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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, October 14, 2012

The Daily Drift


Some of our readers today have been in:
Tallinn, Estonia
Kluang, Malaysia
Cape Town, South Africa
Rabat, Morocco
Ampang, Malaysia
Centurion, South Africa
Riga, Latvia
George Town, Malaysia
Warsaw, Poland
Johannesburg, South Africa
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Manama, Bahrain
Lviv, Ukraine
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Paris, France
London, England
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Iloilo, Philippines
Tbilisi, Georgia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lodz, Poland
Berlin, Germany
Abidjen, Ivory Coast
Kiev, Ukraine
Nairobi, Kenya
Pasig, Philippines
Chatswood, Australia
Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cairo Egypt

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1066 William of Normandy defeats King Harold in the Battle of Hastings.
1651 Laws are passed in Massachusetts forbidding the poor to adopt excessive styles of dress.
1705 The English Navy captures Barcelona in Spain.
1773 Britain's East India Company tea ships' cargo is burned at Annapolis, Md.
1806 Napoleon Bonaparte crushes the Prussian army at Jena, Germany.
1832 Blackfeet Indians attack American Fur Company trappers near Montana's Jefferson River, killing one.
1884 Transparent paper-strip photographic film is patented by George Eastman.
1912 Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is shot and wounded in assassination attempt in Milwaukee. He was saved by the papers in his breast pocket and, though wounded, insisted on finishing his speech.
1917 Mata Hari, a Paris dancer, is executed by the French after being convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans.
1930 Singer Ethel Merman stuns the audience when she holds a high C for sixteen bars while singing "I Got Rhythm" during her Broadway debut in Gershwin's Girl Crazy.
1933 The Geneva disarmament conference breaks up as Germany proclaims withdrawal from the disarmament initiative, as well as from the League of Nations, effective October 23. This begins German policy of independent action in foreign affairs.
1944 German Field Marshal Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot against Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds.
1947 Test pilot Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier aboard a Bell X-1 rocket plane.
1950 Chinese Communist Forces begin to infiltrate the North Korean Army.
1964 Rev. Martin Luther King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating a policy of non-violence.

Non Sequitur


Father of murdered US ambassador to Romney: Leave my kid alone

The father of slain US ambassador to Libya, Christophers, is calling for politicians to stop making the death of his son into a campaign issue.
And there’s only one campaign, and one political party, that’s been treating the murder of our ambassador as an “opportunity,” and that’s Mitt Romney and the repugicans.
First, the father:
The father of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in the attack in Benghazi last month, said his son’s death shouldn’t be politicized in the presidential campaign.
“It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue,” Jan Stevens, 77, said in a telephone interview from his home in Loomis, California, as he prepares for a memorial service for his son next week.
In an earlier post, I walked you through exactly how the Romney campaign, and repugicans overall, have been politicizing Stevens’ death.  Here’s an excerpt:
1. It was the Romney campaign that told AP that they saw the death of the US ambassador as an “opportunity.”
2. It was Mitt Romney himself who said on the infamous 47% tape that he would keep his eye out for another “opportunity” like the Iran hostage crisis, that he could milk to his electoral advantage.
3. It was Mitt Romney himself, who embarrassingly, in his best Al “I’m in charge” Haig, had the audacity to issue a statement blasting the administration in the middle of the Libya crisis, before we even knew who was killed, or how many. As you’ll recall, Romney was roundly criticized for politicizing the death of the US ambassador and others through his statement and poorly-timed press conference, and he was even criticized by repugicans.
To show you just how cavalier Romney was about the deaths, note how, purely by chance I’m sure, Romney’s backdrop for his press conference, below left, looked a lot like the White House briefing room, below right.  Blue background, the flag, the podium, the dais. The setting was clearly meant to evoke the White House Briefing Room, and thus use Romney’s speech as an – let’s say it all together now – “opportunity” to make Romney look “presidential.”

4. It was Mitt Romney who was blasted yesterday by the mother of one of the victims in Libya, an American Navy SEAL, for politicizing the death of her son.
5. And then yesterday, the House repugicans, led by repugican Reps. Issa and Chaffetz, again politicized the deaths in Libya by holding a partisan hearing in order to embarrass the Obama administration, and as a result Issa and Chaffetz compromised national security by exposing the existence of a classified CIA base at the site of the attack in Benghazi, Libya, potentially putting even more lives at risk.
Then, last week we had a repugican group in Florida use a photo of Ambassador Stevens’ limp corpse in a despicable campaign ad.
And now we have the father of a US ambassador, the second family member of someone killed in this tragedy, calling on the repugicans to stop treating the murder of American government officials as an “opportunity” to score political points.
Mitt Romney said he’d keep his eyes open for another “opportunity” where American lives are in danger. And he’s found it.

Did you know ...

There's a clean energy showdown in Arizona

The 10 harsh realities about coal

Here's 6 terrifying experiments scientists tried on their own kids

And this is your brain on Jane Austen

CDC Reports 15th Meningitis Death

One more person has died from fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroid injections, raising the death toll for the outbreak to 15.

Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain

vWho wants to listen to complaints? Sometimes you have no choice, but when you spent time listening to people complaining, you tend to develop a negative attitude. Author Trevor Blake cites some research in his book Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.
Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," he says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."

But if you're running a company, don't you need to hear about anything that may have gone wrong? "There's a big difference between bringing your attention to something that's awry and a complaint," Blake says. "Typically, people who are complaining don't want a solution; they just want you to join in the indignity of the whole thing. You can almost hear brains clink when six people get together and start saying, 'Isn't it terrible?' This will damage your brain even if you're just passively listening. And if you try to change their behavior, you'll become the target of the complaint."
Blake also has some advice on protecting yourself from complaints. As the mother of multiple teenagers, I vouch for selective hearing loss. More

Random Photo

On the Value of a Good Sawhorse

If you look closely enough, you can see a woman in this photo.
In his workshop in Rumford Falls, Maine, Gregory Sullivan makes custom furniture by hand and from local materials. He's also a writer--and a rather elegant one at that. Often he writes about the value of craftsmanship and crafting traditions of the past. Here's what Sullivan thought about when he saw this photo of Marilyn Monroe:
Marilyn Monroe is sitting on a very old school sawhorse, one that I've made myself. I have never encountered another person still making them this way. I learned it from men, all dead now, for whom Marilyn Monroe was more than a Elton John retreaded song reference. My modern carpenter friends would never make sawhorses this way, as it is complicated and labor intensive compared to their designs. But I've used mine for 25 years and kept them outside for much of it. They don't even wiggle in the joints yet. I do, and I generally am kept indoors at night. There is no shame in the carpentry trade in buying pre-made sawhorses now, either, although the people I first learned carpentry from would have never spoken to you for the rest of your life if you brought one to work.

Oh, and Marilyn Monroe? She'd be camped out on my doorstep waiting for me to come home, if she was still alive. Girls like that are a dime a dozen. I'd have to send my wife out to shoo her away. But man, look at those legs.

They're 1x6 utility grade pine. Set the framing square at 24" on the blade and 4" on the tongue to get the angle right.

Shakespeare's Original Audiences

Archaeological studies of theaters that featured Shakespeare's plays in his time reveal the bard had rather rowdy audiences. Read more

Mummy with Mouthful of Cavities Discovered

An Egyptian man may have succumbed to a painful sinus infection 2,100 years ago.  
Read more
dental fillings

Stonehenge Made to Glisten

New analysis of Stonehenge reveals how its creators worked to ensure it caught the sun's light in just the right way. Read more

The Chand Baori Step Well In Rajasthan, India

Chand Baori, in the village of Abhaneri near Bandikui, Rajasthan, is a famous stepwell. The well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple. It was built in the 9th century by King Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty and has 3,500 narrow steps in 13 stories and is 100 feet deep.

As the green water at the base attests, the Chand Baori well is no longer in use, but it makes for an interesting stop-over to an architecturally impressive structure.

Pitch Lake

Tierra de Brea", the 'Land of Tar' was the original name of the area surrounding the Pitch Lake in southern Trinidad. Pitch Lake is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world. While not all areas are completely safe, it is possible to walk across the lake, which some disappointed visitors described as looking much like a parking lot. But when you visit you will find that Pitch Lake is not like any parking lot you've ever walked across.

Mystery of Ball Lightning Solved?

A team of Australian scientists believe they have uncovered the cause of one of nature's most bizarre phenomenon - ball lightning. Read more
ball lightning

What Causes The Aurora Borealis Or Northern Lights?

Those who live at or visit high northern latitudes might at times experience colored lights shimmering across the night sky. This ethereal display is known as the aurora borealis, or northern lights. What causes these lights to appear?

Robot Sub Maps Underside of Antarctic Ice in 3-D

The map will help reveal the amount of ice in the region, which is key for understanding climate change's effects. Read more

Fish Feces Fight Climate Change

Millions of tiny fish pooping out even tinier turds may have a big impact on climate change. Read more
Fish Feces Fight Climate Change

Bat-like Coral Clings to Caves

A newly discovered species of reef coral hangs from the ceiling of undersea caves like a colony of petrified bats. Read more
Bat-like Coral Clings to Caves

Animal Pictures