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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, January 13, 2013

The Daily Drift

Yeah, we remember

Some of our readers today have been in:
Cape Town, South Africa
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Medan, Indonesia
Lodz, Poland
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Manama, Bahrain
Cairo, Egypt
Street, England
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Quezon City, Philippines
Muscat, Oman
Douala, Cameroon
Sofia, Bulagaria
Ankara, Turkey
Oxford, England
Makati, Philippines
Berea, South Africa
Istanbul, Turkey 

Today is Rubber Ducky Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1397 John of Gaunt marries Katherine Rouet.
1846 President James Polk dispatches General Zachary Taylor and 4,000 troops to the Texas Border as war with Mexico looms.
1862 President Lincoln names Edwin M. Stanton Secretary of War.
1900 To combat Czech nationalism, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary decrees German the official language of the Imperial Army.
1919 California votes to ratify the prohibition amendment.
1923 Hitler denounces the Weimar Republic as 5,000 storm troopers demonstrate in Germany.
1927 A woman takes a seat on the NY Stock Exchange breaking the all-male tradition.
1931 The bridge connecting New York and New Jersey is named the George Washington Memorial Bridge.
1937 The United States bars Americans from serving in the Civil War in Spain.
1943 General Leclerc's Free French forces merge with the British under Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery in Libya.
1944 Plants are destroyed and 64 U.S. aircraft are lost in an air attack in Germany.
1945 The Red Army opens an offensive in South Poland, crashing 25 miles through the German lines.
1947 British troops replace striking truck drivers.
1955 Chase National and the Bank of Manhattan agree to merge resulting in the second largest U.S. bank.
1965 Two U.S. planes are shot down in Laos while on a combat mission.
1968 U.S. reports shifting most air targets from North Vietnam to Laos.
1976 Argentina ousts a British envoy in dispute over the Falkland Islands.
1980 The United States offers Pakistan a two-year aid plan to counter the Soviet threat in Afghanistan.

Non Sequitur


Temperatures extreme from coast to coast

Winter, cold, snow, icicles 
Residents of central and Southern California and Arizona shivered Saturday as plummeting temperatures prompted freeze warnings.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, shorts-wearing residents basked in the balmy weather as it and two other major Georgia cities set record highs for this date.
The weird weekend weather had temperatures as much as 30 degrees below normal in parts of the West and 30 degrees above normal in the East.

Did you know ...

That a moderate repugican group votes to take the word 'repugican' out of its name

That Australia's extreme heat is the canary in the global warming coal mine

That a new law forces health insurance companies to use plain language to explain their policies

That it was almost 100 years ago, the infamous Armory Show in New York opened -- exposing America to the modern art of Duchamp and the dadaists


The repugicans, all of a sudden (since Barack got elected), are all gung-ho on austerity. Notice that they weren't so inclined when the shrub illegally squatted in the office, but now they are. Only one problem - lots of other nations are trying it and they are suffering big dips in their economies. Take note of the quote below, from the Daily Kos blog.

"Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund made a striking admission in its new World Economic Outlook. The IMF's chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, explained that recent efforts among wealthy countries to shrink their deficits - through tax hikes and spending cuts - have been causing far more economic damage than experts had assumed."

Maybe John Maynard Keynes wasn't as wrong as they all want to think he was.

The repugican cabal’s Gingrey: Akin “partly right” about “legitimate rape,” shutting down rape-pregnancies

If you were worried that the repugicans might keep the House in 2014 with a cunning strategy of not saying things abour rape that are embarrassingly stupid — fret not.

Exhibit A: repugican Congressman Phil Gingrey (r-Marietta, Georgia), who was interviewed in the Marietta Daily about rape.  Specifically, Gingrey spoke about former repugican congressman, and failed Senate candidate, Todd Akin. Akin lost his election after discussing his views on “legitimate rape,” and his weird comments about women’s bodies having a way of shutting down rape-induced pregnancies:
“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”
Gingrey claims to “know these things” as an OB-GYN.
Gingrey went on to defend Akin’s bizarre comments about women having a way to shut down rape-induced pregnancies:
Phil_Gingrey rape“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”
The scientific literature actually says the opposite. In fact, Robin Baker got lots of criticism for pointing out that the statistics suggest that rape is more likely to lead to pregnancy in his book Sperm Wars. I would rather trust scientists who do actual research studies, than the uninformed prejudice of a 75 year old man who might have been qualified to talk about what science believed a century ago.
This is the modern repugican cabal in a nutshell. It would rather trust its own prejudices than consult actual scientific research.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Man wearing Bucky Badger hat robs bank

A man wearing a Bucky Badger hat robbed a Madison, Wisconsin credit union on Friday morning.

The robbery was reported at 9:19am at Summit Credit Union, 1799 Thierer Road.

The suspect displayed a note to a teller asking for money and implying that he had a gun, but no weapon was seen. An undisclosed amount of money was given to the suspect and he fled on foot.

YouTube link.

The suspect is described as a white male, 40 to 45 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, with an average to heavy build, large nose, wearing large square-framed glasses, a tan or brown hip-length jacket over a grey sweatshirt with red lettering on front, blue jeans, white socks, grey hiking boots and a Bucky Badger winter hat with pompons at the end of two strings.

Twenty-Five Words You Might Not Know Are Trademarked

Many of the items we use every day, like zippers and escalators, were once brand names. Even heroin, which no one should use any day, was a brand name.
Here are some trademarked names that are often used as generic terms today.

"For-" is a dead prefix

A column in the OxfordWords blog explains the difference between "fore-" and "for-" as prefixes:
...the spellings for- and fore- aren’t completely arbitrary: there’s a logical reason for using one or the other, based on their meanings.

Fore- (strictly speaking, it’s a combining form) comes from Old English and is related to the word before. Fore- is added to words to form words which have a group of meanings related to these main ideas:
  • before or in advance of someone or something in time (so today’s weather forecast tells you what the future weather is likely to be; if you are foresighted, you’re able to think and plan ahead).
  • in front or at the front of someone or something in terms of position (a forecourt is an area in front of a building; your forehead is at the front of your head).
  • in front of someone or something in rank or order (a foreman was originally a person who literally led others from the front, developing into the later meaning of ‘a leader or supervisor of people’).
For- also derives from Old English, but the meanings of the words that it forms are very different to those beginning with fore-. You’ll find it at the start of words which have meanings conveying these ideas:
  • banning someone or something (if you forbid something you refuse to allow it).
  • giving up or doing without something (so to forfeit something is to give it up).
  • failing to do something (when you forget something, you don’t remember something that you should have done).
So if the word you want has one of the above meanings and has nothing to do with being before in time, place, or order, then it should begin with for-. ..

No words have been formed from for- for many hundreds of years: in contrast to fore-, it’s a dead prefix. This means there’s only a small set of current English words that begin with for-: here are the most common ones:

forbear forfeit forgive forlorn
forbearance forget forgiveness forsake
forbid forgetful forgo forswear
Additional details at the link, especially re the pairs of words "forebear"/"forbear" and "forego"/"forgo."

Germans are shifting from "Sie" to "Du"

The complexity is explained in an Intelligent Life column:
Most European languages distinguish between a formal and an informal you. French has tu and vous, Spanish and usted, and Portuguese even has three gradations (tu, você and o senhor/a senhora). But each culture navigates the resulting ambiguities in its own way. And Germans seem particularly vulnerable...

Today’s Germans have been eagerly importing informality from America, crediting its prevailing casualness—in places such as Silicon Valley—with creativity, productivity and modernity generally. So the Germans, like the Swedes and Danes, are increasingly dispensing with the formal second person even among strangers...

In a self-consciously American environment such as Starbucks, the transition is all but complete; its baristas in Berlin use Du as naturally as though they were saying "have a great day" in Seattle. Other environments cling to a more Germanic, rules-based approach. At the front desk of a vacation resort in rural Mecklenburg, I received, along with our keys, a one-page form instructing us that we were to use Du throughout the grounds, with all guests and personnel. We promised to obey, and partially did.

The form may sound ridiculous, but it’s trickier when the protocol must be inferred spontaneously. A flow chart has been circulating on German Facebook pages that sets out to clarify in PowerPoint style who may initiate the Du with whom and when. In a nutshell: it’s still advisable that the junior should wait for the senior and the male for the female, and that all those confused avoid making any utterance. Dilbert types in the German corporate world share wrenching tales of already being at Du with a peer until one of them gets promoted.

The world's population could decline

Not a decrease in the rate of increase (which has already happened), but an actual decline in numbers:
[t]he rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

And then it will fall.

This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium...

American media have largely ignored the issue of population decline for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened here yet. Unlike Europe, the United States has long been the beneficiary of robust immigration. This has helped us not only by directly bolstering the number of people calling the United States home but also by propping up the birthrate, since immigrant women tend to produce far more children than the native-born do...

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s...

According to a 2008 IIASA report, if the world stabilizes at a total fertility rate of 1.5—where Europe is today—then by 2200 the global population will fall to half of what it is today. By 2300, it’ll barely scratch 1 billion.  [it's currently 7 billion]
The reasons for the decline are discussed in the Slate article.

Your Job is Killing You

by Anna Archibald
Whether you’re sitting in a cubicle or running your butt off working retail all day, your job no doubt has its fair share of stressful moments. These daily annoyances may not be enough to pose a serious risk to your health, but new research suggests the size of your paycheck is another matter: A UC Davis study found that earning the lowest wages is directly tied to high blood pressure—especially in young women.
The study, published in The European Journal of Public Health, looked at the work and health records from over 5,000 households, focusing specifically on working adults between the ages of 25 and 65 with an income of $2.78 to $77 an hour. The research team used records from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a highly regarded database that includes information on employment, income, and hypertension status.
While there was already a known relationship between higher blood pressure and lower socioeconomic status, this study was the first to take a worker’s income into account, finding that young workers and women between the ages of 25 and 44 were at the highest risk of developing hypertension.
“Wages are an important factor for people’s general sense of well-being and self-worth,” said J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health economics at UC Davis. Feeling crappy about yourself (or worrying about paying the bills) can obviously lead to stress—one factor in high blood pressure, Leigh says.
To keep yourself healthy between doctor visits—and paychecks—try these five tips to keep your blood pressure in check.
Cut the salt
An easy way to lower your blood pressure is by paying more attention to what you eat. Avoiding processed foods and not consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day can help you reduce your risk for hypertension, according to the Mayo Clinic. Start by checking nutritional labels and keeping track of what you eat each day. New research published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases found that making the low-sodium dish a regular part of your diet can help lower blood pressure by up to 27 percent. The soup’s high levels of carotenes, vitamin C, and polyphenols make it a delicious, heart-friendly meal.
Drink alcohol (in moderation)
Drinking alcohol in small amounts can actually lower your blood pressure by a couple of points, but having more than one drink a day can do more harm than good, reports the Mayo Clinic. Having more than the recommended amount of alcohol—or binge drinking by consuming four or more drinks in a row—can cause sudden increases in blood pressure, and can render hypertension medications ineffective.
Quit smoking already!
The nicotine in these cancer sticks makes you two to six more times likely to suffer a heart attack, according the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Smoking throughout the day also means a continually high blood pressure, damaged blood vessel walls and expedited hardening of arteries, which could eventually lead to heart disease—not to mention all of the other health problems cigarettes cause.
Work out regularly
According to the NHLBI, being overweight doesn’t just increase your risk for hypertension, it also makes you more likely to develop heart disease. As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure—even losing a mere 10 pounds can significantly lower hypertension. Staying active and making a conscious effort to engage in even just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day like swimming laps, biking or gardening, is a great step toward lowering your blood pressure and keeping your weight under control.
Check yourself regularly
Hypertension affects about 68 million U.S. adults and costs more than $131 billion each year in medical expenses, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Women may not be aware that they are at risk for hypertension,” said Leigh. While checking blood pressure is a routine part of a checkup, Leigh says after the study’s findings it’s important for people to get their blood pressure checked regularly, instead of waiting until there’s a problem.

Severe Siberian Treatment

Drug-addicts, alcoholics and nymphomaniacs are treated in a special way - by a whip. People's addictions are litterally whipped out. One patient, whose name is Natalia, is addicted to heroine, she says it's the only method that helps her to struggle her addiction. She is sure she would die without it. People come there voluntarily and even pay for that. Each session costs 95 USD. More

Soft Boiled Eggs Cooked in a Hot Spring

onsen tamago
Onsen tamago is a simple Japanese dish, but you may not be able to make an authentic version of it at home. They're eggs slowly cooked in nature's crockpot--a hot spring:
Hot springs or "onsen," dot volcanic Japan from tip to tip (dipping into a steaming onsen one of the great pleasures of visiting Japan), and a custom for cooking eggs at these springs evolved over the years -- toss them into the hot water, wait a bit, and the egg magically poaches. The secret is the onsen's water temperature, which causes the egg's yolk and albumen congeal into a nice sphere on the outside, and beautifully creamy and tasty on the inside.

Virus caught in the act of infecting a cell

The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for ...
Continue Reading 

How Close Could A Person Get To The Sun And Survive?

Of all the bodies in our solar system, the sun is probably the one we want to give the widest berth. It gushes radiation, and even though its surface is the coolest part of the star, it burns at about 9,940°F, hot enough to incinerate just about any material. At what distance would a person want to turn back? You can get surprisingly close.

The Classics

Ancient Pompeians Could Go Upstairs to Pee

Toilets on the second floor were a common thing for the residents of Pompeii.

Scale Model Discovered for Florence Cathedral

Italian archaeologists uncover what appears to be a model for an engineering masterwork.

Ten Elaborate Underground Homes

This luxurious house called Villa Vals is built directly into a hillside in the village of Vals in the Swiss Alps. A collaboration between architectural firms Christian Müller and SeARCH, it features four bedrooms that are surprisingly flooded with natural light and have beautiful Alpine views. A thermal springs spa is nearby. The exterior is partially made of quartzite collected from the springs and surrounding area. There is a private hot spring in the home, as well as a hot tub and patios. The environmentally-friendly house is thermally insulated and has a heat pump, heat exchanger, radiant floors and uses hydroelectric power generated by a local reservoir.

See more pictures of the Villa Vals in the gallery above, and check out nine other beautiful underground dwellings at Homedit.

Alaska's Abandoned Igloo City Hotel

Even in the chilly Alaskan heartland, this isn't quite what you expect. A giant igloo. Situated on the George Parks Highway, on the route towards Fairbanks, Igloo City as it is known stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. It has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right.

Random Photo


Victoria Principal

The Rose Drawn by an Earthquake

An earthquake that occurred approximately 30 feet underground and registered 6.8 on the Richter Scale shook the Earth's surface for about 30 seconds near Olympia, Washington on February 28, 2001. A pendulum that makes tracings in sand was sitting in a shop in Port Townsend, Washington and traced this pretty, rose-shaped design in the sand during the 'quake.

Read more about the "earthquake rose" at the photographer's website.

Really Huge Flowers!

In the end of August 2012 the department store "Tsvetnoi" of Moscow was decorated with 107 flowers, two of them were giant orchids. We are about to see the process how they were decorating the store with huge flowers. < More

Awesome Pictures


Rime morning (by Ulf Bodin)

California Biodiversity Wins West v. East Coast Battle

The topology and geography of California may have spared resident species from extinction, not faster rates of evolution.

Python challenge hunt in Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is holding a month-long "Python Challenge." Officials are offering cash prizes to whoever brings in the longest python and whoever bags the most pythons.

Animal Pictures


Brown Bear Diving by Fred Vnoucek :)