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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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Daily Drift

Reaching out form the inside!

Some of our readers today have been in:

Jakarta, Indonesia
Phatthaya, Thailand
Amman, Jordan
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Luqa, Malta
Alberton, South Africa
Mosow, Russia
Valletta, Malta
Bandung, Indonesia
Krakow, Poland
Hagatna, Guam
Skopje, Macedonia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Islamabad, Pakistan
Ampang, Malasia
Santiago, Chile
Cairo, Egypt
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Warsaw, Poland
Alexandria, Egypt
George Town, Malaysia
Hanoi, Vietnam
Ipoh, Malaysia
Tirana, Albania

Today in History

1442   Alfonso V of Aragon is crowned King of Naples.
1812   Napoleon Bonaparte and his army invade Russia.
1849   The gas mask is patented by L. P. Haslett.
1862   Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart begins his ride around the Union Army outside of Richmond, Virginia.
1901   Cuba agrees to become an American protectorate by accepting the Platt Amendment.
1918   The first airplane bombing raid by an American unit occurs in France.
1920   Republicans nominate Warren G. Harding for president and Calvin Coolidge for vice president.
1921   President Warren Harding urges every young man to attend military training camp.
1926   Brazil quits the League of Nations in protest over plans to admit Germany.
1931   Gangster Al Capone and 68 of his henchmen are indicted for violating Prohibition laws.
1937   Eight of Stalin's generals are sentenced to death during purges in the Soviet Union.
1942   American bombers strike the oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania for the first time.
1963   Black civil rights leader Medgar Evers is assassinated by a gunman outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi.
1967   The Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban interracial marriages.
1972   At a hearing in front the of a U.S. House of Representatives committee, Air Force General John Lavalle defends his orders on engagement in Vietnam.
1977   David Berkowitz gets 25 years to life for the Son of Sam murders in New York.
1985   The U.S. House of Representatives approves $27 million in aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.
1991   Mount Pinatubo in the Phillipines begins erupting for the first time in 600 years.

The truth be told

Ten things your family can do this summer for under $100

10 things your family can do this summer for under $100 Summer is fast approaching and with it comes a season filled with vacations, outdoor activities and get-togethers with friends and family.



Pierre-Auguste Cot’s The Storm
Pierre-Auguste Cot’s The Storm

Is My Obesity Related to My Depression?

by Peter Jackson, CPT
Rodney Frick, a client at Push Fitness, demonstrates the Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension. Photography by TobysPhotos.com.

Q: I am a 30-year-old man, 5’9" and I weigh 245 pounds. I am depressed because I am so overweight and so I eat even more. I read somewhere that the reason some people can’t lose weight is because of low serotonin levels. Is that connected to my being overweight?

A: The fact that you have reached out to me indicates that you realize you need help - and that’s an important first step. My first recommendation would be to see a physician who can give you a thorough physical examination and determine what, if any, underlying medical conditions are contributing to your obesity.
Secondly, you should seek the help of an experienced fitness professional you can help you with an exercise program and offer guidance on a healthy food plan.
There is no magic pill or diet to lose body fat. In the end it comes down to learning how to eat the right foods in the correct portions and engaging in regular exercise comprising both cardio and strength training. That’s the cold, hard truth.
Your personal trainer can calculate exactly how much fat you need to lose. For a 30-year-old man like yourself, 12-15 percent body fat would be considered good.
A pound of fat equates to approximately 3,500 calories, so burning 500 calories more than you eat each day (500 x 7 days = 3,500) will lead to a pound of fat loss in a week. Health professionals advise against losing more than 1.5-2 pounds of fat per week.
I am not in a position to make a connection between your obesity and possible low levels of serotonin, but I can address this topic in general terms. Serotonin (5-hydroxytrptamine) is a chemical produced naturally by the body which essentially helps brain cells communicate. It can help to calm anxiety, relieve mild depression, improve sleep and create a general sense of well-being.
Changes in the level of this neurotransmitter caused by excessive use of alcohol and caffeine, a lack of exercise, smoking and diabetes, among other factors, have been attributed to a number of conditions including insomnia and, yes, obesity.
Low serotonin levels adversely change our mood, so much so that drugs prescribed to treat depression and anxiety are typically engineered to work by increasing serotonin production. Americans spend $3 billion a year or more on drugs to treat depression and anxiety, according to published reports, but there are simple, inexpensive steps we can take to influence our mood naturally.
The simple fact is this: We are what we eat because what we eat affects how we feel.
Scientists have discovered that our diet influences the brain’s neurotransmitters - including serotonin - and certain foods affect the natural production of this important chemical.
Serotonin is made following a chemical reaction with tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is present in varying amounts in all protein foods. Here are a few:
TURKEY: Ever notice how relaxed you get after eating turkey at Thanksgiving dinner? That’s because turkey contains high levels of tryptophan from which serotonin is made. Turkey and other lean meats including roast beef, tenderloin and skinless chicken breasts are good sources of tryptophan.
SALMON: Wild fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines and packed with tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids which positively affect mood. A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon contains 22 grams of protein and is an excellent source of omega-3 fats. Put wild fish on your dinner table at least once a week.
EGGS: Eggs are one of the best, natural sources of protein (6.3 grams per egg) and are rich in amino acids and nutrients the body needs. Forget egg substitutes and, please, eat the yolk! Scientists have now dispelled the myth that eggs yolks have a direct link to heart attacks. Dietary cholesterol found in eggs yolks are no longer believed to impact serum cholesterol which can lead to coronary disease.
BANANAS: Bananas have been called "the world’s perfect food" - and with good cause. This amazing fruit is rich in vitamin C, fiber, minerals and potassium. A little known fact is that bananas contain tryptophan, and so also contributes to a positive mood.
FLAX OIL OR FLAXSEEDS: Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Other nuts and seeds such as peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts and pecans similarly contain generous levels of tryptophan.
Other foods known to increase serotonin levels include asparagus, avocado, broccoli, buckwheat, cottage cheese, oats and pineapple.
SUPPLEMENTATION: A non-prescription supplement available at any vitamin shop or health food store which is highly regarded for its ability to stimulate serotonin production is called 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryphophan). This is an extract of the Griffonia simplicifolia plan native to West Africa. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the sale or monitor the claims of supplements, but it is widely believed that 5-HTP is not only safe in the right dosage (100 mg per day) but has the same effect as SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) antidepressants. It’s best to take this supplement at night as its calming effect helps to induce sleep.
EXERCISE: In addition to eating balanced meals which contain protein and fats, making time for relaxation and getting sufficient sleep, it’s critical FOR EVERYONE to exercise at least two to three times a week. A regimen of both cardio exercise (walking, running) and strength training are necessary. Exercise releases a hormone called endorphins which also promotes a sense of well-being.

Fifty More Cancers Recommended For 9/11 Fund Coverage

Federal health authorities Friday recommended that 50 types of cancer be added to the list of covered illnesses for people who were exposed to toxins at the site of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Did you know ...

How our brains threaten democracy.

You can go here to make everything OK.

Garbage Pile Kids

Some kids like to dig in the dirt. They'll dig up railroad spikes, old soda or beer bottles, or mysterious pieces of metal. These grimy, worn pieces of the past, discarded and buried, are treasures to an adventuring child. Someone else's junk can light up an imagination or launch a lifelong process of discovery.

Part of the reason 'American Pickers' is such a hit on the History Channel is that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz tap into that same curiosity and excitement as they drive down back roads and dig through old barns.

Awesome Pictures


Baby, it’s too late.

Hey, repugicans, any of this sound familiar?

Mitt Romney thinks cops and firemen aren't American

Mitt Romney thinks the "message" of Scott Walker having survived a recall in Wisconsin is that America hates cops and firemen:
Romney said of Obama, “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Because firemen, cops and teachers aren't "American people"?

As Greg Sargent points out via the link above, there were a lot of messages from Wisconsin, and none of them were about cops and firemen being a waste of money:
This time, however, Romney deserves points for honesty: He has forthrightly declared that the class of government workers holding back other Americans does include cops, firefighters and teachers. And in so doing, he has singlehandedly reframed the debate from one over despised government bureaucrats to one over whether we should hire more cops, firefighters and teachers to get the economy going. This is a debate the White House will be happy to have.

The Weird & Wonderful Wartime Cartoons of Dr. Seuss

How would you illustrate the threat of Nazism in the 1940′s? No matter how crazy your ideas, they probably wouldn’t be as wacky as these Dr. Seuss cartoons as they almost certainly wouldn’t be as cool-looking.
How would you illustrate the threat of Nazism in 2012?  Oh, yeah, just show any picture of any repugican and you have the perfect illustration!

Court says lawsuit of 'Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest' is 'frivolous'

You think?! 
A man who said his religious freedom to practice "Vampirism" is being violated in prison won't have his day, or even night, in court.

SC sheriff's race marred by kidnapping allegation

Voters choosing a sheriff in one South Carolina county can pick from four men accused of doing something wrong, including a former Secret Service agent accused of trying to kidnap someone and a second man investigated by state agents.
Business as usual in SC, I see.In SC they don't even bother to try and hide the fact they're crooks.

Teenage girls stab each other in tussle over shoes

Two teenage girls are in hospital after allegedly stabbing each other in a tussle over shoes at the Gold Coast's Robina Town Center.

Emergency crews were called to the busy shopping center about 7.45pm and found a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old with suspected stab wounds.

The stabbing is believed to have followed a fight between teenagers, which police are investigating. It is unknown whether the two girls knew each other but there were early reports from witnesses suggesting the fight broke out over a pair of shoes.

A police spokesman said the 17-year-old allegedly pulled a knife and wounded the younger girl before then being stabbed herself. A Queensland Ambulance spokesman said the victims were taken to Gold Coast Hospital, though the injuries were not life-threatening.

Woman arrested for trespassing after repeatedly hiding in suitcase to visit boyfriend

Aisea Poulivaati and other workers at a downtown Portland apartment complex wondered for months what a man kept lugging around in a pink rolling suitcase. "We heard there may have been a person in there," said Poulivaati, a courtesy desk clerk at the 333 Oak Apartments. "But it's not like we could have proven that."
On Monday afternoon, a caller told police that a man kidnapped a woman, put her in a pink suitcase and took it into the apartments. Officers shared the witness’s description with the building manager, who said it might be resident Curtis T. Lowe, 52. Lowe denied knowing anything about a woman in a suitcase, said a police report.

But officers searched the apartment. They found a pink suitcase in the living room and Kola J. McGrath, 50, in the closet. The woman, described by police as 5-foot-6 and 96 pounds, told officers she had not been kidnapped. Instead, she was hiding in the suitcase because she had been banned from the apartment complex since April 2011.

Workers at the complex said McGrath and Lowe were in a relationship. But she was banned after breaking a fire extinguisher case with her purse while arguing with him, Poulivaati said. She also had been warned about violating the building's visitation policy. McGrath was arrested and booked into Multnomah County Jail on a trespassing count. She has since been released. “I guess you could call it creative,” said Poulivaati.

There's a news video here.

Thief stole 400K toothpicks in Georgia

Police in Georgia are trying to figure out who stole about 400,000 toothpicks worth nearly $3,000 from a manufacturer in Athens.

Forest Crime Crackdown

Deforested area, Brazil (Image: AP)Crackdown on global forest crime

Interpol and the United Nations join forces to launch an initiative called Project Leaf, which aims to tackle global forest crime.

The 'Tipping Point'

Earth may be approaching ‘tipping point,’ Stanford scientist says

Yellowstone is the nation’s oldest national park – it has been protected since 1872. So when Stanford biology Professor Elizabeth ...
Continue Reading

Famous UFO Sightings

On the 30th anniversary of ET, Stylist looks for answers to the question - is there anybody out there? From alien abductions to lights in the sky and mysterious flying objects, here are 20 of the world's most talked-about UFO sightings.

Chinese in space

China plans new manned space flightChina's Long March 2F rocket carrying the Tiangong-1 module blasts off from the Jiuquan launch centre on September 29 2011

China is set to carry out its fourth manned space flight, sending astronauts to work on its space station project.

It's Official: Neutrinos Can't Beat Speed Of Light

Back in September 2011, a team of particle physicists detected neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light as they traveled from CERN to the Gran Sasso lab. They smashed the universal speed limit by 60 nanoseconds - a result that was constant, even after 15,000 repetitions of the process.

But now, those same physicists at the CERN laboratory have put the final nail in the coffin for the idea that neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light. They also confirmed that the groundbreaking results from 2011 can be blamed on faulty equipment.

Astronomical News

The Venus Transit and Hunting for Alien Worlds

Venus did a lot more than just transit the sun; it provided us with a vital tool in the hunt for Earth-like exoplanets orbiting other stars. Read more
The Venus Transit and Hunting for Alien Worlds

Runts of Stellar Litter Rarer than Thought

Observations by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have revealed a surprise -- there are fewer brown dwarfs in our cosmic backyard than previously believed. Read more
Runts of Stellar Litter Rarer than Thought

Top 5 REAL Cosmic Doomsday Events

Forget the much-hyped 2012 doomsday, we've been inundated with doomsday events over the last few months... in other star systems. Read more
doomsday 2011 cosmic

Only Two Cosmic Doomsdays Are Certain

The sardonic proverb "nothing is certain but death and taxes," can now be recast for the cosmos. Read more
Only Two Cosmic Doomsdays Are Certain

Protoplanet Vesta's Coat of Many Colors

NASA's Dawn mission maps the baby planet's surface mineral composition -- with dazzling results. Read more
Protoplanet Vesta

Peering into the Dusty Heart of Centaurus A

A new telescope has come online to give us a whole new insight as to the workings of the complicated galactic mess that is Centaurus A. Read more
Peering into the Dusty Heart of Centaurus A

Now, that is something you don't see everyday

Fresh Fish Delivery

Forgotten dog waits patiently for two days at rest stop until owner comes to find him

A 9-month-old Yorkie’s extended stay in Hannibal, Missouri, is proving just how dedicated a dog is to his master. Michael Siau, a truck driver, was passing through town last Friday when he took a break at a rest area. He stretched his legs, stood up for a while and used the restroom. “Didn’t even cross my mind that he might jump out, he never has before,” Siau said. “I jumped back in the truck, put it in gear and drove off. And I just thought he was in the back asleep.” But Rambo wasn’t there.
Siau made it all the way to Cedar Rapids, Iowa when he realized his companion wasn’t in the cab. He couldn’t turn the company truck he was driving around, his time would have been thrown off and he would’ve lost his job. The thought of not seeing Rambo again was devastating. Back in October, Rambo’s father, Ollie, who also accompanied Siau on trips, was run over. Siau was so distraught he took six months off. His daughter originally picked Rambo out to be her dog, but when she saw how down her father was, she gave him back. The last thing she wanted was her dad to be lonely on his trips.

“I was freaking out. I had to calm down and think about how he could have possibly gotten out,” Siau said. “And it came to me that was the only time that I could have got out and I wouldn’t have seen him. I was just sure he was there.” Siau figured LaGrange was the closest police department to the rest stop so he called them to find out if they could help. They offered to look into it, but there wasn’t any word. The next two nights were restless. Rambo’s uncertainty left him on pins and needles. “I was in tears, sobbing, calling that same police department in LaGrange back Sunday morning because nobody had returned my call,” Siau said.

The dispatch told him it was actually Hannibal who had jurisdiction at that particular rest stop. They told him to get in touch with Hannibal’s Animal Control unit and assured him their services were top notch. “Three hours later, at 10:30 on Sunday morning, the officer called me and told me they found my dog,” Siau said. Rambo was just sitting there, waiting. The pup probably figured his master would return, but was more than likely confused as to why he was gone so long. Siau will make a return trip back through Hannibal and a stop will include the Northeast Missouri Humane Society where Rambo is fully taken care of and waiting to head back home.

Peculiar-looking dog mistaken for genetically modified pig

Chinese residents were left terrified after mistaking a pink-skinned stray dog for either an escaped genetically modified pig or a strangely colored mini-horse.
The bizarre breed of dog was spotted roaming around the streets Xinxiang in the Henan province, central China, sparking fears it has escaped from a nearby medical research centre. With its strange-colored skin and hairless body, many observers speculated the rare breed could have been some sort of strange mutant pig.

However given its white tufts of hair, unusual stance and wispy tail, the strange canine could even pass for a mini horse. One witness said: 'The pink skin makes it look just like pig gone wrong in some sort of genetic experiment.'

However police have denied the animal is the subject of a genetic experiment - confirming it is actually a breed known as a Chinese crested hairless dog. 'It is definitely a dog, and quite an expensive one at that,' said a spokesman.

Woman terrified of snakes finds Californian Kingsnake in her bed

A woman got more than she bargained for when she turned in for the night, and found a 2ft Californian kingsnake in her bed. Terrified Alex Gosbee, from Wincheap in Kent, saw the menacing reptile just seconds before switching off her bedroom lights. The 44-year-old said: “I just froze. I’m terrified of snakes, especially snakes that are a few inches away from my foot. I very slowly climbed off the bed and, without making any noise got out, closed the door behind me and then freaked out in the kitchen.” Frantic Alex ran next door and called on the help of two friends, who returned with her to see the snake disappear down the side of the bed.
She said: “They spent over an hour pulling my bedroom apart but couldn’t find it so they gave up and went home.” A nervous Alex eventually climbed back into bed, leaving the lights on, but unsurprisingly couldn’t sleep. It was then she saw a familiar face poking its head out from the side of her hairdryer bag. She said: “It was flicking its tongue out at me and then disappeared back into the bag. I nearly had a heart attack. I jumped up, immediately zipped the bag up and went downstairs. I was then really afraid it might suffocate so I crept back up and carefully unzipped the bag enough so it could breath, but not enough so it could escape.”

Alex called her neighbors back and the snake was tipped into a pillowcase in front of stunned people at the nearby Esso garage. She said: “My friend thought the snake would be better off in a pillowcase, which we could tie up, but I wasn’t having him empty a snake out in my house, so we went and did it on the petrol station forecourt instead.” After discovering the snake wasn’t venomous, Alex was persuaded to pick it up and found it quite tame. She said: “I’ve kind of got used to it now. I never would have wished for it but I think this experience has cured me of my phobia. He’s really cute and I’d keep him if it wasn’t for the cat being so unhappy.

“Admittedly it was terrifying at the time but I’m now rather fond of snakes, as long as they’re not sitting on my bed.” Experts believe the snake, which can grow to 5ft long, may have escaped from a local pet owner. It has now set up home in a plastic box at the end of her bed, complete with hot water bottle to stop it getting chilly. She said: “I think its been in the house for a while as my cat Meena has been jumpy for the last couple of months.” The snake is thought to be about a year old and is in extremely good health.

Back From The Brink

The Water Vole 
It was not so long ago that naturalists were predicting that the Water Vole would be extinct in the United Kingdom within a few years. Predation by the North American Mink, loss of habitat and pollution seemed to be the main culprits.

Yet just a few years after their dire predictions it seems that the water vole is back from the brink, testimony to the help it has received from conservationists.

Animal Pictures