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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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Daily Drift

Today's readers have been in:
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Singapore, Singapore
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Tranbjerg, Denmark
Bern, Switzerland
Caracas, Venezuela
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Krakow, Poland
Kuantan, Malaysia
Haaldwijk, Netherlands
Warsaw, Poland
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Diksmuide, Belgium
Cape Town, South Africa
Bratislava, Slovakia
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nyon, Switzerland
Bangkok, Thailand
Santiago, Chile
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Johannesburg, South Africa
Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Zurich, Switzerland
Durban, South Africa

Today in History

193   The Roman emperor, Marcus Didius, is murdered in his palace.
1533   Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's new queen, is crowned.
1774   The British government orders the port of Boston closed.
1789   The first U.S. congressional act on administering oaths becomes law.
1812   American navy captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded in a naval engagement with the British, exhorts to the crew of his vessel, the Chesapeake, "Don't give up the ship!"
1862   General Robert E. Lee assumes command of the Confederate army outside Richmond after General Joe Johnston is injured at Seven Pines.
1864   The Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, begins as Confederate general Robert E. Lee tries to turn Union general Ulysses S. Grant's flank.
1868   James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, dies.
1877   U.S. troops are authorized to pursue bandits into Mexico.
1915   Germany conducts the first zeppelin air raid over England.
1916   The National Defense Act increases the strength of the U.S. National Guard by 450,000 men.
1921   A race riot erupts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing 85 people.
1939   The Douglas DC-4 makes its first passenger flight from Chicago to New York.
1941   The German Army completes the capture of Crete as the Allied evacuation ends.
1942   America begins sending Lend-Lease materials to the Soviet Union.
1958   Charles de Gaulle becomes premier of France.
1963   Governor George Wallace vows to defy an injunction ordering integration of the University of Alabama.
1978   The U.S. reports finding wiretaps in the American embassy in Moscow.

And I Qoute

In Tibet, a mother of 3 burns herself alive in protest of Chinese rule

A woman identified as Rikyo, said to be 33 years old and the mother of three young children, burned herself to death Wednesday in what is believed to have been another desperate act of protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet. According to the Tibetan pro-sovereignty website Phayul, she set herself on fire near the Jonang Zamthang Gonchen monastery in Zamthang county, in Ngaba region, the epicenter of a continuing wave of Tibetan self-immolations.
Rikyo’s body is currently being kept at the Jonang Monastery, although Chinese security personnel have reportedly demanded the body to be removed. Rikyo is survived by her husband and three children, the eldest, a 9-year old son and two daughters aged 7 and 5.
Just three days ago, two ethnic Tibetan men self-immolated in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, at what is considered to be the ancient city's most important temple. Chinese police and firefighters arrived at Jokhang, extinguished flames, and removed the men. Their whereabouts and conditions are unknown.

From VOA:

One of the self-immolators was reportedly a 19 year old named Dorjee Tseten, originally from Amdo Bora, and the other young man is reportedly from Amdo Ngaba, although the source couldn’t confirm this information with absolute certainty. Both men had lived in Lhasa for some time and worked at a local restaurant named Nyima Ling. The immediate and widespread security clampdown that followed included the cutting of telephone and internet connections, the inspection of all cameras and cell phones within a certain perimeter of where the immolations occurred, and numerous detentions yet to be fully confirmed. It is reported that the site of the immolations was immediately cleaned and that there were no traces of the event having taken place.
That incident occurred on the 6th day of Saga Dawa, the month-long annual celebration of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.
Since February, 2009, 38 ethnic Tibetans are reported to have burned themselves alive, demanding cultural and religious freedom and the return of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from exile.
More: VOA, RFA.

John Edwards not guilty

John Edwards not guilty on 1 count, mistrial on others


Bet you didn't you know ...

Lincoln kennedy

Making paper planes out of money

Pavel Durov, the founder of Russian's social networking giant VKontakte (the so-called Russian Facebook), was bored last wekeend. So he decided to make paper airplanes and fly them out of his office which overlooked St. Petersburg.
That's not so unusual, except he made the paper airplanes out of money, and the crowds below began brawling for the banknotes:
Bored with his never-ending dolce vita, 27-year-old millionaire Pavel Durov and his vice president spent their weekend making paper planes out of 5,000-rouble notes (around $160) and sending them into the St. Petersburg crowd – right from the window of the social net’s central office.
The colleagues reportedly took great joy watching the crowd’s reaction. Stunned at first, people quickly realized what was happening and got caught up in a big street brawl – fighting for the notes.
“People turned into dogs as they were literally attacking the notes,” one of the witnesses wrote. “They broke each other’s noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey – just like monkeys. Shame on Durov!”
Meanwhile, those who triggered the fight were laughing and filming the events. All in all, the young men sent down about $2,000. Later Durov explained that all they wanted was to create “a festive atmosphere” in the city – that weekend, St. Petersburg was marking City Day.

Senate committee approves doubling of TSA taxes on airline passengers

Get ready to pony up even more to fly thanks to Congress. Not only will you have the pleasure of risking cancer with the porno-scanners and handing over your personal privacy to a system that is not known to be effective, but you will now pay more for it.
Only Congress and porno-scanner producers could think this is a good idea.
A Senate committee has approved a plan to double the fees charged to airline flyers to help fund the Transportation Security Administration.

Every flyer pays a $2.50 federal fee each way to help fund the TSA.

The proposal that just passed out of a US Senate committee would make that $5 each way or $10 per round trip.

Did you know ...

That productivity doubled and the middle class got screwed.

What is your state good at and what is it isn't? Here's a map,

If life were a video game, being a straight white male would be the lowest difficulty setting there is.

A Mexican Drug Cartel’s War Against Cheetos

The US has been waging war against fatty snack food for decades but never like this. A Mexican drug cartel called the Knights Templar is now waging war against Cheetos:
According to press reports, masked men attacked five warehouses and vehicle lots on Friday and Saturday nights belonging to the U.S. snack and soft drink giant. More specifically, PepsiCo’s Mexican subsidiary: Sabritas. Dozens of yellow delivery trucks — which transport Sabritas chips and Fritos, Cheetos and Ruffles (among other brands) for the Mexican market — were burned. The good news: No one was injured or killed. At least one member of the Knights Templar cartel was reportedly arrested. Video has also emerged of firefighters battling the blazing trucks and the European Pressphoto Agency released images of Sabritas’ smiley-face mascot illuminated by the flames.

Toronto cop who arrested drunk-driving off-duty officer harassed by co-workers

A Toronto internal police disciplinary ruling found that Constable Andrew Vanderburgh was "harassed and berated" by other cops because he insisted on booking an off-duty cop whom he'd caught driving drunk. Vanderburgh, a rookie, brought in Breton Berthiaume based on a phoned-in tip about an erratic highway driver. Berthiaume, an off-duty cop, failed a breathalyzer. When Vanderburgh went ahead and booked the other officer, his fellow cops objected, and began a campaign of harassment and intimidation. The Toronto Star's Betsy Powell reports:
“Constable Khawaja is purported to have stated on more than one occasion that evening to different informants that he wanted nothing to do with the arrest of a fellow police officer,” Reinhardt wrote.
Vanderburgh, meanwhile, continued to pay a price.
After Berthiaume was released, Vanderburgh drove a marked police vehicle back to his division and was followed by a 22 Division cruiser driven by Const. James Little.
Little pulled him over and gave him a ticket for allegedly disobeying a red light, which was later dismissed. Last year, Little pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.
Little chose “to disregard his professional obligations and embark on a course of retaliatory action against a colleague performing his sworn, lawful duty,” Supt. Robin Breen wrote in his ruling.

Five Wives Vodka deemed offensive to Mormons

Five Wives Vodka deemed offensive to Mormons

Five Wives Vodka was declared to be bad taste for offending Mormons, and will not be stocked or special ordered at stores operated by the state of Idaho, regulators said. It is made by Ogden's Own Distillery in Utah, where the Mormon church is based. Its label carries the name and an image of five women, an apparent reference to polygamy, a practice abandoned by the church more than a century ago. Idaho State Liquor Division administrator Jeff Anderson said the brand is offensive to Mormons who make up over a quarter of Idaho's population.

Regulators in Idaho notified Elite Spirits Distributor that the brand's concept is "offensive to a prominent segment of our population and will not be carried," according to a letter sent on Thursday. "The bottom line is, we represent everybody," Anderson added. "It's masterful marketing on their part. But it doesn't play here." Anderson said state stores already make hundreds of vodka brands available for sale and don't have room for another brand priced at around $20 (£13) a bottle.

Ogden's Own Distillery is trying to make the most of the rejection with a media campaign and sale of "Free the Five Wives" T-shirts. It says the snub is unfair because a Utah beer named Polygamy Porter is available in Idaho. Anderson said Idaho doesn't decide what beer brands can be sold in grocery and convenience stores. "We're a little dumbfounded by it all," said Steve Conlin, a partner and marketing chief for Ogden's Own Distillery. "The average person can look at our bottle and they don't find it offensive. It's certainly not obscene, which is what it would require for it to be banned."

Five Wives Vodka has been approved for sale in Utah, a state dominated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nobody in Utah is raising a fuss over the brand, said Vickie Ashby, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Utah regulates all sales of hard liquor, wine and heavy beer, making the products available only at state-owned stores. Idaho controls liquor sales with a mix of state-owned and privately-operated stores.

Retro Photos


Edouard Boubat - Lella, Bretagne 1947
Edouard Boubat - Lella, Bretagne 1947

Blogger says state tried to censor his website

Steven Cooksey says all he wanted to do was help other diabetics get healthy, but a North Carolina agency tried to censor his online healthy food advice column, saying he was not a licensed dietitian.

A 6-Year-Old Has Stroke, Doctors Spot Rare Moyamoya Disease

Six-year-old Erica Wilcox woke up one fall morning in 2011 and told her parents her right hand felt "fizzy." The first-grader was healthy and active, even running cross-country at her elementary school, so her parents, Dan and Leann Wilcox, of Toledo, Ohio, didn't think much of it.

Tastier Tomatoes

Tomato genome scienceGenome promises tastier tomatoes

Scientists have sequenced the tomato genome and say it will yield tastier fruit as a result.

FDA rejects "corn sugar" name for high fructose corn syrup

It's a fair ruling since corn syrup is just corn syrup, but how did such a well financed lobby lose? The FDA is not known for being strong in the face of a well funded industry. Whatever happened should be reviewed so it can be repeated elsewhere.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday rejected the Corn Refiners Association's bid to rename its sweetening agent "corn sugar."

Given the sweetener's bad reputation in recent years, the association submitted an application to the agency in 2010 to have the product renamed on nutrition labels.

But the FDA said that it defines sugar as a solid, dried and crystallized food — not a syrup.
What's amusing in this case is that the corn syrup lobby has been trying to sell their product as something as good as processed white sugar, as if that is a healthy product.

Super-size soda to be banned in New York under obesity plan

At the NYT, Michael M. Grynbaum reports on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to abolish sales of large bottles or cups of soda outside of grocery stores.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
Presumably, refills and the purchase of multiple smaller sodas will also be banned, in order to demonstrate that this isn't empty hot air that just happens to increase the price- and profitability-by-volume of soda.

Awesome Pictures



Sentinels of the North

Last winter in Finnish Lapland, photographer Niccolò Bonfadini snapped this photo of snow-encased trees that look like frozen aliens of the North. APOD named them "Sentinels of the North" and has the larger pic: here

Tiny Houses on Tiny Islands

Tired of those pesky neighbors? Here’s the solution! The aptly-named Just Room Enough Island in Canada’s Saint Lawrence River has just enough room for a single small house. When the water is low, the owners can put their lawn furniture out on the porch and get some sun. It’s one of several similar houses featured on the Ting House Blog.

Lightning rainbow

A rainbow during storms in Haikou, the capital of China's Hainan province. 
Photo: China Daily/Reuters

A Rainbow Pinwheel Galaxy

This spiral galaxy is named M101, but those who live there probably have a better name for it (after all, we call our galaxy the Milky Way). The lovely picture is a composite of images taken by the Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, and GALEX telescopes and observatories. Yes, four different image sources! There’s a short overview of how to interpret the different colors at Bad Astronomy.
(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; IR & UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/STScI)

Astronomical News

Back-to-back asteroids harmlessly fly past Earth
The 16-foot-long space rock, discovered on Memorial Day, passed by early Tuesday at a distance of 8,950 miles from the Earth's surface.

Volcanic News

Supervolcanoes 'quicker to blow'Indonesian volcano

The planet's biggest volcanoes do not need nearly as long to develop before eruption as previously thought, US research suggests.

Funny Pictures

Serpent-handling pastor dies from rattlesnake bite

Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia, hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw. Instead, Wolford, who had turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he had owned for years. He died late on Sunday evening. Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them.

He and other adherents cited Mark 16:17-18 as the reason for their practice: “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” The son of a serpent handler who had himself died in 1983 after being bitten, Wolford was trying to keep the practice alive, both in West Virginia, where it is legal, and in neighbouring states where it is not. He was the kind of man reporters love: articulate, friendly and appreciative of media attention. Many serpent-handling Pentecostals retreat from journalists, but Mack didn’t. He’d take them on snake-hunting expeditions. Last Sunday started as a festive outdoor worship service on a sunny afternoon at Panther Wildlife Management Area, a state park roughly 80 miles west of Bluefield, W.Va.

In the preceding days, Wolford had posted several teasers on his Facebook page asking people to attend. “I am looking for a great time this Sunday,” he wrote on May 22. “It is going to be a homecoming like the old days. Good ‘ole raised in the holler or mountain ridge running, Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers. Praise the Lord and pass the rattlesnakes, brother” he wrote on May 23. He also invited his extended family, who had largely given up the practice of serpent handling, to come to the park. “At one time or another, we had handled [snakes], but we had backslid,” his sister, Robin Vanover, said late Monday evening. “His birthday was Saturday and all he wanted to do is get his brothers and sisters in church together.” And so they were gathered at this evangelistic hootenanny of Christian praise and worship.

About 30 minutes into the service, his sister said, Wolford had been passing a yellow timber rattlesnake to a church member and his mother. “He laid it on the ground,” she said, “and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh.” The festivities came to a halt shortly thereafter and Wolford was taken back to a relative’s house in Bluefield to recover, as he always had when suffering from previous snake bites. By late afternoon, it was clear that this time was different, and desperate messages began flying about on Facebook asking for prayer. Wolford got progressively worse. Paramedics transported him to the Bluefield Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead early on Monday morning. It could not be determined when the paramedics were called.
Serves the idiot right!

Bear goes swimming in family's pool

When the weather heats up there's nothing like a dip in the pool, apparently even for bears.

What to do when coyotes attack your pet

What to do when coyotes attack your pet
Do you know?

Animal Pictures