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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, September 21, 2014

The Daily Drift

Yes, we went there  ...!
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Peace, Man ... !
Today is  - International Day Of Peace Day
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Today in History

454 In Italy, Aetius, the supreme army commander, is murdered in Ravenna by Valentinian III, the emperor of the West.
1327 Edward II of England is murdered by order of his wife.
1520 Suleiman (the Magnificent), son of Selim, becomes Ottoman sultan in Constantinople.
1589 The Duke of Mayenne of France is defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Arques.
1673 James Needham returns to Virginia after exploring the land to the west, which would become Tennessee.
1745 A Scottish Jacobite army commanded by Lord George Murray routs the Royalist army of General Sir John Cope at Prestonpans.
1863 Union troops defeated at Chickamauga seek refuge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is then besieged by Confederate troops.
1904 Exiled Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph dies of a "broken heart".
1915 Stonehenge is sold by auction for 6,600 pounds sterling ($11,500) to a Mr. Chubb, who buys it as a present for his wife. He presents it to the British nation three years later.
1929 Fighting between China and the Soviet Union breaks out along the Manchurian border.
1936 The German army holds its largest maneuvers since 1914.
1937 The women's airspeed record is set at 292 mph by American pilot Jacqueline Cochran.
1937 J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Hobbit is published.
1941 The German Army cuts off the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.
1942 British forces attack the Japanese in Burma.
1944 U.S. troops of the 7th Army, invading Southern France, cross the Meuse River.
1978 Two Soviet cosmonauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in space.
1981 Belize granted full independence from the United Kingdom.
1989 General Colin Powell is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
1991 Armenia granted independence from USSR.
1993 The Russian constitutional crisis of 1993 begins when Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspends parliament and invalidates the existing constitution.
1999 Earthquake in Taiwan kills more than 2,400, injures over 11,305, and causes $300 billion New Taiwan dollars ($10 billion in US dollars).
2003 Galileo space mission ends as the probe is sent into Jupiter's atmosphere where it is crushed.

Non Sequitur


Why I love being a football widow

Amy Newmark
by Amy Newmark
Football season has arrived. That means five months of football widowhood. This is a good thing, something to be celebrated.
featuredWhen I married Bill, I did not realize how much I was going to learn about football. Not that I've learned anything about the rules or the teams or the players. I can't even tell you which teams are playing while we're watching the Super Bowl halftime show. I've already forgotten. There is no room for football in my brain, which is filled instead with rules about semicolons and information like where we keep the garlic press in the kitchen, and what a garlic press actually is.
During the first two years of our marriage, whenever I heard screaming coming from the room with the big TV, I thought Bill was hurt and I would go running. Now I've learned that he is just yelling at the officials, explaining things such as "That was holding!" or coaching the players with helpful instructions like "run!" If something did happen to him now, I would assume the screaming was related to the game. He could be lying on the floor bleeding and I wouldn't know.
Bill also believes that his team cannot win unless he watches the game. We are booking a vacation and we had to go on the internet this morning to figure out when the Giants are playing that week and what time the game will be on in Hawaii. Apparently, that Thursday I'll be drinking a pina colada alone on the beach while a certain someone supervises the game back in our room.
I may not have learned anything about football, but I have realized that it is part of a healthy marriage, at least for us. This was explained when I read the instruction manual, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. As John Gray writes, a man "watches a football game to release his stress and unwind. He releases his mind from trying to solve his own problems by solving the problems of his favorite team." Whether his team wins or loses, "his mind is released from the grip of his real problems."
Women, on the other hand, relax by taking a bubble bath, talking on the phone with friends or reading a novel. I just finished telling Bill about the plotline in a novel as if I were relating events that happened to real people. He listened politely, probably because he's read the Mars and Venus instruction manual too.
When my friends complain about their husbands watching football I tell them they have it all wrong. They should rejoice in their football widowhood, and then they should pick out a few good books.

Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf

Aurora Snow
by Aurora Snow
Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality
With a threat to net neutrality looming—that all online data is treated equally—a handful of popular XXX sites are leading the charge to campaign for an open Internet.
Because we all know the Internet was really made for porn, an elite trio of streaming adult sites—Pornhub, YouPorn and Redtube—have joined forces with the likes of Netflix and Reddit to protest new threats to net neutrality.
September 10th became “Internet Slowdown Day”: A cautionary event wherein consumers of online porn were confronted with spinning wheels of death (but without the slow loading time), serving as a reminder of what's to come if net neutrality, the concept of an “open Internet” that sees Internet service providers and governments treat all online data equally, fails. The idea, according to BattlefortheNet.com, was to “cover the web with symbolic ‘loading’ icons, to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like.”
Net neutrality has leveled the playing field, making it possible for mom-and-pop sites to compete with large corporations. So why is the FCC trying to fix what isn’t broken? Four years ago, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that companies like Comcast and Verizon had to treat all sites equally, effectively banning additional tolls for companies that devoured more bandwidth. But that didn't sit well with Verizon, and thanks to their subsequent lawsuit earlier this year, the Court struck down the FCC's rules for net neutrality. According to the courts, the Internet is not considered a utility and therefore not subject to such regulations.
No one wants to wait for porn to load. You’re almost there and then—buffering. Moment ruined.
Should the Internet be considered a utility? America practically lives through its devices—our smartphones, iPads, laptops, and tablets feel as crucial as indoor plumbing or electricity. It's revolutionized the way we live our lives. We can hang out with our friends from the comfort of our laptop. Enjoy porn without having to skulk past the judging eyes of a cashier. We feel vulnerable when we've been cut off. The Internet is, at present, an extension of ourselves.
According to a broadband connection study published by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Americans are already paying higher prices for lackluster Internet service when compared to international ISPs. We’re getting the short end of the stick here already. The absence of an open Internet could make this even worse, forcing us to revert back to the dial-up days—you know, when geeks would have to wait minutes to see a picture of a naked woman gradually reveal itself onscreen. The horror, the horror.
A two-tier system has been proposed, essentially creating a fast lane and a slow lane. Internet service providers will have the opportunity to offer paid prioritization. It's like slipping the maître d’ a hundred for the corner table with a view. Not everyone can afford to do this, and certainly only a few can do it consistently. Adult entertainment sites simply can't afford to be left out. No one wants to wait for porn to load. You’re almost there and then—buffering. Moment ruined. This means that porn sites will have to find a way to be in the fast lane, whatever the cost. Changes like this pose a huge threat to the adult entertainment industry—an industry that eats up a ton of bandwidth.
In the absence of net neutrality there is also the possibility that an ISP could redirect users to their preferred affiliates, or prevent them from seeing certain websites, like porn. “It provides an opportunity for service providers at the highest level to effectively segment buckets of traffic and charge accordingly,” says Scott Rabinowitz, Partner and Media Buyer at CyberStampede.com. “Or alter policies on whether or not they are willing to accept such high bandwidth, as crazy as that might seem.” Though Rabinowitz muses that something like this would not only be impractical but also incite severe backlash.
Unregulated consumption is the prevailing attitude when it comes to the Internet. Since bandwidth has become reasonable, paying extra for it feels like a backwards move. Adult companies, fun as they seem, are at their core businesses. “If cost became prohibitively high again like it was in the 1990s, it would affect content quality, or companies would pass along the added expense,” says Rabinowitz. “And that may not be a realistic or desirable thing to charge more for, effectively, the same thing." At a certain point, fans will put their wallets away.
“Imagine if a core utility service that the average household relies on, whether it be telephone, electricity, gas, water, or sewage could be throttled in this type of fashion,” says Rabinowitz. “Imagine if your plumbing could be slowed down to a grinding halt because the service provider upstream decided that certain people should pay more than others.” No one wants to be in the slow lane, but some companies won't have a choice. They'll be stuck with the plumbing they can afford.
Some companies fear “throttling”—a deliberate slowing—which may become more frequently used by the ISPs. Just look at the recent battle between Netflix and telecommunications giant Comcast. Netflix speeds were crawling along making it miserable for customers to stream content. But once negotiations with Comcast ended and Netflix paid up, streaming conditions went back to “normal.” Lest they be seen as the bad guys here, Comcast published the following statement on their corporate blog: “It was not Comcast that was creating viewability issues for Netflix customers, it was Netflix’s commercial transit decisions that created these issues.”
Netflix cleared the air on their own official blog, in case consumers were confused. “In sum, Comcast is not charging Netflix for transit service. It is charging Netflix for access to its subscribers. Comcast also charges its subscribers for access to Internet content providers like Netflix. In this way, Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other.”
Whether or not staged Internet slowdowns will be enough to make a difference in the end, no one can say. The battle between David and Goliath is bound to wage on, only Goliath in this story is Comcast, and David is your friendly neighborhood porn streaming site.

Massachusetts finds probable cause to investigate firing of activist teacher

If you've wondered why teacher tenure was being so hotly debated, here's a great example of its importance. The Massachusetts Department of Labor has found probable cause that a teacher and local union leader's job-a job that wasn't protected by tenure-was terminated after he spoke out against school district policies.
In February, Agustin Morales was part of a group of teachers and parents that went to a school committee meeting to protest the use of data walls in Holyoke, Massachusetts, schools. The data walls included students' standardized test scores and in some cases their names, publicly shaming them as part of the drive for higher scores. When schools superintendent Sergio Paez tried to claim that teachers had not been instructed to put students' names on data walls, they produced slides from a PowerPoint presentation in which the sample data walls were shown with names-with Paez listed on the slides as present to give welcoming remarks.
Morales went on to be elected president of his union local-but at the same time, he says he was targeted for eventual termination, despite having received good teaching evaluations up until he started speaking out. That speedy termination was possible because he hadn't been at his job for long enough to be covered by the Massachusetts equivalent of tenure protections. So far, he's produced evidence to back up his claims:
"Based on the evidence presented during this investigation, I have found probable cause to believe that a violation occurred," Brian K. Harrington, of the Department of Labor Relations, wrote.
In fact, while the Department of Labor Relations was investigating the complaint, Paez issued a no-trespass order barring Morales from entering school property even to fulfill his role as elected union president. That order was lifted after 24 hours, but doesn't exactly make it look less like Paez has a grudge against Morales. Morales has also received significant support from students and parents:
Parents told 22News they want Morales to get his job back. "If it wouldn't have been for Gus, my daughter would've failed 8th grade. He's a passionate teacher. He's loving. He's caring. He stayed after school tutoring her," said Marisol Marcano.
Since the state found probable cause of a violation, there will be a hearing sometime in the coming months. But even if that hearing ends in Morales getting his job back, the clear message has been sent to Holyoke teachers: speak out against district policies, even the ones that harm your students, and you are likely to face retaliation. That's why it's so important for teachers to have due process protections, and it's exactly those due process protections that are currently under attack across the country.

Burned armpit hair led to crash injuring several teenagers

Several teenagers had to go to the hospital in Boise, Idaho, after a prank with a lighter went horribly wrong over the weekend.
The Ada County Sheriff's Office says an 18-year-old was driving a Ford Bronco early on Sunday morning when a 16-year-old front passenger lit the driver's armpit hair on fire with a lighter.
The vehicle ended up rolling, tossing two teen girls from the vehicle. Paramedics had to take three of the teens to the hospital after the crash for non life-threatening injuries.
The driver originally told deputies that he swerved to avoid hitting an animal, but detectives quickly learned that the teens in the front of the car were messing around just prior to the crash. The Ada County Sheriff's Office cited Tristian Myers with inattentive driving. The teen who allegedly lit the boy's armpit hair on fire was also cited for interfering with the driver's safe operation of a vehicle.

Indian High Court judges unimpressed with civic agencies Photoshop skills

The South Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) were left red-faced on Wednesday after the Delhi High Court found that some of the photographs of potholed roads and pavements filed as part of a status report listing details of a clean-up operation in Dwarka were “photoshopped”. “You just ordered a cursory clean-up and this picture is photoshopped,” noted the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul, after perusing the affidavits submitted by the civic agencies.
The court had earlier directed the South corporation and the DDA to fill in potholes and clean up rubbish from the roadside and empty plots in Dwarka. The direction came after a public interest litigation filed by two law students. The court had also directed the two agencies to take pictures of the same areas which were photographed by the petitioners and submitted as “proof”. On Wednesday, petitioner Ebbani Aggarwal told the court that “nothing had been done” by the civic agencies to clean up Dwarka Subcity.
On close examination of the photographs filed by the agencies, the court found that at least one picture of Dwarka Sector-4 market and two pictures of the Dwarka Sector-13 Metro station parking were photoshopped. “Somebody has tried to brush up these photographs… is this not touched up?” the court said. “You are trying to shield your officers? This is a lesson in how to fudge records,” the judge said. The DDA counsel Arjun Pant and South corporation counsel Ajay Arora then claimed that the cameraman had used a dirty lens.
To this Justice B D Ahmed commented, “I can tell you how this picture has been touched up. If the lens was dirty, the spots would appear in the same place, but your spots keep changing. These are clearly photoshopped,” he said. The agency also claimed that they had not only cleaned up the roads but had also removed litter, filth, rubbish, solid waste and remains of construction material from empty plots and planted saplings there. “If you had planted anything at all, there would be some greenery visible by now. If you leave the lot empty, someone will encroach upon it,” the court said. The court then directed the South corporation and the DDA to clean up the area properly and submit fresh photographs within two weeks.

Man arrested for bathing and washing hair with mayonnaise in public fountain

Oklahoma Police say a man was arrested for bathing in a city fountain.
Officers received complaints about the man in the fountain at Reno and Mickey Mantle.
When officers got there they found Jorge Arturo Perez, 23 soaking wet and breathing hard. Perez told police that he was taking a bath in the fountain and was washing his hair with mayonnaise.
The officer told him a city ordinance prohibited him from bathing in the fountains and canal. Perez was arrested and taken to jail.

Man upset about having to move back in with his parents wandered neighborhood firing AK-47

A man from Deltona, Florida, told deputies he was trying to release some built-up anger on Tuesday morning when he fired off multiple rounds from an AK-47 rifle while wandering around his neighborhood, Volusia County deputies said.
Frederick Wenzel IV said he was upset because he’s 28 and had to move back in with his parents, so he drank several beers before taking a walk with his firearm in tow, according to a sheriff’s charging affidavit. Multiple residents told deputies they could hear the gunshots and a man yelling at about 5:30am.
Wenzel said he never intended to hurt anyone, but he had thought about shooting at the K-9 officer he saw looking for him, according to the affidavit. Children who had arrived at school bus stops in the area were told to return home to ensure their safety.

Wenzel was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, open carrying of weapons and carrying a concealed firearm. He is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.

Police seek to identify man who subtly attempted to steal painting from art gallery

Birmingham Police have released CCTV footage of the attempted theft of a piece of art from a city center gallery in a bid to identify the culprit.
A young man is seen attempting to conceal a large frame in his clothing, however the artwork is far too large and eagle eyed staff stopped him outside the gallery where he handed the piece back and walked off. The attempted theft happened just before 5pm on Sunday 17 August in Castle Fine Art Gallery on Broad Street.
Investigating officer, PC Patrick Higgins said: "The thief was quite optimistic in his attempts to conceal the artwork, valued at several hundred pounds, but fortunately he made off empty handed.
"We are now keen to identify the man in the CCTV to prevent him from turning his attention to smaller objects." Police are appealing for anyone who recognizes the man to call them or alternatively information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers.

Man armed with banana robbed store

Police are looking for a man who was caught on camera on Tuesday morning robbing a West Philadelphia corner store with a banana tucked inside his sweatshirt.
A 24-year-old woman who was working behind the counter of Tejada Grocery told investigators that the unknown man approached her shortly after 9:15am and demanded money and cigarettes.
The suspect held his right hand inside his sweatshirt, acting as though he had a handgun in his pocket, the woman told police. After watching store surveillance video, investigators determined the man actually picked up a banana from the counter and stuffed it inside his shirt, simulating a weapon.

He fled on a bicycle after taking an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect is described as a 5-foot-9-inch- to 5-foot-11-inch-tall, thin black male weighing about 140 pounds. He was last seen wearing black pants and a tan hooded sweatshirt with “Pacific Coast Hollister 19” written on the front in red lettering.

Malaysia's tech manufacturing sector based on forced labor

"Hardly a major brand name" doing business in Malaysia is untainted by the use of forced labor from trafficked workers, according to a study backed by the US Department of Labor.
The trafficked workers follow deceptive ads at home, pay brokers to get them jobs in Malaysia, have their passports seized, and larded with bogus "debts" that effectively indenture them to their employers, and are forced into unpaid, punishing hours.
Particularly crippling are the fees paid to brokers to obtain the overseas work. More than nine out of 10 workers surveyed said they paid such fees, and three out of four said they borrowed money to do so. More than half said it took more than a year of work -- in a standard two-year contract -- to clear the debt, and the vast majority couldn't leave Malaysia until it was paid.
Many of the factories were operated by subcontractors or suppliers to major brand-name companies, although Verité didn't name the companies.
"Any and all companies sourcing from Malaysia should audit their supply chain," said Viederman.
He said companies should amend their codes of conduct for suppliers to ban the payment of fees to brokers and ensure workers are allowed to keep their identity documents when they arrive.


Real News Anchors Report Fake But Good News

So what's going on in the world? Let's turn on the news, shall we?
No, that's too depressing. Spoiler alert: everything is awful.
Wouldn't it be nice to have some good news? And only good news--even if it's for just a single day? Well, late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon is here to help. He asked NBC news readers from around the country to show us good news stories. None of them are real, of course. But we can imagine that they are.

Restaurant wants to make Yelp unreliable

yelpBotto Bistro in Richmond, California is unconcerned about its Yelp rating. In an effort to undermine the reliability of its Yelp page, Botto Bistro is working to be the worst-rated restaurant in the Bay Area and is encouraging its customers to leave one-star Yelp reviews and offering deals for anyone who writes a bad review: 25% off any pizza and a chance to win a cooking class.
Chefs and co-owners Davide Cerretini and Michele Massimo sayt their food is excellent and they run a busy restaurant. According to Cerretini, they're tired of the constant advertising inquiries from Yelp, and their “blackmailing” and review manipulation.

No sedative necessary ...

1410893291722No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain

A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has […]

Sentences That Prove English is the Craziest Language Ever

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

5 Little-Known Pirate Stories

1. Pirate Panache

Legendary and ruthless sea-raider "Black Bart" may win the award for the most prolific pirate, with more than 400 ships reportedly falling to his sword in the early 18th century. But Bart was much more civilized than history would have you believe. The Welsh-born Bartholomew Roberts (sound less tough now, doesn't he?) always wore a damask waistcoat, snappy breeches, and a dashing red feather in his cap. The refined Bart also drank only tea and water, commanded lights-out by 8 p.m., and had musicians play hymns for him on Sundays.

2. Yo-Ho-Ho and an Epidural

Grace O'Malley (born Gráinne O'Malley) was the Irish Sea Queen of the 16th century. Earning her sea legs as a kid on voyages with her father, O'Malley went on to lead a crew of 200 sailors as part of her Celtic Sea "protection service." Her specialty? Intercepting merchant ships to negotiate their safe passage to Galway and ruthlessly pillaging any "uninterested customers." Infamous for being lewd, gambling too much, and cussing like—well—a sailor, O'Malley truly proved her mettle when she gave birth mid-voyage. Soon after the delivery, Turkish pirates attacked the ship, and when the flailing crew came running to O'Malley, she reportedly snapped, "May you be seven times worse off this day 12 months from now, you who cannot do without me for one day!" When the postpartum hell-raiser finally emerged on deck waving her gun, the attackers quickly remembered they had other engagements.

3. X Marks the 401(k)

When pirate icon Edward "Blackbeard" Teach met his Waterloo at Ocracoke Island (his pillaging hub off the coast of North Carolina) in 1718, his enemies confiscated 25 hogshead of sugar, 145 bags of cocoa, a barrel of indigo, and a bale of cotton. Not exactly the sacks full of rubies and sapphires the British Royal Navy was hoping for. When asked where the real treasure was, it's said he replied, "Only I and the devil know." Since that time, beachcombers have donned Hawaiian-print shirts and scoured the Carolina coast with metal detectors—most likely in vain. Blackbeard's treasure is almost certainly more legend than fact. Pirates usually acquired their pieces of eight (Spanish silver coins), gold doubloons, and pricey jewels from black market trade of the coffee, tea, slaves, textiles, and medicines they stole from ships. But for all the talk of buried treasure, pirates weren't known for their retirement planning. They usually blew the money on women, booze, and gambling.

4. Playing the Parrot Card

Our modern-day image of a pirate usually comes fully outfitted with peg-leg, eye-patch, and parrot. Why? The stereotype comes directly from the fictional character of Long John Silver in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Silver's feathered sidekick, Captain Flint, was a nice touch, but it's doubtful pirates had pets. With long voyages and scanty rations, a parrot would have a made a better snack than companion.

5. Stealing Second

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't always been named after the thieves of the high seas. Originally, the Major League club was known as the nature-loving Pittsburgh Alleghenies (after the mountain range in the eastern region of Pennsylvania). But in 1880, after stealing away second-baseman Louis Bierbauer from the Philadelphia Athletics, a local newspaper called the team "a bunch of pirates." This suited them just fine, and they've been flying the Jolly Roger ever since.

Anatomy Lesson: The Modern Human


Golden Ship

A trove of gold coins, bracelets, buckles and broaches are among the precious treasures retrieved from a 157-year-old shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina.

Ocean Habitat

Data records spanning almost 600 years have shown that the strength of coastal upwelling off the west coast of North America has become more variable since 1950.

Arctic and Antarctic Ice

Antarctica's sea ice is poised to smash a new winter record for 2014, while Arctic summer sea ice hit its sixth lowest minimum.

Monster Galaxies

Merger-MontageMonster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors

Massive galaxies in the Universe have stopped making their own […]

Daily Comic Relief


By A Nose

New Hadrosaur Noses into Spotlight

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly […]

Chimp Speach

Chimps are smart, right? Pretty darn smart! But how come we can do the speaking thing and they can't? As ever, genes are at play in this special talent, and Tara explains what we have that chimps don't.

Strange-Looking Sea Creatures

The photogenic fish in the picture above has red lips and fins made for walking the seafloor near the Galápagos Islands. The red-lipped batfish is one of some 60 species of batfishes, adapted to walk on modified pectoral and pelvic fins.

Here's a list of some other strange-looking sea creatures.

Record playing dog caused gas leak alert

A dog in the Upper Austrian town of Marchtrenk prompted an emergency call to the fire brigade after turning on a record player in the middle of the night while its mistress slept.
The elderly woman raised the alarm after mistaking the noise of the record player for a leaking gas line. The flat owner woke up during the night after hearing a hissing noise, which she feared was a gas leak.
Because the sound was louder just near the entrance door to her flat, she dared not go out into the stairwell. Several other residents were also worried by the strange noise and eventually the fire brigade was called.
The fire crew soon discovered the source of the disturbing hissing, which came from an old speaker by the woman's front door amplifying the sound of the needle at the end of the record. According to the fire brigade, the dog's paws were particularly suitable for operating the record player buttons.

Animal Pictures