Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why we can't do three things at once.

From LiveScience:
For those who find it tough to juggle more than a couple things at once, don't despair. The brain is set up to manage two tasks, but not more, a new study suggests.

That's because, when faced with two tasks, a part of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex (MFC) divides so that half of the region focuses on one task and the other half on the other task. This division of labor allows a person to keep track of two tasks pretty readily, but if you throw in a third, things get a bit muddled.

"What really the results show is that we can readily divide tasking. We can cook, and at the same time talk on the phone, and switch back and forth between these two activities," said study researcher Etienne Koechlin of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. "However, we cannot multitask with more than two tasks."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dead: Peter Steele of Type O Negative.

From NY Daily News:
Peter Steele, the frontman for the heavy metal band Type O Negative, has died.

After a morning of speculation, the band's spokesperson confirmed Thursday afternoon that Steele had died Wednesday at age 48.

"Peter passed away last night. As of now it appears to have been heart failure," Mike Renault wrote in an email to "That's all the details we have right now."

The official type O Negative Web site posted the following message to its fans this morning, "The forums have been re-opened. Please play nice and expect statements from the band and family later today. Thank you for your understanding and support."

Steele had a history of medical problems since 2004. That year the band announced they were cancelling their U.S. tour so that the singer could be tested for "undisclosed anomalies" found during a medical exam.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NYC to charge homeless people for rent.

From NY Daily News:

Nothing's free in New York - not even a stint in a city shelter.

Homeless people with jobs are going to have to start paying the city rent to stay in shelters, officials said Tuesday.

"Open-ended handouts, we know, don't work," Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs said. "This is not a moneymaker. We're not doing this to close budget gaps. It's really the principles ... involved."

A 1997 state law requires New York to charge rent to the homeless who can afford it. The city never did, but has been pressed to do it since a state audit last year.

Shelter residents would have to pay as much as 44% of their income in their first year in the program.

Critics say the plan penalizes people who are struggling.

"It makes far more sense to allow those families to save their meager funds in order to be able to get out of the shelter system sooner," said Steven Banks, chief attorney of the Legal Aid Society, which may sue to block the plan.

"This is an extreme policy that has no discernible benefit, that will end up hurting the families and costing the taxpayers money," Banks said. "If necessary, we'll certainly go to court."


List: 30 ways you can spot fake online reviews.

Gross: HIV-like virus found in illegally imported meat.

Awesome: Escaped convicts disguised as sheep. (Not a baaa'd idea!)

Yipes: Southern Iceland evacuated due to volcanic activity.

Eats: Why many people hate cilantro (and its soapy bug smell).

Man creates evil clown business.

I would kill my parents in their sleep if they did this to me. Item!
A Swiss actor is carving out a new career as a sinister-looking clown - terrifying children's birthday parties.

Dominic Deville had the brainwave after watching his favourite horror movies and set up his Evil Clown service in Lucerne.

And he says his unlikely new venture is going so well that he's laughing all the way to the bank.

After he is hired to scare a birthday boy or girl, he first contacts his 'victims' to tell them they're being watched.

Then he taunts them with texts, phone calls and booby-trapped letters warning them that at sometime in their party he's going to smash a cake into their face.

"It's all in fun and if at any point the kids get scared or their parents are concerned we stop right there," he explained.

"But most kids absolutely love being scared senseless."

Drunk horseman rides into crowd on Mule Day.

From AOL News:
COLUMBIA, Tenn. -A Middle Tennessee horseback rider was jailed after being charged with running into a crowd of people at the Mule Day festivities in Columbia. The man, 32, was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and public intoxication.

According to The Daily Herald of Columbia, witnesses told investigators that the man rode the horse Saturday into a restricted area that had been closed to animal traffic at the county park and was asking pedestrians for beer. A Maury County sheriff's report said the man dismounted and then attempted to get back on, spooking it.

Two people were then hit by the horse, and one required hospital treatment.

Bond was set at $10,500.

Climategate scientists cleared of any wrongdoing.

From Daily Mail:
The scientists embroiled in the Climategate email scandal have been cleared of 'deliberate scientific malpractice' by an independent review.

The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has been under attack since hacked emails were leaked online last year, which sceptics claimed showed scientists were manipulating data to support a theory of man-made global warming.

But a detailed review of 11 scientific papers from CRU published over 20 years found 'absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever', according to Lord Oxburgh, who headed up the inquiry.

Lord Oxburgh said the scientists at the research unit arrived at their conclusions 'honestly and sensibly'.

The review did not analyse whether those conclusions were correct, but gave the scientific processes at CRU a 'clean bill of health', he said.

He said the reviewers found that the scientists could have used better statistical methods in analysing some of their data, but that it was unlikely to have made much difference to their results.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Man drove drunk to prison for DUI sentence.

From Breitbart:
SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) - Police said a Massachusetts man headed to a Vermont prison to serve a two-day sentence for driving under the influence was intoxicated when he drove himself to prison.

Vermont State Police say that staff at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield noticed that a 42-year-old man was intoxicated when he arrived late Tuesday afternoon and that he had driven himself there.

So prison staff called police.

Police said the man was then processed for DUI second offense and released back into the custody of the Department of Corrections.

The man was due to appear in court later this month on the latest charge.

Stronger magnetic material discovered, may overturn laws of physics.

From Minnesota Daily:
Iron cobalt is known as the most magnetic material on Earth today, but a professor at the University of Minnesota was able to show that this may no longer be true.

Dr. Jianping Wang, a graduate faculty member in the department of physics, said he was able to show an iron and nitrogen compound is 18 percent more magnetic than iron cobalt. The claim may disprove the accepted physics limits set for magnetization in a substance.

“We found there is a new physics behind the materials we study right now,” Wang said.

In his iron and nitrogen compound material, Wang said he found electrons in a form that have never been addressed in traditional theories behind magnetization — localized electrons, which differ from the free-flowing electrons that are typically seen in magnetic moments.

“With the presence of localized electrons, you have to throw out all traditional understanding [of magnetism],” Wang said.

It is these localized electrons that lead to the high magnetization, according to Wang.

Wang said his study goes against traditional theories found in textbooks that set limits on how magnetic a substance can be.

Burglar mailed himself to victims.

From Orange:

Police in Poland have arrested a man for a series of raids in which he allegedly climbed into large parcels and posted himself to businesses.

Stanislaw Muchy, 39, would then apparently climb out at night after staff had clocked off and burgle the premises, reports Metro.

He made his getaway by sealing both himself and his loot into another box addressed to his Warsaw home, say police.

His scheme came to an end after he fell out with an accomplice, whose job was to deliver him to courier firms, who contacted police.

After being tipped off, police said: "We arranged a special delivery of our own."

Brewery workers strike for more on-the-job drinking.

From Orange:

Warehouse staff at Carlsberg are on strike in protest at a company decision to limit beer drinking at work to lunch breaks.

Workers claim they're entitled to three beers a day - on top of any drinks they consume at lunch, reports Sky News.

The strike in Denmark follows a move last week to change the rules for on-site drinking at the world's fourth-largest brewer.

Carlsberg spokesman Jens Bekke said: "We think times have changed and we need an alcohol policy that is accepted by society - 93% of Danish companies have an alcohol policy.

"There has been free beer, water and soft drinks everywhere. Beers were removed from all refrigerators. The only place you can get a beer in future is in the canteen, at lunch."

Mr Bekke said Carlsberg drivers claim a "very old right" to have up to three beers per day outside lunch hours.

The warehouse workers say they share that entitlement - a claim the brewer disputes.

"Because of that, the warehouse staff went on strike yesterday, with other staff striking in sympathy," Mr Bekke said.

50,000 British women warned that their breasts may explode.

From Daily Mail:
Nearly fifty thousand women in the UK have been warned by health chiefs that their breast implants could explode.

The best-selling silicone implant made by the French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), are thought to be twice as likely to rupture.

A government health agency is urging women with this type of implant to contact their plastic surgeons to consider having the implants removed.

They run the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome or gangrene if the implants explode.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has also ordered cosmetic surgeons to stop using these implants.

It follows a nation-wide ban in France of the best-selling implant after it found the implants had been filled with a silicone gel with a composition different from that approved since 2001.

They are now carrying out urgent testing to see if the unapproved material is safe.