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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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Daily Drfit


Last resort
We're there folks ...

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Today in History

1493 Maximilian succeeds his father Frederick III as Holy Roman Emperor.
1587 Sigismund III is chosen to be the king of Poland.
1692 Five women are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. Fourteen more people are executed that year and 150 others are imprisoned.
1772 Gustavus III of Sweden eliminates the rule of parties and establishes an absolute monarchy.
1779 Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.
1812 The USS Constitution earns the nickname "Old Ironsides" during the battle off Nova Scotia that saw her defeat the HMS Guerriere.
1914 The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.
1934 38 million Germans vote to make Adolf Hitler the official successor to President von Hindenburg.
1936 Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca is shot by Franco's troops after being forced to dig his own grave.
1942 A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.
1944 In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles DeGualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.
1950 Edith Sampson becomes the first African-American representative to the United Nations.
1957 The first balloon flight to exceed 100,000 feet takes off from Crosby, Minnesota.
1965 U.S. forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.

USS Constitution to Sail Once Again

USS Constitution
Launched in 1797, the frigate USS Constitution is the oldest vessel in active service in the United States Navy. Since 1881, it has sailed without the aid of tugs only once. Tomorrow, it will do so again to mark the 200th anniversary of its battle with HMS Guerriere:
During Sunday's sail, the Constitution's crew of about 65, accompanied by 150 sailors selected to be part of event, will unfurl four of its 36 sails, Neely said. The tugs will stand by as a precaution when the Constitution sails on its own. And the trip can't happen unless the weather conditions are right.
The ship won't move in winds less than five mph and anything over about 15 mph would put too much stress on the vessel, Neely said. But the forecast looks favorable.
The lengthy work in preparation for Sunday's sail was largely on the Constitution's aesthetics, though the masts were restored, Neely said. The crew also underwent extensive training on how to handle a vessel that's unlike any other in the U.S. Navy.

The truth be told

Retro Photo


Kiev at Night

Kiev is a beautiful city. Its night views with yellow buildings in the center are never boring. More

Four things we know more about than Mitt Romney's Tax Returns

Non Sequitur


American Traitors

To all the traitors ...

To all the "Navy Seals" and other "military people" in the new Switftboat 2012 ads.....you should take a lesson from this man. A TRUE American Hero. THIS is how you treat your Commander in Chief. Now shut the hell up.

And I Quote

The best and most trusted news man in America

This is why Jon Stewart is the best and most trusted news man in America.
Oh, wait he's a comedian - but he is still the best and most trusted news man in America - that should tell you something about the rest of the 'news men' in America.

Ryan admits he lied about seeking stimulus monies for constituents

Yes, it's a lie.  I worked on the Hill.  Every member of Congress knows that they have files of every single letter they've written on behalf of every single constituent.  When asked if he wrote the letter seekingly stimulus monies for constituents, rather than denying it, Paul Ryan  should have said he'd have to check his files.  But he didn't.  He chose to lie, even when presented with copies of the letters.
The man's a liar.  He's one of those repugicans whose first instinct is to deny a painful truth, hoping the public won't notice.  Well, they noticed.

Did you know ...

That a new database shows that in-person voter fraud is infinitessimal

That the percentage of earth's land surface covered by extreme heat has soared from 1% to 13%

And you can't beat dirigibles

Ohio Sec. of State suspends Democrats who tried enforcing voting equality

Is there really any question whether the repugican party is determined to restrict voting for their own benefit? It's hard to argue that their 2012 plan is to block voters but fortunately a few Democrats are standing up to the anti-equality repugicans.
Why does the repugican party hate our political system?
Two Democratic members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections have been suspended after they insisted on allowing weekend hours for in-person early voting in violation of repugican Secretary of State Jon Husted’s directive setting uniform hours across the state.

Mr. Husted has begun the process of permanently removing Thomas J. Ritchie, Sr., the board’s chairman, and Dennis Lieberman from their positions. In the meantime, he broke the board’s 2-2 tie in favor of restricting early voting hours to the weekday timetable he laid out on Wednesday.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the office knows of no other county that has defied the secretary of state’s directive.

The board tied 2-2 this morning on a motion from Mr. Lieberman, a former county Democratic Party chairman, to schedule office hours for in-person early voting on two Saturdays and two Sundays before the election. The Democrats supported it, and the two repugicans opposed it.

Mr. Ritchie said he expected Mr. Husted to simply exercise his tie-breaking authority to side with the repugican board members.

Pop Ads


John Gutmann: Pop Advertising, San Francisco, 1939
John Gutmann: Pop Advertising, San Francisco, 1939

Rio de Janeiro drug dealers saying no to crack, planning a ban on the destructive drug

Business was brisk in the Mandela shantytown on a recent night. In the glow of a weak light bulb, customers pawed through packets of powdered cocaine and marijuana priced at $5, $10, $25. Teenage boys with semiautomatic weapons took in money and made change while flirting with girls in belly-baring tops lounging nearby.
Next to them, a gaggle of kids jumped on a trampoline, oblivious to the guns and drug-running that are part of everyday life in this and hundreds of other slums, known as favelas, across this metropolitan area of 12 million people. Conspicuously absent from the scene was crack, the most addictive and destructive drug in the triad that fuels Rio's lucrative narcotics trade.

A 297-pound Texas boy, 12, too big to play peewee football

A suburban Dallas boy has been barred from playing peewee football because the league says he is just too big at nearly 300 pounds.

Roche Rock

Where Tristan And Isolde Hid In Plain Sight
It is no surprise that Roche Rock in Cornwall in the United Kingdom is associated with a number of famous folktales. It is said that Triston and Isolde hid here when their love had been discovered by Isolde's husband, King Mark. Yet others have fled here from far more frightening enemies than a cuckolded king.

Atop Roche Rock lies the eerie remains of a chapel, dedicated to Saint Michael. The rock, even without the ruins, looks out of place, jutting unexpectedly out of the Cornish landscape. The chapel was built in 1409 and abandoned some centuries afterwards.

Funny Pictures

Amateur inventor's control helmet may have killed him

New Zealand police have confirmed the death of a man found in South Auckland on Monday was accidental, and it is understood it was the result of home experiment which went wrong.

Michael William Roiall, 34, was found dead at his Papatoetoe home. It is understood the man was an amateur inventor and was found wearing a home-made helmet, which he was attempting to use to control devices in his home.

It's believed the helmet may have suffocated him. An autopsy has been completed and police have said the death was accidental.

A police spokeswoman refused to comment further on the circumstances surrounding the death which has now been referred to the coroner. Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander said Mr Roiall's body had been found by family.

Eleven Monarchs Crowned While They Were In Diapers

Babies sure are cute. But do they make good world leaders?
Here's a peek at some of history's youngest rulers and their reigns.

Amelia Earhart's plane located?

Her final resting place has been a mystery for decades, but maybe the researchers have found it.
Pieces of Amelia Earhart's plane may have been located in the depths of the waters off Nikumaroro island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, according to a preliminary review of high-definition video taken last month at the uninhabited coral atoll believed to be Earhart's final resting place.

Carried out by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 75 years ago, the underwater search started on July 12 and relied on a torpedo-shaped Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).
Underwater data reveal an "interesting debris field" in the area where Earhart's plane is believed to have sunk. Read more
earhart plane

Cool Fact

Massachusetts man gets 'wrong' lottery ticket, wins $1M

When a store clerk gave a Massachusetts man a different kind of scratch-off lottery ticket than he asked for, he didn't make a big deal about the mistake; he said he just "rolled with it." Richard Brown of Taunton said he went into Gulf Taunton recently and asked for a $5 "Blue Ice 7s" ticket, but the clerk was distracted and ...

College Grads vs. High School Grads in The Great Recession

Is college worth the cost? Earlier this week, Georgetown University released a report about how education levels impact employment prospects:
Since job growth resumed in early 2010 with the end of the recession, employment by those with a Bachelor’s degree or better has increased by 2 million, while employment by those with an Associate’s degree or some college experience has increased by 1.6 million. Those with some college education or an Associate’s degree have recovered nearly 91 percent of jobs lost during the recession, but are still short of their prerecession employment levels (See Table 1). In contrast, people with a Bachelor’s degree or better have experienced a net increase of 2.2 million jobs over their prerecession levels.
Those with only a high school diploma or less continue to experience job losses, though in much smaller numbers [...]. In part this is due to the financial bubble that created a corresponding bubble in housing and construction jobs. When the housing market recovers, the construction industry will create some demand for workers with a high school diploma or less. Yet, it is hard to expect any substantial job gains in the near future for job seekers with no postsecondary schooling.
Read the report here: The College Advantage: Weathering The Economic Storm [pdf] 

Facebook continues decline as entire sector falls

The superstars of Facebook are still extremely wealthy people, but the shine that existed before their IPO now is no longer there. The sector has been hammered on Wall Street with other big names such as Groupon and Zynga and even LinkedIn also falling recently. Personally I've always been suspicious of the sector, viewing it as overhyped and seriously overvalued.
After reading reports about Facebook generating less than $6 per user, per year, the company would have to either continue to rapidly add new users (something that is not happening) or start getting "creative" with data and deals. "Getting creative" is nothing new for the tech industry and with the young management team there, that option sounded more and more likely.

I used Facebook for a brief period of time but closed my account years ago and never looked back. I tired of their squirly behavior including who owns photos and information. Having worked in the tech industry for over twenty years, I have a bad feeling about the actions that may come in response to desperate attempts to pump up the numbers. Pressure to deliver quarterly numbers make otherwise rational people do irrational things.

It's doubtful this type of online interaction will go away but it's simply not the earth shattering movement that people believed. Most of these currently public companies will not go away but their values will have to come back down to earth. They're all interesting, but not life changing.

As their values decline, expect a lot more consolidation across the board in this sector and fewer millionaires and billionaires being created after 24 months. Coming back to reality is not such a bad thing for anyone.

A novel approach to busking

 Naked invisible man

Air France passengers 'asked to chip in for fuel' after Syrian diversion

The crew of an Air France plane that was re-routed via Damascus on Wednesday asked passengers how much cash they could stump up after Syrian authorities refused credit card payment to refuel the aircraft, the French airline said on Thursday. Ultimately it found an alternative arrangement, it said.

The plane that was headed for Beirut on Wednesday night was diverted due to civil unrest in the Lebanese capital and sought to go to Amman, but it was forced to land in Syria due to lack of fuel. Air France stopped its flights to Damascus in March as fighting in the country escalated, and relations between France and Syria have collapsed since Paris demanded that President Bashar al-Assad step down.

"Because of the terrible relations between the two countries and the situation in Syria, the passengers were really worried about landing there," a friend of one of the passengers, who asked not to be identified, said. On landing the local airport authorities said they could not accept a credit card payment and would only take cash, an Air France spokeswoman said.

"As a precaution and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel," the airline spokeswoman said. She said the airline was eventually able to pay the bill without taking money from passengers, but she declined to say how it had paid or how much the fuel stop cost. The plane, which had departed from Paris, took off two hours after landing in Damascus for an overnight stop in Cyprus.

Man struck by remorseful bus

A Vancouver man is in hospital after being struck by a city transit bus late on Thursday night.

At around 10:30 p.m. police had West Hastings Street blocked off between Abbott and Carrall streets.

The transit bus sat at the side of West Hastings as police took photos and began their investigation.

Police officials said it was unclear whether the man was jaywalking or just walking along the sidewalk at the time. He was transported to hospital with a leg injury and is in a stable condition.

On the road to nowhere ...


Robotic Chameleon

Camouflage-bot (Whitesides Research Group)Bendy robot is master of disguise

A robot that can change colour to either blend in with or stand out from its surroundings is created by scientists.

Curiosity prepares to zap rocks

Mars rover prepares to zap rocksTarget rock

NASA's newly landed Curiosity rover on Mars is getting ready to deploy its laser instrument, which can decipher the chemistry of rocks at a distance.

NASA is Tracking Electron Beams from the Sun

In the quest to understand how the world’s weather moves around the globe, scientists have had to tease apart different ...
Continue Reading

Bilboas In Madagascar


Owner sought after parrot flies into police car and lands on officer’s shoulder

An escaped parrot flew through the window of a police cruiser in Waltham, Massachusetts, and now Animal Control officers are trying to reunite the bird with its owner. Officer Bill Wentworth was at the scene of a car crash on Monday afternoon when there was a sudden distraction.

"Apparently the bird was on the roof of a house, and the people involved in the accident were trying to get the bird to come down," said Officer Wentworth. "The bird came, dive-bombed and hit him the head, and the next thing I knew, it flew into the cruiser and sat on my shoulder." The officer immediately rolled up the windows of his car and called dispatch.

The bird, a sun conure, then went peacefully into custody after doing some exploring. "It didn't provide any resistance. It just seemed to be enjoying itself inside the cruiser," said Officer Wentworth. Animal Control then coaxed the conure behind bars and questioned it about what clues it may hold about its past.

"I tried to whistle to it, I tried to say, 'you a pretty bird,' just something to get it to talk. Sometimes they do. If they say names, it helps, but this one was not cooperating," said Officer Deanna Gualtieri. Animal Control say the bird seems well cared for because of its ease with people, but they haven't been able to track down its owner yet. The conure is staying with a foster family for now.

Loch Ness monster spotted off coast of Skegness

A mysterious sea creature captured on video off the Skegness coast has been intriguing marine experts and beach-goers alike. The footage shows several fins bobbing up and down in the choppy water, just meters off the coast where children can be seen paddling in the shallow water.

London resident Rebecca Clarke, who took the video while visiting friends in Skegness, initially thought it was just rubbish floating on the surface but on further inspection decided it may be some sort of creature.

She said: “It might seem silly but I thought it looked rather reptilian, like a crocodile or a dragon as the fins seemed more rigid than they do on sharks.” Skegness RNLI coxswain John Irving was intrigued by the footage of the creature, which he felt could either be a killer whale or a basking shark.

Neither species are regular visitors to the east coast, however a confirmed killer whale sighting had been made off the Wells coast in Norfolk earlier this year. Senior biologist Marcus Williams at the National Aquarium in Portsmouth says that it is most likely one or two basking sharks.

Newly Discovered: Spider with Gruesome Claws

Arachnophobics, skip this post. For the rest of you, may I introduce you to a new and rare species of spider (so rare that it has its own taxonomic genus and even family to itself) found in the caves of southern Oregon.

Meet the Trogloraptor marchingtoni

Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T, Ledford JM
The species is named after Neil Marchington, a member of the Western Cave Conservancy, who first discovered the spider. The genus name, Trogloraptor, means "cave robber."

Raptor-like claws of the Trogloraptor. Image: Griswold CE, Audisio T, Ledford JM
It's an apt name for a spider with unique hooks, or claws, on its legs, which the researchers believe are used to snatch flying insects, like midges, out of the air. With its legs outstretched, the spider measures up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) long.
"They're biggish," Griswold said. "But when you're in a cave and it's dark and there's only the beam of your head lamp, they look much bigger. It's quite astonishing to see them hanging from a few threads." [...]
Griswold said this discovery could help explain why there are legends about giant spiders living in caves in this region. And perhaps there are other similar species yet to be found; many caves, especially in the western United States, remain little studied.
Read more over at Our Amazing Planet.

Photosynthetic Aphids

Image: Shipher Wu and Gee-way Lin/National Taiwan University - via Wikipedia 
Photosynthesis, the process of by which light energy is captured from the sun and turned into chemical energy, as any school children know, is what plants do every day. But scientists have discovered that an animal that may actually be able to do it:
The biology of aphids is bizarre: they can be born pregnant and males sometimes lack mouths, causing them to die not long after mating. In an addition to their list of anomalies, work published this week indicates that they may also capture sunlight and use the energy for metabolic purposes.
Aphids are unique among animals in their ability to synthesize pigments called carotenoids. Many creatures rely on these pigments for a variety of functions, such as maintaining a healthy immune system and making certain vitamins, but all other animals must obtain them through their diet. Entomologist Alain Robichon at the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute in Sophia Antipolis, France, and his colleagues suggest that, in aphids, these pigments can absorb energy from the Sun and transfer it to the cellular machinery involved in energy production.

Animal Pictures