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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, December 8, 2012

The Daily Drift


Some of our readers today have been in:
Gurgaon, India
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Istanbul, Turkey
Sha Alam, Malaysia
As Salimiyah, Kuwait
Algiers, Algeria
Ankara, Turkey
Jakarta, Indonesia
Cape Town, South Africa
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Belgrade, Serbia
Venice, Italy
Johannesburg, South Adrica
Sylhet, Bangladesh
Al Muharraq, Bahrain
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Bangkok, Thailand
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Cairo, Egypt
Abay, Kazakhstan
Sofia, Bulgaria 

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1660   The first Shakespearian actress to appear on an English stage (she is believed to be a Ms. Norris) makes her debut as Desdemona.
1861   CSS Sumter captures the whaler Eben Dodge in the Atlantic. The American Civil War is now affecting the Northern whaling industry.
1863   Union General William Averell's cavalry destroys railroads in the southwestern part of West Virginia.
1914   The German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nurnberg, and Liepzig are sunk by a British force in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
1920   President Woodrow Wilson declines to send a representative to the League of Nations in Geneva.
1932   Japan tells the League of Nations that it has no control over her designs in China.
1941   Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita begins his attack against the British army at Singapore.
1943   U.S. carrier-based planes sink two cruisers and down 72 planes in the Marshall Islands.
1944   The United States conducts the longest, most effective air raid on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.
1948   The United Nations approves the recognition of South Korea.
1967   In the biggest battle yet in the Mekong Delta, 365 Viet Cong are killed.
1968   South Vietnam's Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky arrives in Paris for peace talks.
1980   John Lennon is shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building.
1982   The Washington, D.C., police shoot and kill a man threatening to blow up the Washington Monument.

Non Sequitur


Krugman, Klein: Democrats will cave on Medicare, raise age 2 years, raise taxes only slightly

I just report them. Here’s Krugman (h/t my Twitter friend MiroCollas; my emphasis everywhere):
Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age.
I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it’s a VSP fantasy about how we’re going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.
And here’s Klein, from the article Krugman links to:

The fiscal cliff deal comes clearer: a 37% top tax rate and a higher Medicare eligibility age
… The other [negotiating] track includes the offers, counteroffers and red lines proposed by Boehner and President Obama. If you look at these closely, a deal is taking shape.
Recall the core fight on taxes: Republicans say they’re open to more revenue, but they want to find it by closing deductions and loopholes. Democrats say that any deal needs to include more revenue, and they want to find it by letting the George W. Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy, which would mean the top tax rate snaps back up to 39.6 percent.
But what if you do a bit of both? … Talk to smart folks in Washington, and here’s what they think will happen: The final tax deal will raise rates a bit, giving Democrats a win, but not all the way back to 39.6 percent, giving Republicans a win. About Medicare, Klein writes:
[T]he headline Democratic concession is likely to be that the Medicare eligibility age rises from 65 to 67.
Read the rest of Klein’s article to see why Obama is attracted to this offer. It’s stunning; look for the Jonathan Chait quote.
Grand Betrayal say I, if this is the actual deal. I'd be calling some Democrats because it'll be time to start being part of that “hell to pay” Krugman mentioned above.

The truth be told

Did you know ...

Meet the climate denial machine here.

Here's Obama "voter fraud" examined in detail

Here's 20 reasons to support unions

That he deficit did not cause the recession; the recession caused the deficit
That the fiscal cliff: made in the repugican cabal

Just how Iceland recovered from the recession so quickly

About the cost of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans since 2001

Is There an Al-Qaeda 3.0?

Is There an Al-Qaeda 3.0?Bin Laden may be dead, but Al-Qaeda is still a threat and analysts are watching Mali right now to see if it becomes another Al-Qaeda hub.  

Fire breather accused of spitting flames at others charged with arson

A Greeley, Colorado man faces arson charges after police say he spat flaming streams of lighter fluid at two other men, according to The Greeley Tribune. Witnesses told police James Pachokas, 51, spat the fluid at two other men and lit it with a lighter.
After he was arrested, Pachokas told officers he "'spit fire' for money." Pachokas was in a house with Zachary Flowers, 18, and Jacob Kehler, 38, on Nov. 20.

Flowers told police Pachokas spat flaming fluid 20-25 times. Flowers and Kehler said the flames came close to their heads, and Flowers said he told Pachokas to stop.

Police say Pachokas had burns on his hands when they contacted him. Pachokas is charged with two counts of fourth-degree arson, a felony, and two counts of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. Pachokas’ next court date is Dec. 21.

Would-be burglar threatened with gun called 911 for help

Sheriff's deputies in Parker County, Texas responded to a bizarre call for help on on Tuesday from a burglary suspect who said a homeowner was threatening to shoot him. The incident happened at about 12:30am in Springtown.

Homeowner James Gerow said he awoke to find a man wearing dark clothes and a hoodie inside his house. He grabbed his gun and followed the man out to a truck that was parked in his driveway. With gun in hand, Gerow convinced the man to drop his keys.

Then told his wife to call 911 and waited for deputies to arrive. "Yeah, hurry up now. He says my husband's fixing to shoot him," she said in the call. Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the suspect, later identified as 41-year-old Christopher Lance Moore, also called for help while sitting in his pickup truck.

YouTube link.

"I'm not sure. I'm out in the country somewhere and some guy's got a gun on me," he said during the call. When deputies arrived they arrested Moore for burglary of habitation, a second-degree felony. Gerow said while investigators questioned Moore he admitted he had "bad intentions."

Mathias Rust: German Teenager Who Flew To Red Square

In 1987 Mathias Rust, a West German teenager, shocked the world, by flying through Soviet air defences to land a Cessna aeroplane in Red Square. He was jailed for more than a year - but a quarter of a century later, he has no regrets.

Mathias Rust, just 19, had single-handedly flown more than 500 miles (750km) through every Soviet defensive shield in a single-engine plane to land at the gates of the Kremlin.

Random Photo



For Many, Old Age Brings Happiness

Despite the stereotypes held by younger generations, the golden years can be a time of growth and resilience. Read more
  For Many, Old Age Brings Happiness

Environmental psychology

Can stores trick us into buying more crap with scents like cookie, orange?

At Salon, Joel Smith writes about studies in which researchers set up camp at retail stores to see which scents had what kinds of subliminal behavioral effects on the buying habits of shoppers. "One was a simple orange scent; the other was a more complex blend of orange, basil and green tea," Smith writes. "In 18 days of testing, they found that those who made purchases at the store while it smelled simply of orange spent about 20 percent more. And not only 20 percent more than in unscented conditions, but 20 percent more than in the presence of the more complex scent."

Everyone Has 400 Genetic Flaws

Most of these mutations are harmless, but most people have at least two that are linked to disease. Read more
  Everyone Has 400 Genetic Flaws: DNews Nugget

Mayan Apocalypse hysteria so widespread, NASA publishes a debunker

Your tax dollars, well spent (and I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever): NASA's "Why the World Won't End" web page, debunking crazy white people's 2012 Mayan Armageddon hallucinations.

English Is a Scandinavian Language

Hagar the HorribleTwo linguists argue that modern English isn't really a West Germanic language, most similar to modern German, Dutch and Frisian, but a North Germanic language, such as Norwegian, Swedish and Danish:
Their research and conclusions are brand new and break with those of earlier linguistic professors who believe English is rooted in “Old English,” also known as the Anglo-Saxon language believed brought to the British Isles by settlers from northwestern and central Europe. Faarlund claims Scandinavians settled in the area long before French-speaking Normans conquered the British Isles in 1066.
Faarlund and Edmonds also contend that Old English and modern English are two very different languages. “We think Old English simply died out,” Faarlund told Apollon. “Instead, the Nordic language survived, strongly influenced by Old English.” [...]
Scandinavian settlers, Faarlund notes, gained control towards the end of the 9th century of an area known as Danelagen, which forms parts of Scotland and England today. Faarlund stressed that “an extremely important geographic point in our research” is that the East Midlands in England, where he says the modern English language developed, was part of the relatively densely populated southern portion of Danelagen.
Edmonds and Faarlund also contend that sentence structure in what developed into modern English is Scandinavian, not western Germanic as previously believed. Both today’s Scandinavian languages place the object after the verb, for example, unlike German and Dutch which place the verb at the end of a sentence. Possessive forms can also be the same in both the Scandinavian languages and English, which also can end sentences with a preposition and split infinitives. While that’s sometimes frowned upon in other variations of modern English such as American English, Faarlund argues it’s not possible in German, Dutch or Old English.

'Indiana Jones' Makers Sued Over Crystal Skull

'Indiana Jones' Makers Sued Over Crystal SkullAn archaeologist in Belize is suing the makers of the last Indiana Jones movie for using a crystal skull allegedly taken from Maya ruins. But the joke may be on him. Read more

A tree in the forest

This Is a Monument to the Boll Weevil

The boll weevil (anthonomus grandis) is an insect. During the 1910s and 20s, it devastated cotton production in the American South. Nonetheless, in 1919, the town of Enterprise, Alabama built a monument to honor the boll weevil and what it did to benefit the South.
Why? Because the boll weevil forced people to change, adapt and grow:
In Coffee County, almost 60 percent of the cotton production was destroyed. Farmers faced bankruptcy and the area economy was at stake. Farmers turned to peanuts and other crops to overcome the damage brought by the boll weevil.
By 1917, Coffee County produced and harvested more peanuts than any other county in the nation. (In 1993, Coffee County ranked 4th in the state of Alabama with 128,000 acres planted in peanuts.) In gratitude for the lessons taught, residents erected the world's only monument to an agricultural pest, the boll Weevil Monument. The monument, dedicated on December 11, 1919, stands in the center of the downtown district at the intersection of Main Street and College Street. The Boll Weevil Monument is a symbol of man's willingness and ability to adjust to adversity. Citizens continue to remind visitors and newcomers to the city the lesson of the boll weevil.
The base of the monument is inscribed: "in profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama."
What a marvelous attitude! No wonder the town is called "Enterprise."

Big, Old Trees in Decline Worldwide

Big, old trees provide irreplaceable habitat for many animals. Read more Big, Old Trees in Decline Worldwide

Have Humans Caused a New Geological Era?

At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week, geologists are grappling with how to define the boundaries of that human-centered geologic era, referred to as the Anthropocene. Read more
Have Humans Caused a New Geological Era?

Killed-Off Corals Hold Clues to Earthquake Prediction

Some of the biggest coral die-offs in recorded history happened in 2004 and 2005, after massive earthquakes in Sumatra, off the coast of Indonesia. Read more Killed-Off Corals Hold Clues to Earthquake Prediction

What's Under that Volcano?

Volcanoes are similar to a giant pimple on the surface of our planet, and sometimes, they pop. Read more What's Under that Volcano?: Gotta-See Video

Ten Unusual Volcanic Craters

Craters of extinct and passive volcanoes are circular depressions in the ground caused by ancient volcanic activities. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent (or vents). Because of their inaction these craters mostly suffered many changes caused by atmospheric and human factors.

Unusual and beautiful volcanic cones, traces of human activity, lush vegetation and colorful crater lakes are the main reasons why many tourists visit these extraordinary destinations.

Man left pit bull to babysit 10-month-old child while he went to bar

A Florida man has been charged with child neglect after sheriff's deputies said he left a pit bull to babysit a 10-month-old while he went out drinking.
James Irvine, 41, of Palm Coast was arrested at about 12:30 am on Saturday. According to investigators, the baby's mother left Irvine in charge while she went to work.

The woman told investigators when she got home, Irvine was trying to get in the garage door and admitted he'd been at a bar.

Officials said Irvine told the baby's mother the baby wasn't alone, because the pit bull was watching him. The dog was sitting outside the room, the door was shut and the baby was crying.

The Birth of a Painted Lady Butterfly

In these stunning photographs, we're treated to a close-up look at a Painted Lady butterfly as it emerges from its chrysalis. It's Mother Nature at her most magical. KMore

How Did Zebras Get Their Stripes?

In our world where so much is manufactured - or created by film magic - it's hard to remember how astonishing nature has been in the creation of so many of her creatures. The exquisite stripes on zebras, for example, must have seemed miraculous to the first people who saw them.

Now some European scientists have presented a mundane explanation for this miracle of nature, saying that zebras' stripes exist to stave off blood-sucking horseflies. This explanation, as it turns out, is one of many possibilities.

Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon

The leech cocoon would have trapped the organism in what is now the Trans antarctic Mountains. Read more
  Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon

Are These Dogs Learning to Drive?!

Using special training techniques, a school in New Zealand is teaching dogs to drive. Read more Are These Dogs Learning to Drive?!: Gotta-See Video

Animal Pictures