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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.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Daily Drift

Wonder whose shirt this one fell off ?
Some of today's readers have been in:
George Town, Malaysia
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Cape Town, South Africa
Tunis, Tunisia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cairo, Egypt
Davao, Philippines
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Hanoi, Vietnam
Jerudong, Brunei
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Santiago, Chile
Ampang, Malaysia
Durban, South Africa

and from all 50 states in the United States

Today in History

1064   Coimbra, Portugal falls to Ferdinand, king of Castile.
1534   Jacques Cartier sails into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada.
1790   Civil war breaks out in Martinique.
1861   Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke begins working in Union hospitals.
1863   At the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia, Union and Confederate cavalries clash in the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.
1923   Bulgaria's government is overthrown by the military.
1931   Robert H. Goddard patents a rocket-fueled aircraft design.
1942   The Japanese high command announces that "The Midway Occupation operations have been temporarily postponed."
1945   Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki declares that Japan will fight to the last rather than accept unconditional surrender.
1951   After several unsuccessful attacks on French colonial troops, North Vietnam's General Vo Nguyen Giap orders Viet Minh to withdraw from the Red River Delta.
1954   At the Army-McCarthy hearings, attorney Joseph Welch asks Senator Joseph McCarthy "Have you no sense of decency?"
1959   The first ballistic missile-carrying submarine, the USS George Washington, is launched.
1972   American advisor John Paul Vann is killed in a helicopter accident in Vietnam.
1986   NASA publishes a report on the Challenger accident.

Did you know ...

That the number of poor Americans hit a record number of 49 million in 2010 census.

That the chamber of commerce dark money days may be over.

That Mitt Romney can't even spell Ronald Reagan's name.

Financial mania

Why bankers and politicians failed to heed warnings of the credit crisis
Western economies displayed the same kind of manic behavior as psychologically disturbed individuals in the run up to the 2008 ...
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The shrub's tax cuts: Ten years later

"High-income families benefited from the top marginal rate falling. Billionaires benefited from lightly taxed dividend income. And government receipts, in turn, dropped.... The bottom 80 percent of filers received about 35 percent of the cuts. The top 20 percent received about 65 percent—and the top 1 percent alone claimed 38 percent."
~ Annie Lowrey, Salon

The massive shrub tax cuts mark their 10th birthday this week. Sadly, despite my best efforts to find something redeeming about them—honest!—there is little to celebrate. By nearly all of the metrics set out by the shrub himself, the cuts were a colossal failure.

Yet again, repugicans deny women their rights

  by Erin Tracy-Blackwood

Senate repugicans have asserted that if you have female reproductive organs, you should not expect to receive equal pay for equal work. How such simple concepts of fairness are up for debate, let alone a vote, in 2012 is beyond me.
On Tuesday, the Senate Minority blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. Based on their political motivations, I see why they chose to filibuster.
The repugicans didn't stand to lose much ground with women voters for not supporting the act. After their War on Contraception and the Violence Against Women Act fiasco, if repugicans still have any female supporters, they will obviously never leave the party's side. Support for the act would've annoyed a large part of the repugican's base, including corporations and business owners who do not want to pay a dime more than they must for anything, including their staff.
I recently left such a company. My last job was in the motorcycle industry: a man's world. I held a high position in marketing, and for a while, my supervisor was female. She was a model employee who had a hand in every aspect of the company. I remember the day she resigned. Our chairman said it felt like he'd lost his right arm.
She left because they brought in a man to take over part of her duties, and she discovered they were paying him double her salary. Double.
He wasn't more qualified or educated. His work ethic didn't exceed hers. It was simply because he was a man. He was paid double her salary for half her responsibilities and, unlike her, no one ever once thought to ask him for a cup of espresso.
This was an extreme example of the culture pervasive in America. Nationally, the average ratio of women's pay to men's is 77 cents on the dollar. The Obama Administration has been visibly trying to change this. Before introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, the White House created the Council on Women & Girls and supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Republicans, most notably Mitt Romney, have been largely silent since the vote. On Tuesday, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada was the only repugican who had enough balls to attempt to defend his party's vote on the Senate floor. He must be the highest paid person in the repugican party.

Random Celebrity Photo

Barbara Stanwyck was a flapper don't you know

Proposed "Do Not Track" specification actually mandates otherwise

The ostensibly pro-consumer "Do Not Track" specification under development now mandates that it be an "opt-in" feature. Ryan Singel at Ars Technica:
The latest proposed draft of the Do Not Track specification published Wednesday requires that users must choose to turn on the anti-behavioral tracking feature in their browsers and software. That means that Microsoft IE 10, which the company announced last week will have Do Not Track turned on by default, won’t be compliant with the official spec. Which means that tech and ad companies who say they comply with Do Not Track could simply ignore the flag set by IE 10 and track those who use that browser.
Most browser makers have big stakes in the advertising business: Google makes its money from ads, Microsoft is serious about Bing, and Mozilla is financed by search engine affiliate cash (i.e. Google and Bing). Wouldn't it be something if Apple ended up seen as web privacy advocates, simply because their bet is on apps and they have much to gain at others' expense by marketing privacy as a desirable consumer product? Unless I'm very much mistaken, and forgive me if I am, Safari is already the only browser to block third-party cookies by default.

FBI launches crackdown on Hells Angels cycle gangs

clubraidFederal and local agents raided a Gaston County motorcycle club headquarters Thursday as part of a sweeping crackdown on the Hells Angels that included 19 arrests on a variety of charges.



A Family Business for 14 Generations

When you talk about cymbals, chances are you're talking about Zildjian cymbals. But did you know that the company is four centuries old and still run as a family business?
Nearly 400 years ago, in 1623, Avedis Zildjian founded a cymbal-manufacturing company in Istanbul.
Now run by 14th generation family member Craigie Zildjian, along with her sister Debbie, the company has outlasted empires, survived a move overseas to the US, and thrived during the economic turmoil of the Great Depression and two World Wars.
Today, the company controls 65% of the world's cymbal market, and took in more than $50m in revenues last year.
But for the Zildjians, it's more than just a business.
Kim Gittleson of the BBC has a fascinating look into the oldest family firm in the USA: here.

Man Spent 11 Years Walking Around the World

When you and I got the itch to walk, we usually go around the block a couple of times. But not Canadian Jean Béliveau. He went walking for 46,600 miles through 64 countries.
And perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that his wife waited for him at home while Jean spent 11 years walking around the world.
Gadling interviewed the wandering man:
How much ground does one need to cover to walk around the world in 11 years?
Jean: I averaged about 20 miles per day over 11 years, but I didn't walk every day. It took about six months to cross the U.S., about 8 months for Mexico and Central America. Then I had to skip Colombia because back in 2002 it was considered very dangerous. I spent almost two years walking through South America and then I ran out of money. I didn't want to call Luce and ask for her to pay for my flight to Africa. Eventually, a Brazilian guy offered to pay for my ticket to South Africa and the trip continued.
Where did you sleep during this walk?
Jean: People invited me into their homes, they fed me, they phoned people 30-40 miles ahead to help me. Some people gave me money, brought me to the supermarket and filled my buggy with food. I stayed with about 1,600 families in 64 countries, but in general I'd say I spent roughly one-third with families, one-third camping and the rest being invited to sleep in churches, temples, mosques, schools and even prisons. I stayed with criminals, killers, extremists – all kinds of people.


Chevrolet Pickup by montanaman1 on Flickr.

The Donut Cops

A cop walks into a donut shop may sound like the start of a joke, but fighting counterfeit donuts is no laughing matter for Dunkin' Donut. When they suspect that a franchise store is selling fake donuts, they send in specially trained undercover agents:
"I used to be able to reach in and pull out a donut, and be able to smell and determine whether it was a Dunkin' Donut," Michael Mershimer, former head of loss prevention for Dunkin' Donuts and Quiznos, told ABCNews.com.
Dunkin' Donuts didn't just rely on Mershimer's nose. It has a lab in Canton, Mass., where Dunkin' investigates fraudulent pastries with the zeal of a forensics team. Donuts are weighed, measured, taken apart by experts in white lab coats. They are tasted, sniffed and mashed to see how they crumble.
Across America's thousands of franchise restaurants are more than 300,000 undercover food cops, pulling apart donuts, inspecting sub sandwiches, and checking burger patties for authenticity. The mystery shoppers are part of a loss prevention strategy that tries to ensure major brands - Quiznos, Baskin Robbins, Burger King - maintain consistency and don't lose money to crafty franchise owners.

Legislators could open NC liquor stores the Sunday before the DNC

  by Ryan Pitkin
With all of the bickering across the aisles in politics today, there is still one thing that can bridge even the deepest divides in this country: booze.
A bipartisan group of Charlotte-area lawmakers has proposed legislation to the General Assembly that would keep Alcoholic Beverage Control liquor stores in Mecklenburg County open on Labor Day, which falls on Sunday, Sept. 3, the day before the Democratic National Convention begins. The convention runs Sept. 4-6.
Restaurant owners have complained that they don't have the space to keep enough alcohol in their restaurants to handle the influx of visitors coming in for the weekend and the convention. They say they would need to restock that Sunday.
"We are a service business," said Mary Ward, a spokeswoman for Mecklenburg ABC. "When there are major events in our county it is important we be able to serve our customers, both retail and commercial."
Ward said she was "impressed" that legislators responded so quickly to restaurant owners' needs.
Representatives backing the bill include Mecklenburg County repugicans Bill Brawley and Ruth Samuelson and Democrats Becky Carney and Beverly Earle.
The legislation will be scheduled for a committee hearing in coming weeks before being sent to the House. Opposition isn't expected.
"This is a common sense bill that most members should be able to support," said Samuelson in an email.
North Carolina does not allow ABC stores to sell liquor on Sundays, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, July 4th or Labor Day. Discussion of keeping ABC stores open on Sundays has been met unfavorably in the General Assembly in the past. And it's never made an exception for legislatively-mandated holidays, Ward said.

Man caught drunk driving in stolen wheelchair

Utica Police caught 55-year-old Raymound Kulma going on a drunken joyride. But he wasn't behind a wheel of a car, he was cruising on motorized wheel chair - James Konkel's wheel chair. The arrest was made on Greeley Street, near this Utica senior living complex where James and Raymond got into an argument before the 55-year-old stole James' wheelchair.
Chief Faber said Raymond wasn't just drunk, he was really drunk "Mr. Kulma was three times the legal limit. He didn't pass any of the sobriety tests that he was given."

But this wasn't Raymond's first offense, and his driving record proves it. This was his seventh operating while under the influence charge, some dating back to 1984.

Raymond's license was suspended four times, revoked twice, and he hasn't had a valid license since 1993. Konkel had this to say on what he thinks should happen to Raymond, "I think he needs to be locked up for a little while. Maybe it will teach him a lesson."

Retro Photo


Gardner, Untitled (Knife Thrower Signor Arcaris & his sister Miss Rose Arcaris), c.1900
Knife Thrower Signor Arcaris & his sister Miss Rose Arcaris, c.1900

Juggling Boosts Brainpower

Juggling Bumps Up BrainpowerJuggling Bumps Up Brainpower

A Fun Way to Boost Your Intellect

One million billion billion billion billion billion billion

That's the number of undiscovered drugs
A new voyage into “chemical space” – occupied not by stars and planets but substances that could become useful in ...
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Calorie-restricted diet keeps heart young

Calorie-restricted diet keeps heart youngPeople who restrict their caloric intake in an effort to live longer have hearts that function more like those in ...
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Genetic News

  Fetus has its genome decipheredFoetus

A blood sample from mum and saliva from dad have been used by US researchers to sequence the genome of a fetus.

Flame-Retardant Sandwiches, Who Knew?

 by Robyn O'Brien 

Random Photo

Researchers warn Arctic ice melt is setting stage for severe winters

The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans ...
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LiDAR unveils Honduran archaeological ruins

A field team from the University of Houston and the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping ...
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The Great Wall of China Twice As Long As Thought

The world's largest man-made structure is much longer than anyone previously thought.
  Read more
Great Wall of China Twice As Long As Thought

Awesome Pictures


Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Science Explains Cockroaches’ Ninja-Like Ability to Vanish

Now you see it, now you don't. In addition to their ability to survive a nuclear apocalypse, cockroaches have the ability to skitter and vanish in a blink of an eye.
Now, science has explained the ninja-like ability of cockroaches:
"Cockroaches continue to surprise us," said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology who 15 years ago discovered that when cockroaches run rapidly, they rear up on their two hind legs like bipedal humans. "They have fast relay systems that allow them to dart away quickly in response to light or motion at speeds up to 50 body lengths per second, which is equivalent to a couple hundred miles per hour, if you scale up to the size of humans. This makes them incredibly good at escaping predators." [...]
Mongeau and Brian McRae, an undergraduate bioengineering major, analyzed the mechanics of the ninja-like maneuver and discovered that the cockroach, an American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), wasn't merely falling over the ledge. It actually ran at full speed toward the ledge, dove off, then grabbed the edge with its claws -- sometimes using only one leg -- and swung like a pendulum under the ledge, retaining 75 percent of its running energy.

Animal News

Secrets of Hard-Hitting Crustacean Claw Found
mantis shrimpThe peacock mantis shrimp has such powerful claws that they may inform engineers on how to build safer body armor. Read more

Animal Pictures

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