Friday, May 8, 2009

Survey: Women only listen to gossip.

From the Daily Mail:

If you want to gain a woman's full attention, make sure you've got a juicy piece of scandal to pass on.

According to a survey, more than two-thirds of women admit they pay full attention to conversations only when they are gossiping.

The same proportion, 67 per cent, think they hear most intently when they are trying to eavesdrop on tittle-tattle taking place nearby.

By contrast, only half of men said they listen intently to gossip, while a mere 41 per cent admitted to listening closely to others' conversations.

A survey of 2,000 respondents also found that only 21 per cent of men reckon they always listen carefully to every word, with just 19 per cent of women saying the same. Five per cent of women admitted to hearing only the odd word here and there.

Women are also more likely to switch off when listening to their work colleagues, with the average woman catching what even the boss says only two-thirds of the time.

They really hear only 70 per cent of the conversations they have with their partner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coozer-Bits: Daily Mail Edition.

Daily Mail is chock full of interesting items today.

Neat: Bulletproof turbans being created for Sikh police officers.

Sad: 11-year-old hangs himself because of energy drink addiction.

Sad: Hospital patient laid dead in bathroom for 4 days.

Yipes: Flesh-eating bug killed tourist on romantic cruise within 12 hours.

D'oh: Computer hard drive sold on eBay had details of top-secret US missile defense system.

WTF: Donkey basketball becoming big in the Midwest, causing outrage among animal welfare groups.

Awesome: 200 new species of frog discovered in Madagascar.

WTF: UK will keep INNOCENT people's DNA for 12 years!

Lame: Hackers demand $10m ransom after hijacking millions of medical records in Virginia.

Duh: Student's fake Wikipedia entry exposes widespread journalism laziness.

Giant spiders invade Australian town.

Is it just me or are giant arachnids all over the news? I've been seeing more spiders than M&M in That Was Then, This Is Now. Anyway, enjoy this item and try not to shudder.
Australia is known around the world for its large and deadly creepy-crawlies, but even locals have been shocked by the size of the giant venomous spiders that have invaded an Outback town in Queensland.

Scores of eastern tarantulas, which are known as "bird-eating spiders" and can grow larger than the palm of a man's hand, have begun crawling out from gardens and venturing into public spaces in Bowen, a coastal town about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane.

Earlier this week locals spotted an Australian tarantula wandering towards a public garden in the center of town where people often sit for lunch. They called in a pest controller, but not before using a can of insect spray to paralyze the spider.

Audy Geiszler, who runs Amalgamated Pest Control in Bowen, said that the spider was a large male with powerful long fangs and was so big that when he placed it — dead — in the palm of his hand, its legs hung over his fingers.

Zombies computers increased by 50% since 2008.

Great, now the zombies have teamed up with the robots. Enjoy life while it exists. From BBC:
Twelve million computers have been hijacked by cyber-criminals and detected by security vendor McAfee since January, the firm has said.

It reports there has been a 50% increase in the number of detected so-called "zombie" computers since 2008.

The true number of newly hijacked PCs is likely to be higher than those detected by McAfee alone.

The figures come as a report from Deloitte said a global approach to cyber-security was needed.

"Doing nothing is not an option," said Deloitte's Greg Pellegrino.

Everything that depended on cyberspace face unprecedented risks, said Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT).

"This issue is moving so quickly, and with so much at stake economically and in terms of safety and security for people, we don't have 100 years to figure this out," explained Mr Pellegrino, who is a global public sector industry leader at DTT.

McAfee also revealed that the United States now hosted the world's largest percentage of infected computers at 18% with China a not too distant second with just over 13%.

How spicy foods can kill cancers.

This is pretty awesome. From BBC:
Scientists have discovered the key to the ability of spicy foods to kill cancer cells.

They found capsaicin, an ingredient of jalapeno peppers, triggers cancer cell death by attacking mitochondria - the cells' energy-generating boiler rooms.

The research raises the possibility that other cancer drugs could be developed to target mitochondria.

The Nottingham University study features in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

The study showed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, or cell death, without harming surrounding healthy cells.

Capsaicin was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers.

China tells government workers to smoke more.

From Ananova:
A Chinese region has backtracked on a rule urging local government workers to smoke more to boost tax income.

Authorities in Gong'an county told civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the locally-made Hubei brand each year.

Those who did not smoke enough or used brands from other provinces or overseas faced being fined or even fired, reports the BBC.

But the government has now backtracked from the policy, after a report in a local newspaper generated criticism.

"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," Chen Nianzu, a member of the cigarette market supervision team in Gong'an county, Hubei province, told the Global Times newspaper.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Austrian man builds 700,000 coffins.

From Breitbart:
A 50-year-old Austrian man has built more than 700,000 coffins over two decades, setting a world record, his employer said Tuesday.

Herbert Webter has built 707,335 coffins for his company, Moser, where he has worked since 1978 in the central town of St-Michael-im-Lungau.

His feat has been certified by Guinness World Records, his company said.

He will receive his certificate at a party in his honour during the International Funeral Home and Cemetery Fair in Salzburg on Saturday, Moser said.

Conveyer-belt sushi thriving in economic downturn.

Sushi-go-round, kaiten-zushi, conveyer sushi - whatever you call it, I love it. All food should be delivered via conveyer belt. Some good news for other aficionados.

The economic downturn and the rising yen have actually enabled revolving sushi restaurants to thrive during these tough times.

Those two factors have pushed down wholesale prices of fish, allowing the kaiten-zushi restaurants to offer discounts that would have been impossible several months ago.

Market researcher Fuji-Keizai Co. forecasts the domestic conveyor-belt sushi industry to grow by 4.4 percent over the year to reach 428 billion yen in 2009.

The prediction is a bright spot in the overall restaurant industry, which is expected to contract 1 percent to 6.3 trillion yen over the same period.

At Muten Kura Zushi outlets, operated by Kura Corp., based in Sakai, a one- or two-piece sushi plate, regularly priced at 105 yen, falls to 92 yen when a customer also orders a 210-yen juice.

The campaign, offered to subscribers of the company's cellphone newsletter, runs until Sunday.

The company said the service has lifted daily sales by up to 60 percent from an average weekday.

Evil robots now have delicate touch.

Are we now breeding robotic stealth assassins?? From National Geographic:
As far as robot dexterity goes, RAPHaEL may just have the upper hand.

The air-powered machine, created by undergraduate students at Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, can gently grasp a raw egg as successfully as the machine holds a heavy can of food—and is flexible enough for sign language.

RAPHaEL (Robotic Air-Powered Hand with Elastic Ligaments) is connected to a compressed air tank. An operator controls the air pressure to manipulate the fingers.

For instance, low air pressure lightens the grip, and higher air pressure makes it firmer.

But what makes RAPHaEL unique is the students' decision not to control each finger joint individually but instead use one actuator, or motion activator, to move all of a finger's joints.

Oldest surface on Earth discovered.

...and it's yo mama! From Live Science:

Earth's surface is mostly fresh in geologic terms.

Weathering — wind and water, freezing and thawing — takes its toll, and longer-term changes caused by volcanic activity and sliding crustal plates, known as tectonic activity, fold today's ground into tomorrow's interior.

The constant makeover of the planet is typically fastest in the mountains, slower in the tectonically inactive deserts.

A new study of ancient "desert pavement" in Israel's Negev Desert finds a vast region that's been sitting there exposed, pretty much as-is, for about 1.8 million years, according to Ari Matmon and colleagues at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

It is the oldest known vast expanse of surface area. In fact it is more than four times older than the confirmed next oldest desert pavement, in Nevada, according to an article at the web site of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

As gun violence increases, Americans want more guns on the street.

This makes perfect sense! From the rootin' tootin' Houston Chronicle:
Amid a wave of publicity about drug-related gun violence along the Mexican border and police killings in U.S. cities, more Americans than ever oppose new government efforts to regulate guns.

Recent polls show shrinking support for new gun control measures and strong public sentiment for enforcing existing laws instead. So strong is the shift in public opinion that a proposed assault-weapons ban — once backed by three in four Americans — now rates barely one in two.

Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, told reporters Tuesday that “every bit of data is showing us that Americans are getting more conservative about gun control.”

A CNN poll conducted in April found that 39 percent of Americans wanted stricter gun control laws, down from 50 percent in 2000. Another 46 percent said the gun laws should stay as they are, while 15 percent said they should be loosened — up from 9 percent in 2000.

Hometown News: Wal-Mart to pay stampede victims.

From Newsday:
Mega-retailer Wal-Mart will pay an unspecified sum to victims hurt in a stampede that left a security guard trampled to death at a Valley Stream store during an after-Thanksgiving sale.

The Nassau County district attorney's office is expected to announce the agreement with Wal-Mart Wednesday, more than five months after a security guard was killed by stampeding shoppers on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when stores typically flood with people looking for bargains.

Jdimytai Damour, 34, died after some 2,000 shoppers broke through a glass door at a store, knocking him down and running him over.

Damour, a seasonal security worker from Jamaica, Queens, died from "positional asphyxiation" consistent with having pressure applied to his chest, an autopsy revealed.

Nic Cage movie hurting more people than usual.

From the NY Post:

The cast and crew of a Nic Cage movie filming in Midtown relived a nightmare early today when -- for the second time in three days -- a car jumped the curb and injured eight people, police said.

This time, a car being driven by someone not associated with the film flew onto the sidewalk, injuring members of the crew working on the set of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

"Twice in three days?" asked one member of the crew, who asked not to be identified. "At least this time it wasn't our fault."

Global warming making spiders bigger, scarier.

Coozer Philes will also notice that these are WOLF SPIDERS - the same ones than turn into zombies! From National Geographic:
As if global warming isn't giving us enough to worry about, now scientists say it could lead to bigger—and possibly more—spiders of at least one species. A group of Danish scientists wondered whether global warming would make the hairy, meat-eating wolf spiders of northeastern Greenland bigger, since longer summers mean more hunting time. The little-known species, Pardosa glacialis, grows as long as 1.6 inches (four centimeters), study co-author Toke Høye of Aarhus University estimates.

The spiders can live for at least two years, and the researchers found that, in years when spring came early, the animals grew larger, on average.

For example, when spring came 30 days earlier than usual, some spiders grew exoskeletons that were 10 percent thicker than average, resulting in bigger bodies overall.

Likewise, in colder years average exoskeleton thickness shrank.

Woman texts boyfriend that she killed a cop :(

This is why I only admit to crimes by using LOLCATS. From Moscow Times:
The proliferation of the emoticon has been one of the more dire consequences of the rise of the Internet and cell phone text messaging over the past two decades — a blight on written communication.

There is, after all, only so much sentiment an emoticon can convey. How much happier is a person who types :)))))))) than a person who texts a mere :) to a friend?

Indeed, we may never know the degree of sorrow felt by a young Novosibirsk woman over the traffic cop she struck and killed with her car while driving drunk. But a senior traffic safety official said the "cynicism" of the suspect is exemplified by the text message — complete with emoticon — she sent her boyfriend after killing the officer:

"Honey, I killed a cop. I'm sorry :( What should I do?"

This depressing tale began on the evening of April 30, when, police say, the 22-year-old woman had a drinking bout with a girlfriend. The young women downed six liters of beer between them before deciding to go for a joyride on the streets of Novosibirsk.

At around 11:00 p.m. that evening, local traffic police officer Dmitry Chulkov, 36, had pulled over two cars for moving violations on Ulitsa Ippodromskaya in the Siberian city. He was walking toward one of the cars to issue a fine when he was struck and killed by a Toyota driven by the suspect, whose name has not been released but whose photograph was posted on the regional traffic police's web site.

Witnesses said the suspect drove a bit further before pulling over, though she never exited her car. As it turns out, she was sending the text message to her boyfriend, who advised her to create a "scandal and don't say or sign anything."

Smuggler caught at airport with 12 songbirds stuffed down pants.

Jeez, look at those socks! Who wears white socks with black shoes?? From Daily Mail:
When customs officials at Los Angeles International Airport spotted feathers and bird droppings on one passenger's shoes they were immediately suspicious.

And when the man's name was checked against records, they noticed America's Fish and Wildlife department had put out a warning about Sony Dong.

Three months earlier, he had abandoned a suitcase containing 18 rare songbirds at the same airport.

But officials were still surprised when they searched him again and discovered a dozen tiny birds strapped to his socks.

'He had fashioned these special cloth devices to hold the birds,' said U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek. 'They were secured by cloth wrappings and attached to his calves with buttons.'

The songbirds sell for $10 to $30 in Vietnam and are sold to collectors in the United States for about $400, Mrozek said.

'They're rare and there are collectors who are willing to pay top dollar for these things,' he said.

Smuggling birds is not uncommon.In February of this year an Australian traveller was caught at Melbourne airport with live pigeons down his trousers.


Awesome: Fundraiser wins best job in the world.

Sad: Update on the Current TV journalist, jailed in Iran for espionage.

Aww: Dying woman has all of her pets tattooed on her so she can taken them with her.

TV: Jack Bauer headbutts random person (in real life).

Science: Eat fat, remember stuff.

Yipes: Daycare center owner charged with hiding illegal weapons.

Lame: Driver who was painting her nails crashes into and kills motorcyclist.

Duh: Italian house with boiling floors might be haunted.

Sad: Floods leave 190,000 homeless in northern Brazil.

WTF: Hospitals in Tokyo refusing flu patients.

French people sleep, eat more than anyone else.

The French know how to live. Too bad their language sounds like a sinus infection. From
A study of 18 of the 30 OECD member nations ranks Australia equal fourth with New Zealand and Turkey in the sleep stakes, behind the French, who snooze nine hours a day and eat for two, clearly outdistancing the siesta-loving Spaniards.

Australians ranked 11th in the food stakes, noshing for 90 minutes a day, nearly an hour more than Mexicans but behind our Kiwi neighbours, the Herald Sun reports.

The Japanese, who generally have longer commutes and working hours than most developed nations, still manage nearly two hours for food.

Norwegians have the most overall leisure time, just over a quarter of their day, but Mexicans spend only 16 per cent of their day having fun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dead: Dom DeLuise.

From Newsday:
Actor Dom DeLuise, who starred in such comedy classics as "The Cannonball Run" and "Blazing Saddles," died at a Los Angeles hospital Monday night, his son Michael DeLuise confirmed Tuesday. DeLuise's death was first reported by

The Brooklyn-born DeLuise, 75, may best be known for his role in "Fatso" where he played a man constantly struggling with his weight until he meets his dream girl.

"Dom always made everyone feel better when he was around," actor Burt Reynolds said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much."

Reynolds starred with DeLuise in several movies, most notably as fake ambulance drivers in "The Cannonball Run," an early 1980s cult comedy classic.

Spiderman, Tinky Winky, and an Oompa Loompa arrested for drunken brawl.

From the Daily Mail:

An Oompa-Loompa, Spiderman and Tinky Winky were arrested during a drunken brawl at a holiday camp.

Police were called to the Welcome Family Holiday Park in Dawlish, Devon, after a mass fight involving holidaymakers at fancy dress party.

Ten people in total were held after the bizarre clash took place in the main club area.

A suspect dressed as one of the Teletubbies, a youth posing as Spiderman and a 47-year-old father dressed as one of the pint-sized characters from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory were kept in police cells overnight.

The trio were quizzed on suspicion of violent disorder following the row just before 1am on Sunday.

A staff member told The Sun: ‘It was rather comical in some ways because of the fancy dress costumes people were wearing.

‘You don’t expect to see Teletubbie Tinky Winky and Spiderman in the middle of things like this.

Chuck Norris protects Croatian bakery.

From Ananova:
Store bosses have seen off burglars by placing a life-sized photo of Hollywood action star Chuck Norris in the window.

The posh bakery shop in Split, Croatia, had been broken into almost every week until they put up the poster of the karate champ with a sign saying: "This shop is under the protection of Chuck Norris."

Now the bakery hasn't had a single burglary for more than a month.

Sales assistant Mirna Kovac said: "To be honest we just started it as a joke but it really has worked. Thieves haven't been anywhere near us for ages. People seem to respect him.

"Everyone around here has seen his films and he's quite a popular character, perhaps even among criminals, so they've decided to leave us alone."

She added though: "We have had a few customers come in and ask us whether they can get Chuck's autograph. They really believe he is sitting in our storeroom out the back ready to pounce on any burglars."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fire kills 4 karaoke workers.

From Straits Times:
PHNOM PENH (Cambodia) - A POLICE officer says four Cambodian women who worked at a karaoke parlor were killed and two other people injured as a fire swept through their room while they slept.

Major Thuch Ra said the four, aged 15 to 22, died early on Sunday in the northwestern city of Battambang.

Another woman and a 25-year-old man were in critical condition from the blaze, which was believed to have started from faulty electric connections.

He said the victims were believed to have been drunk and at least initially were not aware that a fire had broken out.

Karaoke bar brawl lands two in hospital, five in jail.

Karaoke once again causes bedlam. More here.

It took pepper spray, bar security, seven Sheriff’s deputies and five Beaverton police officers to break up the bottle- and chair-throwing patrons.

The fight began, police say, when 29-year-old Yemby Gomez approached a woman singing karaoke and insulted her before slapping her on the bottom. Her husband reportedly confronted Gomez, setting the fight in motion. As security staff tried to stop the scuffle with pepper spray, nearly 100 people rushed out of the bar.

After investigation, representatives from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said they were able to identify seven people who were involved. Five were arrested and booked in the Washington County Jail: Alexis Moreno-Bello, 21, from Tualatin; Javier Abarca-Hernandez, 22, from Tigard; Wilson Zambrano-Rivas, 21, from Beaverton; Juan Zambrano-Rivas, 20, from Beaverton and Miguel Hernandez-Vasquez, 22, from Lake Oswego.

Beaverton residents, Gomez and Isau Vasquez-Perez, 25, were injured in the brawl and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. All the alleged brawlers were charged with rioting and disorderly conduct, while Gomez was also charged with harassment.

New Nic Cage movie injures people.

The above headline is redundant, but in this case the injuries weren't caused by watching the movie. From Newsday:
A movie chase scene got a little too realistic early Monday when a car jumped a curb and crashed into the entrance of a Times Square restaurant.

Police say two people were injured in the accident shortly before 1 a.m. Both were taken to a hospital, though police say their injuries weren't life threatening.

Notices posted by police indicated the shoot was for the Nicholas Cage film, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

The scene required a Ferrari to pass several vehicles in pursuit of a Mercedes as it drove down Seventh Avenue, which was closed to traffic for the filming.

Witnesses say the Ferrari appeared to take a hard right turn and smashed into the Sbarro restaurant at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Ancient artifact holds key to Dr. Pepper's recipe.

Is the world ready for the secret of Dr. Pepper?? (I'm pretty sure it's goat urine.) From Yahoo! News:

DALLAS – Poking through antiques stores while traveling through the Texas Panhandle, Bill Waters stumbled across a tattered old ledger book filled with formulas.

He bought it for $200, suspecting he could resell it for five times that. Turns out, his inkling about the book's value was more spot on than he knew. The Tulsa, Okla., man eventually discovered the book came from the Waco, Texas, drugstore where Dr Pepper was invented and includes a recipe titled "D Peppers Pepsin Bitters."

"I began feeling like I had a national treasure," said Waters, 59.

Dr Pepper's manufacturer says the recipe is not the secret formula for the modern day soft drink, but the 8 1/2-by-15 1/2 inch book is expected to sell between $50,000 to $75,000 when it goes up for auction at Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries on May 13.

"It probably has specks of the original concoction on its pages," Waters said.

Waters discovered the book, its yellowed pages stained brown on the edges, underneath a wooden medicine bottle crate in a Shamrock antiques store last summer. A couple months after buying it, he took a closer look as he prepared to sell it on eBay.

He noticed there were several sheets with letterheads hinting at its past, like a page from a prescription pad from a Waco store titled "W.B. Morrison & Co. Old Corner Drug Store." An Internet search revealed Dr Pepper, first served in 1885, was invented at the Old Corner Drug Store in Waco by a pharmacist named Charles Alderton. Wade Morrison was a store owner.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nearby asteroid found orbiting backwards.

From New Scientist:

The discovery of a 2- to 3-kilometre-wide asteroid in an orbit that goes backwards has set astronomers scratching their heads. It comes closer to Earth than any other object in a 'retrograde' orbit, and astronomers think they should have spotted it before.

The object, called 2009 HC82, was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on the morning of 29 April.

From observations of its position by five different groups, Sonia Keys of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center calculated it orbits the sun every 3.39 years on a path that ventures within 3.5 million km of the Earth's orbit. Combined with its size, that makes 2009 HC82 a potentially hazardous asteroid.

What's really unusual is that the calculated orbit is inclined 155° to the plane of the Earth's orbit. That means that as it orbits the Sun, it actually travels backwards compared to the planets. It is only the 20th asteroid known in a retrograde orbit, a very rare group. None of the others comes as close to the Earth.

Couple ticketed for hiding monkey in closet.

From KCCI:
Acting on a tip, the Nebraska Humane Society seized a monkey and a sugar glider from an Omaha apartment on April 24.The animals are now living at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

Sugar gliders are small marsupials native to Australia. The furry, tree-dwelling creatures use membranes near their hind legs to glide through the air, sometimes as far as 50 meters. The animal is similar to a flying squirrel.

Ann and Andrew Gnusen were ticketed for harboring a non-domesticated animal and obstructing police. Officers said the couple, who lives near 108th and Lafeyette streets, tried to hide the monkey from them. The monkey was found in a closet.

Vacationers forced to rack up Amex debt by gunpoint!

American Express - Don't leave home without it! From NY Daily News:

He booked a vacation in paradise - but it turned out to be the trip from hell.

A Queens dad and his two sons were stripped of their passports and held hostage at gunpoint during a horror trip to a five-star Mediterranean hotel organized by American Express, he claims in a lawsuit.

Alexander Maryasin says his Italian vacation spot turned into a virtual prison when staffers refused to release him until he ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Queens Supreme Court.

An AmEx travel agent arranged all the details of the August 2007 getaway for Maryasin because he was an exclusive Black Card holder, the suit says.

But when Maryasin and his sons arrived at the scenic Hotel Cala di Volpe on the island of Sardinia, they landed in a bizarre trap for more than two weeks, the suit says.

The hotel manager seized the passports belonging to Maryasin, his 21-year-old son, David, and his 11-year-old son, who was not named, the papers claim.

Then hotel staff repeatedly changed the trio's departure dates to extend their stay without their consent while forcing Maryasin to rack up $300,000 in unwanted charges - including cash advances, a spree at the hotel jewelry store and trips to nightclubs and pricey restaurants, where he was forced to pick up the tab for his captors, the papers say.

New Polysics video!

Great song, amazing video. I *heart* Kayo.