Now gluten-free!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

D'oh! A Deer! A Baby Deer!

Accidents happen on America's roadways, even to Google's Street View camera cars. Like this one, which happened to hit a baby deer:
Don't bother trying to find the picture. They took it down.

The Google Earth and Maps team responded to the incident:

    Gathering the imagery for Street View requires quite a bit of driving; as such, we take safety very seriously. Unfortunately, accidents do happen -- as some people have noticed, one of our Street View cars hit a deer while driving on a rural road in upstate New York. Due to several user requests using the "Report a concern" tool, these images are no longer available in Street View.

    The driver was understandably upset, and promptly stopped to alert the local police and the Street View team at Google. The deer was able to move and had left the area by the time the police arrived. The police explained to our driver that, sadly, this was not an uncommon occurrence in the region -- the New York State Department of Transportation estimates that 60,000-70,000 deer collisions happen per year in New York alone -- and no police report needed to be filed.

Be careful out there, people. Deer are becoming almost as much of a nuisance as squirrels.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There's One in Every Bunch

Come on. We all knew it was only a matter of time:
    Many U.S. Airways passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it's not enough.

    Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."

    It's too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

    He's one of 150 passengers who were dramatically rescued Jan. 15, when the Charlotte-bound Airbus A320 jet safely ditched into the frigid river off Midtown Manhattan. A pilot on the plane told air-traffic controllers that birds struck the plane before both engines failed after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.

    After the crash, U.S. Airways sent passengers a letter of apology, a $5,000 check to assist "with immediate needs" and reimbursement for the ticket. ...

    ... Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm that has represented plaintiffs in crashes, says it has been contacted by several passengers on the U.S. Airways flight.

    The firm's lawyers are determining what injuries and emotional distress passengers may have suffered, and what parties might be liable under New York state law, says Noah Kushlefsky, a partner in the firm.

The crash, however, wasn't traumatic enough to stop Joe Hart from flying. He's already flown on six planes since the accident.

I'm not a cold-hearted person, so why am I having trouble mustering up sympathy for this guy?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man Finally Solves Rubik's Cube...

...after over a quarter of a century.

From the Telegraph:
Puzzle fan Graham Parker has finally solved his Rubik's Cube - after 26 years' worth of attempts.

Delighted Graham, 45, from Portchester, Hants, has been tirelessly trying to solve the riddle of the Cube since he bought the toy in 1983.

Married dad-of-one Graham has endured endless sleepless nights and after more than 27,400 hours he finally managed to conquer his personal Everest.

Builder Graham said: "I cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally solve it. It has driven me mad over the years - it felt like it had taken over my life.

"I have missed important events to stay in and solve it and I would lay awake at night thinking about it.

"Friends have offered to solve it for me and I know that you can find solutions on the web but I just had to do it myself.

"I have had wrist and back problems from spending hours on it but it was all worth it.

"When I clicked that last bit into place and each face was a solid colour I wept."

Long-suffering wife Jean, 47, said the cube has frequently put a strain on their marriage, causing blazing rows between the pair.

Jean even admits at times it has felt as though there has been three people in their marriage for the past 26 years.

Sure, the record for solving the puzzle is 7.08 seconds, but Mr. Parker has done something I've never been able to do. Kudos, sir!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Google Doesn't Stop for Hitchhikers

And we're not just talking about the Information Superhighway. Check it out here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Squirrel Roundup (January 20, 2009)

Squirrels are good for something after all
One man has been making money off his water-skiing squirrels for over 27 years. (More...)

Squirrels killed by speeders
Rather than being hailed as heroes, squirrel-squishing motorists in England are being condemned. (More...)

Tastes like...squirrel
In an unrelated story, squirrel meat is becoming increasingly popular in the U.K. (More...)

Squirrel whisperer
While some people eat squirrels, others allow squirrels to eat them out of house and home. (More...)

Keep squirrels off your bird feeders
Readers of The Augusta Chronicle share their ideas. (More...)

Keep squirrels out of your attic
If you don't have the guts to do what needs to be done, I suppose "humane" traps can be used. (More...)

Should feeding squirrels be against the law?
No. Even though it's a bad idea. As much as I dislike squirrels, I dislike the government even more. (More...)

Squirrel day
North Elementary School in Mountain Home, Idaho, was closed because of a power outage believed to have been caused by a squirrel. (More...)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Are Flying Cars Finally Here?

After being promised flying cars for over half a century, it seems they are finally becoming a reality. Times Online is reporting that the first flying car is preparing for takeoff:
    If it survives its first test flight, the Terrafugia Transition, which can transform itself from a two-seater road car to a plane in 15 seconds, is expected to land in showrooms in about 18 months' time.

    Its manufacturer says it is easy to keep and run since it uses normal unleaded fuel and will fit into a garage.

    Carl Dietrich, who runs the Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, said: "This is the first really integrated design where the wings fold up automatically and all the parts are in one vehicle."

    The Transition, developed by former Nasa engineers, is powered by the same 100bhp engine on the ground and in the air.

    Terrafugia claims it will be able to fly up to 500 miles on a single tank of petrol at a cruising speed of 115mph. Up to now, however, it has been tested only on roads at up to 90mph.

Jane, get me on this crazy thing!

Friday, January 09, 2009

SQUIRREL ALERT: Cajun Squirrel-Flavored Chips

Yes, you read that correctly, though translated into British it would read "Cajun squirrel-flavoured crisps." The Telegraph has the story:
    Crisps that taste of chilli and chocolate, onion bhaji and even Cajun squirrel will be unleashed on the public as part of a Walkers competition to find a new flavour.

    Walkers launched its Do Us A Flavour campaign last July, challenging members of the public to think up a unique flavour of crisp ...

    ... Cajun squirrel is the wacky flavour created by Martyn Wright, 26, the only man to have made the final six.

    The online marketer, who lives in Hednesford, Staffordshire, was inspired to enter when he saw squirrel on a restaurant menu and he believes the public will be so intrigued that they will have to buy a pack.

    He said: "This gentle Cajun flavouring will be delicious for the public and although the idea might sound bizarre, it really works."

Mr. Wright, do these contain real squirrels?
    "No squirrels were harmed in the making of these crisps!"

(Thanks for the news tip, Dad!)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bury Me with My Cell Phone

At first glance, reports about people wanting to be buried with their cell phones may seem symptomatic of a superficial society. But after reading stories like this, this, this, this, and this, it may not be such a bad idea.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

IRS Grows a Heart

What a story for the holidays!:
    As the nation sinks deeper into recession, the IRS is offering to waive late penalties, negotiate new payment plans and postpone asset seizures for delinquent taxpayers who are financially strapped, but make a good-faith effort to settle their tax debts.

    IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said Tuesday that tax agents are being given new authority to work with victims of the nation's economic woes who are struggling to pay their bills.

    "We need to recognize that it's an extraordinary, challenging time," Shulman said in an interview. "We need to understand the taxpayers' perspective. We need to walk a mile in their shoes."

How heart-warming is that?

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