Friday, June 4, 2010


List: Top 10 worst film & tv characters.

Eats: Guidelines created and to be enforced on what makes olive oil "extra virgin."

PSA: McDonalds recalls 12 million Shrek glasses for containing toxic cadmium.

Awesome: California to expand plastic bag ban.

Awesome: It's National Doughnut Day!

Kellogg's ordered to stop saying its cereals make you healthier.

From Consumerist:
For the second time in a year, Kellogg Company has been called to the principal's office at the Federal Trade Commission and slapped on the wrist for misleading customers into thinking its cereal products offer unproven health benefits.

This time, Kellogg was under fire for an ad and marketing campaign for Rice Krispies that touted the snapping, crackling and popping cereal “now helps support your child’s immunity,” with “25 percent Daily Value of Antioxidants and Nutrients - Vitamins A, B, C, and E.” On the back of the packaging, customers were told, “Kellogg’s Rice Krispies has been improved to include antioxidants and nutrients that your family needs to help them stay healthy.”

Problem is, Kellogg had just been caught red-handed making false claims about their Frosted Mini-Wheats product. In that case, ads and packaging for the cereal claimed it had been “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%.” Except that wasn't exactly true.

As part of their settlement in the Frosted Mini-Wheats dust-up, Kellogg swore not to make "claims about the benefits to cognitive health, process, or function provided by any cereal or any morning food or snack food unless the claims were true and substantiated."

So the FTC was understandably upset when they saw Kellogg blabbing about how Rice Krispies was some sort of miracle food.

Reaching a settlement once again, expanding the order from just a few month's ago. Under the new agreement, Kellogg is barred from "making claims about any health benefit of any food unless the claims are backed by scientific evidence and not misleading."

Feeling grumpy is good for you.

From BBC:
In a bad mood? Don't worry - according to research, it's good for you.

An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly.

In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed.

While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain "promotes information processing strategies".

Canada is home to Vulcan.

Live long, prosper, and watch Hockey Night. From BBC:
Fewer than 2,000 people live in the small prairie town of Vulcan in Alberta, Canada.

But the town sees its population swell every June as it trades on its name and its association with Vulcan, the home planet of Mr Spock in Star Trek.

Fans in costume, or wearing Spock's signature pointy ears, come from around the world for Vulcan's annual three-day Star Trek convention: the "VulCON Spock Days Galaxyfest".

Hard-core enthusiasts, or Trekkies, admire the town and its replica of the USS Enterprise. Vulcan even has a tourism centre designed to look like a spacecraft coming in to land.

"The whole community gets involved," says Cricket Courtney, who travelled from the US and dressed as a Klingon, the villains of the show, for last year's Galaxyfest.

"We went to the bakery where the baker was wearing his Spock ears. The mayor dresses up in a Star Trek uniform, people come and talk to you on the street, take your picture. I feel like you come home to Vulcan."

Man keeps crashing funerals for the free food.

From Orange:
Undertakers in New Zealand have issued a warning to a fake mourner, dubbed 'the Grim Eater', who gatecrashes funerals for the food.

The man attended up to four funerals a week, even taking home leftovers in a 'doggy bag', reports the Daily Telegraph.

Danny Langstraat, a director of Harbour City Funeral Home in Wellington, said his company had distributed a photograph of the intruder and had also alerted grieving families to his presence.

"He was showing up to funeral after funeral and, without a doubt, he didn't know the deceased," Mr Langstraat said. "We saw him three or four times a week.

"Certainly, he had a backpack with some Tupperware containers so, when people weren't looking, he was stocking up," he told the Dominion-Post newspaper.

Mr Langstraat said the man, in his 40s, was respectably dressed and did not look like someone who lived on the streets.

"He was always very quiet and polite, and did as the rest of the mourners did in paying his respects."

The man has stopped turning up since a staff member took him aside and had a stern word in his ear, telling him he could not take food home.

PSA: "Sack tapping" game may result in loss of testicles.

It's all fun and games until someone loses a testicle. From
A Minnesota teenager had to have his testicle amputated after being punched in the groin by a classmate. said David Gibbons, 14, was changing classes in his Crosby high school when he was attacked by another student playing a game called "sack tapping".

David’s mother, Christy Gibbons, said it wasn't until hours later that they realised something was wrong.

"One o'clock in the morning he woke me up and told me he was in excruciating pain," she said.

David was taken to St Joseph's Hospital in Brainerd, Minnesota where surgeons removed his right testicle.

And David is not the only student who has suffered the consequences of the "sack tapping" game.

"It's just gotten way out of control," said Dr Scott Wheeler, a urologist in Brainerd, Minnesota who says he performs three to four surgeries a year on boys with ruptured testicles and other complications as a result of "sack tapping".

"All parents, you need to have this talk with your kids not to do it. It's lost its humour. It's not a game anymore. People get hurt," he added.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rush releases two new songs on iTunes.

From a press release spotted by my bro! (Too bad the songs are the sludgy, grungy, flat, uninspired crap of their last couple of albums. And I say that as their biggest fan evarr!!11!)
Rush pre-release 2 new songs, “CARAVAN” and “BU2B” from the forthcoming album Clockwork Angels album (due in 2011).

Buy the 2 songs together and also get the artwork & lyric booklet where supported by the digital provider.

The band will be performing these 2 songs on the Time Machine Tour, which kicks off in just a few short weeks on June 29th! Visit for a full tour listing.

Please request the single “Caravan” to be played at your local radio station!

Also, thanks to your support and demand, the documentary has further screens added in many markets. Please check for your country/city at

For now, US fans are able to enter now at There will be further custom Epiphone Les Paul guitar promotions that are open to international fans, stay tuned for details on that very shortly!

Porn actor goes on machete rampage.

Witnesses say the machete was curved to the left. From LA Times:
The man believed responsible for a rampage at a Van Nuys video production facility that left one dead and two wounded is a struggling porn actor who faced the loss of his job, authorities said.

Stephen Hill, 30, allegedly used a machete-style weapon in the attack, which occurred about 10:20 p.m. at a video distribution business on Hayvenhurst Avenue and Saticoy Street.

Los Angeles Police Department Det. Joel Price said Hill was both working and living at the offices of Ultima DVD Inc.

Price said Hill did production work and acted in several porn movies. But on the night of the attack, he apparently faced the loss of his job and eviction from the office.

Hill allegedly fled after stabbing the three co-workers. The victims were rushed to a hospital, where one was pronounced dead. There were seven people in the office when the attack occurred.

The LAPD is investigating the attack as a case of workplace violence. The suspect fled in a blue Toyota RAV4 with license plate 5YTC423.

Nun excommunicated for saving life.

From ABC News:
Sister Margaret McBride was forced to make a decision between her faith and a woman's life last year, when a 27-year-old mother of four rushed into St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix only 11 weeks pregnant.

"I think [McBride] prayed and prayed and I'm sure that this weighed on her like a ton of bricks. This was not an easy decision for her," says her long-time friend Mary Jo Macdonald.

As a key member of the hospital's ethics board, McBride gathered with doctors in November of 2009 to discuss the young woman's fate.

The mother was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, an illness the doctors believed would likely kill her and, as a result, her unborn child, if she did not abort the pregnancy.

In the end, McBride chose to save the young woman's life by agreeing to authorize an emergency abortion, a decision that has now forced her out of a job and the Catholic Church.

Despite being described as "saintly," "courageous," and the "moral conscience" of the Catholic hospital, McBride was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted for supporting the abortion.

[...] Although many medical ethicists say it was the right decision, the hospital confirmed McBride has been removed from her position as senior administrator and reassigned.

Critics are arguing McBride's punishment is a double standard. Many are pointing out that it has often taken years for priests who sexually abuse children to be even reprimanded, let alone excommunicated.

Great Rush item in Toronto Sun.

Full article is great. Here's a snippet:
A glimmer of recollection and smiles pass over Geddy Lee’s and Alex Lifeson’s faces when I tell them Rush played a dance at my Thunder Bay high school in 1973.

“How’d we go over?” Lee asks.

“Pretty much exactly as described in the movie,” I reply, to bursts of laughter from Lifeson and Lee.

The movie is Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, a comprehensive filmic journey from the makers of Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey that begins in the lifelong friends’ own Willowdale high school and follows them through their evolution and eventual icon status. (It plays in select theatres across Canada for one day only, June 10, before heading to DVD.)

[...] The film carries on from their days as a self-styled blues-rock band, to their first word-of-mouth single Working Man (which broke on a Cleveland radio station), to the departure of drummer Rutsey in 1974 and the hiring of an introverted bookworm named Neil Peart, whose Byzantine poetry would become Rush’s lyrical trademark. (The band’s first hit album Fly By Night also included their first “epic,” the Peart-penned By-Tor and the Snow Dog, with its images of “the tobes of Hades” and a battle of good and evil across the river Styx.)

Lee says seeing the hair and costumes — the band went through a muumuu phase during their prog-rock heyday — “made me feel grossly uncomfortable.

“Obviously looking back that far exhorts a number of feelings, from embarrassment at all the fashion crimes we committed to this kind of strange out-of-body experience watching yourself as, basically, a child.

Boy uses video game skills to save sister from moose.

This gives me hope that someday my chocobo-breeding skills will save me. From CANOE:

If anyone's ever told Hans Jorgen Olsen that video games are a waste of time, they'll have to eat their words.

Olsen, 12, saved his sister from a moose using the knowledge he gained playing World of Warcraft, reports the Norwegian online newspaper Nettavisen.

The pair were walking through the woods in the central Norwegian town of Leksvik when they came face-to-face with an angry moose.

Olsen knew what he had to do, thanks to the countless hours spent playing WOW, a multi-player online role-playing game.

First, he taunted the animal to get it away from his sister. In WOW, players use taunting to get monsters off their less well-armed team members.

Then, when the beast came after him, he played dead.

"When you reach level 30, you learn a trick called the fake death. That's what I did - I pretended I was dead, and then the moose lost interest," he said. "It went really well."

Canada considering plan to kill 220,000 seals.

From Treehugger. Sent in by reader Jen, bearer of sad news.
What is a troubled industry to do in order to survive? Well, if you're a lobbyists for Canadian fisheries, the answer may be to simply massacre the competition. A recently disclosed proposal calls for the killing of a whopping 220,000 grey seals to combat declining fish stocks in the waters off Nova Scotia--lobbyists say the seals have been eating too much cod. The details of the plan are quite nightmarish, involving the use of guns, clubs, incinerators, and even logging equipment to aid in the slaughter of unsuspecting seals, during nursing season, no less, when the beaches will be crowded with newborn pups.

The proposed seal slaughter, according to a study obtained by The Coast, would be carried out on Sable Island in Nova Scotia, one of the species' main breeding grounds. It all stems from the fact that fisheries have been facing declines in fish stocks over the years, a reality they're blaming on the grey seals and not on their own activity. So industry lobbyists have urged the government to snuff out their competition, and the commissioned study confirms that officials are considering the grim plan.

As it turns out, killing 220,000 seals over the next five years poses a logistical challenge. Rifles would be used to take down adults while pups would be bludgeoned to death with clubs, amounting to 100,000 seals killed in 25 days the first year. Foresters, equipment normally used to collect felled trees, would gather the carcasses into dumpsters where they would then be set alight.

"At this production rate, a tandem dump truck would be filled with seals approximately every 10 hours a day for 25 days," notes the study.

Granted, as long as they're in the business of seal killing, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) would much rather turn a profit from animal's parts than burn them, but the market just isn't there. So, The Coast reports, a spokesman for the DFO visited China to tout the taste of seal meat and to suggest that there may be some value in the animal's penises.

A slightly more humane alternative to the outright seal slaughter was outlined by the study. Instead of killing the animals, 16,000 females different would be selected and sterilized each year for five years.

The uncovered proposal comes on the heels of what environmentalists considered a victory for the island's wildlife, reports The Coast. Recently the government decided to make Sable Island a national park, a designation that would add protection to its rich biodiversity. Just one caveat, though: seals wouldn't receive the same benefits.

Human mind "time travels" when pondering movement.

So if I think about moving to Germany, my brain can kill Hitler when he was a baby? From Live Science:
Just thinking about moving through space can make your mind wander in time as well, scientists now find.

The ability to mentally meander through time by remembering the past or imagining the future sets humans apart from many other species, helping us to learn from what came before and plan for what lies ahead. However, remarkably little is known about how such mental time travel works.

Past research showed that our perceptions of time are tightly linked with space. For instance, pondering the future makes us lean forward, while recalling the past makes us lean back, experimental psychologist Lynden Miles of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and his colleagues found.

Now Miles and his collaborators have discovered another interesting feat of the mind: Thinking about moving forward prompted speculation about the future, while imagining moving backward triggered reflections on the past.

Robots with human vision to work in nuclear reactors.

Time to build that bunker... From Daily Mail:

Scientists are developing robots that have eyesight that works in the same way as human vision.

The robots will be able to determine what is the most important object in its field of vision and act accordingly, just like humans do.

Scientists hope that the technology will let 'intelligent' robots operate inside dangerous places like nuclear reactors where it would too dangerous for humans to enter.

The advanced robot vision is being developed as part of a European project that uses a sensor that employs a complicated digital imaging process known as ‘3D foveation’.

Current laser scanning technology means that robots sample everything in their field of vision equally.

‘This means an object that is uninteresting for the robot will be sampled as equally dense as the object the robot is interacting with,’ the technical leader of the project, Jens Thielemann, told The Engineer magazine.

‘For instance, in case of a robot navigating a hallway and trying to avoid obstacles, a normal laser scanner will spend the same amount of time sampling objects that are far away and pose no danger to the robot, as it will spend on those nearby that can pose more imminent danger.’

The project team will correct this problem by adapting the robot’s vision so it mimics the processes carried out by the human eye.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli forces kill 19 peace activists on relief aid ships to Gaza.

From Daily Mail:
The Foreign Secretary today 'deplored' the loss of life during the interception of a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza.

Up to 19 people were killed after Israeli commandos boarded ships carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid en route from Cyprus.

Another 26 people are being treated in two Israeli hospitals for injuries sustained in the assault. Details of what happened remain sketchy after Israel imposed a news blackout, preventing activists on board the ships from contacting the outside world.

Palestinian rights group Friends of Al-Aqsa said that 28 British citizens were assisting in the breaking of the blockade, including its chairman Ismail Patel.

William Hague said the British embassy was in 'urgent contact' with the Israeli government, asking for more information.

He said: 'I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza flotilla. Our embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli government.