Archive for April, 2008

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

 

Will Mercury Hit Earth Someday?

‘First, the bad news: the inner solar system is unstable. Given enough time, Jupiter’s gravity could yank Mercury out of its present orbit.

Two new computer simulations of long-term planetary motion — one by Jacques Laskar (Paris Observatory), the other by Konstantin Batygin and Gregory Laughlin (University of California, Santa Cruz) — have both reached the same disturbing conclusion.

Says Laughlin, “The solar system isn’t as stable as we’d thought.” Both teams have found that Jupiter’s gravity can increase Mercury’s orbital eccentricity over time. Mercury’s path around the Sun is already nearly as elliptical as Pluto’s. But Jupiter can make Mercury’s orbit so out of round that it overlaps the path of Venus. A close encounter between them could send the innermost planet careening off wildly.

“Once Mercury crosses Venus’s orbit,” Laughlin says, “Mercury is in serious trouble.”

So is Earth.’


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 

You Walk Wrong

‘Walking is easy. It’s so easy that no one ever has to teach you how to do it. It’s so easy, in fact, that we often pair it with other easy activities—talking, chewing gum—and suggest that if you can’t do both simultaneously, you’re some sort of insensate clod. So you probably think you’ve got this walking thing pretty much nailed. As you stroll around the city, worrying about the economy, or the environment, or your next month’s rent, you might assume that the one thing you don’t need to worry about is the way in which you’re strolling around the city.

Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: You walk wrong.

Look, it’s not your fault. It’s your shoes. Shoes are bad. I don’t just mean stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any of the other fairly obvious foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet. I mean all shoes. Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk. In fact, your feet—your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet—are getting trounced in a war that’s been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet.’


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

Ikariam

This is a strategy browser based game similar in style to Civilization. You build towns, colonize islands, trade resources in markets, research new technologies and, of course, go to war.

It’s not a bad game at all. :) It doesn’t take much time to play. You can instruct it to build new buildings and then come back hours later when the building is done to start the next one.

I’m currently playing in world Lambda, so you should all come and trade goods with me. But watch out, I might attack you with flame-throwing boats. Ha! :) That’ll teach you.


your mom will kill us all!

‘The world is in shock as news sinks in.

“It’s only a matter of time before your mom kills you and everyone you know.” said Dr. Paul Rathburg, a University professor who is the spokesman for the World Health Organization.

Contact with, or even being in the proximity of your mom is known to trigger acute merman syndrome, sleeping sweats, and a deadly soup of bacteria called gumbo that shoots out of your nostrils.

“We know that your mom needs little time to reach sufficient levels to kill,” Rathburg said.

Rathburg said the first victim was a young man who had a web design job, and worked for a well respected university. “He was perfectly fine when he went to work,” Rathburg said in a telephone interview.

“After about 15 minutes, he had a case of nasal face and collapsed on the floor. The autopsy clearly indicates he died from exposure to your mom,” said Rathburg, who would not disclose the man’s name or the precise place and time of his death for privacy reasons.’


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Sunday, April 20, 2008

 

MacGyver takes off his pants

Have you got a better idea?

(832kB Flash video)

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Home Made DS

(2.6meg Flash video)

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The Cake Is A Lie

Anyway, this cake is great. It’s so delicious and moist.

Look at me still talking when there’s science to do.

(2.5meg Flash video)

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I’ll grow marigolds on the moon, says scientist

‘In what marks an important step towards helping lunar colonists grow their own food, a Ukrainian team, working with the European Space Agency, ESA, has shown that marigolds can grow in crushed rock very like the lunar surface, with no need for plant food.

The research was presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, by Dr Bernard Foing of ESA, director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group, and father of the SMART-1 moon probe, who believes it is an important milestone because it does away with the need to bring bringing nutrients and soil from Earth.

He has worked with Natasha Kozyrovska and Iryna Zaetz from the Ukranian Academy of Sciences in Kiev, who planted marigolds in crushed anorthosite, a type of rock found on Earth which is very similar to lunar soil, called regolith.

They did not grow well until the team added different types of bacteria, which made them thrive; the bacteria appeared to leach elements from the rock that the plants needed, such as potassium.’


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

 

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war ‘a major debacle’ with outcome ‘in doubt’

‘The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.

The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.

The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.

It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.’


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 

Fancy meeting you here!

‘A German man survived a 25ft plunge down a lift shaft when he landed on a woman who had fallen down it a day before.

Jens Wilhelms, 27, was unhurt after landing on the 57-year-old woman and managed to free himself from the shaft at the apartment block in Frankfurt am Main where he lived.

He called out rescue services who took the woman to hospital. Doctors said she is in a critical condition after sustaining injuries in her original fall – and then again when Wilhelms landed on her.

Police spokesman Manfred Vonhausen said: “The woman had been lying unconscious in the shaft for some time already.’


German schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA’s asteroid figures

‘A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA’s estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right. [..]

Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

The shockwaves from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.’

Followup to The Asteroid Threat is Out There.


Bear Does Kung-Fu Exhibition

This bear is presumably bored shitless and spends hours a day twirling a stick around. Just waiting to club someone in the head, no doubt.

Because that’s what bears do.

(4.1meg Flash video)

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Sister Busted By Brother

‘I’m not even laughing! You coulda been raped in the butt!’

(13.3meg Flash video)

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Tampa woman charged with child neglect after passing out, leaving child to fend for herself

‘A woman is in custody for child neglect this morning after mixing prescription medication with alcohol and leaving her 2-year-old child to fend for herself.

Neighbors saw Tiffany Garland’s daughter playing on the balcony and eating cigarette butts for at least four hours.

According to reports, Garland took the antidepressant Paxil and drank an unspecified amount of tequila.

The child was seen on the balcony a short time after and police were called.’


Monday, April 14, 2008

 

Bacon Vodka

‘Fry up three strips of bacon

Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit in the jar. Or you could go hog wild and just pile in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps.

Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks.(No need to refrigerate)

At the end of the three week resting period, place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter to yield a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka.

Decant into decorative bottles and enjoy.’


Sunday, April 13, 2008

 

Carl McCunn

‘Carl McCunn (1946 – 1981) was a Texan who, in March 1981, paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska, on the southern margin of the Brooks Range, to photograph wildlife.

McCunn flew in with 500 rolls of film, 1,400 pounds of provisions, two rifles and a shotgun, but had not arranged for the pilot to pick him up again in August. He prematurely disposed of boxes of shotgun shells in the river; used the wrong emergency hand signals to a plane that had spotted him and waved the plane off; and waited too long in the season to attempt to walk out.

In February 1982 Alaska State Troopers found his body, emaciated and frozen as hard as stone, along with a 100-page diary that documented his demise. He wrote “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure.” Rather than starve, McCunn had shot himself in the head.’


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Writing A Crack Cheque

‘In my previous life as a fed agent I was often asked to assist with some “undercover” sting operations all over the Northeast US. One of the most memorable was a op in northern Maine. I was to play the brother-in-law of our source who’s co-worker had recently asked him if he knew of any good dealers of crack.

Long story short they brought me in to sell him crack. We met the “Client” as planned and you should have seen this kids eyes when I pulled out this giant bag of crack we had obtained from a previous bust. He looked like he was going to start crying, like he had just come to know Jesus or something… anyway he wanted to buy it all, every last gram of it, but he had only brought $150.00 bucks with him. I thought for a second and asked him if had his checkbook on him and he did. [..]‘


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Iraqi War Robots Recalled Following Alarming Behavior

‘Just a few weeks back there was a spirited debate over the ethics of deploying war robots in Iraq. Themachine gun carrying remote-controlled killing machines, TALON SWORDS robots, produced by the Army, were among the various robotic soldiers being experimentally deployed in Iraq.

Their deployment lead a major anti-landmine nonprofit organization to campaign against the deployment of the machines. The protests were fueled by a discussion with a leading roboticist, Chris Elliot, who proposed that increasingly intelligent robots might be capable of committing war crimes. [..]

Hot on the tails of his speech, it was revealed on Thursday that the Army will recall the controversial TALON SWORDS robots, with the possibility of pulling the plug on the armed robot deployment program.

Why the sudden withdraw? It turns out the insurgent-slayer decided to attempt a rebellion against its human masters. The Army reported that the robot apparently took a liking to point its barrel at friendlies, stating, “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move.”‘


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Cabinet for girl who wanted ‘Cab, init?’

‘A teenager reportedly ended up with a cabinet instead of a taxi because she asked directory inquiries for a “cab, innit”.

According to The Sun, the Londoner, 19, wanted a taxi to take her to Bristol airport, and first used the Cockney rhyming slang “Joe Baxi”.

When the operator told her she couldn’t find anyone by that name, the teen replied: “It ain’t a person, it’s a cab, innit.”

The operator then found the nearest cabinet shop, Displaysense, and put the girl through.

She then spoke to a bemused saleswoman and eventually demanded: “Look love, how hard is it? All I want is your cheapest cab, innit. I need it for 10am. How much is it?”

The sales adviser said it would be £180 and the girl gave her address and paid with a credit card. The next morning, an office cabinet was delivered to her South London home.’


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IMF says US crisis is ‘largest financial shock since Great Depression’

‘America’s mortgage crisis has spiralled into “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression” and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next 12 months, the International Monetary Fund warned today.

The US is already sliding into what the IMF predicts will be a “mild recession” but there is mounting pessimism about the ability of the rest of the world to escape unscathed, the IMF said in its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook. Britain is particularly vulnerable, it warned, as it slashed its growth targets for both the US and the UK.

The report made it clear that there will be no early resolution to the global financial crisis.

“The financial shock that erupted in August 2007, as the US sub-prime mortgage market was derailed by the reversal of the housing boom, has spread quickly and unpredictably to inflict extensive damage on markets and institutions at the heart of the financial system,” it said.’


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Christopher Walken’s lunch

‘One day they’re filming in this big park, and right in the middle of it is this big fountain.

Now each time they finish the scene Walken turns around and just stares and stares at this fountain.

Needless to say that everybody on the crew is kinda used to him doing weird shit all the time so nobody really pays attention to it.

Eventually they get the scene and they call lunch.

The crew marches off in one direction to go eat, but my friend is packing camera stuff away and watches as Walken walks the other way and starts dropping off his clothes as he beelines for the fountain.

He strips all the way down to his underwear, marches right into the water and sinks down to where his eyes are just over the waterline.

My friend realizes that he staring, stops himself, packs up and goes to eat.

A half hour later everyone comes back in from lunch and Greg sees that Walken is still in the water, still at about eye level, wandering around. [..]‘


Dr. Phil Posted Bond For Teen Accused Of Ringleading Videotaped Beating

‘The teen accused of masterminding a videotaped “animalistic” attack against a fellow teenage classmate is out on bond, and she has celebrity talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw to thank for it, according to a bail bondsman.

The bondsman told media gathered at a Polk County jail Friday that Dr. Phil posted Mercedes Nichols’ $30,000 bond.

When Nichols was released from jail, a man arrived and idenfitied himself as a Dr. Phil producer and ordered local media to leave the area because the Dr. Phil Show had exclusive rights to the story, according to reporters on scene.’


QDB: Quote #699308

<Ich> I’ve discovered that people on IRC don’t get offended or riled up by racism
<Ich> nor politically incorrect jokes
<Ich> nor feminism, nazism,
<Ich> nor goatse, or even tubgirl
<Ich> not even jokes about 9/11 get a rise out of anybody
<Ich> but as soon as I tell somebody that macs are better than PC’s, things get ugly


Darvaz: The Door to Hell

‘This place in Uzbekistan is called by locals “The Door to Hell”. It is situated near the small town of Darvaz. The story of this place lasts already for 35 years. Once the geologists were drilling for gas. Then suddenly during the drilling they have found an underground cavern, it was so big that all the drilling site with all the equipment and camps got deep deep under the ground. None dared to go down there because the cavern was filled with gas. So they ignited it so that no poisonous gas could come out of the hole, and since then, it’s burning, already for 35 years without any pause. Nobody knows how many tons of excellent gas has been burned for all those years but it just seems to be infinite there.’

(1.1meg Flash video)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

 

Kettering University student Will Foster builds fully operational half-size Panzer tank

‘Will Foster never has too much trouble getting a parking spot for his second vehicle.

After all, who’s going to argue with a guy driving a half-scale Panzer tank complete with a working air cannon?

“I took it home, driving it around in this white picket fence neighborhood and one of the neighbors called the cops on us,” said Foster, a Kettering University student who began building the tank from scratch nearly two years ago.

“(Police) came and they just told us to head back home, but they were also laughing at it because they had never seen anything like that before.” [..]

Roughly the size of a small car, Foster’s tank can reach speeds of around 20 mph with its three-cylinder diesel engine. Just like the real thing, the tank runs on treads and has a 360-degree cannon powered by compressed air from a scuba tank.’

(7.6meg Flash video)

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Boeing Patent Shuts Down AMC-14 Lunar Flyby Salvage Attempt

‘Attempts to salvage a wayward GEO comsat have come unstuck in the face of institutional disinterest and an aging patent of questionable validity.

The AMC-14 commercial geostationary satellite was launched in March by a Proton launch vehicle into space just short of its minimum geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). [..]

Following the failed launch, SES Americom looked into how they might salvage the satellite in a manner similar to the Asiasat-3 salvage in 1998.

However, SpaceDaily has now learned that a plan to salvage AMC-14 was abandoned a week ago when SES gave up in the face of patent issues relating to the lunar flyby process used to bring wayward GEO birds back to GEO Earth orbit. [..]

Industry sources have told SpaceDaily that the patent is regarded as legal “trite”, as basic physics has been rebranded as a “process”, and that the patent wouldn’t stand up to any significant level of court scrutiny and was only registered at the time as “the patent office was incompetent when it came to space matters”.’


Man Charged With Petty Theft After Leaving Pop Under Cart

‘Have you ever put a case of water or something heavy under your shopping cart and then forgotten about it?

A Cleveland man did and it landed him in jail.

Tom Sturgis has a long receipt showing the $157.20 worth of two grocery carts full of groceries that he bought at a Brooklyn supermarket Saturday night. After going through the self checkout, Sturgis said he forgot a $4 case of pop under the cart.

A police officer working security at the store asked to see his receipt.

“I went looking for the receipt, the pop wasn’t on it and they decided to have me arrested,” he said. [..]

Sturgis, who said he has never had so much as a parking ticket, found himself being led out of the store in handcuffs. He spent 11:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. in jail that night.

At home, his wife said she couldn’t believe what was happening.’


Authorities in Belgium raid Church of Scientology

‘According to reports, authorities in Belgium have seized documents, financial records and computer equipment form the local branch of the Church of Scientology (Church) and then sealed off the building.

The reports state that the Church in Belgium is being investigated for extortion and fraud for allegedly posting false job openings in newspapers and then attempting to get those who applied to join the Church. Several ex-members of the Church has also reportedly approached authorities with accusations of intimidation and extortion.

Police in Belgium have been investigating the Church for nearly ten years prior to this raid.

In a statement to the press, the Church says that the police “violated their fundamental rights” as a religious organization and accused the police of “malicious justice operations.” The Church plans to contest any charges filed against it. They also state that the postings were requests for volunteers and not employees.’


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Woman attacks husband with soap

‘Detectives say a 43-year-old Palm Bay Woman trespassed into a home and attacked her estranged husband in the shower with a bar of unwrapped soap.

Palm Bay Police charged Cheryl Ann Lunderman was charged with battery and burglary to an occupied dwelling. [..]

Palm Bay Police said the man was home taking a shower about 9:30 p.m. on April 2 when Lunderman got into the residence, walked into the bathroom and struck him in the face with an unwrapped bar of soap.

The man’s right eye was bruised by the soap, investigators said. The couple had been married for over two decades when they separated, officials reported.’


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Thursday, April 10, 2008

 

New York Mets become victims of Rick Astley online pranksters

‘As upsets go, it ranks alongside the most extraordinary results in sporting history. When the New York Mets, one of America’s most revered baseball teams, asked their fans to select a new theme song, they could never have predicted that the winner would be a has-been Lancastrian pop star.

But five million people had apparently voted on the Mets’ website for Rick Astley and his 1987 classic, Never Gonna Give You Up. Organisers were, to put it mildly, puzzled. [..]

It was only when internet blogs began buzzing with reports of the Astley success that organisers realised that they had been “rickrolled”.

The Mets, it emerged, had become the latest, and most high-profile, victim of a bizarre web phenomenon aimed at ensuring that Astley’s 1980s single, made by the bubblegum pop producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman, is played as often as possible.’

(1.4meg Flash video)

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