In a stunning report on Saturday, a British newspaper claimed to have uncovered proof that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- notorious among the international community for denying the holocaust -- was actually born a Jew.
According to The Telegraph, a high resolution photograph of Ahmadinejad holding up his Iranian identity card, taken just before the 2008 election, reveals that his family changed its name shortly after he was born, renouncing their Jewish faith and adopting Islam.
"A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver," the UK paper reported.
"The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior," noted Israeli publication YNet News.
At the annual Quds Day rally in Tehran last month, the Iranian president reiterated his denial of the holocaust and blasted the Israeli government.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The president of Dunkin' Donuts, William Kussell, is to leave the company at the end of the year.
Nigel Travis, the company's chief executive, will then also become its president.
Dunkin' Donuts - the chain famous for its filled doughnuts - is owned by Dunkin' Brands, which also owns Baskin Robbins.
Dunkin' Donuts has more than 8,800 restaurants in 31 countries. In 2008, its global sales were $5.5bn (£3.46bn).
"This has not been an easy decision for me to make given my passion for the Dunkin' Donuts brand, but it is the right decision for me as I look to the next stage of my career," Mr Kussell said.
Hey, baby, wanna come over and see my dreamcatcher? From LiveScience:
Is it sexy to be spiritual? New research has found that spirituality has a greater effect on the sex lives of young adults — especially women — than religion, impulsivity, or alcohol.
“I think people have been well aware of the role that religious and spiritual matters play in everyday life for a very long time,” said Jessica Burris, one of the study’s researchers at the University of Kentucky. “But in the research literature, the unique qualities of spirituality — apart from religiousness — are not usually considered.”
According to a research measure known as the Spiritual Transcendence Scale, those qualities are connectedness, universality, and prayer fulfillment. But the data found that of the three, connectedness plays the largest role in spiritual sexuality and leads to more sex with more partners, often without the use of condoms.
“Believing one is intimately tied to other human beings and that interconnectedness and harmony are indispensible may lead one to believe sexual intimacy possesses a divine or transcendent quality in itself,” Burris writes. “In fact, ascribing sacred qualities to sex has been positively associated with positive affective reactions to sex, frequency of sex, and number of sexual partners among university students.”
The study’s participants indeed were university students; 353 undergraduates (61 percent of whom were female) answered a questionnaire that asked them about their alcohol use, impulsivity, religiousness, spirituality, and sexual practices. The statements on spirituality, which were ranked by level of agreement, included “In the quiet of my prayers and/or meditations, I find a sense of wholeness,” and “Although individual people may be difficult, I feel an emotional bond with all of humanity.”
The study found that spiritual men weren’t sexually affected — in fact, their frequency of sex decreased. The researchers figure men might not view spirituality as sexual because they biologically don’t think of sex as a gateway to emotional intimacy.
For women, however, spirituality was the strongest predictor for the number of sexual partners, the frequency of sex, and the tendency to have sex without a condom.
When we tuck into a bacon sandwich, few of us wonder what has happened to the other parts of the pig whose life has been sacrificed so we can enjoy a juicy breakfast.
But one inquisitive writer set out to trace where all the body parts of one porker ended up.
Christein Meindertsma, 29, said: 'Like most people, I had little idea of what happens to a pig after it leaves the abattoir so I decided to try to find out. I approached a pig farmer friend who agreed let me follow one of his animals.'
Identified by its yellow ear tag number, 05049, her pig trail ended with her identifying an incredible 185 different uses to which it was put - from the manufacture of sweets and shampoo, to bread, body lotion, beer and bullets.
Christein said: 'I was shocked when I began to find out just how unusual and varied the different uses for a ordinary pig were. It's almost as if these days, a pig is no longer thought of an animal - more like an industrial raw material with a mind-blowing amount of different uses.'
She found that 4.9lbs of her 16st 3lb pig went to making wine gums, while 4.8lbs went into liquorice. In this process, collagen is taken from the pig and is then converted into gelatine. This finds its way into numerous foodstuffs, where it acts as a gelling agent.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The University of Florida's response plans for a zombie apocalypse are no longer available for public consumption.
UF spokesman Steve Orlando said Friday the university removed a link to a disaster recovery exercise, which detailed how the school could respond to an outbreak of the undead. The link was taken down late Thursday afternoon.
Orlando says officials felt the joke "didn't really belong" on the site, which also included plans for dealing with hurricanes and pandemics.
The exercise lays out the university's response to attacks by "flesh-eating, apparently life impaired individuals." It notes that a zombie outbreak might include "documentation of lots of strange moaning."
Orlando says the employee who wrote the gag wasn't punished.
Mariamu Stanford, a soft-spoken, 28-year-old single mother from rural Tanzania, has earned a grim distinction: She's one of only two people with albinism -- a group that has faced discrimination in East Africa -- to survive a brutal attack by those wanting to sell the limbs of albinos on the black market.
In her first interview with American journalists, Stanford greeted ABC News visitors with a shy smile, wearing a short-sleeve blouse that revealed the scars of her ordeal.
Last October, men armed with machetes entered her hut and began cutting at her arms in a gruesome attempt to amputate them, Stanford told ABC News.
"In the middle of the night, a group of men stormed in and said, 'We are going to cut your arm off, and if you scream we'll cut the other arm off,'" she said. "And then they started to chop my right arm off. And because I was screaming, they also started to do the same with the other."
After her attackers fled, it took six full hours for Stanford to get medical treatment. Five months pregnant at the time, she lost both arms and her unborn child.
A devout Christian and member of her church choir, Stanford was caught up in a grisly trade inspired by a renegade set of witch doctors; they claim potions made of the blood, skin or bones of an albino can make people wealthy and bring good luck.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When Woody Harrelson escapes the living dead in "Zombieland", a new movie opening this Friday, should he head for the hills or the mall? A recently published research paper suggests that he's probably better off hiding in the mall to save his delicious brain.
The world is full of things that move in zombie-like fashion, such as particles flowing through a turbulent fluid or the unpredictable price changes of the stock market, so physicists seek insight into this behavior by creating so called "random walking" models.
Physicist Davide Cassi at the Università di Parma in Italy looked at how long an entity hiding in a complex structure could survive if being pursued by predatory random walkers. Cassi's paper, recently published in the journal Physical Review E, is the first to describe a general principle of a prey’s likelihood to survive over time while hiding in an irregular structure.
Though the paper itself does not specifically refer to fleeing from zombies, it describes "the survival probability of immobile targets annihilated by random walkers." The conclusions suggest that the people trapped in a mall in "Dawn of the Dead" may be better off than the folks stuck in a farmhouse in "Night of the Living Dead."
Cassi found that the likelihood of survival when threatened by predatory random walkers is closely related to how complex the prey’s hideout is. The more twists and turns, the safer you'll be. In structures that are highly complex and irregular, the chances of the predator coming into contact with its target shrinks down to almost zero.
Cassi formulates a model to describe the behavior of randomly moving particles as they travel through maze-like networks. He said that his work could apply to a wide variety of situations including the distribution of information through the internet and medicine spreading through the human body.
"There are a lot of applications of these results in a lot of fields of sciences," Cassi said. "The most amazing field of applications of these results are in biology, biochemistry and other organisms."
So remember, when the zombies come, flee to the biggest shopping mall you can find and remember that, using zombie movies as a guide, the undead often win.
Australian researchers have discovered a huge number of new species of invertebrate animals living in underground water, caves and "micro-caverns" amid the harsh conditions of the Australian outback.
A national team of 18 researchers has discovered 850 new species of invertebrates, which include various insects, small crustaceans, spiders, worms and many others.
The team – led by Professor Andy Austin (University of Adelaide), Dr Steve Cooper (South Australian Museum) and Dr Bill Humphreys (Western Australian Museum) – has conducted a comprehensive four-year survey of underground water, caves and micro-caverns across arid and semi-arid Australia.
"What we've found is that you don't have to go searching in the depths of the ocean to discover new species of invertebrate animals – you just have to look in your own 'back yard'," says Professor Austin from the Australian Center for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity at the University of Adelaide.
Monday, September 28, 2009
ANKARA, Turkey - An official says a van stacked with beehives has crashed into a truck, killing one person and causing the bees to swarm and attack five injured crash victims and their rescuers.
The state-run Anatolia news agency says around 20 people, including medics and police officers who responded to the accident, are being treated in hospitals.
Gov. Ahmet Altinparmak said the accident occurred Monday on a road near the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris.
The private Dogan news agency said beekeepers were rushed in to help rescue the victims.
Dogan video footage showed men in beekeeping clothing placing an injured man on a stretcher amid a swarm of bees.
Adolf Hitler may not have died in a bunker after fresh research suggests the skull thought to be the tyrant's was from a woman.
US archaeologist Nick Bellantoni found fragments from the skull believed to be Hitler's were too thin to be from a male, and suspected it was the remains of a much younger woman, The Sun reports.
"The bone seemed very thin - male bone tends to be more robust. It corresponds to a woman between the ages of 20 and 40," Dr Bellantoni said.
DNA tests performed in a US laboratory confirmed the remains could not have belonged to the Nazi leader.
The discovery casts doubt on the exact circumstances of Hitler’s death and could force history books to be rewritten.
Original accounts of Hitler’s death said he shot himself in the head in a bunker after taking a cyanide tablet on April 30, 1945 as the Russian army attacked Berlin.
His remains, along with those of his wife Eva Braun, were taken from the bunker, doused in petrol and set ablaze.
A year later, skull fragments were dug up by Russian forces which seemed to confirm Hitler had shot himself in the bunker.
Chinese researchers have unearthed the fossil of a bird-like dinosaur with four wings in northeastern China, which they suggest is a missing link in dinosaurs' evolution into birds.
In a paper in the journal Nature, they said they found the well-preserved fossil of the "Anchiornis huxleyi," which roamed the earth some 160 million years ago, in a geological formation in China's northeastern Liaoning province.
About the size of a chicken, the fossil has a total body length of less than 50cm (20 inches) and a skull about 6cm long, lead researcher Xing Xu at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing told Reuters in an email.
"This finding suggests that birds are likely to be descended from a kind of small-sized four-winged dinosaur about 160 million years ago," Xu said.
"It is a link between more typical theropods (dinosaurs which moved around with two rear limbs) and birds. It lived around a time period ... that we expected for birds' ancestor."
In a statement, the researchers said: "Long feathers cover the arms and tail, but also the feet, suggesting that a four-winged stage may have existed in the transition to birds."
An electric unicycle has been unveiled by Honda which says will revolutionise the way we get around.
The technology used in the U3X 'personal mobility device' has been borrowed from the company's famous Asimo humanoid robot.
An internal balance control means that the experimental unicycle constantly stands upright.
In order to move, a driver simply has to lean in the direction they wish to travel _ forwards, backwards, side-to-side or diagonally.
The device stands 26ins high, weighs just 22lbs and is powered by a lithium ion battery that runs for one hour before needing to be recharged.
As well as a fold out seat it also has two foot rests and it can move at a maximum speed of 3.7mph, described by its designers as a brisk walking pace.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Followers of a world-famous Buddhist teacher say Vietnamese police and an angry mob have forced 150 monks from a monastery in Vietnam's Central Highlands that has been the center of a monthslong standoff.
The Buddhists say an angry mob descended on the site Sunday morning, smashing windows and knocking down doors in an effort to evict followers of Thich Nhat Hanh, an exiled Vietnam-born monk who has sold more than 1 million books in the West and now lives in southern France.
About 230 nuns remained hunkered down inside a dormitory and a courtyard at the Bat Nha monastery in Lam Dong province on Sunday night, said Brother Trung Hai, a close associate of Nhat Hanh's, speaking from the Zen Master's Plum Village monastery in France.
Hai said the mob, which apparently included undercover police, forced about 150 monks from their rooms, beating some of them with sticks. They were herded onto buses, which transported them away from the scene, Hai said.
"We want all the violence to stop," Hai said. "We want to find a peaceful solution."
More Veg2K madness here.
It's unlikely there'll be too many happy little Vegemites, given the obscure name attached to the new cheesy version of the Aussie spread.
iSnack 2.0 is the name Kraft Foods chose for the new, creamier recipe of the suburban staple, following a national naming competition which attracted more than 40,000 entries.
The move is a bid by the food conglomerate to align the new product with a younger market -- and the "cool" credentials of Apple's iPod and iPhone.
The product's tag line reads: "iSnack 2.0, because it's the next generation Vegemite."
The new formula, said to combine Vegemite with Kraft cream cheese, is allegedly easier to spread and is milder in taste than the original.
Spain's socialist government has formally unveiled plans to liberalise the country's abortion law.
Under the proposal approved by the cabinet, abortion would be made available on demand for the first time.
Girls as young as 16 would be allowed to terminate a pregnancy without parental consent.
Ministers say it is about "rights and respect" for women. The conservative opposition says young people may see abortion as a form of contraception.
Spain's current law allows a pregnancy to be terminated in three circumstances - in the aftermath of a rape, when a foetus shows genetic defects, and when the health of the pregnant woman is at risk.
The government's proposal is that abortion should be made available on demand during the first 14 weeks of a pregnancy.
Roman Polanski was today in custody in Switzerland and facing extradition to the USA in connection with a 32-year-old charge of having sex with an underage girl.
The 76-year-old Oscar-winning director was being held at a police station in Zurich under a 1978 arrest warrant issued in Los Angeles.
Polanski, whose films include Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist, has never faced justice after admitting to sleeping with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer (then Gailey) in 1977 after plying her with sedative drugs and champagne in Hollywood.
Instead he fled to London in 1978, and then on to his home city of Paris, where he has lived and worked ever since, despite legally being an international fugitive.
Under a treaty with the USA, France can refuse to extradite its own citizens even if they face criminal charges.
But on Saturday Mr Polanski made a rare trip abroad to Zurich, where he was today due to pick up a lifetime achievement award at the city’s annual film festival.
Instead detectives approached him as soon as he entered the country, serving him with the 1978 arrest warrant.
‘There was no resistance to the arrest, and all cooperation was offered,’ said a Zurich police spokesman.