Archive for February, 2006


Saturday, February 25, 2006


Ice worms: They’re real, and they’re hot

`Thriving in conditions that would turn most living things to Popsicles, these inch-long earthworm cousins inhabit glaciers and snowfields in the coastal ranges of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. They move through seemingly solid ice with ease and are at their liveliest near the freezing point of water. Warm them up slightly and they dissolve into goo.

Their life cycle remains a mystery.’


What Does a Chinese Keyboard Look Like?

`In the Peoples’ Republic of China, most computer users type out their Chinese in transliteration, using the standard Roman alphabet keys on a QWERTY keyboard. To generate a character, you type out its sound according to the same spelling system—called Pinyin—that represents the name of China’s capital with the word “Beijing.” The computer automatically converts the Pinyin spelling to the correct Chinese characters on the screen.

Or at least it’s supposed to. There are lots of Chinese words that sound similar but look different on paper. If you’re using the Pinyin input method, you’ll have to put in some extra effort to make sure the right characters show up onscreen. First, you can follow a syllable with a digit, to indicate which of several intonations you want. If the computer still doesn’t have enough information to pick a character, you’ll have to choose from a pop-up list of possibilities.’

Holy Shiite Tomb Attacked

`Gunmen fired two rockets at a tomb sacred for Shiites south of Baghdad causing damage but no casualties, a Shiite official said.

The tomb of Salman Pak, also known as Salman al-Farisi, was attacked after sunset with two rockets, said Jamal al-Saghir, an aide to Shiite political leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim.

The tomb is located in the village of Salman Pak, 20 miles southeast of Baghdad. The village carries the name of the man.

The attack comes two days after a Shiite holy Shrine in the central city of Samarra was heavily damaged by an explosion. Dozens of Sunni mosques were attacked after that throughout Iraq.’


Park’s 2 bears killed after bite

`Maymont employees are mourning the death of the park’s two black bears, destroyed yesterday after one of them bit a 4-year-old boy last weekend. [..]

Both bears, ages 12 and 9, were euthanized because it was not known which one bit the boy, Maymont officials said. The child and at least one parent were apparently at the rear of the 2-acre bear exhibit Saturday when the child climbed a 4-foot wooden fence into a restricted area and approached the 10-foot chain-link fence that surrounds the bears.

“The child may have been eating an apple or had apple [scent] on his hands,” said Julia Dixon, spokeswoman for Game and Inland Fisheries. The child put his hand through the fence and was bitten.’


NVIDIA to launch Quad-SLI in March

`NVIDIA will launch its Quad SLI technology on the 22nd March, according to a report on TGDaily,

Sources indicate that the four-way graphics solution will be announced in conjunction with the GeForce 7900 GTX that is understood to be available from the 9th March if the company’s previous track record of hard launches continues.

Dell and NVIDIA showcased the new quad GPU architecture at CES in January, but it seems that Dell’s customers will not be the only people who’re able to buy into this insane amount of graphics power.’


Faster than Fiber

`Atop each of the Trump towers in New York City, there’s a new type of wireless transmitter and receiver that can send and receive data at rates of more than one gigabit per second — fast enough to stream 90 minutes of video from one tower to the next, more than one mile apart, in less than six seconds. By comparison, the same video sent over a DSL or cable Internet connection would take almost an hour to download. [..]

Blasting beams of data through free space is not a new idea. LightPointe and Proxim Wireless also provide such services. What makes GigaBeam’s technology different is that it exploits a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Their systems use a region of the spectrum near visible light, at terahertz frequencies. Because of this, weather conditions in which visibility is limited, such as fog or light rain, can hamper data transmission.

GigaBeam, however, transmits at 71-76, 81-86, and 92-95 gigahertz frequencies, where these conditions generally do not cause problems. Additionally, by using this region of the spectrum, GigaBeam can outpace traditional wireless data delivery used for most wireless networks.’

Severed penis found in convenience store microwave

‘A clerk at a GetGo station made a horrifying discovery last night after a man walked into the minimart and asked her to heat something wrapped in a paper towel in the store’s microwave.

When the item in the microwave gave off an unusual odor, the clerk opened the over door, unwrapped the paper and found what appeared to be a severed human penis, according to KDKA-TV.’

and Police Uncover Twist In Bizarre Case:

‘According to McKeesport’s police chief, a man and a woman had inserted urine into a fake penis that the woman was planning to use to pass a drug test.’

MI6 payouts over secret LSD tests

`Three UK ex-servicemen have been given compensation after they were given LSD without their consent in the 1950s.

The men volunteered to be “guinea pigs” at the government research base Porton Down after being told scientists wanted to find a cure for the common cold.

But they were given the hallucinogen in mind control tests, and some volunteers had terrifying hallucinations.

The Foreign Office said the secret intelligence body MI6 had made the settlements after legal advice.

The out-of-court settlements are thought to be under £10,000 for each of the men.’


Limitless passion

`There are plenty of legendary sports tales about athletes playing through injury, but none match the local legend, Terra Linda High senior wrestler D.J. Saint James. [..]

“I grabbed the guy for a single-leg takedown and he flipped back and his foot hit me right between the legs,” Saint James remembered. “I wasn’t feeling to great. I thought I was just kicked and I’ll be all right. I wanted to finish the match and it was only after I walked off the mat that I knew it was more serious.”

A few hours later he found out just how serious.

“They told me I was getting surgery on my (testicles) and the nurse started to explain to my mom that if I died during surgery, she would be the one to come and tell them,” Saint James said. “That’s when I started to freak out.”‘


ET Porn

Not safe for work. ET has girly bits, apparently.

Spider-Man Robs Comic Book Store

`With great power comes great responsibility… unless greed overcomes one’s better spider-senses.

A robber wearing a Spider-Man mask was caught on surveillance video Tuesday stealing a set of rare comics from a store in Culver City, Calif. Among the issues stolen were Fantastic Four #1, X-Men #1, and the comic in which Spidey first appeared, Amazing Fantasy #15, valued at around $2,500 an issue.

The man walked into the shop around 11:30 a.m., but store employees thought nothing of a customer dressed in partial costume, reports KCBS-TV’s Suzie Suh.’


Child’s cry draws cop’s attention in parking lot

`A Wichita man shouting abuse and throwing groceries in a Sam’s Club parking lot didn’t know he had an audience.

He had an audience, all right: Kelly Otis, a homicide detective, walked past just as the man appeared to hit his 11-year-old daughter in the forehead with a box of frozen chicken. [..]

“The guy started crying and told me he was sorry and was just having a bad day,” Otis said. “I told him that was a horrible excuse, and that his day was about to get worse.”

When Otis looked inside, he saw a 1-year-old girl sitting in a car seat, and another girl, age 11, with a red lump growing on her forehead. She was crying.

Otis asked her what had struck her. She pointed. One corner of the 2 ½-pound box was broken from striking her in the head.

Otis said the childrens’ mother told him: “I didn’t do anything.”‘

Aluminum Spire

`This idea came to me when I was desingning a flat HTPC. I wanted to use an AGP-riser, because with that the PC wouldn´t have to be any thicker than the connectors on the motherboard. Of course the psu came in the way of my plans and I ditched the htpc project. I then decided turn the plan vertical and mod my girlfriends PC, because her computer was noisy and ugly (some old compaq case). Because of the comments I have received from my friends, I have to state that this case has nothing to do with Xbox360. I Designed my case before I ever saw the xbox.’


Surgery renews one Waco man’s positive outlook

`A Waco man who has a new penis created from thigh tissue says his “whole life has changed” since Scott & White Hospital doctors performed the pioneering surgery in June.

The 63-year-old man, who wants to remain anonymous, said that after four years without a penis – because of cancer – he can urinate normally and experience sexual intercourse again.

“I’m one of the boys,” he said.’

Iraq faces civil war threat

`A bomb attack overnight destroyed the dome of one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, prompting reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques in Baghdad that left six dead and raised fears of sectarian civil war.

Another two people were killed in an attack on offices of a Sunni political party in Iraq’s mainly Shiite second city of Basra, while gunmen stormed a prison in the city and lynched 10 suspected militants from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Two explosions brought down the gilded dome of the 1000-year-old Imam Ali al-Hadi mausoleum in the town of Samarra north of Baghdad, fanning fears of a sectarian war between Iraq’s newly empowered Shiite majority and the ousted Sunni Arab elite.

The attack against the shrine, where Shi’ites believe their 12th Imam disappeared in the 9th century AD, triggered Shiite violence that was unprecedented in scope since US-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in April 2003.’


Sect Allowed to Import Its Hallucinogenic Tea

`A unanimous Supreme Court decision on Tuesday gave a small religious sect the right to keep importing a hallucinogenic tea, central to its ritual observance, that the government wants to ban as a controlled substance under federal narcotics law. [..]

For the past 35 years, he noted, the government has permitted American Indians to use peyote in their religious rituals despite the fact that peyote and its active ingredient, mescaline, are banned for general use under the Controlled Substances Act and have been found by Congress to be dangerous substances with a high potential for abuse. [..]

The tea, known as hoasca, is made from two plants found only in the Amazon rain forest. Its active ingredient is dimethyltryptamine, usually referred to as DMT.’


Amish teen fined for wiretapping

`An Amish teenager will pay a fine and restitution to a neighbor for illegally tapping into his telephone line.

James Bontrager, 17, W3950 Grand River Road, Markesan, pleaded guilty in Green Lake County Circuit Court Jan. 23, to a charge of telecommunications fraud.

He was fined $367 and ordered to pay $36.09 in long distance charges to CenturyTel for calls the teen made on his neighbor’s phone line to a relative in Indiana. The Amish traditionally shun telephones and other modern conveniences in their homes.’


Fake tongue studs banned

`A stick-on tongue stud which lodged in the right lung of a nine-year-old has been banned in Australia.

The stud, which sticks to the tongue via a mini suction cap instead of a piercing, is meant to be suitable for anyone over the age of seven.

The stud packaging warns against eating, drinking and doing physical activity while wearing it.

But last year, emergency surgery was performed on a nine-year-old girl in New Zealand after she inhaled the stud, lodging in her right lung.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has banned the stud and is planning to survey retailers likely to stock it to ensure the prohibition is upheld.’

Mystery blob eating downtown

`Los Angeles officials were still scratching their heads today over what caused a mysterious black goo to burble from streets downtown, forcing the evacuation hundreds of apartment dwellers.

A Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said investigators had yet to identify the “black tarry substance” more than 24 hours after it erupted at Olive Street and Pico Boulevard.

But he said there might be “a correlation” with a petroleum company drilling operation nearby.

“The samples we have taken _ this was determined to be (a) nontoxin, nonflammable, nonhazard,” said fire Capt. Ernie Bobadilla. “We’re looking to I.D. the scope of the problem.

“This problem is not a simple fix.”‘

Terry Gilliam: Studios are the Pirates

`Having suffered through more than his share of studio executives penny-pinching his films into oblivion, he finds it hard to sympathise with their anguished bleatings over how pirating of movies is driving them to the poor house.

“It’s hard for me to worry about the studios losing money. I’m not very sympathetic to their money problems, because they certainly haven’t been sympathetic to mine.

“When you look at one of their accounting sheets you realise you’re never going to see a penny, so if someone wants to rip them off that’s fine with me.

“If you’re going to pirate, though, make sure the quality’s good. Have some respect for what you’re pirating!”‘


Man Hides In Bathrooms, Drinks Boys’ Urine

`A disturbing case was discovered Tuesday about a Central Ohio man who allegedly told police he likes to drink the urine of adolescent boys. [..]

“Listening to his describe it, it’s like listening to a crack or cocaine addict. He’s addicted to children’s urine,” Fithen said.

According to police, Patton said he’s been drinking urine for years.

“He told us he’s been doing it over 40 years, since he was 7 years old,” Fithen said.

Police said Patton goes to family restaurants and movie theaters and waits for boys in a bathroom stall. Investigators said he shuts off the water to the child-level urinal and puts a cup in the bottom.’


Torrent sites under attack

`The MPAA filed lawsuits against Torrentspy, Isohunt, Torrentbox, Niteshadow and Bthub. This could have a huge impact on the Bittorrent community since Torrentspy and Isohunt are two of the most frequently visited torrent sites.

But on the other hand, Isohunt and Torrentspy are torrent search engines and DO NOT host any torrents so the MPAA may have a hard time to built a strong case.’

Mutant Algae Is Hydrogen Factory

`Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have engineered a strain of pond scum that could, with further refinements, produce vast amounts of hydrogen through photosynthesis.

The work, led by plant physiologist Tasios Melis, is so far unpublished. But if it proves correct, it would mean a major breakthrough in using algae as an industrial factory, not only for hydrogen, but for a wide range of products, from biodiesel to cosmetics.

The new strain of algae, known as C. reinhardtii, has truncated chlorophyll antennae within the chloroplasts of the cells, which serves to increase the organism’s energy efficiency. In addition, it makes the algae a lighter shade of green, which in turn allows more sunlight deeper into an algal culture and therefore allows more cells to photosynthesize.’


Driver causes pileup to keep sofa dry

`A woman who didn’t want the rain to ruin the sofa in the back of her truck caused 24 vehicles to wreck behind her Sunday on Interstate 20 as she swerved to get under an overpass, a police spokesman said. [..]

She changed lanes so rapidly that she cut off cars as she made her way to the shoulder of the road to get under the overpass, White said.

“She cut off two vehicles initially, right away, and that caused those two vehicles to collide with each other,” White said. “We had a total of 24 vehicles at the end of it.”

Eight separate accidents were reported as a direct result of the woman’s poor driving, he said.’

Yet another big lie Bush won’t admit

`Our government tells us the prisoners at Guantanamo are “the worst of the worst,” to use Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s phrase. “They’re terrorists. They’re bomb-makers, they’re facilitators of terror. They’re members of al-Qaida and the Taliban” is the description from the ever-reliable lips of Vice President Dick Cheney.

“They were there to kill,” the President has asserted. [..]

What do the official findings of the U.S. military show?

More than half of the so-called enemy combatants at Guantanamo were determined to have committed no hostile act against U.S. or coalition forces. This was so even though the definition of a “hostile act” was loose enough to include fleeing a camp that had been bombed, or being picked up in an area of Pakistan where others believed to be fighters had fled.’


Planet’s Population to Hit 6.5 Billion Saturday

`A population milestone is about to be set on this jam-packed planet.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:16 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the population here on this good Earth is projected to hit 6.5 billion people.

Along with this forecast, an analysis by the International Programs Center at the U.S.
Census Bureau points to another factoid, Robert Bernstein of the Bureau’s Public Information Center advised LiveScience. Mark this on your calendar: Some six years from now, on Oct. 18, 2012 at 4:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Earth will be home to 7 billion folks.’

Someone accessed 40 Palm Beach County voting machines

`The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.

Black Box Voting successfully sued former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election.

After investing over $7,000 and waiting nine months for the records, Black Box Voting discovered that the voting machine logs contained approximately 100,000 errors. According to voting machine assignment logs, Palm Beach County used 4,313 machines in the Nov. 2004 election. During election day, 1,475 voting system calibrations were performed while the polls were open, providing documentation to substantiate reports from citizens indicating the wrong candidate was selected when they tried to vote.

Another disturbing find was several dozen voting machines with votes for the Nov. 2, 2004 election cast on dates like Oct. 16, 15, 19, 13, 25, 28 2004 and one tape dated in 2010. These machines did not contain any votes date-stamped on Nov. 2, 2004.’


Man raped his dying stepdaughter

`A man who raped his unconscious teenage stepdaughter as she lay dying from a head injury has been jailed for nine years at the High Court in Glasgow.

Sentencing Judge Lord Philip told George McKee, 50, he had committed an “appalling crime” which filled members of the public with “horror”.

McKee admitted raping Kerry Muchan, 14, in her Paisley home on 23 July, 2005 while she was unconscious.

Kerry died soon after the rape from a head injury caused by a fall.’


A Supernova Spectacle Begins

`A star in a galaxy not so far way, at least in cosmic terms, is exploding, astronomers say.

Already the star outshines its entire galaxy, a smudge of light about 440 million light-years away in the constellation Aries. But that, astronomers believe, is still only the beginning, and telescopes around the world are being turned toward Aries in anticipation of documenting one of the rarest and most violent events in nature, a supernova explosion.

The conflagration was detected on Saturday as a long burst of gamma rays by NASA’s Swift satellite. Such bursts have been linked to supernova explosions in which a massive star collapses into a black hole.’


Sudan man forced to ‘marry’ goat

‘A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his “wife”, after he was caught having sex with the animal.

The goat’s owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

“We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,” Mr Alifi said.’