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.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Daily Drift


Rocky and Bullwinkle
And now, on with the show!
Today's readers have been in:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tranbjerg, Denmark
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Santiago, Chile
Amersfoort, Netherlands
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cape Town, South Africa
Chisnau, Moldova
Durban, South Africa
Caracas, Venezuela
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bern, Switzerland
Naaldwijk, Netherlands
Zurich, Switzerland
Singapore, Singapore
Groningen, Netherlands
Nyon, Switzerland
Glasgow, Scotland
Dublin, Ireland
Berlin, Germany

Today in History

1537 Pope Paul III bans the enslavement of Indians in the New World.
1774 The Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to allow British soldiers into their houses, is reenacted.
1793 Maximillian Robespierre, a member of France's Committee on Public Safety, initiates the "Reign of Terror."
1818 The British army defeats the Maratha alliance in Bombay, India.
1859 French forces cross the Ticino River.
1865 At Galveston, Texas, Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith surrenders the Trans-Mississippi Department to Union forces.
1883 The first baseball game under electric lights is played in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1886 Grover Cleveland becomes the first American president to wed while in office.
1910 Charles Stewart Rolls, one of the founders of Rolls-Royce, becomes the first man to fly an airplane nonstop across the English Channel both ways. Tragically, he becomes Britain's first aircraft fatality the following month when his biplane breaks up in midair.
1924 The United States grants full citizenship to American Indians.
1928 Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek captures Peking, China, in a bloodless takeover.
1942 The American aircraft carriers Enterprise, Hornet and Yorktown move into their battle positions for the Battle of Midway.
1944 Allied "shuttle bombing" of Germany begins, with bombers departing from Italy and landing in the Soviet Union.
1946 Italian citizens vote by referendum for a republic.
1948 Jamaican-born track star Herb McKenley sets a new world record for the 400 yard dash.
1953 Elizabeth II is crowned queen of England at Westminster Abbey.
1954 Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that there are communists working in the CIA and atomic weapons plants.
1969 The Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne slices the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half off the shore of South Vietnam.

Random Celebrity Photo


Sexy Miranda Kerr in her green bikini

Spending $1 Billion against Obama

They're going to call him 'n----r" a billion times?

White power repugican outside groups (read: KKK, Aryan Nation, Teabaggers, etc.) looking to influence elections across the country are on track to spend a record-breaking $1 billion this year, Politico reports.

Those behind most of the spending include the super PAC American Crossroads, Karl Rove's front group that has links to Charles and David Koch and the Chamber of Commerce.

That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Kochs, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states.

POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections - twice what they had been expected to commit.

The Koch spending is more than the $370 million that McCain raised in 2008.


Faux News Produces Greatest Faux News Parody Video Ever

The general election season has begun in earnest, and over at Foaux News, the channel's slogan seems to have become, "We Report, You Deci-Oh, Screw It, Let's Just Make Sure Obama Doesn't Get Re-Elected." That anyway is the message sent by a remarkable four-minute attack-video on the Obama presidency that aired Wednesday on Faux and Friends .

And I Quote

Florida voter-suppression campaign means WWII vet has to prove he is American or lose his vote

Florida governor Rick Scott has ordered a high-velocity purge of the state's voter-rolls, using secret criteria to target 180,000 Floridians and requiring them to prove their citizenship in 30 days or lose the right to vote.

Democrats and activist groups claim that this violates federal laws.

For 91-year-old WWII vet Bill Internicola, it's an insult.

Greg Allen reports on NPR's Morning Edition:
"To me, it's like an insult," he says. "They sent me a form to fill out. And I filled out the form and I sent it back to them with a copy of my discharge paper and a copy of my tour of duty in the ETO, which is the European Theater of Operations."
Internicola's was one of more than 180,000 names Florida's secretary of state identified from motor vehicle records as possible noncitizens. Several weeks ago, the secretary's office sent county elections supervisors a first batch of some 2,600 names. County officials, who are also preparing for the state's August primary, started sending out letters to suspected noncitizens, saying they had 30 days to prove their citizenship or be removed from the voting rolls.
World War II Vet Caught Up In Florida's Voter Purge Controversy

Did you Know ...

That huge majorities of Americans - including catholics - think birth control is morally acceptable.

That Obama's spending spree never happened.

Traditional marriage as defined by the bible is not what you think it is.

Mitt releases an iPhone app -- that misspells "America".

To be happy, be yourself at work

Hiding your true social identity — race and ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or a disability — at work ...
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US employment numbers far below pessimistic forecasts

There's no way around the fact that the May numbers are weak. Unemployment bumped up and the new jobs were only 69,000, well under the consensus 158,000. Yes, private employment is up and government jobs are shrinking and yes, the number is still above the painful 20,000 per month average from the Bush years. That said, we need a lot more jobs.
The challenge now will be avoiding the trap that Republicans will set, promoting the urgent need for austerity. If there's one thing we can't afford now, it's austerity. That program is taking Europe down the drain quickly and it would be a death blow for the US economy if implemented now.

Tax cuts for the so-called "job creators" is another terrible idea that will get new coverage via the Romney campaign but after this many years of Bush tax cuts, how much more obvious can it be that those tax cuts only add more to the deficit without providing the always promised jobs?

More on the miserable May jobs report via Bloomberg:
American employers in May added the smallest number of workers in a year and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased as job-seekers re-entered the workforce, further evidence that the labor-market recovery is stalling.

Payrolls climbed by 69,000 last month, less than the most- pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, after a revised 77,000 gain in April that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate called for a 150,000 May advance. The jobless rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent, while hours worked declined.

The truth be told

Goodbye benefits: Employers still cutting back

Slashed health care coverage and frozen wages were the hallmark of the recession -- at least for those who held onto their jobs.

US healthcare costs expected to rise 7.5% in 2013

How is it possible to keep increasing like this when inflation is a fraction of this and worker pay is not growing at the same rate? The insurance industry continues to enjoy a privileged position where it wins no matter what is happening with the economy.
It always comes back to the need for a public option in order to restore real price competition in the market. The insurance industry hates competition and capitalism, they will never allow it.

This is nuts.
The cost of healthcare services is expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2013, more than three times the projected rates for inflation and economic growth, according to an industry research report released on Thursday.

But premiums for large employer-sponsored health plans could increase by only 5.5 percent as a result of company wellness programs and a growing trend toward plans that impose higher insurance costs on workers, said the report by the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC.

The projected growth rate of 7.5 percent for overall healthcare costs contrasts with expectations for growth of 2.4 percent in gross domestic product and a 2.0 percent rise in consumer prices during 2013, according to the latest Reuters economic survey.

Anchorage residents worst-dressed

Funny, we thought it would have been Wasilla
That's the upshot of Travel and Leisure Magazine's reader poll, which put the residents of Alaska's largest city at the bottom when it comes to being on the top of style.

Exclusive Beatles photos by Harry Benson

Exclusive Beatles photos by Harry Benson

Thirteen Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

Here's a list of songs which meanings we miss because we either don't listen to lyrics properly or we just take the song at face value, ignoring any origins or intent of the artist.

Where Does Decaf Come From?

… and Other Burning Questions About Coffee

Whether you take it with cream and sugar, as a latte or frappuccino- coffee can get complicated. Fortunately, mental_floss is here to unlock the mysteries of the dark drink that brightens your mornings.
It’s pretty simple. To make decaf, you start out with regular coffee beans and then take out the caffeine. Manufacturers usually begin the process by steaming fresh beans until their moist and swollen. Next, the caffeine is extracted using a solvent, such as water, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, or highly pressurized carbon dioxide. Then the beans are steamed and dried again, which removes any residue from the solvent. This process rarely gets all the caffeine, but according to U.S. law, it doesn’t have to. For coffee to be labeled decaf, only 97.5 percent of its caffeine must be removed. On average, a cup of regular coffee has 115 mg. of caffeine, while a cup of decaf has about 3 mg.
It would be a shame for all that caffeine to go to waste. So, coffee manufacturers save the jittery gold and sell it to soft drink makers and pharmaceutical companies. In the end, the caffeine winds up in your Coke and NoDoz.
Not in the United States -although many Mormons and Rastafarians abstain from coffee for religious reasons. But back in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire cracked down on coffee, suspicious of its stimulating effects. The most notable ban came under Sultan Murad IV, who ran the empire from 1623 to 1640. Concerned about his subjects congregating in coffeehouses, Murad declared that anyone found with a cup of joe would be met with a beating. Those unlucky enough to get nailed with a second offense were sewn up inside a burlap bag and dumped in the Bosphorus Strait.

Aging coffee is a special process designed to reduce the acidity of the beans. And although there are several ways to age coffee, the old-fashioned way is probably the best. In tropical regions, coffee is “monsooned,” meaning that it’s stored in an open-air warehouse, where it’s exposed to the moisture and winds of monsoon season. After about 16 weeks, the coffee comes out with a lower acidity and more body.
Monsooning actually attempts to recreate a centuries-old flavor. Back in the 1600s, Europeans got their coffee from faraway places such as India, and the beans were shipped over in large wooden sailboats. The journey could take up to six months, and that entire time, the beans sat there, soaking up the moist ocean air. As a result, the mild coffee flavor was all Europeans knew. But when shipping methods improved and wooden vessels were eliminated, the coffee got a sharper flavor. Some drinkers missed the old taste, so Indians created the monsooning technique to mimic java’s long journeys at sea.
There used to be. When it opened in 1869, the Maxwell House Hotel was Nashville’s largest and swankiest place to stay. During the early 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt was known to be a guest there, as were various members of the Vanderbilt clan. In 1892, a man named Joel Cheek approached the hotel with his special blend of coffee, and the hotel agreed to start serving it. As the years passed, the coffee became famous and the Maxwell House Hotel lent the brand its name.
So, what about that “Good to the Last Drop” slogan? Ad men claimed the slogan originated with Roosevelt, who supposedly said it after slurping down a cup during one of his stays. But in recent years, the coffee company has admitted that the line came from an inspired copywriter. Sadly, a fire destroyed the Maxwell House Hotel in December 1961.
Although the words sound exotic, arabica is simply a scientific name for a popular species of coffee plant. Actually, the arabica plant is the source of more than 60 percent of the world’s beans. The other main commercial species, canephora, is more bitter. But it has other advantages; it’s less prone to disease, and it contains more caffeine.
For most people, yes. Recent medical research indicates that drinking coffee lowers your chances of getting colon cancer, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Plus, coffee helps control asthma and alleviates headaches. Some of the drink’s health benefits are due to its caffeine content, while others are attributed to antioxidants. In fact, Americans drink so much coffee with so much regularity that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in our diet. Take that, fruits and vegetables!

"Old people smell" is real

You know the odor of retirement homes, synagogues on high holidays, churches on crowded Sundays, and, perhaps, your grandmother's house? Turns out that "old people smell" seems to be a real thing, according to a new scientific study. Neuroscientist Johan Lundström of the Monell Chemical Senses Center led the study that involved people of various age groups wearing underarm pads as they slept. Then, a separate group of young adults smelled bits of the pads and consistently identified those that came from the 75-90 age group.

From CNN:
The root cause of the old person smell is still a mystery, but the study notes that long-term changes to the skin glands may be involved. Lundström suspects it also may be related to an accelerated rate of cell decay. "As cells die at a faster pace, they might give off a different odor that is unique to people with old age," he says.
Another possibility is that the scent indicates an undiagnosed illness. Although the study participants were all outwardly healthy, some may have had underlying ailments that come naturally with old age, Lundström says.

LAPD wants tapes of 1969 chats between Manson Family member and attorney

Tapes of 1969 conversations between Charles Manson's right hand man Tex Watson and his attorney may give new insight into the Manson family murders. The recordings turned up as part of the late attorney's law firm's bankruptcy proceedings. Watson remains in prison, convicted of Tate/Labianca murders, and his current attorney is fighting against the tapes' release citing, duh, attorney client privilege. From the L.A. Times:
 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 05 Wikipedia En A Ab Texwatson  Wp-Content Uploads 2012 05 Bleed Images Misc Manson5
According to LAPD detectives, the judge granted the motion (to provide the LAPD with access to the tapes) but left open the possibility of a further challenge to their release within 14 days by Watson’s current attorney, who has objected to the disclosure.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the LAPD hopes that when those 14 days are up, detectives can begin scouring the tapes for any evidence of unsolved murders tied to the Manson family. Smith said there were "no specific unsolved homicides" that have led L.A. detectives to seek the tapes and that the recordings are being sought because the LAPD learned of their availability.

The 10 Creepiest Abandoned Cold War Missile Silos

Everything about the Cold War was creepy. We knew for sure that nuclear warheads were aimed straight for us and could be deployed at any time. Some of the remaining symbols of that era are missile silos, mostly abandoned these days, that are too large and expensive to dismantle. See a collection of these creepy facilities at Environmental Graffiti.

Random Pictures


1952 Hudson Hornet Convertible
The 1952 Hudson Hornet Convertible

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urges plan for Atlantic hurricane season

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wants to make sure Americans are prepared for the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Hubble shows Milky Way destined for head-on collision with Andromeda galaxy

NASA astronomers announced Thursday they can now predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our galaxy, Sun ...
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Venus takes center stage in upcoming rare sky show

This 2004 file photo shows the transit of Venus, which occurs when the planet Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun.

Iceberg flipping over caught on camera

Tourists have captured rare footage of the moment a small iceberg from the Upsala Glacier in an Argentina flips over.

Funny Pictures

A Mushroom That Eats Plastic

Researchers from Yale University recently discovered a mushroom in the jungles of Ecuador that is most magical indeed, for this little fungus dines on polyurethane, a very common type of plastic.
Here’s more on this amazing fungus:
The fungi, called “Pestalotiopsis microspore”, is able to survive on eating plastic alone—while without the need for air or light.
Students Jonathan Russell and Pria Anand have written in the journal ‘Applied and Environmental Microbiology’, that the enzyme the fungus uses to decompose plastic has been isolated.
Scientists hope to use the extracted chemical to solve the plastic trash and help bioremediation projects.
Now that’s a creative way to help solve our global waste problem, unless it turns into an ever bigger problem when the fungus develops a taste for human flesh!

Fatty acid found in fish prevents age-related vision loss

Fatty acid found in fish prevents age-related vision lossAn omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, known as DHA, prevented age-related vision loss in lab tests, demonstrates recently published ...
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The Giraffe Weevil of Madagascar

Photo: Axel Strauß
It looks so unreal but rest assured that the Giraffe Weevil of Madagascar is real. You can probably guess how it got the name - but what you may not know is that it uses that neck for fighting (actually, much like real giraffes do).
Ark in Space has more fantastic photos: here.

Animal Pictures


Renards by Fabien Gagnon on Flickr. :)