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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, May 24, 2012

The Daily Drift

Big balls2
Think Big!

Today's readers have been in:
Hanoi, Vietnam
Vienna, Austria
Klang, Malaysia
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Groningen, Netherlands
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Dublin, Ireland
Bangkok, Thailand
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Arnhem, Netherlands
Makati, Philippines
Naples, Italy
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Nassau, Bahamas
Zurich, Switzerland
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Warsaw, Poland
Jakarta, Indonesia
Baghdad, Iraq
Limerick, Ireland
Bangi, Malaysia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cork, Ireland

Today in History

1543 Nicolaus Copernicus publishes proof of a sun-centered solar system. He dies just after publication.
1607 Captain Christopher Newport and 105 followers found the colony of Jamestown at the mouth of the James River on the coast of Virginia.
1610 Sir Thomas Gates institutes "laws divine moral and marshal, " a harsh civil code for Jamestown.
1624 After years of unprofitable operation, Virginia's charter is revoked and it becomes a royal colony.
1689 English Parliament passes the Act of Toleration, protecting Protestants. Roman Catholics are specifically excluded from exemption.
1738 The Methodist Church is established.
1764 Boston lawyer James Otis denounces "taxation without representation," calling for the colonies to unite in opposition to Britain's new tax measures.
1798 Believing that a French invasion of Ireland is imminent, Irish nationalists rise up against the British occupation.
1844 Samuel Morse taps out the first telegraph message.
1846 General Zachary Taylor captures Monterey.
1861 General Benjamin Butler declares slaves to be the contraband of war.
1863 Bushwackers led by Captain William Marchbanks attack a Federal militia party in Nevada, Missouri.
1878 The first American bicycle race is held in Boston.
1930 Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to fly from England to Australia.
1941 The British battleship Hood is sunk by the German battleship Bismarck. There are only three survivors.
1951 Willie Mays begins playing for the New York Giants.
1961 Civil rights activists are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

Any Questions?

Egyptians head to the polls

When the protests started, few would have imagined what happened. To see Hosni Mubarak, dictator for decades, swept aside and sent to court was almost unbelievable. Having an election that does not include Mubarak or his son is a major development. Whether the new team will be much different from the old team may be asking for a lot, but again, few imagined this election.

Al Jazeera:
Fifty million people are eligible to cast their ballots and voter turnout is expected to be high as two days of voting begin on Wednesday.

The election is the final phase of a tumultuous transition marred by violence, protests and political deadlock, overseen by the ruling military council after a popular uprising ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak last year.

With none of the 13 candidates expected to secure more than half the votes to win outright in the first round, a runoff between the top two is likely in June.

Among the contenders is former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who is seen as an experienced politician and diplomat but like Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, is accused of belonging to the old

Anonymous attacks Justice Department nabbing 1.7GB of data

In a hack it dubbed "Monday Mail Mayhem," Anonymous claims to have collected and released 1.7GB of data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Over 70% of US military spare parts from China

The only surprise is that the Senate wasn't sent hush money campaign contributions from the defense contractors to kill the report. Not only have the US defense contractors been fleecing Americans with the normally bloated defense contracts but they're also ripping off Americans and putting US military in danger by selling cheap ripoff products, probably at the same price as the real thing.
Why do Americans defense contractors want to put US soldiers at risk with inferior products?

 BBC News:
A year-long probe found 1,800 cases of fake parts in US military aircraft, the Senate Armed Services Committee found.

More than 70% of an estimated one million suspect parts were traced back to China, the report said.

It blamed weaknesses in the US supply chain, and China's failure to curb the counterfeit market.

The failure of a key part could pose safety and national security risks and lead to higher costs for the Pentagon, the committee said.

And I Quote

Food Security

Terraced fields, China (Image: AP)Nations need food security goals

The biggest environmental summit for a decade needs to deliver meaningful progress on global food security sustainable agriculture, say researchers.

Spectacular Sinking Sculptures

Some have created fantastic illusions consisting of sculptures that look as if they're sinking into the ground! Whether it's Sue and Peter Hill who made the magnificent Mud Maid at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, UK, or Banksy who transforms an ordinary row of orange traffic cones into an extraordinary work of art, one thing is certain. These pieces make us do a double-take!

Ten Things Your Boss Won't Tell You

Ever wonder what's going through your boss's head when he greets you in the elevator? Since putting the company president in the hot seat is never a good idea, we went ahead and did the asking on your behalf. Below, nine higher-ups weigh in on everything from what makes an employee valuable to what you may unwittingly be doing to jeopardize your job. Follow these bigwigs' tips and you just might find yourself climbing the next rung of the corporate ladder.

1. What you do outside of work matters.
Your boss doesn't watch your every move-unless you give her reason to-but she is keeping tabs on you. Ask yourself, "Would I want my boss to read this?" every time you post something on Facebook or any another social media site, suggests Edith Onderick-Harvey, president of Factor In Talent, an Andover, Massachusetts-based corporate consulting firm. "Be careful about how much you share about your weekend or what a jerk [you think] your coworker is," she urges. Otherwise, your boss may start seeing you in a less-than-professional light, and that could carry over to how she values you as an employee.

2. Your attitude is as important as your assignments.
Like 'em or not, office politics matter-both day to day, and in the long run. "What your manager won't tell you is that what may be even more important than completing tasks and following directions is your ability to work with her and your coworkers," says Onderick-Harvey. Even if you're getting the job done, if your coworkers find you to be abrasive, rude or just unpleasant, it will be hard for your boss to promote you.

3. Speak up!
Don't be afraid to make yourself heard. The most valuable employees take initiative, says Patty Briguglio, president of MMI Public Relations in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I like having an employee who isn't afraid to show her personality," she says. "I don't want someone to just fill a spot at a desk." If you want a promotion, ask for it, says Briguglio. Also, let your boss know what you need to succeed, urges workplace consultant Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University, whether it's training, time or money.

4. Follow our lead.
If you're not sure whether your boss prefers to communicate in a meeting or via email or phone, ask, suggests career and executive coach Lauren Mackler. Also ask what she wants to be consulted on and what she prefers you handle on your own. And take cues from her personality, says Mackler: If your boss is introverted, don't keep pushing for face-to-face time.

5. Toot your own horn.
Your boss can't possibly keep tabs on what every employee is doing every day-it's up to you to let him know! "When you wrap up a project, send a congratulatory email to your team and CC your boss," suggests Mackler. You might also send him a monthly overview of the projects you've completed and other accomplishments, and have these month-to-month emails on hand at your annual performance review. And speaking of performance reviews…

6. We don't like performance reviews, either!
"They're just as painful for your boss as they are for you," says Daniel Debow, co-CEO of Rypple, a web-based feedback tool. "But you can help make them easier." Rather than trying to recall the details of a project from 10 months ago on the day of your review, keep track of your successes as they happen, suggests Debow. You should also try to connect with your boss regularly throughout the year-not just on review day.

7. Dress like you mean business.
"Dress every day as though it's possible you'll be called into the company president's office for a meeting," urges former business manager Sue Thompson, a consultant and speaker with Set Free Life Seminars. Even though your manager has more important things to focus on than your clothes and your business etiquette, if you fall short in either category you're just asking not to be promoted-and you may be on the verge of a very uncomfortable conversation.

8. We appreciate positive feedback, too.
If you make your boss look and feel good, you'll reap the rewards, promises Stefanie Smith, head of executive consulting and coaching firm Stratex. Generally your boss is the one doing the encouraging and nurturing, but you can turn the tables to your advantage. Compliment your boss in front of other people, suggests Smith. Just be sure to keep your kind words sincere-and brief.

9. Be a problem solver.
"Most employees bring up problems and expect the boss to solve them," laments Jennifer Prosek, CEO of consulting firm CJP Communications. "The employees who stand out are a part of the solution." If you're struggling with a project or a client and aren't sure what to do next, present your boss with three possible options. Even if she instructs you to do something entirely different, she'll appreciate that you're thinking ahead.

10. Take responsibility for your actions.
Whether you're running late ("The traffic was terrible!") or botched a big time project ("Well, she sent the email late!"), don't try to push the blame elsewhere. Instead, acknowledge your mistake and take care not to repeat it. "Even if you're a nice person with decent skills, I can't promote you if you refuse to accept the blame when you mess up," says Deborah Becker, the owner of a State Farm Insurance agency in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. And when you make a mistake, keep your apology concise. "The phrase 'I'm sorry. It won't happen again,' goes a long way."

Under Obama federal spending rose at slowest pace since Ike

Fascinating analysis by Rex Nutting of MarketWatch.  This is perhaps the most interesting part.
Before Obama had even lifted a finger [on arriving in office], the CBO was already projecting that the federal deficit would rise to $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2009. The government actually spent less money in 2009 than it was projected to, but the deficit expanded to $1.4 trillion because revenue from taxes fell much further than expected, due to the weak economy and the emergency tax cuts that were part of the stimulus bill.
When Obama took the oath of office, the $789 billion bank bailout had already been approved. Federal spending on unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicare was already surging to meet the dire unemployment crisis that was well under way. See the CBO’s January 2009 budget outlook.

Obama is not responsible for that increase, though he is responsible (along with the Congress) for about $140 billion in extra spending in the 2009 fiscal year from the stimulus bill, from the expansion of the children’s’ health-care program and from other appropriations bills passed in the spring of 2009.

If we attribute that $140 billion in stimulus to Obama and not to Bush, we find that spending under Obama grew by about $200 billion over four years, amounting to a 1.4% annualized increase.

After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam.

Gingrich businesses going bankrupt

Much like the shrub, Newt Gingrich has the reverse Midas touch. Not only did his campaign finish millions in debt, but his previously profitable private businesses are falling apart as well.
Quite the fiscal conservative, isn't he?
When he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in May 2011, Newt Gingrich was the prosperous head of a small empire commonly known as Newt Inc, which included both for-profit consultancies and nonprofit foundations.

Altogether, these entwined ventures pulled in more than $110 million over the past decade. Now the vestiges of this empire are mired in debt, as is Gingrich's campaign fund.

A bankruptcy proceeding under way in Atlanta will determine whether the one company still owned by Callista Gingrich, Gingrich Productions, will lose an expected payout that now constitutes the bulk of the Gingriches' net worth.

Crabby Road

Report reveals diabetes 'lottery'

Treatment for diabetic patients is a postcode lottery with a massive variation in quality of care from one region to another, a report has revealed.

The catholic church now talking about turning away non-catholics from emergency rooms

Get these people out of the hospital business, now!
The catholic church is now making rumblings about turning away non-catholics from the emergency rooms of catholic hospitals. Do you hear the word Nazi as well - what other analogy is there for a hospital to even dare start talking about picking and choosing who lives and who dies based on their religion? Welcome to the Vatican death panels.

Don't anyone think for a moment that this isn't a veiled threat of what's to come. Remember, the catholic church is already turning away parentless children rather than abide with anti-discrimination laws. What's to stop them from turning away non-catholics from the emergency rooms of catholic hospitals? These are people who excel at punishing innocent victims, from a raped five year old to a homeless teenager.

From Maureen Dowd, writing about the latest catholic scare tactic, distributed in tax-exempt churches, to oppose President Obama's new contraceptive policy that Mitt Romney previously endorsed as well.
The Archdiocese of Washington put an equally alarmist message in the church bulletins at Sunday’s Masses, warning of apocalyptic risk:

“1. Our more than 600 hospitals nationwide, which will need to stop non-catholics at the emergency room door and say, ‘We are only allowed by the government to heal catholics.’
As Dowd reminds us, the catholic bishops don't really speak for actual American catholics.
I wasn’t surprised to see the Gallup poll Tuesday showing that 82 percent of U.S. catholics say birth control is morally acceptable. (Eighty-nine percent of all Americans and 90 percent of non-catholics agreed.) Gallup tested the morality of 18 issues, and birth control came out on top as the most acceptable, beating divorce, which garnered 67 percent approval, and “buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur,” which got a 60 percent thumbs-up (more from repugicans, naturally, than Democrats).

Polygamy, cloning humans and having an affair took the most morally offensive spots on the list. “Gay or lesbian relations” tied “having a baby outside of marriage,” with 54 percent approving. That’s in the middle of the list, above a 38 percent score for abortion and below a 59 percent score for “sex between an unmarried man and woman.”
All they speak for is a Vatican that every four years tries to throw the American election to the repugicans.

Funny Pictures

If you have to ask - you have no sense of humor.

White supremacist gets 40 years in Arizona bombing

A white supremacist likely will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a federal judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison Tuesday for a 2004 bombing that wounded a black city official in suburban Phoenix. Jurors in February convicted Dennis Mahon, 61, of three federal charges stemming from a package bomb that injured Don Logan - Scottsdale's diversity director at the time - and a secretary. 

Man hits kid for throwing popcorn

A Washington state man fed up with a group of noisy moviegoers behind him, stepped over the seat and punched a 10-year-old boy in the face.

Pakistani man who helped US get bin Laden faces jail term for treason

A Pakistani doctor who helped the US track down Osama bin Laden has been convicted of high treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison, according to a government official.

Woman fined for blowing whistle into phone

A 61-year-old German woman has been fined €800 for blowing a whistle down the telephone at a call-center worker and damaging her hearing - after she got fed up with constant cold-calls to her house.
The unnamed woman from Pirmasens in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate told a judge in a local court that she was so annoyed by the unending stream of calls from marketing companies last August that she snapped and blew a whistle into the receiver.

She was hoping just to deter the company from calling her again, but ended up giving herself a criminal record - and the female call-center employee long-term hearing problems and tinnitus due to the effort she put into the high-pitched blast.

Finding her guilty of bodily harm, the judge fined the 61-year-old €800. She initially appealed the fine but decided to pay it shortly before a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Daily Funny

On the opening day of the season, a baseball scout brings a race horse with him to add to the starting lineup.

The coach asks, "What the heck did you bring that horse here for?"

The scout replies, "Wait until you see him bat."

All the players are laughing, until the horse comes to bat. At this point, the horse grabs the bat, and everyone quiets down. They stare at the horse.

The pitcher, just shrugs his shoulders, and throws the ball toward home plate, when astonishingly, the horse hits the ball deep in the outfield.

The horse just stands there and does not move. The manager then yells at the baseball scout to tell the horse to run to first base.

The scout looks back at the manager and yells back, "If he could run, he'd be at Churchill Downs!"

Moon chips from Vegas casino mogul sent to NASA

It's been a long, strange trip for what appears to be several tiny chips of lunar rock that found their way into a casino mogul's hands after being collected by the first men on the moon.

Real Life Mad Max Built Motorcycle From Car that Broke Down in the Desert

Photo: Daniel Denis/2CV Magazine
When Emile Leray's Citro├źn 2CV car broke down in the middle of the Sahara Desert, he couldn't build an arc reactor to fit into his flying suit of armor, so he did the next best thing: he stripped down to his manthong and converted the car into a Mad Max-ian motorcycle!
While traveling through the desert somewhere in north west Africa in his Citroen 2CV , [Emile] is stopped, and told not to go any further due to some military conflicts in the area. Not wanting to actually listen to this advice, he decides to loop around, through the desert, to circumvent this roadblock.
After a while of treading off the beaten path, [Emile] manages to snap a swing arm on his vehicle, leaving him stranded. He decided that the best course of action was to disassemble his vehicle and construct a motorcycle from the parts. This feat would be impressive on its own, but remember, he’s still in the desert and un-prepared. If we’re reading this correctly, he managed to drill holes by bending metal and sawing at it, then un-bending it to be flat again.

Star Trek's Enterprise Ship Could Be Built In 20 Years

Whether you're a Trekkie or not, you have to admit that there's some sense of wonder to exploring the stars and trying to find life on distant planets. Of course, the U.S.S. Enterprise is a fictional ship, but have you ever put into thought as to what it would take to actually build it, and when we could get it done if we really put in the effort?

The man behind the well-researched site buildtheenterprise.org has, and he's determined that a fully functional Enterprise is only 20 years away if we put in the effort. In 20 years, the ship would be ready for a 'moon fly by' with full crew and supplies. The estimated cost of building the Enterprise: about $50 billion a year for the next 20 years - $1 trillion in total.

Science News

Street lights 'changing ecology'Street lights

Researchers find that ground-dwelling invertebrates such as harvestmen and beetles preferentially live near street lights, even during the day.

Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)Chimpanzees 'have personalities'

Chimps and orangutans really do have "personalities like people", new research says BBC Nature

Robot "fish" to be used for water pollution monitoring

If the end result is faster discovery of polluted waters, this could be a positive change. Use case scenarios include harbors, oil pipelines and any other underwater environments that need to be tracked for quality.
The fish, which are 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and currently cost 20,000 pounds ($31,600) each, are designed to swim like real fish and are fitted with sensors to pick up pollutants leaking from ships or undersea pipelines.

They swim independently, co-ordinate with each other, and transmit their readings back to a shore station up to a kilometer away.

"Chemical sensors fitted to the fish permit real-time, in-situ analysis, rather than the current method of sample collection and dispatch to a shore based laboratory," said Luke Speller, a scientist at British consultancy BMT Group who led the project.

Man stopped with zebra and parrot in truck

A Dubuque County, Iowa man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after police stopped him to check on the passengers in his pickup truck. The passengers were a zebra and a McCaw.
Police were sent to the Dog House Bar and Lounge in Dubuque to check the welfare of the animals inside a pickup truck. When they arrived, police said 55-year-old Jerald Reiter of Cascade, Iowa, was driving away in the truck. Police stopped the truck in the business parking lot.

Reiter reportedly told police the zebra likes to ride in the truck, so he brought it along when he went out for dinner. He reportedly gave the same explanation for the bird’s presence in the truck.

Police said Reiter was arrested after field sobriety tests indicated he had a .148 blood alcohol level. The legal limit in Iowa is .08. Mr Reiter was released from the Dubuque County Jail on May 21, 2012.

Young wolf escaped poachers by hiding in tax office

This young wolf escaped poachers by hiding in a tax office in Huangnan, in northwest China’s Qinghai province.

Staff that turned up for work the next day discovered the wolf had broken into the office and had tried to hide itself in a reception room where it was found the next day.

Police that were called to catch the wolf believe the animal had been trapped in a snare possibly originally intended for smaller game, but had managed to free itself. Badly injured on the paw - it had then limped into town where it fled into the office building and was discovered the next day.

Police managed to rope the wolf and tie up it's mouth before packing it in a bag and taking it away for treatment and later release back into the wild. Taxman Yang Jian said: "It had lost a lot of blood through the wound on it's paw. But even though it still put up quiet a struggle."

Dog raises alarm for fox cub trapped in pipe

This poor fox cub was trapped inside the overflow pipe but rescued when collie cross Labrador Rover spotted his plight. The 11-year-old dog alerted owner Steven Miller while the pair walked in the grounds of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Steph Grant, from the Scottish SPCA, freed the 10-week-old and took him to the charity’s rescue center where he was named Jacob. Ms Grant said: "The overflow pipe that Jacob had become trapped inside was extremely narrow and there is no way he would have been able to get himself out.

"Thankfully, I was able to rescue him from the tight spot he was in and, although frightened, he didn't have any injuries. We don't know how he managed to get himself into the pipe but one thing is for sure, Rover is a true canine hero for finding him." Center manager Colin Seddon said: "Jacob was very lucky to have been discovered as he would have perished otherwise.

"He's coming on really well and is now eating solid food. We've introduced him to three other fox cubs in our care and we are hopeful that they will all be released at a carefully-selected site when they are at the right age and stage to be able to fend for themselves in the wild."

Animal Pictures


luvasianpuss: OMG, you just have to see just how long his tongue is and what it can do.
Daddy can we take one home?