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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.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Daily Drift

OK, so the prices are coming down - they're still too bloody high to begin with!
Today's readers have been in:
London, England
Alor Setar, Malaysia
Kuantan, Malaysia
Batu Pahat, Malaysia
Cape Town, South Africa
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Puck, Poland
Kabul, Afghanistan
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Geneva, Switzerland
Tripoli, Libya
Kota Bharu, Malaysia
Dhaka, Bangladesh

and leave us not forget our American readers in such places as
Gowrie, Boise, Harlingen, Fort Huachua, Vashon, Monclova, Mamaroneck, Vallejo, Mechanicsburg, Roaring Branch, Alturas, Ypsilanti, Winneta, Hindman and more

Today in History

1070   Roqueford cheese is accidentally discovered in a cave near Roqueford, France, when a sheperd finds a lunch he had forgotten several days before.
1615   The fortress at Osaka, Japan, falls to Shogun Leyasu after a six-month siege.
1647   Parliamentary forces capture King Charles I and hold him prisoner.
1717   The Freemasons are founded in London.
1792   Captain George Vancouver claims Puget Sound for Britain.
1794   British troops capture Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
1805   Tripoli is forced to conclude peace with the United States after a conflict over tribute.
1859   The French army, under Napoleon III, takes Magenta from the Austrian army.
1864   Confederates under General Joseph Johnston retreat to the mountains in Georgia.
1911   Gold is discovered in Alaska's Indian Creek.
1918   French and American troops halt Germany's offensive at Chateau-Thierry, France.
1919   The U.S. Senate passes the Women's Suffrage bill.
1940   British complete the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk.
1943   In Argentina, Juan Peron takes part in the military coup that overthrows Ramon S. Castillo.
1944   The U-505 becomes the first enemy submarine captured by the U.S. Navy.
1944   Allied troops liberate Rome.
1946   Juan Peron is installed as Argentina's president.
1953   North Korea accepts the United Nations proposals in all major respects.
1960   The Taiwan island of Quemoy is hit by 500 artillery shells fired from the coast of Communist China.
1972   Black activist Angela Davis is found not guilty of murder, kidnapping, and criminal conspiracy.

President Obama Writes Fifth Grader's Excuse Note

For as long as there have been teachers, students have had excuses: my dog ate my homework, my computer crashed, I had food poisoning.
More And More

The truth hurts

Did you know ...

... that Romney's health care plan would result in 58 million people losing their health insurance.

Romney's state funded solar panel developer went bankrupt

Timing is everything, Mitt. The day after Romney blasted Obama for the Solyndra collapse, Romney's own Solyndra filed for bankruptcy. Does this now mean that Mitt Romney is also a complete failure because one of his state loan investments went under?

Boston Herald:
Lowell-based Konarka Technologies announced late yesterday that it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and will cease operations, lay off its 85 workers and liquidate.

“Konarka has been unable to obtain additional financing, and given its current financial condition, it is unable to continue operations,” CEO Howard Berke said in a statement. “This is a tragedy for Konarka’s shareholders and employees and for the development of alternative energy in the United States.”

The demise of Konarka could become a hot topic on the campaign trail because Romney personally doled out a $1.5 million renewable energy subsidy to the Lowell startup in 2003, shortly after taking office on Beacon Hill.
Interestingly enough, this bankruptcy wasn't the first Romney state investment into solar to go belly up, but the second. More from Think Progress.


This is the only word in the English language that could be a noun, verb, adj, adv, prep.
This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is “UP.”  It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?  Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?  We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.  We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.
At other times, this little word has real special meaning.  People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing:  A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.  We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of  UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary.  In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.  It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.  When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP.  When it rains, it soaks UP the earth.  When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.  One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now. . . my time is UP!
Oh. . . one more thing:  What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?
U   P
Did that one crack you UP?
OK, Now I’ll shut UP!

Homeless Student Got Accepted Into Harvard

On the nights when David Boone had no where else to go, the high school senior slept on a bench at a local baseball park.
Now, through perseverance and hard work, the homeless student has won a full scholarship to Harvard:
There wasn't much the then-15-year-old could do about the hookers or drug deals around him when he slept in Artha Woods Park. And the spectator's bench at the park's baseball diamond wasn't much of a bed.
But the aspiring engineer, now 18 and headed to Harvard University in the fall, had no regular home. Though friends, relatives and school employees often put him up, there were nights when David had no place to go, other than the park off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
So he says he made the best of those nights on the wooden bench.
His book bag became his pillow, stuffed with textbooks first -- for height, he says -- and papers on top for padding. [...]

"I'd do my homework in a rapid station, usually Tower City since they have heat, and I'd stay wherever I could find," he said.
Patrick O'Donnell of The Plain Dealer has the inspiring story here.

Random Celebrity Photo


Marilyn Monroe, 1953

Do I Need This?

New Documentary Questions Consumerism
We're targeted by more than 1,500 commercial messages each day, so the question we should be asking ourselves before buying is: do I need this?  

The truth be told

Times Square 'bomber's' accused accomplices acquitted by Pakistani court

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday acquitted four men who had been charged with helping a Pakistani-American man carry out a failed attempt to detonate a truck bomb in New York's Times Square, said their lawyer and family members.

Chevron still refusing to pay for Ecuador spill

When the courts fail to deliver the result that you want, just ignore it, right? How's that work out for everyone else? Once again it's the corporate world deciding when and if they want to follow the law.
Because of the frustration with Chevron, a new case is being filed in Canada and possibly other countries as well. It's important to remember that the case started in the US but Chevron insisted on the case being moved to Ecuador. It's almost as though Chevron thought they could control the legal process there when they asked for the change of location. Surely that wasn't it, right?

More on the failure to pay the court ordered $18 billion from the Houston Chronicle.
For the past year, Chevron Corp. has refused to pay an $18 billion pollution lawsuit judgment from a court in Ecuador, arguing that the judicial process there was marred by politics, official misconduct and fraud.

So on Wednesday, the company's Ecuadorean opponents moved the case to Canada, a country whose court system enjoys a rock-solid reputation.

They filed suit in Ontario, in a bid to seize enough of Chevron's assets to satisfy the $18 billion judgment from their homeland. If the Canadian court sides with them, they say, Chevron will have a hard time claiming that the court itself is defective.

Dead Spanish man lay undiscovered at home for up to 20 years

The remains of a Spanish man have been found lying in the corridor of his terraced house in the north-western village of Canizal some 20 years after he died. Police looking for clues to the date of Vicente Benito's death point to the fact that the only coins and banknotes they could find in the house were denominated in pesetas, suggesting he had died well before the euro was introduced in 2002. In fact nobody had seen Benito for almost two decades, though none of his neighbours in the village of 520 people thought there was anything peculiar about him failing to answer his doorbell for so long.
They long ago gave up ringing on it, assuming he had moved to neighboring Portugal. There were rumors he had found a girlfriend, or was working as a shepherd in some other part of the world. A few people remember being angry that he had left a dog tied to the metal bars across a window that gave straight on to the street, but that was a decade or two ago. The dog was eventually cut loose and taken in by a neighbor, but no one tried to find out if Benito was ill in bed or somehow unable to get of his tiny house. "We think he was last seen at least 15 years ago, but no one is sure," the mayor, Miguel Angel Herrero, explained. Earlier this week, however, a nephew who lived in the village decided to break into his uncle's house.

"They say he wanted to see what had happened to his uncle," a neighbor said. "I don't think I'll be able to sleep for at least a week," the young man reportedly said. Benito would be 73 were he still alive, so would have been in his mid-50s when he died. "He had stopped talking to his siblings and went to work as a shepherd. He was always off somewhere, so it didn't occur to people that he might still be in the village," said Herrero. His ex-wife, who had gone to live with someone else, formally reported him missing in 1992. She had since remarried and moved to the nearby village of Olmo de la Guareña.

Villagers were unable to explain why, given that Benito was slowly doing up his house and had left a six-inch gap at the bottom of his front door, nobody had noticed a strange smell. Herrero suggested a nearby pigsty had blocked it out. "These days there a lot of solitary souls in our villages," commented Celedonia Pérez. Local police were rumoured to have found a lottery ticket from Spain's ONCE organisation for the blind dating back to the early 1990s. "They should check his bank account, that should show when he last took out money," a neighbour, María Victoria Barros suggested.

Most drug money profits made in West, not in producing country

It's an interesting new study that suggests once again, the Western banks are also having an easy ride in the drug war. The minions are paying the price yet somehow the big banks always manage to escape. What are the odds? Only 2.6% of the drug money profits stay in the producing country whereas 97.4% are in the West according to the study.

One of these days we need to stop flushing billions down the toilet for these drug wars. How is it possible to go on for so many decades yet show no results? If anything, the problem is worse today than it was when these phony wars started.

 The Guardian:
"Colombian society has suffered to almost no economic advantage from the drugs trade, while huge profits are made by criminal distribution networks in consuming countries, and recycled by banks which operate with nothing like the restrictions that Colombia's own banking system is subject to."

His co-author, Daniel Mejía, added: "The whole system operated by authorities in the consuming nations is based around going after the small guy, the weakest link in the chain, and never the big business or financial systems where the big money is."

The work, by the two economists at University of the Andes in Bogotá, is part of an initiative by the Colombian government to overhaul global drugs policy and focus on money laundering by the big banks in America and Europe, as well as social prevention of drug taking and consideration of options for de-criminalizing some or all drugs.

New Drugs May Help Immune System Fight Cancer

Patients battling certain lung, skin and kidney cancers may benefit from a new type of cancer treatment that harnesses and boosts a patient's immune system to shrink tumors, if early research pans out.

Groundwater Depletion Threatens U.S. Food Security

The nation’s food supply may be vulnerable to rapid groundwater depletion from irrigated agriculture, according to a new study by ...
Continue Reading

Theory addresses frozen Earth paradox

More than 2 billion years ago, a much fainter sun should have left the Earth as an orbiting ice ball ...
Continue Reading

It's all in the mind ...

Early Airplane Crashes in Unusual Places

Flying has become increasingly safe over the years, but not only were early crashes more common; some occurred in pretty unusual locations.  

The Most Asymmetrical Aircraft Ever Made

The Nazi BV 141

The Luftwaffe had many different and unique airplane designs during World War Two, but nothing came close to the asymmetrical design of the Blohm & Voss BV 141.  

When WWII Bunkers Look Like Ancient Monoliths

Mammut Radar AntennaCasemate Type 623Radio transmitter bunkerType 669 HeenschemolenFire Control postObservation tower
Ten abandoned World War II fortifications captured in such evocative and oddly serene photographs that they look like the surviving ruins of some ancient civilization.  

Hillbilly Dream Catcher

In the Fann Mountains

In the time of the USSR these mountains were popular enough among climbers and hikers. Contemporary tourists have almost forgotten about these picturesque places. Mostly foreign tourists come there today. The best city to stay in for a trip to the Fanns is Penjikent. The main places to visit in the Fanns are wonderful lakes. Let's see one of such places called Seven Lakes not far from Pejikent.

Earthquakes had partially ruined the mountains and in these places later formed the lakes. There are 7 of them, one over another. They are all different in size and color. Along the river and the lakes there are kishlaks where you may find guest homes. Prices are not high, but the conditions are Spartan though locals are very hospitable. From the market of Penjikent you may take a bus or a shared taxi to the kishlaks.

Can you find the frog?

Yes, there is a frog in the picture!

Welsh pine martins

A pine martenWelsh pine marten sightings probed

Reported sightings of pine martens in Wales, where the animal was believed extinct, are being investigated.

Diabetic Alert Dog Saves 3-Year-Old Girl's Life Countless Times

A 3-year-old girl in Texas who suffers from a rare form of infant diabetes wouldn't be alive today if she didn't have a diabetic alert dog, her mother says.

Amazing photos of insect eyes

NewImageShikhei Goh knows his way around a macro lens.
Check out his incredible gallery of insect eyes at 500px.

Do Dogs Feel Guilty?

Ask any dog owner and they'll tell you that dogs can feel guilty, but what does science say? Julie Hecht of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest did the experiment to find out:
Given that so many dog owners report that they believe that dogs who have broken a rule act guilty even before the dog’s transgression is discovered, and given that owners report that they are likely to scold their dogs less following the display of guilty behaviors, it stands to reason that dogs’ “guilty look” may just be a learned response. If scolded, a guilty look might simply serve to reduce the duration of the negative social interaction.
Keeping this in mind, the researchers designed an experiment to answer two questions. First, would dogs who had misbehaved in their owners’ absences behave differently when greeting their owners than dogs who had not misbehaved?
Second, would owners be able to determine, upon entering a room and relying solely on dog greeting behavior, whether or not their dogs had actually transgressed?
Jason G. Goldman of Scientific American's The Thoughtful Animal blog has the results: here.

Animal Pictures

Hi Ya Pal!