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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Daily Drift

It is International Museum Day today.

Today's readers have been in:
Prague, Czech Republic
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sampaloc, Philippines
Singapore, Singapore
Zagreb, Croatia
Amman, Jordan
Bangkok, Thailand
Karachi, Pakistan
Vantaa, Finland
Antwerp, Belgium
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dublin, Ireland
Groningen, Netherlands
Cork, Ireland
Puchong, Malaysia
Taipei, Taiwan
Jakarta, Indonesia
Ampang, Malaysia
Limerick, Ireland
Athens, Greece
Klang, Malaysia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Zurich, Switzerland
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bern, Switzerland
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Nyon, Switzerland
Seoul, Korea
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Reykjavik, Iceland

Today in History

526 St. John I ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
1643 Queen Anne, the widow of Louis XIII, is granted sole and absolute power as regent by the Paris parliament, overriding the late king's will.
1652 A law is passed in Rhode Island banning slavery in the colonies but it causes little stir and seems unlikely to be enforced.
1792 Russian troops invade Poland.
1802 Britain declares war on France.
1804 Napoleon Bonaparte becomes the Emperor of France.
1828 The Battle of Las Piedras, between Uruguay and Brazil, ends.
1860 Abraham Lincoln is nominated for president.
1864 The fighting at Spotsylvania in Virginia, reaches its peak at the Bloody Angle.
1896 The Supreme Court's decision on Plessy v. Ferguson upholds the "separate but equal" policy in the United States.
1904 Brigand Raizuli kidnaps American Ion H. Perdicaris in Morocco.
1917 The U.S. Congress passes the Selective Service act, calling up soldiers to fight World War I.
1931 Japanese pilot Seiji Yoshihara crashes his plane in the Pacific Ocean while trying to be the first to cross the ocean nonstop. He is picked up seven hours later by a passing ship.
1933 President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Tennessee Valley Authority Act.
1942 New York ends night baseball games for the rest of World War II.
1944 The Allies finally capture Monte Cassino in Italy.
1951 The United Nations moves its headquarters to New York city.
1969 Two battalions of the 101st Airborne Division assault Hill 937 but cannot reach the top because of muddy conditions.
1974 India becomes sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb.
1980 After rumbling for two months, Mount Saint Helens, in Washington, erupts 3 times in 24 hours.

You know it's getting bad ...

...when Obama beats Romney in Faux News poll.

The truth be told

Repugicans hate women

Back in 1920 women knew repugicans hated them. 
Things haven't changed in the 92 years since then.


Rupert Murdoch New Corp employees hid evidence during investigation

Oh my, my, another blow for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Does this sound like a law abiding organization? As Faux News would surely say, if they have nothing to hide, why were they hiding boxes of information?
Last July when London prosecutors claim Rebekah Brooks was attempting to hide seven boxes of relevant evidence from a police probe, the former top lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. was dealing with the crisis point of the phone-hacking scandal under investigation.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Brooks allegedly conspired with Cheryl Carter, her personal assistant, to remove the boxes from the premises of News International, the News Corp. U.K. unit she headed, between Wednesday July 6 and Saturday July 9.

News International and the London Metropolitan Police Service, which has been collecting evidence related to phone- hacking and other illegal activities at Murdoch-owned newspapers in the U.K., declined to comment on the contents of the boxes or to explain how they know about their removal.

Man Scales Airport Fence, Breaks into Jet for Fun

Ram Porat was arrested when American Airlines staff found him on a plane at the Nashville airport in the middle of the night.

Mexico army generals probed for cartel ties

Image Detail

Two army generals, including a former assistant defense secretary, were detained by anti-drug prosecutors and are being questioned for alleged links to drug traffickers, authorities said Wednesday.

Cuban president's daughter gets US visa

An associate of Cuban first daughter Mariela Castro says the U.S. has granted her a visa to attend a conference in San Francisco and an event in Washington.

Trying to understand work ...

A new category of heel

  The customer service saboteur

There are jerks, and then there are jerks. Joel Anaya has given them a fair amount of study, focusing on ...
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Lying Isn’t The Only Way To Set Your Pants On Fire

A woman in Orange County, California discovered that rock collecting can be a dangerous hobby, when the rocks she’d collected from the beach earlier that day suddenly ignited in her pocket!
Here’s the scoop:
Orange County Fire Authority officials tell the newspaper that the woman collected the rocks on a nearby beach, returned home and “was standing in her kitchen … when the pocket of her cargo shorts caught fire.”
“I talked to the paramedic who treated her, and in his 27 years in responding to calls near the beach, he’s never seen this,” Fire Authority Capt. Marc Stone told the Register. “The rocks were still smoking when firefighters took them to the hospital.”
Now, they’re being tested. It’s possible, Stone said, that phosphorus in the stones may have caused the combustion.
And they say hobbies like rock and shell collecting are a safe and relaxing activity.

The Complicated World of Modern Baby Naming

Way back when, parents used to name their kids whatever they like and that's the end of that.
Then came the Internet, and baby naming suddenly became a bit more complicated:
Fast forward to after a baby is born, and it’s becoming more and more popular to reserve a child’s email, domain name and maybe even Twitter handle, so they don’t have to be something like, “Sophie Miller 582” or “Oscar Sheppard 4”” when they grow up and want their own Internet identity.
“When our son was a month old, we got him a Gmail account,” says Joanna Goldstein, a first time mother in New York City. “For now, I send emails out to our family every week, attaching pictures and sharing his latest triumphs. I hope somebody it will be nice for him to have this journal of his early adventures in his email.”
And then, there’s Jay Z and Beyonce, who took the whole laying claim to a baby name to the next level. They made headlines last winter when they filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect their daughter’s name -- Blue Ivy Carter .
Some parents found the whole thing downright crazy. Trademarking a baby name -- only in tinsel town, right?
Jacoba Urist of MSNBC's TODAY Moms has more here.

The World's Most Remote Resorts

By Nicole Frehsee

Getting away from it all gets harder and harder, as cell phones and 4G devices keep us tapped into our lives. These 10 getaways take up that challenge, spiriting you away from worldly cares. And we promise you won't miss civilization one bit.

The 9-acre island of Motu Teta rises out of the ocean like a South Pacific day-dreamThe 9-acre island of Motu Teta rises out of the ocean like a South Pacific day-dream Motu Teta, Rangiroa, Tahiti
Don't feel like sharing? The 9-acre island of Motu Teta rises out of the ocean like a South Pacific day-dream: swaying palm trees, powdery beaches, aqua waters lapping at the shore. Once you get there, it's just you and the staff.

Cost: Two people each pay $1,707 a night, but the bigger the group, the more the rate dips. Includes transport from Rangiroa plus food, liquor and unlimited use of sporting equipment.

Getting there: The most arduous part of a Motu Teta vacation is arriving, which requires two flights - one to Papeete, Tahiti's capital, and another to the atoll of Rangiroa - then a 90-minute boat ride to the resort.

What to expect: Sail in one of the resort's six boats, windsurf, spear fish by day - naked if you like, since bathing suits are optional. By night, retreat to your 2,250-square-foot villa facing the lagoon and eat fresh fish and French-inspired cuisine prepared by your private chef.

Winterlake Lodge's 15 acres are so deep in Alaska's backcountry that no roads or waterways reach it. Winterlake Lodge's 15 acres are so deep in Alaska's backcountry that no roads or waterways reach it. Winterlake Lodge, Alaska
Located nearly 200 miles north of Anchorage on the Iditarod Trail, Winterlake Lodge's 15 acres are so deep in Alaska's backcountry that no roads or waterways reach it.

Cost: Starts at $1,395 per person per night, and includes meals and transportation from Anchorage to Winterlake.

Getting there: From Anchorage, take a puddle-jumper - a ski plane in winter, a floatplane in summer - that lands on the lodge's mile-long lake.

What to expect: Fifteen cabins, each with artisan furniture and wood-burning stoves, are a short walk to the main lodge, where you'll find daily yoga classes, massages and wine and cheese tastings (samples flown in weekly from Murray's Cheese Shop in New York). Outdoors, there's dog-mushing school and bear-viewing. Or take one of Winterlake's two choppers to a glacier in the Tordrillo Mountains or a remote fly-fishing spot.

Kauri Cliffs, poised on the edge of the Totara forest.Kauri Cliffs, poised on the edge of the Totara forest. Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand
Kauri Cliffs, poised on the edge of the Totara forest, offers panoramic ocean views in 22 guest rooms - with his-and-her walk-in closets - on 6,000-acres. The resort is owned by American hedge-fund tycoon Julian Robertson.

Cost: Starts at $623 a night per person, double occupancy, with meals and drinks all-in. For $7,171 nightly, though, you can book the 4,200-square-foot Owner's Suite, with a private infinity pool and kitchen - so the chef can come to you.

Getting there: Hop Air New Zealand's daily 40-minute flight to Kerikeri Bay from Auckland, then drive. Or take an hour-long helicopter ride from Auckland directly to the resort.

What to expect: The main draw are the links, ranked the world's 18th best by Golf Magazine, but you can also chill out on the pink-sand beaches, go boar hunting (pick your weapon: gun or knife), deep-sea fishing or play a little polo. Tip: book the Private Beach Barbecue, where a Kauri chef cooks up a feast of fresh seafood and local produce surfside.

Amangiri is a 34-suite resort nestled in a rocky valley.Amangiri is a 34-suite resort nestled in a rocky valley. Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah
Amangiri is a 34-suite resort nestled in a rocky valley in the southern Utah desert and has hosted celeb guests from Brad and Angelina to Katy Perry.

Cost: $1,000 to $3,600 a night

Getting there: Fly to St. George Municipal Airport via Los Angeles or Salt Lake City and take a 2 1/2-hour road trip. From Page Municipal Airport in Arizona the drive is just 25 minutes, but you'll have to book a charter from Phoenix, Denver or Las Vegas.

What to expect: Surrounded by the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Grand Staircase and Bryce and Zion national parks, Amangiri has abundant natural beauty, plus a swimming pool carved out of a canyon. Activities include outdoor yoga and fly-fishing on the nearby Colorado River.

A string of 15 tents dotting a sand dune in the Outback.A string of 15 tents dotting a sand dune in the Outback. Longitude 131, Ayers Rock, Australia
A string of 15 tents dotting a sand dune in the Outback may not sound luxurious, but the tents of Longitude 131 cover 430-square-feet and have air-conditioning, retracting blinds and Bose sound systems.

Cost: Double occupancy starts at $2,070 per room per night. If you stay three nights or more, the price drops to $1,758.

Getting there: Catch a direct flight to Ayers Rock Airport from Sydney to catch a 4-wheel-drive vehicle for the last six miles through the Outback to the resort.

What to expect: Watching the sunrise over Uluru (a natural sandstone rock formation and UNESCO World Heritage site); sip cocktails by sunset over the vast Kantju Gorge; and dine under the Outback stars.

Daily Video

The scyphomedusa Deepstaria

More doctors are ditching the old prescription pad

Doctors increasingly are ditching the prescription pad: More than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic, according to the latest count.

Private-equity driven dentists accused of "dentally abusing" poor kids on Medicaid with painful, unnecessary procedures

Hedge funds in America have backed several dental practices, and Medicaid and parents allege that this has led to a rash of "dental abuse" of poor children, who are seen by dentists at school, without parental consent, for invasive and painful (and expensive) procedures performed by dentists. Critics say the dentists have to meet quotas in order to attain the valuations set by the private equity funds who call the shots. A North Carolina bill aimed at fighting this practice is being fought by three funds (Leonard Green, Court Square Capital Partners, and Levine Leichtman Capital Partners) who've raised $1.1 million to kill it.
Sydney P. Freedberg writes in Bloomberg:
Isaac Gagnon stepped off the school bus sobbing last October and opened his mouth to show his mother where it hurt. She saw steel crowns on two of the 4-year-old’s back teeth. A dentist’s statement in his backpack showed he had received two pulpotomies, or baby root canals, along with the crowns and 10 X-rays -- all while he was at school. Isaac, who suffers from seizures from a brain injury in infancy, didn’t need the work, according to his mother, Stacey Gagnon...
In August 2010, Green’s lawyer appeared before the Arizona dental board to answer a complaint that ReachOut did unnecessary drilling on a Phoenix student’s teeth -- even after the student’s mother told the company she was seeing a family dentist and didn’t need any work...
There were two children with the same name at the school, and the work was done on the wrong Sabrina Martinez, Green’s lawyer, Jeff Tonner, told the dental board. Although the board agreed that work was done on the wrong child, it dismissed the case, noting Davila had complained about “the business entity,” not a dentist...
In San Diego, Tina Richardson’s third grader, Alexander Henry, came home in March with four baby teeth missing after a school session with a ReachOut-affiliated dentist that was so painful he “waved his arms frantically,” “pushed everyone off him” and “bled so badly that they had to send him to the nurse’s office,” according to her complaint with the state dental board. Among other things, Richardson said the consent process wasn’t valid.
Richardson said Alexander had seen a dentist nine days earlier who didn’t recommend any teeth pulling. Although she signed a consent form in September covering many procedures including extractions, she said she didn’t sign another one that came in November seeking permission to take out three teeth. No one from ReachOut called to discuss the proposed procedures, she said.

Second case of flesh-eating bacteria reported

A second case of flesh-eating bacteria has been reported in South Carolina as a Georgia woman continues to battle the same kind of infection.

Science and Health

Zebrafish could hold the key to understanding psychiatric disorders

Zebrafish could hold the key to understanding psychiatric disorders

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have shown that zebrafish could be used to study the underlying causes of ...
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Higher pain tolerance in athletes may hold clues for pain management

Stories of athletes bravely “playing through the pain” are relatively common and support the widespread belief that they experience pain ...
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Man turns Nerf gun into 20,000-volt Tesla gun

A man has turned a rather harmless Nerf gun into a Tesla gun that shoots out 20,000 volts of electricity and he's posted instructions on his website for others to build it, too.

Live nude planets!

Rachel Hobson says: "Who needs to watch a web cam of baby pandas when you can watch Venus live?
Live sunWelcome to the Public Observatory channel, where you can see live video of the Sun, moon, or the planets taken through one of our telescopes. The Public Observatory is located at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
This month, the Observatory is open to visitors from 1-3 p.m. EDT, Wednesday through Saturday, weather permitting. During these hours we will often stream live video through one of our telescopes so that you can see what we're looking at!

Super Flares

'Superflares' from stars countedHiroyuki Maehara (Kwasan and Hida Observatories, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University)

Nasa's Kepler space telescope provides new insight on the colossal explosions that can occur in the atmospheres of some stars.


Just a couple of oldies but goodies!

Stone Tree

John Shaw-Rimmington, a sculptor of stone walls, made this dry stone wall in a conservation area in Orangeville, Ontario. If I understand the story correctly, it is a memorial to a woman named Kerry Landman. Her husband, Eric Landman, helped build the wall himself.

Awesome Pictures

Turtle Express

Man killed rabid mountain lion with frying pan

Chino Valley resident Brandon Arnold killed a rabid mountain lion with a frying pan, and he has witnesses to prove it. Arnold, 24, his girlfriend Tessa Gerdes and seven of their Chino Valley friends, including three children, were camping on May 4 at a remote spot on the Tonto National Forest, near the Verde River off Bloody Basin Road, when the story of a lifetime unfolded. They were getting ready to make breakfast at about 6:45 a.m. when a large animal jumped out of the bushes onto the back of Arnold's dog Apollo, a 90-pound lab-pit bull mix.
"It was hard to tell what it was when it jumped out of there covered with grass and smelling like a skunk," Arnold's friend Donald Jones said. "I thought it was somebody's dog, so I was just pissed off somebody brought a mean dog to camp." Jones grabbed the neck of both the animals to try to pull them apart. That's when they all figured out the other animal wasn't a dog. Jones let go real fast. "I started screaming at the top of my lungs, 'Holy (bleep), it's a mountain lion!'" Arnold recalled.

The lion ran into the mesquite bushes and Apollo ran after it while the men frantically looked for the nearest weapon. Jones grabbed a camping table and Arnold grabbed a 14-inch cast-iron skillet heating up on the propane stove. Arnold got to the lion and dog fight first and did what he had to do to save Apollo. "The first time I had a clear shot I just swung the pan and hit him right on the head," Arnold said. "It was like a cartoon - he just kind of stopped and I hit him again. He got stiff and fell over." He hit it several more times, then another friend shot it a couple of times just to make sure it was dead.

Figuring only a rabid lion would act like that, they contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The positive rabies results came back on Monday. Amazingly, no one besides Apollo was scratched, or they'd have to get expensive and painful rabies shots. Apollo already had his rabies shots. He suffered gashes and scratches but they weren't life-threatening. He has to stay in quarantine at home for 45 days. "Everybody was lucky," Jones said. "Even the dog was lucky. We'll never win the lottery because we used up all our luck right there." The group continued their camping weekend, although they moved to a site with fewer bushes around it.

Turkish villagers mistook migratory bird for Israeli spy

A migratory bird has caused alarm in a village in south-eastern Turkey after locals mistook it for an Israeli spy. Villagers' suspicions were aroused when the bird, a common European bee-eater, was found dead in a field with a metal ring around its leg stamped "Israel".
They called the police after deciding its nostrils were unusually large and may have carried a microchip fitted by Israeli intelligence for spying. It was taken to government experts for examination and declared safe.

The regional office of the Turkish agriculture ministry examined the colorfully plumed corpse and assured residents of the village, near the city of Gaziantep, that it was common practice to fit a ring to migratory birds in order to track their movements. An official at the ministry said that it took some effort to persuade local police that the little bee-eater posed no threat to national security.

At one point a counter-terrorism unit became involved in the case. Wildly implausible conspiracy theories take root easily in Turkey, with alleged Israeli plots among the most widely believed. Ties between Turkey and Israel deteriorated sharply after nine Turkish pro-Palestinian Islamic activists died in a raid by Israeli security forces on a boat trying to break the blockade on Gaza two years ago.

Let me introduce to you - The Frogmouth

It's important that you get to know these adorably expressive birds. Not to be confused with owls, the frogmouth is a nocturnal bird related to the nightjars and native to Southeast Asia and Australia. They are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to capture insects.

Animal Pictures

Bear bath