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July 31, 2007

Anti Blaspheme Laws?

For more on the resurgence -- in the U.S., fortunately still mild -- in attempts to punish blasphemy, see this thread here.

As I noted below, the Shmulevich prosecution seems to be an unusual sort of hate crime prosecution, in which Shmulevich's punishment may be enhanced simply because he was motivated by religious hostility. But the connection to blasphemy seems to me clear: Speech or conduct that is intended to offend certain religious groups is especially likely to yield pressure for greater enforcement (e.g., from religious activist groups), and is especially likely to be obviously motivated by someone's religion. It's thus especially likely that someone who is blaspheming and who violates some other law -- even, for instance, who merely recklessly inflicts more than $250 in damage on a bystander's property in the course of a blasphemous act -- will face vastly increased punishment.

Stanislav Shmulevich steals a Koran from Pace University, puts it in the toilet, and covers it with feces. He is prosecuted not just for the misdemeanor of damaging a book (which he seems to be guilty of), but for a felony hate crime, because he is acting "because of a belief ... regarding the ... religion ... of a person," there some Muslims with whom he had been having an argument — perhaps he thought that the Muslims were bad because of their Islam, and he wanted to blaspheme against Islam as a way of getting back at them. (Note that he did not choose his victim because of the victim's religion; the victim of the property damage is Pace University.)

from Volokh.com

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Just posted! Leica M8 review

Just posted! Our detailed in-depth review of Leica's first digital rangefinder, the M8. Fifty-two years after the first M series camera (the M3) Leica bring their classic rangefinder design into the digital age with a ten megapixel CCD (with specially designed offset microlenses) and a full range of digital controls. From the front you'd probably not guess this was a digital and in use Leica have done as much as they can to maintain the advantages of rangefinder photography. See how the M8 performed and learn about some of its quirks in our review.

Dept. Of Political Assassinations: Who Ordered the Execution of NFL/Army Hero Pat Tillman?

Who done it? - WonketteIt’s almost too depressing to mention again, but let’s recap the Pat Tillman revelations from Army medical examiners and internal Pentagon reports released last week and find out what happens when famous football stars turned Army Heroes become anti-war critics:

  • He was shot three times in the forehead at close range with an American M-16.
  • This was after he was shot in the chest, legs and hand.
  • And this was after he screamed to the “friendlies” that he was Pat Tillman and please stop shooting him.
  • But they didn’t; they executed him.
  • They were Americans.
  • There wasn’t even an “enemy” around; not only was nobody shot by “enemy fire,” no equipment was shot by “enemy fire.”
  • “Members of Tillman’s unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire.”
  • Army medical examiners tried to get a criminal investigation opened, but they were shut down.
  • The Army brass who conspired to shut down any criminal investigation into the U.S. assassination of Pat Tillman sent “congratulatory e-mails” to each other after shutting down the snoops.
  • The Pentagon heavily promoted Tillman’s enlistment and service as both a recruitment tool and a domestic propaganda tool.
  • The Pentagon maintained for long after his murder that Tillman died in combat, finally admitting to his family that “friendly fire” killed him — which wasn’t exactly true, either.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, who commanded Tillman’s base in Afghanistan at the time of his assassination, dismissed Tillman’s family’s attempts to find out what happened. Why? Because Pat Tillman was an atheist, like his family, so they were having “a hard time letting it go.”
  • In his writings — Tillman wrote constantly in letters and diaries and e-mails — the NFL star who became an Army Ranger after 9/11 had concluded the Afghanistan War was fake and the Iraq War was a criminal setup.
  • The Pentagon still has his diary that he kept with him in Afghanistan, where he was killed, and they won’t release it to his family.
  • Tillman had even arranged a meeting with anti-war icon Noam Chomsky about how to go public with a veterans-against-the-war movement.
  • Such a movement would’ve had an interesting effect on the Iraq Occupation and the then-upcoming 2004 election; Tillman had already been encouraging his fellow soldiers to vote against Bush.
  • Just today, Donald Rumsfeld refused to testify on the subject of Tillman’s assassination before Congress on Wednesday.
  • White House Counsel Fred Fielding has, of course, already “refused to issue certain documents to the committee because of executive privilege.”
  • What is the White House doing with “certain documents” about Pat Tillman’s murder?
  • Says Pat Tillman Sr.: “The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons. This cover-up started within minutes of Pat’s death, and it started at high levels. This is not something that people in the field do.”

Rumsfeld apparently refuses to testify at hearing on death of Pat Tillman [Raw Story]
A Cover-Up At The Highest Levels [Max Blumenthal]
Who Killed Pat Tillman? [Anti-War]
Punishments Coming in Tillman Case [Washington Post]

Fitness Water: Like Having A Flaming Sign Fall Onto You

This commercial for a drink called Fitness Water is currently airing on Japanese TV:

I understand that summer is fireworks season, but how exactly does screaming people running away from a burning sign make people want to drink Fitness Water?

The perils of taking too many drugs

Kung fu master

A close-up photograph of a rainbow

Taken at Skógar in Iceland.


Found at Flickr.

Click on all sizes for a really big image.

Man walks free after sheep refuses to testify

A man who was accused of having sex with a sheep has walked free after the animal was unable to testify.

The man, from Haaksbergen, near Utrecht, the Netherlands, was reported to police after a farmer caught him having sex with a sheep.

But the case was thrown out of court as the sheep couldn't take to the stand to testify it didn't want to have sex and had suffered emotional stress.

Under Dutch law, bestiality is not a crime unless it can be proved the animal didn't want to have sex.

'Short of putting the sheep in the dock, at the moment these perverts cannot be prosecuted,' said animal rights campaigner Jos van Huisen.

Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin has said he plans to change the law to make bestiality a criminal offence.

Most detailed pictures of Earth ever seen

Veteran cop investigates his first crash with nude victims

The two had been to a waterpark and decided to shed their wet clothes. "The only thing they had on was the radio and their seat belts," says a cop. (Austin American-Statesman)

Damn: Persuader Gun Purse Has You By The Balls

gun-purse.jpgMen, we have been defeated. After years of struggle, battling for a simpler life with less purses to trip over, women have struck at our weakest point—our insatiable desire for gals holding guns in their underpants (bonus, full NSFW gallery after the jump).

Oh, but the other side has had such technologies for years, you say? Not in purse form, my friends. Not in purse form. The Persuader is a gun-shaped purse that will destroy all arguments against your wife's purchase of more purses. It will be the easiest $289 you've spent on leather...at least since those chaps we're not telling anyone about. [product via boingboing]

My Lamp Will Go On: Titanic Lamp Sinks Into Your Livingroom

TitanicLamp.pngThe only way we could enjoy the self-explanatory Titanic Lamp more is alongside Celine Dion's severed hand reaching from the depths of our coffee table, grasping at air, and sinking to the cold world beneath our coasters. $630 [product via bltd]

Productivity: 10 things your IT department won't tell you

The Wall Street Journal talks to 3 IT experts to find out what risky computing they try to keep you from engaging in, then asks 3 productivity mavens (including our very own Gina Trapani) how to get around the blocks. The list offers a nice point-counterpoint of why your IT department considers something a risk, how you can bypass their roadblocks and do it anyway, and—perhaps more importantly—how to get around it in a manner that won't completely freak out your IT department. (I'm not saying it won't just a little.) For more, see how else you can survive IT lockdown.

Naked Mannequins

On Sarasota's North Tamiami Trail, two mannequins are causing controversy. Some people say they're offensive. The man who put up the display says he wanted to offend his neighbors and the city of Sarasota. People have recently sent e-mails to Sar

Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls: the lost film

Cory Doctorow: Rob sez, "One of the wacky ideas floated by Hammer Films in 1971 but never developed beyond a sweet poster was 'Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls.' People have said it's tragic this movie was never made. Now tragically it has been made, a mashup of public domain cliffhanger serials and old movies. What if Republic Pictures had gotten this idea in 1936? See it here. Watch for glimpses of John Wayne, two 'Wilhelm' screams, and one actor who wasn't even born until 1939. Here's a link to the poster commissioned by Hammer Films to attract investors." Link (Thanks, Rob!)

In Brief: Read the amazing true story of how one of ...

Read the amazing true story of how one of the stupidest things ever, Prohibition, finally ended in America. [Reason]

Printer particles may pose health risk

Sitting next to the office printer could be as bad for your health as working sitting next to with a chain smoker

Teen Sues Over XXX-Video "Debut"

A British teenager whose self-portrait somehow ended up on the cover of a hardcore video has filed a lawsuit against the film's distributors, claiming that they have left the impression that she is involved in the porno industry.

July 30, 2007

Chuck E Cheese bots modded to play hiphop

Cory Doctorow: Whereismyrobot sez, "There is a movement of Chuck E Cheese and Showbiz fans that are buying the old robots and setting them up in their homes or garages. Some program them for good, while the creator of this video obviously programmed these for evil. This is a lot better than indie bands ironically covering rap songs." Link (Thanks, Whereismyrobot!)

Laugh Out Loud cats: now in color comic strip form

Xeni Jardin:

Link to Adam Koford's Sunday Strip #1 of the Laugh Out Loud Cats: "How they Met." Above, detail. Poster here, you can has original art here.

Previously on BB:

  • True historic origins of the Laugh Out Loud cats
  • Laugh Out Loud Cats: more 1900s comics unearthed
  • Laugh Out Loud Cats: rediscovered short film
  • Faith Hill doesn't like other women grabbing her husband's balls

    Faith Hill was performing in Lafayette, Louisiana over the weekend when a fan grabbed her husband Tim McGraw's crotch. Faith scolded the fan, saying:
    "Somebody needs to teach you some class, my friend. You don't go grabbin' somebody else's -- somebody's husband's balls, you understand me? That's very disrespectful."
    That's some deeply profound advice right there. Only in Louisiana would you have to tell somebody that grabbing another woman's husband's balls is frowned upon. Hey, isn't Britney Spears from Louisiana? It's no wonder she turned out the classy princess that she is. I'm surprised she doesn't speak with a British accent and say things like, "Mahvelous, dear!"

    Komfort Pets' climate-controlled pet carrier

    Filed under:

    For the seasoned traveler who just can't leave their home country without bringing along their dear pet, Komfort Pets is out to make your animal's trip much more bearable. The firm's climate-controlled carrier not only cools Fido off when the ambient temperature reaches 72-degrees Fahrenheit, but also utilizes its patent-pending technology to heat things up if the outside air temperature dips below 65-degrees. The crate is said to be suitable for non-climate-controlled garages, and could be equally useful in homes, cars, boats, or RVs. Currently, a 19-inch x 13-inch x 16-inch rendition is available for $399, and while this one is only meant to hold creatures up to 12.5-pounds, larger carriers are slated for release later this year.

    [Via BookOfJoe]



    Resident Evil: Extinction Red-Band Trailer

    WARNING: while watching this gore-filled red-band trailer, don't get caught up in the zombie ravaging and start thinking it's going to be something good beyond that. The name "Resident Evil" attached to it guarantees this will be mostly, if not entirely, stupid.

    Woman weds Pizza Hut colleague while still married

    When police arrested Kimberly Norris for bigamy last Thursday, they found her with yet another man. He said he had been dating her for a month. "That man was speechless when he was told what she was being arrested for," says a cop. (St. Petersburg Times)

    Japanese Baby Shocked By Empty Plate!

    This Japanese baby really really doesn’t like it when he’s in the middle of a meal and runs out of food:

    The abandoned ducklings raised in a teacup

    A pair of tiny abandoned ducklings found battling against waves after being washed out to sea are being nursed back to health - in a teacup.

    The fluffy birds were saved from a watery grave when they were found by passing canoeist Chris Murray.


    He plucked the pair out of the sea and brought them back to land in his canoe. He then took them to Pennywell Farm, in Buckfastleigh, Devon, where they are recovering from their terrifying ordeal.

    Now the tiny creatures are happily paddling around in a small white cup. The ducklings, which are only a few centimetres tall only take up half of the cup's space.

    Demolition mishap

    A human transformer

    I suppose we all need a hobby.

    Titanium man takes on the Iron Men

    It is challenge that would make any athlete blanch - a two-and-a-half mile swim, followed by a 112-mile cycle, finished off with a marathon.

    For quadruple amputee Jamie Andrew, the Titanium Man Triathlon will be the biggest challenge yet of his sporting life.

    Jamie Andrew

    The mountaineer, who lost both his feet and hands in an Alpine accident eight years ago - has been preparing for it for more than a year , having learned to cycle and swim unaided again.

    The 37-year-old, from Bruntsfield, hopes his efforts will raise £50,000 and help get his new charity for amputees 500 Miles off to a flying start.

    Jamie will wear artificial limbs when cycling and running, but he will enter Loch Tay in just a wetsuit. He will rely on the strength of his arms, amputated at the wrist, to power him through the water.

    Jamie has drawn up the Titanium Man challenge himself and aims to complete it alone within 24 hours on August 4. He will swim across Loch Tay before cycling the exhausting distance from Kenmore, via Loch Lomond and Stirling, to Falkirk.

    From there, he will simulate a marathon 26.5 miles along the Union Canal towpath and to his Bruntsfield home. He said: "This will be the toughest challenge yet. I've mountaineered for 24 hours before but this will be tougher."

    Company rents pets to animal lovers

    No time for a pet? Then rent one. A California company has begun offering FlexPetz, a new service for dog-lovers who just don't have the time to care for a pet, or the space.

    The "shared dog" service is available in Los Angeles and San Diego. Its founder hopes to open new locations in San Francisco next month, New York in September and London by the end of the year.

    Hanging out with man's best friend has a price. The annual fee runs about 100 dollars a year. FlexPetz customers then make a monthly payment of about 50 dollars. A per-visit charge runs about 40 dollars.

    The FlexPetz founder says only dogs with social temperaments are picked for the programme. The current ten-dog crew includes Afghan hounds, Labrador retrievers and Boston terriers.

    Almost half of US workers know a "workplace princess"

    And about 16% identify the "princess" as a man. A workplace princess is a co-worker who has a special sense of entitlement or privilege -- the person who start most sentences with "I want..." or "I need..." (Deseret News)

    List of 50 best movie robots of all time, with video

    Xeni Jardin:

    The guys at Times Online (UK) have compiled a list of the 50 coolest movie robots, measured with the following factors in mind:

  • Plausibility (meaning how likely it would be that, with advances on currently existing technology, such a device could be built)
  • Coolness (just how well designed, shiny or generally well-appointed the robot appeared to be)
  • Dangerousness (scoring not only on built-in weaponry, but the robot's eagerness to use it)
  • Comedy Value (how effective the robot is at providing light relief in the film in which it appears)
  • Link to list, which includes lots of video clips -- this is a fun, obsessively assembled homage. (thanks, Mikey)

    Unfortunate Spanish acronym for shop in Catalonia

    Cory Doctorow: It's an unfortunate coincidence that "Servicio de Hosteleria Industrial de Terrassa," the name of this shop in Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain becomes "SHIT" when converted to an acronym. Link (Thanks, Javier!)

    How To: Predict the weather without checking the forecast

    How-to web site wikiHow offers a beginner's crash course to predicting the weather with nothing but your wits and senses. For example:

    Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and smell the air.

    • Plants release their waste in a low pressure atmosphere, generating a smell like compost and indicating an upcoming rain.
    • Swamps will release methane just before a storm because of the lower pressure, which leads to unpleasant smells.
    • A proverb says "Flowers smell best just before a rain." Scents are stronger in moist air, associated with rainy weather.

    In all, the post describes 10 different methods for predicting weather by observing smells, animals, the sky, and more using your sharp senses. If you've always wanted to pick up some grass, look up at the sky, inhale a full puff of air, and declare in your best down-home country twang: "Looks like there's a storm a-brewin', mother," this guide should give you a good start.

    Is this legal?

    Don't you have to say hut, or something.

    Web contracts can't be changed without notice

    Cory Doctorow: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a web "contract" -- that is, the ridiculous "terms of service" that you agree to just by looking at a web-page -- can't be changed without notice, something that's standard in most of these "agreements."

    This is a rare, overdue moment of sanity from the legal system about web agreements, which are universally abusive and one-sided.

    "How hard is it to send out an e-mail letting people know about [any changes]?" she said.

    According to the court documents, Douglas signed a contract for service with America Online. The business was then acquired by Talk America, which continued to provide telephone service to AOL's former customers. However, Talk America changed the contract AOL had with its customers and posted those changes on its Web site without notifying the customers first.


    Explore the Deep Blue Sea On Your Wii


    Forever Blue is a new Wii game that lets you navigate through the deep blue sea with your remote. You're a deep sea diver, and you're surrounded by whales, sharks, manatees, and all kids of giant, cool sea creatures. You start on a diving boat that takes you out onto the water—then you step into your gear and go. It's almost like the real thing, sans the icky wet feeling and dizziness associated with real diving.

    The graphics are amazing!

    Link (via ImpressWatch)

    July 29, 2007

    Daredevil: Typhoon Strike Fighter Dangerously Closing On Hercules C130's Cargo Bay

    This flight image sequence was allegedly taken during the filming of a Eurofighter Typhoon from a Hercules 130 cargo bay. Apparently, the director asked the pilot over the radio to come closer and closer and closer, until the pilot got fed up and whizzed right up to the entrance of the Hercules saying: "Would you like it this close?" [Thanks Jorge Mozo]

    Ride a white swan

    A dog trying to eat a lolcat

    Three guinea pigs battling over a piece of cucumber

    A bowl of Heinz tomato soup a day could turn sperm into 'super-sperm'

    A bowl of tomato soup every day can help boost fertility among men, scientists claimed yesterday.

    They have discovered that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their bright red colouring, can turn sperm into super-sperm.

    Researchers at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect of lycopene in the diet on a random group of six healthy men, with an average age of 42. The men were asked to consume a 400g tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup every day for two weeks.

    The researchers, from the university's biomedical science department, said that during the two weeks, levels of lycopene in the men's semen rose between seven and 12 per cent, which was "significant".

    They added that further studies should be carried out to discover whether the same boost would be seen in infertile men.

    Nigel Dickie, a spokesman for Heinz said: "It's good to know that our tomato soup could give guys extra 'oomph'."

    Naked prostitute 'cavorted on the Danish throne'

    Royal security is under urgent review in Denmark after the publication of lurid photographs purporting to show a prostitute posing naked astride the thrones of Queen Margrethe II and her consort, Prince Henrik.

    Even in Scandinavia, where attitudes towards nudity are relaxed, the stunt has prompted outrage at the insult to the popular Royal Family.

    Security staff cautioned yesterday that the seven photographs could have been the result of a computerised hoax — with the model’s image superimposed on the royal thrones — rather than a break-in at Christiansborg Palace in central Copenhagen.

    Throne room at Christiansborg Palace

    But See and Hear, the weekly magazine that first published the pictures under the headline “Porno on the Throne”, said that it had verified that the images were genuine. It has refused to name the prostitute, disclosing only that she is aged 43 and claims to have taken the pictures herself with an automatic camera.

    Royal officials are now waiting to see whether further images appear after See and Hear reported that it had 22 more scandalous shots, some of which it would publish next week. One is said to show the woman lying naked on the table where Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Prime Minister, holds Cabinet meetings.

    Jens Greve, the palace manager, summed up the Scandinavian mood when he declared: “Under all circumstances it is very annoying and an abuse of surroundings we all value. I choose to view this as a provocative act on society.”

    Cycle lane

    Click for bigger

    A Chinese Shar-Pei puppy

    Ikea opens free hostel for shoppers who don't want to leave

    Cory Doctorow: The Oslo Ikea is opening up a no-charge hostel for shoppers who want to keep on shopping the next morning. It includes a bridal suite, and a luxury suite with breakfast in bed. Many Norwegians visit Ikea on holidays, treating it like a flat-pack theme-park. Guests also get to keep their sheets, and complimentary slippers, bathrobes, dinner and breakfast.

    "There will be the regular dormitory with lots of beds stacked up together. We will also have a bridal suite, with a round bed and a hanging chandelier, and the luxury suite, where customers can enjoy breakfast in bed," he said. Family rooms will also be available for parents and children to join into the Ikea fun. None of the guests will be charged for their stay.

    Mr Ullebust said that, as far as he knew, this was Ikea's first foray into the hotel business. Every night, the 30 lucky few will be able to stack up on meatballs, Norwegian salmon and cranberry mousse, as Ikea is offering free dinner and breakfast at the usual canteen.


    July 28, 2007


    Type the sky

    July 27, 2007

    Vegas neon graveyard snapshots

    Xeni Jardin:

    BoingBoing reader Carl says,

    I was recently in Vegas and took a tour through the Neon Graveyard. It was fascinating and gratifying to see that so many of the old neon signs are being preserved for public viewing. Everyone should go when they're in Vegas.

    Wristbands: Seven Deadly Sins Wristsband

    seven-deadly-sins-wristbands.jpgOh, you've got a wristband for some cause? That's nice. Oh, this? Yeah, it says "ANGER." I've got six more just like it at home, each with their own deadly sin on it. Am I worried about Kevin Spacey attacking me in my sleep? No, why do you ask? [McPhee via Nerd Approved]

    No Such Thing As Bad Publicity: Nicole Richie Never Misses A Chance For Product Placement

    richie%20sketch.jpgThis press release is currently making the rounds:

    Nicole Richie Wears Moschino

    July 26, 2007. Glendale, California. Nicole Richie arrived this morning to the LA County Superior Court wearing a black Moschino dress with high collar and tie in back. This dress is part of the Moschino Fall/Winter 2007/8 Pre-Collection.
    Lindsay Krauss
    Moschino Public Relations
    Aeffe USA, Inc.
    [email redacted]

    We can't wait to see what they design for Lindsay.

    Man didn't sleep or eat while delivering dime worth $1.9 million

    "You wouldn't, either," says John Feigenbaum, who flew from San Jose to New York with the 1894-S dime in his pocket. His job was to deliver it to the buyer. (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Bling Bling: Fantachrome Paint, Insta-Chrome

    1119978283-bmw3.jpgChroming is an expensive industrial process that requires resources that are beyond most of our time, budgets and attention spans. But what if you could just spray a coat of chrome onto you favorite object? Now. You. Can.

    Fantachrome, while not really chrome, is a spray-on, water-based paint that adds a layer of metal to your object of choice (car, house, children) and is said to look and feel just like chrome. While the process requires prep work like washing the object in distilled water and laying proper base coats, Fantachrome will work on almost any material, including wood, metal, plaster, glass, plastic, fiberglass, ceramic, cement, polystyrene, clay and stone. You can essentially chrome anything—like King Midas Fast and the Furious edition.

    [fantachrome via redferret]

    Mos Burger Releases Curry Chicken Burger

    Mos Burger, a somewhat upscale Japanese fast food restaurant and the biggest rival of McDonald’s Japan, is now selling a new Curry Chicken Burger as a part of its summer menu. Here’s a commercial for the burger:

    Hard Copy: 22Pop Email Typewriter for Luddites

    02_22pop_typewriter.jpg22 Pop is a modified typewriter that allows you to send emails. You type out the recipient, subject and message on a special template sheet and the message is sent when you pull the finished page out. The website claims that the device can also receive messages, but I can't see how it could print out an email. The project was inspired by the difficulty that one of the designer's mothers had when trying to email her daughter. [Interaction-Ivrea]

    Balance beam mishap

    Man being arrested has an itch

    And he wonders if the police would scratch it for him.

    A young man doing peculiar things with his arms

    Daredevil dog prefers riding on car not in it

    A daring five year old dog in Connecticut sees the world from a very unique perspective ... from atop his owner's rumble seat.

    Desperado, who's nickname is Dodo, is a Pomeranian who likes the ride on top of the trunk of her owner's convertible.

    It began immediately after he was rescued from a neglected life in a cage.

    "Before I pulled out of the driveway, he just jumped up there with no anchoring, no tethering and my reaction was like everybody - "What are you doing?" So knowing what he wanted to do, I made sure he was safe, and I had it checked it out with the local canine officers and some other police officers," explained Tammy Zinick.

    Local animal control officers confirm Tammy Zinick is not breaking any laws.

    Dodo is in a safety harness and tethered to the back seat belt.

    There's a news video here and a slideshow here.

    July 26, 2007

    Former narc teaches potheads how to stay out of jail

    Mark Frauenfelder: Former narcotics officer Barry Cooper says he feels guilty for making over 800 drug arrests in his career: "The war on drugs is an utterly losing proposition," he tells Radar. "We caused more harm breaking up families to put non-violent drug offenders in jail than the drugs ever did. And for what? To eradicate 1/10th of a percent of drugs on the street."

    Now he has made an instructional video called Never Get Busted Again. Radar Online has printed some of Cooper's tips.


    • The best advice I can give you is this: Never carry more marijuana than you can eat. If the police turn on the red and blues, just eat it. It's not illegal to smell like pot—it's just illegal to possess it.

    • Don't think that by hiding pot in coffee grounds, or masking the scent with Bounce fabric softener or vanilla extract, you're gonna be okay. Police dogs are trained to cut through these scents. Petroleum and cayenne pepper don't work either—a dog may jerk back after smelling it, but humans will recognize the reaction.

    • If you are going to travel with marijuana, place it in a non-contamined container right before you leave. The drug odor won't have time to permeate through the plastic. If you are handling pot at your house, wear latex gloves or wash your hands—marijuana dust can reside on your fingers, and dogs can smell it. You'd be surprised at how many people get busted when dogs start sniffing around car door handles.

    • Hiding your drugs in food is also a wise move. The mixed smells will throw off a dog.


    Salt hotel

    David Pescovitz: This hotel in southwestern Bolivia is constructed entirely from blocks of salt. It was built on the salt desert of Salar de Uyuni. Previously, the only folks in the area were salt miners but apparently it's now a tourist destination. From National Geographic:
     News 2007 07 Images 070725-Salt-Hotel BigThe blindingly white flats stretch as far as the eye can see, except for a few raised mounds of salt. Despite its barren appearance, the desert hosts cacti and rare hummingbirds, and three species of flamingos stop over each year to breed.

    Fat: Japan's Pizza Hut Double Roll is Ultimate Geek Food, 646 Calories Per Slice

    pizza-hut-double-roll.jpgPizza Hut Japan's exclusive Double Roll pie is 646 calories per slice, with little bacon wrapped sausages littered across the crust, and mini hamburger patties on top of the mushrooms, soy beans, corn, paprika, garlic chips, green peppers, and pepperoni. As for cheese, it has mozzarella, cheddar and parmigiana. BTW, this comes with ketchup and maple syrup for extra flavor, and is recommended for kids.

    (According to Lisa who just translated this ad.) This all reminds me of how dog sledders pack bars of butter for cross country trips, for high calorie counts in small, lightweight packages. Wash this down with a tub of lard for the ideal high impact geek meal inbetween WoW dungeon crawls, with minimum downtime. [The inimitable Plastic Bamboo]

    Secrets 'hiding in Last Supper'

    New Aquarium In Yokohama: Get Face-To-Face With Seals and Walruses

    Sky News has posted a cool gallery of pictures taken at the new Fureai Lagoon aquarium section of Yokohoma’s Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. The new section, which opens on Friday, will allow visitors to get up close and personal with seals, sea lions, and walruses via some innovative tubes and tunnels. This new addition will probably draw huge numbers of tourists to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, especially since it offers an experience that had previously only existed at the incredibly popular (but very far away) Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido (pictured below). Anyone interested in visiting Hakkeijima Sea Paradise can check out their English language website, which is suprisingly helpful and detailed compared to other English language sites for Japanese tourist attractions.

    [via Plastic Bamboo]

    Would You Pay $100 To Take Pictures Of This Girl For An Hour?

    If your ideal woman exists in the world of anime & manga, you might want to consider visiting Anigao Girls, a new establishment in Akihabara that has a staff of girls who wear anime-style masks:

    Anigao Girls offer you the exciting chance to pay a measly 10,000 yen to take photos of an Anigao Girl for one whole hour. The session is 1×1 and you get to choose what costume you want her to wear. It costs 1,000 yen per extra costume and if you bring your own costume for her to wear then its going to cost you an extra 1,500 yen. If you want her to wear a bikini then its an extra 2,500 yen

    More details on this creepy new business, plus tons of pictures and videos, can be found over at DannyChoo dot com!

    77 Famous Japanese Faces

    Here’s an interesting video comparing the faces of 77 mostly Japanese celebrities to what they looked like in their pasts:

    Ramen eating

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    Lisa Belkin's Life's Work Is Stating The Obvs: 'Times' Workplace Columnist Limns Difference Between Old And Young


    Add to this the favorite fact of human resource managers everywhere: this is the first time in history that four generations -- those who lived through World War II, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y -- are together in the workplace.
    Managers tell stories of summer associates who come to meetings with midriffs exposed, baring a belly ring; of interns who walk through the halls engaged with iPods; of new hires who explain they need Fridays off because their boyfriends get Fridays off and they have a share in a beach house. Then there is the tale of the summer hire who sent a text message to a senior partner asking "Are bras required as part of the dress code?"
    Wow, it's the first time all day we've been glad we work for the internet. Because seriously, bras? Lame.

    When Whippersnappers and Geezers Collide

    Gadgets: Chilled Shot Machine Makes Shots Go Down Smooth

    chiller.jpgWe're not big shot drinkers here—we prefer the apple, mango, or grapetini ourselves—but this Chilled Shot Machine is just the thing to make your next small glass of booze go down smooth. The device fits a bottle up top, like a water cooler, and chills drinks all the way down to 15 degrees F. That may be colder than freezing temperature for water, but it's just right for alcohol. Sounds delicious, and makes us wish we hadn't already gotten wasted on a six pack of Coronas before we started the day. [Skymall]

    Animal Abuse: Japan's Hello Kitty Cat Humiliation System

    sadkitty.jpgOh… oh my. Japan, a country that never fails to blow my mind, has just seen the release of, according to Google's hilariously inept machine translation, the "Hello Kitty transformation set." It's basically a hat, bib, collar and carrying bag to turn your cat into the saddest, most ridiculous-looking cat on the block. Below, you'll find a gallery of cats with no dignity. After the jump, you'll find examples of perhaps the greatest machine translation I have ever seen, and I'm not exaggerating. You're gonna want to see this. Thanks again for the comedy gold, Japan!


    This the commodity is not daily arrival and the collar. It will stop the use and unreasonable wearing of long haul.
    "Foppery" to be delightful is potato excessively for the cat.
    With the [ri] which is the [ku] which is said becomes matter of concern, but....

    So, when the [ya] it is you dress in the cat of the foppish class upper-class person, attracting the attention of the camera young priest in oneself you are not wrong the shank!

    Holy shit. [Gizmodo Japan]

    Fourever Fortune

    The tale of a wealthy woman who left her entire estate to a man she had known for only four hours.

    In Brief: These imaginary shirts are the funniest ...

    don%27t%20be%20a%20stranger%2C%20hermione%20granger.jpg These imaginary shirts are the funniest thing we've seen in a while. Don't be a stranger, Hermione Granger! [Fashionista]

    Summer Fun: Inflatable Bar, an Ice Cold Beer Barge

    beer_barge.jpgEven if you don't have a pool, just the notion of this inflatable beverage cooling bar floating toward you across the cool blue water might be enough to make this summer's high temperature and humidity seem a bit less oppressive.

    This baby holds just about enough beers to keep Mark, Chen and me busy for a half-hour or so—24 cans complete with plenty of ice to keep everything frigid. And hey, there are enough cupholders to satisfy the trio and each of our beautiful bikini-clad ladies as well. It's $44.50, beers and babes not included. [Brando, via 7 Gadgets]

    Animated flashlight film

    David Pescovitz: Pikafilm
    Takeshi Nagata and Kazue Monno made this wonderful animated film titled "Pika Pika 2007" by taking long-exposure photographs of people waving flashlights and stitching the photos together. You may also have seen their work in a recent Sprint television commercial. Link to Pika Pika 2007, Link to Sprint commercial (Thanks, Michelle Hlubinka!)

    Largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island

    Pope admits proof of evolution

    POPE Benedict says there's scientific proof of the theory of evolution and that it enriches "our understanding of life", but doesn't answer the big question.

    When death comes calling, so does Oscar the cat

    Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. Oscar the cat doesn't like to be put out in the hall when a patient is dying. His accuracy,

    Awkward Moments: Holly Hunter And The World's Worst Interview

    We never thought we'd find someone who made chesty "internet personality" Amanda Congdon seem competent, but this "ABC News Now" interview with Holly Hunter is an amazing example of a celebrity fluff piece gone bad. You will not be able to look away, but, trust us, you'll want to.

    Thieves take family's swimming pool -- with 1,000 gallons of water

    Daisy Valdivia is surprised the thieves went through so much trouble for a pool. There's no evidence that the water was poured out, pumped out, evaporated or drunk. "We have two grills, chairs, umbrellas, they're much easier to take," she says. (BergenRecord)

    Email Apps: Send self-destructing email messages

    Send an email that automatically expires or disappears after it's viewed with ten self-destructing email services. Weblog Tech[dot]blog lists them, from Will Self-Destruct - a web page that gets deleted after it's viewed once - to Self-Destructing Email, which sends messages that expire via web mail. We haven't tried all these services extensively ourselves, but if we did we couldn't tell you - or else we'd have to kill you. Have fun emailing your secrets!

    Holy Roller: 180mph Car Treadmill Great for Designers, Dangerous for Pilots

    nascartreadmill.jpgCheck this full size Nascar sitting on top of a steel belt sliding at 180mph. While wind tunnels have been used to design cars for years, the results can be affected by the fact that the ground is still. This machine solves that problem, in truly dramatic and dangerous fashion. Just like NASCAR itself. The image after the jump shows how giganormous this thing is.


    It's been built by Nascar team owner, Gene Haas, in conjunction with Jacobs Engineering, and will be rented out to other teams to cover what I'm sure is the huge price tag. [Jalopnik]

    Ballooning Success: Amateur Helium Balloon Reaches 28km Altitude

    IMG_5804small.jpgThat's a picture taken from a helium balloon at 28km in altitude. To put that in perspective, the average airliner flies at only 9km. The balloon, created by Jean-Sébastien Busque, carried a video camera, still camera, GPS and a ham radio, but sadly Jean didn't get to take a joy-ride himself. Probably because he didn't have a space jumpsuit. Eventually the balloon flew too high, popped, and the package fell back to Earth. [MAKE]

    A parakeet doing a somersault

    A man busking inside a bin in Cambridge, England

    A British policeman showing kids how to quickly dismount from a moving bicycle

    Fugitive stops for cigarettes during police chase

    A man involved in a police chase on Tuesday surprised authorities when he stopped at a convenience store to buy cigarettes - before resuming the pursuit.

    That is exactly what happened on Tuesday in Phoenix, where authorities chased a suspected bank robber through city streets. The suspect weaved his way through neighborhoods and made a couple of close calls with cars on the roadways. At one point, an undercover officer in a truck ran into the suspect - trying to spin him out.

    Then, in the middle of the chase, the suspect made a pit stop at a convenience store - and ran inside, apparently to buy a pack of cigarettes. The clerk said the guy seemed to be in a hurry, but paid for the pack and left.

    "I give him the cigarettes and he gave me $20 and he left," the store clerk said.

    Police eventually deployed a spike strip, which blew out one of the suspects tyres, before taking him into custody.

    With news video of the pursuit.

    July 25, 2007

    Fighting the pirates

    David Pescovitz: No, not software pirates, but real pirates. The new issue of Smithsonian looks at the battle between today's buccaneers and the International Maritime Bureau, operators of "the world's only pirate reporting and rescue center." According to the Piracy Reporting Center, there were more than 200 pirate attacks registered last year and probably plenty more they didn't hear about. From Smithosinian:
    The attack came after daybreak. The Delta Ranger, a cargo ship carrying bauxite, was steaming through the ink-blue Indian Ocean in January 2006, about 200 nautical miles off Somalia's coast. A crewman on the bridge spied two speedboats zooming straight at the port side of his vessel. Moments later, bullets tore into the bridge, and vapor trails from rocket-propelled grenades streaked across the bow: pirates.

    A member of the Delta Ranger's crew sounded the ship's whistle, and the cargo ship began maneuvering away as bullets thudded into its hull. The captain radioed a message to distant Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) operates the world's only pirate reporting and rescue center. In describing the attack, he added that the pirates seemed to be using a hijacked Indian dhow, a fishing vessel, as their mother ship.

    The center's duty officer immediately radioed an alert to all ships in the Delta Ranger's vicinity and found that two other cargo ships had escaped similar attacks in recent days. The duty officer's next message went to the USS Winston S. Churchill, a Navy guided-missile destroyer on patrol about 100 nautical miles from the pirates' last reported position. Soon after, the Churchill headed for the dhow....

    ...As governments cut their navies after the cold war, as thieves have gotten hold of more powerful weapons and as more and more cargo has moved by sea, piracy has once again become a lucrative form of waterborne mugging. Attacks at sea had become rare enough to be a curiosity in the mid-20th century, but began to reappear in the 1970s. By the 1990s, maritime experts noted a sharp increase in attacks, which led the IMB to establish the Piracy Reporting Centre in 1992—and still the buccaneering continued, with a high of 469 attacks registered in 2000. Since then, improvements in reporting, ship-tracking technology and government reaction have calmed the seas somewhat—the center counted 329 attacks in 2004, down to 276 in 2005 and 239 last year—but pirates remain very much in business, making the waters off Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Somalia especially perilous. "We report hundreds of acts of piracy each year, many hundreds more go undetected," says Capt. Noel Choong, head of the Piracy Reporting Centre, in Kuala Lumpur. "Ships and their crews disappear on the high seas and coastal waters every year, never to be seen again." Even stationary targets, such as oil platforms, are at risk.

    Jail-release celebration ends in very bad way

    One of the celebrants ended up getting chopped up by his pal and his body parts stuffed into a metal drum. Felix Rivera says he panicked after his friend OD'd; he then went to work on the guy. (Connecticut Post)

    This has to be the year's most outrageous prosecution

    An inmate's dragged into court for pleasuring himself while alone in his cell? Come on! (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

    Top ten spacewalks

    Mark Frauenfelder: 200707250710
    fogonazos has a great post about the top ten space walks, with awe-inspiring photos.
    3. Bruce McCandless, floating free in space (1984)

    At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was further out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured above, was floating free in space. McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an "untethered space walk" during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984


    BBC: W's grandpappy planned fascist coup of USA

    Mark Frauenfelder: Kevin says: A BBC Radio 4 investigation sheds new light on a major subject that has received little historical attention, the conspiracy on behalf of a group of influential powerbrokers, led by Prescott Bush, to overthrow FDR and implement a fascist dictatorship in the U.S. based around the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler.
    200707251022 Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen.

    The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

    Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.


    Reader comment:

    Steve says:

    Prescott Bush stole Geronimo's bones! This has even been fact-checked: The skull of Geronimo, Fort Sill's most illustrious prisoner of war, no longer occupies his tomb on the base; the Apache warrior's cranium was reportedly exhumed one night in 1918 by a group of Army officers and smuggled to Yale, where it resides in the vault of the Skull and Bones society. The young officer who wielded the shovel, according to university historian Alexandra Robbins, was the President's grandfather, Prescott Bush.

    Sony Spyware license-agreement performed by a women's choir

    Cory Doctorow: You can't argue back against an abusive End-User License Agreement, but you can make fun of it (see Reasonable Agreement for my take on this) -- or you can arrange it for your local choir.
    Celebrate Sony/BMG's lawsuit against SunComm, the company that provided the rootkit spyware that caused such a ruckus, with this oddly powerful rendition of the Sony/BMG End User License Agreement -- arranged for women's choir and recorded by Toronto recording artist Brian Joseph Davis.
    Link, Coral Cached link to MP3

    Analysis of poster colors of top grossing movies

    Mark Frauenfelder: 200707251006
    This graphic shows the color breakdowns of top grossing movies, arranged by rating (NC-17 at the top, G at the bottom).

    The trend seems to be: the more risqué the movie, the redder and blacker the poster. Link (Thanks, hurty elbow!)

    Is obesity contagious?

    Obesity may be 'socially contagious' – if your friend becomes obese, you have a nearly 60% higher risk of packing on extra pounds as well

    A surreal and supremely inane compendium of miscellaneous knowledge, Vol 2

    Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 10-5 "If you only watch one YouTube movie today featuring dancing country farmer's daughters contortionists singing about potato salad, it should be this one."
    200707250922 Jory Squibbs 100 mpg handmade car
    Picture 11-3 Text of 1903 book: Wee Tim'rous Beasties: Studies of Animal Life and Character
    Picture 12-2 Pygmy baby marmoset plays peekaboo with stuffed toy snake
    Picture 13-2 Video of kid eating a habenero pepper
    Picture 14-1 Over 100 people witness UFO in night sky in England

    Previously on Boing Boing:
    ASASICOMK, Vol. 1

    Beyonce eats it

    Beyonce had a concert in Orlando, Florida last night and totally ate it while trying to walk down the stairs. I mean like head over heels the way they'd fall down in a movie kind of fall. And like a true professional she just pops back up and starts lip-syncing away like nothing happened. I'd blame the convulsing she does afterwards on some sort of head injury, but she was doing that even before she fell.

    They're Here! UFO sightings bring town to a standstill

    Fire Breather: Tesla Electric Sports Car Coming This Fall, Not Sold Out Yet

    tesla_au_natural.jpgThe Tesla electro-roadster that goes from 0-60 in 4 seconds is due to hit the streets this fall, and there are 560 orders for the $98,000 electric sports car already pending. Hey, wait a minute. We thought all the Teslas were sold out. Not so, according to a Tesla Motors spokesman, who says the Lotus factory where the cars are built can crank out 800 of the 2008 models. When can we get one?

    Not right away. It's not too late to plunk down a $50,000 deposit, which gives you the right to buy your shiny new Tesla by next July, or if you pay a $30,000 deposit, you'll be in line behind the $50,000 depositors. Oh yeah, you'll have to pay the balance on the final price of $102,900 plus any tax and delivery charges, and that breaks down to $98,000 for the car, and of course you'll want to add a $1200 navigation system, a carbon fiber hard top that matches the body color for $3200, and then there's that $500 mobile charging system. All of those options sound like necessities to us.

    It does look like a great car, but we're reluctant to buy anything that's in a such a limited edition, and especially since it's version 1.0. We'd rather let others be the beta testers for this fire-breathing electro-rocket. [Mercury News]

    Pac-Man Plush-Head: Pac-Man Balaclava Should Be Mandatory Streetwear for Everyone

    pacmanplushhead.jpgItems such as this Pac-Man Plush-Head helmet make me realize how much life has to offer. It comes in two sizes, (Pac)Man and (Pac)Boy and does nothing but keep your ears warm. Nope, no MP3 player, no vibrating head massager, no USB, no Bluetooth - just squashy yellowness. What else do you need?

    The Pac-Man Plush-Head costs $29.99 for eternal delinquents and $24.99 for kids. Something tells me they'll be gobbled up faster than Pac-Man pops pills. [ClubNAMCO via Shiny Shiny]

    Harley nipple rings


    Harley nipple rings

    Cycle over Greenlake

    (Terrifying clip above from Yule Heibel)

    My Pet Fish Soap

    "My Pet Fish" Soap looks like the bag that you carry home from the pet store, but don’t be fooled … these plastic fish are not swimming in water, they are embedded in clear, vegetable based glycerin soap shaped like "water in a bag".

    Comes in assorted colours.

    Spatula-wielding cook fights off would-be robbers

    Four young teenagers got themselves in trouble with police on Sunday night - maybe to their relief - after they faced a 70-year-old cook who fought back when they tried to rob a Milwaukee restaurant.

    The youths entered the George Webb restaurant, at 20th and Mitchell streets, around 8:30 p.m. Sunday to case out the place. They returned a few minutes later and one stood on a stool.

    "Give me all your money," the would-be robber said.

    The cook, Jan, can be heard responding on surveillance tape. "You better get the (expletive) out of here here before I kick your (expletive). Out! Out!," she yells, raising her spatula.

    The boys, ages 11, 12, 13 and 17, ran off.

    The entire ordeal was caught on the restaurant's security camera, and police were able to catch up with the boys in the neighbourhood within minutes.

    Police say man mutilated himself

    A Florida man was taken to Community Medical Center early Monday after he attempted to cut off his penis, authorities said.

    Officers were dispatched about 4:45 a.m. to 437 Taylor Ave., in the city’s Hill Section, after reports of a man who cut himself. When they arrived James Powell, 20, of Miami, was standing in the kitchen, holding a towel over his penis, Scranton police Capt. Carl Graziano said.

    “Officers observed a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor and on the counter where the knife was located,” Capt. Graziano said. “They asked the male what happened and he said he tried to cut his penis off.”

    It’s unknown why Mr. Powell wanted to hurt himself, Capt. Graziano said.

    CMC spokeswoman Noelle Snyder said no information was available on Mr. Powell’s condition.

    Businessman's champagne spree at West End club adds up to £105,805

    A high-rolling businessman woke up with a bar receipt for £105,805 in his wallet after he treated a group of friends to a lavish night out at one of London's most expensive nightclubs, it was claimed yesterday.

    Over the course of seven hours at London's Crystal nightclub, the Middle Eastern banker is alleged to have splashed out on numerous super-sized bottles of champagne and vodka.

    £105,805 receipt

    In total he is said to have bought an astonishing 102 bottles-worth of champagne and 11 bottles-worth of vodka.

    Included in the liver-busting round was a Methuselah of champagne (equivalent in size to eight normal-sized bottles) costing £30,000 and a single super-sized bottle of vodka costing £1,400.

    But at least the party didn't go too over the top: they also ordered six cans of Coca Cola and some Red Bull as a mixer.

    Bank clerk's £2million mistake

    A bank clerk accidentally gave a customer nearly £2 million.

    Care worker Jenny Woollvin, 24, paid a £50 winning Premium Bond cheque into her local Abbey branch.

    But when she checked her balance, she found she was a “millionaire”.

    Jenny Woollvin

    Her original receipt showed the clerk had put part of her account number into the space where the amount goes — and given her £1,761,000.

    Jenny, 24, from Seaford, East Sussex, said: “I was staggered. It was nice to have a dream.”

    But 24 hours later the cash “disappeared”. The Abbey — whose slogan is ‘More ideas for your money’ — said; “This was a genuine human error. When we cashed up, we made the correction.”


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    July 24, 2007

    Mystery pattern in old building's bricks

    David Pescovitz: This triangle is one of three built into the brick wall of a 175-year-old building in New York City's financial district. The meaning of the shapes is a mystery that has captured the imagination of historians, and councilman, and others. Even the developer who demolished the building to make way for a parking lot was convinced to save that section of the wall. It's now stored in a crate. Historian Alan Solomon who fought to save the wall believes the triangles might be a religious symbol put there by devout Christian businessman William Colgate who once owned the building. Maybe Dan Brown would know. From the Associated Press:
    Traing The triangle has traditionally been used to represent the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Some scholars, while stressing the need for more research, think the Pearl Street symbol evokes esotericism — efforts to delve for divine meaning in numbers, geometry, nature and elsewhere. The symbol was even the subject of a presentation at an academic conference on esotericism in Amsterdam in 2005.

    The triangular forms could encode a message in their proportions, said Joscelyn Godwin, a Colgate University music and medieval studies professor who examined esoteric ideas in "The Theosophical Enlightenment."

    Alfred Willis, a scholar of esotericism's influence on architecture and a university librarian at Hampton University, suggested that the proportions may point to Bible verses.


    Found here

    In Brief: New study proves Muslims and Born-Again Christians ...

    New study proves Muslims and Born-Again Christians are exactly the same in every way! [Spero News]

    Underwear Gyaru

    From Japan Probe, this girl is a trendsetter of a sorts, walking around in her underwear.

    Jessica, the pet hippo

    Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 3-49 Video of a sweet pet hippo named Jessica. Link (Via Woodring Monitor)

    Secret list of buildings you can't photograph

    Cory Doctorow: The DHS says that it's against the law to photograph "sensitive" government buildings, but they won't publish a list of these buildings, so it's impossible to comply with the law. The rub is that if you get caught breaking the law, you'll get shaken down, have your name and personal information taken, and go into a file, presumably forever.
    The bottom line is that McCammon was caught in a classic logical trap. If he had only known the building was off-limits to photographers, he would have avoided it. But he was not allowed to know that fact. "Reasonable, law-abiding people tend to avoid these types of things when it can be helped," McCammon wrote. "Thus, my request for a list of locations within Arlington County that are unmarked, but at which photography is either prohibited or discouraged according to some (public or private) policy. Of course, such a list does not exist. Catch-22."
    Link (via Making Light)

    Wrecked container ship photo gallery

    Cory Doctorow:
    Here's a gallery featuring hundreds of photos of container-ship wrecks. Some of these shots are breathtaking -- container ships are the Brobdingnagian behemoths of the sea, and when they heel over, it's like a city block's worth of skyscrapers all lying down on their sides at once. For an idea of where these wrecks are headed, see these shots of a fifty-year-old wreck that beached on the Great Barrier Reef. I dived the wreck last year and I'll never forget it. The above-water portions had rusted away until they looked like a scabrous metal Parthenon, while on the ocean-bottom, giant schools of meter-long parrotfish danced around a propeller-shaft as tall as a house. Link (via Negatendo)


    Stage malfunction


    Obscene sign in Boston offers unique menu

    Families driving down Route 1 in Boston did not expect to see a construction sign that said, "Penis for lunch".

    Transportation authorities said the sign was the work of a prankster who was able to hack into the system that controls the signs.

    Penis for lunch

    Authorities didn't find out about the sign until it was up for most of the morning and afternoon. The sign was soon shut off, instead of being re-programmed.

    "Some people might see it as a joke, but this is a road that is travelled on by families and children and there are some people that don't find it funny," said a transportation spokesman.

    There's a news video here, which for some reason FOX25 news saw the need to censor the word penis.

    July 23, 2007

    Psychology, design and economics of slot-machines

    Cory Doctorow: Stanford design prof Michael Shanks has an online course unit about the design, politics, sociology and economics of slot machines that is flat-out fascinating, especially the manipulative psychology of slot and casino design.

    The layout also takes advantage of the differences between slot and table players. In general, table players do not like the noise of slot machines because they find it distracting. In addition, they may sometimes play a few rounds on slot machines spontaneously, but obviously prefer table playing. At the same time, however, spouses or partners of table players will often wile away time playing at a nearby slot machine. Thus casinos are planned such that there are slot machines lining walkways around tables. However, these slots are always tight. This cuts down on the noise and distraction to table players, and makes sense because the majority of players on these machines are playing spontaneously, with little expectation of winning. This demonstrates to what degree casino layouts are optimized—in this case, to the point that a complex system is implemented simply to clean up loose change from spontaneous players.
    Link (via Architectures of Control in Design)

    Update: Andy sez, "Just for accuracy's sake, the report on slot machines is actually a student project by William Choi and Antoine Sindhu."

    Wasabi Soda and Curry Soda


    Found these delicious-looking drinks in Shibuya the other day. One tastes like wasabi+soda, the other like Indian curry+soda. Yummm.

    Those Toys: Japanese Man Spends $170K in Hi-Tech Dolls To Shake His Wiimote

    orient-industry-dolls.jpgOne Japanese man has spent $170,000 to build an army of nearly a hundred ultra-realistic sex dolls made by Orient Industry. Apparently he's part of the fever taking over middle-aged Japanese men, who buy these $850 to $5,500 silicon zombies with 35 movable joints out of desperation. But fear not, this story has a happy end. And a NSFW picture gallery.

    The man who spent the $170,000 in this plastic harem justifies it by saying that "a human girl can cheat on you or betray you sometimes, but these dolls never do those thing. They belong to me 100 percent." He also argues that it costs him too much money and time to get into a woman's knickers, and these ones are only "one-click away," referring to the online ordering method.

    He watches TV with them, talks to them, bathes them, gets all waawaaweewaa and does his thing all over them. Then I guess he bathes them again. Hopefully. But really, let me get this straight: a man is afraid of women, says they are too-high maintenance, then gets almost a hundred zombies to take care of them like classic cars? And not even to take over the world by installing servos and AI units in them?

    Madness, I say! Utter preposterous madness! According to Orient Industry's CEO Hideo Tsuchiya, "more and more men are finding themselves miserable so we're making these dolls partly in support of men."

    Shame on you, Mr. Tsuchiya, shame on you! And where's our review unit, anyway? [Reuters - Thanks Alex!]

    Babies eating lemons

    A young lady doing strange things with her tongue

    Man shoots self on road after truck stalls

    A 22-year-old man whose truck broke down on a busy roadway grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head in full view of motorists.

    Lehigh County coroner Scott Grim said Douglas Philippi, of Upper Saucon Township, was pronounced dead on Tuesday afternoon.

    Authorities said Philippi apologized to his brother who was riding with him before killing himself.

    Pennridge Regional Police Chief David Mettin said Philippi had been dealing with "mental health issues" stemming from the recent death of a loved one. Mettin said the truck breakdown "was like the final straw."

    When the lights go out, students take off to airport

    When the sun has set in one of the world's poorest nations and the floodlights come on at G'bessi International Airport, the parking lot begins to fill with children.

    It's exam season in Guinea, ranked 160th out of 177 countries on the United Nations' development index, and students flock to the airport every night because it is among the only places where they can count on finding the lights on.

    G'bessi International Airport, Guinea

    Groups begin heading to the airport at dusk, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. Some come from over an hour's walk away.

    They sit by age group with seven-to-nine-year-olds on a curb in a traffic island and teenagers on the concrete pilings flanking the national and international terminals. Few cars disturb their studies.

    G'bessi International Airport, Guinea

    The students at the airport consider themselves lucky.

    Those living farther away study at petrol stations. Others sit outside the homes of affluent families, picking up the crumbs of light falling from their illuminated living rooms.

    Zoo creates a special temple with a pool for their elephants

    Leipzig Zoo's elephant enclosure is designed to look more like a temple than a cage and includes a 135-square-metre swimming pool for the creatures.

    Swimming trunks

    The zoo claims the elephant enclosure is the most modern in the world. Visitors are able to watch through super-strength, glass panels as the animals swim under water.

    The enclosure, named Ganesha Mandir by the zoo, also includes a huge shower area.

    Twirling dancer optical illusion

    David Pescovitz: Spindance Click through to this optical illusion and focus on the twirling dancer. Keep watching for a while and eventually she'll appear to change direction from clockwise to counterclockwise. No, it's not faked.
    Link (via Mindhacks)

    • Mr. Angry and Mrs. Calm optical illusion Link
    • Illusion zen Link
    • Dragon Optical Illusion Link

    What Were They Thinking?: Anderson Cooper Comes Out On Live TV

    In this light bit on CNN, anchor and reporter Anderson Cooper refers not even very obliquely to the fact that he is a homosexual and therefore not interested in making babies with his co-workers.

    Boozetech: Oenophile's Personal Winery

    personal-winery.jpgHere in Illinois, our ability to order wine from our favorite producers will soon be a thing of the past, outlawed to empower the confusing regional alcohol industry. That's why "home brewing" wine through the Oenophile's Personal Winery is so attractive. You order legal crushed, frozen grapes from the region of your choosing, and it does the rest.

    Producing up to four cases of wine at a time (woohoo!), the personal winery has a massive steel tank for fermentation. The system controls Brix (sugar levels) by regulating temperature to control yeast at all times, and transmits the data to a PC via WiFi. The software graphs statistics, offers tips to control the flavor and sends notices when tasting is necessary or the skins need pressing.

    After 6 months to a year in the tank, wine can be removed and further aged in the packaged oak barrel. And while the entire package will run you a steep $5,999, we'd absolutely love to have a tiny winery of our own...even if we had very little to do with the final product's quality. [product via uberreview]

    MiniCat: Boat in a Bag for Sailors on the Move

    p1839h.jpgThe MiniCat is a self-assembling catamaran. Costing $4,905, it consists of a couple of floats, sails, some aluminum rods, an alloy mast, a rudder, keel fin and a trampoline. You can assemble it in around half an hour (well, it would take me a couple of days—the Addy-Ikea Flatpack interface is not a sight most of us want to see, believe you me) and this is what it looks like packed up and ready to go...

    p1839ex5.jpgOoh, it may be tiny, but it's a serious piece of kit for serious sailors. At the moment it's only available in Europe, but hey, get a one-way flight, be brave and sail it back across the Atlantic. [MiniCat via Red Ferret]

    Some refer to Best Buy's Geek Squad as the "Peek Squad"

    Allegations of Geek Squad agents copying pornography, music and racy photos from customers' computers are circulating on the Internet. Any attractive young woman who drops off her computer with the Geek Squad should assume that her photos will be looked at," says a former employee. (Star Tribune)

    Pool cue prank proves painful

    A "VERY drunk man" rammed a pool cue into the rectum of a drunken friend with such force it snapped off, leaving 31 centimetres stuck inside his bowel.

    July 22, 2007

    Censor This: Black Bar Glasses Keep Pricks Anonymous

    Post3%3A21pic.gifIf you've ever filmed a porn flick, but subsequently wished you had concealed your identity, then the Black Bar Glasses are for you. Available from the aptly named Stupididiotic at $10, wasting your money will never be quite so easy as it is here.

    Sure the glasses will conceal your identity, however, on the downside they will relieve you of that prized dignity you've worked so hard for. Mind you, starring in a porno with animals and jelly pink rubber walls has already obliterated your reputation. Respect the last morsels of credibility you have and listen to your mother - you're a cretin. No one loves you for a reason; do something productive. [Product Page]

    July 20, 2007

    Mistake makes everyone a winner at Honda dealership

    A direct-mail firm's error made everyone a $1,000 winner in a Honda dealer's contest. There were 50,000 scratch-off ads printed; 20,000 were stopped at the post office when the mistake was discovered. (Roswell Record)

    > Thousands will get another chance to win the money

    Hotmail Delivers Far Fewer Emails with Attachments

    biednyFacet writes "It has long been suspected that there is a silent policy that makes Hotmail automatically delete the majority of attachments to save on bandwidth and internal disk space. Therefore it really doesn't matter if every client has access to 2GB of storage since they don't deliver the attachments to fill that space up anyway. If that truly is the case, then Microsoft may be liable for several hundred million cases of conspiracy and mail fraud."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    The Future Is Now: Moller M200G Hover-Car In Production and Selling for ~$125k

    m200x.jpgMoller International, creators of that stunning red flyingcar prototype seen web-wide, has started production on the M200G, the consumer-ready derivative of the M200X volantor, and is readying the machine for the open market. Depending on engine costs, the M200G will cost between $90,000-$125,000. Video:

    According to the press release, the machine can hover 10 feet off the ground and cruises at a speed of 50 mph. Because the M200G is classified as a recreation device and not an aircraft, it is not subject to FAA regulations and anybody can operate one. No official release date has been announced.

    [Paleo-Future via Wired]

    Woman runs out of the shower when a snake drops in

    The 3-foot snake "was just hanging there, right in front of my face," says Khadija Bile. "I was shocked. Then I ran out of the bathroom and toward the door. I was naked, but I didn't know what to do." (SunJournal.com)

    How to create an Angry American

    Most notable for the extensive collection of "then and now" video clips, featuring what they said then, and what they deny saying now.

    Earth Toy: Electro-Magnetic World Spins of its Own Accord

    globus%20hannes.jpgThis shiny black-and-chrome globe will hover above its black stand without any visible help - unless you want to spin it, in which case a gentle hand will help it on its way. Measuring 4 inches across, its base plugs into the mains and will cost you $137. [FunIce via Sci-Fi Tech]

    Gym mishap

    New Order - True Faith

    It's difficult to believe that this was first released as a single twenty years ago today.

    I think the video, directed by Philippe Decouflé, has stood the test of time.

    I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now.

    Nixie tube wristwatch!

    Cory Doctorow: Cathode Corner sells this handsome, motion-activated Nixie-tube wristwatch for $395 -- despite its baroque, fragile appearance, it's billed as "rugged and water-resistant." The motion-activation looks pretty slick: when you roll your wrist up to look at your watch the hours and then the minutes light up in the two Nixies in the watch. The firmware is GPLed and can be freely hacked, too. Link

    Judge Lends Vinny Gorgeous Some Clothes

    2007_07_vinnygorg.jpgVincent Basciano, the reputed boss of the Bonanno crime family also known as "Vinny Gorgeous," may be on trial for the 2001 murder of a rival, but that doesn't mean he can't be concerned with his appearance.

    During an appearance in Brooklyn court yesterday, Basciano was upset because he was not, as Newsday puts it, "provided with a dress shirt to go with the suit he wears to his federal racketeering trial." Well, who wouldn't be upset?!

    Basciano told Judge Nicholas Garaufis he was "uncomfortable" wearing only a t-shirt under his suit jacket and said, "I know what's appropriate to wear in court." Garaufis then turned from jurist to stylist, asking Basciano what size shirt he wears (seventeen neck) and then had an aide fetch a blue shirt and yellow tie. From Newsday:

    "I'm not sure if it's color coordinated, Mr. Basciano, but actually green and blue go together these days," said Garaufis, refering to Basciano's suit jacket.

    "All right," responded Basciano.

    "Yellow tie, blue shirt, your size somewhat," observed Garaufis.

    "I would do my shopping here," answered Basciano, "Thank you very much."

    "We have limited availability," Garaufis said wryly.

    Defense attorney James Kousouros then helped Basciano adjust his tie.

    Hilarious stuff, really, when you forget about the alleged violence, etc. The jury was not present during the exchange.

    Also, props to Newsday reporter Anthony DiStefano for working in a "Bonanno Republic" mention.

    "Naughty" dog eats $800 in cash; owner recovers most of it

    Some pieces of bills were spread around the house -- and some were left in the backyard, after Peppy swallowed the money and took a dump. "Pretty soon (I) came to a pile, that had a fifty dollar bill hanging out, part of a fifty, and I said 'gosh, look at that,'" says the dog's owner. "There were lots of piles with money hanging out there, so I had to save it, rinse it, strain it." (KARE-TV)

    Google to bid on 700MHz spectrum if conditions are met

    Not that we weren't expecting anything less, but it looks like the bidding in the upcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction is set to heat up, with Google now saying that it'll join in on the action, although only if certain conditions are met. Specifically, Google is asking for the FCC to ensure that the spectrum allows for "open applications, open devices, open networks, and open services" -- demands that seem to be pretty much in line with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's recent statements on the matter. If the FCC follows through on that, Google says it's prepared to put up some $4.6 billion for the wireless spectrum. Well, there goes our plans.

    [Via PhoneScoop]

    Tiny brain OK for civil servant

    A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life as a civil servant. Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed a huge fluid-filled chamber took up most of his skull. French researchers say it left room for little more tha

    CHiPs star never passed his bike test

    TV biker cop Erik Estrada has revealed he never passed his motorcycle test. Estrada played highway patrol officer Punch in 1970s hit CHiPs, reports The Sun. But he never actually had a motorcycle licence for real. Estrada, now 58, had to hurriedl

    Fisherman lands pal's skull

    A trawlerman caught a human skull in his nets - and was stunned to find it was that of his friend. Barry Hunter, 58, made the gruesome catch in December and handed the skull to police, reports The Sun. DNA tests this week revealed it was part of the

    Philippino prisoners reenact Thriller

    Cory Doctorow:
    In this video, hundreds of inmates in a Philippine prison reenact the video for Michael Jackson's Thriller (complete with ladyboy!) -- they're eerily awesome at it, too. Link (Thanks, Ben!)

    See also:
    Lego Thriller

    Update: Toshi.M sez, "The Japanese kids' show Pitagora Suicchi has a recurring segment called the Algorithm March in which they do a little dance with a different group of people each week; here it is with ninjas. And, the relevant bit, here it is with 967 Filipino prisoners."

    July 19, 2007

    Condom Fashion Show in China


    At a reproductive health and technologies expo in China last week, models wore these pretty dresses made entirely out of condoms. I don't know if this really sends out the right message, though. It's kinda like when TLC wore condoms as accessories on their album cover, it doesn't really tell you the right way to use them. Anyway, these dresses are pretty rad-looking so I had t post them. More pics (courtesy of Reuters and MSN Mainichi Daily News) after the jump.


    Too Sexy for My Garden Wear

    Things I love:
    1. The misfortune of others.
    2. Uncontrollable laughter.
    3. Slow motion replays.

    Ritalin might affect Brain

    "U.S. medical researchers have discovered use of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Ritalin by young children might affect their brains." Um, isn't that the point? Also, what about the massive use of Adderall by adults? Does that do anything bad, brain-wise? A, uh, friend wants to know. [UPI]

    Executive Order Overturns US Fifth Amendment

    RalphTWaP writes "Tuesday, there wasn't even a fuss. Wednesday, the world was a little different. By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact." There hasn't been much media notice of this; the UK's Guardian has an article explaining how the new authority will only be used to go after terrorists.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    A Dim View from Sum.

    The story came out last week about a Chinese vendor making steamed pork buns out of cardboard. This sounded pretty bad, considering the tainted food products they’ve been sending overseas lately. Now comes word that Chinese police have arrested the reporter for faking the story. Now, if you were a reporter for a TV station in a communist country with no freedom of press, would you concoct a story that makes the nation look bad? Hmmmm.

    Not Terror: The Great Manhattan Steam Pipe Explosion '07

    steampipe2.jpgHere's the tally from yesterday's big bang: One dead, thirty injured (two severely). We're not sure what it says about where we're at when a statement from the mayor like this one is viewed as comforting ("There is no reason to believe this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure") but there you have it. Oh, also, it may have rained asbestos all over midtown. Happy Thursday!

    Steam Blast Jolts Midtown, Killing One [NYT] [Image: Jimmy]

    Man claps as loud as helicopter din

    A Chinese man whose clapping hands are nearly as loud as the roar of a helicopter is hoping to get into the record books. Zhang Quan, 70, of Chongqing city, had his clapping monitored by local environmental protection officials, reports Chongqing Busin

    Primates on the pill

    Baboons are consuming natural contraceptives that temporarily prevent females from becoming pregnant

    A raccoon caught stealing a doormat

    Cropped photos can be deceptive



    Legendary Chinese lake 'monster' is captured on camera

    China’s Loch Ness monster has been sighted. Or so Chinese state-run television says. Not just one, but more than a dozen huge creatures can be seen churning across Lake Kanasi in remote western China, leaving a foamy wake more like an enormous motorboat than a big fish.

    A rare video filmed by a tourist at the lake in the Heavenly Mountains of the wild Xinjiang region, has reignited debate over the existence of an underwater creature that can compete with the Loch Ness monster in both mass and mystery.

    The grainy film shows about 15 objects moving at high speed just beneath the surface of the lake and whipping the smooth blue water into a bubbling white frenzy. Chinese Central Television broadcast the video on its news channel, describing the footage shot by a passing tourist on July 5 as the clearest ever seen of a legendary beast that has been rumoured for centuries to live in the depths of Lake Kanasi.

    Local myth among the Chinese Mongolians living in the scenic mountains near the Russian and Mongolian borders has it that the animals have been known to drag sheep, cows and even horses from the shore and into the deep to devour them.

    The $1million jigsaw puzzle

    The old-fashioned jigsaw is back. But the traditional board game has been dragged into the 21st century and now a sense of self-satisfaction isn't the only thing to play for – a $1million (£490,000) prize is up for grabs.

    The Golden Jigsaw is about to take the world by storm (perhaps), but competitors will be looking for missing pieces on the Internet instead of down the back of a sofa.

    Puzzlers who enter the challenge receive a 'jig-board'. Clues are then e-mailed to them in the form of anagrams which, when solved, reveal the names of websites which contain hidden jigsaw pieces.

    The Golden Jigsaw

    The first person to collect all 1,000 pieces and complete the puzzle wins the jackpot.

    The free competition was the brainchild of Julian Hanford, 46, who was inspired by his six-year-old twins Aurelia and Lucian, and their love of computer puzzles.

    About 7,500 players have already signed up for Golden Jigsaw, which begins at 12pm on Friday and will last up to seven months.

    July 18, 2007

    'Hidden' species may be surprisingly common

    An analysis of animals that appear identical but are genetically distinct will impact the understanding of evolution, biodiversity, and even infectious diseases

    Young students get $40,000 each in locker-room taping case

    A jury awarded the money to 32 students who were taped by school-authorized Internet-connected cameras in locker rooms at a Tennessee middle school. (Tennessean)

    Mark Jenkins: cafeteria prank

    David Pescovitz: Jenkinseat Prankster artist Mark Jenkins, creator of the infamous tape babies and lollipop parking meters, recently placed a dummy in a Brazil cafeteria, positioning her face-down in her food. Then Mark caught the patrons' reactions on video.

    Previously on BB:
    • Mark Jenkins's Tape Babies Link
    • Mark Jenkins's Traffic-Go-Round Link
    • Mark Jenkins casts a human head in packing tape Link
    • Mark Jenkins's Meter Pops street installation Link

    Loooking Lovely: Light Drop Liquid-Looking Luminescence

    lightdropwtmk.jpgBy Brazilian designer Rafael Morgan, the Light Drop is a lamp you operate like a faucet, controlling the intensity of light with the knob. The striking silicon bulb is lit by an LED to ensure you aren't just pouring your money down the drain (though we're not so certain that one LED will achieve a perfectly even glow).

    For some odd reason, all of the greatest designs in the world aren't for sale. From futuristic cars to lamps that look like liquid, we are obviously not worthy of real genius in our homes. Besides, someone like Target would mass produce the Light Drops and you'd be embarrassed to own one in a season anyway. [design via gearfuse]

    Finally: First Useful TV Packaging In History Transforms Into a TV Stand

    tv_packagingfront.jpgWouldn't the packaging for a big-screen TV be the perfect size for a TV stand? Yes, and a clever designer decided to do just that. We knew there were some tricky designers working on various packaging techniques for electronics devices, judging from all the puzzle-like intricate packing schemes we've seen in the hundreds of devices passing through here. So finally, one designer got his shit together, and decided to put all of that packing material to good use. How is it done?

    First of all, designer Tom Ballhatchet placed wheels on the package itself, making the bulky box easier to roll from store to home. Then he placed the TV set into an expanded polypropylene shell, perfectly molded to its shape. Once you get the package home, the areas that the screen occupied inside this package can be used as shelves for the TV stand, and the wheels pull off the bottom of the box and can be inserted into the stand. The result? The first useful TV set packaging we've seen.

    Heck, a lot of buyers who overspent on that TV set are probably already using the box it came in as a TV stand—now it's been prettied up considerably and made more practical. A lot of the TV stands on sale these days are made out of glorified cardboard anyway, so why not just put that packaging to good use? Nice.

    [Yanko Design]

    The hills are live with the Sound of Music - 24/7

    A TV channel screening The Sound of Music non-stop has been launched in Salzburg where the movie was filmed. The Julie Andrews classic will be shown in hotels and guesthouses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.

    A painting expected to fetch up to £200 at auction went for £205,000 - and is probably worth more than £5 million.

    The painting was just one among a motley selection up for auction in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, reports The Guardian. Lot 403 was described in the auctioneer's catalogue as "18th-century continental school, half-length portrait of an aesthete"

    Smoking Section, Please: Tobacco-Flavored Condoms, Party In Your Mouth

    cohiba-condom.jpgIn order to promote safe sex among India's prostitutes, Hindustan Latex Ltd has developed "paan-flavored" condoms—making a man's...cigar...resemble the tasty Indian treat of betel nuts and spices wrapped in tobacco leaves. At first you might say, "Sign me up!!" And we can certainly understand the enthusiasm. But are these prophylactics missing the point?

    After all, don't we all smell like tobacco after a good night of partying anyway? I always considered that odoriferous menthol coating on your skin to be free with the purchase of enough drinks—a sort of invisible car freshener for your body, or 25-cent bowling bathroom cologne without the need for spare change.

    [hindlatex via theregister]

    Where's that tiger?

    Man let off for throwing computer by sympathetic police

    A German man who hurled his computer out of the window in the middle of the night, was let off for disturbing the peace by police who sympathised with his technical frustrations.

    Police in the northern city of Hanover said they would not press charges after responding to calls made by residents in an apartment block who were woken by a loud crash in the early hours of Saturday.

    Officers found the street and pavement covered in electronic parts and discovered who the culprit was. Asked what had driven him to the night-time outburst, the 51-year-old man said he had simply got annoyed with his computer.

    "Who hasn't felt like doing that?" said a police spokesman.

    While escaping any official sanction the man was made to clear up the debris.

    July 17, 2007

    "Creepy Old Man" on MySpace charged with rape

    Douglas Weed, 34, who gave himself the handle "Creepy Old Man" on his MySpace page, has been charged with two counts of rape. He wrote on his site: "I'm Creeper, I like moonlit walks on a deserted beach and horsies and unicorns and flowers and stuff. ... One of these days I will be free of the oppression that surrounds my life, and the persons responsible for the trouble will realize that they cannot get away with stuff, just 'cause they be lucky." (Berkshire Eagle)

    Unusual Rescues Around Town

    2007_07_mailbox.jpgOn the Gothamist Newsmap, there are a few incidents that are not mapped but simply listed as "Unusual Rescue," with the time and place, and occasionally we learn what was so unusual about them.

    For instance, yesterday at 5:06PM, the unusual rescue at Avenue W and East 27th Street in Sheepshead Bay turned out to be a teenager stuck in a mailbox. Really. The Daily News reports that the kid's friends dared him to go into one of those green storage mailboxes, only for the mailbox to lock behind him. The friends apparently called for help, asking for the "postal police," according to one cop. The teens are not being charged, but one resident wasn't amused. Twenty-eight year-old Jason Irgang said, "Kids will be kids, but I don't think this is funny. It's a big waste of city resources having cops out here because some dumb kid locked himself in a mailbox."

    The unusual rescue at 7:46PM in Stuyvesant Square Park in Manhattan was for a woman hit by a 25-foot tree branch while walking her dog near East 15th and 2nd Avenue. The Post reports that Alexis Hanwerker's leg and arm were broken. Passerby Luis Gonzalez who helped the victim said, "I saw the whole tree was moving and just heard the crack."

    Be careful out there when you're stealing copper wire

    If you don't watch it, you'll end up like Brandon Reed -- fried. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

    Obama Girl vs Giuliani Girl (and other love songs)

    The 2008 election is getting the pop culture parody treatment big time. Its happened in previous elections, but not on this scale, this early, and the production values this time are even better. What do you expect when candidates set up social networking sites and enlist websurfers to pick a theme song? You get parodys, fan clubs, parody fan clubs, and groupies... well, groupies may not be anything new, but fake groupies on MySpace aren’t in the traditional campaign playlist.

    Undead On Batteries: Crawling Zombie Vigorously Drags His Legless Carcass Into Your Heart

    crawlingzombie.jpgIf you're one of the hordes of the zombie-obsessed, you're going to love The Crawling Zombie, a legless, lifeless and red-eyed oaf that chases you across the table as he cries out such pithy sayings as "Hey, slow down, would ya? I can only crawl so fast!", and "I can't feel my legs," and even more wisecracks. Jump to the next page for a video of this undulating undead ogre in action.

    Hey, that sucker can crawl really fast. As undead as he is, he still requires three AA batteries. Activated by any noises, he's certain to scare unsuspecting passersby. That might be a thrill that makes him (it?) well worth his rather steep $38.90 purchase price. [Otherland, via 7 Gadgets]

    July 16, 2007

    Bullshit: Cow Pie Clock is What All Gadgets Would Be if the Midwest Ran the World

    cow-pie-clock2.jpgI'm not even sure what to say about this one. The Cow Pie Clock is a clock and, well, it's made out of real cow shit. Yes, a pure, 100% authentic pile of Utah cow droppings with a clock mounted on it. If you're disgusting and/or insane, you can buy one online for $40-$50. Just look how happy this lady is with hers! You can't go wrong! [Product Page via Nerd Approved]

    Design: Wearable Pillow Makes You Look Like a Silly Nun

    pillowhead.pngIf you're the type of person that goes about your day wishing you had a pillow with you at all times, this crazy Pillowig design is for you. It's a pillow combined with a wig, and it's designed by Joo Youn Paek, the craziest Korean woman since Kim Jung Il.

    She said when she performed user tests in public spaces (subways, airplanes, libraries, laundromats), others said they would like to have one of these for their trips as well. We're unsure whether they actually wanted these things or just humoring her so she wouldn't go batshit insane and cause a scene. [Project Page via Neatorama]

    Sisterhood Is Powerful: Hawaiian Tropic Zone: Betty Friedan's Dreams Made Flesh

    tropicThe Hawaiian Tropic Zone restaurant is apparently a safe place for women! Owner Dennis Riese tells the New Yorker that he likes the ladies, and in a good, gyno-positive Naomi Wolf way.

    I'm such a feminist. I love women and believe in them.... We have a section that says 'simply grilled,' because women don't like to eat sauces the way men do. They're watching their weight more often. Also, see, it says 'sharing encouraged,' no extra charge. Well, women have smaller stomachs. And maybe two young single girls have a smaller pocketbook, and the idea of encouraging two girls to come in--nobody's going to put a spotlight on you, make you feel uncomfortable because you're sharing a dish, or that you want something just simply grilled. Women like sexy. Talk about empowerment and feminism!

    In the Zone [NYer]

    The Time Is Nigh: NOW Watch is Always Right

    now_watch.jpgEven a stopped clock is right twice a day, but this watch is even more accurate: It's always right, because when someone asks you what time it is, just show them its face prominently displaying the word "NOW." But wait a minute, this is a fake watch. Damn. But you can't argue with its correctitude. For your humorless friends, just tell them it's a special precision timepiece supporting the National Organization for Women.

    Three Girls Cross the Sea of Japan in Bathtubs


    Sado is a small island in the Sea of Japan. Legend has it that, way back in the day, a Sado woman named Omitsu crossed the sea in a giant wooden tub to get to the mainland, where her lover was working as a fisherman.

    Hoping to relive this romantic folktale, three twenty-something year old Sado Island women set sail in wooden tubs on Friday, making the 60km journey successfully overnight.

    And in case you were wondering, no, twenty-something year old women in Sado do NOT always dress like this. They just made the trek in traditional garb to get the full experience. These women also have more balls than most humans, even men—all they had with them was a paddle and a straw hat, and only narrowly missed a giant typhoon that was headed their way.


    'You're too sexy for this bus'

    A GERMAN bus driver has threatened to throw a 20-year-old woman off his bus because he said he was too distracted by seeing her cleavage in his mirror.

    Use The Turnstile, Luke: Imperial Stormtroopers Invade British Empire at London Star Wars Convention

    imperialtroopers.jpgLondon was the scene for yet another Star Wars convention this weekend. Opened by Mark Hamill and Ian McDiarmid, the ExCel Centre in Docklands was packed to the gills with people willing to pay £85 ($173) for Mark's autograph. And Luke came face to face with his father once again...

    Both Hamill and Anthony Daniels, aka C-3PO, gave talks to the 50,000 aficionados gathered there. And Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm's head of fan relations and director of content management said that Star Wars would see no more big-screen action: instead, forthcoming projects would include The Clone Wars, an animated TV series; and The Force Unleashed, a video game. He did, however, add a caveat.

    "George has made it very clear that he will not be making any more Star Wars movies. He will also not let anyone else make a Star Wars movie," Sansweet said, adding, "Has George ever changed his mind? Yes!" [Channel News Asia and The Sun]

    A dancing otter

    A monkey and his dog take a train trip

    Sinking to new depths in the mile below club

    Never mind the mile high club. The latest adventure for well-heeled travellers seeking the ultimate romantic destination is the mile below club – with membership restricted to passengers in private luxury submarines.

    Manufacturers of some of the world’s most exclusive underwater conveyances are boasting of the sexual possibilities of submersible cabins equipped with “large panoramic viewports” that allow exhibitionists to indulge their fantasies in front of an audience of dolphins and lobsters.

    Tucked away in a routine interview with the Bloomberg news agency last week was a startling claim by one of the submarine world’s best known designers that some of his clients may be more interested in what goes on inside the sub than the view through the acrylic portholes.

    According to Bloomberg, Hervé Jaubert, a former French navy commando who founded Exomos, a Dubai-based company that builds personal submarines, “says he has clients who wrestle with how to conduct a deep-sea love affair in front of an observation window without creating an underwater incident”.

    Bruce Jones, president of US Submarines, a Seattle-based luxury builder, said he had heard of underwater romance being interrupted by curious dolphins. “Dolphins are easily excited when they sense people making love,” Jones said. “They get jealous and bang their noses on the windows.”

    There are estimated to be at least 100 mini-submarines in private hands, ranging from small one-man submersibles to 200ft floating palaces that can dive to 1,000ft. That’s a long way short of a mile, but members of the mile below club are unlikely to quibble.

    Manly Books for Manly Men

    You want to read the new Harry Potter book, but you don’t want your friends to know... what to do? Print out one of these manly fake book covers and slap it over what you’re really reading. Will also work with Oprah’s picks.

    Giant Human Pork Broth Ramen

    20070714p2a00m0na023000p_size6Hakone's known for its beautiful and sometimes creative hot springs, but who would have thought that you could end up bathing in a giant bowl of ramen noodles? This bath, a result of a theme park's collaboration with a famous local ramen shop, has pepper-flavored water with artificial coloring that makes it look like a milky pork broth. It even has noodles in it! And I guess once you step in, that would make a perfect meal for a very hungry cannibal. Yummm.


    July 15, 2007

    Date Cars

    Further evidence of how removed I am from the “dating game”: My first reaction to this was surprise at how long its been since I’ve judged a man by the car he drives. My second reaction was surprise at how long it’s been since I’ve had a date. Seriously, I’ve gone out with two guys since becoming single. One experience involved a rental (mine), the other involved subway tickets.

    Why you shouldn't use your phone at a concert

    Unusual 911 call lets police know about two elephants roaming in the neighbourhood

    The 911 dispatcher in Canada was surprised to receive a call from a man in north of Toronto informing him about two elephants wandering through his neighbourhood early on Thursday morning.

    It was later found that the massive giants, named Bunny and Suzy, had escaped from a circus at about 3 a.m. in Newmarket, a town of 75,000 people near Toronto. The pachyderms, who perform at the Ray Twinney Complex with the Garden Bros. Circus, were strolling around freely munching on trees, shrubs and flowers.

    Immediately after the call, the caller tried to distract and lead the two elephants before the circus trainers and police arrived at the scene. The animals, who appeared to be calm, were quickly diverted back to their pens.

    Officers also said that another elephant named Mini too had escaped the circus and was found eating someone else's tree. No one was injured during the in-town circus drams. According to police, the electronic fence surrounding the elephants' pen was inadvertently disabled for a short time, allowing the trio to escape.

    You can hear the full 911 call here, and the dispatch conversation is here.

    Indian village boy suddenly acquires American accent

    A 14-year-old Dalit boy, born and brought up in a remote village of western Uttar Pradesh, has suddenly turned angrez . Rajesh, without any evident help, has started speaking fluently in English and does so with a proper American drawl. And that’s not all: He seems to have forgotten how to speak Hindi.

    Wonders do not cease with this: His knowledge of physics and mathematics has left engineering students baffled. Having already penned three books, Rajesh is now looking forward to some research work.

    And this is the area of science that interests Rajesh the most. "He has already written three documents, one on memory, the other on sociology and the third on liberalisation," said an excited Shishu Pal Singh Verma, principal of Willian Jefferson Clinton Science and Technology Centre, where Rajesh was enrolled last year.

    "I did not take him seriously for a few months but on Republic Day, while the students were reciting poetry before the entire college, Rajesh took the mike and addressed the gathering in fluent English. This left us almost shell-shocked," says Shishu Pal.

    Rajesh’s family claims that this transition occurred after the boy hurled a brick at his father and was severely punished. They say he suddenly started speaking in accent and hasn't talked in Hindi ever since.

    There's a news video here.

    Farm offers 'weddings' for pets

    A farm in the Staffordshire Moorlands is offering pet "weddings" for people who want their dog, cat or farmyard animal to get married to its mate.

    Endon-based Fine Feathers started offering the service after it hosted a ceremony for two of its own dogs.

    Freida, a Collie, and the father of her puppies Oscar held their wedding in August 2006. It was attended by the farm's goats, sheep and horses.

    The ceremonies, which include a cake and a minister, cost from £100.

    It is thought to be one of the first services of its kind in the country.

    The farm's owners said they had already booked in seven animal weddings at the venue.

    July 14, 2007

    1952 comic predicts Bush/Cheny Iran policy

    Mark Frauenfelder: Tman3 04
    (Click on image for enlargement)

    Cartoonist and all-around seeker of unusual truths, Jay Kinney, says:

    Attached is a page from T-Man comics #3 from 1952. I just happened upon it by chance and - Holy Smokes! - all was revealed. We can now grasp the origins of the Bush administration's foreign policy! It was all there in T-Man #3, 55 years ago! Perhaps Cheney read this comic in his youth and just bided his time until he was in a position to actualize it in real life.

    Gadgets Have Taken Over For Our Brains

    skotte writes "According to a Trinity College survey released Friday, the boom in mobiles and portable devices that store reams of personal information has created a generation incapable of memorizing simple things. In effect, the study argues, these devices have replaced our long-term memory capabilities. 'As many as a third of those surveyed under the age of 30 were unable to recall their home telephone number without resorting to their mobile phones or to notes. When it came to remembering important dates such as the birthdays of close family relatives, 87 per cent of those over the age of 50 could remember the details, compared with 40 per cent of those under the age of 30.'"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    A bird hitching a ride

    This is remarkable.

    Long jumper Salim Sdiri hit by javelin in Rome

    French long jumper Salim Sdiri was taken to hospital after being hit by a javelin during the Golden League meeting in Rome on Friday.

    Salim Sdiri hit by javelin

    The incident occurred midway through the evening when Finnish thrower Tero Pitkämäki slipped at the end of his run-up, hurling the javelin out to the left of the landing area and spearing Sdiri in his right side as he crouched in the long jump warm-up section.

    A medical crew and ambulance were quickly at the scene, but meeting organisers could not say how serious the injury was.

    "We will only know after we've carried out further tests in hospital", said the medical officer for the Italian Athletic Federation, Giuseppe Fischetto.

    Found: the giant lion-eating chimps of the magic forest

    Deep in the Congolese jungle is a band of apes that, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish and even howl at the moon. Local hunters speak of massive creatures that seem to be some sort of hybrid between a chimp and a gorilla.

    Their location at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has meant that the mystery apes have been little studied by western scientists. Reaching the region means negotiating the shifting fortunes of warring rebel factions, and the heart of the animals' range is deep in impenetrable forest.

    But despite the difficulties, a handful of scientists have succeeded in studying the animals. Early speculation that the apes may be some yeti-like new species or a chimp/gorilla hybrid proved unfounded, but the truth has turned out to be in many ways even more fascinating. They are actually a population of super-sized chimps with a unique culture - and it seems, a taste for big cat flesh.

    The most detailed and recent data comes from Cleve Hicks, at the University of Amsterdam, who has spent 18 months in the field watching the Bili apes - named after a local town - since 2004. His team's most striking find came after one of his trackers heard chimps calling for several days from the same spot.

    When he investigated he came across a chimp feasting on the carcass of a leopard. Mr Hicks cannot be sure the animal was killed by the chimp, but the find lends credence to the apes' lion-eating reputation.

    Mr Hicks reports that he found a unique chimp culture. For example, unlike their cousins in other parts of Africa the chimps regularly bed down for the night in nests on the ground. Around a fifth of the nests he found were there rather than in the trees.

    What is it?

    Aye Aye

    Huge dog is reluctant media star

    At 6ft 5ins (1.96m) on his hind legs, Samson must be the perfect guard dog.

    But to his owners, Julie and Ray Woods, of Boston, Lincolnshire, the three-year-old Great Dane-Newfoundland cross is simply a much-loved pet.

    Samson - who weighs in at 19st 10lb (125kg) - is being billed as "Britain's biggest dog" after scrap merchant staff who weighed him contacted the media.

    Beware of the dog

    Mrs Woods says Samson has been "very unsettled" by the media interest and so she and her husband have ruled out any more photographs or filming.

    She added: "He's a very placid, laid-back dog and I don't think he liked being ordered about - he just likes the quiet life."

    With video.


    Price label
    Click for bigger.

    Prank on Damien Hirst

    David Pescovitz:  2007 07 12 Hirstskull2 Last month, artist Damien Hirst unveiled the most expensive contemporary artwork ever made, a skull bedazzled with more than 8,000 fine diamonds. It's expected to sell for as much as $100 million. In response to the skull's exhibition at London's White Cube Gallery in Mason's Yard, an artist named Laura created a replica covered with 6,522 Swarovski crystals and dumped it outside the gallery in the middle of the night on top of a pile of trash.
    Link (Thanks, Lindsay Tiemeyer!)

    Previously on BB:
    • Damien Hirst's diamond skull Link

    How To: Copyright your literary work

    Getting a copyright for your work is surprisingly simple. USA.gov explains the 3-step process, which requires filing an application, paying $45, and mailing a non-returnable version of your work to the Library of Congress. Ever wondered what you can get a copyright for? It's probably more inclusive than you thought.

    Common literary works include: fiction, nonfiction, manuscripts, poetry, contributions to collective works, compilations of data or other literary subject matter, dissertations, theses, reports, speeches, bound or looseleaf volumes, secure tests, pamphlets, brochures, textbooks, online works, reference works, directories, catalogs, advertising copy, single pages of text, tracts, games, automated databases, and computer programs.

    Has anyone ever gone through the process and successfully obtained a copyright? Is the process as easy as it seems? Please share your experience in the comments.

    July 13, 2007

    HOWTO build a secret bookcase door

    Cory Doctorow: Instructables has a great HOWTO for building a hidden door/bookcase. I have always wanted one of these -- indeed, I can't conceive of any good reason not to have every door of my house be one of these. Even the kitchen cupboards. Link

    Breakage As Eye Candy: Steve Strawn Snaps Glass, Mid-Crash

    steve-strawn-broken_front.jpgWe show you a lot of videos of stuff breaking, and it's all cool but it's all ugly. Well, here's some breaking news that's as pretty as it is shattering. Take a look at these photos by master photog Steve Strawn, who not only knows exactly when to release the shutter, he's probably pretty good with a broom, too. The prize-winning photo above is entitled "Breaking Primaries." After you check out a small sampling of more of his beautiful breakage in the gallery below, be sure to see the rest of his remarkable body of work at his website. How did he do this?

    [Splutphoto, via Neatorama]

    Douglas Adams lecture: "Is there an artificial god?"

    Cory Doctorow: Avi sez, "'Is there an Artificial God?' is an illuminating 1998 speech by Douglas Adams. Good to listen to him speak."

    This was fascinating. Adams was a brilliant and funny speaker as well as a fantastic writer -- in fact, he was arguably a better lecturer than novelist. The sound quality is terrible, but it hardly matters. He's just GREAT.

    So, my argument is that as we become more and more scientifically literate, it's worth remembering that the fictions with which we previously populated our world may have some function that it's worth trying to understand and preserve the essential components of, rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water; because even though we may not accept the reasons given for them being here in the first place, it may well be that there are good practical reasons for them, or something like them, to be there. I suspect that as we move further and further into the field of digital or artificial life we will find more and more unexpected properties begin to emerge out of what we see happening and that this is a precise parallel to the entities we create around ourselves to inform and shape our lives and enable us to work and live together. Therefore, I would argue that though there isn't an actual god there is an artificial god and we should probably bear that in mind. That is my debating point and you are now free to start hurling the chairs around!
    Link to transcript, Link to MP3 (Thanks, Avi!)

    Here's Tiny - the 7ft 3in dog

    This hulking hound stands at 2.2m (7ft 3in) on his hind legs – an impressive 25cm (10in) taller than Samson, posted here yesterday.

    Unlike Samson, a Newfoundland - Great Dane cross, Tiny is pure Great Dane, towering over his 1.85m (6ft 1in) owner Iain Newby.

    Mr Newby, 40, said: 'I've never seen a bigger dog than Tiny. He's got 40in legs. I'm a 32in leg. He's bigger than some horses in the fields we walk past.'

    Thanks Annemarie!

    Judge utters expletive in court exchange

    A Hamilton County Municipal Court judge told an angry defendant “F*** you,” an almost unheard of breach of courtroom etiquette.

    Judge Ted Berry was responding to the same phrase that was uttered at him by Ivan Boykins, a defendant Berry had just sentenced to spend 30 days in jail after Boykins complained that he didn’t want probation because it would prevent him smoking marijuana.

    The American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct does not specifically outline what a judge can and cannot say to a defendant.

    But a section on Decorum, Demeanor, and Communication with Jurors says, “a judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the court” and that “a judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.”

    The day God was taken to court

    A Romanian man who sued God for "fraud" and "betrayal of trust" for failing to answer his prayers has had his case dismissed in court.

    Mircea Pavel, 40, who is serving 20 years in prison for murder, brought charges against "the defendant God, who lives in the heavens and is represented in Romania by the Orthodox Church," the daily Evenimentul Zilei reported.

    He accused God of "fraud, betrayal of trust, corruption and influence peddling."

    "At my christening, I made a deal with the defendant aimed at freeing me from evil. But the latter has not respected that agreement until now, although he received from me various assets and numerous prayers," Pavel wrote.

    The court in Timisoara, in western Romania, dismissed the case, ruling that "God is not subject to law and does not have an address."

    What are these people trying to prove?

    Today's breakfast links reminded me of a couple of planned skyscraper projects that seem to show that city planners and architects only have one thing on their mind. Seriously, I know the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument have always been described as phallic symbols but aren't we getting a little blatant here?

    This is a building planned for London:


    And San Diego:


    Armed patio invader ends up just wanting a hug

    "Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," the guy said when he showed up at a patio party. After a while, he told the group: "I think I may have come to the wrong house. I'm sorry. Can I get a hug?" (Washington Post)

    Wave Of Mutilation: Asphalt Surfing with the Carver Ultimate Truck System

    Forget about that RipStik thing. Here's the Carver Skateboard Ultimate Surfing Truck System attached to a real surf board. See it in action as this guy goes down the streets of San Francisco like if he was at Ehukai Beach.

    This prime aircraft grade aluminum-made kit has a fixed back carver truck which acts as the fin while the front one, which has a system that provides with an additional axis of movement, is used as the rocker. The system can also be attached to normal skateboards.

    "The two combined increase lateral movement and you can "pump" the board- just like surfing. The original patented Carver C7 front truck is extremely maneuverable. Smooth arm rotation rides on a 1-5/8" precision thrust bearing set, and the heavy-duty internal spring has a wide range of tension adjustment so you can thoroughly customize your ride.


    According to the company it was "conceived by surfers at Venice Beach during a long and waveless summer" and their system gives you the same sensations of actually riding a wave.

    Without the water. And the cool suntanned blond surfer girls around you. And the algae. Or the sharks. And definitely without the thrill of getting out of a living blue tunnel or getting smashed by a couple tons of liquid.

    OK, so it doesn't give you the exact same sensations, but it works. And yes, you can tell I am dying to get to the beach this summer. The Carver Ultimate Surfing Truck System costs $129.99, Beach Boys, Pixies or Jack Johnson records not included. [Carve Skateboards]

    July 11, 2007

    Prince Charles is a pervert

    prince-charles-grope.jpg Prince Charles led an awards ceremony honoring some troops in London today. And judging from the picture, it's the exact same awards ceremony I hold every night in my bedroom. And the award for Sexiest Lover goes to...you. Rowr! Source

    Famous cartoonists draw with their eyes closed

    Mark Frauenfelder: 200707101717
    In 1947 the fun-loving editors at Life magazine asked the celebrity cartoonists of the day to wear blindfolds and then draw their famous characters. The results are very pleasing. Link (Via Drawn!)

    IN BRIEF: The whole freaking planet’s on fire! ...

    The whole freaking planet’s on fire! [Global Fire Map]

    Tiny Animals on Fingers

    Page through the hundreds of photos in this remarkable Flickr pool, and you start to get the feeling that many of the Earth's smallest beasties just want to get a good look at their human neighbors. Image after image reveals insect, mammal, reptile, and bird in an inquisitive position, griping some person's index finger and gazing intently at the enormous creature that has hoisted it upwards. Big-eyed hamsters, bigger-eyed moths, and five (count 'em, five) red eyed tree frogs all appear to say, "Just let me take you in!" In some cases, though, the wee ones are too new or too busy to peek at their many-fingered photographer. And, of course, not everyone likes being handled in such a manner. We wouldn't want to meet this guy in a dark alley. Many of the insect portraits are worth special notice for their amazing Technicolor dream coats. These moths, ladybugs, and worms come dressed to the nines.

    Male strippers robbed while fleeing drunken bachelorette bash

    The most interesting tidbit here is that male strippers need a security guard when they're performing for women. Can't fight off the advances on their own? (KGW.com)

    How to clap with your tongue


    When executing the perfect pole vault

    It's always important to land on the mat.

    There's a longer, better quality video here.

    Miracle man walks again

    He survived against all the odds; now Peng Shulin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again.

    When his body was cut in two by a lorry in 1995, it was little short of a medical miracle that he lived.

    It took a team of more than 20 doctors to save his life.

    Peng Shulin

    Skin was grafted from his head to seal his torso – but the legless Mr Peng was left only 78cm (2ft 6in) tall.

    Bedridden for years, doctors in China had little hope that he would ever be able to live anything like a normal life agan.

    But recently, he began exercising his arms, he began exercising his arms, building up the strength to carry out everyday chores such as washing his face and brushing his teeth.

    Peng Shulin

    Doctors at the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing found out about Mr Peng's plight late last year and devised a plan to get him up walking again.

    They came up with an ingenious way to allow him to walk on his own, creating a sophisticated egg cup-like casing to hold his body with two bionic legs attached to it.

    He has been taking his first steps around the centre with the aid of his specially adapted legs and a resized walking frame.

    Chihuahua puppy born with love-heart pattern in fur

    A puppy has been born in Japan with a large, clear, love-heart-shaped pattern in his coat.

    The chihuahua was born in May as one of a litter to a breeder.

    Shop owner Emiko Sakurada said it was the first time a puppy with the marks had been born out of a thousand she had bred.

    She had no plans to sell the puppy, which has been named "Heart-kun".

    There are more photos here.

    Health fears over burning tyres

    Fears are growing that serious health and environmental damage could be caused when a huge bonfire in Antrim is lit on later today.

    Click for bigger.

    The bonfire on the Ballycraigy estate contains hundreds of rubber tyres and dwarfs nearby houses.

    Bonfires are lit on 11 July to celebrate loyalist culture in towns across Northern Ireland.

    Ballycraigy residents said that apart from damage to the environment, they could also suffer from effect of toxic fumes from the burning tyres.

    With news video.

    The perfect marriage

    Special thanks this morning to my friend Dena who pointed me in the direction of something that was probably made with my pyschographic profile in mind - bacon flavored chocolate!

    How To: Use Gmail over IMAP

    gmaillogo.jpgGmail lover David Chartier went to great lengths to access his Gmail (with labels!) over IMAP and lives to tell the tale. With IMAP you can access your mail from several different computers and maintain any folders, labels and Sent items, so it's better syncing than just regular POP. We're big fans of IMAP and Gmail, but this workaround involves quite a bit of elbow grease, including long message imports and POP'ing your Gmail to a third party IMAP account - and isn't without its drawbacks. However, die-hard IMAP-lovers who want Gmail's spam filtering and other perks may want to give it a spin.

    Wave-skimming plane developed in China

    The "wing-in-ground" aircraft can fly long distances just a few metres above the sea surface using less fuel

    Plastic Nighthawks: Amazing LEGO Dioramas Imitate Fine Art

    nighthawks_lego.jpgWho knew you could set up such realistic 3D versions of fine art and classic movies with LEGO? That's just what Flickr user Udronotto has done. That's his takeoff on Edward Hopper's painting "Nighthawks" above, and he's got an entire 42-pic set that shows you the depth of his talents. See our gallery below for a sampling. [Udronotto at Flickr, via Neatorama]

    July 10, 2007

    Holy Sushi

    Holy Sushi Calories in sushi The First Church of Sushi - “It's like Scientology for Nerds” Sushi instructions on flickr. (By ravengrrl) The original sushi pillow In search of the ultimate sushi experience, Nick Tosches plunges into the frenzy of...

    Nicotine Is the New Wonder Drug

    Fantastic Lad sends us to Wired for a story on the upside of nicotine. Researchers are developing drugs based on nicotine that may prove beneficial for brains, bowels, blood vessels and immune systems. "Nicotine acts on the acetylcholine receptors in the brain, stimulating and regulating the release of a slew of brain chemicals, including seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Now drugs derived from nicotine and the research on nicotine receptors are in clinical trials for everything from helping to heal wounds, to depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, anger management and anxiety." A separate story talks about nicotine warding off Parkinson's disease.

    A puppy discovering the joys of a bubble bath

    Mileage Runners hack air travel for maximum miles

    Cory Doctorow: Wired News has a great story today about "Mileage Runners" who tweak the airline reservation system to plot insane (and insanely cheap), multi-hop air trips that accumulate bazillions of air miles. A hacker friend of mine recently came out to me as a mileage runner, and described a system he'd worked out for gaming the reservations computers to get $400, round the world business-class fares.

    Mileage Running isn't good for the planet, but it makes a certain perverse sense as a response to the airlines' incomprehensible pricing schemes, capricious upgrades policy, and emphasis on mileage. It's probably not a coincidence that Southwest Airlines, who pioneered simple, transparent pricing schemes, is more profitable than all the other US airlines put together.

    In my last job, I flew to 31 countries in three years, fighting copyright treaties and DRM standards, and made top-tier on three different airlines. I didn't get much sport out of it, but I can now locate a working electrical outlet in the meanest airport.

    "I personally find airlines and airplanes to be really neat," explains Joshua Solomin, a 28-year-old mileage runner who works as a software manager in San Francisco. Solomin began running in 2006 after a year of business travel vaulted him into the Premier tier of United's Mileage Plus program, giving him his first taste of the first-class upgrades and other coveted perks that come with elite-level frequent flyer membership. "Mileage runs are a way to maintain that status," he says.

    Of Solomin's five runs to date, one of the more impressive was a trip from San Francisco to Tampa via Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, then back with connections in D.C., Seattle and Portland. Thanks to his Premier status, he earned double miles for the trip, more 16,000 of them, for just $232.

    On Sunday, he completed his first international run: a $1,450 round trip between San Francisco and Singapore with stops in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Sure, he had only five hours in the middle of the night to explore Singapore, but with United's July triple mileage bonus he earned a whopping 78,000 miles. And he flew business class the entire way.


    IN BRIEF: The Economist examines the street price of ...

    Drugs.jpgThe Economist examines the street price of cocaine worldwide. "No surprise that it is cheapest in Colombia, the world's biggest producer of coca: at $2, a gram costs less than a Big Mac." [The Economist]

    Horror: Hands Hands Soap is Just Wrong Wrong

    hand_soap5_large.jpgThe Hands Hands Soap is not just creepy and scares the bejeezus out of me. This soap shaped as baby hands to wash your hands is just wrong at the cosmological level, as cleaning your hands with hands will also clean the hands that cleaned your hands while cleaning your own hands, incurring in a time-space Chen-Diaz Loop Paradox that may break the space-time continuum, starting a chain reaction that will annihilate the Universe faster than you can say "Galactus!" I, for one, am glad I don't have a clue about where to buy them.


    Yikes: Breathe Air Helmet Makes You One Intimidating Cyclist

    breathehelmet.jpgApparently, hay fever sufferers make dangerous cyclists, as if they sneeze they oftentimes send themselves careening into ongoing traffic. Solving that problem and also making cyclists look totally badass is this Breathe Air helmet. It's got a filter over the nose and mouth that's designed to filter out particles that will cause problems for people with allergies and asthma. Oh, and you'll look like you just biked out of a sci-fi movie, but I guess that's just a bonus.

    There's no manufacturer as of yet, but when one is found expect for the Breathe Air helmet to retail for around $220. [Lancashire Evening Post via CrunchGear]

    Beyonce will kill you

    Two front row fans were sent to the hospital Sunday when the pyrotechnics for Beyonce's St. Louis concert went terribly wrong and spilled into the front row. The injuries were reportedly minor, but Beyonce made a surprise visit to the emergency room after the concert ended to see the injured fans. You can check out the footage of the accident above. And you can check out footage of me bench pressing a truck, well, pretty much anywhere. It's a world record, you know.

    Wii's Guitar Hero III Les Paul unearthed

    Filed under: ,

    As the axe battle continues to heat up, here we have a first look at the Guitar Hero III controller for the Wii, which looks an awful lot like the first Les Paul-modeled iteration we saw -- save for that handy Wiimote slot and Nintendo-esque toggle switch, of course. Reportedly, the white faceplate is also removable, but we know the most of you won't want to disturb the color mojo that will be going on between your Wii and Gibson.

    When fish get emotional

    Fish process information on different sides of the brain, which may suggest they have curious and suspicious sides to their nature

    Row at school over opening gates to Hell

    AN Australian Catholic school is embroiled in a claim it closed the gates to a five-year-old boy seeking enrolment because his surname is actually Hell.

    Magic toilet door

    Polarised glass toilet cubicle doors which turn opaque once the door is locked.

    A pug meeting a bobblehead pug

    The beginning of a beautiful friendship

    The Singles Map of the U.S.

    The February issue of National Geographic Magazine published what it called a "Singles Map", a map that shows the distribution of single females and males across the United States and using blue or red dots to show which gender's singles outnumber the other gender's in that particular region/city.

    Click for bigger.

    Make of it what you will.

    Schwing!: Amazing Transforming Apartment is Like Living in Optimus Prime's Mind

    This is what Optimus Prime's apartment would look like if he was a chic interior NYC designer instead of a trucker from Minnesota. The all-white flat looks straight from Kubrick's 2001 and seems to have more drawers than the Library of Congress. It changes its modular structure to reveal new spaces and functions at every turn, with AV gear, art and rooms sliding in and out of its sleek surfaces.

    Company page [i-Beam Design via Aesthetica]

    Captain Planet's Hotel: Eco-Friendly Hotel Being Built Within an Abandoned Quarry

    quaryhotel2.jpgLooking for a comic- book style hotel to stay in on your next trip to China? Then check out the Songjiang Hotel. It's being built within a quarry. A quarry! Why not just call it a layer. The Songjiang, scheduled to be completed in 2009, not only has your traditional spas and conference facilities, but also features bungee jumping off of the top of the quarry, a few underwater guest rooms, a grass-covered roof, several waterfalls (one of which flows down the front of the hotel) and even geo-thermal energy extraction that should be able to power most of the hotel's needs.

    Come on US, where are our geo-thermal quarry hotels? All we have are the dancing fountains outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas. [EcoGeek]

    The most natural breasts money can buy.

    They’ve tried this before, because it’s such an obvious idea: liposuction the fat from your belly and inject it into your breasts. The innovation this time is to use only the fat’s stem cells.

    Scientists say they are not sure quite how it works, but suspect that the stem cells emit signals that encourage blood vessels to grow and nurture new tissue.

    “Not quite sure how it works” is a bit of a red flag, the kind you get from reading about Frankenstein’s monster. But this is still in the experimental phase. The research is to help women who’ve had mastectomies, so you know that eventually the procedure will be available to whoever can pay for it. It also raises another question... since when is it this easy to extract one’s own stem cells? Can we extract stem cells from brain matter and grow some new brains?

    (via Neatorama)

    Sculptures inside vacuum tubes

    Mark Frauenfelder: Ellen says: 200707091526 Yesterday at an art show in Saratoga Springs, NY, my husband and I met Peter Luber. He does these amazing and funny sculptures inside old vacuum tubes. They're incredible to see in person. Link 1 | Link 2

    July 9, 2007

    Jewelry made from model railroad landscapes

    Cory Doctorow: I love Sarah Hood's "Landscape" jewelry, made from model train landscape miniatures. I gave my mom a necklace like this for her birthday a couple years ago, and she adores it. Link (via Craft)

    Medical anomalies photoshopping contest

    Cory Doctorow: Love this Worth1000 photoshopping contest on the theme of "medical anomalies." A photoshopper's sideshow exhibit. Link

    30,000 matchheads go up in flame

    Cory Doctorow:
    Kids fill a tin can with 30,000 matchheads, insert a long-ass fuse, retreat, and set off a gigantic fireball. Don't do this as home. Don't do this anywhere. But: enjoy. Link (Thanks, Mack!)

    Wellcome Trust releases 2000 years of medical images under Creative Commons

    Cory Doctorow: Ian sez, "The Wellcome Trust, one of the UK's largest medical charities, has released its image collection under Creative Commons licenses, with a new web site to search through it. I'm not sure how many thousand images there are, but for science teachers and anyone doing research into the history of medicine and biosciences, this will be a huge bonus." Link

    July 8, 2007

    The Subtle Ambiguity of Parking Cones

    badparking.jpgChris, the proprietor of 78thand2nd, was nice enough to forward us a post with pictures of what may be a serious contender for the dumbest parking job of 2007. This morning, the driver of an Lexus Infiniti decided that the orange traffic cones encircling an open Con Ed manhole on 78th St., with multiple bundled cables running out of it, wasn't a good enough indicator that he shouldn't park there, so he did. And there was an explosion.

    Con Ed employees, who'd been working on the street between 1st and 2nd Aves. all morning, were aggressively curious as to why someone would drive over a number of traffic cones connected by a cordoning tape, an open manhole (we're glad no one was down there), and snaking cables. The repeated line of inquiry reportedly went along the lines of "Why the f---k did you do that [park there]?" Notified of his error, the driver of the Lexus was pulling out of the non-space when a second explosion sent a plume of smoke up from beneath his car (pictured).

    The Lexus was driven off before any tickets could be issued or arrests made, but the Fire Dept., Con Ed workers, and neighborhood residents reportedly were all displeased. We suggest visiting 78thand2nd and viewing all the relevant photos regarding this bad parking job. Ponder under what circumstances you'd think it would be a good idea to park in such a spot.

    Water Balloon Breakage on a High-Speed Camera

    Check out this video of a water balloon breaking at 2000 frames per second. Pretty rad! It's amazing how fast the actual balloon shrinks and how slow the water moves.

    (Thanks, Annie!)

    Politically Incorrect Observations About Human Nature

    gsa writes "Why do men prefer blonds? Why are most suicide bombers Muslim? Psychology Today analyzes some of these non-politically-correct questions in this essay about ten politically-incorrect truths about human nature. It turns out there may be an evolutionary or psychological explanation for all of these observations. For example, 'Sociologists and demographers have discovered that couples who have at least one son face significantly less risk of divorce than couples who have only daughters. Why is this? ... There is relatively little that a father (or mother) can do to keep a daughter youthful or make her more physically attractive. The continued presence of (and investment by) the father is therefore important for the son, but not as crucial for the daughter. The presence of sons thus deters divorce and departure of the father from the family more than the presence of daughters, and this effect tends to be stronger among wealthy families.'"

    7 New Wonders of the World chosen

    The Great Wall of China, Rome's Colosseum and India's Taj Mahal were among seven architectural marvels named the new wonders of the world Saturday.

    The other four winners, chosen by a global poll, were Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, Jordan's Petra and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid.

    7 New Wonders of the World

    About 100 million votes were cast by the Internet and cellphone text messages.

    The seven beat out 21 other nominated landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, Russia's Kremlin and Australia Sydney Opera House.

    The campaign was launched in 1999 by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations came in, and the list was narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006. Organizers admit there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favorite.

    Man robs bank disguised as tree

    New Hampshire Police are looking for a man who attempted to disguise himself as a tree and rob a bank in Manchester, New Hampshire Saturday morning.

    Police say the suspect used duct tape to attach tree branches onto his body as a form of camouflage. He then walked into the Citizens Bank on Elm Street and demanded money.

    Man disguised as tree

    No one was hurt in the robbery and no weapons were used, according to police. The bank was closed and police cruisers blocked off the entrances to the bank as officials investigated the incident.

    Aside from sporting tree branches, the suspect was also wearing a bluish-colored T-shirt, blue jeans and had thick glasses. He was about 5' 8" tall with a thin build and dark hair.

    The tree robber was able to escape with an undisclosed amount of cash.


    Dramatic sneeze

    What is this man doing?

    Clicky for the answer.

    It’s not jet lag, it’s ‘altitude sickness’

    Many of the effects of long-distance flight may be the result of altitude sickness rather than fatigue or jet lag, experiments carried out by Boeing doctors suggest.

    Headache, nausea and dizziness, fatigue and a general feeling of malaise are symptoms of acute mountain sickness, which 75 per cent of people will experience at altitudes of more than 10,000ft (3,000m).

    Aircraft fly much higher, but are generally pressurised to a minimum of 565mm of mercury, equivalent to an altitude of about 8,000ft, when flying at their maximum height. Pressure at ground level is 760mm.

    A team led by Michael Muhm, of Boeing, recruited 500 healthy volunteers and asked them to spend several hours in a low-pressure chamber designed to simulate the pressure at various altitudes up to 8,000ft.

    They report in the New England Journal of Medicine that symptoms of acute mountain sickness were experienced by 7.4 per cent of the volunteers. People above the age of 60 were less likely to report symptoms than younger ones, and men less likely than women.

    The most common complaints were of backache, headache, light-headedness, shortness of breath and impaired coordination.

    Blackberry "Spy" Software Released

    Noryungi writes "Maybe the French were on to something after all. It turns out that there is a software available to easily spy on Blackberries, recording voice conversations and all messages (emails or SMS text message) that transmit through the portable device. Of course, the software has to be installed by the owner of the Blackberry, but it would not be surprising to find out that someone has found a way to silently auto-install that software on RIM devices. ZDNet reports that RIM isn't concerned: 'Ian Robertson, senior manager of security and research at RIM, said users need not be particularly worried about the capability of FlexiSPY. "While it's the subject of some debate, I don't consider it a virus nor a Trojan, as it does require conscientious effort from the user to load the program," he said. Robertson said an average user that maintains good [gadget] hygiene would never see the software loaded onto their device without their knowledge.'"

    Make a penny shell with muriatic acid

    Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 1-76 PopSci has a fun project that shows you how to dissolve the zinc in a penny, leaving only the thin copper shell. Link

    Prions prevent the progress of Alzheimer's

    A positive role for prions is discovered, as well as a potential new way to treat prion diseases

    Kittens having fun with a roll of toilet paper

    A dog with a new toy

    I wonder if it belongs to the lady cackling in the background?

    July 6, 2007

    Ape altruism

    David Pescovitz: A new study supports the theory that chipms can be altruistic just like people. Children as young as 18 months-old also seem to help adults, even strangers, without any immediate benefit to themselves. According to psychologist Felix Warneken of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, altruism goes back as far as 6 million years ago when to the common ancestor we share with chimps. IN a paper published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology, the Warneken and his colleagues posit that humans and chimps are predisposed to be Good Samaritans. From Science News:
    His team conducted three experiments with adult chimps living on an island sanctuary in Uganda and two experiments with 18-month-old German children. In the chimp version of the first experiment, 36 animals watched one at a time from a barred enclosure as an experimenter in an adjacent room—who had had virtually no prior contacts with the animals—reached through the bars for a stick on the other side. The stick was within reach of only the observing chimp.

    Most chimps snatched the stick and gave it to the experimenter, whether or not the experimenter offered a piece of banana as a reward. No assistance came if the experimenter didn't first reach in vain for the stick.

    A similar trial with 36 youngsters yielded comparable altruistic behavior, regardless of whether the experimenter offered toys as a reward.
    Link to Science News, Link to PLoS Biology

    Extramarital Affairs R Us


    "Our philosophy goes back to the cave ages - Men want the younger and more attractive women."

    See their eHarmony meets unmitigated greed commercial after the jump

    Continue reading Extramarital Affairs R Us...

    July 5, 2007


    Sex advice from iPhone line waiters. Choice Quote: " I would guess that the closer you get to the front of the line, the lower the skill set you're going to find." [Nerve]


    "iWhatever" is the title of private memo by Verizon Wireless COO Jack Plating—of which Valleywag got a copy. [Valleywag]

    Child calls 911 hundreds of times on old cell phone

    The 4-year-old used a deactivated cell phone to make 287 emergency calls. When finally located, the little girl said she wanted McDonald's. She gave out her address after the center promised to fill her order. Instead, it sent the police. (Chicago Sun-Times)

    Busted!: Video Proof of Geek Squad Stealing Porn


    The Geek Squad, Best Buy's tie-wearing, Beetle-driving, and now porn-stealing tech group, was caught transferring pornographic images from a customer's machine. The sting was orchestrated by The Consumerist, who give a play-by-play of how they set it up. Check it out, it's work safe. Be sure to give it a Digg while you're at it, each one here goes straight to the Consumerist. For shame, Geek Squad! (You're not supposed to get caught!) [The Consumerist]

    It's a tough job

    But someone's got to do it.

    Gender-bending avatars inspire less trust

    Fictional 3D personas that are not obviously either male or female may be perceived as less credible in the uncertainty of virtual environments

    Kid in Malawi homebrews a windmill generator

    Cory Doctorow: Tom sez, "With sticks lashed together, a bicycle wheel, a bike generator and rudimentary information gleaned from a primary school text, a Malawian teenager built a wind power system for his house. As others heard of his work, they and his family members chipped in to improve his system. He now provides lighting for his parents' home, and battery charging for his neighbors. His blog (with pictures) is wonderful." Link

    Horsy ride

    Horsy ride

    Horsy_ride It all began with an artist named Scott Wayne Indiana. He knew about the horse rings in many Portland sidewalks and thought it was a shame that we don't tie our horses to them anymore. Scott decided to change that and tied his first pony to a horse ring in the fall of 2005 in the revitalized Pearl District in Northwest Portland. After a few months, he expanded the horse project and asked for some help. Now these horses are showing up all over Portland. The Horse Project

    Face Your Pockets Project

    Getting Creative in the Photobooth with The Photobooth Projects

    Living in Three Centuries: The Face of Age

    Drama teacher screams at sight of check from Paul Newman

    It's the feel-good story of the day. (Ann Arbor News)

    Is Mr. Rogers to blame for a generation that thinks it's "special"?

    Fredrogers4jpg_200274_pixels One professor believes Fred Rogers is "representative of a culture of excessive doting." He says his Asian-born students accept whatever grade they're given, while Americans believe they deserve an A just for going to class and working hard. (Wall Street Journal)

    Office Supplies Fetish: Genius Pads giant Post-It Notes

    giantpostits.pngPost-It Note lovers know what the only problem with little yellow stickies is: they're too damn small. However, Megasticky.com's giant Post-It note product - called Genuis Pads - are 11.81x11.81 inches of yellow sticky goodness, like big page-sized posters you can slap onto the wall and go to town writing on. Genius Pads ain't cheap - just one pad of 80 sheets will set you back 12 bucks - but there are bulk discounts if you buy a healthy order for the office. Thanks lfstyl!

    Explosives Camp

    theodp writes "How about a summer camp where you get in trouble for not blowing things up? Students with a passion for all things explosive and proof of US citizenship pay a $450 fee to attend Summer Explosives Camp, 'We try to give them an absolute smorgasbord of explosives,' quipped a professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla, which offers a minor in explosives engineering. Here's the brochure (PDF), kids!"

    Awesome Prank Video: Flash Mobbers Storm Commuters

    When I was in high school, I was waiting for a friend at Shibuya Station when I saw a man dressed in a white suit and white top hat standing on a white box in a corner by the JR Exit. Curious, I went up to him and asked, "Why are you standing on top of that box?" It turned out that he was an actor being filmed by a then-popular prankster TV show. I think I was on TV for a brief second the next day, asking the guy what he was doing. I was one of the few people that actually approached him—most people just walked by, with the occasional glance.

    Prankster TV shows are just a part of daily life in Tokyo. My friends have been on silly morning English lesson shows with Mr. Wicky, been interviewed by quiz shows where celebrities bet on how smart/stupid you are, etc.—pretty much every Tokyoite has had at least one moment of fame on a laugh-out-loud funny variety show.

    So it's no surprise that these ordinary businessmen on their ways to and from work don't scream or threaten to call the cops when they're mobbed by 100 pranksters. This is from a TV show called Troop of The One Hundred. Enjoy!

    Think about the children

    Gallery THESE couples prove that sometmes it pays to stop and think twice before letting love blind you to potential years of humiliation from hyphenating last names.

    Rare Pink Dolphin Seen in Louisiana Lake

    It's sleek, fast, cute — and pink.

    A charter-boat captain from Lake Charles, La., photographed a rare pink dolphin a couple of weeks ago in Calcasieu Lake, an estuary just north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Louisiana.

    According to Calcasieu Charter Service's Web site, Capt. Erik Rue was on the lake June 24 with fishing customers when five dolphins came into view — four normal-looking gray ones, and a bright pink one that appeared to be an adolescent.

    Pink dolphin

    "It appears to be an uncanny freak of nature, an albino dolphin, with reddish eyes and glossy pink skin," the Web site reads. "It is small in comparison to the others it is traveling with and appears to be a youngster travelling with mama."

    There is a species of pink dolphin that lives in the Amazon River in South America, but this one appears to be a more common bottlenose dolphin.

    There are more photos here.

    Traveler's Phrase Book T-Shirt

    If you don’t speak the language, you can point to the symbols on this shirt to ask where to find what you need! Ladies may achieve faster results.

    (via Nag on the Lake)

    Boy, 5, pins rabid fox to the ground to protect brother

    The 61-pound boy pinned the lunging animal for more than a minute until his stepfather could rush to help him. "I looked out the window and Rayshun had the fox by the neck and was pushing it into the ground," says the boy's mom. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing." (Charlotte Observer | No-registration AP | Video interview)

    Tragic: Swimming pool drain pulls small intestine out of little girl

    It happened when the 6-year-old sat over an open drain hole in a wading pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club. Now she'll have to be fed intravenously for the rest of her life and will have to have a colostomy bag. (WCCO-TV | Star Tribune)

    Plague of bioweapons accidents afflicts the US

    A growing biodefence industry employing thousands, and a "culture of denial" in accident reporting are putting the public at risk, say campaigners

    A cat meeting a dolphin

    Wellies welcome as wettest regatta forces dress code change

    It's a scene more familiar to a music concert than a Royal rowing regatta. But after almost two weeks of downpours, wellington boots are being allowed at Henley for the first time.

    Wellies at Henly

    Organisers of the Royal Regatta on the River Thames usually adhere to a strict dress code, but have relaxed the rules this year due to the wet weather.

    High Tide Heels
    Click for bigger.

    They should be wearing these.

    July 4, 2007

    It's A Croc-Eat-Dog World: Best Dog Suit Ever

    Take your pup out to the July 4th festivities in this Croc-Eat-Dog Suit, and show your fellow Americans he's not only a cooperative little mutt, but he's also some doggone good eatin'.

    Best Dog Suit Ever. By a Longshot [Spinwall]

    "A Porn Star Stole My Name"

    A Texas woman has filed suit, claiming that a high school pal hijacked her moniker for use as a stage name in XXX productions.

    Spitting orang-utans solve nutty problem

    A new experiment demonstrates that these great apes are clever enough to use water as a tool

    July 3, 2007

    Fox news producer gets angry at mascot on iDay

    Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 17-2An orange, giant-headed, one-eyed mascot for a hunger-awareness organization was handing out buttons to people waiting in line for iPhones in NYC. The Fox news crew considered him an eyesore. They asked him to leave, and when he didn't, they called the cops. Here's the video. Link (Thanks, Ken!)

    Transformers Prototypes By Japan's Hottest Toy Designer


    The Transformers movie comes out today in theaters across the US—very, very exciting for robot geeks and other humans who believe in more than meets the eye. PingMag has a great interview with Alex Kubalsky, the Tokyo-based toy designer at Takara Tomy who helped design the disguised robots who appear in the new movie. You can see how, from early drawings to the finished plastic product, Optimus Prime came into existence. Pretty rad.


    Gadget-loving Nepali "living goddess" fired for traveling to US

    Xeni Jardin:

    Andy Carvin says,

    Shocking news out of Nepal today - Sajani Shakya, the Kumari of Bhaktapur, has actually been fired for visiting the United States.

    As you may recall, I blogged about Sajani's visit a couple of weeks ago when she was in Silver Spring, Maryland for the Silverdocs festival. Kumaris are young Buddhist girls from Nepal who are selected at a young age to serve as "living goddesses" until they reach puberty. They participate in Hindu rituals - there's a lot of overlap between the two religions in Nepal - and are revered by the local population. Some Kumaris live very cloistered lives, but Sajani was allowed to live with her parents and go to school. So when she had the chance to visit the United States, she took it. And now she's actually lost her job because of it.

    "We have already begun looking for a new girl to replace the current Kumari," said Jaya Prasad Regmi, head of the committee that selects the Bhaktapur Kumari. "Our tradition does not allow the living goddess to travel to other countries.... Her father has said that it was a mistake as they did not get permission from concerned authorities to take her abroad."



  • Nepali "Living Goddess" is rather into gadgets
  • Skeletal suitcase

    David Pescovitz: Fashion designer Alexander McQueen created a luggage collection for Samsonite, including this gorgeous 20" upright model. Called the Hero, it's available in black or ivory/bone for $750. From the product description:
    SuitcaseblacklabelThe human form is treated just like an animal skin, with the ribcage and sternum at the front of the case, and backbone at the back. The inside is formed by the negative of the outside shape in a soft molded form providing contrast with the outer protective hard shell.

    A time lapse video of ants trying to move a dead toad

    Scientists fly into raptures over flightless Fred

    The remains of a dodo found in a cave beneath bamboo and tea plantations in Mauritius offer the best chance yet to learn about the extinct flightless bird, a scientist said on Friday.
    The discovery was made earlier this month in the Mauritian highlands but the location was kept secret until the recovery of the skeleton, nicknamed "Fred", was completed on Friday. Four men guarded the site overnight.
    Julian Hume, a paleontologist at Britain's Natural History Museum, told Reuters the remains were likely to yield excellent DNA and other vital clues, because they were found intact, in isolation, and in a cave.
    "The geneticists who want to get their hands on this will be skipping down the street," he said, after bringing the last of the remains to the surface.
    Given the nickname "Fred" after the 65-year-old who found them, the remains should provide the first decent specimens of dodo DNA, he said.
    "Then you can work out how it actually got to Mauritius, because it must have originally flown here before evolving into flightlessness and the big, fat bird that we know," he said. "We know it's a giant pigeon," he added.

    July 2, 2007

    What it takes to bring you Fiji water

    Xeni Jardin:

    Farhad Manjoo of Salon.com's Machinist blog says,

    There have been lots of stories lately about the inefficiency and environmental damages caused by bottled water, but Charles Fishman has the definitive piece in Fast Company. You'll never want to drink Fiji again.
    The label on a bottle of Fiji Water says "from the islands of Fiji." Journey to the source of that water, and you realize just how extraordinary that promise is. From New York, for instance, it is an 18-hour plane ride west and south (via Los Angeles) almost to Australia, and then a four-hour drive along Fiji's two-lane King's Highway.

    Every bottle of Fiji Water goes on its own version of this trip, in reverse, although by truck and ship. In fact, since the plastic for the bottles is shipped to Fiji first, the bottles' journey is even longer. Half the wholesale cost of Fiji Water is transportation--which is to say, it costs as much to ship Fiji Water across the oceans and truck it to warehouses in the United States than it does to extract the water and bottle it.

    That is not the only environmental cost embedded in each bottle of Fiji Water. The Fiji Water plant is a state-of-the-art facility that runs 24 hours a day. That means it requires an uninterrupted supply of electricity--something the local utility structure cannot support. So the factory supplies its own electricity, with three big generators running on diesel fuel. The water may come from "one of the last pristine ecosystems on earth," as some of the labels say, but out back of the bottling plant is a less pristine ecosystem veiled with a diesel haze...

    Link. Image by Nigel Cox, via Fast Company.

    Awesomest movie promo ever: 7-11 stores now 'Simpsons' Kwik-E-Marts

    Xeni Jardin:

    BB pal Bonnie says,

    The Kwik-E-Marts, along with the 6,000 other Seven-Elevens around North America will sell Simpsons-themed treats during the month-long promotion. Among them: Buzz Cola, Krusty-O's cereal and Squishees, the slushy Slurpees knockoff.
    Link to tons of snapshots taken by a guy named Justin (in Seattle?), and here's an AP story.

    Reader comment: Cate says,

    The official 7-11 website has a list of the locations for all of the converted Kwik-E-Marts. Let us also not forget the upcoming free slurpee day on July 11th (7/11/07)!

    Noted: Carlin was busted 35 years ago for "seven dirty words"

    The Milwaukee cop who signed the disorderly conduct complaint against George Carlin says "I couldn't believe my ears" when the comedian uttered the profanities at Milwaukee's Summerfest festival. "I couldn't see why nobody was doing anything about it." Just a couple weeks ago, though, the retired officer noticed a Carlin special was on HBO, so he watched it. "I sat there and I laughed a few times," he admits. "He was funny." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

    Readin': A Book Crammed into a Pack of Cigarettes For Some Reason

    cig-books.jpgDo you want to combine the cool, devil-may-care image of the cigarette smoker with the intellectual airs of a bookworm? Do you also want to avoid that pesky cancer that seems to catch up with smokers? Well, the Tankbook seems right up your alley: it's an entire classic novel crammed into a pack of smokes. Sure, the text has got to be really tiny to fit a full-sized novel into a package that size, and $14 is a lot to pay for a gimmick, but think about your image! Ladies love dudes who buy weird things on the internet! • [Gearfuse] via [Coolest Gadgets]

    Max Clockuli: World Clock Counts Up Disaster, Disease, Overpopulation So You Can Blame Someone Else

    world_clock.jpgWe won't rest until we've showed you every clock in existence, and here's the next one, a World Clock from Poodwaddle that make you feel both guilty and worried at the same time.

    Click over to it, and when you press the Now button, it begins counting up, showing you the world population, prison growth, abortions, US divorces and another calamities and mayhem. Just feel lucky you're sitting there, not dead, and hopefully minimally diseased.

    World Clock [Poodwaddle, via Red Ferret]

    The New Snobbery:

    We're already getting emails with that snippety, snipety little tagline at the bottom: "Sent from my iPhone." Oh FUCK YOU. Prepared to be bruised by a thousand Sidekicks.

    Video: Naked Girls Butting Butts and Falling in Tubs

    Check out this video—with conveniently translated subtitles—of two girls, one from Osaka and one from Tokyo, having a competition to see whose butt is stronger. After exchanging some challenging comments, the girls get on top of a giant disc floating in a hot tub. The countdown begins, and it's on! Watch the clip to see who wins.

    I'm here on orders from my bird.


    That one had me rolling on the couch.

    Have I mentioned I love this show.

    Silver Spring's downtown is "private property" - no photos allowed

    Cory Doctorow: The town of Silver Spring, Maryland gave a private company $100,000,000 to redevelop its downtown area. Now the company claims that the entire downtown is a shopping mall, under its absolute control, without any civil rights. It has barred photography by the public, and insists that it has the right to treat citizens as mere customers.
    "I couldn't believe it," says Py, 43, who knew through his old sales job that Montgomery County had made a huge public investment in the new downtown. County tax dollars accounted for $100 million of the $400 million it took to transform the area. "There's all kinds of county activities there, promoted by county money. How could this be private?"

    The same question bothers County Council member Marc Elrich. "Considering the county paid for it, it ought to be a public space," he says. "We invest a lot of police time and county resources there."

    Link (Thanks, Michael!)

    Flip text upside-down with Unicode

    Cory Doctorow: (¡ɐ1oɟɟıɹ 'sʞuɐɥʇ)) ʞuı1 ¡spuǝıɹɟ ɹnoʎ ǝsıɹdɹns .sɹǝʇɔɐɹɐɥɔ ǝpoɔıun buısn ǝdʎʇ noʎ ʇxǝʇ ʎuɐ ʇɹǝʌuı 11ıʍ ʇɐɥʇ ǝʇısqǝʍ ɐ sı dı1ɟ

    Wife's lover to pay for stealing her affections

    Stealing someone's heart can cost you. Just ask German Blinov.

    A jury has ordered Blinov to shell out $4,802 after he was sued by a husband from a Chicago suburb for stealing the affections of the man's wife.

    Arthur Friedman used a little-known state law to mount the legal attack against Blinov.

    The alienation-of-affection law lets spouses seek damages for the loss of love.

    Only a handful of states still have such a law.

    Blinov does not deny having a relationship with Natalie Friedman while she was married. But he was surprised to learn he could be sued for it.

    IPhone Fast-typing: "People Who Can't Type Fast on iPhone are Retarded", Anonymous YouTuber Declares

    Well, I guess he's right. We are getting there, though. And we are not retarded. Just a little bit spastic.

    Dramatic reading of a real teenage break-up letter


    Bizarre Horseshoe Bat photographed for first time

    This bizarre-looking bat got rave reviews when it recently posed for the camera for the first time.

    Scientists found the twisted-faced creature, called the Maclaud's horseshoe bat, while surveying the highland forests of Guinea in West Africa this spring.

    Maclaud's horseshoe bat

    German biologist Natalie Weber took this picture after finding 16 members of the species in a series of remote caves. The bat had never been photographed before and had not been seen in the wild in nearly 40 years.

    The Maclaud's bat is one of about 70 known species of horseshoe bats, so named for their distinctive—some might say grotesque—facial features called noseleafs.

    Scientists aren't certain what the skin flaps are for, but they're thought to aid in echolocation—the process bats use to navigate by emitting and receiving high-frequency sound waves.

    Deathbed Confession Says Aliens Were at Roswell

    xnuandax writes "The army's explanation of weather balloons in the Roswell, New Mexico incident 60 years ago has been dealt a serious public relations blow. Late Army Lt. Walter Haut had signed a sealed affidavit prior to his death last year asserting that he had witnessed the wreckage of an egg-shaped craft and its extraterrestrial crew while working at the Roswell Army Air Field. An article at News.com.au reviews how Haut had worked as public relations officer for the Roswell base and was involved in the original weather balloon explanation of events at the time. This recent evidence would seem to confirm speculation that egg-shaped saucers are notoriously difficult to fly safely at low altitude."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.