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.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Daily Drift

Today's readers have been in:
Davao, Philippines
Hanoi, Vietnam
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Cape Town, South Africa
Valletta, Malta
Kuantan, Malaysia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Jerudong, Brunei
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
George Town, Cayman Islands
Tirana, Albania
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tripoli, Lebanon
Ankara, Turkey
Vientiane, Laos
Klang, Malaysia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
George Town, Malaysia
Jakarta, Indonesia

Today in History

1498   Christopher Columbus leaves on his third voyage of exploration.
1546   The Peace of Ardes ends the war between France and England.
1654   Louis XIV is crowned king of France.
1712   The Pennsylvania Assembly bans the importation of slaves.
1767   Daniel Boone sights present-day Kentucky.
1775   The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
1863   Mexico City is captured by French troops.
1900   The Boxer rebels cut the rail links between Peking and Tientsin in China.
1903   Professor Pierre Curie reveals the discovery of Polonium.
1914   The first vessel passes through the Panama Canal.
1932   Over 7,000 war veterans march on Washington, D.C., demanding their bonus pay for service in World War I.
1942   The Japanese invade Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
1968   In Operation Swift Saber, U.S. Marines sweep an area 10 miles northwest of Danang in South Vietnam.
1981   Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers destroy Iraq's only nuclear reactor.
1994   The Organization of African Unity formally admits South Africa as its fifty-third member.

Runner Helps Falling Competitor across the Finish Line

(Video Link)
Arden McMath started to black out on the track toward the end of the 3,200-meter race. Her competitor, 17-year old Meghan Vogel of West Liberty, Ohio, saw her struggling. Vogel could have passed McNath, but instead she put her arm around her and guided her to the finish line. Vogel’s spontaneous act of sportmanship has won her widespread praise:
It’s an honor and very humbling,” Vogel said in a telephone interview from her West Liberty home. “I just thought I was doing the right thing, and I think others would have done the same.”
But McMath, 16, of Findlay, said in a telephone interview from her northwestern Ohio home that she’s not so sure.
“I’ really don’t think just everyone would have done that,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe what she did — especially pushing me in front of her — and I’m so grateful.”

Al-Qaida No. 2 killed by US drone

A CIA drone strike Monday, targeted al-Qaida's second in command, Abu Yahia al-Libi, in Pakistan, but it was unclear whether he was among those hit, U.S. officials said.

Extend all tax cuts temporarily

Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily renewed, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on a longer-term extension that should exclude the rich.

The truth be told

Using Romney math, Obama added 3.7m jobs to economy during his term

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent explains how Mitt Romney is again lying, this time about President Obama's record on jobs' growth.

 Here Greg quotes the NYT:
Mr. Romney frequently says that Mr. Obama has presided over an economy that has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. In a recent news release, the repugican campaign said, “Under President Obama, the nation has lost 552,000 jobs.”

But that statistic includes Mr. Obama’s first year in office, and especially the months of February, March and April, when monthly job losses from the economic collapse were at 700,000 or higher.

Just ignoring February of 2009, before any of Mr. Obama’s policies — including the economic stimulus — had been put into place, would wipe away all 552,000 lost jobs, giving the president a record of creating 172,000 jobs.

If Mr. Romney’s team were to ignore Mr. Obama’s first year in office — as Mr. Gillespie suggested should be done for Mr. Romney’s first year as governor — then the president would have added about 3.7 million jobs to the economy.

Of course, Mr. Romney’s campaign is unlikely to change its rhetoric or strategy. His bid for the White House depends on the idea that Mr. Obama has made the economy worse. Because the country has been adding jobs for nearly two years, Mr. Romney’s argument depends on the steep job losses in Mr. Obama’s first year in office.
So basically Mitt Romney is trying to blame President Obama for the jobs lost by the shrub.

And I Quote

'Vampire' skeletons unearthed in Bulgaria

Archaeologists in Bulgaria have unearthed two medieval skeletons pierced through the chest with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires, the head of the country's history museum said.
According to pagan beliefs, people who were considered bad during their lifetimes might turn into vampires after death unless stabbed in the chest with an iron or wooden rod before being buried.
People believed the rod would also pin the dead into their graves to prevent them from terrorising the living.
"These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century," national history museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov said after the recent find in the Black Sea town of Sozopol.
People believed the rod would also pin the dead into their graves to prevent them from leaving at midnight and terrorizing the living, the historian explained.
The practice was common, Professor Dimitrov added, saying some 100 similar burials had already been found in Bulgaria.
Archaeologist Petar Balabanov, who in 2004 unearthed six nailed-down skeletons at a site near the eastern town of Debelt, said the pagan rite was also practiced in neighboring Serbia and other Balkan countries.
Vampire legends are widespread across the Balkans.
The most famous is that of Romanian count Vlad the Impaler, known as Dracula, who staked his war enemies and drank their blood.

Archeaology News

Thousand-Year-Old Mummies Found in Peru

A tomb yields more than 80 mummies and skeletons -- many belonging to babies. Read more

Thousand-Year-Old Mummies Found in Peru

Seal Proves Bethlehem Existed Long Before Jesus

The first physical evidence is found of Bethlehem's existence centuries before the town became known as Jesus' birthplace. Read more
Seal Proves Bethlehem Existed Long Before Jesus

200-Year-Old Shipwreck Found Off Gulf Coast

The ship's wood has nearly disintegrated, but a copper sheathing remains, along with a variety of artifacts. Read more
200-Year-Old Shipwreck Found Off Gulf Coast

A Mummy Switcheroo

A mummy that was thought to be one of the ancient god Min's priests is actually the remains of another man. Read more
A Mummy Switcheroo

Tour the Pyramids Online

A virtual trip through Egypt's Giza Plateau includes aerial 3D views, cross sections of the ground and passages through walls. Read more
Tour the Pyramids Online

Earliest Evidence of Biblical Cult Discovered

An excavation in a 3,000-year-old city yields evidence of an ancient religion. Read more

Largest Known Croc Likely Ate Early Man

They were bigger than today's crocs -- big enough to swallow a human. Read more

Dogfight Over Buried WWII Spitfires in Burma

These British-made planes helped win the war for the allies, but now the finder could lose them. Read more
These British-made planes helped win the war for the allies, but now the finder could lose them.

Iceman Lived a While After Arrow Wound

Traces of blood are found on the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy, revealing he did not die immediately. Read more

'Netanyahu' Seal From Eighth Century B.C. Found

The seal, bearing a name similar to the Prime Minister, was found within the remains of a building dating to the First Temple period‭. Read more
'Netanyahu' Seal From Eighth Century B.C. Found

Mummy Suffered Rare and Painful Disease

His body showed telltale signs that he suffered from Hand-Schuller-Christian disease. Read more

Cleopatra and Antony's Children Rediscovered

An Italian expert identified a sculpture in a museum as depicting the twin children of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Read more
Cleopatra and Antony's Children Rediscovered

Swedish Stonehenge? Stone Structure Spurs Debate

A series of 59 boulders placed at a seaside cliff in Sweden might represent Stonehenge's "sister" site. Read more

Random Celebrity Photo

Marilyn Monroe

Dull and Boring find common cause

The town of Dull, Scotland has become a sister community with the Oregon town of Boring. They have joined forces to promote their inherent interestingness. Alexandra Topping writes in The Guardian:
Before long Dull and Weem community council was in – presumably interminable – talks with Steve Bates, chairman of the Boring community planning organization, to discuss the possibility of twinning the communities. But while Dull – thought to have derived its name from the Pictish word for fields – has a mere 84 residents, Boring – named after William H Boring, an early resident of the area – has a population of more than 10,000, scuppering chances of the two being officially twinned.
Determined to cement the links forged by the two names, the places have now become "sister communities", and could carry signs such as "Dull, in association with Boring" or "Dull, in sisterhood with Boring". Residents of both places wait with bated breath as officials in Boring, which is six hours behind the UK, voted on whether they could be officially linked. Any fears were quickly assuaged though as the Boring Community Planning Organization in Oregon voted to make the two communities "a pair for the ages".
Dull and Boring? Not any more for Scottish village and US town

The VW Bug’s Rare and Quirky Czech Mate

This odd-looking vehicle is a 1950 Tatra T-600 Tatraplan, a Czechoslovakian car collector Justin Pinchot found in Canada. It has an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. If that reminds you of the Volkswagen Beetle you drove in the ’60s, here’s why:
Founded in 1850 as a manufacturer of horse-drawn coaches, by 1899, Tatra was one of Europe’s leading automakers, producing a sports car that reached 71 miles per hour. Then, in 1921, an Austrian named Hans Ledwinka was named Tatra’s chief designer. Ledwinka was something of a rock star among European automobile designers between the wars. “Hitler had dinner with Ledwinka many times when he was touring Czechoslovakia prior to the war,” Pinchot says. “‘That’s the car I want for my roads’, Hitler told his designer, Ferdinand Porsche [at the time, Porsche's company was still a design firm; its famous 911 would not be released until 1964]. It was very well known that Hitler and Porsche stole the idea for the Volkswagen Beetle from Tatra. In fact, after the war, Germany paid Tatra three-million Deutschmarks to settle a lawsuit Tatra had filed in the 1930s.”
But there are differences. The Tatraplan has front suicide doors, a luggage compartment between the riders and the engine, and pop-up semaphore turn signals! Read more about this interesting car at Collector's Weekly.

Odd News

Zippo produces 500 millionth lighter
The brass case of the lighter, plated with brushed chrome, was stamped with the time that it was finished on Tuesday: 10:51 a.m. The family-owned company's 620 workers lined up in Bradford, about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, and handed the case and the lighter's innards down a human conveyor line to company President Greg Booth.

Woman Needs Surgeon After Sturgeon Attack
A Florida woman sustained severe injuries after a 70-pound sturgeon jumped across her boat and knocked her overboard.

Disney World Forces Visitors to Cover Up "Peter Pan" Costumes

Disney officials weren't pleased when a teenager and her boyfriend showed up to Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park Sunday dressed as Tinkerbell and Peter Pan.

Disney to ban ads for junk food aimed at kids

Walt Disney Co. unveiled new rules for its children's networks Tuesday that could ban ads for junk food marketed to those young viewers.

Fight the First Signs of Aging at the Spa

As most of us know, unhealthy food, air pollution, too much sun exposure, and stress are just some things that cause our skin to age faster now than in the past.

Why Some People Blame Themselves for Everything

Feel like you are always to blame? It's not your fault.
Read more


Willow Glass

The Bendable Ultra-Thin Glass
 Corning, the maker of the super-strong Gorilla Glass, has another invention: a new type of flexible ultra-thin glass that may one day be used in your smartphone.
Dubbed Willow Glass, the product can be "wrapped" around a device, said the New York-based developer Corning. [...]
The prototype demonstrated in Boston was as thin as a sheet of paper, and the company said that it can be made to be just 0.05mm thick - thinner than the current 0.2mm or 0.5mm displays.

To Escape Rip Currents

Swim Parallel to Shore
If you get stuck in a rip current, don't fight it - swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current's grasp. Read more

To Escape Rip Currents: Swim Parallel to Shore

Island Wilderness In Washington

Flattery Rocks 
One of the most stunning but least known stretches of American coastline, Flattery Rocks in Washington, is nothing short of a revelation. Many of the rocks here are stony outcroppings uncovered when the tide is low. Others, however are lofty pinnacles scattered with salal shrubs, salmonberry and conifers.

The Most Spectacular Places in North America VIA Rail Canada

With airfares soaring and gasoline prices climbing through the roof, what are travelers to do about summer vacations? For those looking for convenience, comfort, value and some of the most spectacular places in North America, the answer is VIA Rail Canada.

Awesome Pictures


Tree Tunnel, Cades Cove Loop Road, Tennessee 
photo via astonyen

Weird Facts About Animal Brains

Did you know there is a spider whose brains spill into its legs, that some leeches have 32 brains and that the giant squid eats through its brain? Well then, head over to WebEcoist to learn more about the brains of 13 different creatures.

Questions Kids Always Ask About Animals

Why do giraffes have long necks? Why do elephants have big ears? Why do zebras have stripes? Do fish have eyelids? Kids and animals - they go together so well. However, kids are curious about all sorts of concepts and animals are no exception. Children will never stop bothering us with their thought-provoking and annoying questions.

Here are eight of them about animals, and how to answer them - starting with two of the more frequently asked and then some of the lesser (but still amusing) answers.

The Buffalo Could Become National Mammal

The American bison may be joining the bald eagle as an official symbol of the land where it was once hunted to near-extinction. Read more
Buffalo Could Become National Mammal

Animal News

Dinosaurs Skinnier Than Previously Thought

The discovery may change the way we imagine and depict dinosaurs. Read more

Did Early Birds Exterminate Giant Insects?

Gigantic insects dominated the Earth until the bird arrived. Read more
Giant insects that ruled prehistoric skies for millions of years may have met their end due to the evolution of predatory birds.

Earliest Known Human Relatives Came from Asia

The group of animals that gave rise to humans, primates and monkeys had Asian origins. Read more

Lip Smacks of Monkeys Prelude to Speech?

The rapid, controlled movements of the tongue, lips and jaw shed light on the evolution of human speech. Read more
Lip Smacks of Monkeys Prelude to Speech?

Bat, Bee, Frog Deaths May Be Linked

Why has disease been killing off bats, bees and frogs? Shared factors may link the deaths. Read more
little brown bat

Animals Benefiting from Climate Change

Here's a look at some creatures who will come out ahead on a warmer Earth. Read more
argus butterfly

Modern Birds Are Really Baby Dinosaurs

The next time you bird watch, keep in mind that our feathered friends are closely related to the Velociraptor. Read more
Modern Birds Are Really Baby Dinosaurs

Rare & Secretive Striped Rabbit Caught on Camera

A rarely photographed, elusive striped rabbit has been caught on film deep in the forests of Sumatra. Read more 

Four red wolf pups born in western NC

Four rare red wolf pups have been born at a refuge in western North Carolina.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported the pups were born at the Western North Carolina Nature Center.
Center director Chris Gentile says the births last month increase the number of red wolves at the center to seven.
Officials think there are fewer than 400 red wolves left in the world.
The center's 3-year-old female Mayo gave birth on May 9. The father, Phoenix, was brought in from a nature center in Albany, Ga. Officials say the two male and two female pups are part of a larger than usual litter for a first time mother.
Gentile says the new pups probably will not be named since they may not stay at the Asheville center.

Hermit Crabs Line Up To Trade Shells

Biologists studying hermit crabs in a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea discovered something interesting: they're quite civilized!
When a lone crab encountered one of the beautiful new shells, it immediately inspected the shelter with its legs and antennae and scooted out of its current home to try on the new shelter for size. If the new shell was a good fit, the crab claimed it. Classic hermit crab behavior. But if the new shell was too big, the crab did not scuttle away disappointed—instead, it stood by its discovery for anywhere between 15 minutes and 8 hours, waiting. This was unusual. Eventually other crabs showed up, each one trying on the shell. If the shell was also too big for the newcomers, they hung around too, sometimes forming groups as large as 20. The crabs did not gather in a random arrangement, however. Rather, they clamped onto one another in a conga line stretching from the largest to smallest animal—a behavior the biologists dubbed "piggybacking."
Only one thing could break up the chain of crabs: a Goldilocks hermit crab for whom the shell introduced by Lewis and Rotjan was just right. As soon as such a crab claimed its new home, all the crabs in queue swiftly exchanged shells in sequence. The largest crab at the front of the line seized the Goldilocks crab's abandoned shell. The second largest crab stole into the first's old shell. And so on.

Animal Pictures