Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bedbugs found in Empire State Building.

From Huffington Post:
It survived the Depression, a bomber crash and King Kong's climb, but can the Empire State Building withstand a bedbug infestation? Officials say exterminators had to clean out an employee changing room in the tower's basement after bedbugs were found there last week.

The officials tell The New York Daily News that an employee had the bedbugs on his clothes and brought them into the building, but that the problem is now under control.

Tourists visiting the skyscraper say they are disgusted by the bloodsucking pests.

Bedbugs have been discovered recently in New York City theaters, clothing stores, office buildings, housing projects and posh apartments.

The city fielded 11,000 complaints about bedbugs last year.


Aww: How 12 dog breeds got their names.

D'oh: 2 arrested after trying to smuggle $50m Van Gogh painting.

Eats: Burger King introduces 2500-calorie pizza-burger.

Yipes: Gunmen take over upscale Rio hotel.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Man tries killing himself at Phish concert.

I would too if I were at a Phish concert. From NY Post:
An unhinged concertgoer at the Jones Beach amphitheater hurled himself 25 feet from a balcony onto the seats below last night, officials and witnesses said.

The 25-year-old man made the terrifying dive at a Phish concert just before 10 p.m., during intermission.

A helicopter was called, but the victim was rushed by ambulance to Nassau University Medical Center. His condition was unknown.

No one else was injured.

"He pushed people out of the way and he jumped; he didn't fall," said concertgoer Merritt Walsh. "It was intentional."

A female fan said, "I was sitting two rows behind from here he hit. He hit a chair and he broke the back of another chair. "There was blood everywhere. Everyone was yelling, 'Clear the way! Clear the way!' "

A doctor sitting near where the victim fell said the man's face was "busted up," but he was breathing on his own and conscious.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ninjas rob NYC jewelry store in midday heist.

From senior ninja news correspondent, Jen K. Item!
Two ninja-like robbers, dressed head-to-toe in black, pulled off a brazen, midday heist in a Diamond District store yesterday, tying up the owner and his son and swiping $60,000 in cash and bling before fleeing, police said.

The crooks sprinted out of the West 47th Street shop Namat before cops were called at about 2 p.m. -- after the victims had wriggled out of their bindings in the shop.

Although the robbers disabled the store's camera, "there are lots of video cameras on the street," said one cop at the scene.

Merchants and shoppers were astounded at the brazen daylight heist.

"It takes something like this to make you want to get up and do something," said one businessman who claimed he'd been thinking about a security upgrade.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Columbia plane hit by lightning, crashes into three pieces - 130 people SURVIVE!

Incredible. From Daily Mail:
It's the type of image that usually signals tragedy - the mangled wreckage of a passenger jet full of people, torn into three pieces crumpled on a runway.

But this horrifying picture instead represents a miraculous escape for all but one passenger on board.

The Boeing 737 aeroplane was carrying 131 people when it crashed on landing and broke into three pieces on a Colombian island in the Caribbean early this morning.

But, astonishingly, 130 of those on board survived - many, according to early reports, without even being injured.

Tragically, one passenger was killed in the crash - 65-year-old Amar Fernandez de Barreto.

Authorities said that at least five people had been reported injured.

Everyone else, it appears, survived unscathed.

Colombian Air Force Col. David Barrero said officials were investigating reports the plane had been hit by lightning before crashing at 1:49 am (0649 GMT).

The Aires jet had left the Colombian capital of Bogota at about midnight for San Andres Island, about 120 miles east of the Nicaraguan coast.

'The skill of the pilot kept the plane from colliding with the airport,' said Barrero, commander of the Caribbean Air Group, by telephone from San Andres.

He said 125 passengers and six crew members had been aboard.


Eats: San Francisco creates the red velvet fried chicken.

Dorky: Arithmetic is broken.

Awesome: Skateboarding priest a YouTube hit.

Yipes: Thai cops hunt "Invincible" kickboxer in ex-Marine's murder.

Yipes: Chicago averages one bus collision a day.

RUW: Scientists hack into cars' computers - control brakes, engine remotely.

Bandage-wrapped man robs pharmacy.

Sounds like the Invisible Man! From Breitbart:
A man was jailed on charges he robbed a southwestern Pennsylvania supermarket pharmacy while his face was wrapped in medical bandages and a surgical mask. State police said 52-year-old Edward Singer entered the Giant Eagle on Route 31 in Somerset Township about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Police said Singer gave the pharmacist a note that read, "Don't do anything stupid, this is a holdup."

Police said the note also demanded Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addictions, and the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Police said the pharmacist gave the suspect 22 Suboxone pills before he drove away in a pickup that police stopped a short time later for failing to stop at an intersection.

Police said they found a gun, bandages and the drugs in the truck. Online court records did not list a defense attorney.

Bacteria have a sense of smell.

From BBC News:
Research has shown that bacteria - among the simplest life forms on Earth - have a sense of smell.

Scientists from Newcastle University in the UK have demonstrated that a bacterium commonly found in soil can sniff and react to ammonia in the air.

It was previously thought that this "olfaction" was limited to more complex forms of life known as eukaryotes.

The finding, published in Biotechnology Journal, means that bacteria have four of the five senses that humans enjoy.

The discovery also has implications in the understanding and control of biofilms - the chemical coatings that bacteria can form on, for example, medical implants.

Bacteria have already demonstrated the ability to react to light, in analogy to sight, and to change the genes that they express when confronted with certain materials, in analogy to touch.

Average couple has sex 104 times before getting pregnant.

The average couple has sex 104 times before getting pregnant, according to a British survey published today.

Women took six months on average to conceive their first child, with couples having sex around four times a week while they were trying.

The study of more than 3000 mothers, commissioned by UK family planning company First Response, also found that two-thirds of women got pregnant more quickly than they expected.

One in 10 women were so eager to conceive they even called their partner home from work to have sex while they were ovulating, it said.

"Having sex 104 times before falling pregnant does sound rather a lot, but as they say, practice makes perfect. Trying for a baby is a very exciting time for a couple, and many try to have sex at every opportunity in order to get pregnant," said First Response spokesman Dr. Mike Smith.

But nearly a quarter of women said sex became “boring” when trying to start a family, while 11 percent of men complained about the amount of sex their partner demanded and admitted to feeling "completely used."

The survey also found that one in 10 women told their parents before telling their partner that they were expecting a child.

Toy sales stopped Return of the Jedi's dark ending.

Who doesn't love a good teddy bear dance party? From
Toy sales stopped George Lucas from ending his Star Wars saga on a downbeat note, the film's original producer has revealed.

As Lucas announced that his saga was finally coming to Blu-ray, and gave fans a sneak peak of a lost opening to Return of the Jedi, Gary Kurtz, who produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, talked about the film's lost ending.

Kurtz told The Los Angeles Times that Lucas had originally planned a much darker ending to Return of the Jedi: Han Solo was to die and a battle-weary Luke Skywalker was to have walked off alone "like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns".

What audiences ended up getting was dancing Ewoks and a happy ending.

Kurtz, who rarely speaks about his involvement in Star Wars, told the Times that after Empire came out in 1980, he and Lucas started discussing ideas for a third film but it soon became apparent that they were heading in different directions.

"We had an outline and George changed everything in it," Kurtz told the Times.

"Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover Han Solo in the early part of the story (Solo had been kidnapped at the end of Empire) and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base.

"George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason."

Kurtz, who had been Lucas's producing partner for more than a decade, decided to part company with Star Wars and move onto other projects.

He said that by the time Empire Strikes Back came out, the toy business was starting to drive Lucas's empire, which has made $18 billion on a Star Wars franchise that includes not just films but TV series, toys, books and clothes.

"The first film and Empire were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing.

"It's a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It's natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that's not the best thing for making quality films."

Bed bug infestation has reached nationwide epidemic proportions.

From AlterNet:
Peter Krask stepped out of his New York City apartment one day last year, shut the door, and walked away forever, leaving behind almost everything he owned.

He carried away only a few items of clothing, personal records, and his computer.

Krask's apartment was infested with bedbugs. Savoring warmth, they swarmed in his DSL port, light fixtures, carpets and furniture. They'd feasted on him nightly for a year — which he spent visiting doctors in an increasing state of panic over the rashes inflaming his buttocks and other body parts before finally ascertaining the cause.

It was Cimex lectularius, the flat, cockroach-colored, lentil-sized pest whose favorite food is not just warm blood but human blood. Bedbugs are back, bigtime. According to a National Pest Management Association study, outbreaks have soared 81 percent nationwide since 2000. Their sudden resurgence in all fifty states of a formerly bedbug-free nation has caught off-guard not just the medical and pest-control industries but millions of ordinary people who now apply costly, time-consuming, potentially toxic and inconclusive strategies for slaughtering insects that inhabit indoor environments both soft and hard and can lie in wait without eating for up to a year. Finding hosts, they feed by night, doubling in size as they suck.

Lending a whole new meaning to the phrase "home invasion," the very idea stokes our deepest fears of swarming hordes and sleeper cells and sneak attacks.

Bedbug infestations at Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria's Secret and other trendy Manhattan stores last month — and last week in Manhattan's Time Warner Center, home to CNN — cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each in lost sales, furniture, equipment and merchandise, plus the wages of dozens of workers transporting, fumigating and destroying tainted goods. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

America's bedbug problem, says University of Florida entomology professor Philip Koehler, "has reached epidemic proportions."

Karaoke taking over the high seas.

Finally, I can sing "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean in the Caribbean Ocean! Item!
Gone are the days of cruise ship karaoke singers screaming "I Will Survive" to a taped backing track.

Karaoke, the popular onboard diversion, has evolved to include video games with virtual instruments, professional recording studios and "American Idol"-style competitions. The latest option for those looking to belt out (or butcher) pop hits in front of fellow cruisers? Carnival Cruise Lines has begun offering karaoke backed by a live house band.

By year's end, Carnival will feature live band-backed karaoke on 12 of its ships, with professional musicians playing guitar, bass, drums and keyboard, and backup singers providing the harmonies. Passengers can croon or caterwaul over 100 popular songs from artists like ABBA, Zac Brown Band, the Beatles, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga. The program, called "Superstar Live Karaoke," is already available onboard Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor, and later this week, the offering will debut on Carnival Pride. Interested passengers need only sign up with the on-site host in the Superstar Live Karaoke lounge after boarding to participate -- availability will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Teen sex not bad for grades.

Especially if the teen sex is with a teacher. From ABC News:
There's good news for parents who worry that their teenagers' sex lives are affecting their school performance: A provocative new study has found that teens in committed relationships do no better or worse in school than those who don't have sex.

The same isn't true for teens who "hook up." Researchers found that those who have casual flings get lower grades and have more school-related problems compared with those who abstain.

The findings, presented Sunday at a meeting of the American Sociological Association in Atlanta, challenge to some extent assumptions that sexually active teens tend to do poorer in school.

It's not so much whether a teen has sex that determines academic success, the researchers say, but the type of sexual relationship they're engaged in. Teens in serious relationships may find social and emotional support in their sex partners, reducing their anxiety and stress levels in life and in school.