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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, December 1, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Your relationships are not all exclusive -- sometimes, like it or not, you have to share the people you love in life.
You should have plenty of confidence in the value you bring to your closest friends.
Do not worry that someone's new friend or partner could change that personal connection.
If you get too possessive about your relationship, you send a message that the assurance you need is more important that the other person's independence.
It's a clear power play, and it won't be well-received.

 Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Newbury, England, United Kingdom
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Sofia, Sofiya, Bulgaria
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Lille, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France
Candiac, Quebec, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Belgium
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
Nodia, Uttar Pradesh, India
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Woking, England, United Kingdom
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany
Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Versailles, Ile-De-France, France
Sopron, Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Hungary
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Ashdod, Hamerkaz, Israel
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Delhi, Delhi, India
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Seoul, Kyonggi-Do, Korea
Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana
Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv, Israel
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France

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 Cudahy, Dora, Elgin, Fairview and more!

Today is:
Today is Thursday, December 1, the 335th day of 2011.
There are 30 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


Thorough Thursday

Endorsed by Losers everywhere!

Holy Cow Dude: 100-mph winds hit California

The strongest gusts to hit the state in a decade topple trees and leave behind startling scenes.

Random Celebrity Photo

The iconic Miss Bettie Page

Hidden costs of holiday season

It's easy to overlook some significant expenses that consumers face every December.

Iowa town auctioning off right to name creek

One Iowa town is hoping to raise money for sidewalks by auctioning off naming rights to a local creek.

The creek in Kalona is currently known simply as West Drainage Ditch.

City facing $9-a-gallon gas

A missed delivery creates a logistical nightmare for residents of a U.S. coastal town. 

And I Quote

Well, I'll be damned - a capitalist who understands how it should work ...

"I truly believe that capitalism was created to help people live better lives, but sadly over the years it has lost its way a bit. The short-term focus on profit has driven most businesses to forget about the important long-term role they have in taking care of people and the planet."—Richard Branson, quoted in The Guardian.

McDonald's gets around city toy ban

More Naked Corporate Greed!
McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco have found a way to comply with a city law that bans free toy giveaways with Happy Meals: charge 10 cents for the toys.

Healthy Menu Choices

If you give in to the dreaded bread basket, there's something you should give up. 

Medical careers, no med school

Most of the fastest growing positions in the field don't require an advanced degree. 

Limited swearing helps pain relief

Experts found swearing helped people cope with pain in the short-term but the frequency of swearing played an important role.

Vitamin D's health benefits

Experts say 30-50% of Americans aren't getting enough of the vitamin, especially this time of year.  

Governors petition for medical pot

The move would allow doctors to legally prescribe the drug as a medical treatment.  

Bizarre twist of fate for sheriff

A Colorado lawman once named "sheriff of the year" is thrown into a jail named in his honor.

'Sophisticated' drug path found

This pathway is described as an easy route for Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs into the U.S.  

The Cult of Scientology kept woman prisoner on ship for 12 years

Cult of Scientology kept woman prisoner on ship for 12 years

For most people, an extended stay aboard a luxury cruise liner sounds like a dream vacation.

But Valeska Paris says she was held against her will aboard the Scientology cruise ship "Freewinds" for more than a decade. During her stay on the vessel, she alleges, she was forced into hard labor and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC News) Lateline program, Paris claims that Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when she was 18 in order to prevent her family from pulling her out of the organization.



Students reveal China arsenal

College undergrads discover info on a huge network of tunnels containing nuclear missiles.  

China to Eliminate College Majors That Produce Unemployable Grads

Got a college degree but couldn't find a job? Not going to be a problem in China!
The ever practical China's Ministry of Education has the perfect solution to college graduates that can't find jobs: eliminate the college majors producing unemployable people. Problem solved!
Much like the U.S., China is aiming to address a problematic demographic that has recently emerged: a generation of jobless graduates. China’s solution to that problem, however, has some in the country scratching their heads.
China’s Ministry of Education announced this week plans to phase out majors producing unemployable graduates, according to state-run media Xinhua. The government will soon start evaluating college majors by their employment rates, downsizing or cutting those studies in which the employment rate for graduates falls below 60% for two consecutive years.

Chinese cave listed on market

A tourist attraction is just one Chinese business that's gone to great lengths to sell stock overseas.

Epic Fail


Glyphs rule out 2012 apocalypse

Expert: Mexico glyphs don't predict apocalypse
At least that's according to a German expert who says his decoding of a Mayan tablet with a reference to a 2012 date denotes a transition to a new era and not a possible end of the world as others have read it.

An archaeologist says inscriptions on an ancient Mayan tablet do not predict the end of the world.

Black Holes' Fascinationg Force

Astronomers recently caught their first glimpse of a star being devoured — but it may be their last.

Light Show

The northern lights in Greenland (c) BBCThe greatest light show on Earth

Why rocket scientists are studying smoke signals to understand more about the mysterious Northern Lights. BBC Nature

Blind photographer's unique art

Craig Royal hasn't let his disability stop him from crafting a successful fine arts career.

Awesome Pictures

How it was done.

How the Flexible Straw Was Invented

The drinking straw was invented by 3000 B.C., as attested by Sumerian artifacts. Until very recently, these straws were tubes from plant stems, such as rye. Besides dissolving in water, these straws often added unwelcome plant flavors to drinks. In 1888, Marvin Chester Stone patented a waxed paper straw that didn’t add a grassy flavor to drinks, and these quickly replaced plant straws. But we would have to wait a few more decades before straws became flexible.
Sometime during the 1930s, tinkerer Joseph B. Friedman watched his young daughter struggle to drink a milkshake from a high counter at a soda shop. There had to be a way to improve the design to make it flexible. Here’s what he did:
Friedman inserted a screw into the straw toward the top (see image). Then he wrapped dental floss around the paper, tracing grooves made by the inserted screw. Finally, he removed the screw, leaving a accordion-like ridge in the middle of the once-straight straw. Voila! he had created a straw that could bend around its grooves to reach a child’s face over the edge of a glass.
The modern bendy straw was born. The plastic would come later. The “crazy” straw — you know, the one that lets you watch the liquid ride a small roller coaster in plastic before reaching your mouth — would come later, too. But the the game-changing invention had been made. In 1939, Friedman founded Flex-Straw Company. By the 1940s, he was manufacturing flex-straws with his own custom-built machines. His first sale didn’t go to a restaurant, but rather to a hospital, where glass tubes still ruled. Nurses realized that bendy straws could help bed-ridden patients drink while lying down.

The Tempest Prognosticator

George Merryweather was a doctor in Whitby, on the British coast of Yorkshire. He was also an inventor.
…the thing which Mr. Merryweather became truly famous for was his “Atmospheric, Electromagnetic Telegraph, conducted by Animal Instinct,” or, more shortly, his Tempest Prognosticator,” which he built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It is a beautiful structure, with a bell at the top designed to look like the dome at St. Pauls. Around the bottom are placed a dozen glass bottles; threading from tiny hammers around the edge of the bell are threads, which connect to a piece of whalebone just inside the neck of each bottle. Inside each bottle is poured an inch of rainwater and then — oh happy home! — each bottle is occupied by a leech. A common, ordinary surgical leech.
Being a doctor, Merryweather had observed that medical leeches responded to barometric pressure or electrical charge in the air, or whatever it is that allows smaller animals to know when bad weather is afoot. The leeches’ response was to climb — probably a good response for water-dwelling creatures just before a rain, so that they don’t get washed away. So when Merryweather’s leeches climbed to the top of the bottle, they nudged the piece of whalebone, which caused the string to move and ring the bell. It’s not clear, but it appears that the more the bell rang before a storm, the worse the weather to come.
The Tempest Prognosticator proved to be surprisingly accurate, but did not catch on because it was not considered scientific enough. Read more about the device at Cabinet of Wonders, on a visit to the Whitby Museum, where Merryweather’s device is housed.



Animal News

Common toad (c) David Kjaer/NPLHow animals predict earthquakes

Animals may sense earthquakes days before they occur by detecting "chemical changes" in groundwater, say scientists. BBC Nature

Bunny-Chick: I'm so conflicted

Hatching eggs, scratching around the coop and roosting on a beam with the rest of the hens are great habits for chickens, but rather unusual for an eight month old male rabbit.

'Skin Bones' Helped Large Dinosaurs Survive

Bones contained entirely within the skin of some of the largest dinosaurs on Earth might have stored vital minerals to help the massive creatures survive and bear their young in tough times, according to new research by a team including a University of Guelph scientist.

Fairy Wasps are Smaller than Amoebas

People who make toys, dollhouses, or other miniatures know that certain laws of physics apply that make miniaturization difficult. Certain laws of biology apply, too, but the fairy wasp seems to do an end-run around some of those rules. How else could an insect exist that is smaller than many single-celled creatures? Some are revealed by Alexey Polilov from Lomonosov Moscow State University, who has studied these tiny wasps for years.
Polilov found that M.mymaripenne has one of the smallest nervous systems of any insect, consisting of just 7,400 neurons. For comparison, the common housefly has 340,000 and the honeybee has 850,000. And yet, with a hundred times fewer neurons, the fairy wasp can fly, search for food, and find the right places to lay its eggs.
On top of that Polilov found that over 95 per cent of the wasps’s neurons don’t have a nucleus. The nucleus is the command centre of a cell, the structure that sits in the middle and hoards a precious cache of DNA. Without it, the neurons shouldn’t be able to replenish their vital supply of proteins. They shouldn’t work. Until now, intact neurons without a nucleus have never been described in the wild.
And yet, the fairy wasp has thousands of them. As it changes from a larva into an adult, it destroys the majority or its neural nuclei until just a few hundred are left. The rest burst apart, saving space inside the adult’s crowded head. But the wasp doesn’t seem to suffer for this loss. As an adult, it lives for around five days, which is actually longer than many other bigger wasps. As Zen Faulkes writes, “It’s possible that the adult life span is short enough that the nucleus can make all the proteins the neuron needs to function for five days during the pupal stage.”
There are other tricks tiny insects use to maintain life in miniature, which you can read at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Tiny Tano The Gorilla Finds A Happy Home

How could anyone resist that adorable face? Luckily the Wilhelma Zoo in Germany can’t because they agreed to take in little Tano here after his inexperienced mother showed that she was unable to take care of the little cutie:
While at Zoo Prague, keepers rushed him to an incubator because without the body warmth of Bikira, he would not have survived. Attempts were made to return him to his mother’s arms. Sadly, these were unsuccessful. In order to ensure the infant’s survival, hand-rearing was the only option.
As it turns out, Tano’s mommy and grandparents were raised at the Wilhelma Zoo, so he’ll at least be following family tradition by growing up there.

Rare albino flesh-eating snail found in New Zealand

A rare white-bodied giant snail has been found by members of the Waimea Tramping Club in Kahurangi National Park. The rare albino giant Powelliphanta hochstetteri hochstetteri snail, a "fascinating find", was spotted in the Flora Stream area during a tramping club party's recent trip, a Department of Conservation spokesperson said.

The snail had its characteristic golden brown-spiraled shell but with a body that was a glowing white rather than the usual deep black color. Motueka resident Bill Brough, who has seen quite a number of Powelliphanta snails in his tramps, was one of three people to see the remarkable snail, he said. "Our group had seen three or four snails already that morning as it had rained and they’d come out in the wet conditions.

"Then I saw the white snail and went 'wow'. We were excited to see it, knowing how extraordinary it was." Mr Brough said no patterning was apparent on the albino snail he saw which he described as being "off-white like Milky Bar white chocolate in color". Department of Conservation Powelliphanta expert Kath Walker said it was only the second instance of an albino Powelliphanta snail she had come across, in more than 30 years studying the native snails.

Powelliphanta snails, found only in New Zealand, are the giants of the snail world with striking spiraled shells in an array of colors and patterns. They are carnivores, their favorite prey being earthworms but they also eat slugs. The white snail grows up to 80mm across. The species is endangered due to predation by introduced pests.

Shark 'T-bones' fishing boat

A large great white loops the boat, then heads straight for it as a steady seaman videos the encounter.

More Animal News

Liquid living worms survive spaceNematode worms (Credit: SPL)

Worms survive first space mission in liquid form, establishing them as a key model for studying the long-term effects of weightlessness on animals.

Animal Pictures