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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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Daily Drift


• gonna attack tomorrow
Back in the day ... We didn't need on stinkin' helmets!

Some of our readers today have been in:
Caracas, Venezuela
Cairo, Egypt
Bangkok, Thailand
Athens, Greece
Cape Town, South Africa
Tallinn, Estonia
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Faisalabad, Pakistan
Lima, Peru
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sampaloc, Philippines
Ankara, Turkey
Gdansk, Poland
Poltava, Ukraine
Cebu City, Philippines
Alexandria, Egypt
Lodz, Poland
San Sebastian, Spain
Makati, Philippines
Ebute, Nigeria
Warsaw, Poland
Erbil, Iraq
Sofia, Bulgaria
Banjarmasin, Indonesia
San Jose, Costa Rica
Dubai, Untied Arab Emirates
Vilnius, Lithuania
Surabaya, Indonesia
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1219 The port of Damietta falls to the Crusaders after a siege.
1556 The Emperor Akbar defeats the Hindus at Panipat and secures control of the Mogul Empire.
1605 Guy Fawkes is betrayed and arrested in an attempt to blow up the British Parliament in the "Gunpowder Plot." Ever since, England has celebrated Guy Fawkes Day.
1653 The Iroquois League signs a peace treaty with the French, vowing not to wage war with other tribes under French protection.
1757 Frederick II of Prussia defeats the French at Rosbach in the Seven Years War.
1768 William Johnson, the northern Indian Commissioner, signs a treaty with the Iroquois Indians to acquire much of the land between the Tennessee and Ohio rivers for future settlement.
1814 Having decided to abandon the Niagara frontier, the American army blows up Fort Erie.
1840 Afghanistan surrenders to the British army.
1854 British and French defeat the Russians at Inkerman, Crimea.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln relieves General George McClellan of command of the Union armies and names Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commander of the Army of the Potomac.
1872 Susan B. Anthony is arrested for trying to vote.
1911 Calbraith P. Rodgers ends first transcontinental flight–49 days from New York to Pasadena, Calif.
1912 Woodrow Wilson is elected 28th president of the United States.
1914 France and Great Britain declare war on Turkey.
1917 General John Pershing leads U.S. troops into the first American action against German forces.
1930 Sinclair Lewis becomes the first American to win a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel Babbit.
1935 Parker Brothers company launches "Monopoly," a game of real estate and capitalism.
1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt is re-elected for third term.
1968 Richard Nixon is elected 37th president of the United States.
1968 Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn, New York, becomes the first elected African American woman to serve in the House of Representatives.

Non Sequitur




Romney staff refused to let frostbitten children leave PA rally

Last night at Mitt Romney’s rally in Pennsylvania.  Apparently it was freezing, and Romney’s staff refused to let rally-goers leave. People were begging reporters for help.Absolutely incredible.
From the NYT’s Michael Barbaro:

From USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich:

Damn, those muthafuchurs!

And therein lies the problem ...

2/3 of republicans believe in demonic possession. (but less than half believe in global warming!)
Editor's Note: Oops our bad, the representational photo is not of a person suffering from demonic possession it is that of an actual demon. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Arizona group names groups behind ballot campaigns

Voters take advantage of the first day of early voting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office in Norwalk, California October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo  
An Arizona-based non-profit group that has given $11 million to two wingnut ballot proposition campaigns in California revealed names of groups behind the donations on Monday after losing a court battle to keep their identity secret, state officials said. However, despite the disclosures, the actual origin of the funds remains unclear, as the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which had gone to court to identify the donors, said it had yet to receive the names of individuals or corporations behind the related groups.
The Arizona-based non-profit group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, which gave $11 million to a conservative group on two propositions, said it received the money from an organization called Americans for Job Security, a pro-business, issue advocacy group.
The Fair Political Practices Commission, California's election watchdog, said Americans for Responsible Leadership had told the agency that Americans for Job Security made the donation through another group, the Center to Protect Patients' Rights.
Commission chairwoman Ann Ravel said Americans for Responsible Leadership had disclosed the origin of its contributions as required under a ruling on Sunday by the California Supreme Court, but the watchdog was pushing for more information.
"While we did not get a lot of information about the individual human donors, ultimately we hope that we will be able to obtain that. This is not the end of the road," Ravel told Reuters.
The development marked the latest turn in a legal battle for public disclosure of the original sources of the donation, which sought to defeat a tax ballot initiative sponsored by Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown, and to win passage of a separate measure to ban payroll deductions for political activities, which is seen as a potential blow to labor unions.
The $11 million donation was one of the single largest contributions in the 2012 election season in California, and is also the largest out-of-state donation from one independent non-profit to another for the purposes of influencing an election.
The election watchdog sued the Arizona-based non-profit last month for access to information about its donors before Tuesday's election in order to evaluate whether its donations complied with California campaign finance laws.
The Arizona group donated $11 million to the Small Business Action Committee PAC on October 15, according to the lawsuit.

Putting it into perspective

It's all a matter of perspective

Move to Canada? It's Not That Easy

http://news.discovery.com/human/2012/11/05/canada-278.jpgDespite threats to move to Canada during each election season, the reality is more complicated than many think. Read more

The Fascinating History Of The Garbage Truck

Once upon a time, city garbage was removed by crews in horse-drawn wagons. Men lifted every bit by hand and if they overfilled the wagon, debris would fly off the top as the wagon proceeded.
The idea of an enclosed trash truck, so things wouldn't fly out at speed, was started in Europe in the 1920s. It's actually kind of amazing it took someone that long to think of that, but anyway. The Americans thought of the waste hauler we're more familiar with today, the external hopper truck.

But the reason these trucks surged in popularity was because of a man named George Roby Dempster.

Dempster was from Knoxville, Tenn. and a businessman who made his mark in construction and road building before the Great Depression wiped him out. With a background in stuff that required heavy machinery, though, Dempster knew how much labor was required in hauling stuff. He saw garbage trucks of the time and the amount of effort needed for men to throw things into the bed of a truck.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because of Dempster's invention that revolutionized the trash collection industry. Read about it at Jalopnik.

Monopoly was stolen from socialist land-reformers and perverted

Christopher Ketcham's beautifully written Harper's feature on the history of Monopoly, "Monopoly Is Theft," traces the idealistic socialist land-reformers who created the game and modified it over decades, and the unscrupulous "inventor" who claimed to have created it and sold it to Parker Brothers. Monopoly's forerunner was "The Landlord's Game," created by Lizzie Magie, inspired by Henry George, who believed in the abolition of land-ownership and created a powerful movement to make this a reality. Many of George's devotees played The Landlord's Game, learning about the evils of real-estate and rentiers, and they modified the rules together, creating the game as we know it, changing its name to "monopoly" (all lower-case). Then "an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow" copied it, patented it, and sold it to Parker Brothers. The rest is history.
About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.
Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.
We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board.
Monopoly Is Theft


Most people know that Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime. Fewer people know, which painting that was. 
The Red Vineyard was painted November 4, 1888. Van Gogh painted it from imagination at his famous yellow house residence. It was purchased at the 1890 “Les XX” exhibition in Brussels by Anna Boch. She paid 400 Francs ($1600 in today’s money).
Most people know that Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime. Fewer people know, which painting that was.
The Red Vineyard was painted November 4, 1888. Van Gogh painted it from imagination at his famous yellow house residence. It was purchased at the 1890 “Les XX” exhibition in Brussels by Anna Boch. She paid 400 Francs ($1600 in today’s money).

How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea

Scientists have discovered that the key to the best tasting brew is to let it sit for six minutes before drinking. Not only does it avoid scolding but by then it has cooled to 60C, the optimum temperature to let the flavours flood out. But leave it until after 17 minutes and 30 seconds and the tea will be past its best.

The team at the University of Northumbria's School of Life Sciences spent 180 hours of testing and a panel of volunteers consumed 285 cups of tea in the laboratory to come up with an equation for the perfect cuppa.

Stem cells from strangers can repair hearts


In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 photo provided by the University of Miami, Dr. Joshua M. Hare, director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, performs a heart biopsy, a preliminary step in one of several cardiac stem cell trials at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Researchers are reporting key advances using stem cells to fix weakened, damaged hearts. In one study, bone marrow cells donated by unrelated strangers helped repair hearts, suggesting that cells could be banked for off-the-shelf use in patients after heart attacks the way blood is banked now. (AP Photo/University of Miami) Researchers are reporting a key advance in using stem cells to repair hearts damaged by heart attacks.
In a study in Miami and Baltimore, stem cells donated by strangers proved as safe and effective as patients' own cells for helping restore heart tissue, allowing the heart to pump more effectively.
The work involved just 30 patients, but proves the concept that anyone's cells can be used to treat such cases. Doctors are excited because this suggests that stem cells could be banked for off-the-shelf use in patients after heart attacks the way blood is saved now.
Stem cell therapy reduced the scarred area of patients' hearts by about one third. Results were discussed Monday at a heart conference in California.

Explosion of universe’s earliest stars

The most-distant, super-luminous supernovae found to date have been observed by an international team, including Raymond Carlberg of the University ...
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'Hobbit' Name Banned as Name for Hobbit

They were just trying to get people to attend their lecture: A New Zealand scientist was stopped from using the word "hobbit" in the title of his talk about a miniature species of early human, reports the Guardian.
Brent Alloway, a New Zealander and archaeologist, is holding a lecture soon featuring two of the scientists who found Homo floresiensis in 2003.
He wanted to call it "The Other Hobbit." But the company who made "The Hobbit" movie told him that he couldn't use it, even though it's a pretty common word that J.R. Tolkien actually coined.
Alloway has changed the name of his lecture to "A newly discovered species of Little People -- unraveling the legend behind Homo floresiensis." Not as catchy. More

First child of Mrs Queen visits Papuan village

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been given a glimpse of village life in Papua New Guinea. A choir of women in floral shirts and grass skirts welcomed the couple, who are on a tour to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, to Boera.

The pair were shown crafts, canoe building and an aid project before a state dinner in capital Port Moresby. Prince Charles, colonel-in-chief of the local Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, earlier inspected a military parade.

In a speech, he introduced himself in the local Tok Pisin language as the "first child of Mrs Queen", which brought cheers and applause from the crowd of about 5,000 people. His words translated as: "I bring you greetings from Her Majesty the Queen of Papua New Guinea and from all my family members during this celebration of the Diamond Jubilee."

Tribes from across Papua New Guinea were present, including Huli men with their yellow painted faces and Asaro mudmen, with large false heads and bodies covered in grey clay. It is the fourth time Prince Charles has visited Papua New Guinea but the first time for Camilla.

The Glass Temple

The Arulmigu Sri Raja Kaliamman Temple in Johor, Malaysia is a marvel to behold. This Hindu temple is made almost entirely out of colored glass--300,000 pieces of it. Sri Sinathambhy, the temple president, described how he developed the idea:
He added that he conceptualised the design while riding in a motorised taxi (tuk tuk), during a trip to Bangkok.
“I saw something shimmering from afar and told the driver to take me towards the light.
“I finally came to a Buddhist temple that had a piece of glasswork at its entrance and I was amazed by the beauty of the piece,” he said.
Sinathambhy said he expanded on the idea to build a temple that would be fully embellished with coloured glass.
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Random Celebrity Photo


Bettie Page

Wonderful Terraced Pools Around The World

Naturally terraced pools are a shallow, rimmed water bodies usually located on the travertine terraces - a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine terraces often have a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties.

Because of this and because of the biochemical composition of the water, these terraced pools usually have wonderful shades of different colors.

Landscapes of Kirghizia

It usually happens that tourists do not expect much from Kirghizia but once they come there they are
often impressed by its beauty and diversity. Time flies so fast and they want to see more and more.

Awesome Pictures


Natural Bridge, Japan
photo via vision

Were Dinosaurs Destined to Be Big?

Testing Cope’s Rule
In the evolutionary long run, small critters tend to evolve into bigger beasts—at least according to the idea attributed to ...
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A Dinosaur Named Sauron

tA dinosaur discovered through a fossil found in Morocco has been named Sauron, after the Lord of the Rings character. Paleontologists Andrea Cau, Fabio Dalla Vecchia, and Matteo Fabbri of Italy’s Museo Paleontologico di Montevarchi described the dinosaur as best they could. Only a small part of the skull was found, but it was enough to determine that this dinosaur did not belong to a known species.
While the rest of the dinosaur remains unknown, after reanalyzing the frontal the paleontologists decided that it was truly unique enough to merit establishing a new name. The subtly-domed dinosaur is now known as Sauroniops pachytholus–the genus name a tribute to the demonic Sauron of the Lord of the Rings series, and the species name for the thick dome on the dinosaur’s head.
The dinosaur and human skull are illustrated for scale, not to suggest the dinosaur's diet. More

Man who allegedly battered girlfriend with 4-foot python denies charges

A 34-year-old West Springfield, Massachusetts, man who allegedly battered his girlfriend with a four-foot python during a domestic altercation has denied the charges against him in Springfield District Court.
Keith Paro was held in lieu of $2,500 cash bail at his arraignment on Friday. Police Capt. Daniel Spaulding said that during the attack threw a set of temporary stairs at the woman.

He also allegedly damaged home furnishings, stole items, and threw the snake into a hot tub before leaving the scene.  The woman suffered minor injuries, including an injury to her knee from the temporary stairs, Spaulding said. The snake did not survive.

Police charged Paro with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (snake), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (stairs), malicious destruction of property over $250, domestic assault and battery and cruelty to animals. A pre-trial hearing was set for Nov. 27.

Chihuahua's owner fended off coyote attack with rolled-up newspaper

Tucker is a senior citizen in dog years, and his diabetic condition has taken away his sight. But the 12-year-old Chihuahua proved to be tough as nails on Thursday when he survived an attack by not one, but two coyotes outside his home near Antioch, Illinois. “He is a survivor,” said Tucker’s owner, Dawn McCarty. “He’s like a cat with nine lives.”

But she added that the pre-dawn incident happened so quickly and unexpectedly that Tucker likely would not have survived if he hadn’t been tethered. “To see my little guy in the mouth of a coyote - it was terrifying,” McCarty said. “And I think of my neighbors who let their dogs out in the morning ... This is not a rural area. We back up to a park, and everybody thinks it’s safe.”

McCarty said she found out otherwise seconds after starting her morning routine. “I got up about 5 o’clock, let my dog out in the back yard, hooked him to his leash and went out my front door to get my newspaper,” she said. “All of a sudden, I hear him yelping, so I ran around to the back and there was this coyote who had him by the back leg.”

McCarty said she then made use of the only weapon in her possession. “I took my newspaper and kind of held it out like a sword, and I shooed it away - I beat the coyote away,” she said, adding that she then saw a second coyote standing within a few feet. “They were big - bigger than a German shepherd. They both took off when I started yelling and swinging the paper.”

There's a news video here.

Rare white lion cub nursed by dog

A rare white lion cub has been born at China's Quanzhou Amusement Park.

The animal was born to brown yellow African lions, but is white because of a rare color mutation. Manager Zheng Yundong said he was shocked at the discovery. He said: "At first I was surprised as the chance to have a white lion is quite small.

"Someone said it is a throwback, while some others said it is an evolution." A mother dog is acting as the lion cub's wet nurse after its own mother failed to produce enough milk of her own.

"The mother lion can only produce milk one day after giving birth, and if the cub doesn't suck milk for eight hours, we have to take it under our wing," explained Mr Zheng. White lions are not classed as a separate subspecies.

Young blackbirds died from alcohol poisoning

Young blackbirds found dead at a primary school in Cumbria suffered from alcohol poisoning, according to an investigation. Animal health specialists were called to examine a dozen birds found in the playground, many with trauma injuries. Post-mortem analysis revealed that one of the birds had a large amount of pure alcohol in its liver. Scientists suggest the birds sustained their injuries in flight because they were intoxicated by fermented berries.
A local wildlife sanctuary cared for a further bird found in the area, which they described as unsteady on its feet, using its wings to support itself and leaning on the walls of its enclosure. The bird made a full recovery and was released after two weeks of care. When Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) researchers analyzed the dead blackbirds they found all the birds had eaten berries from a nearby rowan tree.

Tim Harrison, development officer of the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) Garden BirdWatch explained: "Generally speaking, birds that have a lot of fruit in their diet are more efficient at metabolizing alcohol and are better adapted at eating fruit that has higher alcohol concentrations."  He continued: "There are anecdotal reports of birds acting 'drunk' but these tend to be very rare". But damaged berries were also recorded on the ground where the birds were discovered.

Scientists explained that the berries on the ground were damaged and would have been vulnerable to yeast infestation. This would have precipitated fermentation and subsequent alcohol production. According to Paul Duff and colleagues at the AHVLA, who carried out the post-mortem analysis on the dead blackbirds, the berries found in the birds' guts smelled of fermentation - the chemical process of sugars breaking down into alcohol.  Tissue samples sent for analysis partially confirmed the scientists' suspicions when one revealed high concentrations of ethanol, pure alcohol, in the liver of an affected bird.

Animal Pictures