Now gluten-free!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet Frank and Louie, the cat with two faces

Frank and Louie the cat, was born with two faces, two mouths, three eyes, and lots of doubts about his future. Twelve years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being put down because of his condition, the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat is not only thriving but has made it into the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records. He's the longest surviving member of a group known as Janus cats, named for the Roman god of transitions, who has two faces.

Finally! A politician who makes sense!

Thanks to some bad lip reading.

(via Lew Rockwell's Political Theare)

PC BBC favors BCE/CE over BC/AD

The BBC, in an effort to be more "politically correct," will be dropping the more familiar terms B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or year of our Lord) in favor of the more ambiguous B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era). Wouldn't want non-Christians to get offended.

Come on, BBC. You may think you're fooling us with your PC decision, but we all know what Event separates BCE from CE.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lucky mouse

The U.S. plan to attack Britain in the 1930s

"War is the health of the State," declared progressive essayist Randolph Bourne. "Only when the State is at war does the modern society function with that unity of sentiment, simple uncritical patriotic devotion, cooperation of services, which have always been the ideal of the State lover." That explains why those in power always seem to have a contingency war plan to fall back on when others don't pan out.

One in particular, developed in the 1930s, centered on a potential war with Great Britain.
War Plan Red, as it was known, involved the U.S. conducting strategic bombing raids and chemical weapons attacks to knock out British forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, essentially cutting the island nation off from the rest of the world.

The plan, however far-fetched, didn't exist just on paper. Parts of it were actually implemented. In 1935, for example, Congress allocated $57 million to build secret airfields on the U.S. side of the Canadian border, with landing strips hidden beneath strips of sod.

This is the kind of information you won't find disseminated in any high school history class. Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bear with me while I experiment with different blog layouts

It's past time for a new look, so I'll be trying a few different layouts over the next few days. Please stand by.

Woman injured by exploding toilet

A woman in the General Services National Capital Regional Office Building in Washington, D. C., was sent to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries when the toilet she was using exploded. A mechanical failure that caused a major build-up of air pressure in the water system is being blamed.

The GSA circulated a memo throughout the building warning people not to flush toilets or use the faucets. While the restrooms are now back in service, the GSA isn't answering any specific questions about the incident.

This isn't the first time this has happened. A man was injured in another GSA building (the federal courthouse in Memphis, Tennessee) when the urinal he was using exploded upon flushing. The security guard who responded to the man's cries for help must not have understood what had happened because he proceeded to flush the urinal next to the demolished one and...BOOM! Two more urinals exploded in the bathroom that day. A problem with the water pressure was later determined to be the cause.

These and other toilet-related injuries are enough to make one consider installing an old fashioned outhouse.

Guy in a kilt playing the Star Wars theme on the bagpipes...while riding a unicycle

(via Now That's Nifty)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Princess Bride Monopoly game

(via 22 Words)

How those mobile aerial cameras at football games work

I was just wondering about this yesterday...

Contrary to what most of us might have thought, the cables and camera haven't interfered with the game:
The league stipulates that the cameras always be behind the play and at least 12 feet above the turf. "Only in extreme situations do any of the wires get into the path of the line of scrimmage," Mr. Maxwell said, and the systems have never interfered with a punt, kickoff or pass.

It's not that the kickers and punters haven't tried, though, at least in warm-ups. Before the game, Mr. Rodnunsky said, "we're out in the field doing our testing, and they're out doing their testing."

"I'm sure they have some sort of pool for whoever knocks the camera down," he added. So far, though, that hasn't happened. "I'm sure the prize is getting bigger," he said.
(via NY Times)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Illiteracy is a big problem among rioters

In Clapham Junction, during the infamous London riots over the summer, almost every shop was ransacked -- every shop, that is, except for Waterstone's bookshop. Seems the looters were more interested in TVs, iPods, cell phones, and hair care products than in reading a good book.

165 people vanish from cruise ships in recent years

It was the last day of a week-long cruise to Egypt. John Halford, 63, had packed his bag and left it outside his cabin door. He sent a text to his wife, who was home in Britain, saying that he would see her at the airport the next day. He was seen by other passengers having cocktails in a bar around 12:30 am, and then...he was gone.

24-year-old Rebecca Coriam was aboard the Disney Wonder, working as a youth activities coordinator, traveling from Mexico to Los Angeles. She was seen by a co-worker at around 5:45 am, and a closed-circuit camera caught a glimpse of her strolling past. She was never seen or heard from again. Her credit card was discovered missing, but it hasn't been used since her disappearance.

Halford and Coriam are just two of 165 people who have vanished without a trace from cruise ships over the last few years. Most of these people vanished during the night, far out at sea, which means their cases will probably never be solved.

Read more in the eerie and mysterious report at the Daily Mail.

Interactive Google doodle in honor of Jim Henson's 75th birthday

Muppet creator Jim Henson would have been 75 today. In honor of his legacy, Google has collaborated with The Jim Henson Company to create an interactive doodle featuring six original Muppet characters.

You can access the doodle via your Google home page. Using your mouse and keyboard you can make the characters look around and open and close their mouths. There are other hidden animations to be discovered as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Faster than the speed of light?

Scientists think they may have broken the light barrier. Over the course of three years, 15,000 beams of electrically neutral subatomic particles, called neutrinos, were fired from the CERN research facility near Geneva to the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy 500 miles away, a trip that takes light 2.4 thousandths of a second to make. The neutrino beams shaved 60 nanoseconds -- that's 60 billionths of a second -- off that time.

Think of the ramifications. Einstein's theory of relativity, which was based on the belief that the speed of light is a "cosmic constant," could very well be turned on its head.

Of course, the measurements still need to be confirmed and supported with sound theoretical analysis. Who knows? It may turn out that the guy running the stopwatch in Gran Sasso might have had an itchy trigger finger.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where rich people go

Check out the new toilet from Kohler:
Introducing Numi, Kohler's most advanced toilet. The Numi toilet combines unmatched design, technology and engineering to bring you the finest in personal comfort and cleansing. From its striking form and features to its unrivaled water efficiency, the Numi toilet marks a new standard of excellence in the bathroom.
This bad boy is motion-activated and comes with a bidet, dryer, heated seat, feet warmer, illuminated panels, deodorizer, even its own sound system. And all of that is controlled with a touch screen remote (that you may want to disinfect once in a while).

Only $6,400? I think I'll get one for the living room, too!

(via Now That's Nifty)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blink-182's classy response to the unauthorized use of their music

It's not unusual for musicians to get their undies in a twist over the unauthorized use of their music in YouTube videos, whether the music in question was legally purchased or not. The members of blink-182 could have followed suit, but they did the classy thing and actually expressed their gratitude to those "pirate" YouTubers:
To launch our first single in eight years, AT&T helped us search YouTube for every instance of fans using our music without our permission. And then we rewarded them for it. This film is made out of clips from all those videos. Thanks for being a fan.

That's a pretty cool thing to do, and I'm not even a fan.

Common household items you can eat to stay alive

When the dollar collapses and food riots erupt across America, or when some military bio-weapons research facility unleashes the virus that ushers in the zombie apocalypse, chances are you'll be caught off-guard, too frightened to leave your home. The mac and cheese and Twinkies are bound to run out sooner or later, but you can still stave off starvation using common items lying around your house. Here are a few of the more edible options according to
  • Pet food - As if that wasn't obvious.
  • Food waste - Apple cores, potato skins, and whatever else you can find in the garbage.
  • Leather - Deep-frying is recommended. (Duh.)
  • Oven grease - Tastes almost as good as it sounds.
Click here for more mouth-watering ideas...if you have the stomach.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The origin of the idiom "jumping the shark"

When a television show would reach a point beyond which the quality had begun to decline noticeably, it was said to have "jumped the shark." That phrase is now applied to virtually everything that has sunk to an irredeemable low.

Most of you older readers probably know the phrase comes from an episode of Happy Days in which a water skiing Fonzie literally jumps over a shark. For all you youngsters out there, here is the infamous scene that started it all:

Ironically, that particular episode ("Hollywood: Part 3") was very popular, and the series continued for seven more seasons.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fat guy sues White Castle over small seats

Some stories, like this one from New York, require no further comment:
A 290-pound New York man is steaming mad at the White Castle fast-food chain, which he claims repeatedly broke promises to make the booths in his local eatery bigger.

Martin Kessman, 64, filed a lawsuit against the fast-food giant last week in Manhattan federal court, claiming that the uncomfortable booths violate the civil rights of fat people.
While you think of your own punchline to this story, sit back and enjoy this video of a guy cooking up a couple of beer-battered, deep-fried White Castle cheeseburgers.

First commercial jetpack set to hit the market in 2012

I can't think of a single American boy who didn't want to his own jetpack when he was growing up. Well, that dream is now one step closer to reality:
Inventor Glenn Martin crafted the personal propulsion pack, which he has test-flown over a thousand times — but only by hovering a few feet above the ground. This May in New Zealand, Martin (monitored by a fire rescue squad) sent the jetpack 3,500 feet into the air for nine minutes and 43 seconds. That test flight wasn't manned — a test dummy was along for the ride — but it was enough to demonstrate that Martin's jetpack could stay aloft safely for a prolonged period of time.

The jetpack's most interesting feature is its support for a flight control unit — the same kind that steer the military's Predator drones and many other UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). With the remote control, the jetpack's utility reaches far beyond the scope of commercial use: military missions and search-and-rescue operations by medical teams could use the pack to extract a person in harm's way.
Two things stand in the way of the unfettered freedom of jetpack travel. The first is the $100,000 price tag. That's about the cost of eight Smart Cars.

The second obstacle is the FAA. While this latest jetpack is legal and does not require a pilot's license, it falls under the FAA's guidelines regulating ultralights. That means a maximum fuel capacity of five gallons and a top air speed of 55 knots (about 63 mph). Not exactly my idea of space age fun.

Still, this would make an awesome Father's Day gift!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Keeping an alcoholic driver off the road violates federal law

Old Dominion Freight Line, a trucking company based in Little Rock, Arkansas, did what most people would consider the right thing by telling an alcoholic driver he was no longer allowed on the road. After all, friends don't let friends drive drunk, right? Well, turns out that act of responsibility violates federal law, and the company is now being sued by the the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the twisted logic of the EEOC:
Alcoholism is a recognized disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and disability discrimination violates this federal law. The EEOC said that the company violated both the ADA and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) by conditioning reassignment to non-driving positions on the enrollment in an alcohol treatment program. In addition, the EEOC argued that Old Dominion's policy that bans any driver who self-reports alcohol abuse from ever driving again also violates the ADA.
Thank goodness we have the government keeping us safe on our nation's highways.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Help save the Postal Service by mailing more letters

That's actually one of the plans being discussed to save the deficit-plagued Postal Service from default:
An overarching trend that has fueled the Postal Service's crisis — and reduced annual mail volume by 22 percent since 2006 — is that Americans are e-mailing, paying bills electronically and reading shopping catalogs and news online.

Noting that some great books have been written based on letters sent by the Founding Fathers and by soldiers, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, urged the postmaster general to run an advertising campaign urging Americans to send more letters to each other.

"There is something special about receiving a piece of first-class mail, knowing that it comes from someone you care about," she said. "I really believe that if someone would begin to market the value of sending a written letter to someone you love, you might be surprised what it will do for your Christmas season."
Nothing expresses heart-felt sentiment like a 44-cent stamp, so skip that email, poke, or tweet and go postal on the ones you love today.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Electric motor made from a single molecule

From the BBC:
The motor, made from a single molecule just a billionth of a metre across, is reported in Nature Nanotechnology.

The minuscule motor could have applications in both nanotechnology and in medicine, where tiny amounts of work can be put to efficient use.

Tiny rotors based on single molecules have been shown before, but this is the first that can be individually driven by an electric current.

"People have found before that they can make motors driven by light or by chemical reactions, but the issue there is that you're driving billions of them at a time - every single motor in your beaker," said Charles Sykes, a chemist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, US.

"The exciting thing about the electrical one is that we can excite and watch the motion of just one, and we can see how that thing's behaving in real time," he told BBC News.
The uses for such a motor are virtually endless.

How much chicken can a 100-pound black widow eat?

Nearly six-and-a-half pounds, it turns out. Champion competitive eater Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas took first place at the 10th annual National Buffalo Wing Festival, breaking her previous world record.

Sonya posted the results on her web site:
  1. Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, 6.43 lbs, 183 Wings (World Record or not, I think Joey took it easy on me.)
  2. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, 6.13 lbs, 174
  3. Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, 4.61 lbs, 132
  4. Eric "Badlands" Booker, 4.45 lbs, 126
  5. "Lovely" Juliet Lee, 3.89 lbs, 110
And if you have the stomach, you can watch the lip-smackin', finger-lickin' fun here. (The actual contest begins at about the 260:00 mark.)

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