Now gluten-free!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Man claims he was fired to make room for "hot chicks"


Tony E. Clark isn't happy (or hot, apparently). He lost his job as a bartender at Varasano's Pizzeria in Atlanta, Georgia, and now the disgruntled former employee is filing a gender discrimination lawsuit.

Clark says that his rights were violated when his employer, pizzeria owner Jeffrey Varasano, fired him in order to hire "hot chicks" to attract more customers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had already dismissed the case, citing a lack of evidence based on the information it received.

Let me pose a question: Even if Clark's claim is true, why should his "right" to force Varasano to keep him employed trump Varasano's right to choose his own employees, hot or not?

Information sheet for those who have been indefinitely detained by the U.S. government


(via LewRockwell.com)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheetah, Tarzan's chimp, dead at 80

Cheetah, beloved chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s, died on December 24 at the ripe old age of 80. Cheetah had been a long-time resident of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Florida. The cause of death was kidney failure.

Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Weissmuller and Cheetah in Tarzan the Ape Man. (AP)
What makes this noteworthy is that the average lifespan of a chimp is between 25 and 35 years, while chimps in captivity may live between 35 and 45 years.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Story behind alleged Yeti finger involves actor Jimmy Stewart

I've always been fascinated with the field of cryptozoology. That's the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. Yes, I'm talking about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Wonder, mystery, exploration of the unknown. What's not to like?
Alleged Yeti finger found at a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal
You can imagine my excitement when I read of what was purported to be a mummified finger from an actual Yeti. The story is rather intriguing. During the 1950s, wealthy American oilman Tom Slick funded a series of Yeti expeditions. In 1958, one of his explorers, Peter Byrne, informed Slick of an ancient Yeti hand discovered in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. The monks were reluctant to part with it, fearing they would be cursed, but they were eventually persuaded to sell one of the fingers as long as the hand could be disguised so that the missing digit would go unnoticed. Byrne was given a human finger from a professor friend in London who had links to the Royal College of Surgeons, and it was wired onto the original hand and treated with iodine so that the color matched.

This is where the story gets interesting.

The previous year, the Nepalese government had made it illegal for foreigners to kill a Yeti, so the challenge was to smuggle the finger back to London without it being discovered by authorities. Slick turned to an old friend of his whom he knew to be vacationing in India at the time: legendary actor Jimmy Stewart. Stewart had an interest in cryptozoology and had been a silent partner behind Slick's earlier expeditions, so he was eager to help. He hid the finger in his wife's lingerie case and was able to smuggle it out of India without any trouble.

Once the finger reached London, initial observation led to the conclusion that it wasn't human. It was eventually turned over to the Hunterian Museum...and was then simply forgotten. No one knows why.

The finger was rediscovered recently, and a sliver of it was submitted to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for DNA testing. The result? Human.

Kind of a disappointment, but not surprising. However, I think it's safe to say that the search for unknown and unproven creatures will go on.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First trailer for Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit"



If the above video isn't available, you can view it here.

(via Kottke)

A cheap, hassle-free alternative to commercial airline travel?

You don't think you can afford to fly off on vacation on a private plane? Think again. Smart Flights, a new company based in Smyrna, Tennessee, now brings the style and comfort of privately chartered flights to the average airline passenger.

"We're essentially using social networking to fill vacant seats on private aircraft that go all over the place every day, often with nobody on board," explains CEO and co-founder Jay Deragon. "A company or group might charter a jet to take them to California, but then that plane flies back empty. With Social Flights, people can buy individual seats on the return trip, giving the charter company revenue it wouldn't have had."

The company began a local beta test of their services back in February and plans to begin offering flights throughout the U.S. next month. 12,500 people have already registered for the service at SocialFlights.com, and 91 private charter companies have signed on to offer their empty seats to Social Flights customers.

The costs are lower than one would expect. For example, a one-way ticket from Destin, Florida (less than 50 miles from Pensacola), to Nashville, Tennessee, would cost around $200. Private charter flights aren't limited to the major metropolitan airports, which means passengers could also save money on parking and car rental.

The real savings, however, comes in the form of hassle-free travel. Booking a flight on a private plane helps you avoid the normal inconveniences of commercial airline travel, such as plane changes, five-hour layovers, lost luggage, long security lines, irradiating porno scanners, and frisky TSA agents. In short, Social Flights is seeking to bring back the joy and comfort of flying.

I don't expect this to revolutionize the airline industry, but introducing another element of competition is the best thing that could happen.

Friday, December 16, 2011

90-year-old woman jailed over unsightly property...which isn't all that unsightly

Authorities in Hall County, Georgia, had been fighting Charlene Coburn for 20 years to get her to clean up her property. They have finally won, and the 90-year-old is now serving a 30-day jail sentence for refusing to comply.

Whenever a story like this grabs my attention, I endeavor to learn more. A quick Google search pointed me to TruckDriver.com, which shows Coburn's name associated with a business known as Coburn Structural Movers. I looked up the address on Google Maps to see just how unsightly and offensive her residence is. Here's Charlene Coburn's property as it looked in September of 2009:


Really? This is what's considered unsightly property in rural Georgia? Given its location, most people driving by probably wouldn't even notice it.

I suspect there's more to this story. Locking up a 90-year-old woman can hardly be considered an act that would protect the public in any way, so my guess is that this had more to do with a bruised ego down at the county courthouse than an unkempt lawn.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tom McAuliffe, the golfer without arms

This archive footage from 1932 documents the skill of Tom McAuliffe, an armless American golfer who could easily break 100 on a standard course. In this clip he explains his technique which allows him to drive the ball up to 150 yards.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big Bad Wolf's secret weapon: Angry Birds

It would seem the three little pigs are safe for now...at least until the wolf gets his paws on an exploding black bird.

(via Go Comics)

Aerial map of Mythbusters' misfired cannonball

Perception Builder has created an aerial map of the infamous Mythbusters cannonball mishap:
When you realize just how far that cannonball traveled, it's even more amazing that no one got hurt.

(via Buzzblog)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Man fakes his mother's obituary to get out of work

Faking a note from your mom to get out of school is stupid; telling people your mom is dead and then publishing a fake obituary in the local paper raises stupid to a whole new level:
Authorities in northwestern Pennsylvania say a man published an obituary for his living mother in a ploy to get paid bereavement time off from work.

Relatives called The Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper in Brookville after the obit appeared to report the woman was actually alive and well. The woman herself then visited the paper.

Brookville police charged Scott Bennett, 45, with disorderly conduct on Tuesday.
There's no word yet on whether or not Bennett is still employed, but I'm actually more interested in knowing whether or not he's invited to mom's for Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hey, I thought red and blue made...oooooh

(via Go Comics)

Angry Birds as fashionable evening wear

Peter Vesterbacka, creator of Angry Birds, attended an event at the Finnish Presidential Palace recently. His wife, Teija, was dressed to kill in a red Angry Birds evening gown.
The image is from Iltalehti, a Finnish tabloid. Here is the accompanying caption, courtesy of Google Translate:
Angry Birds, the game has developed a Rovio leaders within Vesterbacka Teija-wife of a red tone dress was an exciting part of the breast Angry Bird cutting. The clothing has clearly separated the bird's yellow beak and head.

Apparently the suit, however, the bird will not try to throw the game in a spirit of anyone.
I think it actually makes more sense in Finnish.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Five sci-fi books for children

What could possibly be more special than reading a book to your kids? Reading a really cool science fiction book to your kids.


(from College Humor, via Kottke)

Construction of the Superdome in 1973


2011

(via NOLA.com)

Children's drawings painted realistically

That crayon drawing of a cat your four-year-old gave you on your birthday might look cute hanging on your refrigerator, but if it were re-interpreted as a more realistic painting, chances are it would look rather creepy, if not downright disturbing.

Artist Dave Devries took simple drawings made by children and gave them a more realistic rendering in a book entitled The Monster Engine. Here are a few samples:






Proof that our kids are quite possibly more deranged than we ever imagined.

(via Amusing Planet)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dog people vs. cat people

200,000 pet owners were recently polled by Hunch.com to discover who among us are dog people and who are cat people. Those responses were then crossed with lifestyle surveys. The conclusions? Not all that surprising:
Dog people: 15% more likely to be extroverts
Cat people: 11% more likely to be introverts

Dog people: 36% more likely to use a pop song as a ringtone
Cat people: 14% more likely to cling to friends at a party

Dog people: 67% more likely to call animal control if they happen upon stray kittens
Cat people: 21% more likely to try to rescue stray kittens

Dog people: 11% more likely to say they'd support cloning, but only for animals or pets
Cat people: 17% more likely to have completed a graduate degree

Dog people: 18% more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle
Cat people: 25% more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite Beatle

Dog people: 9% more likely to think of zoos as happy place
Cat people: 10% more likely to send messages on Twitter

Dog people: 30% more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions
Cat people: 21% more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns

I'm in the Library of Congress!

Well, so is everyone else on Twitter. Federal News Radio reports:
The Library of Congress and Twitter have signed an agreement that will see an archive of every public Tweet ever sent handed over to the library's repository of historical documents.

"We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public," said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library's national digital information infrastructure and preservation program. "The archives don't contain tweets that users have protected, but everything else — billions and billions of tweets — are there." ...

... Using new technical processes it has developed, Twitter is moving a large quantity of electronic data from one electronic source to another. "They've had to do some pretty nifty experimentation and invention to develop the tools and a process to be able to move all of that data over to us," Lefurgy said.

The Library of Congress has long been the repository of important, historical documents and the Twitter library, as a whole, is something historic in itself.
The government is watching, so be careful what you tweet.

Bacon-flavored candy canes

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to combine everyone's favorite Christmas candy with everyone's favorite meat? Order your bacon-flavored candy canes today!


(via Now That's Nifty)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Wall Street occupier's dilemma


(via Now That's Nifty)

Walking through doorways causes forgetting

"Now, why did I come in here?" is a question we've all asked ourselves after walking through a doorway into another room. Turns out it was actually the doorway that caused us to forget:
New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away," Radvansky explains.

"Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized."

The study was published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Read more here, and be glad you aren't going senile.

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