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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 28, 2012

The Daily Drift

Yes, do ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Durban, South Afica
San Jose, Costa Rica
Zagreb, Croatia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Erbil, Iraq
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Lima, Peru
Kuwait, Kuwait
Lahore, Pakistan
Lublin, Poland
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Cafe, Philippines
Islamabad, Pakistan
Warsaw, Poland
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Moscow, Russia
Ampang, Malaysia
Cape Town, South Africa
San Juan, Puerto Rico 

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Today in History

312   Constantine the Great defeats Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Mulvian Bridge.
969   After a prolonged siege, the Byzantines end 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.
1216   Henry III of England is crowned.
1628   After a fifteen-month siege, the Huguenot town of La Rochelle surrenders to royal forces.
1636   Harvard College, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, is founded in Cambridge, Mass.
1768   Germans and Acadians join French Creoles in their armed revolt against the Spanish governor of New Orleans.
1793   Eli Whitney applies for a patent on the cotton gin, a machine which cleans the tight-clinging seeds from short-staple cotton easily and effectively–a job which was previously done by hand.
1863   In a rare night attack, Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet attack a Federal force near Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping to cut their supply line, the "cracker line." They fail.
1886   The Statue of Liberty, originally named Liberty Enlightening the World, is dedicated at Liberty Island, N. Y., formerly Bedloe's Island, by President Grover Cleveland
1901   Race riots sparked by Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House kill 34.
1904   The St. Louis police try a new investigation method: fingerprints.
1914   The German cruiser Emden, disguised as a British ship, steams into Penang Harbor near Malaya and sinks the Russian light cruiser Zhemchug.
1914   George Eastman announces the invention of the color photographic process.
1919   Over President Wilson's veto, Congress passes the National Prohibition Act, or Volstead Act, named after its promoter, Congressman Andrew J. Volstead. It provides enforcement guidelines for the Prohibition Amendment.
1927   Pan American Airways launches the first scheduled international flight.
1940   Italy invades Greece, launching six divisions on four fronts from occupied Albania.
1944   The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flies from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Truk.
1960   In a note to the OAS (Organization of American States), the United States charges that Cuba has been receiving substantial quantities of arms and numbers of military technicians" from the Soviet bloc.

Non Sequitur


Marco Rubio not told daughter was in accident until after rally for Romney

We need to know more, but I do find it interesting that no one reportedly told repugican Senator Marco Rubio that his daughter was airlifted to a hospital in stable condition following a car accident until AFTER he was done doing a campaign rally with Mitt Romney.Miami Herald:
Rubio was notified of the accident after coming off stage while campaigning with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Kissimmee.
marco rubio
The Washington Post has the same story. And the AP is reporting that Rubio was informed after coming off stage AFTER the rally was over.
I don’t know about you, but if my child were in a car accident, and in bad enough shape that she needed to be airlifted, I’d like to know immediately, not after I’m done campaigning for Mitt Romney.
It will be interesting to see whose staff, Rubio’s or Romney’s, made the decision not to tell Rubio that his daughter was laying on a stretcher until after he was done giving his campaign speech for Mitt Romney.
No matter which 'camp' it was it shows how 'compassionate' repugicans truly are - which is to say not compassionate at all.

More repugican lies ...

Well, what do you know, it turns out that tax cuts for the top 5% does nothing to create jobs.
It's just another repugican lie - but we knew that anyway.

Obama 74.4% chance of winning, Romney 25.6%

Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight and the NYT keeps showing Obama with an increasing chance of winning the election.  Obama’s chances versus Romney’s are currently 74.4% to 25.6%.
[W]e may be approaching the point where the state polls will have to be systematically biased toward Mr. Obama in order for Mr. Romney to have strong chances of prevailing on Election Day.
Nate’s graph shows Obama’s chances steadily improving since October 13/14.
It’s interesting to note that Nate and HuffPost say the race is virtually tied, in terms of votes, but not according to electoral votes.  And if you look at HuffPo’s electoral map, you can see why.  At this point, Romney has to win more than is likely in order to pull it off – meaning, he has to win ever state where he has strong support (191 electoral votes), every state that leans his way (15), every tossup state (55), and he’d still be 9 electoral votes short of winning.
That’s not to say it’s impossible, but a lot has to go Romney’s way for him to win.
Politico’s Mike Allen is saying that this could be the closest race in our lifetimes:
 If you’re a political junkie, enjoy it, soak it in: In our lifetimes, there may never be another  race that looks this close for the final two weekends.
The Huffington Post also has an interesting piece up about how Hurricane Sandy might affect the election (in case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a massive storm heading to the East Coast that’s freaking everyone over here out). The head of Gallup is worried that the storm might make it difficult to correctly poll people who live out east.
Newport, appearing on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.,” responded to a question from Chris Jansing about the potential impact of the storm on Gallup’s polling by saying, “It affects us, because if a sizable hunk of the country can’t communicate — power’s out or they’re disrupted — then that can affect our national estimate. So you’re right, we might have to stop polling for the days when the storm hits, unfortunately.”
I also wonder how the storm might impede any early voting, and also it will steal the news cycle away from the candidates – though not entirely.  The President will have to weigh in, and possible tour the area – that could help or hurt depending on whether it’s seen as empathetic or opportunistic.  As for Mr. Romney, expect him to be holding lots of press conferences in people’s flooded interviews announcing that he’s there to help.

A 108-year-old to vote for first time

South Carolina woman grew up during Jim Crow laws
 A 108-year-old woman plans to vote in her first election next month, and the South Carolina woman spoke about what inspired her to cast a ballot after so many years.
"I feel good," said Joanna Jenkins.
For decades, Joanna has watched elections come and go. But something, and someone, is standing out about this election, and she is using her right to vote for the very first time.
"She's just excited. She wants to vote this year,” said cousin Shirley Lee. “We were looking at the elections, and as the debates were going on, she decided -- say, 'I want to vote,' all of a sudden. She just wants to vote. She just decided that she wants to vote. She's excited to vote."
Because she can't read or write and does not have a state-issued ID, Joanna’s family didn't think she'd be eligible to vote. But thanks to help from their family doctor and the Beaufort County Board of Elections, she's now registered as an absentee voter.
But elections officials said her case is extremely unusual.
"It's incredible,” said Scott Marshall, Beaufort County election director. “She grew up in a time when Jim Crow laws were fully in effect, and minority voter suppression was the norm. And to vote was a fight, not a right, at that time. So for her to be voting now is a great example to others that it's never too late to vote, and you should always exercise your right to vote."
"She was telling everyone, everybody that came by to visit, she was just telling everybody, 'I'm going to vote! I'm going vote! I'm going vote!' So this year, she's going do it,” said Lee.
For Joanna, there's no better time than now to start her voting record, and who gets her vote?  Obama.

US more racist now than before Obama, poll shows

Not so surprisingly, four years of racist hate from the tea party and mainstream repugicans has come with a price: a new poll shows that racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008.Day after day, year after year, they spew hate and the repugican cabal leadership and much of the media fails to call them out for what they are.
Tea Party Rally 
Though they’re wearing American flag shirts or Paul Revere costumes, it’s not an overstatement to say these people hate America and what we used to stand for.
They’re against change, they’re terrified of the future, they detest science, and are as closed minded as the Taliban. Besides being generally ignorant, and not very bright, they control almost 50% of the politicians in Washington. How embarrassing for our country.
The added insult from these knuckle-draggers is that they will probably be blaming Obama for the increase in racism, rather than looking in the mirror and accepting what putrid hate mongers they are.
Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.
Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.
Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

Fearful Kids More Likely to Become Wingnuts

People raised by parents who value obedience are more likely to vote wingnut, research suggests. Read more

Why Do Children Think Covering Their Eyes Makes Them Invisible?

Anyone who has ever engaged in a round of peekaboo with a child has witnessed an adorable yet somewhat illogical behavior that is nearly universally shared among children: the attempt to hide from view by simply closing their eyes. This is cute and all, but it's also baffling.

Why do children think they can render themselves invisible? And why have nearly all young children come to this same irrational conclusion? Cambridge researchers are finding out why.

Differences That Confuse Us All

Do you know the difference between a boat and ship? A ghost and a ghoul? Speed and velocity, or a pill and a tablet? English can be a very confusing language - with similar terms for different things and different terms for similar things.
Here's a selection of 20 things that have vastly different names for things we consider the same - but as you will see, in most cases they are completely different.

World's Worst Prisons

Hard time is a lot harder in any of these jails.  
Read more
Pussy Riot

Assault suspect had victim's ear in his pocket

A Tulsa, Oklahoma, man is being held in lieu of $50,500 bond after police found part of an ear in his pocket. Joseph Sidney Hall Jr., 24, was booked on Friday morning on complaints of domestic assault and battery, kidnapping, maiming and obstructing an officer.
Police say the mother of Hall's son contacted them after she escaped from the Braden Creek Apartments where she said she was being held against her will. The victim had been severely assaulted and had contusions to her face, head, torso, arms and legs, according to a police report.

The woman also had several bite marks on her body, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Part of her right ear had been cut or torn off, the arresting officer states.

Police went to Hall's apartment they took him into custody. Officers say they found blood stains and clumps of hair consistent with the victim's. When they booked Joseph Hall into the Tulsa County Jail, police say they found the missing part of the victim's ear in his pocket. Hall has a tattoo that says "misunderstood," police noted in their report.

Pro Tip

Don't Rob Banks Where the Tellers Know You By Name police car 
Especially if you're on a first-name basis with them:
During one robbery the teller actually recognized her, asking Heffernan, “Do you want to make a deposit Kerri?”
No, Kerri wanted to make a withdrawal. But before she could complete the transaction, police in Whitman, Massachusetts arrested her for this bank robbery and on suspicion of three others.

Man who lost pants while stealing iPads found hiding in dog house

When Brad Storck fled Sheriff's deputies from Orangevale Open K-8 School, California, with four stolen iPads, he left behind something important: his pants.  Storck's crime occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at around 2:47am. According to a report filed by Sacramento County Sheriff's Department deputies, officers were dispatched to a silent alarm call at the school where they saw Storck casually walking away from the school.

Seeing the deputies, Storck, 35, made a snap-decision. "When deputies first arrived in the area in response to the call, one of them observed Storck hiding behind a tree," said Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos. Once deputies observed Storck hiding out, he took off running and the chase was on, Ramos said. Storck took off westbound through yards, hopping fences and dropping the iPads in the process. It's also around that time Storck dropped his pants.

"We assume that he lost his shorts as he was fleeing, or simply ditched them to be wearing something different than what he was first seen wearing (because we also recovered his sweatshirt along the way)," Ramos said. Storck managed to briefly elude deputies till a K9 officer's dog found him hiding in a doghouse approximately one block south of the fence he jumped, Ramos said.

"After he was caught, a deputy returned to the place he was first seen and found four iPads. It does not appear that he had any kind of bag to carry them in," Ramos said. Storck was booked at Sacramento County's main jail where he faces felony burglary charges. According to the school, the four I-pads are all that were taken and all recovered. Ramos added that Storck's shorts were later found in a yard southwest of the fence.

There's a short news video here.

Russian man refuses to pay traffic fine over Doomsday fears

A Kemerovo region resident has refused to pay a fine after getting into a traffic accident because of the upcoming apocalypse.
The unnamed resident was issued a 1,000 ruble fine (£20, $32) for being involved in a minor car accident, but he dismissed it as meaningless and declined to pay.

He wrote a 10-page explanation of his decision, saying that “according to his calculations the Doomsday will come at the end of the year, and the payment would be pointless,” regional court marshals said in a statement. Every day he visits a court marshal to back his predictions with “schemes, drawings and graphs,” the marshals said.

“The debtor thinks that if people become kinder to each other and forgive debts, then the Doomsday won’t happen,” court marshal Irina Felzinger said. She didn’t say whether officials backed his opinion. According to myth, the Maya predicted the Doomsday would occur on Dec. 21.

Mayans Pissed Off Over Doomsday 'Deceit'

A Mayan group has criticized the Guatemalan government's handling of the "doomsday" nonsense that is misrepresenting their beliefs and culture. Read more
Mayans Pissed Off Over Doomsday 'Deceit'

What Happened at the OK Corral?

What Happened at the OK Corral?

What Happened at the OK Corral?

The Gunfight at the OK Corral is perhaps the best-known incident in the Old West. But what happened?

How Vikings Really Fought

Hollywood is guilty of twisting our perception of reality in many areas, and sword fighting is one of the biggest. See how the Vikings really fought with swords in this Gotta-See Video. Read more
How Vikings Really Fought: Gotta-See Video

Archaeologists: Hadrian's Wall Was an Economic Boon to Ancient Britons

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall is a 73-mile set of fortifications built across northern Roman Britain to protect it from raiding Picts. It was very costly to the Empire. But according to a 2008 article in the Telegraph, local Celts found it a highly profitable venture:
Mr MacLeod, senior investigator for English Heritage's aerial survey and investigating team, said: "Having got over the first shock of the invasion and occupation the native population began to see the potential created by the presence of the Roman garrison.
"The building of the wall appears to have provided a boost to the local economy. A sophisticated network seems to have grown up to supply the new market created by the occupation."
He said the survey found photographic evidence of several farmsteads and field networks on either side of the wall which would have adapted themselves to supply crops, livestock and other raw materials, such as leather, to the Romans.

Easter Island Statues Could Have 'Walked'

The massive statues can be moved side to side like refrigerators by a small number of people, researchers found. Read more
Easter Island Statues Could Have 'Walked'

Earth's Magnetic Field Made Quick Flip-Flop

Earth's magnetic field reversed extremely rapidly soon after modern humans first arrived in Europe, completely flip-flopping in less than a thousand years. Read more

Ancestor Lucy Spent Time in Trees

Our closest relative 3.3 million years ago was a half-human, half-ape who could both walk on the ground and swing through trees. Read more

Deer goes on rampage after breaking into office

Workers at a Jackson, Mississippi business got a break-in they didn't expect. "The last thing you expect to do, is come to work and find a large deer standing behind your desk," said Margie Purvis. The deer crashed through a double paned window and found his way to the break room where employees locked him in.

The 80 pound spike was not happy with the room layout. He knocked over tables and chairs and even tried to leap on top of cabinets to escape. Employees stayed at bay until Animal Control arrived, but even they were caught off guard. After a few minutes of planning, an animal control officer went in and eventually came out with a bloody and tired deer.

As Animal Control led the deer to freedom outside, employees examined the damage left behind inside. "He trashed it. We definitely need a paint job and a carpet cleaner," said Richard Lingle. Workers say they may never know why the deer decided to crash into their workplace.

"The deer could have been chased by something and ran through the glass, or he could have seen himself and wanted to fight, I mean you don't know," said Lingle. Animal Control officials say the deer had a few cuts from his run in with the window, however they expect him to make a full recovery back out in the woods.

New Ladybug Tucks Head Like Turtle

This new ladybug, discovered by a graduate student, can tuck its head into it's throat like a turtle. Read more
New Ladybug Tucks Head Like Turtle: DNews Nugget

Rarest dog genetically vulnerable

Ethiopian wolf: BBC NatureRarest dog genetically vulnerable

Populations of the world's rarest dog, the Ethiopian wolf, are genetically fragmenting, scientists have found. BBC Nature

The Gharial

Good News For The Critically Endangered Indian Crocodile?
This strange looking creature, with its immensely long and delicate snout is the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). Until very recently it thrived throughout the Indian sub-continent but now it numbers less than a few hundred in the wild. It seems destined for extinction, like so many other species. Is there a future for the gharial on earth?

How To: Fish in the desert

In the United Arab Emirates, a freshwater lake has appeared in the middle of the desert. The oasis is beautiful and full of life, and it's risen 35 feet since 2011. It's also probably accidentally man-made.
Hydrologists believe the lake formed from recycled drinking water (and toilet water). The nearby city of Al Ain pumps in desalinated sea water, uses it for drinking and flushing the toilet, cleans it in a sewage treatment plant, and then re-uses it to water plants. All of that water ends up in the soil and, at the lake site, it comes back up.
The water is clean, writes Ari Daniel Shapiro at NPR. Don't worry about that. Instead, the major side-effect of the lake is change, as scientists watch the desert ecosystem that used to exist on the site decline, and a new one rise to take its place. It's a great story that shows how complicated discussions about ecology can be. On the one hand, you're losing something valuable. At least in this one spot. On the other hand, you're definitely gaining something valuable, too.
"With every species that we lose, it's like rolling the dice. The whole ecosystem could crash down," Howarth says.
But Clark, with the U.S. Geological Survey, says he's not so worried about the desert ecosystem. He says the lake is tiny compared to the vast amount of desert in this part of the world. "If I look through the binoculars, there's, like, seven different kinds of herons. There's greater cormorants. There's ferruginous ducks, which are another very rare worldwide species," Clark says. "There's about 15 of them out here."
This year, three types of birds bred at this lake. They've never been able to breed before in the United Arab Emirates. But this lake, and the others like it, have changed all that. There are fish appearing in these lakes as well. Fish eggs cling to the feet and legs of the herons. So as the birds shuttle between old and new lakes, the eggs fall off and hatch. That's how you get fish in a desert.

Capturing Birds In Flight

A shot of a bird in flight has always been a challenge to photographers. Seeing a perfect print image only serves to make them eager to create the same result. Photographing a bird in flight presents one problem, but capturing that one special bird-in-flight shot that's in focus and has good composition plus good light can represent a whole set of problems.

Everyone has his share of good flight shots where the bird may be just a tiny bit soft. Those are easy. But, how do you get a great flight shot?

Animal Pictures


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