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31 May, 2007

Snake-like Green Pepper

Green Pepper
This green pepper from Shanxi,China does resemble a snake-like creature with its tongue sticking out!

More images after the jump.

Green Pepper
Green Pepper
Source: Mop.com
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How to balance 11 nails on the head of a single nail

How do you balance 11 nails on top of a single nail? You can try it out on your own or hit play to watch the solution.

Video: YouTube via Neatorama
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Microsoft unveils new Surface computer

Microsoft Corp. has taken the wraps off "Surface," a coffee-table shaped computer that responds to touch and to special bar codes attached to everyday objects.

Surface is essentially a Windows Vista PC tucked inside a shiny black table base, topped with a 30-inch touchscreen in a clear acrylic frame. Five cameras that can sense nearby objects are mounted beneath the screen. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by setting real-world items tagged with special bar-code labels on top of it.

Unlike most touchscreens, Surface can respond to more than one touch at a time. During a demonstration with a reporter last week, Mark Bolger, the Surface Computing group's marketing director, "dipped" his finger in an on-screen paint palette, then dragged it across the screen to draw a smiley face. Then he used all 10 fingers at once to give the face a full head of hair.

With a price tag between $5,000 and $10,000 per unit, Microsoft isn't immediately aiming for the finger painting set. (The company said it expects prices to drop enough to make consumer versions feasible in three to five years.)

Watch the video after the jump.

Video: Gizmodo
Image Gallery: Gizmodo
Source: Yahoo News
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Iron Age cauldron discovered in bog

CauldronA routine day cutting turf on the bog ended in a significant discovery for Louisburgh farmer Owen McNally last week, when he unearthed a perfectly intact 2,500-year-old Iron Age cauldron.

Mr McNally was hand cutting turf on his bog at Knockeen, near Cregganbaun on the Killeen to Louisburgh Road on May 21 last, when his traditional sléan struck a solid object at 5.20pm. He decided to peel back some layers of peat to investigate the occurrence further and, to his amazement, found the large bowl-like object two feet under the surface.

It has since been identified by the National Museum of Ireland’s keeper of antiquities, Eamonn Kelly, as an Iron Age cauldron which would have been used for feasting. It was most likely deposited in the bog as an offering to the gods as part of an ancient kinship or sovereignty ritual. The cauldron, which is six inches deep and has a circumference of one foot at the rim, is hand-carved from wood, though the exact type will have to be determined by experts at a later stage.

Link & Image: Mayo News
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Man proposes on a cinema screen

A movie fan got the shock of her life when she found herself watching a giant image of her boyfriend propose to her on a cinema screen.

Heather Hickey, 24, was settling down to enjoy the new Pirates of the Caribbean film when long-term lover Mark Spencer showed up on screen.

"I was completely in shock, just overwhelmed. One minute we were sitting in our seats eating popcorn and then the next Mark appeared on screen," she said.

"He said, 'I hope this is romantic enough. I love you to bits and I want the whole world to know it'.

"I turned round to look at him and he was down on one knee holding a ring. I was too stunned to say anything, we just hugged each other. Then I cried my eyes out.

Source: Ananova
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Golden bathtub worth almost 1 million stolen from hotel

Bathtub made of pure goldA glittering bathtub made of pure gold worth nearly $1 million has been stolen from a resort hotel, an official said yesterday.

The round tub, worth $987,000, is made of 18-karat gold, measures 71 centimeters wide, 121 centimeters long and 65 centimeters high and weighs 176 pounds (80 kg). It has been a main feature of the hotel’s shared bathroom. Visitors can take a dip in the tub, but it is only available a few hours a day “for security reasons,” the hotel’s Web site said.

Someone apparently cut the chain attached to the door of a small section of the bathroom where the bathtub was placed, but not riveted, and made off with it.

“We have no witness information and there are no video cameras,” the official said.

Link & Image: Mainichi
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How to keep cookies fresh

Cookie OsmosisTo make cookies chewable again after becoming stale, just add bread.

Place a slice of fresh bread in with your cookies a day or two after you've baked them, or whenever you find their texture has deteriorated. The moisture from the fresh bread will migrate to your cookies (through cookie osmosis, see diagram above), rendering them soft and chewable again.

Link & Image: Megnut via Lifehacker
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A volcanic eruption and an aurora

Volcano eruption and an AuroraSometimes both heaven and Earth erupt. In Iceland in 1991, the volcano Hekla erupted at the same time that auroras were visible overhead. Hekla, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, has erupted at least 20 times over the past millennium, sometimes causing great destruction. The last eruption occurred only six years ago but caused only minor damage. The green auroral band occurred fortuitously about 100 kilometers above the erupting lava.

Link & Image: Astronomy Picture of the Day
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Giant pirate ship mast made of Lego blocks breaks record

Giant pirate ship mast made of Lego blocksIn this photo made available by Legoland, a giant pirate ship mast made of Lego blocks stands outside of the theme-park on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 in Carlsbad, Calif. The structure was made over the Memorial Day weekend by park visitors with more than 465,000 bricks that measured 94.3 feet (28.7 meters) in height which broke a previous record set in Denmark in 2006.

Link & Image: Yahoo News
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Bird poo used for beauty face mask

Face MaskWhile millions of women are snapping up age-defying skin creams, the latest miracle cure for a sagging face has just arrived – nightingale poo.

The bird droppings, applied in a 90- minute facial, are packed with an enzyme called guanine – an amino acid which heals the skin, experts claim.

The treatment has already been used by Japanese geishas to remove make-up and leave the skin silky smooth, while monks polish their shaved heads with the droppings.

But, before you squirm at the thought of people scraping up bird excrement from city pavements or car windscreens, the poo is thoroughly purified before being lathered on to your face.

'The droppings, which are applied as a mask with Japanese white clay, are completely safe and treated under UV light to remove bacteria,' said Hari Salem, owner of Hari's in Knightsbridge, West London.

Link & Image: Metro via Arbroath
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Taxi to Greece to avoid airports

Kathleen Searles and Wendy TurnerAn 89-year-old woman took a £2,000 ($3,968) taxi trip to Greece - because she can't stand waiting in airports.

Kathleen Searles is fascinated with history and Alexander the Great. So, to visit Mieza, where he went to school, she ordered a cab to take her on the three-day journey through France, Germany and the Balkans.

She made the 3,000-mile round trip from her home near Sudbury in Suffolk, Britain, after persuading friend Wendy Turner, 73, to join her and share the taxi fare.

The fare was £2,000 ($3,968) but with food and accommodation the cost was £5,000 ($9,920) when a plane trip would have been £130 ($258).

For Mrs Searles it was the trip of a lifetime as she had wanted to see where Alexander had learnt the things that had made him "great" - even though she only spent four hours there.

Video after the jump.

Video: BBC
Link & Image: BBC
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The TreeHouse Workshop of Seattle

If you want to live out your childhood fantasy of living in a treehouse or are just trying to build one for your kid who's been bugging you, but you aren't any good with handicraft or carpentry -- you'll probably want to give the capable carpenters of TreeHouse Workshop a ring.

The Seattle-based company, which employs seven lead builders, crafts 10 to 15 modern and sophisticated tree-top abodes each year, some outfitted with bathrooms, fireplaces, second stories, and suspension bridges.

Using mostly with reclaimed wood and recycled materials, from the flooring and doors to the paneling and windows, the company uses primarily recovered lumber and timber from old homes, as well as salvaged building products from Second Use Building Materials in Seattle.

"Our eco-friendly approach is to work with as many reclaimed materials as possible," said Jake Jacob, TreeHouse Workshop's co-founder. "It's not too difficult to make use of reclaimed or wonderful found materials that others don't want to use."

More images after the jump.

Source: Treehugger
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Man lets a 2600 Pound ball land on his head, and a 3000 pound medicine ball ram him in the stomach!

Would you let a 2600 pound ball land on your head and another 3000 pound ball ram you in the stomach? Apparently this guy did - just to prove his strength!

Video: Flick Life
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ABC's virutal site 'griefed'

ABC IslandThe ABC's prized virtual reality island in the online game Second Life has been devastated in an act of digital vandalism.

ABC Island, the third-most-visited commercial site in the online game that has more than six million members globally, was found as a "bombed, cratered mess" yesterday.

Craig Preston, head of technology for ABC innovation, said only the digital transmission tower was left standing on the island, which cost the ABC tens of thousands of dollars to create.

"It looks like we've had some enormous cyber-bomb set off on our site," Mr Preston said.

"Somebody has nuked us in some way, shape or form, and they've obliterated almost every object on the site."

The online vandalism, called "griefing", took several hours to repair.

The ABC was the first major Australian brand to embrace Second Life, in which people exist in a virtual world where they can buy cyber-goods, own digital islands and interact with other players around the world.

Mr Preston said the ABC was at a loss to identify who had vandalised the site, but the owners of Second Life, California-based Linden Labs, might have digital recordings of the vandalism taking place.

The vandals left logos for sports brands Nike and Puma on the island, prompting speculation that the attack could be the work of a commercial rival jealous of the ABC's success.

But sources suggested the logos could have been an attempt to throw investigators off the trail.

Second Life was launched in 2003, but did not come to prominence until last year when corporations such as Sony, IBM and Reuters bought islands and began marketing to visitors.

Link & Image: News.com.au
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Scientists want to rewrite DNA from scratch

DNAToday every living organism—every person, plant, animal and microbe—can trace its heritage back to that first cell. Earth's extended family is the only kind of life that we've observed, so far, in the universe.

This pantheon of living organisms is about to get some newcomers—and we're not talking about extraterrestrials. Scientists in the last couple of years have been trying to create novel forms of life from scratch. They've forged chemicals into synthetic DNA, the DNA into genes, genes into genomes, and built the molecular machinery of completely new organisms in the lab—organisms that are nothing like anything nature has produced.

The people who are defying Nature's monopoly on creation are a loose collection of engineers, computer scientists, physicists and chemists who look at life quite differently than traditional biologists do. Harvard professor George Church wants "to do for biology what Intel does for electronics"—namely, making biological parts that can be assembled into organisms, which in turn can perform any imaginable biological activity.

In the past, genetic wizardry has been confined to tinkering and tweaking what nature has already produced—taking a gene from a bacterium, say, and inserting it into the chromosomes of corn or pigs. What we're talking about is producing life that is wholly new—not in any way a genetic descendant of the primordial Mother Cell. The initial members of each newly created breed will have no ancestors at all.

So far, researchers have fabricated individual biological building blocks, but they have yet to create an entirely new synthetic self-replicating organism. "Chemical synthesis of life has been a standing challenge to synthetic organic chemistry," says Venter (with palpable impatience). But SynBio researchers see no reason to wait until whole organisms can be created from scratch. They are happy to stitch together lab-designed biological components, or "biodevices," with parts of natural cells to construct hybrid organisms. The SynBio enterprise is not some ivory-tower exercise but a pragmatic field that could soon produce results. Church, who at 53 is an elder SynBio guru, thinks it could happen as soon as two years from now if funding is ramped up and scientists don't run into major snags.

Read the full article after the jump.

Source: MSNBC
Image: Operators Are Standing By's photostream
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Melted Keyboard

KeyboardThis keyboard is a victim of suspected arson in a lumber mill a couple years ago. The keyboard itself was not on fire, and the underside of it is still in perfect shape...basically the heat of the fire above it melted all the plastic in interesting ways.

More images after the jump.

Source: Flickr/Kickstart70
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Anhui girl performs with 100 hula hoops!

hula hoops
On May 29, a lady from Anhui twirled 100 hula hoops simultaneously in front of amazed audiences during the cultural tourism festival in Shandong. This is definitely taking the hula hoop to extremes!

Source: Xinhua
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30 May, 2007

Light-up pants and Motherboard tie

Motherboard tie
Light-up pants
Sick and tired of your normal attire? Why not dress up with a pair of light-up pants that make it look like you’re burning up the dance floor, and a motherboard tie. Just a piece of advice: please try not to wear them to office!

Thanks, Raluca !

One more image after the jump.

Light-up pants
Source: PCNews & 7Gadgets
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Bush interviewed as people crosses the border illegally

During an interview of President Bush on the Early Show, you can actually see people crossing the border illegally. Most probably a spoofed video but hilarious though.

Thanks, Michael !

Video: Metacafe
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Tying the knot after 49 years

MarriageA couple has finally tied the knot - after 49 years, nine children, 22 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

Every time Ted Towle, 83, proposed to Hilda Clark, 73, she turned him down, reports the Daily Mirror.

Then six months ago, he was stunned when she proposed to him. They finally married at the weekend to cheers from their delighted family.

Hilda said: "Ours must be one of the longest courtships ever. But now I'm so happy I wonder why I waited so long to marry. I'm so proud to call Ted my husband after all this time."

Source: Iol
Image: Truebluetitan / Flickr

The Seven Summits

Vinson Massif MountainPBS has compiled a list of the 7 highest peaks in the world. Here’s one on the Vinson Massif Mountain located in Antarctica:

Vinson dominates a landscape of stark purity, where nothing other than ice, snow, and barren rock stretch as far as the eye can see. Antarctica, with Vinson at its ceiling, is the coldest and driest desert on Earth, receiving less than two inches of precipitation per year. Most of the snow on the mountain arrived there on the wind, blown from other parts of the continent.

Location: Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains
Elevation: 16,067 feet

More after the jump.

Link & Image: PBS

Outcry over TV kidney competition

TV kidney competitionA Dutch TV station says it will go ahead with a programme in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys.

The 37-year-old donor, identified only as Lisa, will make her choice based on the contestants' history, profile and conversation with their family and friends. Viewers will also be able to send in their advice by text message during the 80-minute show.

The Dutch donor authority has condemned the show, as have kidney specialists in the UK. Political parties have called for The Big Donor Show to be scrapped, but broadcaster BNN says it will highlight the country's shortage of organ donors.

"The scenario portrayed in this programme is ethically totally unacceptable," said Professor John Feehally, who has just ended his term as president of the UK's Renal Association. "The show will not further understanding of transplants," he added. "Instead it will cause confusion and anxiety."

The programme, from Big Brother creators Endemol, is due to be screened on Friday night.

Link & Image: BBC via Boing Boing
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Japanese 71-year-old becomes oldest to climb Everest

Katsusuke YanagisawaA 71-year-old Japanese man has become the world's oldest person to climb Mount Everest, topping a feat set by a compatriot last year.

Former school teacher Katsusuke Yanagisawa reached the summit last Tuesday, a mountain tour group who organized his climb said on Tuesday. It said he climbed from the Tibetan side of the Himalayan peak.

"I feel at ease. I was able to break the record thanks to friends who supported me," Yanagisawa was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

His age would make him the oldest person to have climbed the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) peak, an official at the Japan Mountaineering Association said.

The list of climbers who have conquered Everest include a blind person, a man with an artificial leg and the youngest, and a 16-year-old boy.

Link & Image: Abc
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Brit burnt German towels

Glyn BowdenGlyn Bowden, a 55-year-old British coach driver got so fed up with German tourists bagging every sunbed that he set fire to their towels.

He was coach driver for a party of 55 British holidaymakers at Viana Marina, near San Remo, on the Italian Riviera.

The first time the group from South Wales complained to him about the German sunbed baggers, he said "Leave it to me" and dumped all of the towels at the end of the pool.

Mr Bowden said: "The following morning the Germans put them down even earlier so I did the same - with them shaking their fists at me from their windows.

"The next morning about 20 towels were there again so I collected them up, put them on a pile on the beach - and lit them.

"All the British tourists were cheering. But just a few minutes afterwards three police officers turned up and arrested me.

"They were going to charge me with criminal damage but the hotel - which owned the towels -intervened on my behalf."

Mr Bowden, from Tonyrefail, near Rhondda, added: "The Germans thought they owned the private beach but I wanted to make sure my tourists got a crack of the whip."

Source: Ananova
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It's a snooker playing dog

Snooker playing dogIt may sound potty but border collie Blue is right on cue when it comes to playing pool.

He rests his front paws on the table and then, standing on his hind legs next to owner Jeff Davies, looks down the cue to see if he has a shot on. When he has, he sinks the ball into the pocket – using his paws.

In scenes reminiscent of those paintings adorning many a pub wall, showing billiard-playing dogs, Blue began to mimic Mr Davies whenever he took to the table, following the balls as they cannoned off cushions.

Now he has become the canine king of the green baize and partners his master in games.

Apart from playing pool, Blue gets to sleep in his own bedroom at home, works on the building site and even accompanies Mr Davies on his duties as a retained firefighter.

Link & Image: Metro
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29 May, 2007

Karate kid gets green belt despite having no legs

Gregg WarburtonMiracle boy Gregg Warburton can deliver a killer karate kick and cutting blow on his opponents - despite having two artificial legs and a small, deformed hand.
The determined youngster has been amazing his parents and friends since he was baby and had both his lower limbs amputated at the shin.

The ten-year-old wears custom-made false limbs over his stumps so that he can run about - but has to use a wheelchair when he gets tired.

Gregg passed his yellow, orange and green belts at the same time as his mates and even takes part in competitions.

Gregg WarburtonThe rules are bent slightly to allow Gregg to wear his trainers - because it is difficult for him to balance and grip the floor properly on artificial legs.

Gregg, of Leigh, Lancashire, took up karate at the age of six after an instructor came to his school for a special one-off session - and he begged his parents to let him go to the classes.

"Gregg just took everything in his stride and started adapting moves and concentrating on ones he can do well.

"He can do the kicks, the balances and the punches with his right hand, although he can't make a fist with his left.

Link & Image: DailyMail
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Day turns into night in Shandong city

Day turns into nightA band of light was clearly marked between the ground and the sky at 5:38pm on Monday, May 28, 2007, in Ri Zhao City, China. The bright day suddenly turned into a dark night on Monday afternoon in downtown Ri Zhao. People were amazed by the spectacle which lasted for several minutes.

Link & Image: China Economic Net
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Speed climbing a cliff

This video shows Dan Osman climbing a cliff at an incredible speed.

Video: YouTube via Haha
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New European cigarettes will put themselves out

AshtrayCigarettes that stop burning within two minutes of being put down are to replace conventional brands in an attempt to reduce the number of casualties from fires started by smouldering butts.

The European Commission is to ban traditional cigarettes by 2009-10, forcing smokers to buy "fire-safe" cigarettes that need constant drags to keep them alight.

Arlene McCarthy, a British Labour member of the European Parliament and chair of its consumer protection committee, said: "It's very good news. It will save lives. At the moment some people come home, have had a few drinks, fall asleep on the sofa with a cigarette in their hand, it falls on to flammable material and the next thing you know you've got a fire.

"Fire-safe cigarettes greatly reduce the risk of that happening."

Link & Image: The New Zealand Herald
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World's oldest bowling alley found in Egypt

SiteItalian archeologists have found in Egypt what may be the world's oldest indoor bowling alley, Egyptian media said Monday.

A spacious room, with a shallow lane running through into a pit and two heavy stone balls lying nearby, was found at an ancient site in the province of Al-Fayyum, 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Cairo, and appears to be man's first attempt to create an area for a game that was to become the prototype for modern-day bowling, archeologists taking part in the excavations were reported as saying.

The site dates back to the Ptolemaic era, which began in 332 B.C with Ptolemy I Soter declaring himself Pharaoh of Egypt following Alexander the Great's conquest, and ended with the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

The period bowling room was apparently part of a residential building, with papyruses, pottery and copper utensils found at the site in abundance.

Link & Image: Novosti
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New limbless lizard species discovered

LizardAn Indian zoologist said Monday he has found a new species of limbless lizard in a forested area in the country's east.

"Preliminary scientific study reveals that the lizard belongs to the genus Sepsophis," said Sushil Kumar Dutta, who led a team of researchers from "Vasundhra," a non-governmental organization, and the North Orissa University.

The newly found 7-inch long lizard looks like a scaly, small snake, Dutta said. "It prefers to live in a cool retreat, soft soil and below stones."

"The lizard is new to science and is an important discovery. It is not found anywhere else in the world," Dutta told The Associated Press.

Link & Image: Msnbc
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Brit to swim at North Pole

DivingA British explorer and endurance swimmer is to attempt to swim in the freezing waters of the North Pole.

Lewis Gordon Pugh, 37, will be the first person to swim at the geographic North Pole. Water temperatures will be around minus 1.8 degrees Celsius - the coldest waters a human has ever swum in, a spokesperson said.

Pugh's ability to raise his body temperature in anticipation of a swim has intrigued sports scientists and earned him the nickname The Polar Bear.

He is making the 1km swim, in an area that should be frozen over, to demonstrate the devastating impacts of climate change.

Pugh will swim in just a swimming costume, cap and goggles for the Investec North Pole Challenge on July 15.

Link & Image: Ananova
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Man invents machine to turn water into fire

Kanzius, 63, invented a machine that emits radio waves in an attempt to kill cancerous cells while leaving normal cells intact. While testing his machine, he noticed that his invention had other unexpected abilities.

Filling a test tube with salt water from a canal in his back yard, Kanzius placed the tube and a paper towel in the machine and turned it on. Suddenly, the paper towel ignited, lighting up the tube like it was a wax candle. Kanzius performed the experiment without the paper towel and got the same result -- the saltwater was actually burning.

Kanzius said the flame created from his machine reaches a temperature of around 3,000 degrees Farenheit. He said a chemist told him that the immense heat created from the machine breaks down the hydrogen-oxygen bond in the water, igniting the hydrogen.

"You could take plain salt water out of the sea, put it in containers and produce a violent flame that could heat generators that make electricity, or provide other forms of energy," Kanzius said.

He said engineers are currently experimenting with him in Erie, Pa. in an attempt to harness the energy. They've built an engine that, when placed on top of the flame, chugged along for two minutes, Kanzius told WPBF.

Source: Wpbf & YouTube
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28 May, 2007

'Living plugs' smooth ant journey

AntsA scientific study of the teamwork of army ants has discovered how they are prepared to let their fellow ants walk all over them to get the job done. The technique provided the rest of the group, which can number 200,000, with a faster route between prey and nest.

"The ants have a very large size range within their colony, measuring from 2mm up to 1cm (0.08-0.4in)," explained Dr Scott Powell, a biologist at the University of Bristol. "When the ants bump into a hole they cannot cross, they edge their way around it and then spread their legs and wobble back and forth to check their fit. "If they are too big, then they carry on and another ant will come along and measure itself in the same way. This carries on until an appropriately sized ant plugs the hole."

At this point, Dr Powell told the BBC News website, the ant becomes a "living surface" remaining in place for hours at a time while thousands of foragers walk back and forth across the trail.

"At the end of the day, when the traffic eventually diminishes, the ant that forms this motionless plug will detect that and pop out of the hole and run home," Dr Powell said.

The scientists found ant-plugged smoother surfaces speeded up the route from prey to nest and also increased the daily prey intake, which for army ants consists of other species of ants and other bugs.

Source: BBC


Man in underwear pins leopard for 20 min

Arthur Du MoschArthur Du Mosch has averted a cat-astrophe. The 49-year-old nature guide was fast asleep Monday, his family and pet cat dozing beside him, when a larger feline hopped in his bed for a latenight visit — a wild leopard, to be exact.

Du Mosch, 49, a nature guide, didn't flinch. Clad only in underwear and a T-shirt, he lunged at the leopard, grabbed it around the neck, then pinned it down for 20 minutes — until park rangers arrived on the scene.

"This kind of thing doesn't happen every day," he said, plainly. "I don't know why I did it. I wasn't thinking, I just acted."

Leopards in Israel pose no threat to people and, in fact, this leopard was chasing Du Mosch's cat and not the humans sleeping in the bed, Shapira said. He said the leopard was very weak when captured.

Link & Image: Yahoo News
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A bicycle made for three

TrioBikeBaby transport has undergone something of a revolution in recent years with designers capitalising on the “yummy mummy” market to offer sportier versions of the pushchair. Now one company has taken the idea one step further with the trioBike, a carrierbike, pushchair and bicycle all in one.

The aluminium-frame seven-speed trioBike can attach a carrier to seat two children under nine-years-old. There are seatbelts, and the company, having developed their design with the Danish National Consumer Agency, say it is the “safest carrierbike children can ride in”.

A spokesman for the company said it was the perfect flexible solution for parents on the move.

He said: “A carrierbike is a fantastic invention for transporting the kids in. “But once the kids have been delivered in day care and you are working the pedals, it is probably one of the most useless inventions.

“With our trioBike, you can easily take of the front carrier and change the carrierbike into a bike and a pushchair.”

Link & Image: DailyMail
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Coke sets largest ice cream float record

Largest ice cream floatThe world's largest beverage maker on Friday kicked off the holiday weekend by creating a 10-ton ice cream float to break a world record the company set nearly a decade ago.

An official from Guinness World Records confirmed the 3,000-gallon float, made of Vanilla Coke and ice cream, set the new world record.

A tanker from the Atlanta-based company's syrup plant pumped a non-carbonated mixture into a specially made 15-foot-high (4.6 meters) glass containing a device that carbonated the beverage. Workers dropped buckets full of ice cream into the top of the glass by hand.

The event commemorated the soft drink giant's relaunch of Vanilla Coke, said Coke spokesman Scott Williamson. It was held next to the new World of Coca-Cola museum, which opened Thursday.

Link & Image: Philly.com via 13gb
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Cat eats with fork and chopsticks

This cat eats with fork and chopsticks.

Video: YouTube via I Am Bored
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New attraction simulates shuttle launch at 17,500 mph

Flight-simulatorOn Friday, the Kennedy Space Center will open the Shuttle Launch Experience, an amusement-ride-cum-astronaut-flight-simulator designed to mimic the 17,500-mph (26,249 km/h) liftoff of a NASA shuttle orbiter.

The 44,000-square-foot attraction isn't just a ride; it's a flight simulator on par with what astronauts in training experience, says Bob Rogers, CEO of BRC Imagination Arts, which built it.

The $60 million project employs seat rumblers and shakers that rattle riders through the turbulent main engine start, the firing of the solid rocket boosters and then their separation.

Air bags in each seat sink and rise to capture the sensation of extreme acceleration. The shuttle's windshield, an 84-inch high-def screen, is enveloped in fire when the external tanks separate.

Inside the capsule, riders are subject to an onslaught of 13-channel sound, from the roar of the engines to the commander barking instructions. Low-frequency sound vibrates the riders' chests, evoking the feeling of being unable to breathe.

According to Rogers, some astronauts who have experienced the exhibit have reported it to be more realistic than some of NASA's and the military's own training simulators.

Link & Image: Wired
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Pistol Shrimp

This creature is equipped with a powerful weapon which is equivalent to that of a gun but on a smaller scale.

The pistol shrimp snaps a specialized claw shut to create a cavitation wave that generates noise in excess of 200 decibels and is capable of killing small fish. This sea creature blasts bubbles at over 60 mph (97 km/h) with a temperature comparable to that of the sun.

Video: YouTube via Bits & Pieces
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'Beer' for kids!

'Beer' for kids
In Japan, kids are encouraged to drink ‘beer’. Not the real ones though, they are all fake.

Sangaria started their line of fake alcoholic drinks for kids with Kodomo no nomimono (Children’s drink), and has been successful enough to offer it in bottles, cans, and even six-packs. They also expanded the product line to include children’s versions of wine, champagne, and cocktails. The beer, flavored like apple juice, even foams at the top when poured into a glass!

Thanks, Michael !

Source: Cscout
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Scientists breed cows that give skimmed milk

MilkBelieve it or not: Scientists have bred cows that produce skimmed milk and hope to establish herds of the cattle to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers.

The milk is also high in omega3 oils, claimed to improve brain power, and contains polyunsaturated fat. The saturated fats found in normal milk are linked to increased risk of heart disease. The cows, which have a particular genetic mutation, were bred from a single female discovered by researchers when they screened milk from millions of cattle in New Zealand.

Butter from these cows has the extra advantage of being spreadable straight from the fridge, like margarine.

Scientists at ViaLactia, the biotech firm behind the £55m research, have named the cow Marge. Russell Snell, ViaLactia’s chief scientist, said: “Marge looks like an ordinary Friesian cow but has three key differences. She produces a normal level of protein in her milk but substantially less fat, and the fat she does produce has much more unsaturated fat. She also produces milk with very high levels of omega3 oils.”

Marge was discovered in 2001 when ViaLactia’s researchers bought her from her owner for £120 and moved her to a secret location.

The key issue was whether her calves would inherit her traits. “You have to generate daughters and then they have to carry a calf and deliver milk,” said Snell. “The eureka moment was when we found her daughters produced milk like their mother.”

The Auckland-based company says the first commercial herds for spreadable butter could be expected by 2011.

People are getting more health conscious, so maybe such products will be in high demand?

Source: Times Online
Image: Flickr/meantux
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The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids

Pyramid“This is not my day job.” So begins Michel Barsoum as he recounts his foray into the mysteries of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. As a well respected researcher in the field of ceramics, Barsoum never expected his career to take him down a path of history, archaeology, and “political” science, with materials research mixed in.

“What started as a two-hour project turned into a five-year odyssey that I undertook with one of my graduate students, Adrish Ganguly, and a colleague in France, Gilles Hug,” Barsoum says.

A year and a half later, after extensive scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and other testing, Barsoum and his research group finally began to draw some conclusions about the pyramids. They found that the tiniest structures within the inner and outer casing stones were indeed consistent with a reconstituted limestone. The cement binding the limestone aggregate was either silicon dioxide (the building block of quartz) or a calcium and magnesium-rich silicate mineral.

The stones also had a high water content—unusual for the normally dry, natural limestone found on the Giza plateau—and the cementing phases, in both the inner and outer casing stones, were amorphous, in other words, their atoms were not arranged in a regular and periodic array. Sedimentary rocks such as limestone are seldom, if ever, amorphous.

The sample chemistries the researchers found do not exist anywhere in nature. “Therefore,” says Barsoum, “it’s very improbable that the outer and inner casing stones that we examined were chiseled from a natural limestone block.”

More startlingly, Barsoum and another of his graduate students, Aaron Sakulich, recently discovered the presence of silicon dioxide nanoscale spheres (with diameters only billionths of a meter across) in one of the samples. This discovery further confirms that these blocks are not natural limestone.

At the end of their most recent paper reporting these findings, the researchers reflect that it is “ironic, sublime and truly humbling” that this 4,500-year-old limestone is so true to the original that it has misled generations of Egyptologists and geologists and, “because the ancient Egyptians were the original—albeit unknowing—nanotechnologists.”

Why do the results of Barsoum’s research matter most today? Two words: earth cements.

“How energy intensive and/or complicated can a 4,500 year old technology really be? The answer to both questions is not very,” Barsoum explains. “The basic raw materials used for this early form of concrete—limestone, lime, and diatomaceous earth—can be found virtually anywhere in the world,” he adds. “Replicating this method of construction would be cost effective, long lasting, and much more environmentally friendly than the current building material of choice: Portland cement that alone pumps roughly 6 billion tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere when it’s manufactured.”

“Ironically,” says Barsoum, “this study of 4,500 year old rocks is not about the past, but about the future.”

Source: Yahoo News
Image: Flickr/Meeshosaur
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Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health

Fizzy DrinksA new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

The findings could have serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks. They will also intensify the controversy about food additives, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

Now, an expert in ageing at Sheffield University, who has been working on sodium benzoate since publishing a research paper in 1999, has decided to speak out about another danger. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.

He told The Independent on Sunday: "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.

"The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."

"The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are complete safe," he said. "By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago."

He advised parents to think carefully about buying drinks with preservatives until the quantities in products were proved safe by new tests. "My concern is for children who are drinking large amounts," he said.

Coca-Cola and Britvic's Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi all contain sodium benzoate. Their makers and the British Soft Drinks Association said they entrusted the safety of additives to the Government.

Source: The Independent
Image: Flickr/Arsi Higgins
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27 May, 2007

Missionary returns to find home wrapped In newspaper

Newspaper HouseA young man returning home from a church mission in Mexico found his family's home completely wrapped in newspaper.

"As soon as the headlights hit the house it was like, 'What has happened?"' said Kelly Wigington, the father of Mormon missionary Brian Wigington. "I've never seen anything like this before."

The pranksters were Brian Wigington's friends, who volunteered to remove the newsprint. It took three hours to wrap the house.

"Some of these guys have too much free time on their hands," Kelly Wigington said.

Link & Image: Kutv
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Race to be first to ‘hibernate’ human beings

A sleeping childTurning science fiction into science fact, American doctors are preparing to chill volunteers into a state of suspended animation that could keep them asleep for months.

Medical teams in Los Angeles, Boston and Pittsburgh are racing to become the first to test out new theories of “induced hibernation” which could save lives and also help to send man towards the stars.

Hasan Alam, a surgeon at Massachusetts general hospital and consultant to the US army, is poised to start the first human trials before the end of the year.

Alam has experimented on eight-stone Yorkshire pigs, stopping the heart and electrical activity in the brain for up to two hours before slowly replacing the plasma with warm blood and reviving the animals with no apparent long-term effects.

Source: Times Online
Image: Jbrd / Flickr
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Gigantic Pumpkin

Gigantic PumpkinA gigantic 125kg pumpkin is being exhibited at an agriculture exposition at the Jiangsu Wuxi stadium in China attracting the attention of numerous people who attended it.

Link & Image: Xhby

Nostalgia in adult sweet shops

It's every child's dream: you find yourself in an abandoned sweet shop and can finally wolf down as many lollipops and marshmallows as you please.

Tokyo's all-you-can-eat "dagashi" or "cheap candy" bars make that childhood fantasy come true, giving stressed-out Japanese a chance to relive the good old days when their biggest problem was deciding between fizzy sticks and sour plums.

The dagashi bar in Tokyo's trendy Ebisu neighborhood is styled like an old corner shop with dark wooden walls lined with glass jars full of Japanese childhood favorites like chewy soybean candy and pickled squid on a stick.

Faded posters, a black-and-white TV and a menu that also offers pasta with ketchup evoke that special 1960s "natsukashii" or nostalgic feeling.

Link & Image: News.com.au
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Pig Candy

Pig Candy
Ever heard of the "Pig Candy"? No, not those pig-shaped peppermint candies to which you take a tiny mallet and break open, but "candy" that's made from pork!

Really, it's nothing more than thick-cut bacon that's baked in the oven with brown sugar, but for some reason, popping these gems while sitting in a dark wine bar with a group of friends makes it so absolutely special.

If you want to make it at home, here's a recipe for it at the Virtual Weber Bullet.

Source: Slashfood
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Creative Beer Ad

This is an interesting and creative beer ad, and as mentioned in the ad - an expensive one too!

Video: YouTube via Sugiero
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Waterspout spinning a ship

Videos showing a ship being spun around by the waterspout which I posted previously here.

Videos: Liveleak & Liveleak
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A big catch!

SharkA five-tonne shark, 10 meters (32.8 feet) in length and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in width, is seen after being caught by fishermen on the outskirts of Lianyungang, east China's Jiangsu province, May 23, 2007. The shark has been bought by a businessman at a price of 100,000 RMB ($13,066 ), local media reported.

Link & Image: Yahoo News


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