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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, October 20, 2012

The Daily Drift

The eye of the eagle ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Minsk, Belarus
Doha, Qatar
Kuching, Malaysia
Lima, Peru
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
George Town, Malaysia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Reykjavik, Iceland
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cairo, Egypt
Lahore, Pakistan
Seremban, Malaysia
Manila, Philippines
Caracas, Venezuela
Seri Kembangan, Malaysia
Zagreb, Croatia
Sampaloc, Philippines
Miri, Malaysia
Karachi, Pakistan
Bucharest, Romania
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Velikiy Novgorod, Russia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Klang, Malaysia
Bangkok, Thailand
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ampang, Malaysia
Osijek, Croatia
Kwidzyn, Poland

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

480 BC Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.
1587 In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuse's larger Catholic force at Coutras.
1709 Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.
1714 George I of England crowned.
1805 Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleon's army at the battle of Ulm.
1818 The United States and Britain establish the 49th Parallel as the boundary between Canada and the United States.
1870 The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.
1903 The Joint Commission, set up on January 24 by Great Britain and the United States to arbitrate the disputed Alaskan boundary, rules in favor of the United States. The deciding vote is Britain's, which embitters Canada. The United States gains ports on the panhandle coast of Alaska.
1904 Bolivia and Chile sign a treaty ending the War of the Pacific. The treaty recognizes Chile's possession of the coast, but provides for construction of a railway to link La Paz, Bolivia, to Arica, on the coast.
1924 Baseball's first 'colored World Series' is held in Kansas City, Mo.
1938 Czechoslovakia, complying with Nazi policy, outlaws the Communist Party and begins persecuting Jews.
1941 German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.
1944 U.S. troops land on Leyte in the Philippines, keeping General MacArthur's pledge "I shall return."
1945 Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon form the Arab League to present a unified front against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
1947 The House Un-American Activities Committee opens public hearings on alleged communist infiltration in Hollywood. Among those denounced as having un-American tendencies are: Katherine Hepburn, Charles Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson. Among those called to testify is Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan, who denies that leftists ever controlled the Guild and refuses to label anyone a communist.
1968 Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis.
1973 Arab oil-producing nations ban oil exports to the United States, following the outbreak of Arab-Israeli war.

Non Sequitur


Remember when Mitt said working on his campaign was like fighting in Iraq?

Oh yes he did.
I was just googling around for more information on Mrs. Romney’s odd comment the other day that doing a Mormon mission abroad, to convert people to Mormonism, was similar to serving your country in wartime.
 ”[W]e find different ways of serving, and my five boys and husband did serve missions.”
I’ve never done a Mormon mission, nor have I served in a war, but I’m pretty confident in saying that Mitt Romney living in a palace in Paris for a year with a butler and a busboy making his daily meals was a slightly different experience than the men and women of the US armed forces who have risked their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone Vietnam (a war Romney avoided by going to Paris, but was more than happy to protest in favor of).
So, I’m googling, and what do I see? A story from the last presidential campaign in which Mitt Romney explains that working on his presidential campaign is similar “service to country” as risking your life as a US service member in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By the way, it’s interesting how the Romneys have had a pat answer to this question for years, but the answer keeps changing.  First it was working on Mitt’s presidential campaign was just like serving in the military, and now it’s going abroad to convert Catholics in Paris to Mormonism is just like being drafted in Vietnam.
Here’s Mitt:
“The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it,” Romney told some 200 people gathered in an abbey near the Mississippi River that had been converted into a hotel. “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard.” He added: “One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
Yeah, the same way Mitt Romney showed support for our nation during Vietnam. He joined protests in favor of the war, then skipped the country for a few years to avoid it. Not unlike what his ancestors did in abandoning America for Mexico in order to get around those pesky US anti-polygamy laws. And not unlike the way that Mitt Romney today shelters his money abroad in order to avoid those pesky US tax laws.
Why is the Romney solution to every problem to simply leave America(ns) behind?

The truth be told

First they expose a CIA agent ...

... now "car thief" Darrell Issa exposes and put in danger people who are helping us overseas. Have the repugicans no shame?
Issa posted 166 pages of sensitive but unclassified state department communications related to Libya on the committee's website afternoon as part of his effort to investigate security failures and expose contradictions in the administration's statements regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

 ... but Issa didn't bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the Wikileaks dump of state department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate. - More

Libyans Mark Anniversary of Gadhafi's Death, Ex-Spokesman Arrested

Libyan government forces have captured Moammar Gadhafi's ex-spokesman outside a besieged town, the prime minister's office said Saturday as Libyans marked the anniversary of the ousted dictator's death.

Man dies after taking diet-aid drug

DNP is used to help burn fat but can have side-effects such as extreme body temperatures leading to brain damage A man has died after taking a performance-enhancing drug used by bodybuilders to help burn off fat, according to police.

Banana Boat Sunscreen Recalled After People Burst Into Flames

Most people use sunscreen to prevent burns, but unfortunately, that's exactly what some people get after applying a line of Banana Boat spray-on sunscreen: they burst into flames!
From CBS News:
After applying Banana Boat Sport Performance spray-on sunscreen before barbecuing, Brett Sigworth's body caught on fire.
"I sprayed on the spray-on sunscreen, and then rubbed it on for a few seconds. I walked over to my grill, took one of the holders to move some of the charcoal briquettes around and all of a sudden it just went up my arm," Brett Sigworth of Stow, Mass., told CBS Boston.
"I went into complete panic mode and screamed," he said. "I've never experienced pain like that in my life."
Now, Energizer Holdings, the maker of the Banana Boat sunscreen, is recalling 23 varieties of the spray-on sunscreen products: More

Good Question

The Demanding World of High-End Competitive Horseshoe Throwing

Brian SimmonsAt the highest level of every sport, you will find completely dedicated athletes. Brian Simmons is the one of them. He's the greatest horseshoe thrower in the world:
This is what Simmons is thinking about as he stares down a 14-inch tall stake. He is thinking about the slippery clay, and how he might adjust his release point, and as these thoughts slip into his brain, he has lost without even pitching the shoe.
“This whole game is mental,” Simmons says. “It’s all upstairs. It’s a mind game.” [...]
For Simmons, he wants to think about one thing and one thing only. Making sure his eyes are locked onto his right hand as he releases the shoe. He does not look at the stake, at least not at the most important part of his throw. He starts by looking at the stake, but then his eyes let go of that target and start looking for his right hand, which should end up right in his line of sight at the exact moment the shoe leaves his hand.
And now he’s moving his hand around to compensate for the fact the shoe is slipping out of his gloved hand. Pitching horseshoes is a mind game, and for what seems like the first time in his life, it’s getting to him.

The Fork in the Road is Taken

h(Image credit: Jim Grant)
A six-foot-tall fork appeared in Carlsbad, California, at the intersection of Levante Street and Anillo Way on Tuesday. The unnamed artist is a 62-year-old retired teacher who said he was impressed by the joke in The Muppet Movie in which Kermit and Fozzie encounter a giant silverware fork when they are looking for a fork in the road. Thirty years later, he had the time to make the joke a reality. Carlsbad residents got a kick out of the sculpture, but a city crew removed it on Wednesday. You might say they got the fork out of there.
g(Image credit: Jim Grant)
Another resident erected a sign in its place that says "Why the fork not?" which the city also removed. Then locals began taping real, normal-sized forks to a nearby sign in protest. A spokesperson for the city said the sculpture is a code violation. More

Ancient Tomb Found Near Sweden's 'Stonehenge'

The 5,500-year-old site is located near Ale's Stones, a megalithic monument where the legendary King Ale allegedly lies buried. Read more
Ancient Tomb Found Near Sweden's 'Stonehenge'

Huge Abandoned Island Fortress In Florida

Seventy nautical miles off the coast of Key West in Florida is a series of seven islands set among a graveyard of over 200 ships, crowned with a massive 19th century fortress that lay abandoned for nearly a century. The Dry Tortugas once hosted Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and an influx of marauding pirates; today it's a bird and wildlife sanctuary and a national park.

The City Abandoned At the Worlds End

Three days by car to Oslo, three hours by plane to Svalbard, Norway, five hours by an Arctic ship with a romantic name "Polar Girl" and you find yourself in the northernmost abandoned city: you are in Pyramiden. More

Poetry in Motion: Rare Polar Ring Galaxy Captured in New Image

When the lamp is shattered, The light in the dust lies dead. When the cloud is scattered, The rainbow’s glory  ...
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Grand Canyon In The Kazakh Way

Charyn canyon is 200 km (124 miles) to the east from Almaty not far from the border with China and is included into the territory of the Charyn national park. It is a natural monument which formed from sedimentary rocks whose age is about 12 million years. More

Awesome Pictures

IMG_0163 by alan33oh on Flickr.

Science News

No life found in Antarctica's buried Lake Vostok

A first analysis of ice pulled from the largest body of water buried beneath Antarctica has yielded nothing but pristine water. Read more

What Makes Earth So Perfect for Life?

There are a few key ingredients that scientists often agree are needed for life to exist — but much debate remains as to what limits there actually might be on life. Read more

Old Dams Hold a Toxic Legacy

Tens of thousands of old dams in the eastern U.S. no longer power machinery, but they still hold a toxic legacy. Read more
Old Dams Hold a Toxic Legacy

Sea Monster 'Predator X' Gets Official Name

It's official: A giant, marine reptile that roamed the seas roughly 150 million years ago is a newly named species. Read more

Could you build a city in an underground cave?

Are there any caves on Earth that are large enough to actually contain a real, functional city? Read more

Astrononical News

A streaking fireball lit up California skies and stunned stargazers, and professional observers say more meteors are on the way.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has dug up a mini-mystery for scientists: an odd white fleck that sticks out like a beacon in the reddish soil.

How Long Would It Take To Get To Alpha Centauri?

Last Tuesday astronomers announced the discovery of a planet orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system, the nearest star system to our sun. But, at 4.3 light-years away, getting there would be extremely difficult.

The Alpha Centauri system is much farther away from us than the sun. There's a lot of empty space between us and this nearest star. In fact Alpha Centauri is trillions of miles away from Earth. Its distance of 4.3 light-years equals 25.6 trillion miles away - nearly 300,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. How long would it take to get to Alpha Centauri?

‘Housework’ cuts the life span of female Komodo Dragons

An international team of researchers has found that female Komodo Dragons live half as long as males on average, seemingly ...
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Dog poisoned and buried alive survives

A Jack Russell terrier has survived after being poisoned and buried alive - and he can thank the man who saw the ground wiggle.

Pet Couture

Not Just A Horse In Striped Pajamas
For many people their horses are as much a part of their family as someone else's dog or cat. So when it's time to go to the Renaissance Festival, Oktoberfest, Halloween, or a horse show, they have costumes ready to go for them and their favorite equine.



Upping the Cute Factor

OMG, baby octopodes!
National Geographic's Enric Sala took this photo during an expedition in Gabon. He and another researcher were using a remote operated vehicle to explore the ocean off the coast of that country's Loango National Park.
When we picked up the shell from the ROV’s arm, to our surprise, a small octopus came out of the shell. It was a female that laid her eggs inside the shell. We put shell and octopus in a tank with seawater, and after one minute thousands of octopus larvae started to stream out of the shell. The octopus eggs were hatching! That was the first time we had observed such a magnificent show. The larvae were changing coloration from transparent with dark spots to brown, and swimming like squid – although on a millimeter scale.

Animal News

First Human Ancestor Looked Like a Squirrel

This tree-dwelling animal saw the dawn of an era when mammals would come to dominate the planet. Read more
Human Ancestor

Prehistoric Flamingo Nest with Eggs Discovered

Five fossilized flamingo eggs from some 18 million years ago are found in Spain. Read more
flamingo eggs

Jaws vs. Frankie Valli

Sharks inspire fear from most of the human population, but they're more vulnerable to us than we are to them. Read more
Jaws vs. Frankie Valli: Gotta-See Video

How Dolphins Stay Awake for Two Weeks

Unlike land mammals, dolphins sleep with only part of their brains at any time. Read more

Dome-Headed Dinos Battled With Their Heads

Signs of injuries detected in pachycephalosaurs' skulls offer evidence the animals head-butted in violent battles. Read more
fighting dinosaurs

Eight-Eyed Spiders Watch Videos and People

Eight-eyed jumping spiders have a near 360-degree view of the world and can be captivated by humans and nature videos. Read more

Primates at Risk

A new UN report has named 25 primates most at risk. See each one and learn why each is threatened. Read more

Shrimp Vomits to Escape Predators

Some animals spew black ink to escape predators, whereas others squirt blood from their eyes or hack off their own body parts. The deep-sea Parapandalus shrimp has got its own unusual defense mechanism to help it escape from predators: bioluminescent vomit.

The Grandaddy of Daddy Longlegs

Now that's a daddy longlegs! Arachnologist Peter J├Ąger of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, discovered a new species of harvestmen with a leg span of about 13 inches in the caves of Laos.
Surprisingly, it's actually not the record holder of its species. That distinction belongs to a species of harvestmen from South America: More

Animal Pictures