Welcome to ...

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Daily Drift

Let's hope all our readers in England, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand haven't forgot about us during the recently forced hiatus.

Today's readers have been in:

Timisoara, Romania
Groningen, Netherlands
Bangkok, Thailand
Zurich, Switzerland
Johannesburg, South Africa
Taipei, Taiwan
Dublin, Ireland
Cork, Ireland
Kuching, Malaysia
Tallinn, Estonia
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Zagreb, Croatia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Athens, Greece
Vienna, Austria
Kuantan, Malaysia
Doha, Qatar
Skudai, Malaysia
Islamabad, Pakistan
Kluang, Malaysia
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rome, Italy
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Riga, Latvia
Warsaw, Poland
Limerick, Ireland
Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Alor Setar, Malaysia
Muar, Malaysia
Mombasa, Kenya
Singapore, Singapore
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Kluang, Malaysia
Bern, Switzerland
Prague, Czech Republic

NC House Majority Leader Skip Stam admits national hate group wrote Amendment One

NC House Majority Leader Skip Stam admits national hate group wrote Amendment One

Like a cockroach scurrying for cover when the light goes on, House Majority Leader Skip Stam (r), seeing the moral bankruptcy that he has wrought with Amendment One on the ballot, tries to tell the Fayetteville Observer that he actually wanted a kinder, gentler (presumably only anti-gay) ballot initiative, but that he was pressured by a national hate group to use the language people will see at the polls. (NC Policy Watch)

Random Celebrity Photo

The Anniversary of Coca-Cola

John Pemberton earned a medical degree when he was only 19 years old -and then worked as a pharmacist, trying to invent new drugs. He particularly needed a new kind of pain relief, as he was badly wounded in the War Between the States and had become addicted to morphine for relief.
After the war, Pemberton settled in Atlanta, where he began work on a beverage combining coca leaves and cola nuts. His objective was to create a pain reliever but when his lab assistant accidentally mixed the concoction with carbonated water on May 8, 1886, the two men tasted it, liked it, and decided it might make a profitable alternative to ginger ale and root beer.
Pemberton sold the rights to Coca-Cola (twice, actually, but that’s another story) as his behavior became more erratic. He died only two years after his accidental invention and only a few months after the Coca Cola Corporation was incorporated.
The Coca-Cola that you may be drinking right now has been reformulated a bit over the years, but the basic beverage is 126 years old today.


Nepal's Former Kingdom Of Lo

Photographer Taylor Weidman was given special permission by the government of Nepal to travel in the restricted area of Mustang, an area hidden in the rain shadow of the Himalaya in one of the most remote corners of Nepal. Hemmed in by the world's highest mountain range to the south and an occupied and shuttered Tibet to the north, this tiny Tibetan kingdom has remained virtually unchanged since the 15th century.

Today, Mustang is arguably the best-preserved example of traditional Tibetan life in the world. But it is poised for change. A new highway will connect the region to Kathmandu and China for the first time, ushering in a new age of modernity and altering Mustang's desert-mountain villages forever.

Diabetes drug metformin could treat blindness

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have discovered that a drug already prescribed to millions of people with ...

Kids say the darndest things

Grandpa was driving with his 9 year old granddaughter and beeped the horn by mistake. She turned and looked at him for an explanation.

He said, "I did that by accident."

She replied, "I know that, Grandpa."

He replied, "How did you know?"

She said, "Because you didn't say "asshole" afterwards.

Real Life Norman Bates Impersonates Dead Mom for 6 Years

This life-imitating-movie story is one for the books: in order to prevent his home from being foreclosed, Thomas Prusik Parkin decided that the only course of action was to impersonate his dead elderly mother and sue ... himself.
“I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother,” Parkin told detectives.
In the trial now nearing conclusion in Brooklyn Supreme Court, 51-year-old Parkin is being presented by the prosecution as a kind of Norman Bates for our time, armed not with a knife, but a pen, seeking not blood, but money. Rather than terrorize a rundown motel, Parkin is accused of dressing up like his dead mom, Irene Prusik, to perpetuate an intricate series of frauds over a six-year period involving a $2.2 million Park Slope brownstone and a $990,000 mortgage, as well as $115,000 in Social Security and other government payments.
The evidence against him includes a film made not by Alfred Hitchcock, but by investigators with the Brooklyn D.A.’s office using a buttonhole camera. It was screened on Wednesday before jurors, who seemed greatly entertained as they watched a figure in a red top slumped at the end a sofa wearing an obvious blonde wig, lipstick, blackout sunglasses, and an oxygen mask.

From the Newswire

92-year-old selling suicide kit faces sentencing for failing to file tax returns
A 92-year-old retired school teacher who sold $40 helium kits to people who could use it to kill themselves faces sentencing in San Diego for failing to file federal tax returns.

Fugitive couple nabbed after 12 years

Acting on a tip, U.S. marshals in Arizona put an end to an Illinois couple's life on the lam, a dozen years after they fled punishment for running a Ponzi scheme that targeted friends, the elderly, and even family members, authorities said.

US foils new Al Qaeda underwear-bomb plot

Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo at the Associated Press were first to report today that the CIA claims to have "thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen" to bomb a plane headed for the US, using a bomb with "a sophisticated new design" that would not contain metal. The attack was to have taken place near the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. The design is said to have been an improvement over the plot that failed on a plane over Detroit around Christmas, 2009. Because it did not contain metal, the new design may have thwarted current airport screening protocols, but it's possible that the newer forms of full-body scanners could detect such a device... or not.

Funny Pictures

Indian money lender kept 2-year-old baby as surety

Stephan, a construction site worker, paid a terrible price for borrowing Rs 10,000 from a local money-lender. When he failed to repay the loan, the money-lender snatched away his two-year-old son, held the infant captive for nearly a year and kept him chained to the floor. The police on Saturday rescued the child, held by the money-lender as surety, from the woman's house in Tumkur, 76 km from Bangalore. Mumtaz, the money-lender, and her daughter Rihana have been arrested. The police said Mumtaz and Rihana ran a business of lending money at exorbitant interest rates to families from below poverty line (BPL) category.

They often used muscle power to recover loans and interest from the borrowers. Two years ago, Stephan borrowed Rs 10,000 from Mumtaz but failed to repay the money. By the 18th month, the principal amount and interest had shot up and Mumtaz demanded that Stephan repay Rs 50,000. 'Mumtaz then used local rowdies to threaten Stephan. One night, she barged into his house, snatched the infant and left. The rowdies beat up Stephan and threatened him against approaching the police. She told Stephan that she would keep the child as surety till he paid her Rs 50,000,' a police officer said.

When Mumtaz's neighbors became suspicious about the child as they felt she and her daughter were neglecting him, they informed the police. On Saturday, when the police visited Mumtaz, she tried to mislead them by claiming she had adopted the boy. But she failed to provide the adoption documents. 'Besides, we were horrified to find that the child was chained and left on the floor with a food plate. It was a disgusting sight. The boy looked malnourished. We arrested both Mumtaz and Rihana. The boy is now in the care of the department of women and child welfare as he needs immediate medical attention. He will be treated for malnourishment and then handed over to Stephan,' the police officer added.

Reyaz, Mumtaz's husband, who was at home when the police visited them, escaped from the scene to evade arrest. Stephan was in tears when he saw his son's condition. 'I had borrowed the money to treat my wife's illness. I had asked for more time from Mumtaz to return the principal amount. But she kept on hiking the interest deliberately. After she kidnapped my son, I approached her several times asking her to return the child on humanitarian grounds, but she threatened me every time,' he alleged. According to Dr Ashwini S., who is attending to the boy, the infant has suffered from lack of attention, care and affection. 'He has not developed like a normal child because of lack of parental care.

Australian supermarkets may have to ban sales of grapes because of increase in personal injury claims

Grapes could be banned from Australian supermarkets or sold in sealed bags to prevent accidents as shoppers claim more than $100 million a year in personal injury payouts after slipping in aisles.

At least one grocery outlet has more than $50 million worth of claims on its books - up 300 per cent from 2004. Personal injury lawyers say the number of injured shoppers taking action is rising, with malfunctioning trolleys, loose rice grains and rogue grapes driving claims.

The costly trend has forced supermarkets to erect warning signs, invest in anti-slip mats and explore new ways of storing problem foods. Grapes pose the biggest hazard but other problem foods include lettuce leaves, snow peas, beans and milk.

An industry source said the value of claims at one supermarket is around $50 million annually. Leading personal injury law firm Slater & Gordon is dealing with more than 10 cases of injured supermarket shoppers each month.

AT&T must pay Muslim woman $5M in workplace harassment case

For more than 10 years, Susann Bashir worked as a fiber optics network builder for AT&T in Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that she was subjected to daily religious discrimination and harassment during the last three years of her employment there—co-workers called her a "towelhead," and asked if she planned to blow up the building.
She was already pursuing a religious discrimination case against her employer when, one day, her boss grabbed her head-scarf and exposed her hair during a routine meeting in his office. The head and hair are considered a "private part" for Muslim women, so snatching her hijab was perceived as a powerful personal violation.
Snip from The Kansas City Star:

Bashir sued, and this week a Jackson County jury awarded her $5 million in punitive damages against Southwestern Bell/AT&T. (...) Thursday’s overall award appears to be the largest jury verdict for a workplace religious discrimination case in Missouri history.

Paul Ryan: Looney Douchebag

He believes that corporation loopholes are more important than educating the next generation of Americans.
Paul Ryan (r-wi) told students at a town hall Friday that he would not support preventing a hike in their student loan interest rates if it was paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

“Nope,” Ryan told Matt Kozlowski, a student at the University of Wisconsin, who had asked him if he’d support closing such loopholes to stave off an imminent rate hike - More
Need any more proof that repugicans have no place on this earth? Also, why is it that every picture of any repugican looks as if their are off their Meds?

Faux News talking head laments 'mistake' of letting women vote

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a Faux News talking, tea party agitator and personal friend of Sean Handjob's ranted in a sermon recently published to YouTube that America's greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote, adding that back in "the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them."

Why are the poorest and most violent states, Red states?

If quality of life is important, this recent study says a lot about modern America. Many times people from outside of the northeast like to bash the northeast as being full of violent big cities (and sure, they exist) but the statistics on violence and poverty should be eye opening.
Why is it that the most peaceful states are traditional Blue states and the most violent are Red states? Wouldn't it be nice if people could learn and adjust from studies like this? Click through to see the top three on either side of this very interesting new study.
In the category of economics, absolute poverty rates appear to be correlated with violent conditions. Nine of the 10 most peaceful states were among the 20 with the lowest poverty rates. On the other hand, six of the 10 least peaceful were among the 10 poorest states.

A number of education-related metrics correlate strongly with how peaceful the states are. According to Killelea, “it is not so much the quality of education that matters for peace, but that states keep children in school and off the streets.”

The strongest correlation with peace among the education data is the share of a state’s population with at least a high school diploma. In Texas, which is among the least peaceful states, just over 80 percent have at least a high school diploma -- the country’s lowest rate. Minnesota’s rate of nearly 92 percent is the country’s second highest. That state is also one of the most peaceful.

Feds release new draft rules for fracking

It's an improvement, but it doesn't go far enough and it's not even in the books yet. This probably means Big Energy will have time to water down the already watered down rules. The proposed new rules include publishing a list of the chemicals being used for the public but there are of course, loopholes.
Interior Secretary Salazar claims that the requirement for using the loopholes are going to be limited but if history tells us anything about this industry and their relationship with governments, the loopholes will be miles wide and abused early and often.

The other problem is that the new rules will not force the fracking companies to publish the chemicals before drilling, so there could be many unpleasant surprises for local communities with their drinking water.

For this new proposal to work, it's going to require some tough minded people to hold Big Energy accountable and there's very little history that suggests we will see that. Even if it passes "as is" the next administration could easily lower the bar for Big Energy and ignore complaints about polluted water sources and side with Big Energy.

Awesome Pictures

Inventing the wheel

  It's not as easy as it seems


The invention of the wheel is the subject of innumerable humorous cartoons.  What surprises many people is that no one in the ancient New World invented the wheel.  When Europeans arrived, there were no wheeled vehicles in North or South America.

And it wasn't just an American deficiency:
The fact is that most civilizations in the Old World didn't invent the wheel either--instead, they borrowed it from some other culture. The wheel appears to have been first used in Sumer in the Middle East around 3500 BC, whence it spread across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It didn't arrive in Britain until 500 BC. 
An article in Scientific American points out that the problem isn't with designing a wheel (which was done in neolithic times for what appear to be children's toys).  The problem was designing an axle:
The success of the whole structure was extremely sensitive to the size of the axle. While a narrow one would reduce the amount of friction, it would also be too weak to support a load. Meanwhile, a thick axle would hugely increase the amount of friction. "They solved this problem by making the earliest wagons quite narrow, so they could have short axles, which made it possible to have an axle that wasn't very thick..."

The sensitivity of the wheel-and-axle system to all these factors meant that it could not have been developed in phases, he said. It was an all-or-nothing structure...

The invention of the wheel was so challenging that it probably happened only once, in one place. However, from that place, it seems to have spread so rapidly across Eurasia and the Middle East that experts cannot say for sure where it originated. The earliest images of wheeled carts have been excavated in Poland and elsewhere in the Eurasian steppes, and this region is overtaking Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) as the wheel's most likely birthplace.

The Periodic Ceiling of Elements

High school chemistry teacher Scott Byrum found a brilliant way to catch the attention of his students. When it was time to renovate his classroom, he made vinyl letters and numbers and attached them to the tiles of his drop ceiling. When arranged properly, they formed the periodic table of elements. It got just the effect that Byrum was looking for:
“My students love it,” Byrum says of his new ceiling. “It makes them feel more connected to my instruction.” The artwork is also an instant conversation starter. “Even faculty members, when they walk in and see it,” want to talk about it, he says.
Byrum no longer worries about his students daydreaming in class. When their minds start to wander, and they look up at the ceiling, well, there’s the periodic table. “Even though they may be daydreaming, they’re daydreaming science,” he says.

Magnet-Making Bacteria

  Future Computers?

If you think your computer has got bugs in it, wait till you hear this: scientists are working with a strain of magnet-making bacteria that may one day become part of a biological computer.
When the bacteria ingest iron, proteins inside their bodies interact with it to produce tiny crystals of the mineral magnetite, the most magnetic mineral on Earth.
Having studied the way the microbes collect, shape and position these nano-magnets inside themselves, the researchers copied the method and applied it outside the bacteria, effectively "growing" magnets that could in future help to build hard drives.
"We are quickly reaching the limits of traditional electronic manufacturing as computer components get smaller," said lead researcher Dr Sarah Staniland of the University of Leeds.
"The machines we've traditionally used to build them are clumsy at such small scales.
"Nature has provided us with the perfect tool to [deal with] this problem."

Mastodons, humans lived side-by-side

During the last ice age 13,000 years ago, modern humans in North America lived alongside large, now extinct mammals, including ...

Dinosaur flatulence to blame for global warming 150 million years ago

Why did the Earth got warmer in the Mesozoic Era 150 million years ago? Science has the answer: Dinosaur flatulence.
By scaling up the digestive wind of cows, they estimate that the population of dinosaurs - as a whole - produced 520 million tonnes of [methane] gas annually.

See-Through Caterpillar

This jewel caterpillar (acraga coa) is dressed to perfection. Gerardo Aizpuru spotted it in a mangrove area on the Yucatán peninsula.

Impossible Plant-Animal Hybrid

Impossible Plant-Animal Hybrid

This creature should not exist... but it does.
via Dark Roasted Blend

Why Parrots Parrot

When birds mimic human speech, do they know what they’re saying?

Why Parrots Parrot

Horse origins mystery 'solved'

Przewalski’s horses, the closest wild relative of the domestic horse ancestorHorse origins mystery 'solved' The horse was first domesticated 6,000 years ago on the grasslands of the Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan, genetic evidence suggests.

Animal Pictures