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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, November 28, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
All the transitions you've been going through lately are not helping to create balance in your life, and today is a good day to put some effort into getting things back in order.
Try to stop moving from point to point (or person to person) in search of an answer -- because you'll have to figure this one out on your own.
The only way to achieve a good outcome to this situation is to face your fears.
You will soon see that they are easy to defeat (or just learn to live with).

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Rio De Janiero, Rio De Janiero, Brazil
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Eindhoven, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Crawley, England, United Kingdom
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Lima, Lima, Peru
Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Pasig, Manila, Philippines
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
London, England, United Kingdom
Delhi, Delhi, India
Ulaanbaatar, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Las Pinas City, Manila, Philippines
Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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 Bethpage, Trabuco Canyon, Nags Head, Kalamazoo and more!

Today is:
Today is Monday, November 28, the 332nd day of 2011.
There are 33 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


Manic Monday


Teen tweeter riles governor

He should be apologizing to her!
A Kansas teenager who wrote an honest tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback is rejecting her high school principal's demand that she apologize.
A Kansas teenager says she isn't sorry for criticizing Gov. Sam Brownback on Twitter.


Renting Your Stuff to Make a Living
Selling your junk on eBay is SO last decade. The new way to get money for all the stuff you've accumulated throughout the years is to rent them.
In his Newsweek article, Rob Baedeker tells us how he makes money hand over fist by renting stuff he wasn't using anyway (and that includes his dog Berkeley):
Call me a rentrepreneur, one of the growing ranks of Americans who, in a postbinge economy, are finding creative ways to make a quick buck by hiring out their personal belongings. The movement is being fueled by a slew of new startups catering to what some are calling “collaborative consumption.” There are now sites to connect people who want to rent out their cars, couches, personal services, dinosaur costumes or clay-pigeon launchers ($12 per day on Zilok.com). For renters, the sites offer goods and services for a relative bargain (weekly rates for a rental car where I live in Berkeley, Calif., can be twice what I charged). More than that, they’re a chance to bypass corporate America at a time when corporate America is in the dog house. Why endure the long waits, high prices, and surly staff at your big-box tool-rental counter when you can pick up Rob Baedeker’s electric sander for a song—and go home with a smile?
There’s a virtue in this business, too, part of a postrecession shift from a throw-away society to a new economy of reuse. My customers might be in the 99 percent, but they’re not broke or unemployed. Same goes for my fellow rentrepreneurs. Yet after witnessing the fallout from a half-century-long frenzy of conspicuous consumption, a whole generation of us is now reexamining the long-forgotten “waste not” maxim exemplified by the sugar-packet-saving thriftiness of our grandparents. I can almost hear my Depression-hardened Nana speaking to me from the grave: “You’ve got all this crap lying around, man. Put it to use!”

Virgo and Scorpio Need Not Apply!

Are you a Virgo or a Scorpio? Don't bother applying for a job at this Chinese firm!
A Chinese firm has decided Scorpios and Virgos are too moody and critical, telling job seekers with those star signs they need not apply. Capricorns, Pisces and Libras, on the other hand, are welcome.
The unusual requirements are part of a job ad posted at a university in the central city of Wuhuan by an English language training company, and have generated a storm of online controversy since they were uncovered this week.
"We don't want Scorpios or Virgos, and Capricorns, Pisces and Libras will be prioritised," the job spec reads, according to the Chutian Metropolis Daily, a local newspaper in Wuhan.

The report quoted a woman in charge at the unnamed firm as saying she had done research and found Scorpios had strong personalities and were moody, while Virgos were hugely critical and did not stay in one job for long.
"I hired people with those two star signs before, and they either liked quarrelling with colleagues or they could not do the job for long," the woman, surnamed Xia, said.

Eight keys to being productive

Workers who master these helpful habits and time-saving skills could lower their stress level.

Food banks worry about rising peanut butter prices

Peanut butter prices have gone up 30 percent or more because hot weather in states like Texas and Georgia hurt this year's peanut crop and because some farmers switched to more profitable crops, such as corn and cotton.



Seven Cancer Cures That Sound Like Sci-Fi Ideas

From diamond patches to genetic modifications, these might sound like they are merely sci-fi ideas, but they are real. Check out some of the most futuristic cancer cures being tested right now over at Cracked.


Boy with autismBrain find sheds light on autism

Cells taken from people with a rare syndrome linked to autism could help scientists understand the origins of the condition.

How to avoid 'senior moments'

Memory lapses aren't a cause for alarm, but they can be embarrassing.  

Crabby Road


Black Friday shoppers ignore dying man

Walking over the dead body? Really? Well Merry F-ing Christmas to all of the low life shoppers who couldn't be bothered to help someone in need.

Family and friends were stunned by the loss of a West Virginia man who died while shopping on Black Friday as fellow bargain hunters reportedly walked around — and even over — the man’s body.

Family members told WSAZ-TV that 61-year-old Walter Vance of Logan County, W. Va., had become ill and collapsed while shopping for Christmas decorations inside Target in South Charleston. He later died after being taken to the hospital, family said.

Witnesses told the NBC News affiliate in Charleston, W. Wa., that shoppers walked around and even over Vance’s body.

Did you hear about the $7 trillion secret Fed bailout of the banks?

Yeah, neither did anyone else.

This story has been floating around for several weeks now, at least, but didn't get any traction until now.  A blockbuster, and somewhat complicated, story from Bloomberg.
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

Cities spending millions to shut down Occupy while ignoring homeless

Priorities, priorities. Huffington Post:
As cities around the country have swept Occupy Wall Street camps from their plazas and parks in recent weeks, a number of mayors and city officials have argued that by providing shelter to the homeless, the camps are endangering the public and even the homeless themselves.

Yet in many of those cities, services for the homeless are severely underfunded. The cities have spent millions of dollars to police and evict the protesters, but they've been shutting down shelters and enacting laws to prohibit homeless from sleeping overnight in public.

In Oakland, Atlanta, Denver and Portland, Ore., there are at least two homeless people for every open bed in the shelter system, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In Salt Lake City, Utah, and Chapel Hill, N.C. -- two other cities that have evicted protesters from their encampments -- things are better but far from ideal. In Chapel Hill, according to the HUD study, there are 121 beds for 135 homeless people, and in Salt Lake City, 1,627 for 1,968.

Deadline, Delay, Arrests at Occupy LA

Despite a city-imposed time to abandon their encampment, most demonstrators aren't moving.  
Protesters who defied an order to vacate their encampment will be allowed to stay for the time being.
  No arrests reported
Oh, well so much for that.
Tensions mount after protesters defy a midnight deadline to vacate the park.

A cyclist injures pedestrian - then sues her

A New York cyclist is suing a pedestrian whose elbow she shattered when she ran into her in Central Park. Despite the walker's obvious pain, bike-riding triathlete Sabine von Sengbusch, 46, contends that she is the injured party, the New York Post reports.

Ms Von Sengbusch, a health care administrator, says she was using the utmost care on her morning ride, and that the pedestrian, 28-year-old lawyer Meghan Rohan, caused the June 15 crash when she recklessly walked into the bike lane. The athlete claims she suffered "great physical pain and mental anguish" after the crash, was unable to work and was left with "painful and permanent" injuries - even though she finished second at an October 1 triathlon.

State law gives pedestrians the right of way, but Ms Von Sengbusch is seeking unspecified damages in her lawsuit. Longtime personal-injury lawyer Susan Karten, who is not involved in the case, called the biker's suit "outrageous" and "disgraceful". "The bicyclist has the obligation to watch out for pedestrians - it's not the other way around," she said.

"I've never heard of such a thing. It's like a pedestrian getting hit by a car, and the [motorist] suing the pedestrian and saying, 'You didn't get out of the way'." Ms Rohan's lawyer, Louis Adolfsen, said the cyclist's suit was unusual. "The idea that someone would sue you, when they hit you with a bike, seems to me unthinkable," he said. "I've never seen anything like this."

Woman tried to rob store armed with toy penguin

A woman attempting to rob a petrol station had threatened the clerk with a concealed bomb later determined to be a toy penguin, authorities say.

A Yavapai County Sheriff's Office statement said the woman entered a Chevron on Wednesday evening and claimed she had a bomb in a hand concealed under her sweater. She demanded cash from the clerk and threatened to blow up the store.

The clerk explained that because the petrol station was closing, the register was empty. The woman pressed on, but the clerk continued to refuse until she left the store, Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

The clerk spotted the license plate of the getaway car, and the car's registered owner, Andri Lynn Jeffers, 26, matched the clerk's description and appeared to be the woman captured on surveillance footage, D'Evelyn said. Jeffers confessed to the attempt and said she used a toy penguin, not a bomb, D'Evelyn said. She was jailed on suspicion of attempted robbery.

A 5-year-old is handcuffed and charged with battery

A Californian five-year-old was handcuffed and charged with battery after allegedly kicking a police officer in the knee. Michael Davis had his hands tied behind his back with zip ties and was driven in a police car to psychiatric hospital after apparently lashing out at the officer during a meeting at his primary school.
Michael had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and his teachers suggested that he meet with a school police officer, Lieutenant Frank Gordo, in the hope that a uniformed presence might curb his disruptive behaviour. According to a police report, Lt Gordo put his hand on Michael's and "the boy pushed my hand away in a batting motion, pushed papers off the table, and kicked me in the right knee".

The officer said Michael refused to calm down and so his hands and feet were secured with zip ties of the sort used to restrain violence criminals. Without informing the boy's parents, Lt Gordo drove him in the back of his police car to Stockton Kaiser Psychiatric Hospital for an evaluation.

His mother, Thelma, said she "was led to believe that Michael saw a police officer and attacked a police officer on sight," and only learned that he had been handcuffed several weeks later after reading the report. One charge of battery on a police officer was later dropped by a juvenile court.

Forty K

This is our 40,000th post. And we're singing about it. Who would have thought a few years ago we'd have this many posts and closing in on half a million readers for the year? Certainly not us - we thought maybe a couple hundred posts at best and hoped for at least one reader.

Arab League approves Syria sanctions

The Arab League has approved sanctions against Syria to pressure the regime to end its deadly eight-month crackdown on dissent.

Daily Comic Relief


Mad cow disease fears over violin strings threatens the works of Handel and Bach

Musicians have warned that the works of Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi and Bach may never again be heard as their composers intended – because of EU rules to stop people catching "mad cow disease" from their instruments. Regulations which tightly control the use of certain types of animal tissue are unwittingly threatening the centuries-old technique of making musical instrument strings out of beef gut. The craft is covered by the same strict controls on raw materials from cows, even though campaigners say that to catch Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease, (CJD) – the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy – from violin or cello strings from an infected animal you would need to eat several meters of them.

The musicians warn that regulations are threatening the industry and could force gut string manufacturers to close, with disastrous consequences for the 'period orchestra' movement, which aims to recreate every aspect of music as it was first performed in the years 1650-1750. Without gut strings, they argue, it would be impossible to play the music of Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi and Bach as the composers intended it to be heard. The regulations were introduced around ten years ago in the wake of a series of mad cow disease scares.

Special dispensations were granted to some suppliers allowing them to continue to operate, provided they complied with strict precautions. However, the rules were toughened in 2009 and fears for the industry were sparked earlier this month after one of Europe's leading gut string manufacturers, Aquila Corde, which is based in Caldogno, near Vicenza, was told that its dispensation had ended and had not been renewed. The company says the Italian government has not yet brought into legislation the latest EU diktats on the issue and that this means the bureaucratic burden of seeking a renewal is now too great.

It has already stopped production of the strings and will instead concentrate solely on synthetic ones. Mimmo Peruffo, from the firm, said the difficulties it had encountered were part of a wider problem surrounding the EU regulations and predicted that other suppliers could face similar problems. "This is a Europe-wide problem. The risk of production being closed all round Europe is very big, but there is no risk at all from the strings." Other companies involved in the business have previously given up, complaining that they found could not operate under the red tape system.

A Different Kind of Fabergé Egg

Quick: what image comes to mind when I mention the name Karl Fabergé? Probably not a plate of breakfast.
It may not be the opulent Easter eggs that bear his name, but Fabergé's jeweled rendition of a Russian breakfast still fetched quite a princely sum, it just sold at auction for $1.1 million:
The stone-cut jeweled still life depicts a leftover breakfast plate with a fried egg (made from amber and white enamel), two fish (silver — one whole, one just a skeleton), a glass of vodka (rock crystal), cigarette butts (quartz and silver), and a newspaper (silver) from 18 October 1905 — the day the Tsar signed the October Manifesto in an attempt to quell unrest in Russia by granting the people various civil liberties and democratic reforms.

The Swedish Xmas Straw Goat

Xmas is less than a month away, so it’s time to put up your Xmas straw goat. That’s what the town of Gävle, Sweden has done every year since 1966, although residents support the practice for different reasons:
Half of the people take pride in the giant animal, while the other half take equal pride in attempting to burn it down. To date, the goat has been burnt down more times than it has survived the Xmas period.
Large sums of money apparently change hands, as people bet on whether it will survive, or how long it lasts before being burnt down and previous attempts to sabotage it have even included the bribing of security guards

Awesome Pictures


Breathtaking vacation homes

These luxury beachfront properties could serve as perfect havens while the cold weather creeps in.

Mushroom House

The Mushroom House is a contemporary residence in the town of Perinton, New York, sited in a moderately-wooded ravine adjacent to Powder Mills Park. The house was constructed for attorney-artist couple Robert and Marguerite Antell between 1970 and 1972.

The Mushroom House itself comprises four 80 ton pods which rest on reinforced concrete stems of 14 to 20 feet in height. These fan out from three feet in diameter where they connect to the pods to five feet at the base. One pod serves as the living and dining area, one as the kitchen, and two as sleeping areas.

Geodesic Magic

There's No Place Like Dome
Geodesic domes have been with us for over fifty years but are still hardly common. Partly or fully spherical, they consist of a shell of great circles which rest upon the top of a sphere.

The first dome that could be called 'geodesic' was designed after World War I by Walther Bauersfeld, chief engineer of the Carl Zeiss optical company, for a planetarium to house his planetarium projector. Here are some of the more famous on the planet.

World's most secret islands

Each of these destinations offers travelers a little patch of unspoiled paradise. 

Twenty-five Amazing Rock Formations

Wind, rain and waves can do some amazing things to rocks, which is precisely what made these amazing rock formations seen over at BuzzFeed.

Pocahantas' wedding site

An archaeologist says he has discovered the remains of America's oldest Protestant church.


StonehengeStonehenge new 'sun worship' find

Two previously undiscovered pits are found at Stonehenge which point to the monument being used as a place of sun worship prior to the stones being erected.



Western states report comeback of cattle rustling

Cattle rustlers, casting aside saddle and spurs for modern horsepower, are roaming the West with four-wheel drive and GPS technology in a resurgence of livestock thievery considered a hanging offense on the old frontier.

Genetic Study Confirms: First Dogs Came from East Asia

Researchers at KTH say they have found further proof that the wolf ancestors of today’s domesticated dogs can be traced to southern East Asia — findings that run counter to theories placing the cradle of the canine line in the Middle East. Dr Peter Savolainen, KTH researcher in evolutionary genetics, says a new study released ...
Full Story

New evidence of animal development that led to the Cambrian explosion

A study combining a new compilation of the fossil record with the most extensive molecular dataset to date pins the last common ancestor of all living animals to 800 million years ago. Add the geochemical data of the era, and the package offers a new perspective on the Cambrian explosion.
Full Story

Kung Fu Gecko

Whatever you don't don't mess with this Kung Fu Gecko! It's a good thing that 500px user Shikhei Goh survived taking this awesomely cute photo: Details

Animal Pictures