled, probably as a result of earlier injuries from a motor vehicle accident. It is limping quite badly. It’s got a lot of sand in its eyes and they’ll continue to flush it out.”

She said the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha had received an anonymous tip-off at 8.30am to say that janitors at the Luhlaza Secondary School had allegedly been spotted digging a hole on the perimeter of the sportsfield and burying a live dog in it. “Veterinarian Dr Edson Man’Ombe and Animal Welfare carer Lazola Sotyingwa immediately rushed to the school and apprehended two janitors on the school field. The men initially claimed the dog was dead, but on further questioning admitted the animal was still alive when they buried it,” Pretorius said. “They said one of the school’s senior supervisors had told them to get rid of the dog as it was being a nuisance by hanging around the classrooms.”

Man’Ombe and Sotyingwa then instructed the men to open the pit and the dog, a crossbreed, was found barely alive at the bottom of a hole between one and 1.5m deep. It was rushed to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic and the care of professional veterinarians. Pretorius said the names of the janitors, and the supervisor who allegedly told them to dispose of the dog, were known to the clinic and a criminal complaint had been lodged at the Lingelethu Police Station in Khayelitsha. Police arrested two 59-year-old men, spokesman Frederick van Wyk said.

Animal Pictures