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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, November 16, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
A series of missed connections could make today not so easy, but a good, honest struggle never hurt anyone.
It's time to get over your fear of discomfort!
Keep moving down the path that you're on, no matter what roadblocks might pop up today.
The longer you keep going, the more comfortable you will start to feel.
People may interrupt your stream of thought with seemingly irrelevant questions, but you don't have to give them any answers right now.

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Woodlands, Singapore, Singapore
Woking, England, United Kingdom
Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Falun, Dalarnas Lan, Sweden
Candiac, Quebec, Canada
Tegucigalpa, Distrito Central, Honduras
Vilnius, Vilniaus Apskritis, Lithuania
Arhus, Arhus, Denmark
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Crawley, England, United Kingdom
Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Hanover, Niedersachsen, 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 Albemarle, Brandenburg, Manhattan, Worcester and more!

Today is:
Today is Wednesday, November 16, the 320th day of 2011.
There are 45 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


Bullet hits White House window

A round stopped by ballistic glass may be tied to a man with a fixation, sources say.  

City of Seattle passes resolution supporting Occupy movement

The City Council of Seattle, Washington today adopted Resolution 31337 in support of the Occupy movement.

'The resolution recognizes and supports "the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal and local levels"'.

Record bid for yellow diamond

The 110.3-carat Sun-Drop becomes the most expensive diamond of its kind in the world.

US farm exports boom as rest of economy struggles

As U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits Vietnam and China to talk trade this week, he's hoping to build on one of the few bright spots in the struggling American economy: agricultural exports.



IMF warns on banks in China

When they fail, it's not going to be pretty.
China's biggest commercial banks face systemic risks if a combination of credit, property, currency and yield curve shocks that could be withstood in isolation were to occur together, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

But China can contain these dangers by freeing up financial markets to give investors, commercial banks and the central bank greater autonomy from government control, the fund said in its first-ever review of the Chinese financial system.

While not predicting an imminent disaster, the IMF made clear China needed to act quickly because it is vulnerable to destabilizing asset price booms.

Tom the Dancing Bug


Top repugican on Super Committee: No new revenue and will try to exempt DOD from cuts

So the repugican strategy is once again to take America hostage.  Either give them what they demand, no compromise, or they'll change the rules of the game and permit no defense cuts, even though the deal was 50-50 cuts to domestic and defense if the Super Committee couldn't reach a deal.  This is what many of us said they'd do, they would refuse to compromise and then find a way to exempt the military and put all the cuts on domestic programs the Democrats care about.  And as Brian Beutler says, that's exactly their strategy.

The repugican motto

The repugicans recently, in lieu of actually working on fixing what the broke, wasted time reaffirming the national motto.
Which they got wrong as usual - it is E pluribus unium ... 'Together as one'.
But to repugicans it is ...

The truth be told



Brian DuganMad or bad?

What goes on inside the brain of a psychopath?
Don't know - but we can look at repugicans for clues

Antimatter Matters

LHC reveals 'new physics' hintsLHCb detector

Researchers from the LHCb Collaboration reveal striking evidence of "CP violation", which may help explain why there is more matter than antimatter.

No Bones About It

General manager Garry Blackadder said: "We have fake skeletons in some of our historic sets but there's nothing to compare with the real thing.

Bizarre English Pub Names

The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn is a real tavern in Stalybridge, Cheshire, England. But it’s not the strangest name for a bar you’ll find in this gallery of ten at DJMick.

Graceful home on tiny lot

A four-story floating Brazilian cherry staircase wraps around this modern house. 

Crabby Road


Offbeat job titles like 'ninja,' 'guru' all the rage

Business card orders show that "ninja" is among the popular monikers out there, as are Rockstar, Guru, Wrangler, Head Cheese and Geek.

Ways to earn extra $1,000

With some tutors charging up to $100 an hour, helping students can be a lucrative endeavor. 

Sugar Plum Fairy fired for cursing

A longtime Sugar Plum Fairy has been fired for using foul language, which is a violation of her profession's code of conduct. The dismissal of the actress who has been a fixture of St. Charles, Missouri's Main Street Christmas Traditions celebration is causing some controversy. Residents and business owners banding together to to try to save the fairy's job.

Laura Coppinger worked with Christmas Traditions for six years, and spent five of them as the Sugar Plum Fairy. She says she even spent some of her own money to make improvements to the wings on her costume. "I made her larger than life," Coppinger said of her Sugar Plum Fairy character. "And each year she kinda got bigger and bigger."

But this year, Coppinger won't get a chance to spread Christmas cheer. The Sugar Plum Fairy has been let go, after cursing during a drug test for the job. When she accidentally flushed the toilet, she said she uttered the offending term that led to her termination. "Out of pure frustration with myself, I said a curse word," Coppinger said.

But before she could retake the test, she was told not to bother because she had violated the Christmas Traditions Code of Conduct, which says "Christmas characters don't know naughty words." "I made a mistake and I know I made a mistake and I'm willing to apologize for it," Coppinger said. "I wish they would just be a little more reasonable. I would love for them to say you know what we made a big mistake we love you and we actually would love to have you back this year for Sugar Plum Fairy" she said. "In a perfect world I would have my job."

Awesome Pictures


Breakfast foods to skip

With the busy holiday season, chances are you'll need to grab a fast-food breakfast.

Free ketchup after Heinz glitch

The Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. is promising a free bottle of its new balsamic vinegar ketchup to anybody who tried to buy it during a failed product launch on the Facebook social networking website.

Daily Comic Relief


Hospitals on early C-sections

Medical centers around the country ban elective Caesarians and inductions prior to 39 weeks.

‘Stomach flu’ linked to food allergies

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin have found a possible link between norovirus, a virus that causes “stomach flu” in humans, and food allergies.



Turning Human Ashes into Beads

South Korea is a densely-populated nation, and so has diminishing room for appropriate places to bury the dead. A law passed a decade ago even requires people to exhume loved ones within sixty years of burial. Cremation has thus become increasingly popular, and one company has responded to this change by offering to turn human ashes into small crystal beads:
Bonhyang founder and CEO Bae Jae-yul says the beads allow people to keep their relatives close to them, wherever they go. He also says stored ashes can rot, a claim denied by crematoriums. “Our beads are clean; they don’t become moldy and don’t go off and smell bad,” he says.
Bae uses ultrahigh temperature to melt cremated ashes until they are crystalized and can be turned into beads in a 90-minute process. The colors are mostly blue-green but sometimes pink, purple and black.
The ashes of one person can produce four to five cups of beads, Bae says, although the ashes of young people have a higher bone density that can yield up to eight cups of beads.

First official stem cell trial halted

The world's first official trial using human embryonic stem cells in patients has been halted by a Californian company for "business reasons".

New Slippery Material Inspired by Carnivorous Plant

Scientists have invented a super-slippery material inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plants:
... a new material takes a cue from one of the plant world's few meat-eaters: the carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes. The plants prey on insects, whose oily feet normally allow them to walk up walls. But pitchers' tube-shaped leaves have microscopic bumps that hold a thin layer of water in place. The water repels the oils, sending hapless insects slipping straight into their gaping mouths.
"They just step on the rim, and immediately slide into the digestive juices," Aizenberg says.
Aizenberg realized that with the right choice of lubricating liquid, the pitcher plant's strategy could be adapted to repel virtually anything.
The researchers started with a textured substrate, which could be almost anything that is rough on the nanoscale, Aizenberg says. One good choice is Teflon, a fibrous material that is widely thought to be super-slippery itself.
Their most slippery surface resulted when they added a layer of the perfluorinated fluid 3M Fluorinert FC-70, manufactured by the firm 3M, to Teflon. The liquid oozed into all the pores in the Teflon, and left a nanometres-thin layer of liquid at the top. The material still feels dry to the touch, and other liquids simply hydroplane off the surface, like a car sliding off a wet road. The team calls the material 'slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces,' or SLIPS.
"We call it SLIPS, because everything does," Aizenberg says.
NewScientist has the story: here.

The connections between "itch" and "ouch"

The biology of itching and the biology of pain are intertwined in interesting ways, writes graduate student and science blogger Aatish Bhatia. Understanding itching can help us better understand how to treat pain. I'd not seen Bhatia's blog before, but I'm really liking his style. He does a great job of breaking down the science in a clear way.
... In the last decade, researchers have learned about receptors in the nerves under our skin that react specifically to itchy substances. When these receptors fire, they send a signal racing up our spinal cord, headed to our brain where it creates an urge to scratch. Scientists now have a basic map of the roads that an itch takes on its way to our brain. And they have even been able to block some of these roads in mice, essentially preventing them from feeling an itch.
...The picture that is emerging is a complex one, where pain and itch signals are distinct yet subtly intertwined. Of the nerve cells under our skin, some are involved only in signalling pain, and they have pain receptors. Others are responsible for signalling different types of itches, and they have both itch and pain receptors. If the same cell has both receptors, how do we distinguish itch from ouch?
... As the biology of itching becomes better understood, the benefits are making their way from the lab to the clinic. The drug morphine is a powerful painkiller, but has a common side effect of itchiness. Women taking opiates to relieve their labor pain often experience a similar side effect. Zhou-Feng Chen and Yan-Gang Sun, authors of the GRPR receptor study, teamed up with colleagues at the newly founded Center for the Study of Itch and managed to tackle this problem. Their results, published in the current issue of the journal Cell, show that the benefits of morphine can be separated from the itch.

The Dark Tower: Found!

Could The Dark Tower by Stephen King have been inspired by Pico Cão Grande? This “volcanic plug” is in Obo National Park in the tiny island country of São Tomé and Principe off the coast of Africa. Photographs of this tower are hard to take because the top is usually in the clouds, but you’ll find some good ones at Dark Roasted Blend.



Psychedelic-Colored Insects Flew Ancient Skies

Psychedelic-Colored Insects Flew Ancient Skies
The bright colors of the 50-million-year-old moth may have served to warn off predators.  

Police officer carries dazed deer to safety

A Sheriff's deputy in Michigan, United States, resorts to carrying a confused deer out of the path of traffic after it refused to move from the middle of the road following a near miss with a car.

Deputy Ryan Swartz of the Huron County Sheriff's Office was responding to a car accident on Friday when he discovered the doe deer standing dazed in the road. His attempts to encourage the deer to move were captured on this patrol car camera.

“I figured as I walked up to it, it would just run off the road [but] it just stood still. It wasn't moving at all. So I went up and I pet it and I was thinking that would get the deer off the road," deputy said.

Desperate to get the deer out of the path of oncoming traffic, the deputy then picked it up and carried it to the embankment where it recovered its senses and ran off. Despite the successful outcome, Sheriff Kelly Hanson warned that his deputy's actions were "not recommended".

Nest Full of Baby Dinosaurs Found

A 70-million-year-old nest filled with the remains of baby Protoceratops gives clues to the dinos' early behavior.  

Beluga Body Scrub

Beluga whales (c) Elizabeth WhiteBeluga body scrub session filmed

A BBC crew captures footage of hundreds of beluga whales indulging in a body scrub session during their annual moult. BBC Nature

Animal Pictures