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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Daily Drift

'Nuff said!

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Weymouth, England
Belgrade, Serbia
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Kiev, Ukraine
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Islamabad, Pakistan
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Athens, Greece
Tbilisi, Georgia
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Rue, France
Makati, Philippines
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1270 The Seventh Crusade ends by the Treaty of Barbary.
1485 Henry VII of England crowned.
1697 The Treaty of Ryswick ends the war between France and the Grand Alliance.
1838 Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Lorian County, Ohio becomes the first college in the U.S. to admit female students.
1899 Two battalions of British troops are cut off, surrounded and forced to surrender to General Petrus Joubert's Boers at Nicholson's Nek.
1905 The czar of Russia issues the October Manisfesto, granting civil liberties and elections in an attempt to avert the burgeonng supprot for revolution.
1918 The Italians capture Vittorio Veneto and rout the Austro-Hungarian army.
1918 Turkey signs an armistice with the Allies, agreeing to end hostilities at noon, October 31.
1922 Mussolini sends his black shirts into Rome. The Fascist takeover is almost without bloodshed. The next day, Mussolini is made prime minister. Mussolini centralized all power in himself as leader of the Fascist party and attempted to create an Italian empire, ultimately in alliance with Hitler's Germany.
1925 Scotsman John L. Baird performs first TV broadcast of moving objects.
1938 H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds is broadcast over the radio by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. Many panic believing it is an actual newscast about a Martian invasion.
1941 The U.S. destroyer Reuben James, on convoy duty off Iceland, is sunk by a German U-boat with the loss of 96 Americans.
1950 The First Marine Division is ordered to replace the entire South Korean I Corps at the Chosin Reservoir area.
1991 BET Holdings Inc., becomes the first African-American company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Non Sequitur


You would think ...

But No!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweden Is Running Out of Garbage

Sweden has a few claims to fame that the U.S. simply can't compete with, namely Ikea, the Nobel Prize, and a historical avoidance of war. (Oh, and meatballs. Mmm.) But now it can add "emergency trash imports" to the list, because the country is running dangerously low on household and industrial waste.
According to the country's Waste Management site, two million tons of waste is converted to heat and electricity each year, with only 4% of the nation's trash ending up in landfills. But it's not enough:
Due to its efficiency in converting waste to renewable energy, Sweden has recently begun importing around 800,000 tons of trash annually from other countries.
Norway is now paying Sweden to take its garbage. Swedish sights are also set on Bulgaria, Romania and Italy as future trash exporters, as Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country's environmental protection agency, told PRI. Those countries rely heavily on landfills – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system.
Compare this to the United States, which recycles about 34% of the 250 million tons of trash generated per year. The majority of the rest is landfilled.
I don't know about you guys, but I have plenty of trash I could sell to Sweden. Give me a call; I'll pull my bin back from the curb.

Woman handcuffed for speaking too long at city council meeting

Police handcuffed Riverside, California, city council critic Karen Wright, accused her of disrupting a public meeting and led her from the chambers after she spoke for too long and refused to sit down. Wright, 60, said she’s still shocked by what happened and doesn’t think she did anything wrong. City officials said officers used their discretion when Wright didn’t follow the rules.

The incident unfolded after Wright exceeded her allotted three minutes to speak at the lectern while commenting on a sludge hauling contract. One of two police officers who provide security at meetings was leading her away when she stopped. The situation then escalated. Council speakers regularly exceed the three-minute limit, but few, if any, have been handcuffed or arrested.

Residents and an open-government advocate questioned the arrest, which led to a citation for a misdemeanor.After starting to leave the lectern with the officer, Wright turned back and told the council, “I would like you to quit the harassment with the police.” The officer tried to take her by the arm and get her to sit down or leave the chambers, but she pulled away, possibly trying to retrieve her bag from a nearby seat. Wright ended up on the floor in a sitting position, and Loveridge halted the meeting.

First one and then two other officers approached. They handcuffed Wright and tried to get her to stand while she shouted that she is disabled and couldn’t get up without using her hands. The handcuffs were removed, Wright got up and was led outside, where she said later she was taken to a police car and written a citation with a date to appear in court. Speakers,including Wright, are often warned by the mayor when they speak too long, but Mayor Ron Loveridge said he hasn’t seen someone handcuffed in the chambers during his 32 years in office.

Donald Trump's lawyers tried to stop BBC showing Scottish bullying film

Donald Trump tried to force the BBC to drop the broadcast of a critically acclaimed documentary on his alleged bullying of residents near his Scottish golf resort. Lawyers for the New York property magnate contacted the BBC two days before the feature-length film You've Been Trumped was screened on BBC2, claiming it was highly defamatory, biased and misleading, and demanding a right of reply. In a letter to the BBC from Dundas & Wilson, a prominent Scottish law firm which has acted for Trump for several years, the Trump organization threatened to complain formally to Ofcom and the BBC Trust if the screening went ahead.

The BBC rejected the request and gave the documentary, directed by Anthony Baxter, its network television premiere. It was watched by an estimated 1.1 million viewers, about 40% higher than average figures for the last three months, and earned praise from reviewers. Trump's organization retaliated saying it was appalled by the BBC's decision to show the "highly biased and manipulative so-called documentary". George Sorial, Trump's chief counsel, said the trust should sack Roger Mosey, the acting director of BBC Vision. "The BBC is now an active participant in what many who are familiar with Baxter's work know is a complete false telling of the story behind the construction of Trump Golf Scotland," Sorial said.

YouTube link.

"I would say Roger Mosey should certainly resign or the BBC should consider firing him. We're filing complaints with Ofcom and the BBC Trust and are considering other available legal actions." Sarah Malone, the executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links, who featured in the film, said: "We totally denounce the BBC for further abandoning its own editorial integrity by blatantly refusing us a right of reply at the end of the broadcast. "It just goes to show that recent criticism of the BBC's lack of sound editorial judgment to be correct. It is not a documentary – it is a piece of propaganda that is wildly inaccurate, defamatory and deliberately misleading."

She said Baxter had sought to make "a sensationalist, Local Hero story, through underhand, clandestine means, in the hope of making money off the Trump name. He's created a modern day fairytale that bears no resemblance to reality or the truth." Trump has refused to see the film but last week he described his critics as "morons". He asserted that Baxter had "zero talent" and was a "stupid fool" whose film had helped publicize and promote his golf course at Menie, north of Aberdeen. Baxter said he repeatedly asked Trump for an interview while he was making the documentary but none of the offers were taken up. The film showed Baxter asking Trump to respond to allegations of bullying and ill-treatment against local residents a number of times. It featured Trump talking 16 times and quoted his supporters backing the project.

Residents now fear Trump will launch another eviction onslaught.

The Curse of the Werewolf

We've all heard the werewolf legend, seen it in films and on TV. In real life, it's called Lycanthropy. Here's a little of its history.
Nearly every society has legends about people who can change into animals. In Russia there are stories of were-bears. In Africa, they have were-leopards, were-hyenas, and were-hippos. In Asia there are tales about were-tigers, elephants, crocodiles, snakes, and even sharks. Why are these animals singled out? "In almost all case," Nancy Garden writes in her book, Werewolves, "the animal has these characteristics: 1) It is commonly found in the area; 2) It is feared by the inhabitants; and 3) It has been known to attack people and/or farm animals."
In Europe, wolves fit that profile: As the population grew over the centuries, Europeans settled in parts of the continent where wolves had roamed freely. As the wildlife that wolves depended on for food began to disappear, they often preyed on livestock. And when food was really scarce, they might even go after humans. As late as 1875, an estimated 160 people were attacked by starving packs of wolves in Russia. So it's not surprising that when Europeans told scary stories by the fireside, wolves were a common subject. Their spooky habit of howling at the moon made then that much more fearsome.
No one (or at least hardly anyone) believes in werewolves today, but in the Middle Ages, they were taken quite seriously. "Of all the world's monsters," says Daniel Cohen in his book Werewolves, "the werewolf is the one that has been most widely believed in, and the most widely feared." Here are some of the things people commonly believed:
* A person could become a werewolf in a number of ways: if he was cursed, drank water from a wolf's pawprint, ate the meat of an animal killed by a wolf, wore a girdle made of wolfskin, or used a magic salve. "The business about becoming a werewolf after being bitten by another werewolf is basically a creation of the movies," says Cohen. "'Real' were wolves didn't just bite people, they tore their victims to pieces and ate them."
* In some versions of the legend, the werewolf remained human, but took on wolf characteristics, such as fur, fangs, and paws. In other variations, the person literally turned into a wolf.
* Werewolves could be killed any way that a normal wolf could be killed.
It was commonly accepted that werewolves were in league with the devil. Even educated churchmen who didn't believe human beings could really transform into other animals assumed that the devil was involved. "They often said that the devil created the 'illusion' of transformation," Cohen writes. "He made people 'think' they had turned into wolves, and made the victim 'think' they were being attacked by the creature." Some "authorities" believed a real wolf could be turned into a werewolf when the spirit of an evil person entered it. "It was possible therefore," Cohen explains, "for an evil person to be asleep in his bed at night, or even locked in a cell under the eyes of his jailers, and yet his spirit could roam free as a werewolf.
As a result, a lot of people were convicted of being werewolves even after it was proven that they were nowhere near the place where the werewolf had allegedly committed its crimes." This was serious business. In Europe, as late as the 18th century, if you were suspected of being a werewolf you could be put on trial and then be put to death. Untold thousand were put to death -between 1520 and 1630, an estimated 30,000 cases of "werewolfry" trials were recorded in central France alone, and thousands more trails took place in other parts of Europe.

Two of the best known "werewolves" in European history are Peter Stube and Jean Grenier -famous as much for what they symbolize as for what they did. One was tortured to death; the other was confined to a mental institution. Stube lived in the 1500s; Grenier lived in the 1800s.
Peter Stube It was big news when Stube was arrested in Cologne in 1590 and "confessed" under torture that he was a werewolf. According to his confession, a female demon had given him a magic belt that he could use to turn into a giant wolf. For nearly 30 years, he had supposedly used this power to attack and kill villagers, livestock and even wild animals in the surrounding countryside. The townspeople accepted his confession, and he was sentenced
to have his body laid on a wheel, and with red hot burning pincers in ten places to have his flesh pulled off from the bones, after that, his legs and arms to be broken with a wooden axe or hatchet, afterward to have his head struck from his body, then ho have his carcass burned to ashes.
A pamphlet describing Stube's crimes and trial, illustrated with "gruesome" details, became a bestseller all over Europe.
Jean Grenier By the 19th century, authorities were more enlightened about werewolves. They were skeptical when Grenier, a 13-year-old boy, "admitted" in 1849 to killing and eating "several dogs and several little girls" -all of them on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays just before dusk, the times when he claimed to become a werewolf. Philip Riley writes in The Wolfman: "The town's lawyer asked the court to set aside all thoughts of witchcraft and lycanthropy (werewolfism) and ...stated that lycanthropy was a state of hallucination and the change of shape existed only in the disorganized brain of the insane, therefore, not a crime for which he should be held accountable." Instead of sentencing Grenier to death, the judge ordered that he be confined to the monastery at Bordeaux, "where he would be instructed in his Christian and moral obligations, under penalty of death if he attempted an escape." Grenier slid even deeper into madness and died at the monastery seven years later. He was 20.
Centuries after werewolves "roamed" Europe, scientists have found some real "curses" -diseases and physical conditions- that may have inspired the legends.
* Porphyria makes a person extremely sensitive to light ...which would cause them to only go out at night. It creates huge wounds on the skin -which people used to think were caused when the afflicted person ran through the woods in the form of a wolf.
* Hypertrichosis causes excess growth of thick hair all over the body, including the entire face. The disease is extremely rare. Scientists estimate that as few as 50 people have suffered from the disease since the Middle Ages -but it may have contributed to werewolf legends. When the sufferer shaves off the excess hair, they appear perfectly normal -which may have contributed to the idea that people were changing into wolves. Scientists believe the disease is caused by an "atavistic genetic defect," or mutation that allows a long-suppressed gene to become active after thousands of years of dormancy. Human skin cells, the theory speculates, still have the ability to grow thick coats of fur that were normal thousands of years ago, but that evolutionary processes have "switched off."
* The belladonna plant was once eaten as medicine or rubbed on the skin as a salve. It also has hallucinogenic qualities when eaten in large quantities; eating too much can make people think they are flying or have turned into animals.

Prehistoric monument filled in with rubble after owner tried to keep it tidy

When a retired businessman bought one of Britain’s most important prehistoric monuments as a pension investment, he plainly felt a responsibility to keep it looking nice. But Roger Penny, 73, found himself in court after contractors he asked to “tidy” up a 5,000-year-old earthwork ring filled in historically-important holes with rubble. Mr Penny, a retired plant-hire manager, was found to have caused serious damage to the Somerset monument, known as Priddy Circles, as a judge warned him “significant archaeological information” could have been lost. He has now admitted causing or permitting the works without proper consent, and has been ordered to pay £10,000 in a fine and court costs. Mr Penny, described as a man of “impeccable character”, has also pledged to pay around £38,000 for restoration work to the monument after appearing at Taunton Crown Court.
Photo from SWNS.

David Maunder, prosecuting, told the court the “internationally significant” circles are “one of the country’s most important prehistoric monuments”, as the Recorder said archaeological evidence was "significantly diminished" by the damage. The court heard Mr Penny bought a former hunt stables and house as an investment, with adjoining land including the southernmost Priddy Circle. The ring, which dates back to 3,000BC, was built around the same time as Stonehenge and is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The appellation means English Heritage must be consulted before building or renovation work is carried out. Instead, Mr Penny instructed two contractors to “tidy” and renovate the area, so he could eventually let it out for profit. The court heard one of the hired firms used rubble to fill important “swallet” holes in the ring; described as natural cavities which may have been key to the monument’s creation.

The workers also cleared gorse and bracken between April and October 2011, bringing rubble into the field to help rebuild a wall and moving a gate. In doing so, the court heard, ruts were made in the ground inside the circle by agricultural machinery. The damage included the destruction of a circular ditch said to be completely bulldozed. Mr Penny was aware the ring was scheduled and told the contractors not to touch it, but because part of the site is not visible to the naked eye "serious damage" was caused. English Heritage was not consulted about the size of the monument and was not able to grant permission or give advice about how to carry out the work. It has now successfully prosecuted Mr Penny, from Chewton Mendip, Somerset, who will pay to attempt to restore the damaged monument.

Photo from SWNS.

Mr Maunder, prosecuting, said: "These circles are regarded as among a small group of the country's most important prehistoric monuments, with enormous potential to inform us about the Neolithic period, and in archaeological terms are internationally significant." Charles Rowe, defending, added his client was a man of "impeccable character"' who deeply regretted what had happened. Recorder Jeremy Wright told Mr Penny: "Although the part you bought might not have been visually spectacular, common sense would have told you that the land inside the circle was also important. Your actions may have meant that significant archaeological information has been lost. Although some evidence may be available, it's significance and value has been significantly diminished by the damage you have done." An English Heritage spokeswoman described the damage as a "major incident", adding the structure was one of only about 80 henges in England. She said the loss of the fabric to the henge meant a "really, really rare piece of Neolithic engineering had been lost forever".

The Origins of the Iron Age Picts

Who were the Picts? Well, if you were looking for an area that is full of controversy this is it! This is in no way a comprehensive picture but an outline of one or two theories of the origins of the Picts. I will however be going into more detail of the Picts and the various areas mentioned here in future articles.

There is no doubt that the whole subject of th

eir origins is misted in Fables, Legend, Fabrication and a severe lack of historical and archaeological information. Were they Celtic, Iberian, Scandinavian etc? I think to try and make sense of it all we must first go back to go forward, to a time not long after the ice age and Scotland's hunter-gatherer Mesolithic past (8000 –4000 BC).

These Iberian hunter –gatherers moved through France and lower Britain to enter Scotland around 7000BC. Remains of their campsites are rare, Morton in Fife and another on the River Lussa being two examples. At Lussa the camp contained stone rings approximately 1.5m in diameter and may be the oldest stone structures in Scotland. The West of Scotland Islands give a further reinforcement to the movement of these Mesolithic people by the finds of large shell mounds and various tools such as fish hooks and harpoons but as I said Artifacts of the period are scarce.

A slow transition took place for these Mesolithic people and by (4000 – 2500 BC) they moved into a Neolithic farming life. Many other things must be taken into consideration at this time too like the introduction of new flint and stone tools, pottery, permanent settlements, new religious beliefs and Tombs and ‘Temples’. These structured Tombs were round barrows called Cairns in the East, like Calva Cairn while in the West and North the Chambered tomb such as Maes How in Orkney was preferred and these Tombs are probably the best supplier of artifacts of this time. There is very Little evidence of the settlements but probably the best known is that of Skara Brae in Orkney which remained virtually intact due to being covered for many centuries. Other Neolithic monuments in Scotland include henges and stone circles. Henges are widely spread across the country including two in Orkney - the Ring of Brogar and the Stones of Stenness. A henge is a banked and ditched enclosure, there is a central platform enclosed by a deep ditch, the ditch material is then thrown onto the outer edge to form a bank around the whole.

(2500 – 700 BC) sees the entrance of the Beaker People from Northern and Central Europe and the start of Scotland’s Bronze Age. The beaker people are known by this name for the cremated remains of their dead being cremated and buried in pots and interred in single graves, unlike the Neolithic people who buried their dead in groups. It is also recognized that the beaker people were the ones to introduce metalwork to Scotland. There is no record of any conflicts between the two peoples in Scotland although their lifestyles were in many ways so different and it is the bonding of these two peoples into various tribes (who for unknown reasons seemed to be forever pushed northwards). That leads to the theory that the Picts were an aboriginal race and non-Celtic. The difference in language must also be taken into consideration with this theory, as it is believed that the Picts did not speak with a Celtic tongue.

The second theory of the Picts is that their origins were Celtic. Believers in this describe the two branches as Q-Celts and P-Celts. Both origins were that of Indo-European qu being Q-Celtic and the other transforming the qu into p became P-Celtic. Examples given of this are Q-Celtic were Goedelic languages such as Irish, Scottish, Gaelic and Manx and the P-Celtic were Gaulish and Brittonic that of British, Welsh, Cornish and Breton.

It is suggested that the Q-Celts reached Ireland by the 6th Century BC and the P-Celtic entered Scotland in the 4th Century BC at the start of the Bronze Age. There is no doubt that the Q-Celts entered the South of Scotland in Argyle from Ireland but there is weak evidence apart from possible similarity of language and the written ‘Ogham’ (the Brandsbut Stone at Inverurie being an example) that the Picts were of Celtic origin.

There Once was a Man Who was a Dwarf and Later a Giant

From Today I Found Out, a website where you can learn interesting facts every day. Check 'em out today!

Photo from TheTallestMan.com . Visit their website for more on Adam Rainer
The man was Adam Rainer born in Graz, Austria sometime in 1899 (the exact date isn't known). Rainer's parents were neither tall nor short for the time, with his father measuring in at 5 feet 8 inches (1.72 m) and his mother at 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m). He even had a brother who matched his father's height at 5 feet 8 inches. This wasn't the case for Adam.
Thanks to the fact that Adam attempted to join the army when he was 18 to participate in WWI, we know that at that age Rainer had reached a height of just 4 feet 6.3 inches (1.38 m), and then at 19 he measured in at 4 feet 8.3 inches (1.43 m) when he tried to join up again. Both times he was considered too short and also too weak to be able to join the military. For reference, the cutoff for someone being classified as a dwarf is usually considered to be an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches (1.47 m).
While he was short, according to the medical report, he actually had exceptionally large feet for his height, with his shoes measuring in at a European size of 43 at the age of 18, which is about a size 10 in U.S. sizes. According to Rainier by the time he hit 21, while still barely
classified as a dwarf in height, his shoe size had gone up to a European size 53, which would be about a size 20 in the U.S. (for reference, Shaquille O'Neal wears a size 22-23).
Although his feet were continuing to grow at a remarkable pace, Rainer himself was staying at more or less the same height. That's when something even more bizarre than his clown-feet happened. For a reason unknown at the time, Adam started growing again... rapidly.
What must have initially seemed a blessing to the short Rainer, soon turned into a curse. From his 21st birthday to his 32nd, Rainer grew from just under 4 feet 10 inches tall to 7 feet 2 inches tall (1.47 m to 2.18 m). It should also be noted that his height would have been greater than this, except by his 26th birthday he started developing a severe spinal curve, which continued to progress as he grew. This, and later difficulty in eating, had the negative side effect of leaving Rainer bed ridden for the majority of the latter half of his life.
If that wasn't bad enough, he also went blind in his right eye and his vision diminished in his left. His hearing also started to go and he became deaf in his left ear.
So what caused this extreme shift in height? After a medical exam done by Doctors F. Windholz and A. Mandl, they discovered a tumor on his pituitary gland, which not only explained his rapid growth but his partial blindness as well. As far as the growth is concerned, this tumor resulted in a condition known as acromegaly, where the pituitary gland produces excessive
amounts of growth hormone during adulthood. His vision loss was due to the compression of his optic chiasm, which is where the right and left eye nerves cross near the pituitary gland.
To try to fix the problem, in 1930 doctors removed the tumor, but he still continued to grow, albeit at a much slower rate that seemed even slower than it was because of his spinal curvature continuing to increase. For instance, from December 1930 to May of 1931, his standing height stayed the same, but his spinal curvature increased.
Over the next and final 19 years of his life, Rainer's spinal curve would continue to increase and he'd grow another 6 inches, dying at the age of 51 in 1950 at a height of about 7 feet 8 inches (2.34 m), making him the only known person to spend time officially classified as a dwarf and then as a giant.
Bonus Fact: The word "giant" ultimately derives from the name of a Greek mythological race of giants defeated by the gods, with the help of Heracles, when the giants tried to free the Titans. This race were called "gigas" and were the children of Gaia and Uranus. They were produced when Kronus castrated Uranus, with Uranus' blood fertilizing Gaia. Once the giants were defeated, they were buried deep underground to imprison them. According to Greek mythology, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are caused by the race of giants struggling to free themselves from the depths of the Earth. The Greek word "gigas" evolved into the English word "giant" via Latin and then the Old French "geant", which by 1350 had been adopted into English as "giant". It was first used to describe a person who is exceptionally tall in 1559 and before that simply as an adjective to describe some attribute that a person had that was exceptional.
Check out more neat facts over at Today I Found Out.

Frank Hayes, The Only Dead Man to Win a Horse Race

horseOn June 4, 1923, jockey Frank Hayes took off through the gates at Belmont Park on Long Island. He and his horse, Sweet Kiss, made it to the finish line first. But all was not well. During the race, Hayes had a heart attack and died. Nonetheless, he was declared the winner:
But when the horse crossed the finish line it became quite evident that Frank Hayes was more than just “relaxed”- the jockey dropped out of the saddle, lifeless.

It was later determined that Hayes had died of heart failure shortly after Sweet Kiss took the lead, and the New York Times speculated that the jockey’s heart had given out as a result of severe training in order to make weight, coupled with the excitement of winning his first race.  Hayes, dressed in his colorful racing silks, was buried three days later.  In light of the incident, Belmont’s Jockey Club waived all of the rules and thus made Hayes’ win official.  This ruling makes Frank Hayes the only jockey to win a race while deceased.  In fact, it is the only time in sports history when a competition was won by a dead man.

Deaths of Phantom Cosmonauts

In the early days of the Soviet space program, there were a number of phantom cosmonauts apparently killed in the line of duty. Read more
Deaths of Phantom Cosmonauts

Daily Comic Relief

Watch Horror Movies to Burn Calories

From the 1922 horror film Nosferatu
Forget exercise! The easiest way to burn calories is to watch horror movies, according to a new University of Westminster study:
Viewers who put themselves through 90 minutes of adrenaline-pumping terror can use up as much as 113 calories, close to the amount burned during a half-hour walk and the equivalent to a chocolate bar.
The movie top of the list of calorie-burners was found to be the 1980 psychological thriller The Shining, with the average viewer using up a whopping 184 calories.
Jaws took the runner-up spot, with viewers burning on average 161 calories, and The Exorcist came third, with 158 calories.
The Telegraph reports: here.

Exercise is smart for your heart – and makes you smarter

A regular exercise routine can make you fitter than ever – mentally fit. In a new study, previously sedentary adults ...
Continue Reading

Quack medicine pills made from babies and super bacteria smuggled from China to South Korea

The South Korean customs department is going to target its inspections in order to intercept shipments of Chinese quack medicine tablets made from the flesh of babies and fetuses, which are sometimes infected with superbacteria. From the BBC:
"It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health," a customs official was quoted as saying by the Korea Times.
Inspections are to be stepped up on shipments of drugs arriving from north-east China, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said that capsules were being dyed or switched into boxes of other drugs in a bid to disguise them.
Some of the capsules were found in travelers' luggage and some in the post, customs officials said.
Allegations that human flesh capsules were being trafficked from north-east China into South Korea emerged last year in a South Korean television documentary.
The thing I don't get is why the rip-off artists who sell these things don't just fill the tablets with sugar and say they're full of powdered baby. It's not like the credulous dunces buying the stuff will be able to tell the difference, and surely sugar is easier to get hold of.
S Korea 'to target powdered human flesh capsules'

OK, if you say so

Live pumpkins


Our First Line Of Asteroid Defense?
Pack away your nukes, it's time to shoot some paintballs at that scary asteroid.  
Read more
Our First Line Of Asteroid Defense? Paintballs!

Petroleum from Air

Green cars in the future may still run on gas, but instead of pulling petroleum from the ground, the source of fuel may come from the air. Read more
Green cars in the future may still run on gas, but instead of pulling petroleum from the ground, the source of fuel may come from the air.

Concrete heal thyself

Key test for re-healable concreteSelf-healing concrete  TU Delft

Experimental concrete that patches up cracks by itself is to undergo outdoor testing.

Coffin-shaped toilet built in cemetery

After being told by the council it would cost more than $80,000 to build a toilet at the local cemetery, the Chamber of Commerce group of Millaa Millaa, in Far North Queensland, Australia, decided to take issues into their own hands and build their own - in the shape of a coffin.

"You have to be careful, not everyone is going to have our macabre sense of humor," Chamber president Pat Reynolds said. "But we did it with good intentions. It's for firstly, the cemetery, and secondly, maybe a few more people will notice Millaa Millaa now."

This is no shabby construction, it has a cement foundation, a septic system and solid walls, one of which bears a cross and the letters RIP.

Not everyone is in favor of the new latrine with one local resident, Brian Norton, writing to council to express his displeasure and ask for its removal. "Imagine if they had a funeral there," he said. "I don't think it's going to go over very well, especially if people are there from out of town. They'll think 'what sort of place is this?'."

Guilin's Legendary Protector

Elephant Trunk Hill 
Tramping through the hills around Guilin in China is busy work, so at the end of the day an elephant gets thirsty. There's nothing like dipping your trunk into the river to cool off and taking a long, thirst quenching drink. Yet when you're made of stone you might be there for quite a long time.

Primates’ brains make visual maps using triangular grids

Primates’ brains see the world through triangular grids, according to a new study published online Sunday in the journal Nature.
Continue Reading

Up Close and Totally Gross

It really is a small world, after all -- a small, disgusting and occasionally creepy world that can escape our vision. Read more

How Animals Deal with Downpours

Heavy rains can be a nuisance for many animals, even those that live in water, which is why they've found novel ways to cope. Read more
Monkeys in a zoo

This is a Amazon Milk Frog

The "milk" in the name comes from the milky-coloured fluid these frogs excrete when stressed.

Training course set up to 'acquaint' Dutch people with Highland cattle

A training course has been launched in Holland to help people who are scared of Highland cattle. The classes were set up after a cow charged at a man in the Noord-Holland area.

Rick Kolster said he had to run “for his life” after the beast careered towards him as he walked in dunes. He complained to the local water board, PWN, who manage the dunes.

The firm have now set up courses to “acquaint” people with the animals. A PWN spokeswoman said: “We have several Highland cow colleges or training courses, which you can join.

“There are many people who are still very scared of the cows and with this course we try to adjust the people to the cows.” The cattle are widespread in Holland and are used often to eat shrubs and plants.

Sacrificial ram butted owner to death

An Algerian man bought a big ram to sacrifice on Eid Al Adha.

Instead, the ram sacrificed the man when he butted him to death.

After performing the Eid dawn prayers in the north-eastern port of Annaba, the man returned home, got a big knife and prepared the ram for slaughter.

“As he prepared it for sacrifice, the ram surprisingly butted the man, who fell on the ground and died minutes later,” the Algerian Khabar newspaper reported.

Animal Pictures