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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 29, 2012

The Daily Drift

Enough, Said. 

Some of our readers today have been in:
San Jose, Costa Rica
Waterloo, Canada
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Karachi, Pakistan
Jakarta, Indonesia
Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
Chisinau, Moldova
Lublin, Poland
Puchong, Malaysia
Beirut, Lebanon
Cape Town, South Africa
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bekasi, Indonesia
Lahore, Pakistan
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Kiev, Ukraine
Doha, Qatar
Ampang, Malaysia
Tallinn, Estonia
Ankara, Turkey

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1170 Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of Henry II.
1607 Indian chief Powhatan spares John Smith's life after the pleas of his daughter Pocahontas.
1778 British troops, attempting a new strategy to defeat the colonials in America, capture Savannah.
1845 Texas (comprised of the present state of Texas and part of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming) is admitted as the 28th state of the Union, with the provision that the area (389,166 square miles) should be divided into no more than five states "of convenient size."
1849 Gas lighting is installed in the White House.
1862 Union General William T. Sherman's troops try to gain the north side of Vicksburg in the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs.
1890 The last major conflict of the Indian wars takes place at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota after Colonel James W. Forsyth of the 7th Cavalry tries to disarm Chief Big Foot and his followers.
1914 The production of Belgian newspapers is halted to protest German censorship.
1921 Sears Roebuck president Julius Rosenwald pledges $20 million of his personal fortune to help Sears through hard times.
1926 Germany and Italy sign an arbitration treaty.
1934 Japan formally denounces Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
1940 In a radio interview, President Roosevelt proclaims the United States to be the "arsenal of democracy."
1940 London suffers its most devastating air raid when Germans firebomb the city on the evening of December 29.
1948 Tito declares Yugoslavia will follow its own path to Communism.
1956 President Dwight Eisenhower asks Congress for the authority to oppose Soviet aggression in the Middle East.
1965 A Christmas truce is observed in Vietnam, while President Johnson tries to get the North Vietnamese to the bargaining table.
1981 President Ronald Reagan curtails Soviet trade in reprisal for its hash policies on Poland.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That banks want to roll back a Nevada law that forces them to prove they own a property before they can foreclose on it.

Mysterious Itch Cells Found

The nerve cells that sense itch prove itchiness isn't just a weird form of pain. Read more Mysterious Itch Cells Found

US Childhood Obesity Dipping

US Childhood Obesity Dipping: DNews NuggetObesity rates among small children may finally be on the decline after more than tripling in the United States the past 30 years. Read more

Census Dotmap: a dot for every person in the United States

Cartography and data analysis nut Brandon M-Anderson put together this impressive zoomable map of the United States with one dot for each of the 308,450,225 people recorded by the 2010 census: oddities revealed include people living in "abandoned" areas or parks. A Redditor stitched the tiles into a huge image.

Study shows people are more honest online, less so on the phone

Research by Cornell professor Jeff Hancock has shown that people are more honest when communicating electronically than they are in person, citing the paper trails that emails and text messages leave as a check on our penchant for deception.According to Hancock’s research, we have developed new ways to lie that are exclusive to digital communication: We lie to shield us from the constant availability our phones and computers provide us (“Sorry I didn’t text you back, my phone died”), and we lie to embellish our public image (using a fake name to write a positive review of your own book). But since, unlike in verbal communication, the words we say online don’t vanish into thin air, we run a greater risk of getting caught when we lie electronically, and are therefore less likely to do so when penning an email, for example:
For in-person communication, most cultures look a person in the eye to gauge if he or she is lying. Big mistake. Forty-five years of research prove that “humans cannot rely at all on eyes for deception,” Hancock said. “The average deception detection rate is 54 percent.” Reliance on facts, now easier to check via the Internet than ever before, he said, is the best way to determine truth.
And while in-person communication is unreliable, telephone communication is even less so. With no visual or in-text mechanism to verify what is being said, phones provide us our most convenient way to sidestep the truth.
ipad internet online

While this is all good to know while chatting on Facebook or commenting on AMERICAblog, this information is also useful for the increasing number of people who are aggregating online information and are wondering how accurate it might be. Hancock’s analysis of Twitter usage during the Libyan revolution, for example, showed an ability to predict with 85 percent accuracy when a large-scale protest was about to take place given the volume of certain keywords. If individuals are honest online, the crowd is even more honest.
Americans spend over fifteen hours per month on Facebook alone, and countless more hours on other Web sites. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled that we spend so much time online, but it’s good to know that as we post more, at least we lie less.

Woman Obtained Restraining Order Against Helicopter Parents

Got helicopter parents? A 21-year-old theater student named Aubrey Ireland does, and she had to go to court to obtain a civil stalking restraining order against them after telling the judge that they attempted to control all aspects of her daily life:
The dean's list student's complaints against her parents began when she realized they'd installed monitoring software on her computer and her phone. They paid unannounced visits, traveling 600 miles from their home in Kansas, to meet with Aubrey's department head.
They also accused their daughter of promiscuity, doing drugs, and having mental issues to the point where they were considering going to court to order that she get treatment.
"My mom has always been very overly involved," Ireland said. "I would have to get on Skype all the time to show them that I was in my dorm room, or there were nights I had to leave my Skype on all night and my mom would watch me basically sleep."
ABC Good Morning America has more: here.

The Woman You Call King

vPeggielene Bartels has lived in the US for thirty years, and works as a secretary at the Ghanaian embassy in Washington, DC. But she is also the King of Otuam, a village in Ghana.
Nearly five years ago, Bartels was startled out of bed by a 4 a.m. phone call. When the person on the other end informed her that she’d just been named King of Otuam, a village of 7,000 on Ghana’s coast, it felt like a dream.

The call wasn’t as random as it sounds. “King Peggy” hails from a royal line that has ruled the Otuam village for more than 200 years. Her uncle held the post last, and before he passed, he named Bartels his preferred successor. His niece, after all, was well-educated, younger than 60, and blessed with good character—all integral to the post.
Bartels takes both her responsibilities seriously- her job at the embassy and her subjects in Ghana. Even from a distance, she has caused real change in Otuam. Read how she does it at mental_floss.

The Cafe from Hell

The Cafe from Hell
The place above is Le Cafe de L'Enfer, or the Cafe from Hell. This is what Curious History has to say about it:
This cavern of writhing demon statues is Le Cafe de L’Enfer (The Cafe from Hell) in Paris’ red light district (aka Pigalle, the neighborhood of the Moulin Rouge). It opened in the late 19th century and operated until the middle of the 20th century. It is the world’s first theme restaurant. The cafe featured waiters dressed as devils and a doorman who screamed damnation at customers as they came in to be seated.
Too bad Le Cafe de L'Enfer is no longer open. I would have loved to go there, both to see what types of food they'd serve and who I would meet. To see more images of the cafe, check out the pictures over at Retronaut.

Random Celebrity Photo

Oldest Known Depiction of Pharaoh Found

Dating back more than 5,000 years, the rock drawings represent the earliest depictions of royal power in Egypt. Read more
  Oldest Known Depiction of Pharaoh Found

Growing Crystals in Microgravity

Japanese researchers have successfully grown helium crystals in a microgravity environment. Read more Growing Crystals in Microgravity

Newly Found Comet Could Outshine the Moon

Skywatchers may be in for a rare treat in 2013 -- a newly discovered comet is expected to pass very close to the sun, putting on what could be the celestial show of a century. Read more Newly Found Comet Could Outshine the Moon

Genesis II: Extraterrestrial Oceans Could Host Life

Finding life in an extraterrestrial ocean would unequivocally prove that a Genesis II took place in the solar system. Read more
  Genesis II: Extraterrestrial Oceans Could Host Life

First 'Alien Earth' Will Be Found in 2013

The epic find should change the way humanity views its place in the universe. Read more First 'Alien Earth' Will Be Found in 2013

Random Photo


Candice swanepoel

The 10 Most Expensive Cars Auctioned In 2012

A list of the top 10 sales of cars at public auction from 2012.

Eating Asparagus May Prevent A Hangover

Drinking to ring in the New Year may leave many suffering with the dreaded hangover. According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus extract may alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells against toxins.

Plants Fight Malaria

A common antimalarial drug is extracted from a plant. Now it seems that using the whole thing is a better -- and cheaper -- idea. Read more
  anti-malarial drug made with wormwood

Diversity of species

Visual.ly offers this great infographic:
Diversity of Species
Learn about infographic design.

The Classics


1948 Cadillac Series 62 Saoutchik

What Kind Of Dinosaur Meat Would Be The Tastiest?

If a time traveler found themselves out of rations and face-to-face with a dinosaur, what kind would be best to zap with a ray gun then roast?
The answer might surprise you, or maybe not since one of the top tastes (according to PopSci) would be the ornithomimid, which looks like an overgrown ostrich.
If you're planning a trip back in time read on so you won't go hungry...

New routes for ships off California may help endangered whales

Researches use heavy machinery to perform a necropsy on a dead finback whale that had washed up on the shore of the Queens borough region of Breezy Point, New York, December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson 
Several endangered whale species may get a new lease on life when some cargo shipping lanes off the California coast are shifted next year. Routes due to be changed by June 2013 are used by ocean-going cargo vessels, tugboats and automobile carriers near San Francisco Bay, the Channel Islands in central California and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, environmental officials said on Friday.
The shipping channels overlap with whale feeding and migration areas, and several blue whales and fin whales have been killed by ships, they said.
"The issue really struck home for us" with those deaths, said Michael Carver, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deputy superintendent of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary in northern California.
The changes will not reduce the risk to zero, said Sean Hastings, a resource protection coordination with NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Financial incentives to get vessels to slow down on their approach to the California coast are also being considered, Hastings said, adding that boats are now asked to voluntarily slow down but they are not doing it.
The Cordell sanctuary and other protected patches of ocean near San Francisco and the Channel Islands are habitats for blue, humpback and fin whales, which are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
In 2007, four blue whales were believed to have been killed by ships near the Channel Islands, according to NOAA, and five whales were killed off the coast of San Francisco and in nearby areas in 2010.
This year, a fin whale was struck by a ship and died off the coast of San Francisco and a vessel is believed to have killed another fin whale that washed ashore in Malibu, near Los Angeles, NOAA said.
In November, the International Maritime Organization, which governs shipping worldwide, said it had adopted changes to lanes off the coast of California to reduce whale strikes by ships. One of the proposals, for example, involves moving a shipping lane near the Channel Islands north by one mile to avoid a whale feeding area, Hastings said.
Carver said the U.S. Coast Guard would consult with the shipping industry and the public before the lane adjustments take effect.

Dogs Sniff Out Disease

Dogs can be trained to detect lethal infections that claim upwards of 14,000 people a year in the United States. Read more

Saber Toothed Cats Didn't Starve Into Extinction

Saber Toothed Cats Didn't Starve Into Extinction
The fearsome felines of the Ice Age in California don't show signs of starving immediately before their extinction.

Asian Tigers Making a Comeback

Although the number of tigers worldwide is low, the new survey hints that there may be more than previously thought. Read more
  Asian Tigers Making a Comeback: DNews Nugget

Shopping mall shark-tank ruptures

Shanghai's Orient shopping center experienced disaster on Dec 18 when a huge aquarium filled with lemon-sharks, turtles and fish ruptured, hurting 16 people and killing three sharks and "dozens of turtles and small fish." The tank's failure was blamed on a combination of cold temperatures and substandard materials.

Animal Pictures


Great wildlife photo from our friends at the Forest Service - along the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, near Island Park, Idaho. (Forest Service photo by Roger Peterson.)http://www.fs.usda.gov/npnht/ (Taken with Instagram:  http://instagr.am/p/Q0rzqVHIpz/)
-Krista Berumen